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By Charles Layton, ex-Blogfinger staff.  Re-posted from 2012.  Still relevant.

I eastwooded today. It was totes cray FOMO. But, really, YOLO, right?

Oh, I forgot, I’m writing for Blogfinger. Gotta switch to the king’s English here.

Today we’re going to travel into the turbulent world of in-crowd slang. Please stow your baggage securely in the overhead compartment and make sure your tray is in the upright position.

For our purposes, an “in-crowd” is any group of people that wishes to distinguish itself from the likes of you. To do this, an in-crowd will develop its own language. If you’ve ever been in the armed services, you know what I’m talking about. The sergeants used to tell us recruits there were three ways to do a thing: the right way, the wrong way and the Army way. And God knows the Army has its own way of speaking. Ten hut!

African Americans developed a way of speaking that was intended to be private from whites. This dates from slavery. It obviously served a needed purpose. And the black community has been a fertile source of language engineering ever since.

Jazz musicians have always had a special way of speaking. Back in the day, one of my favorite jazz-musician/hipster turns of phrase was the playful attachment of the suffix “ville” to almost any word. Instead of being weird, something would be weirdsville. Instead of being cool, it would be coolsville.

In my wandering youth – in the very early 60s — I once found myself riding on a train with a young musician who was just full of jazzy slang. He was almost a caricature of the type; he actually said “Daddy-oh.” When our train passed through the village of Hicksville, on Long Island, he asked me, “Hey, man, where are we?”

I said, “We’re in Hicksville.”

He said, “I know, man, but what’s the name of the place.”

Hicksville

Criminals and gangsters have always constituted the quintessential in-crowd. In the 1930s, the movies acquainted the general public with such colorful gangster lingo as “stool pigeon” (or “stoolie”), referring to someone who was a “snitch” or a “rat” – someone who “squealed” or “sang” to the cops and therefore needed to be “rubbed out.” I seem to remember Edward G. Robinson uttering the wonderful phrase, “My rod will speak,” meaning he was going to shoot some people.

Drug users have given us a ton of slang terms, such as “horse” for heroin and “pot” and “grass” for marijuana. You know those terms. But do you know what an “Alice B. Toklas” is? It’s a marijuana brownie, named for the woman who was the partner of the writer Gertrude Stein. (It may not be a coincidence that a puff of marijuana is sometimes called a “toke.”)

And then, of course, we have teenagers and pre-teenagers who use slang to create a separate place for themselves in the world, a distinct culture, a wall between themselves and adults. That’s why a teenager says “It’s totes cray” instead of  “It’s totally crazy.”

A simple and common way to alter language is to cut off the ends off words. It’s why “radical” became “rad” some years ago, and why “reverend” got shortened to “rev.” Molly Ivins, the late columnist, used to call the Texas legislature “the Lege.” Now it’s the common term down there. In Washington these days, people call the Oval Office simply “the Oval.” It’s kind of fun to do this. The military raised word shortening to an art. Psychological operations became “psy ops.” Signals intelligence became “sigint.”

Connie Eble, an English professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been collecting college slang since 1972 and writing about it. College is a Petri dish for new slang. In the past, it has given us such expressions as “cut class,” “cram” and “rocks for jocks.” A “turkey dump” is when a college student returns home at Thanksgiving to dump his or her hometown sweetheart. “Dormcest” is hooking up with someone who lives in your dorm.

Eble’s list now includes two popular new terms that are acronyms: FOMO, which means “fear of missing out,” and YOLO, which means “you only live once.” These terms seem to have drifted downward into high school, junior high school and even lower. A kid who isn’t on Facebook can develop FOMO. Such a kid might say, “I’m having a FOMO attack,” converting the word into an adjective.

YOLO is even more interesting. It became popular this year after the rapper Drake included it in a song. “YOLO, and we ‘bout it every day, every day, every day.”

YOLO is what you say when a friend suggests parking in an illegal spot. People also speak of a boozy night on the town as YOLO-ing – “I went YOLO-ing last night.”

It’s not just a word, it’s a philosophy. This past spring a streaker – wearing nothing but a pair of sneakers – sprinted across the field at a Boston Red Sox game with YOLO written across his chest.

An example of eastwooding

By the way, we witnessed the birth of a brand new word just last week: “eastwooding,” named for the actor Clint Eastwood. To “eastwood” is to have a conversation with a chair, or to post a picture of yourself on the Internet in conversation with a chair. This has been happening on both left-wing and right-wing websites in recent days. It’s an activity all of America can enjoy, regardless of party affiliation.

Keep this thing out of your sister’s bedroom.

