Something’s Coming

Ocean Township.  By Paul Goldfinger ©

Ocean Township. By Paul Goldfinger ©


St-Germain-des-Pres church.  By Paul Goldfinger. silver gelatin print . ©

St-Germain-des-Pres church. By Paul Goldfinger. silver gelatin print . ©

Name that singer contest; please no electronic devices to end run the rest of us during Festivus.

Harvest festival on Main Avenue in Ocean Grove, NJ. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Harvest festival on Main Avenue in Ocean Grove, NJ. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

I know some contemporaries of mine who have moved from New Jersey because the property taxes are lower out of state.  Other complaints about Jersey include our taxing pensions and our higher cost of living, including the cost of housing.

In the case of Ocean Grove, Grovarians sometimes say that our property taxes are higher than the rest of Neptune and that the discrepancy is unfair.  They say that we are a “cash cow” and that we would have lower taxes if we were separate from Neptune.

But an independent Ocean Grove is not in the cards, and our homes have higher appraised values, in many cases, because we live at the seashore and not inland. As  the realtors say, “Location, location, location.”

There is a high level of demand for our houses because this town is unique and has a fine quality of life including walks on the beach, a swim in the Atlantic, the safety of our children, the peaceful/spiritual/ quietude of the town, the Victorian beauty of our homes, the porch culture, the friendly neighbors, the conversations on Main, the quaint shops downtown, a burger at Nagles, an ice-cream at Days, sidewalk entertainment in summer, a bus into New York, a walk to the GA at twilight on a Saturday night for a big-time show, a train station a few blocks away, a flea market on the Pathway, an ice cream social at the Pavilion,  summer band concerts on our new boardwalk,  a walk to the GA on Sundays to hear amazing preachers,  a stroll to another world in  Asbury Park via the Casino, etc, etc.

It seems reasonable to believe that one’s lifestyle in a community is part of what we pay for in our property taxes and our rentals.  Isn’t that true?  Ain’t cha glad?

Oh, we’re not moving.  No way!

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

DAVID JOHANSEN    from the film The Aviator

Restaurants with more than 20 locations fall under the calorie law.  Wall Street Journal photo

Restaurants with more than 20 locations fall under the calorie law. Wall Street Journal photo

From the AMA:

The Wall Street Journal (11/25, Tracy) reports that the Administration and the FDA are planning on unveiling final rules expanding calorie labeling on Tuesday. The rules will require restaurants with at least 20 locations to display calorie counts on their menus. In addition, the rules will apply to amusement parks, convenience stores, movie theaters, and others. The rules have been repeatedly delayed, and have faced significant opposition from the food industry.

The Washington Post (11/24, Dennis) reports that, according to FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, “Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home,” and as a result “people today expect clear information about the products they consume.” Hamburg expressed hope that the new rules will aid people in making “more informed choices” about the food they eat. The Post adds that “activists who for years have pushed for more transparent and consistent menu labeling,” as a means of managing the nation’s epidemic of obesity, “praised the FDA’s action.”

Blogfinger Medical Commentary:  By Paul Goldfinger, MD, FACC and Eileen Goldfinger

In our book Prevention Does Work: A Guide to a Health Heart, we pointed out that rigid diets don’t create success in weight loss; instead, what matters more is the desire to change your lifestyle.

We said, “The trend now is to focus on portion size, calories, exercise and psychological factors such as motivation and sticking to the program.”   We also pointed out the need to increase intake of fresh fruits, vegetables and grains, while avoiding carbs. But counting calories is the most important component.

So yes, counting or paying close attention to calories is critical for weight loss, and you need to be careful of  hidden calories in restaurants and grocery stores.

However, most people who are motivated already  know which foods are high in calories. At the present time, most foods you buy in grocery stores have nutrition labels.

Do we really need more rules imposed on food businesses to alert you to calorie rich foods?   If you stroll into Five Guys because you crave a cheeseburger, fries and a milk shake or soda, do you need to know the specific amount of calories?  Isn’t it enough that you already know that your meal will be high in calories?   If you walk into a fine French restaurant, do you really want to see the calories listed on the menu?

Hidden calories in restaurants are often due to ingredients like butter which is used to enhance flavor.  But a customer who is concerned can ask about ingredients in a restaurant. Most people don’t want to know, and there is no obesity epidemic in French restaurants.

Grocery chains like Wegmans offer prepared dinners from fresh ingredients at low cost.  Trying to keep up with calorie counts on those items will be cost prohibitive, and your low-cost dinner will go up in price.  Don’t you already know that the fried fish is not as good a choice as the grilled chicken?  Then, it is up to you, not the government, to assess calories in your diet.

