Monmouth University Library in West Long Branch

Monmouth University Library in West Long Branch. December 2015. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©


Karen Schmelzkopf, Ph.D. speaks about Ocean Grove at Monmouth U. Blogfinger photo 7/27/16 ©

Karen Schmelzkopf, Ph.D. speaks about Ocean Grove at Monmouth U. Blogfinger photo 7/27/16 ©

In 2002, a professor at Monmouth University, Dr. Karen Schmelzkopf, published a paper in the Journal of Historical Geography  entitled, “Landscape, ideology, and religion: a geography of Ocean Grove, NJ.”  It is a remarkable academic study which shines a light on important issues in Ocean Grove’s history including physical, cultural and political variables and interactions.

She concluded her paper by saying:  “Yet Ocean Grove continues to be a fascinating combination of the private and the public, the religious and the secular, a pronounced example of the way ideology and landscape produce and reproduce each other.”

Below are two Blogfinger links where Dr. Schmelzkopf is mentioned.  One has a link to her paper.

She contacted Blogfinger to say that she was going to speak about Ocean Grove at the  MU  Monmouth Forum speaker series on July 27, 2016, 1:15-2:15 pm,. in the Library, room 206  (the incredible former Guggenheim mansion.)   It is extremely unusual for an outside unbiased expert to speak about Ocean Grove beyond the stone pillars of town.

Link 2014

The True History of the Ocean Grove Turnaround in the 1990’s.

Link 2015:

FACTIONS—Will the groups and networks in Ocean Grove protect the town’s future? An editorial.

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Editor’s Note:  July 27, 2016. About a dozen Grovers attended the lecture.  Among them were Jack Bredin, Kevin Chambers, Connie Ogden, and Lee Morgan. No official representative of the Home Groaners was present. No Historical Society officer was there either.  As far as I could tell, no one from the CMA was in attendance.

Dr. Karen Schmelzkopf spoke about the “ideology” of the “Holiness Movement” which the founding Methodists implemented in their religious community called Ocean Grove.  That movement stressed “perfection” which had to do with working hard to influence a person’s  future and achieve desired Christian results.

The geography of OG, with water on three sides, was well suited to their ideals of “autonomy, heterogeneity,  and exclusion.” The gates at the fourth side helped with that plan.  Early in OG’s history, only Methodists were allowed in.

Even though there is more diversity now in the Grove, and the gates have been removed for the last nearly 40 years, Dr. S.  thought that the CMA was still striving to achieve those original goals which they call their “mission.”

Regarding the town’s history, fast forward to the mid 1980’s, when the Grove had been in physical decline  and there were a large percent of de-institutionalized individuals living in deplorable conditions in town. Much of the architecture had deteriorated, and tourism was failing.

As a result, something had to be done to halt the downward slide, so the citizens established a “para-political system” led by an aggressive “very activist and quite incredible” OG Homeowners Association.   They “took control of a bad situation.”  She called their functions a “shadow government.”

Their leaders were “firm, persistent and well connected professionals” who knew how to manipulate the system. They had a “very effective action plan” which helped members get elected to the Neptune Township Committee to bring attention to the Grove’s plight.  Some of the CMA trustees were HOA members. They wanted to strengthen the “community” in OG, so they lobbied the State government for help with the mental cases which were languishing, and about 200 people were moved to other communities.

They did not see their actions as “un-Christian.”  They thought that it would help save the town and would be better for the patients who were not receiving necessary services, as promised, in the Grove.

Dr. Schmelzkopf credited the growing gay community with restoring many properties, helping to raise home values.

As for the governance and demographics of today, she plans to conduct further research, but an interesting observation, at least based on her prior work, is that 40% of residents here are renters whom she thought were being disenfranchised by the Home Owners Association. She thought that despite the various potentially influential factions in town including the HOA, the CMA and the taxpayers, the citizens are frustrated by the fact that Neptune is still calling the shots in Ocean Grove.

The professor would like to look at the current demographics and dynamics in town, and she promises to return for part II of her OG research.

We thank Dr. Schmelzkopf for her presentation and hope that some group in town brings her here to discuss her views in more detail.  She expressed an interest in doing that.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

AMI SHAVIT    This is an Israeli folk song performed in Hebrew:  “When the Temple is Rebuilt”







True Conversations




#1   Scene: At home in Ocean Grove. The landline phone rings, and Paul answers it

PG: “Hello.”

Disembodied voice, after a bit of a delay:   “I would like to speak to Mohammed Mohammed.”

PG:   (eyebrows raised) “I think you have the wrong number”—–without further ado, he hangs up.  (I think, “Is this a joke?”)



#2 Scene: Doctor’s office . Paul arrives on time for an appointment that he has waited for for months. He signs in and sits down. There are a few people in the witing room. One hour goes by.