I think my favorite new slang word – phrase, actually – is “honey badger.” The honey badger is an animal native to Africa and Asia. It is known for its fearlessness and tenacity. According to Internet legend, honey badgers steal food from bigger animals, such as leopards; they attack and eat cobras, and they break into bee hives and eat the larvae even while getting stung thousands of times. Urban Dictionary states that “when they kill something they crack open their victim’s skull with their teeth and eat their brain and digest their thoughts.” It is even claimed that a honey badger will climb into bed with your sister and impregnate her while she sleeps.

Anyway, a guy named Randall made a YouTube video about the honey badger. It was crude, it was hilarious, and it went super-viral. Randall then, in 2011, published a book called Honey Badger Don’t Care. And now, voila!, “honey badger” has entered our language, and probably other languages, with several different meanings. A person might say, “I hate that girl; she’s such a honey badger.” The term also has a rather specific sexual definition, which Blogfinger propriety forbids me to reveal. But, actually, its meaning seems to be migrating in several directions, and if it should survive long-term, it’s unclear what it will finally come to mean.

Such is the nature of language. It is adaptive, supple, inventive and thoroughly unpredictable. In other words, it’s totes cray.

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Eileen at the Café Volan in A. Park where someone else was making her coffee for a change. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©. 2016.  

 

By Paul Goldfinger. Editor @Blogfinger.net   Reposted from 2011

We recently got a new coffee bean grinder.  We get our beans from a roaster in Hackettstown called Greene Brothers.  They have the best Kenya AA.  In our house, although Eileen is the chief cook and I am the chief bottle washer, she does defer to me for coffee making.

I insist on carefully following every single special step (filtered water, fresh roasted beans, commercial style drip machine by Bunn, burr grinder by Capresso, etc).  It’s just a peculiarity of mine.  I am truly a coffee fusspot.  It’s too bad coffee isn’t grown around here be cause I would go to meet the farmer.

The new coffee grinder has a transparent top where the beans go, so it looks like there is no top at all.  I went to pour the beans into the grinder, but they just bounced off the top and spilled all over Eileen’s kitchen.  They rolled around with a clatter like some kind of rogue pinball machine run amok.  She, who is so meticulous about her kitchen and everything else, looked on in horror.  She knows that I am fundamentally sloppy, but she cannot get over it.  Eileen (NMI)  is so detail oriented that my nickname for her is “Minutiae”  (Actually I would love to make this her middle name since she doesn’t have one.)

The challenge was to pick up the beans one  at a time without crunching them underfoot.  When I tossed them into the grinder she was incredulous. “What’s the big deal,”  I said. “The coffee will get very hot,  and nothing can live in that coffee. Besides, you can eat off your floor.” Well, to be precise, we never eat off the floor.

She has a way of rolling her eyes in total disgust.  At times like this she is likely to say, “How can you be so inept when you can put a pacemaker wire into someone’s heart?”

I have no answer for her. I tell her that we will need some more Greene beans soon. She says,  “I have enough. I’m serving them for dinner.”

“No, no.” I protested;  “I don’t mean the green beans;  I mean the Greene beans!”

“ And also,”  I whined , “I’m sorry I spilled the beans.”

Eileen just looked at me and said, “I wish you wouldn’t spend so much time in my kitchen.”

 

PATTY AND THE EMBLEMS:

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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net  Reposted from September, 2012 on BF.

I once met Mickey Spillane, the American writer of noir detective novels starring Mike Hammer. Spillane actually was a tough guy who looked like he could be a private eye or a private dick with a run-down office and a babe with long legs for a secretary.

I love that Mike Hammer image, and sometimes I put on my trench coat over a rumpled suit and wait in my office for a tough case to show up. It’s not easy making a living that way, and it’s not healthy either, chain smoking unfiltered cigarettes, sipping bourbon all day and packing a piece.

Then finally the big case showed up. Unfortunately it wasn’t a dame who brought the goods. It was Ogrover, a commenter on our blog “Noir Finger.”  He was like “deep throat” because I never heard his voice or seen his face. He showed up by email, hidden in the shadows of my hard drive. Anyhow, OGrover had a mystery for me to solve.

Monument in Auditorium Square Park—hidden in plain sight.

It seems he was slinking around Auditorium Square Park when he spotted a possible crime scene. A plaque in the ground, at the corner of Pitman Ave. and  Pilgrim Pathway. It was old and spooky, and no one had stolen it yet. OGrover moved slowly closer and closer and then he saw what it said: “Red Oak — State Tree New Jersey Tercentenary–1964.  Presented by the Woman’s Club of Ocean Grove.”

OG scratched his head and wondered if he, an octogenarian, had been around for the tercentenary. But that thought quickly vanished as he stared up at the tree. It was a reddish Norway Maple. “Holy mackerel!” thought OG. “This is a fishy case for Noir Finger.”

Red Oak tree. NOT!

