Archive for the ‘Blogfinger editorial’ Category

Wegmans Ocean. Morning, 3/23/19. The missing top word is “you.” Can someone explain this public display of free speech?

ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA:   “Sweet Talkin’ Woman.”

“I was walkin’, many days go by
I was thinkin’ ’bout the lonely nights
Communication break down all around’

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A man reads a newspaper by the wall. 23% of US citizens read a newspaper regularly—a declining number.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Ocean Grove had a local newspaper for most of its history, but there has been none for about the last 20 years.  Why is that newsworthy?  It’s because citizens need a way to receive community information.

Since 2004, ” financial cutbacks have led to the shutdown of nearly 1,800 daily and weekly newspapers.”*  In general, declining numbers of people read newspapers or care about the news.

Social media, especially Facebook, is taking an interest in this problem, recently spending over $300 million to look into the situation.   But does that source seem trustworthy?

And those who use social networking sites  for social networking (such as Twitter) get news that way.

Many people read their favorite  “newspaper” (e-editions)  on their mobile devices. Recently new sources of news post on line in a variety of formats  (eg BuzzFeed),  and much of that is suspect in terms of fake news, hoaxes, and outright lies. People have learned to verify “news” obtained on line before believing the information.

In a recent piece by the Associated Press*, a journalism professor said, “The  challenge for the news business is convincing the public–many of whom aren’t particularly enamored with journalists anyway—that this loss hurts them too, in terms of how connected they are to their communities when there is less opportunity to know what’s going on.”

In Ocean Grove, Blogfinger has been interested in certain selected local issues, such as the North End Redevelopment Plan, but we never claimed to be the “Ocean Grove newspaper.”   Our original idea to have an information sharing blog has largely failed because of lack of public input and lack of interest by the local elected officials.

We offer citizens the opportunity to bring up topics for discussion  (our “Just Wondering” segments) but there has been little cooperation.

The Coaster barely looks our way and they are not actually journalists.  And the APP is only good for headline news such as when a body was found stuffed into a car trunk on Main Avenue many years ago.

The statistics show that huge numbers of US newspapers and journalists are vanishing. “Metropolitan and regional newspapers cut circulation in outlying suburban and rural areas, while many weekly newspapers simply shuttered.”*

From England: The Guardian has declining readership.

Ocean Grove really needs a local news source to tap into.  Some small towns have online publications where a few people earn some money with ads, but covering local stories can be time consuming and difficult  (as you can see from the messy North End situation which has been ignored by all except Blogfinger.)

At Blogfinger we try to find out about selected important local stories, but we don’t have the manpower or womanpower to investigate all such news.    If we return to our blogging roots, then there will be a news blackout which will enable the Neptuners at the Mother Ship and all the rest of those indifferent local OG organizations to continue dumping on the citizens.

Human nature is such, especially in a democracy, that we take for granted certain rights and institutions. The First Amendment speaks of “freedom of the press.” What a gift that is, but when that freedom is ignored in Ocean Grove and other small towns across America, then the locals will eventually appreciate what is missing—-and who then will pick up the ball?

We will do the best we can for as long as we can.  Maybe someone will now think about what will replace us, and that time will come.

—–*David Bauder in an Associated Press article widely distributed 1/17/2019

BILLY JOEL:  “Movin’ Out

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Rutherford High School  (NJ) Yearbook  1959. The dancer at the lower left corner was another failed magic moment for me.  RHS Dance Band on top. I am third sax from the left.

The gorilla suits were my idea–to mock the hoods from Lyndhurst High. For those of  you who are wondering, we are missing our baritone sax player for the photo.  Yes, you are correct–a sax section has 5 players, with the baritone on the right side end.


When Magic Failed Me

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @ Blogfinger.net

It begins at a very early age:  we teach children to imagine magic.  It’s in so many of the books for kids, so we can’t be surprised if they engage in magical thinking.

But even as adults, we still  have magical ideation to help us deal with the realities and challenges of the world around us.  We use such  thinking to see into the future and foresee perfect moments.

Such moments, even if the magic fails us, tend to stick in our minds.

I recall two such events from when I was about 17 years old , a student at Rutherford (NJ) High School:

The first took place on a chilly autumn day, on a muddy soccer field.  As a senior varsity player for the RHS Bulldogs, I desperately wanted to do something for the team and to justify their playing me at center forward.

I had never played soccer before that season and I won a starting position out of sheer good fortune—we barely had enough players to field a team and we were losing every game, and I wished for a magic moment.

It came in the second half.  Our goalie, Tim Krupa, was an amazing all-state player and he could kick the ball a mile. He sent one up the field—high and long, and I raced to catch up with it.   The ball bounced and bounced, with me trying to reach it.  I could hear the team yelling from the bench, and I really needed some magic.

It was I pursuing the ball, while the goalie prepared for our arrival.  It should have been a heroic moment, but just as I caught up with the ball, it bounced off my chest and lamely dribbled into the hands of the goalie.  Ignomy–not magic.

The second moment to remember was on the stage at Rutherford High School with the “dance band” –“The Rutherfordians.” I played lead alto sax.  My sound was good and I was competent at sight-reading music, but I had no idea how to improvise a solo, and nobody in the band was advanced enough for that.

We were rehearsing the “Theme from Peter Gunn”–a raucous tune to open our forthcoming show. The music reached a point where a sax solo was desirable, and the boys in the band were encouraging me to do it—“Come on Goldie; stand up and play  it.”  I demurred , knowing that I couldn’t do it, but they persisted, and I somehow envisioned a magic moment.  So I stood up and tried, but it wasn’t there, and I had to sit down—a major disappointment—another failure of magic.

But isn’t it funny how such moments stick with us and how, no matter how old we get, we still experience magic moments and we still retain them along with the accompanying  feelings that never diminish?




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“Nu Couché” by Modigliani was painted in 1917. It just sold for $170.4 million and is considered to be a great masterpiece.  NY Times 11/10/15

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

Re-posted and slightly edited from the original 2015  BF post.     This topic reminds me of recent (2017) debates about the definition of “harassment” of women.

Definition of objectifying women:   ” Female sexual objectification by a male involves a woman being viewed primarily as an object of male sexual desire, rather than as a whole person.”   (Wikipedia )

But the definition of objectification includes more than just that.  It also includes a  broader statement as  “treating anyone or any idea as a physical  object.”

The  painting   “Nu Couché” by Amedeo Modigliani  (above)  sold yesterday  (2015) at Christie’s for  $170.4 million and  made headline news all over the world, but the reporting did not raise the issue of Modigliani’s objectifying women.  After all, ever since man could draw a picture on a cave wall he would draw a naked woman. When photography was invented in the early 19th century, what do you think was first photographed?  And, of course naked women have captured the creative juices of many male and female artists over the years, and the images are not always complimentary of the female form.

There are some female photographers who have achieved fame by photographing women, sometimes in a highly sexualized way. I wonder how many of those critics who attacked Blogfinger would have criticized Ruth Bernhard, a famous artist known for her erotic black and white images of the female nude.  Her work was compared to that of Ansel Adams, and in 2014,  a retrospective of her photographs was shown in New York City at the Peter Fetterman Gallery.  The exhibit was called “The Eternal Nude.”  She also has published a number of books of her work and she has won many awards.   Can anyone seriously claim that only men can be accused of “objectification?”

Picasso is a good example of an artist who loved to paint and sculpt  women, often  with bulging eyes and multiple breasts   (see below.)  That painting  (“Les Femmes d’Alger”  1955) sold for $179.4 million in 2015.   Would any of  you feminists accuse him of objectification?  And how about Georgia O’Keefe whose paintings of flowers were often likened to female genitalia?

Picasso. $179.4 million. NY Times. Nov 10, 2015.


The sale of the Nu Couché  reminded me of  two incidents this past summer when Ocean Grovers, two women and one man, accused me of “objectifying” women in our series “Girls in Their Summer Clothes.” You can search above to see some of those photographs from that series, but you will find that none of the women are naked, disrespected,  or even objectified.

On one occasion we posted a photo of a  female OG lifeguard in a bikini munching on a Weezer ice.  The image was taken by a woman on our staff. Would she be accused of objectification?   Here is a link to Jean Bredin’s  photo;

2017 lifeguard photo

This 2017 photo on Ocean Pathway is from our “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” series. It was accompanied by a discussion of her visit to Ocean Grove.  Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©

There are incidences when the phrase  “objectification of women” might fairly fit, as when a woman’s body is used to sell a product, but our photographs do not fit  by any reasonable standard, and I believe the accusation has been overdone in our society.

Sometimes political correctness results in nonsensical allegations, such as when feminists say that photographing or looking  at a woman in a mini-skirt is objectifying her.  The attacks on Blogfinger fall into that category.

Women have been making great strides in the US  in an effort to be appreciated as whole individuals and not the sum of their parts.  Attacking responsible segments of our society such as Blogfinger for objectification of  women is to be small minded, to distort reality, to divert attention from the important goals of women, and to turn them into victims when just the opposite is necessary.


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Annual Blogfinger OG town-wide yard sale sponsored by the residents of Ocean Grove.. Paul Goldfinger photograph ©


Heck Avenue block party–an authentic neighborhood event. Click to see what they’re eating. Jean Bredin photo© Blogfinger.net

Blogfinger Commentary:   

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

In my opinion, once again, the media, made up of outsiders, miscasts the town of Ocean Grove as a predominantly religious destination.  There is much in the way of Camp Meeting events and tourism in OG  which should be mentioned in that APA write-up, but there is little recognition of the widely diverse citizen population which, through its investment in historic homes and the continually evolving lifestyles of the townspeople, make Ocean Grove the desirable “neighborhood” that it is. The APA doesn’t seem to understand the words “community” and “neighborhood.”

However, this neighborhood award is well deserved, even if the “spin” is lopsided.

The specific mention of our two lakes as “exceptional natural features” emphasizes the importance of those bodies of water and should light a fire under the Wesley Lake Commission to do something significant about the dirty street water flowing into the Lake and ultimately into the ocean off our shores.

As for the idea that the Chamber of Commerce and the OGCMA deserve special mention for “creating an overall sense of community,”  that is simply not true.  The write-up indicates that the APA failed to do its homework in evaluating our town.

Those two groups are interested predominantly  in their individual agendas, and along with Neptune Township, fail utterly to help the citizens who live in the Grove develop a stronger sense of community identity, rewarding lifestyles, and fine neighborhoods.

And finally, Neptune Township cannot take credit for the planning and evolution of our town.  The planning began with the CMA  during the 19th century, and it was the citizens who pushed for the historic designations in the late 20th.  It is the residents of this town and not tourists or Neptuners who can claim credit for our lifestyles and desirability as a community.

Blogfinger  demands that only Ocean Grovers attend the award ceremony.  Neptune Township—sit down and stay home!



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The Great Auditorium of Ocean Grove. By Paul Goldfinger.

The Great Auditorium of Ocean Grove. By Paul Goldfinger  ©  c 2015

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Have any of you noticed that there is not a single organized group in town which is willing to join with Blogfinger readers in discussing and clarifying issues which our neighbors need to know about?    In the case of the ground rent topic, why won’t the Camp Meeting help us out with clarity regarding a subject which affects them and us?   Why is the OGHOA holding back on releasing the legal opinion about ground rents which was paid for with member money?

OK,  so there is a suit and maybe the lawyer told the CMA to say nothing, but they have been silent on our forum for the last 8 years.  The same thing happened during the Pavilion matter.  But they are not the only ones—we have complained about the Chamber, OGU, Historical Society, Historic Preservation Commission, and Township  elected officials among others.

We are not complaining on behalf of Blogfinger—-  instead we are concerned about those readers who seek honest debate and factual discourse on this site.

Perhaps you have observed that none of these groups offer the opportunity for discussion on their web sites.   The Township Committee will scarcely allow citizens at their public meetings to bring up controversial issues.

I think that it is fear—-they are frightened to stand behind their views, to be honest with our readers, and, especially to have to answer questions in writing.  They won’t even do it anonymously.

The only time that such interaction actually occurred was during the few years when  Committeewoman Mary Beth Jahn participated regularly  in our comments section.  That was illuminating, honest, caring, educational and a breath of fresh air, and we won’t forget her for that.

So we currently depend on courageous readers such as Dr. Carol, Joe D, Joe G, Sal, Wisher, Frank S, J.Cortese, Kevin Chambers, David, OhGee, Paulie D, A. Curmudgeon, Tom C, OGrover, Nancy,  and many others who are not afraid to interact on BF.  And, of course, we are grateful to Jack Bredin who courageously sticks his neck out  regularly, uses his real name, and speaks truth to power on this blog and in person to the Committee.

However we would like  the “players” themselves to join in, but they are frightened of being exposed.

Recently OGU invited its members to join a women’s protest march in Washington. But why won’t they invite their members to join the conversations here regarding our town and why did they tape their mouths shut in the shadows of the Great Auditorium when they demonstrated there, refusing to talk to us about their concerns in Ocean Grove ?   Are our issues  in this town less important than politics in Washington? Did they tape their mouths in D.C.?

The former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill,  said that all politics are local, but we are having trouble getting the process going in the Grove because of fear and the corrosive silent treatment pervasive in this town.




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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.  (Originally posted in November 2015 and now minimally edited for this New Year’s Day edition of Blogfinger. The original question posited in the headline is still valid.)

There are multiple factions in the small town of Ocean Grove (pop  3,700,) and these organized groups  are largely isolated from each other. Woven into the fabric are homeowners and renters who live here but do not belong to any organizations, thus becoming, by default, a faction of their own.

According to social scientist Steve Valk, whose family has lived here for several generations, it would be important for these factions to find ways to appreciate and cooperate with each other. For example he cites the religious groups and the secular groups which ought to find common ground for the benefit of the town. One example of such cooperation is the recent interaction, since Sandy, between Ocean Grove United (OGU) and the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association  (CMA); however we have recently seen how tenuous that relationship is when we recall the  clash about Sunday sermons this past summer.

The CMA ran the town from 1869 to 1980—-111 years. Neptune Township  treated OG as a sort of gated community.   The CMA made the rules and imposed blue laws until the N.J. Supreme Court put a stop to that in 1980 when Neptune  took over active governance in the Grove  (although they were technically the governing body almost since the town’s founding.)   Since 1980, the CMA has continued its mission and  it has largely kept out of the way of Neptune Township.

But we now see the CMA and the Township working together on the North End Redevelopment Project, but suspicious elements have been revealed, and that project does not seem to be designed primarily with the town’s best interest at heart.

As for the Neptune Township governance,  you have seen the results of our recent poll which shows  that 80% of respondents mistrust  the Neptune Township Committee. Interestingly, over the years, there were times when the citizens rose up against Neptune control resulting in law suits and even a failed referendum to allow the Grove to become a separate town which it did for one year in 1925.

The other organizations here also tend to have their own agendas and to be run like private clubs. Such groups include the Homeowners Association, the Historical Society, Ocean Grove United, and the Chamber of Commerce. They don’t work together very much for the good of the town.  They are busy with their own activities.  For example, the Chamber of Commerce runs big events to try and drum up business for the merchants.  But what do they do for the benefit of those who live here?  We asked them to take over sponsorship of the Town-wide Yard Sale, but they refused. When we introduced a new idea for the town—the Blogfinger Film Festival—a benefit for the boardwalk—-only a few of the members would be sponsors for the program, and hardly any attended the event.

When we think of factions in town, we can see the visible ones, but how about the invisible ones such as families that have lived here for generations and are part of networks that act in concert with each other, with the CMA,  and with the Township governance, especially where land use, zoning,  and parking are concerned.  Let’s call that “the network of special interests.”

