Archive for the ‘True Conversations on Blogfinger’ Category

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

SCENE: Wegmans under 15 checkout line. An African-American woman, perhaps age 40, was at the register. She had a pink flower in her hair.

Me: So, you’ve got the Billie Holiday look today.

She: (smiles) Do you like Billie Holiday?

Me: Very much.

She: What song of hers do you like?

Me: Uh (remembering my last blogpost) “April in Paris.”

She: How about “Good Morning Heartache?”

Me: Sure–that’s beautiful.

She: Begins singing a verse of that song. She is wonderful! The lady behind me and I stand there mesmerized. Then she finishes the verse and smiles, resuming her packing.

Me: That was so good!  Thank you. (It was the first time I was ever mesmerized in a grocery store )

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday

GOOD MORNING HEARTACHE:   Diana Ross played Billie Holiday in the movie “The Lady Sings the Blues” and she sang this song for the film, but in the version below we hear Billie Holiday herself.

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Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger


I guess a recorded phone message playing in your ear could be considered a form of conversation.

Today I was left a message from a call center in India. The man was named Janel, and he left me a brief message.  At the end of the recording he said,”Have a gay day.”

I listened to it over and over to see if he said “great day.”   But no, it was “gay day.”  I asked Eileen for a second opinion, and she agreed as to what he said.

I know that call centers often are from India, and his accent definitely proved the point.  I don’t know what is politically correct in India, but I assumed that the caller was just being kind in wishing me a gay day.

So I concluded that I should have a happy day and not one that involved any change in my usual preferences.


JOHN SEBASTIAN  “Welcome Back”

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Poster by a Florida artist at the Ft. Myers Art Show. The words are from a song–see below.*

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

SCENE:  Outside of Publix supermarket in Ft. Myers, Fla.  Leaving the store in front of me is a young couple carrying groceries.  The bright morning temperature at 62 degrees is a bit low for that southwestern part of Fla., but for my New Jersey sensibilities, it’s  a lovely day today.

She: Atchoo atchoo—two large sneezes

He:  God bless you

She: (recovering from her explosive sneezes)  “Aarrgh!  It’s the cold weather.”

Me  (having a thought –which is a sort of conversation–with myself ) “Really?  I just drove over 1,000 miles to get here, and she’s complaining?”

HARRY NILSSON from Midnight Cowboy:*

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Paul Goldfinger ©. c 2015. Asbury Park seen from Founders Park in Ocean Grove.

Scene:  Friday night, Labor Day weekend, 2017, on our porch in OG.  It’s 10 pm and it is dark out. There is an orange streetlight at our corner, and the moon is 3/4 full. But looking west on Mt. Hermon Way  (North End) it’s quite dark.

My son Stephen has been walking his dog Poojah in Firemen’s Park when he stops  to converse with a young woman who can’t find her car.

She’s been visiting a friend on Lake Avenue in A. Park.

She crosses the bridge to the Grove and finds Stephen.  He invites her onto our porch while they discuss her situation.  He calls me down.

Stephen said, “Dad, I don’t know the geography around here; can you help?”

She is in her twenties and she is alone. She is petite and pretty and she is calm and confident. She is lucid and oriented, but she doesn’t share her name.

She:  “I can’t find my car  (smiling.)  I parked it over here on a street named White-something.”

Me:  (thinking, she must mean Whitefield, one block away).   I can tell her where to go, but we are worried about her in the dark.   “Can I drive you around to find your car?”

She: “No thanks, just tell me where to walk.  You know, I crossed the bridge from here  into Asbury  because here the  parking  is free.”

Me:  (thinking–I’m glad she is comfortable enough in our town to trust us.)

“Just go down a block to find Whitefield  Avenue”

She: “Thanks so much, guys.”

She begins to walk into the darkness.

We watch her disappear.

MEL CARTER      “I Worry About You.”

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Ft. Myers, Florida, McGregor Blvd, near K-Mart. Paul Goldfinger ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor at Blogfinger.net

I was driving by K-Mart in Ft. Myers when I saw a camel by the side of the road. So I parked my car and walked a mile to see him.  He was snacking on some grass when I strolled over to take his picture.  I asked him, “What’s going on?”

He said, “I hear they’re having a sale on lawn furniture.”

“Do you live here? “ I asked.

“I come down from Jersey in the winter.  We travel in a long caravan on 95. We pack spices, silks, and belly dancers.”

“Where are you from?”  the camel asked.

“Ocean Grove, New Jersey” I said.