I left Pussy Galore in the office and walked down by the Great Auditorium — talk about haunted houses!  Rattling around inside are the ghosts of President Grant, John Phillip Sousa, and the KKK.

I surveyed the situation and discovered that the Red Oak was indeed gone — instead there was a Norway maple.

“Holy fish oils! What the Heck Avenue happened? Were we going to have another unsolved crime in Ocean Grove? Should we call the coppers?  No way — I’ll handle this one myself.”

I emailed OG and agreed to take the case. He replied, “Piqued your interest?” Then he says, “I have a real hard time believing I’m the first to even notice it since 1964 lol.”

“OG,” I said, “Nobody says ‘piqued’ in Ocean Grove. And nobody ever said ‘lol’ to Noir Finger. After all, we are ‘noir,’ and don’t you forget it. What a turkey!”

So, with the amount of dough that OG was paying, I had to get an answer fast. So I contacted this old hand in town from the HSOG who calls himself “Anonymous,” a name that will be hard to trace, but not impossible. He actually cracked the case, so I give him credit — mystery solved.

It seems that the “Woman’s Club of Ocean Grove” planted the red oak for obvious historic and natural reasons (oaks do well at the shore). Then the oak died (so much for doing well at the shore,) and some genius replaced it with a maple. We don’t know who did or why, but we will keep looking.

Meanwhile, the “Woman’s Club of Ocean Grove”  disbanded* about 20 years ago, and we are still searching for survivors. Noir Finger will stay on the case until we get some answers. We’re open to suggestions.

SOUNDTRACK: By a noir sort of guy who likes to hang around bars at 2:45 a.m.:

See the comment below from Tom  and Pegi.  Pegi has resurrected the old WCOG.* And note that the correct spelling is Woman’s not Women’s.

POST SCRIPT: What good is a Mike Hammer story without a bit of sex ? I came upon a blogger who has been to Ocean Grove and who imagined a young woman staying at the Victorian OG Women’s Club Hotel, a building which still exists in town. I love her poem–click on link below:

The Women’s Club Hotel (est. 1870), Ocean Grove, NJ

(Plaque reads: A Respectable Hotel for Chaperoned Single Gentlewomen)

Ocean Grove Women’s Club Hotel

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Margaret Stickel on the porch of 91 Cookman, circa 1960

By Mary Walton, Blogfinger staff.  Re-posted from October, 2011.

Perhaps more than in most communities, the history of Ocean Grove lives in the hearts of families who have sunk deep roots in its sandy soil. For people like Paul Horn, a walk up Cookman Avenue is truly a trip down Memory Lane.

Some of his fondest childhood memories center on 91 Cookman, now a derelict house that has been prominently featured on Blogfinger’s pages. Earlier this year developer Jack Green purchased the house for the purpose of renovating it.

But for 41 years it was the home of Horn’s grandparents, John and Margaret Stickel, who bought it in 1924. Today Horn lives just down the street at 83 Cookman. Recently he and his wife, Loyce, and daughter, Cathy Cooper, reminisced about the family’s history.

margaret-john-stickel-2 (1)

Paul Horn’s grandparents, John and Margaret Stickel, immigrated from Germany in 1890

John and Margaret Stickel immigrated around 1890 from the Black Forest section of Germany to Newark, where John became a brewmaster for Krueger Brewing Company. They had ten children. After Stickel retired they explored the Jersey shore by train. When they reached Ocean Grove, says Horn, “they just decided without a doubt that this was where they wanted to retire.”

As a child, Horn, now 87, often visited his grandparents. He remembers being sent to buy breakfast buns at Friedman’s Bakery on Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park. When no older than eight or nine he liked to rise early and walk south on the boardwalk to Bradley Beach to watch fishermen haul their catch ashore in a craft that looked like a huge rowboat. The men would push the boat onto the beach, where it was hooked to a cable and towed in farther. The glittering fish were piled into a truck and taken to the ice house at Newark Avenue. The young boy found the sight of the boat deep with fish “amazing. My eyes popped just to see it.”

In a celebrated incident, now a staple of family lore, his grandfather John was swept up by a riptide and pronounced dead when pulled ashore. But a lifeguard refused to accept the verdict and pounded his chest until he drew a gasping breath. He lived another 15 years.

Says Cathy, “When my grandmother used to tell the story, at the end she always said the same thing. ‘And he had ice cream later in the day.’ ”

Margaret Stickel lived at 91 Cookman until 1965, when she moved to a nursing home and the family sold the house. Paul Horn’s mother, Frieda, a crack statistical typist, eventually moved to Mt. Hermon Way. Paul grew up to graduate from Yale and become a professor of psychology at Indiana State. But every summer he and Loyce would pack up the family station wagon and drive back to the Grove. They rented 83 Cookman before purchasing it in 1990.