For them the town of Ocean Grove  seems like a gift that keeps on giving. This network never speaks publicly, shows its face, or identifies itself, but what it does and has done will impact all of us and will determine what the town will be in the future.  We have seen the results of favoritism for those special interests in the Greek Temple and Mary’s Place.  The North End Redevelopment Project is a good example to keep an eye on.  Who will be the winners, and who will be the losers?

Because of indifference by the public, organizations, and special interests, Ocean Grove may become an at-risk town which could end up a  failed historic  place without focus and character, such as is seen in other shore towns—unless the public pays attention and the organizations here begin to work together for the overall benefit of the town and not just on their narrow pet projects, like the Homeowners Association which is currently circulating a simple minded parking survey while ignoring the improprieties and illegalities around town regarding land use issues.  The HOA has teamed up with the Neptune Committee ever since 2008 when it supported 165 residential units, mostly condos, at the North End.

In 2002, a professor* at Monmouth University published an academic paper about OG history, emphasizing the powerful way that the activist HOA of 25-30 years ago  fought for the town and saved its life.  Below  is a quote**  from that research about that era.

Contrast the conclusion below with the current HOA which now is failing Ocean Grove through impotence, inaction, and lack of focus towards the issues which currently threaten our town the most.

The Home Groaners need to step up and save the town once again,  but this version appears to so far be hopeless in that regard.

** 2002:   “The HOA has maintained or reconstructed the carefully planned infrastructure of the founders, and even as Ocean Grove is being reborn as a contemporary tourist site, the HOA has worked with the CMA to preserve its sacred foundations. Just like the CMA, the HOA has been outstanding in its ability to secure what it wants and what it believes the community needs. Property values have risen, the community is again a safe place, tourism has been revived, an enormous amount of social capital has been generated, and the Victorian charm of the town has been restored.”

By Karen Schmelzkopf*  in the Journal of Historical Geography, 2002



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Ever since we began Blogfinger in 2009 we avoided commercialization. But we have always run “in the red.”   Now we are permitting some advertising on a trial basis , in cooperation with WordPress’ “WordAds” program, to help pay blog bills and to make some profit for our efforts.  If a video shows up, putting your cursor on the video will bring up the audio.

Blogfinger is viewed all over the world, and although we might not be as busy as a Kardashian butt-blog, quite a few readers enjoy our style of  communicating, so what the Heck Avenue?

We don’t know if this effort will be fruitful (and I don’t mean rotten fruits tossed in our direction), but we are looking at other options as well as this one, including publishing an e- book from the BF archives about Ocean Grove.

Meanwhile, Blogfinger will continue posting news, shtick, photographs, music,  and the rest of our smorgasbord of e-stuff. So don’t worry if you find a commercial while you are perusing our site.  Or maybe you won’t, but just be aware.

Please tell your friends about us and send links all over the place.  At the bottom of each post is an email icon which will send a link for that post to whomever you address with the email.

Thanks,  Paul



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By Paul Goldfinger, MD, Editor @Blogfinger.

About two years ago a large and prestigious cardiology group in Morristown, an independent organization which had been in existence for 50 years, was bought out  by Atlantic Health, a mega-medical system akin to Meridian. The doctors in that group, all graduates of the finest training programs in the country, became hospital employees.  They did that because they were forced to, not because they wanted to.

A cardiologist in that group told me that the Medicare reimbursements for office procedures and patient visits had been cut significantly and were much lower than the fees for such services provided at the hospital.  So, because of the financial stresses, the group had to give up and sell out.

Their practice was destroyed by a roaring ill wind that has been rapidly blowing apart the private practice of medicine throughout the country, and that ill wind was created by the government (Obamacare)  through Medicare payment reforms which force doctors out of private practice and favor the growth of corporate healthcare organizations such as Atlantic Health.

At Blogfinger we have been writing about  this theme for the last three years: What will happen to the quality of healthcare and, more specifically, the doctor-patient relationship, as a result of the new government-driven system called Obamacare (aka Affordable Care Act–ACA ?)   For awhile there were no answers, but now the truth is forcing itself out into the open.  Instead of what they say, we are beginning to see what they do.

