STATEWIDE - Does New Jersey hate Christmas? Of course not, but that's not stopping one of those clickbait online survey companies from ranking the state 47thout of the 50 states in our level of bah humbug. This "source," called GetCenturyLink, was even nice enough to slap New Jersey with a Grinch sticker, reserved for the 10 least-merry states in the nation. The rankings were apparently based on baseless online criteria, like how many local Google searches for Christmas movies, wrapping paper and holiday cards, Tweeting about Christmas and the amount of New Jerseyans streaming Christmas music. As we all proudly display an Elf on the Shelf, let's just disregard these findings as "disreputable."
WESTFIELD - There will be something new to watch on Netflix. And that will be a movie called "The Watcher," about the still-open case of a stalker (or stalkers) targeting a specific house on the Boulevard for years. Deadline reports there was a "ferocious bidding battle" for the rights to "The Watcher," with Netflix apparently dropping seven figures for the streaming rights. This nightmare tells the story of a couple scared away from their $1.3 million home after many eerie letters from "The Watcher." The plot is scary. What's scarier is that it's all true. And hopelessly unsolved, apparently.
TRENTON - If the guys and gals at NJ Transit want to keep the boss happy, they're going to have to drastically change the way things are done. The boss - that would be Gov. Phil Murphy - has vowed huge improvements at the struggling agency. He reiterated those promises yesterday after taking a swipe at what went on (or didn't) at NJ Transit in the pre-Murphy era. "Much of 2018 has been spent reversing years of negligence," he said. Accompanied by top state transportation officials, the governor announced a new "customer experience" unit, new railcars and buses, and other innovations. NJ Spotlight has the details on how 2019 is supposed to be a far better year for beleaguered commuters. We'll let commuters be the judge.
EDISON - It's hairy being a cop here and getting hairier for the holidays, with good reason. Nearly 80 police officers threw away their razors for "No-Shave November," collecting more than $7,000 for cancer research and making their department the nation's third highest fund-raiser. Now, Police Chief Tom Bryan is letting them grow even more hair for "Double-Down December," to raise money and public awareness about Tourette Syndrome. Bryan says Tourettes is "misunderstood and often goes misdiagnosed" while afflicting nearly one-in-100 kids and young adults. Come New Year's Day, however, the chief expects all officers to report for duty whisker-less and not a hair out of place.
NEPTUNE - No man-eating alligator was on the loose here. Just a fierce-looking iguana made a few passersby nervous Tuesday. And, it did not take Crocodile Dundee, or even the Monmouth County SPCA, to wrangle the runaway reptile. Some eagle-eyed cops saw the 18-inch scaly green creature sunning itself on a neighborhood porch, desperate to stay warm in the chilly morning hours after escaping from its owner's nearby home. The Asbury Park Press says officers quickly reunited the exhausted exotic pet with its worried, warm-blooded papa.
SEABROOK - A small farm in backwater South Jersey is somehow well known in the Japanese-American community. Not for its frozen creamed spinach, but for the role it played during World War II, WNYC reports. As a supplier of food to the military, Seabrook Farms was facing a labor shortage and recruited Japanese-Americans held in internment camps. Those who could pass a loyalty test - about 2,500 in all - were shipped in to the Cumberland County farm to work. Many of them stayed after the war's end, creating a small Japanese-American enclave amid acres of spinach, squash and cucumbers. Today, many return to a Buddhist temple there to celebrate the Obon Festival, which honors the spirits of their ancestors, many of whom toiled in those fields.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
SEVERANCE, Colo. - A 9-year-old boy has convinced town leaders to overturn a nearly century-old ban on snowball fights. His first target, reports The Greeley Tribune? His little brother. Dane Best presented his arguments at a town board meeting Monday night, calling the law woefully outdated, and members voted unanimously to lift the ban. Severance officials explained the dumb law was part of a larger ordinance, making it illegal to throw or shoot stones or missiles at people, animals, buildings, trees, any other public or private property or vehicles. Snowballs fell under the town's definition of "missiles." By the way, Dane has a guinea pig, also illegal to own in Severance.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
America was apparently thirsting for a third sequel in the Star Trek movie franchise, as the Enterprise crew squeezed back into those uniforms for "The Undiscovered Country" on this day in 1991.
WIT OF THE DAY
"If a book about failures doesn't sell, is it a success?"
- Jerry Seinfeld
WORD OF THE DAY
Crapulous - [KRAP-yə-ləs] - adjective
Definition: Sick from indulging excessively, particularly in alcoholic beverages
Example: I feel positively crapulous this morning and still reek of that damn tavern.
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun