Archive for the ‘Blogfinger feature article’ Category


Ocean Grove menorah. The eighth night of Hanukkah.   December 23, 2014. By Paul and Eileen Goldfinger. ©

Ocean Grove menorah. The eighth night of Hanukkah.  Image  of  Florence and Bernie Harkavy by Paul and Eileen Goldfinger.   The happy couple are Eileen’s parents–American born in Brooklyn, NY.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.  re-post from 2014 original version.

Today, Dec  7, 2023, is the first night of Hanukkah when the first candle is lit.  Here is my brief version of the real meaning of Hanukkah.

It is not the Jewish Christmas, nor is it primarily about a miracle of the oil , nor does the name “Festival of Lights” accurately describe the point of it all either.

To understand what Hanukkah is really about, you need to focus on a brief moment in history. The year was 168 B.C. The Greek Seleucid empire ruled in Syria, while the Egyptians ruled in the Holy Land.   The Greeks drove out the Egyptians and introduced a Hellenistic life style to the region.

Jews had lived in the Holy Land since the time of King David   (1,000 BCE ), and much of the time they were able to practice their religion, but the Greeks wanted to ban the Jewish religious customs and convert everyone to a Greek way of life.

A rebellion occurred led by a Jewish guerrilla army called the Maccabees (means “hammer”.)  A three year war ensued, and the Jewish fighters won back their religion and the rule over their country.

Fast forward to the late 19th century in Europe where oppressed diaspora Jews decided to press for their greatest wish—-a return as pioneers to Israel. This Zionist movement drew inspiration from the Maccabees and they trained while in Europe to become fighters.  When the early Zionists made their way back to Israel, they worked the fields with hoes in their hands and rifles on their backs.

In 1948, when the State of Israel was restored, the new Israeli armed forces beat the odds and defeated the invading Arab armies. They were inspired not only by the Maccabees but by the horrors of the Holocaust including the courageous defense of the Warsaw Ghetto, and they swore, “Never again!”  They would become a formidable defensive force. To this day they are called the IDF—Israel Defense Force.

IDF women. Internet photo

IDF women. Internet photo

So Hanukkah is about having the will to fight for religious and national freedom. And that Hanukkah spirit is at play again today as the Israelis face an existential threat in the Middle East.

Hanukkah is  a minor Jewish holiday, but, putting aside the candles, the gifts, the dreidels (spinning tops,) and the latkes (potato holiday pancakes,) there is a heart and soul to the holiday which is about freedom through strength, faith, and courage.

KENNY ELLIS:  Ocho Kandelikas  (8 candles)

And, something more contemporary:    MATISYAHU

Matisyahu. Internet photo.

Matisyahu. Internet photo.



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Krista the badge checker at work on the OB boards. Blogfinger photo ©

Krista the badge checker at work on the OG boards. Blogfinger photo   Re-post from 2015.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger. 2020.

Every few years I decide to write something about beach badges. Here is a link to our last outing on that subject where we have a picture of a seagull with a beach badge and a discussion about senior citizen badges.    link to beach badge article

Today we decided to interview an Ocean Grove badge checker. She was working the beach entrance near the office. Her chair and umbrella were positioned so that no one could sneak by. Whenever a customer appeared, she stood up, unless she was perched on the top railing.

A woman tried to walk past, but the checker stopped her. “Oh,” said the woman, “I paid but I forgot to get the wrist band.” She did an about face and walked off.     I snapped a few candid shots of the checker, and then there was an opportunity to speak to her. This is how it went:

BF : Hi, I’m Paul from Blogfinger. Here’s my card. I’d like to interview you, but you should keep working, and I will talk to you in between. What’s your name?

K: Krista

BF:   What’s your last name?

K: Do I have to say?


BF:   No–not necessary. Is this your first year here as a badge checker?

K:  No, I’ve been doing this for five summers and I’m not a badge checker; I’m a step guard.


BF:  Where are you from and what do you do in the off season?

K:  I’m a college student—a sophomore at Ocean County College, majoring in liberal arts.   I live in Seaside.


BF:   I used to hang out in Seaside with my high school friends. We used to peek into the Chatterbox and wish we could get in.

K:  Oh, that place is gone.

BF:   Ocean Grove is a lot different than Seaside, isn’t it?