PG :(getting up from his chair; walks over to the window where some workers sit):   “How much longer do I have to wait?   (I have a personal rule never to wait longer than one hour for a doctor, even if he is Albert Schweitzer and the only doctor for 100 miles in the Congo)

Keeper of the window–a woman (it usually is, 99% of the time):   She shuffles through some papers: “I don’t have you on my list. Let me get your chart” (…she looks around the desk)  and says, “Your chart is not here.”

PG: “What???”

Keeper of the window: “But don’t worry because he can see you anyhow; however there are three people in rooms now ahead of you.” Knowing this doctor, I think, “3 times 30 is 90 minutes.”)

PG: ” I’m leaving now.” ( I motion to Eileen who came with me and has been desperately craving a cup of coffee)

Keeper of the window: Do you want to reschedule? (I’m thinking, “It’s time to leave now before steam comes out of my ears. Just another example of the deterioration of the healthcare system, at least as it is practiced in Manasquan, NJ.”

Eileen: “Of all the gin joints in the world, we had to come here.” (She didn’t actually say that, but Bogart does come to mind or Cagney who causes mayhem in this video—I wish I were a tough guy like Cagney)


  1.  Ever since 2008, the Township Committee has appointed two members to be involved with negotiations about the Redevelopers Agreement  (which has never been finalized.).  Randy Bishop has been one, since the start, and he is always the one to be the spokesman  for the project at public Township Committee meetings.  Now Carol Rizzo has become the #2 Committee negotiator.  That negotiating  subcommittee should be reporting on its activities, but at a very long Committee meeting on July 25, they said nothing until a citizen inquired about the North End. Then it was revealed that the two sub-committeemen did meet with the Camp Meeting Association recently.  Why?  This process is about as transparent as my wife’s mushroom barley soup.
  2. We know that WAVE has the option to buy the North End land, but there are many hoops to jump through before that could happen. Meanwhile, the CMA still owns the land, as far as we know.
  3.  Two Neptune Township dumpsters are sitting on that private land, and those dumpsters were noted to be brimming over yesterday  (today they are not.).    But what could they be dumping? Perhaps they are removing refuse having to do with the White Whale renovation.  Is the Township doing contractor work for a private company and why are they doing that?  Are the private owners of the White Whale paying for those Neptune dumpsters?
  4.  Why was Committeeman Michael Brantley inspecting the North End property on July 27, 2016, at 11 am?  He wasn’t going swimming.   He was dressed in a business suit and was with two other “suits.”  Shouldn’t he explain himself since the North End Redevelopment Plan  (NERP) is a public project?  Doesn’t this look peculiar?

Committeman Michael Brantley at the southern edge of the North End Redevelopment project. Blogfinger photo. 7/27/16

Committeeman Michael Brantley at the southern edge of the North End Redevelopment project. Blogfinger photo. 7/27/16

5. The Township Attorney said that he was unable to report publicly at the Committee meeting about the North End negotiations because he hadn’t heard from the WAVE lawyer!  What are we? Chopped liver?



Sunset Lake. Asbury Park, NJ. 7/26/16 Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Sunset Lake. Asbury Park, NJ.  Try crossing this bridge when you come to it.    7/26/16 Paul Goldfinger photo ©



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By Paul Goldfinger, Photographic Editor @#Blogfinger

Sojourner Truth was a runaway slave, an abolitionist, a feminist and an orator.  She used photography to finance her activities.  In the 1850’s, carte de visites were popular–a form of calling card.   A photograph  (albumin print) would be mounted on a  4 1/2 x 2 1/2 cardboard card.  Ms. Truth’s cards had her picture on it which included her motto: “I sell the shadow to support the substance.”   She sold them by mail and at her lectures.

A new exhibit will be shown at the Berkeley Art Museum  and the Pacific Film Archive   (California) called “Sojourner Truth : Photography and the fight against slavery.”  It will run from July 27 to October 3.

This is from the exhibit brochure:   Truth could not read or write, but she had her statements repeatedly published in the press, enthusiastically embraced new technologies such as photography, and went to court three times to claim her legal rights. Uniquely among portrait sitters, she had her photographic carte de visites copyrighted in her own name and added the caption “I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance. Sojourner Truth,” foregrounding her self-selected proper name, her agency, and her possession of self.

COUNTERPOINT    “Ezekiel Saw the Wheel.”  from  Let Me Fly: Music of Struggle, Solace, and Survival in Black America.

Wesley Lake bridge. Park your car in OG and then walk across the great divide.  Photo by Paul Goldfinger. ©  Undated

Wesley Lake bridge. Park your car in OG and then walk across the great divide. Photo by Paul Goldfinger. © Undated. Click to enlarge the bridge to the lush life.


Any information about gates on foot bridges crossing Wesley Lake? These were re-introduced around 1995, but I have heard they existed much earlier.
Currently the gates are locked at midnight. There is a proposal to lock the gates at 10 pm. This might discourage patrons to Asbury Park bars from parking for free on streets in OG closest to AP. It also might cut down on inebriated people causing a public nuisance late at night and getting into their cars and scratching our cars (and taking off a mirror or two) as they try to drive on our narrow streets.

JOHN COLTRANE AND JOHNNY HARTMAN   “Lush Life”——-On which side of the bridge might you find it?

Here is a link on this subject (2013  BF)


Hey Louis, quit reading Blogfinger---we're heading for the Avon Pavilion. (Ocean Grove/Blogfinger artist Sue Gioulis made the cartoon.)

Hey Louis, forget Asbury—we’re heading for the Avon Pavilion. (Ocean Grove/Blogfinger artist Sue Gioulis made the cartoon.)

1.  Song of the Week:     JOSH GROBAN    From Les Miserables


2.  On Sunday, July 24, Blogfinger had over 1700 visits including 16 foreign countries, among which were Turks and Caicos Islands, China, Ireland, and Equador.    Topics attracting the most interest were Illumination Night, potable water at the beach, and Opening the gates. On Tuesday, July 26, the most popular articles were about the Monmouth University lecture and the Hotel Arlington.

3.  From Mary Lou:   “As if we do not already have a huge problem with space for parking…the township wants residents to put their recycling cans far enough out into the street so the workers can see them, otherwise the bulk, etc. will not be picked up. I read about this yesterday on an OG forum…a resident called the township to complain about her cans being passed by twice in the same month. The clerk responded with this very “intelligent” solution.”




Dune grass progress

Ocean Grove dune grass. July 25, 2016. Blogfinger photo. ©

Ocean Grove dune grass.  Planted by volunteers  late October, 2015.   Paul Goldfinger photo 7/25/16.. ©   Click to make it grow. Don’t walk on the dunes.




Top 7 security tips for staying safe:

By Carol Rizzo,, Neptune Township Committeeman.

  1. Do not keep your passwords on a piece of paper or keep them all the same. Nor should you used the “Remember me” option at logons for the password. If a thief comes into your house, or you lose your phone or your laptop, you’ve given them the keys to your kingdom.

My special trick is to use best loved phrases and interject numbers for letters. (Itw@sthew0rst0ft1mes) , This makes is hard to guess even with high powered computers. I have a different password for each one of my bank, credit card and other important accounts and they are kept on my computer in a password protected file.


  1. When you get an email from someone you know (or think you know) with a url link to a site, (http//….) DO NOT OPEN IT!!!. Instead open up a new email and copy and paste the message to your friend and ask them if they did send it to you and why. Often the links take you somewhere but they also install malware so they can return later on and take over your computer or record your keystrokes.
  1. If you get an email from a bank or credit card company or any company that you have a relationship with, DO NOT CLICK ON THAT LINK!!!. If a bank or a Credit Card Company wants to contact you, they will send you a letter with your name and address, the last 4 digits of your account and a phone number for you to call. In fact I got one like this this morning. The underlined Unlock Access would ask me for my username and password and then who knows what would happen. They would probably tell me everything is alright and thank me!

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  1. Keep your security software up to date! Everyone should have virus scanning, anti-malware program running and a firewall enabled.

The $50 or $60 for this software is well worth the price considering the aggravation of trying to change all your accounts not to mention trying to file claims with banks. Just look online for reviews of the various packages. Some are easier to use than others. (AVAST, Kaspersky, McAfee, Symantec, Trend)

  1. Enable your WIFI password & keep your WIFI password protected and DO NOT share it with anyone outside of your family members. Most WIFI can be “sniffed” by thieves driving by and if you have left your WIFI open, you are potentially exposing any information like you bank password and account to anyone in the neighborhood.
  1. Do not use public WIFI in malls or outdoor spaces to log on/access to any site where you have data or information you want to protect. Typing in your username and password into your bank account is easy to snoop.
  1. When you post in Facebook, the default distribution is to your “friends.” Whenever you post, you can change the selection of friends by putting your cursor on the friends’ box and either selecting specific people or creating a group of special friends. This way you can be sure you are not telling people who are casual acquaintances or friends of friends of friends that you are vacationing in the south of France and that you will be away a whole month.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Here is another example of a fraudulent bank email.  I received this even though I have never had a Bank of America account.  But if you did and you received this email, you might panic and click on “Click Here.”   That log- in could result in money being removed from your account.  —

Instead forward the email to your bank’s security department.  You can also call your bank  to make sure your account is OK or check your account at the bank’s web site.  You can also make a copy of that email and take it to a bank branch.  PG



This photo was part of a NY Tines article on July 5  (linked in our Asbury Hotel piece).  Photo by Tony Cenicola. They had a Mermaid Parade (a la Coney Island)  ©

This photo was part of a NY Times article on July 5 (linked in our Asbury Hotel piece). Photo by Tony Cenicola. They had a Mermaid Parade (a la Coney Island) 


Could her name be Denise?  Here are  Randy and the Rainbows :


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