We  worry that those who really need the calorie disclosures are the ones who won’t read the calorie labels .  Consider cultural norms where high calorie foods are preferred such as carbs (rice and beans) among Hispanics and high fat foods (fried chicken/fish, ham hocks, fried steak, fat back) which are popular in the African-American community.

At NYU a study was done which suggests that more labeling requirements won’t help reduce obesity in this country.   What we really need now is more nutrition education in schools and communities.

And finally, we said, “Remember that one can gain weight with a heart healthy diet if calories are not limited.”  Do you recall the Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine gain weight on non-fat yogurt?

RON MOODY  from original cast album of Oliver    (let those hungry kids finish the songs)



Weather Forecast   Nov. 24.

Quick moving coastal storm still on track to bring big travel headaches on Wednesday

Looking through overnight and early morning information and the details of our “Thanksgiving Eve” storm are coming into better focus.  The storm is really moving quickly; therefore, rain and snow will begin in New Jersey an hour either side of sunrise Wednesday morning from south to north.  Precipitation will be falling in the Baltimore/DC corridor in the pre-dawn hours and by mid-morning over upstate New York and southern New England.

The storm will be taking a classic Hatteras to Cape Cod track which is very favorable for a snowstorm all the way to the coast; however, it is November, the air mass is marginal and the ocean water temps are still in the 50s, so coastal areas will see mostly rain with the likelihood of a change to snow before ending and perhaps a slushy accumulation on grassy surfaces.

As you move closer to the NJ Turnpike/I-95, precipitation will begin as rain and then change to snow sooner.  There could be several inches of snow in this area.  Well north and west over interior eastern PA, west of I-287 in northwest NJ, interior NY state and interior New England, this will be a heavy wet snowstorm with 5 to 10 inches of snow likely causing travel delays throughout the interior Northeast corridor.

With the fast movement of the storm, precipitation will be ending earlier and the storm will be over between 4pm or 7pm on Wednesday throughout the area.

Thanksgiving Day continues to look clear, windy and cold.

More updates will follow.


Source: Rick Cuttrell, Tri-State Storm Watch

Mt. Hermon Way. Ocean Grove homeowners want to know:  Blogfinger file photo ©

Mt. Hermon Way. Ocean Grove homeowners want to know.  Blogfinger file photo ©

Blogfinger wanted to have Mr. Bernard Haney, Neptune Township Assessor,  take a look at our readers’ issues as they weighed in by commenting at our post called: “Just Wondering: Are we in for a major increase in property taxes?”  Here is a link to that post:

Just wondering about prop. taxes

He has agreed to participate in this online interview-discussion format, so we are beginning here with our questions and then Mr. Haney’s first comment to be found by clicking on “comments” below.

BF approached Mr. Haney with these questions:

  1. There seem to be wide variations in the amounts of increased appraised value for different houses, even when expressed by percent increase.  Citizens have reported increases ranging from 11.8% up to 50%.   One woman told us that her house went up by $200,000. Another went up by $40,000. You can read the comments yourself.

— So the first  question is:  How do you explain the wide differences in the percent increase from house to house?

  1. People are worried about the tax increase that they anticipate will occur as a result of these appraisals.  Can you explain what their reasonable expectations might be regarding the tax implications for homeowners?

—–Please explain the factors that go into the tax determination so that those who don’t know can hear it from an expert?

  1. What effect will these appraisals have on the resale value of their homes. Is there any data on this question?
  1. For those who did not get their appraisal letter, how can they arrange to get one?

Mr. Haney preferred this email approach to a live interview.  So he got the ball rolling with a comment this afternoon.  Go to the “comments” page by clicking on “comments” below.

The goal here is to help clarify and educate our readers regarding the process, so please go to the comments section to offer opinions and/or questions for Mr. Haney that would further that objective.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Asbury Park barber shop. By Moe Demby ©

Asbury Park barber shop. By Moe Demby ©

Moe Demby, of our photo staff at Blogfinger sent us  two black and white photos reminiscent of Robert Frank’s style of photography. As noted in our Frank article, photographers tend to learn from  those who came before.  Moe, a successful, award winning photojournalist by profession, has been influenced by Frank and by Robert Capa.

Ocean Grove. By Moe Demby, Blogfinger staff.

Ocean Grove. By Moe Demby, Blogfinger staff.

These two images were obtained  on November 17, 2014.

GENE AMMONS  (From Woody Allen’s film Fading Gigolo.)     The song is “My Romance.”  Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (lyrics) wrote this song for a Broadway musical (1935) called “Jumbo.”   My Romance is a hugely popular song for jazz musicians.

Gene Ammons with his tenor sax.

Gene Ammons with his tenor sax.


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