“Oh” said the camel. “Do you know Jack Bredin?”

Then he said that he was going to a costume party and didn’t know what to wear.  I said, “Go as a camel.”

He said, “I did that last year, but a guy in a camel costume won the prize.”*

I asked the camel if he liked walking in the desert. He said that it’s fine because he has 3 eyelids to protect him from sand.

But he wasn’t done chatting.  He said, “The blue whale’s tongue is heavier than a fully grown elephant.”


The Tigoo  PG photo

“No kidding,” I said.  Then I spotted the tiger.

It seems a mini-zoo had set up camp by the side of the road.  A little boy about three was looking at the tiger.  He said to his mom, “Mommy, can I play with the tigoo?”

Mom said “no.”

It’s up-tight mothers like that who cause childhood neuroses.

I went back to the car, avoiding the pony rides, because the sign said that ponies bite.

—Paul Goldfinger

* A Woody Allen joke from his standup days.”


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My name is Paul Goldfinger, but I never liked my name much——until I was introduced to Bond, James Bond; then the name thing changed for me.

Scene:   Quick Check, Rt. 33, Neptune.  I am there on a Sunday morning getting coffee and approaching the counter to pay.  A young man, high school age, curly red hair, awaits my arrival.  He wears a Quick Check uniform, including a green apron and a name tag.  He’s yawning.

Jospeh. November, 2019. Quick Check on Rt. 33, Neptune. Blogfinger photo ©  click once to read the tag.


Me:  Rough night?

He:  (Smiles)—out with my friends..

Me:  Did you know that teenagers have sleep deprivation in the morning and should take their SAT’s in the afternoon? (I’m thinking, this is a good kid, working a Sunday morning job.)

He: I heard about that. (Just then I notice his name tag.   It says, “Jospeh”)

Me:  Is that your name, or did they misspell your name tag?  (You never know with first names these days—Remember the movie “The Life of Pi?”)

He:  They spelled it wrong.

Me:  How do you pronounce your new name?

He: Jospeh

Me:  Goodbye Jospeh.  (I’m thinking why doesn’t he take off that silly name tag, or is he a kid with a brilliant sense of humor?  I like to think the latter.)

Note: Original post 2017.    I came back many months later  (in 2018 and again on a Sunday  morning in 2019)  and found him at the register. He still wore the Jospeh name-tag. I asked him if he was going to change it.  He smiled and shrugged, moving onto the next customer. He’s now a college student.

I thought, if I were still in high school, this kid would be my friend, and we all would call him Jospeh.


* “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”      From Romeo and Juliet.


Here is a link to a funny 2012 Charles Layton piece about names, on Blogfinger:




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Our doctor’s office. It is a treat to go there. Nov. 7, 2019. Paul Goldfinger ©


Paul Goldfinger, MD

Years ago doctors had their offices in houses.  Sometimes they lived in the same building.  You would walk in and sit in the living room. There was something reassuring about that; now they are all housed in sterile and often scary office buildings.

My internist has his office in a beautiful Victorian home near Ocean Grove. He’s a personable guy, the sort who makes you feel comfortable.   Then when you leave and step outside, especially on a nice day, you just take a deep breath and resume your life, hopefully with some optimism.

So I was walking up to the doctor’s front door as an elderly couple stepped out into the sunshine.  As I passed them I heard her say,  “So….do ya wanna go to the diner?  You can get pork roll.”

But, you know, leaving a doctor’s office with encouraging news can really result in a sudden desire to have something wonderful to eat–a celebration of still being alive. Who cares if pork roll isn’t on your diet?



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This bride-to-be  got lost searching for her car in OG. Months later she turned up sitting on a bench outside the Pathway Market playing scratch-off.     Blogfinger photo.  Summer, 2017.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

Scene:  An Ocean Grove corner on a perfect beach day, July 16, 2017. Parking gridlock.  A women drives around and sees no open spaces. She sees a man walking along a long row of parked cars, looking around.

She:  “Are you leaving?”

He: “I need to find my car first.”

Does this happen?  It sure does.  I saw two befuddled women stymied.  One told me that her car was parked “by the church.”

M  (for me)  “Oh,” I said, “Do you mean the Great Auditorium?”

S  (for she):  “No, I mean the church.”

M:  “Oh. It probably was St. Paul’s Church?”

S:  “Uh, which way is the Ocean?”

M:  “OK, here’s the story. Cross Main Avenue and then walk three blocks to Webb Ave.  You will see the church. The bells are ringing. ”  (Now you know for whom the bell tolls.)

