TRENTON – Sure, we can report about how the state Legislature is about to borrow $4.5 billion to keep the state afloat, but if we really want some eyeballs on this lead blurb, let’s shift to the brewing bagel wars with NYC. The city’s Twitter account took a broad, unprovoked swipe at the precious Jersey bagel. Prepare yourself before you read this. Breathe deeply. Ready? Good. NYC wrote: “Large indoor gatherings are so 2019. Treat them like a bagel from New Jersey, and avoid them at all costs.” Ouch. New Jersey’s terrific Twitter feed had the perfect, simple response, as always: “Delete ur account.” We can spend pages defending the perfect Jersey bagel, but let someone else educate such glaring ignorance east of the Hudson. 

NEW YORK – So, Jersey, forget your crappy bagels for a moment. Tell us more about this millionaire’s tax. That’s the question from progressive groups in NYC, who are intrigued about how taxing the rich could help the city’s budget, especially with the gobs of millionaires having their doormen walk Chihuahuas up Central Park West. “I’ve never been jealous of Jersey before,” admits Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, a Democrat from Manhattan. A protest is now being planned on Friday on Park Avenue, calling for a tax on the city’s elite, the Wall Street Journal reports. The tax could be used, many argue, to help cover a $14.5 billion decline in state revenue because of the pandemic.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pushed off this tax, hoping for a Congressional bailout. Feel free to wait with a bagel.

TRENTON – If you think it is stressful being married, try coordinating a wedding during a global pandemic. Sen. Vin Gopal believes these stressed-out nuptials need a helping hand from the state Legislature, as caterers desperate for cash are charging thousands of dollars in “rescheduling fees” and withholding refunds. Of course, these wedding venues are trying to survive. Still, Gopal has introduced a bi-partisan bill that would provide refunds for COVID-related cancellations. Since asking for stories, Gopal reports on Facebook that he has as many as 40 cases in which banquet halls are playing hard ball with young couples just trying to start off their lives with a celebration. He noted one couple was “charged $20,000 to move their wedding to next year and weren't given a weekend and would lose their deposit.” A backyard wedding never sounded so good.

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BRIEFING BREATHER

We were born with two innate fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud sounds.

TRENTON - We all hear about how New Jersey wants to be more business friendly, etc. etc. But our wineries and breweries never seem to feel any love, stymied by constant overregulation. There's a bill that would help them in the State Senate. And, of course, it is hitting every roadblock.  The request is simple: Allow us to market our products by having festivals, coordinate with local restaurants, increase production and deliver to customers' homes. Of course, bars and restaurants - who have paid a pretty penny for liquor licenses - are balking. But there is one important nugget to consider: Breweries and wineries just want to sell what they manufacture, not the stuff you can get at the local pub. So why not loosen restrictions so these Jersey-grown businesses could invest and reinvest?

STATEWIDE – So, being that this is the most depressing year many of us have ever experienced, is there no surprise that the fall foliage will be less than stunning? NJ.com reports this dry summer impacts the glory of the fall. And, because there hasn’t been a lot of rain, we shouldn’t expect all that vibrancy of red and orange when the peak of fall foliage hits in the middle of next month. It also means you will be raking earlier this year, as leaves quickly fall from the trees, as you wonder, yet again, how many more months could possibly be in 2020. Time to crack open another pumpkin beer.

BELLEVILLE – Tommy DeVito was a tough guy. But this Jersey Boy was sadly not strong enough for COVID-19, as the 92-year-old doo-wopper with the Four Seasons has passed away, another victim of this damn virus. Founding the Four Seasons in 1960, DeVito helped create such iconic songs as “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Sherry.” Belleville is grappling with the loss of a favorite son, with Mayor Michael Melham recalling how he met DeVito 20 years ago when the town named a street in his honor. “His career took him to great heights, but he remained Belleville, through and through, and often returned to see old childhood friends or play a round of golf with his pal, Joe Pesci. Mr. DeVito may have lost his final fight, but his music and his memory will live on forever.”

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

SULLIVAN, IL - Unclear what else this local guy has stored in his house, but the news of the moment is the Presidential Sandwich of 1960. It was on Sept. 22, 1960, when presidential hopeful Richard M. Nixon rolled into Sullivan and met with the local Boy Scouts. There was a cook-out, of course, and Nixon ate half of a buffalo chicken sandwich. The young scout brought it home, for some reason, and, with no other immediate plans for the sandwich, stuck it in the freezer. Over the years, that sandwich has brought tremendous notoriety to the young scout. He appeared in 1988 on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, along with the sandwich. Steve Martin was a guest that night, signing a plate that once held chicken salad. The scout has also collected some uneaten food from other celebrities, but the Nixon sandwich, by far, is the crown jewel of the collection.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1992 that discount retailer Bradlees took over discount retailer Alexander's stores in NYC, likely with a 2 for 1 deal and double coupons.

Bonus fun fact: Bradlees was named after Connecticut's Bradley International Airport, where store founders held early planning meetings.

WORD OF THE DAY

Grubstake - [GRUB-stayk] - verb

Definition: to provide with material assistance (such as a loan) for launching an enterprise or for a person in difficult circumstances

Example: I was once grubstaked to buy a coffee farm in Panama

WIT OF THE DAY

“The more sand has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.” 

-Niccolo Machiavelli

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

"We're talking about sand and death. That's what we're talking about."

-Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Summer?