Loyce Horn says that her daughters, Cathy and Holly, “spent every summer of their childhood in Ocean Grove. As soon as they graduated college, they moved to Ocean Grove. They married in Ocean Grove and they’re still in Ocean Grove.” (Sort of. Holly Horn, a professional violinist, lives in Manhattan but summers here and is the owner and director of the Ocean Grove Violin Academy. Cathy, a family therapist, lives in Neptune City.)

As 91 Cookman became, in Horn’s word, “horrible,” he and his wife would look away when they passed the house. Now, with renovation underway, they fantasize about keeping it in the family. (Green plans to sell it after he’s done with the renovation.)

A few days ago Paul Horn walked up to the house, where a dumpster is now parked in front. His grandmother used to call the verdant side yard her “outdoor living room.” He pointed to the dilapidated second-floor porch. “That’s where my cousin had his hammock.”

The memories live still.

Today: The Stickels’ great granddaughter, Cathy Cooper, and her dad, Paul Horn, on the porch of the old house. Photo by Mary Walton

MUSIC by Charley Pride:

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Members of the NYU team (L to R): Marlee Roberts (producer), Nora Unkel (assistant director), Craig Clayton (writer) , and Ben Nelson (director) on the porch at 124 Main Avenue. Paul Goldfinger photo.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor and film critic @Blogfinger.  Re-post from November, 2012:

Did you ever hear of Spike Lee, Joel Coen, Ang Lee, and Oliver Stone? Well those film makers are all alumni of the NYU Film School, a division of the Tisch School of the Arts. It is one of the finest film schools in the country, and we had a team of their students in town this weekend, making a short movie called “Still.”

Tisch School of the Arts. Greenwich Village. From the NYU web site.

Marlee Roberts, the producer of the film “Still,” spoke to us in the living room at 124 Main Avenue on a cold Ocean Grove Sunday morning. She and her production team had been looking for a house that seemed like it was from the 1950’s. When they found the “cozy” cottage on Main, they were “very excited.”

“We were searching for a special town for our film”, she said , “And this was perfect.”

The quaint little Ocean Grove cottage was buzzing with activity. Members of the team were all over the house when we stopped by. On Saturday they had recreated a party in the living room. They also had shot some footage in the old-fashioned kitchen and now they were upstairs in the bedroom. “Our film is rated PG-13,” Marlee said, “and it is totally student run—no faculty involved.”

Filming in the bedroom. Photo by NYU crew

It is evident that this is serious filmmaking. The actors are not only college students, but they are professionals, and the standards are quite high. When it was time to say, “Aaand action,” I could hear a voice call out from upstairs, “Nobody move, or talk…don’t even breathe.” Then everyone who had been moving, talking and breathing froze. It looked like a wax museum for a few minutes.

Lighting the set and adjusting the sound. Photo by the NYU crew.

Marlee told us that “Still” would be a short film—about 18 minutes— and the goal would be to distribute it to film festivals. It’s about a young couple who have found the fountain of youth, so their love story goes on for awhile.

The filming began in Secaucus, but the Ocean Grove setting was the main location. After 1 1/2 days in town, the crew would be going to Spring Lake and then Manhattan. After that the post-production work begins.

Marlee, an actress, singer and filmmaker, is an animated and lovely young woman from North Arlington, New Jersey, who promised to send us one of her songs for the Blogfinger Juke Box. We suggested that she let us show her finished film in town when it is ready. She liked that idea.

I can see it now: “The Blogfinger Film Festival presents ‘Still’.” Let’s do it!  (PS –does anyone have a red carpet we can borrow?). As for this article, it’s a wrap.

Editor’s Note: It was a delight to watch these young filmmakers work with such passion in creating an original film in our town. Thank you to Flo Meier, the owner of that “perfect” Ocean Grove cottage, who alerted us to this special event.

And to the crew of “Still” here’s a musical gift. Sidney Bechet, the great French jazz saxophonist, plays “Si Tu Vois Ma Mère” which is the opening music for Woody Allen’s new hit film “Midnight in Paris.” I suspect no NYU film student can possibly graduate without knowing Woody’s work.    —PG

 

2018 update photo from Marlee’s website Marleeroberts.com where you can see her stepping up the ladder of fame.   One of the winners at this event, Tisch 48 Film Festival, was Ben Nelson, the director of “Still,” seen in our photograph above.

Here is a link to a 2014 Marlee Christmas music video which we posted on BF.

Marlee Roberts music video

We recently received an email from Marlee.  She wanted to know how we were doing in Ocean Grove.  Maybe she could make a movie about our Parking Wars.