A decline in quality is already happening, and many of you have experienced either the loss of your regular doctor due to insurance limitations, or the reduced availability of  care, or worrisome changes in how care is delivered.  Some doctors have left or are planning to leave the profession.

In the Wall Street Journal on Dec. 7, an op-ed article by Scott Gottlieb, MD, an expert on health policy, appeared called  “Obamacare’s Threat to Private Practice” *

A survey of 20,000 physicians found that only 35% were in independent practices compared to 62% in 2008. This shows how quickly the private practice of medicine is being dismantled.

Dr. Gottlieb says, “Right now, Medicare is paying much more for many procedures when performed in a hospital outpatient clinic rather than an independently owned medical office. Things as common as heart scans ($749 versus $503), colonoscopies ($876 versus $402) and even a 15-minute doctor visit ($124 versus $70) all pay more when done by a hospital-based doctor than a privately owned medical office. Obama officials know that hospitals are buying doctor practices to take advantage of this difference. But they favor hospital ownership of doctors and see it as a small cost to pay to drive that migration.”

He also says that Congress should remove the pervasive “biases in ObamaCare” that favor hospital ownership of medical practices.

Perhaps you are thinking, “Well, so what if doctors make less money and lose control of their practices?”   There are a number of responses, but I would say that most doctors are, by nature, devoted to providing quality care and placing the welfare of their patients above all concerns.  When they become employees, they lose much of the control over quality and they are disconnected from the feelings of responsibility that doctors in private practice typically have towards their patients.  Most doctors would agree that medicine run by bottom-line oriented hospital corporations will result in reduced quality.

Wait and see what is coming in the future unless this trend is reversed.

Nov. 10, 2016 note:   The situation has worsened since this piece was written in 2014.  Medicare, which has been influenced heavily by Obamacare, is now in serious financial trouble, and ACA premiums are due to rise sharply.

The comments section from 2014 is quite good and can be added to  now; especially in view of the sudden U turn about to happen  in Washington.  —-PG



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The HOA held a meeting on Saturday, Feb 27, 2016. In attendance were Blogfinger reporters. It was a turning point for Ocean Grove. Several HOA board members stood shoulder to shoulder with two Neptune Committeemen   (Bishop and Rizzo) and told the audience, in so many words, that they will continue promoting condominiums and commercialization without parking in Ocean Grove.

They pontificated about the RSIS, filling the room with jargon and gibberish, but they failed to explain that offering Ocean Grove an exemption from RSIS regulations will result in unfettered condo conversions, including not only big multifamily buildings, but conversions of smaller multi-family houses all over town. They never honestly explained why they support the RSIS Special Standard, and nobody pressed them to do that.

For those of you who want Ocean Grove to be a charming family-oriented historic town with single-family house zoning, your vision will never happen. If you want a low density town without crowding and congestion, your desire will never be realized. If you want a town where developers and politicians do not prevail over the citizens, you will never see that thanks to the OGHOA Board. It was their responsibility to protect our town, and they have failed at that.

The corruption of the HOA was made clear at that meeting. Ocean Grove is on its way further  downhill, led by the HOA, the politicians, and the developers.

It’s time to pull the plug on that miserable organization. Only an insurrection can turn this around, because presently, there is no group in town to stem the tide. The town will change for the worse and few will try to stop the inevitable.

Ocean Grove is doomed to becoming an ordinary place, and that will disappoint many of you who have taken pride in the unique promise of this historic town and who have invested your lives and money in a dream.

Blogfinger will report the news, but we will not waste any more of our time with the feckless HOA, because the citizens have remained apathetic despite our efforts. At present, there seems to be little cause for optimism.

You should all read Jack Bredin’s comprehensive and unique discussion of the RSIS matter. It is disgraceful that his motion at the meeting was tabled due to a vote by the members.


Paul Goldfinger , Editor @Blogfinger

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