K: ` There is a huge contrast. Ocean Grove is a Methodist town.


BF: Do the young guys in Seaside Heights still wear those sleeveless T shirts?

K: You mean “the wife beaters?”


BF: er…..Do guys hit on you here for dates?

K. Never, but there’s one old guy who brings me little gifts, food and coffee. He doesn’t ask for anything. Besides I have a boyfriend. He’s in Korea.


BF. Be careful what you say about old guys, there are plenty of them in Ocean Grove. How old are you?

K: 19


BF  (two bike riders speed by. It’s 9:50 am) If someone rides a bike here after 10 am, is anyone enforcing the rules?

K:   I do.

BF: Do you jump up and run after them?

K:  No, I just yell at them.   I have to sit in my chair.

BF:  You could carry your chair while you chase them. Is this job boring?

K:  Sometimes. But I meet a lot of characters, especially towards the North End by Asbury.


BF: What do you do when it’s slow?

K: I read my newspaper and my book of short stories.

BF:  You can’t read a newspaper here; it would blow all over the place.

K:  No…..I read it on my phone.

BF:  Oh……

BF:  Do tourists ever ask you funny questions?

K:  One asked me ,”When are the dolphins coming?”    I thought, ‘As if I know.  Do they think I have a schedule?’ ”


BF: What if it rains?

K:  We can go home, but we don’t get paid.


BF: I’ll take your picture and you can have your boyfriend see it in Korea. Just send him a link to Blogfinger.

K:   OK

BF:  Oops, my camera battery’s dead . I can use the candid  photos from before.  (I thought,  “What a lousy reporter I am–no backup battery and I’m thinking dead battery jokes.)    I go to get another battery and then return. Krista poses for a formal portrait:

Krista in her office. Blogfinger photo

Krista in her office by the Non-fishing Pier.  Blogfinger photo ©

K: It’s my break.   Bye. I’m going to visit my sister.

BF:    Bye. Stay out of the sun.

K. OK.

So I headed north and checked the sign for the forbidden bicycle hours. I thought it was 8 am, but it is 10 am to 3 am. Do people really ride bikes on this boardwalk from midnight to 3 am?   And if they did, who in the world would stop them?

It’s funny about language. When wrist bands replaced most beach badges, the name “badge checker”  became obsolete. But why “step guard?”  And how about the word “girl?” If I had referred to Krista as a “checker girl,”  that would be wrong—-right?      Remember the “hat check girl?”    But feminists would bellow.    If she’s a woman, which she certainly is, then at what age did she become one?   She undoubtedly was a girl when she first became a checker in the Grove five years ago.

Anyhow, have no fear, the steps of Ocean Grove are protected by fine woman step guards, and at least one man step guard whom I saw. He’s about 16 years old. Is he a man or a boy? Among Jews, a 13 year old boy becomes a man at his bar mitzvah (He says, “Today I am a man!”), but the bar mitzvah “boy”, taking a look at a delightful 20 year old woman in a miniskirt dancing the hora at his party realizes, in his heart, that he is not really a man; he’s still a boy, but shhhhhh don’t tell anybody.

THE RONETTES   (sending this out to Krista’s boyfriend with the the US Air Force in Korea):



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Riding in an open car in Dallas that day. Photo from NJ.com

Riding in an open car in Dallas that day. Photo from NJ.com

By Paul and Eileen Goldfinger

I was a freshman medical student in the fall of 1962 at the George Washington University School of Medicine. The med school was in a downtrodden neighborhood around 14th Street and H. There was a strip joint around the corner and a tiny park across the street where homeless people would hang out.   It was a 19th century brick building, 3 stories high, and it even had an amphitheatre like the photographs or paintings of autopsies or surgeries from that era.

Being in Washington produced a number of special memories, but one was how the President would ride around in an open car when a visiting dignitary from another country  was visiting. The government would close down some offices  at lunchtime to allow a crowd to be on the streets for a small motorcade to drive around and create an event.  The two of them would wave to the crowds.

We would be let out of anatomy lab for a short time to go out to the nearby intersection. We would join the crowd while wearing our formaldehyde-smelly white lab coats. Small flags from both countries were handed out to the crowd, and we would wave ours while onlookers would move away from us.

One year later, on November 22, 1963, I was about to enter a classroom for a bacteriology final exam. We were told that the President had been shot, but no other information was available. The test was not cancelled.  While we were taking the exam, the professor wrote on the blackboard, “The President is dead.”  Nevertheless, despite the distraction, we had to complete the test.

That day, Eileen, a coed at GW in Foggy Bottom, was in class when the professor announced the news. Classes were cancelled.  That night, at about 10 pm, she, along with her roommate and a friend, went to the Capital to join the huge “solemn line” waiting to enter the Rotunda.

Waiting to get in. Internet photo

Waiting to get in. Internet photo

They were there all night and finally they got in the next morning, just for a few moments, to view the coffin.  They felt “awed” that they were “part of history as it’s being written.”  They experienced “a sort of disbelief”  that they were actually there.

Inside the Capital Rotunda. Internet photo

Inside the Capital Rotunda. Internet photo

I never saw any open car motorcades after that day. Still security in the neighborhood was not very evident. I lived on 16th street which runs into the White House.  We often walked by the White House and could peer through the iron fence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Eileen liked to see if she could spot the pony–Macaroni—or any members of the family.  Traffic drove by as if it were just an ordinary street.

At St. Elizabeth Hospital, a now closed psych facility, I got to interview “White House cases.”  These were paranoid schizophrenics who were detained after trying to get to the President at the White House, either to kill him or tell him about a plot. It was a sort of patient that med students only got to see in Washington, D.C.  We took Eileen’s parents to see the grounds at St E’s, and her dad said, “You have to be nuts to come here.”   It’s too bad they didn’t catch Oswald in time.

LONDON FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA.  Music played at the Pres. Kennedy funeral. Intermezzo from “Cavalleria Rusticana” by Pietro Mascagni.

Paul and Eileen at the Washington DC zoo. May, 1963. Photographer: some guy passing by.

Paul and Eileen at the Washington DC zoo. May, 1963. Photographer: some guy passing by (He shook the camera.Where was Cartier Bresson when we needed him?)

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Two generations join the Town-Wide Yard Sale on Heck Avenue in Ocean Grove.  2016.    Paul Goldfinger photo ©

By Paul  @Blogfinger:

I had purchased a new Garmin GPS, so I placed my old one out on a table at our yard sale—- marked $10.00.  A man came by and spent about 15 minutes studying it carefully.

Man:  Does this GPS have night-time lighting and does it work?

Me: Yes

Man: How old is it?

Me: About 3 years.

Man:  It’s too much money.

Me: (feeling charitable:)   OK  $5.00

Man  (taking out his wallet and staring into it)  I don’t have $5.00

Me: You can have it for free.

Man:  No, I don’t want it. I want one with all the latest features.

Me:  Sorry, but you need a new one for that.

Man: Walks away.


KENNY VANCE from his new album.  Kenny—We miss you in Ocean Grove:  —–PG



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Tonight begins Passover 5774 (Jewish calendar) Eileen's seder table. Ocean Grove, 2014. Note the Pope's yarmulka which I will wear tonight.

Tonight begins Passover 5774 (Jewish calendar) Eileen’s seder table. Ocean Grove, 2014. Note the Pope’s yarmulke which I will wear tonight.   Paul Goldfinger photo ©


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net. Re-posted periodically on BF where it is common for others and myself to be forgetful of prior content.


Tsai is a woman who works at Wegman’s. Despite her Chinese heritage, she was assigned to the kosher department.   She knew nothing about Jewish food but she quickly learned about lox, matzoh balls, knishes, latkes, chopped liver and many other items.

She was fascinated with Passover rituals where special foods have traditional meanings.   Tsai found out about seders (Passover meals where the history of the Jewish people is recounted) and about kosher food regulations. She learned why they have separate dishes and a special kosher kitchen at Wegmans.

Although most of the foods were initially strange to her, one thing that she knew about was liver. “The only customers at Wegmans who like liver are the Jews and the Chinese,” she told me in an exclusive Blogfinger interview. “At Wegmans we make large vats of chopped liver for Passover, so I learned what the Jewish version is supposed to taste like,” she said. “When we prepare foods at Wegman’s, somebody in the kitchen has to taste each item, so I was the kosher chopped liver lady.”

By the time Tsai was transferred to another part of the store, she knew more about Jewish cuisine than some Jews. Last year the kitchen had prepared chopped liver for Passover, but no one in the kitchen knew what it was supposed to taste like. Tsai offered to help them. She tasted it and said, “It’s no good—it’s sour.”

But the staff didn’t believe her, so they sought a second opinion and found a man who worked in the store who was half Jewish. They had him taste it. “It’s terrible,” he said. So they dumped the whole batch and did it again. After that, they trusted Tsai’s chopped liver assessment.

Passover is the most popular Jewish holiday. It is happy and is about tradition, freedom, family, and history. It is also importantly about food, some of which has great symbolic relevance. No one will allow Eileen to skip any of the special foods.  For example, the charosis consists of chopped apples, cinnamon, walnuts, raisins and wine. The recipe varies quite a bit.   It symbolizes the mortar that the Jewish slaves used to build the pyramids for Pharaoh about 3,500 years ago. There is not much written history about this, but I think that Pharaoh was building a theme park along the Nile.  If I were there with my ancestors, I would have hired a contractor.

Some people who are not Jewish enjoy Passover customs and they like to eat matzohs (unleavened bread.) Many even enjoy going to seders.

We sometimes find non-Jews at our seder table. I don’t know how they got there, but they do love the rituals, the family jokes, the story telling and the food. I had a patient in the hospital (Mt. Sinai in New York)  years ago who was a classic little old Italian mama with a gold tooth in front and a  bun in the back. She was eating some matzoh. I asked her what that was, and she said , “Matz.”

Some people wonder how Jews can eat unusual and worrisome looking foods like gefilte fish and chopped liver. Sometimes ethnic foods can seem gross to outsiders, and it takes courage for a non-Jew to try gefilte fish.

It is because chopped liver is often rejected when offered that the expression “What am I? Chopped liver?” came about. I like that expression–it’s like so many that people use without knowing the actual meaning.

There are many recipes for chopped liver, but mostly it is chicken livers sautéed in onions, with salt and pepper, schmaltz (chicken fat) and oftentimes with hard boiled eggs, all chopped together.  You take a piece of matzoh and scoop up some of it (it’s like the corn chips and guacamole among the Mexicans.).   It is served as an appetizer, and our family loves it.

Passover is a complicated holiday and widely open to interpretation. A little book called the Haggadah is used during the seder to guide the ceremony, but there are over 3,000 versions from all over the world.

You can get chicken soup with kreplach all year round—-just go to a Chinese restaurant and ask for won ton soup.

2023 :   The Wegman kosher department is now gone, but many kosher items are prepackaged and available.   Tsai and her two sisters still work at Wegmans, and they and  Eileen  are truly “Wegwomen.”


PASSOVER SONG  “Eliyahu Hanavi” by Deborah Katchko-Gray.  It is about Elijah the Prophet who visits every Jewish home on Passover. The orthodox believe that Elijah comes to make sure all the males are circumcised.  We skip that part at our seder.





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This 1965 Cadillac was parked at Wegmans. December, 2015. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

This 1965 Cadillac was parked at Wegmans. December, 2015. Paul Goldfinger photo  


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

Do  you ever marvel at the size of vehicles these days?  If you are in a busy parking lot such as Wegmans you will often see huge vehicles—oftentimes SUV’s or vans.  You might park next to one and feel like you have landed at Jurassic Park.  Then try to pull out of your space without being able to see what lies beyond.

I get a kick out of the tiny women that often climb out of those behemoths, oftentimes with one or more little kids safely tucked in the back enveloped by enough steel to construct a bomb shelter.  I imagine that many of those are ordinary families that use their cars for grocery shopping, getting to soccer games, etc, and I think that the man of the house must be very protective of his brood.    He probably was in the military and would buy a tank if he could.  Strangely, Humvees seem to have become extinct, like mastodons, but huge cars like the Jeep Grand Cherokee have taken their  place.

The guy who was driving the Caddy shown above is a senior citizen who babies his car.  No tiny kids drooling on that interior. He wears a baseball cap that says “US Army.”  I imagine him landing at Normandy on D-Day.   I don’t know whether to thank him for his service or for driving this huge Cadillac for all of us to enjoy. He could be in a Seinfeld style video—–seniors in cars going for coffee.   This sleek white sculpture on wheels was attracting a lot of attention as if it were preening for the audience, parked as it were at the head of the aisle, albeit in a handicap space.   The driver’s demographic would show off a beautiful car, much as a young man might show off a dazzling babe.

But you could imagine this vehicle pulling up to the curb at an old elegant theater in Hollywood in the mid  ’60’s  for a movie opening.  The door opens,  flash bulbs fire, and a shapely leg appears followed by Marilyn Monroe in a white clingy thingy.  The crowd roars its approval while the Caddy stays put just long enough to provide a striking backdrop for a striking starlet. Marilyn and the Caddy would be on the front page of the LA Times the next day.


VINCE GIORDANO AND THE NIGHTHAWKS   from the HBO series  Boardwalk Empire: “Darktown Strutters’ Ball.”

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Snaking our way into Delicious Orchards in Colts Neck. Paul Goldfinger photos © Snaking our way into Delicious Orchards in Colts Neck. Paul Goldfinger photos ©  2013.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger   (“Happy Thanksgiving to all of our Blogfinger fans and all of you who aren’t but are reading this anyhow.”)

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013:        Some years ago we used to buy Bell and Evans chickens at the Pathway Market in Ocean Grove, back when they had a resident butcher there. We liked those chickens, so Eileen decided to try a fresh B & E turkey this year from Delicious Orchards.  We went there this morning to pick up the bird and we found ourselves in a line of traffic on route 34, waiting to get into the store. It took about 20 minutes to enter the crowded parking lot.  Once there we followed the line of cars and found a space way in the back. We walked towards the entrance, and it was quickly evident that we would not be able to get in right away.

A huge line outside had formed, wrapping around and heading back towards the highway. It didn’t seem too bad until we wound up in a tent-like space where people were snaking their way, Disney-style, and thus making a long line seem shorter.   Most people on line, including children,  seemed calm and patient.  The mood was one of anticipation and optimism.

The snake kept coiling and uncoiling,  and it was weird the way people were simultaneously walking toward you and away from you, all the while heading to the same place.  Luckily it was 41 degrees and not 21 degrees.   The specter of a big storm today probably accounted  for an especially huge crowd this early.  We spent about 30 minutes on line, and then we entered the store where people were dispersing in every direction.

The pie department. Boxes piled high. By Wednesday, there will be a pie line. The pie department.  By Wednesday, there will be a long pie line.   ©   2013

Inside, the pies were piled high. They are known for pies. Pie specialists were on duty.

Our turkey was waiting for us in the meat department. It is a young bird, 10 pounds, wearing its logo proudly.  Bell and Evans turkeys are grown in Pennsylvania Dutch country  where the business has been there for over 120 years.  Their turkeys are supposed to be “natural,” bred for slower growing and bigger breasts, and not injected like Butter Balls. (Yes, I am considering a joke here, but never mind)  So more white meat means less fat and calories.  But we were actually thinking “tastes better.”   You can’t worry about fat and calories on Thanksgiving.    That’s why they call it Thanksgiving.

Check out . We found a good aisle at the end of the row. Check out . Look at all the pie boxes.  We found a good aisle at the end of the row.

We also waited in a crowded checkout area. We made it to a cashier;  I asked our Delicious Orchards bagger, a delicious young lady with long red hair, how things were going. “It’s a madhouse,” she said.  I replied that I have seen real madhouses, and this is no madhouse.

“Does everyone in your family have red hair?” I asked her.

She smiled and said, “My four brothers work here also, and they all have red hair.”  She wished me a happy holiday as she resumed filling a bag with groceries for the next customer.

On the way out they gave us a small cup of excellent hot cider, and we bought one of their cider donuts. I ate about 80% of it.–Eileen slowly finished her part, savoring every crumb.  When we lived in Chester, we would go to Hackelbarney Farm—basically a country store in the middle of an apple orchard. Go there and you can watch them make cider, and the donuts and pies are famous. It’s worth a drive into beautiful Morris County.

Then it took about 15 minutes to get from the parking lot out to 34 again.  The whole experience  lasted about one hour, not counting the trip and time spent drinking cider in the parked  car.

I asked Eileen, “Will you do this again next year?”

She said, “I don’t think so.”

But we had fun going for our turkey. We experienced a special event filled with hope as everyone was there preparing for a wonderful American tradition.  It was actually a good time—good vibes–and hopefully an extra good turkey.

As we drove off I said to Eileen, “Let’s not decide now about next year. Let’s taste the turkey first.”

JAMIROQUAI.   From the soundtrack of the movie “Valentine’s Day.” (crank up the volume a bit)

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Parmagiano cheese wheel at Mario's Italian market in Fort Myers, Fla. 1/27/16. Blogfinger.net photo. ©

Parmigiano cheese wheel at Mario’s Italian market in Fort Myers, Fla. 1/27/17. Blogfinger.net photo. ©


By Eileen Goldfinger and Paul Goldfinger,  Editors  @Blogfinger.net.  Photography by Eileen Goldfinger.


If you think that you can’t get authentic Italian cuisine in Florida, you haven’t visited Mario’s Meat Market and Deli in Fort Myers (southwest Fla).  This remarkable food store has customers taking numbers and  lining up at the counter where you can get incredible breads, meats, sauces, homemade sausage, cheeses, wines, desserts, and custom sandwiches.

For example, one of their specialty heros is called  “The Italian” and consists of salami, pepperoni, capicola, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, hot peppers, oil and vinegar on a superb role with sesame seeds.   Some people can’t wait to get home, so they chow down at tables arranged outside.

The people at the counter were remarkably helpful and cheerful.  Some of them are professional cooks, so they will tell you how to prepare, for example , an authentic meat dish “braciole.”

We were there picking up supplies for an Italian dinner that Eileen was planning and we stumbled on a “rare” culinary event.  Representatives from a large cheese manufacturer (“Leone”) from the mountainous Verona region of Italy were preparing to “open” one of their huge wheels.  They were readying a parmigiano cheese called Monte Veronese, made from cow’s milk,  specially prepared for Mario’s.


Getting ready to open the wheel. Mike Tuccillo (sales manager for Leone L.) Mario Pica store owner, Gabriele Leone R.) © Blogfinger.net photo. Ft. Myers, Fla. 1/27/17

Getting ready to open the wheel. Mike Tuccillo (sales manager for Leone L.) Mario Pica (store owner,) and  Gabriele Leone R.) © Blogfinger.net photo. Ft. Myers, Fla. 1/27/17

What was unique about this wheel was that it had been aged for five years, much longer than most cheeses from that northeast region where much of the Italian cheese-making occurs.  The storage facility is kept at 80% humidity and 61 degrees F.

No one knows how long wheels have been the motif for storing cheese, but this variety has been made for nearly 900 years.  To open the wheel requires great skill and experience if it is done in the traditional way—- manually with knives.  Usually they use machines.

Gabriele Leone, the owner of the Leone company, brought out some special tools.  He worked very carefully, but after watching this demonstration, I was amazed that he still has all his fingers. He was cheered on by the company’s bilingual American representative Mike Tuccillo and by Mario Pica, the owner of this remarkable store.


Eileen Goldfinger photo. Blogfinger.net 1/27/17 ©

Eileen Goldfinger photo. Blogfinger.net 1/27/17 ©


When he finally opened the wheel, it was a very special event and the performance received a round of applause.  Then Gabriele began to offer chunks of the parmigiano, which is a hard cheese that tends to crumble. It is usually sold as wedges or grated.  It should be stored in the refrigerator where it can last for up to 6 months. If a little mold begins to appear, just cut it off.  We tried some, and it was delicious:  fragrant and tasty.


Photo by Eileen Goldfinger. Blogfinger.net/ 1/27/17 ©

Photo by Eileen Goldfinger. Blogfinger.net/ 1/27/17 ©


Mike explained that the company is beginning to export their unique aged products to America.  Thanks to Mike, Gabriele and Mario for giving Blogfinger access to this very special event.



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Robert Capa, Life Magazine photographer went into Omaha Beach with the American troops. Robert Capa, Life Magazine photographer landed  at  Omaha Beach with the American troops. They went in at Easy Red/Fox Green sector. June 6, 1944 .He took this photo and won a Pulitzer Prize. *   (see below)


By Paul Goldfinger, MD    Editor @Blogfinger

Robert Capa landed with the troops and shot quickly with his Leica 35 mm camera.  He handed over his film to an aide who got the film out  to a boat and then on to England for processing.  Unfortunately, an overzealous lab tech ruined most of the exposures except for a few. The image above is one of them, and the Capa D-Day collection is among the best examples of American photojournalism.

There were 12 surgical teams that went in on D-Day, but only 8 made it to shore.  Medics quickly organized the wounded. Medical stations and field hospitals were quickly established on shore.  Of the wounded who made it to a medical station, less than 1% died.

During the month prior to D-Day,  American factories manufactured 100 million doses of the wonder drug Penicillin. There were 4,644 U.S. Army nurses who were stationed on the European front in 1944. They landed on the beaches on June 10 and walked 5 miles or more to field hospitals.


Normandy, a few days after D-Day, aircraft bring in containers of blood for transfusion. * Normandy, a few days after D-Day.  Aircraft bring in containers of blood for transfusion. *


June 6, 2022.  Still photographs by Paul Goldfinger obtained from the movie Saving Private Ryan by Steven Spielberg.

Troops dropped off in the bloody water move in to Omaha Beach, Dog Sector.  Paul Goldfinger still.  High mortality in the first wave.


Tom Hanks as Capt. John Miller regains his composure after barely making it ashore. There is mayhem and death all around.    Paul Goldfinger still.


Medics try to save lives on the beach, but deadly fire inhibits  effectiveness. Paul Goldfinger still.


Nazi pill boxes take a high toll on the beach. Eventually Capt. Miller and his men break through to open the log jam. Paul Goldfinger still.



* Reference:  Time Magazine D-Day 70th Anniversary Tribute  (re-issue of the 2004 Time Classic)


MARTHA WAINWRIGHT.  From the soundtrack of the film  The Aviator

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Torro Shoe Repair and Leather Works. Ft. Myers, Fla. Torro Shoe Repair and Leather Works. Ft. Myers, Fla.  By Paul Goldfinger © 2015.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger


I went into the Torro  Shoe Repair and Leather Works shop on McGregor Blvd. in Fort Myers, Florida, not far from the Edison and Ford estates.  The sign in the window offered cheerleading and kick boxing lessons. Inside, it was a small space with several machines to fix shoes and the sort of disarray that only occurs in places where artists or craftsmen work.

Somehow old-time shoe repair shops  like this survive because some leather items are too good to be disposable. My belt came from Pennsylvania via Bill’s Khaki’s, and I needed two holes added.

This is not a belt to throw away when the size needs adjusting. I’m a sucker for handmade items that have patina, enduring parts, mechanical mechanisms, and classy old-fashioned  styling, so this is the ad from Bill’s that got me to purchase their English bridle leather belt with a stainless steel buckle—this belt had “meaning:”

For years, customers have asked us to make a belt that goes perfectly with our khakis and jeans. But making a belt just for the sake of it wasn’t compelling… the belt had to have meaning. Then we found Floyd, a second generation Amish harness maker whose workshop lies deep in the remote mountains of Pennsylvania. This belt was our first collaborative effort. The end result explains why we went to such great lengths to bring these belts to you.”   

I never met the Torro craftsman who fixed my belt at the rate of $2.00 per hole.  I imagined him to be old-world, perhaps Italian, in his manner, wearing a soiled apron that was tinted by hundreds of cans of shoe polish—-the kind that you had to rub into the shoe.  I thought he might have Puccini playing on the radio.   But he never materialized , and there was no music.

Instead,  a pretty, slender, young  blond woman came out from the back. She had no patina or other signs of aging or handmade workmanship, but she did have style. Maybe she was the kick boxing instructor.

Anyhow she told me to leave the belt and come back later.  I said, “Don’t I get a ticket or something?”    She said, ” I just handed it to you.”  Uh oh, my cover was blown.  I was so busy being distracted that a tiny orange ticket wound up in my shirt pocket.  On it it said only “2 holes.”

Did I feel loved at Torro?  Not really, but I did enjoy the visit. And my pants no longer tend to drift south.


PINK MARTINI from their album “Hang On Little Tomato.”





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President LIncoln poses for a photo with Paul Goldfinger on the boards of Ocean Grove.

President Lincoln poses for a photo with Paul Goldfinger (Blogfinger.net) on the boards of Ocean Grove. 1864.

Pres. Abraham Lincoln visited Ocean Grove once  when he agreed to an interview with Blogfinger.   We met him on the new boardwalk .   He walked around and said, “Goldfinger, the world will little note nor long remember that God-awful hat that you wore today.  But just remember that four score and seven years ago this nation was founded……Hey Blogfinger, how many years is that ?”

He said, “You know, some day Mary and I will come back here to stay in a tent.  But I won’t  go on the beach if you allow Grant to smoke those horrid stogies. I hear he visits his sister by the lake, but, you know, that’s not really his sister,  Ha ha ha.   He likes to drink,  you know.  Hey Finger, you know what I’m saying?   I’ll come back if you can get Springsteen to play in the Auditorium.  I hope you get a hat like mine—very distinguished.”

Lincoln stayed for awhile longer, asking if the HPC is still annoying people in town.

He said, “In Washington we can take a drink once in a while.  What’s wrong with you people?”   Then he rode back to D.C. on the NJ Transit train where they gave him  a senior fare,  a dirty martini and a hot pastrami sandwich on rye, with a pickle.

When he got back to DC he went to a reunion of Hessians who remained here after the Revolutionary War.  In this rare recording you can hear Lincoln singing along to that 19th century ditty called “Gimmie a Beer.”

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This is onboard one of the US Air Force's C-17 on one of the evacuation trips 
from Tacloban to Manila. Thank you, America. From Norm Ginsburg of Elberon

This is onboard one of the US Air Force’s C-17 on one of the evacuation trips 
from Tacloban to Manila.
Thank you, America. From Norm Ginsburg of Elberon


During the last few days we have had about 600 hits to view this post.   (August, 2021)    None came from the Philippines, so they must be Americans.    How wonderful to remember!


THE IRISH TENORS.  From the album “Heritage”   Irving Berlin, a Jewish immigrant,  wrote “God Bless America.”


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Lovely old house along Bridlemere Avenue. It is likely to be worth a mere million Interlaken bucks. Blogfinger photo Nov. 2013.  Click to enlarge.



By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger


This is the third time we have posted something about Interlaken, New Jersey, a .4 square mile borough near Asbury Park and just about 10 minutes from Ocean Grove.

I like to drive through that town. It is picturesque and feels like the English countryside. It has a quiet elegance, and there is water on two sides  (north and south)—branches of Deal Lake.

Interlaken is north of Asbury Park

Interlaken is north of Asbury Park.


Its history is fascinating.  It was bought from the Lenni Lenape Indians and became a farm. A well-traveled doctor (probably a plastic surgeon)  purchased over 300 acres of the farm and proceeded to turn it into a town in the late 1800’s.

At first it was part of Ocean Township  (like Ocean Grove), but in 1922 it seceded and became an independent borough.  Curiously, Ocean Grove became a borough in 1925, but it lost its designation because of the”blue laws”—talk about the blues in the night.  Ouch!

Interlaken means “between lakes” and is named after a town in Switzerland which is between two lakes. For that matter, Ocean Grove is between two lakes, but somehow the ocean trumped the lakes in naming OG.

The street names are fascinating, because the avenues are named after English lakes, while the cross streets are named after—-you’ll never guess—islands in the Hebrides (in the Irish Sea.)  So if you drive through that town, you will see street signs that say, “Buttermere, Bridlemere, Bendermere, Grassmere and Windermere.”  I guess “mere” means  “lake.”

But if you think that the homes there are merely Victorians or Colonials, guess again. They tend to be beautiful grand manor houses like they have by the lakes in Switzerland or, perhaps like some along the Irish Sea.


Another cottage for two along Bridelmere Avenue

Another cottage for two along Bridlemere Avenue. Blogfinger photo. click left


The town in 2010 had 820 people according to the census. It is more white than Ocean Grove having 0% African Americans. But it does have .49% Native Americans which means half of a Lenni Lenape—so it’s a guy named Lenni who lives on Buttermere.  Actually it seems that there are 4 Native Americans in Interlaken, so those 4 should demand a casino in that town.

Below is a link to a prior BF post  about Interlaken, which amounts to a total of one Blogfinger post for every 270 Interlakers.  I wonder if they have a town musical instrument called the “Interlakenspiel” which you play with a mallet while standing between those two arms of Deal Lakenmere while the Interlakers engage in beer drinking and merrymaking.


Here is the Jagersburger March from an album called:  “German Beer Drinking and Merrymaking Songs” by the Munich Meistersingers


Blogfinger Interlaken link one


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