Tisch48+Award+Ceremony

Tisch 48 Film Festival- Red Carpet Awards Ceremony. Marlee is in front. The movie “Still” partly filmed in OG won an award here. 2012. Photo from Marlee’s website—Marleeroberts.com

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January 23, 2018.     This article was posted 4 months ago and is relevant today because of the latest news.  Read it for background.

The Aurora in Ocean Grove

The Aurora in Ocean Grove. 6 Atlantic Avenue.  Internet photo.

 

Aerial view of the Aurora. Source: Zillow

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger   (updated post from 2013)

The Aurora on Atlantic Avenue in Ocean Grove, NJ is listed as a single family home. It sits on 4 lots with ocean views from 3 levels (and the top.)  The house is still for sale—since 2013.

Built in 1884 , the Aurora  has a garage and room to park several cars  (or maybe two Bentleys).

This grand old hotel is considered a major Victorian historic treasure even when compared to the rest of the country  (per historian Ted Bell.)  It became even more renowned when the current owner converted it to a single family house.  It cannot be changed  back into a hotel.  If you buy it, you will need a few more bathrooms.  We are told that it needs a lot of work inside.

The Aurora Hotel when it was a hotel. They say that Broadway celebrities liked to stay there. (Source–Zillow)

The Aurora is perfect for the man who has everything, including more than one wife; or a playboy with lots of playmates.   And, in case you are wondering if there is enough room, the Aurora also has a finished basement.

So, even though the price has been reduced substantially and seems to be a relative bargain, the issue is what can a buyer do with it?   The current owner purchased the property because he wanted room for his large family, but 30 bedrooms?  That would be one bathroom for 6 bedrooms, which has the potential for some family warfare.

So what would a new owner do with this huge property?

Other uses, besides a single family  house, are technically prohibited because of zoning, including a hotel, a drug rehabilitation facility, a casino,  a brothel, a frat house, a dormitory for Yeshiva students, a rooming house for Camp Meeting religious tourists, a multi-family condominium, a school, or a rooming house.  You cannot rent rooms in Ocean Grove—so Airbnb is out.  And there is no parking for more than 4 cars.

Of course, creative zoning without on-site parking is part of the Ocean Grove/Neptuner culture.  How about Mary’s Place where two single family houses were supposed to go?  It is now a  spa/respite shelter for female cancer victims.  It is officially a single family house with 10 bedrooms.

The Mary’s Place  precedent might work for the Aurora. Turn that into a shelter for some victim group.  The Neptune Zoning Department has proven itself to be very creative under Bernie Haney. They were the ones who found a solution for Mary’s Place, not the Planning Board.  There’s a lot of money going into drug rehabilitation these days.  Del Ray Beach in Florida is such a place.

And how about the Grand Atlantic Hotel which was turned into a home for nuns?  What kind of zoning legerdemain made that happen?    And what kind of zoning allowed Grove Hall to become a conference center/65 room hotel for  visitors to use while attending religious based conferences?

Or consider the North End Redevelopment Plan which was supposed to consist of 25 single family Victorian style houses, but now the plans, after major zoning changes,  consist of 165 residential units including condominiums, an underground garage,  and a hotel.

And then there was the Surf Avenue House conversion into condominiums without parking.  That hotel was officially listed as a single family house before the owner got the designation changed to “hotel” so it could  go condo.    And how about the the Manchester Hotel which was to go condo until it burned down.

That’s the problem with precedents.   The double standards and favoritism in town create precedents.  What’s to stop the Aurora buyers from tapping into the same sort of special treatment?

JERRY ORBACH:

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A rare photo of moi when I was in my prime, just last week.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger  (interviewer and interviewee and interloper in chief:)

Q:  Why did you name Eileen Goldfinger as food editor?  Isn’t that nepotism?

A:  No.  I prefer to call it “affirmative action”

Q:  Where will you be eating dinner tonight?

A: Well, it should be in the dog house, but we don’t have a dog

Q: You really like music. How did that interest develop?

A: My mother sang show tunes all day long and she insisted that I play the sax—but not at the same time.  In the band I met some nice girls with rhythm, so I stuck with it. I liked to watch the horn players use their spit valves.

Q: Who is your favorite photographer and why?

A:  Edward Weston. Because his black and white images of peppers, sea shells, nudes and toilet bowls were beautiful and  unique…..also he slept with all his models.

Q: Do you miss practicing medicine?

A: Only the fun parts, like when I would talk into my stethoscope and say, “Testing, testing, testes.”  Some of my former colleagues still enjoy that one liner. But, you know, it’s all in the timing.

Q:  What was your most amazing medical case?

A:   A young woman came to the ER when I first entered practice.  She had a heart rate of 180/min.  I turned her upside down—-then right side up.  She was cured, and I was famous.

Q. What cars do you like?

A:    I love stick shift sports cars. Over the years I have had a Fiat Spider, Triumph Spitfire, Porsche 911 and a BMW Z4.  I don’t go fast, but my favorite maneuvers are cornering and acceleration.  (That’s how I am in bed also—when I am sleeping.)   In Ocean Grove I have the Blogmobile.

Q:  Were you in the military?

A. Yes, I was an officer in the  Navy Medical Corps  and I fought the battle of Virginia Beach.  I had three haircuts in one month and I loved the white uniform. I also had a rubber stamp that said  “bull****” The best part was the saluting—instant respect.

Q Why did Eileen agree to marry you?

A. It’s a fair question. She was 16 years old, and I took her for her first lobster and her second Broadway show.  I took her to see Fiorello, and she left the theatre humming—that’s what tipped the scales. If you can make a girl hum, that is a big deal.

Q. Why do you allow both Jack Bredin and Kevin Chambers to opine on BF?

A. Because they both laugh at my jokes and they both use their real names and they are not afraid to tell the truth.  Jack used to be in show business, and Kevin went to school with Walt Whitman.

Q: What is the future for Blogfinger?

A: We will spend a lot of time searching for an honest man.  We also hope to interview a real celebrity some day, like Ted Bell.

Q: What do you like best about Ocean Grove?

A:  I enjoy the way people are interested in raccoons, snow plows, good coffee, and flying the American flag on their houses. The demographics are fascinating: always changing— like the sands.     I also have an unpaid job as official thong counter down at the beach. Last summer the count was zero. You heard it first @Blogfinger.

Q:  If you could speak at a high school graduation, what would you say?

A:  For the boys:  “Have no fear; girls want sex also”   For the girls: “Read Erica Jong’s books and don’t believe the feminists.”

Q: What should we call you?

A.  Call me Paul. My middle initial is @.  Only my childhood friends call me Pee Gee. My last name  must be sung to the Shirley Bassey version of “Goldfinger”.  You can hear it at the end of the “about” section tab at the top of this page.

Q: What is the most outrageous idea that you ever had?

A:  “Kill the umpire.”

Q: What do you think of this interview?

A:  It sucks. Can I say “sucks” on this blog?

Q: What’s your favorite song?

A:  I have many, but I guess, anything that takes me back to the gym at Rutherford High School when, festooned with crepe paper, and with the lights semi-low, my friends and I strolled over to the girls’ side and found one who would slow dance with us.

For example, here are THE VELOURS with a song and lyrics that remind me of those dances when we all knew the rules.  When it was prom time,  it wasn’t just the music; it was the smell  of carnations pinned to the lapel of a white dinner jacket, a corsage on the girl’s wrist, and the rustle of those  crinolines.

 

 

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A high definition recording of speech showing vocal fry at the end.

A high definition recording of speech showing vocal fry at the end.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger.net

Did you ever notice the bizarre manner of speech adopted by young women and girls lately?   It actually is a speech pattern that has evolved from what used to be called “valley girl speech” in the 1980’s. That pattern mostly consisted of “uptalk” where the voice rises at the end of a sentence, making a statement into a sort of question.

In 2013, this phenomenon has evolved to consist of several components, but the most annoying is “vocal fry” where the pitch drops and growls, mostly at the end of sentences.  The other variations include the use of “like” punctuating every few words, but guys do that too.  Here is a video that discusses vocal fry on the Today show.

www.today.com/video/new-speech-pattern-of-young-women-vocal-fry-44540995528

Some say that only “old guys” find this sort of speech to be ridiculous, but there are women who dislike it as well. I began to notice it a couple of years ago and, for some reason, found it obnoxious and irritating. At first it seemed like a way of talking used only by dopey teenage girls, but recently I have noticed it being paraded on TV and radio by otherwise intelligent and accomplished women.

At first I thought, “She needs to see a speech coach, because it is so distracting.”  And then I would wonder, “Is she going to talk like this for the rest of her life?”    “Did she actually go on a job interview speaking like that?”

But then I thought, “I’m just too sensitive as to how people speak—-get over it.”

However it turns out that many people have noticed this trend in female vocalizing, and some experts have written about it and some have found some redeeming value to this style of speech.

Most observers have a negative view , while some talk about how anyone’s speech can be changed, for example by moving to the south and then saying, “Y’all.”  So girls hear their friends talking this way, or hear Brittney Spears sing this way or hear women on TV such as the Kardashians  (whoever they are.)

By the way, starting sentences with the word “so” is also getting to be a common speech technique to give the impression that the speaker is merely continuing a conversation that has already begun or introducing a new topic.  So I do it myself and find it to be a useful communication method, but now I have to stop it because it is becoming omnipresent and sloppily used.

A related manner of speech is to start a sentence with “and.”   Below is a  song by Barry Manilow (“When October Goes”)   It starts with “…and when October goes..”   The lyrics are by Johnny Mercer, one of the best lyricists ever.   And, you know, starting that song with “and” really does work—I like it that way.  OK OK, saying “you know” is also obnoxious…ya know what I’m saying?  And so is “like” as in “this article is like getting boring already.”

So I guess it’s good that language changes, otherwise we all would be speaking like Willie Shakespeare.  (What? You don’t think they had nicknames in the 16th century?   Getouttahere.!)

Here are some related links:

2011 Journal of Voice:

www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0892199711000701

2012 NY Times article on female speech

Vocal fry in the NY Times 2012

2015  NPR  on female speech patterns:

www.npr.org/2015/07/23/425608745/from-upspeak-to-vocal-fry-are-we-policing-young-womens-voices

MUSICAL ADD-ONS:

So, here is a Johnny Mercer song which begins with the word “And”

“When October Goes”  by Barry Manilow (music) and Johnny Mercer  (lyrics)

And here is Harry Nilsson who knows something about people talking at him. So you may recall that this music is from Midnight Cowboy, which is on the Blogfinger Unforgettable Movie list.

2017 update:   Yesterday, October 9,  the  Wall Street Journal ran a piece on this subject, but this time a female linguist had a somewhat different take.  She finds that women who talk like this are victimized at work because of their speech pattern. She says that men also speak that way, so the idea that such speech is specific to women is a form of oppression.

I think this “linguist” has an agenda that is political and is not really about the speech patterns that we reported on in 2013.  She says that the pattern was only first observed in 2015, but our article shows otherwise.  In addition she only mentions vocal fry and not the other components mentioned in our article above.

Her interview is fake news because women are in fact the ones that use such speech predominantly. Men may sometimes have a sort of vocal fry, but it is indiginous to their maleness and not a form of speech meme acquired by women almost exclusively.

And, by the way, Blogfinger struck a nerve in 2013 with our post (above). It has become the most viewed article of ours compared to our roughly 7,000 posts in our archive. It shows that few experts are reporting on this and also that lots of people are interested and find us through Google searches and links sent from BF.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

Here is the link to the WSJ:

www.wsj.com/articles/young-women-speak-older-ears-hear-vocal-fry-1507649162

LITTLE WILLIE JOHN with “Talk to Me.”

“Talk to me, talk to me
Um-mm, I love the things you say
Talk to me, talk to me
In your own sweet gentle way”

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Founders’ Park. October 14, 2011.    Paul Goldfinger photo   © Reposting because of the good news that a serious fundraising effort is now underway to bring back the landmark fountain.  Ted Bell says that they now have $40,000. When they reach $60,000, he can send the relic to Alabama for restoration.

 

2017 display at the site of the 4-tiered metal fountain. Courtesy of Ted Bell, HSOG. Click to enlarge.  Ted Bell is standing next to Stokes in the photo.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

2011 original post:….     “The only ones that use the park are the dog walkers and those cutting through to get to Asbury. No benches to sit on, no lighting, a bit of wasted space, no one uses the park!”

This remark, referring to Founders’ Park, is from a commenter on Blogfinger. His grim assessment, coupled with the current bleak nocturnal image of the Park, might make a stranger wonder why they don’t just pave the place, light it up like Coney Island, and then use it for parking. Well, perhaps a little more information is in order:

Founders’ Park is not only the largest open grassy space in Ocean Grove, but it is unique in other ways. I have always enjoyed walking or biking through and around the Park. It is a lovely place to visit in daylight and it seems to have its own personality.

The setting — with Wesley Lake to the north, a marvelous but decrepit antique fountain in the center, big old trees, and historic houses around the perimeter — creates a very special location that is a delight to visit.

On the south side are a row of identical white historic cottages that are owned and maintained by the CMA; if you haven’t see them, take a walk there. At the northeast corner, facing the lake, is a home restoration that will become famous, including a red roof and a yellow body; don’t miss it.

There are multiple foot paths through the Park which remind me of a large grassy square in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.  The Ocean Grove Beautification Project adds its special touch with flowers around the fountain.

The Historical Society is looking into a restoration of the fountain. Wouldn’t that be great? In summer you can watch the swan boats go in circles. And over at the north edge is an 1880 canon from the Civil War. It is aimed at Asbury Park — perhaps a symbol of an ambivalent relationship with our “sister city.”

Founders’ Park is a walkers’ park — no benches there, but that is part of the allure. It is quiet and uncrowded. People seem to take their time as they traverse the space. A lone figure walking across the Park seems like a metronome. The trees and the breezes are also in motion; the Park has a rhythm of its own.

One time I met a couple from out of town who spread a blanket and had their lunch. They were the only ones there. I spoke to  them for a Blogfinger quote; they said they “loved” to visit the Grove, and their routine was to picnic in the Park.

And let’s not forget that this place is a historic landmark. In July of 1869, a group of 22 Methodists set up tents in a clearing that would become Founders’ Park. Historian Richard Gibbons said that the site was chosen because most of what would become Ocean Grove was “wilderness, desert, desolation.”

They held a service there on July 31, 1869, in the tent of Mrs. Thornley. It was the beginning of a special town, and any assessment of Founders’ Park must include this memory.

So now we have the Jekyll and Hyde image of Founders’ Park — one ominous face by night and one happy face by day. It is a dilemma. Maybe the way to go is to light the park better, have more patrols, and be careful over there at night — take someone you like with you, preferably a big guy.

Perhaps the HSOG will establish a fund to restore the fountain. I pledge $100.00 as the first offering.

PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND  with TOM WAITS:    “Corinne Died on the Battlefield.”  They used to have Civil War reenactments at Founders Park:

Editor’s Note 2017:  Ted Bell, OG historian and author, is leading the drive to raise the necessary funds for the fountain restoration. They need to raise $106,500 to restore the fountain which is listed in 2017 by “Preservation New Jersey” as one of the state’s 10 most endangered historic places.

Bring your donation to there Historical Society of Ocean GRove,NJ, PO Box 446—-50 Pitman Avenue.  info@oceangrovehistory.org

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Morning, Main Avenue, Ocean Grove, New Jersey. By Paul Goldfinger

Editor’s note: 8//18/17.     Recently we have seen a fragrance shop and a Christmas shop open on Main Avenue.  We have been discussing the future of the Grove and we have questioned the idea that this should be a tourist town.

This article (below) from 5 years ago addresses that topic and will offer some perspective when we consider the businesses in the Grove today and when we realize that the residents of the town get short shrift if their  lifestyles are even considered.

By Paul Goldfinger, editor  @Blogfinger

In 2002, Mr. Ted David self-published a book called “The Other Side of  Ocean Grove.”  Mr. David was fascinated by the quirky nature of the town, so his chapters had titles like “The Wisdom Bench,” “Krisanna’s,” “Blasted Mosquitoes” and “The Gates.” Chapter 11, however, was called “Main Avenue.” About that subject, Mr. David said, “The Great Auditorium is the heart and soul of the Grove, but Main Avenue is its skeleton and nerves.”

Recently we learned that a toy store would open in town, and an interesting discussion developed as to the nature of Main Avenue and what kinds of businesses should be here. There is, however, no set policy on this subject, so perhaps we can learn something from history.

A long-time Grover told me that early in the town’s history there were businesses up and down Main and on the side streets. Judging from a published list from 1938, it would appear that she is correct. Ted David points out that the founders wanted businesses in town to serve only the community who lived here. They had little interest in tourism other than the summer church programs.

In 1938.* on Main Avenue, we had the following businesses:  1 restaurant, 2 pharmacies, 1 electrician, 3 plumbing and heating, 1 fish and vegetable, 1 bead shop, 1 jeweler/watch repair, 5 real estate/insurance, 2 newsstands, 1 taxi stand, 1 book/needle shop, 2 gift shops and 13 hotels. Down multiple other  streets were: 1 ice cream, 1 antique, 3 carpenters, 1 auto repair, 1 dry cleaning, 1 fish market, 1 greenhouse, 1 groceries and meats, 1 milk/dairy, 1 movie house, 1 butcher, 1 painting and decorating, and 4 restaurants.

Mr David points out that until around 1990, the downtown was still devoted mostly to businesses that served the townspeople. But since then, as Ocean Grove rebounded from a downhill slide in the ’70’s and ’80’s, the idea developed that Main Avenue should change to attract tourists, and that is where we are now.

Main Avenue 2010. Paul Goldfinger photo

In recent years we have lost a cleaners, an internist, a bank branch, a quality restaurant (Moonstruck),  two serious bakeries, a cafeteria, a real deli, a real grocery, a barber shop, a newsstand (recently), a gas station (at the hardware store) and a pharmacy.

Who’s to say what happens next on Main Avenue? In this town, we can’t even trust zoning to protect our town  (Remember Mary’s Place?)    We have a Chamber of Commerce, but what do they do for the town’s residents besides close Main Ave. for car shows and other events?  Do they ever consider the lifestyles and needs of those who actually live in town? And where’s our coffee shop?  

And is it time to abolish blue laws to give the town a pick-me-up? It’s been a new ball game since 1980. 

*  Ref: Gibbons History of Ocean Grove

JONI MITCHELL  “In France They Kiss on Main Street”

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