S:   “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

BLIND BOYS with directions to the “Promised Land.”

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Save our environment. Photo in Ocean Grove by Moe Demby, 2015. Blogfinger staff. ©

Save our environment. Photo in Ocean Grove by Moe Demby, 2015. Blogfinger staff. ©    Updated and re-posted  from 2016.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.  2016.

Scene:  Neptune Township Mother Ship.  I am at the counter occupied partly by the Assistant Land Use Administrator–George Waterman. On the counter are some educational  fliers.  One of them seemed interesting: “Solutions to Stormwater Pollution.”

It said, “Stormwater pollution is one of New Jersey’s greatest threats to clean and plentiful water, and that’s why we’re all doing something about it.”

It also said, “Pollution on streets, parking lots and lawns is washed by rain into storm drains, then directly to our drinking water supplies and the ocean and lakes our children play in.  Fertilizer, oil, pesticides, detergents, pet waste, grass clipping: You name it and it ends up in our water.”

PG: (thinking)  “It says, ‘Easy Things You Can Do Every Day to Protect Our Water,’ so what about Wesley Lake?”

GW (walking over to the counter where I am perusing his flier)   “What have you got there?”

PG  (handing it to him)  “George—What is Neptune Township doing about dirty street water runoff?”

GW (smiling; he removes all copies of the flier and jokingly begins to walk away)  “I think we should dispose of these.”

PG:  (With a name like Waterman they could give him that job……)


September 24, 2018 update by Jack Bredin and Paul Goldfinger, reporting from Blogfinger.net:

In the past, someone changed the tax map to show a new name for Wesley Lake:  “Wesley Detention/retention basin.” No one at the Township, including the Wesley Lake Commission and the Township Committee would admit to doing this, but someone had to tell the Tax Assessor Bernie Haney to do it, and one would need a resolution from the Committee to make that change; but there was no such resolution.

We know that the dirty water street drainage comes down Rt 33 from Neptune Boulevard and then is carried north into A. Park  by a pipeline via Rt. 71 into the Lake.

The Rt. 33 drainage is the responsibility of the State since it is a State road.

The Rt. 71 component is a County road, and the big pipe that drains into the western end of the Lake is the responsibility of the County.

No wonder the State DEP and the County have been quiet on this issue.

It now seems that the Neptune change in name was done to help developers justify the dumping of dirty water into Wesley Lake.   The polluters of Wesley Lake are the State, the County, Asbury Park, and Neptune Township.

The Township should immediately pass a resolution to return the official tax map name to “Wesley Lake,” or be accused of being complicit in helping the North End Redeveloper subsequently  pollute the lake even more.


RUSS CARLYLE with BLUE BARRON  “Garden in the Rain.”

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A tiny  light in her brain could explain her unusual interest. Paul Goldfinger photo. Rumson, NJ. Summer 2016. ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Scene:  Checkout line at Wegmans.  A young female worker, high school age,  was gamely trying to place a variety of objects into bags.  She seemed to be determined to fit every item into just the right place, sort of like a jigsaw puzzle. I watched her intensity as she forged ahead with her task.  At times she would remove something and rearrange the packing.

It actually was complicated if someone could translate the process  into a blackboard full of mathematical equations.  As she packed the bags I put them into a small cart which was a challenge, requiring a switch to a giant cart.  Eileen said that she only needed a “few things.”  Sure.

I was fascinated by the checker’s job and I said to her:

Me:  You must be really good at jigsaw puzzles.

She:  Not really

Me: Oh..so what are you really good at?

She: Untying knots.

Me:  laughing—you’re serious.

She:   (smiling)   Yes—I love to untie knots, like the one around your neck.   (She was referring to the small items I wear on a chain. They had become tangled.)

Me:  Oh, that is unusual and it is funny. (Wondering—how does she keep busy pursuing what she loves?)

She:  (As Eileen finished  paying the bill)   Have a good day.

Me: I was thinking that she needs to find another avocation. Surely she has some other favorite things.


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Did anyone ever take you to the cleaners? Paul Goldfinger photograph. Ocean Township. c2014. ©

Did anyone ever take you to the cleaners? Paul Goldfinger photograph. Ocean Township. 2014. ©


Eileen brings her sweater to the little mom and pop Korean cleaners. It’s a  Tuesday.

Eileen:  Please clean my sweater.

Little lady behind the counter:  When do you want to pick it up?

Eileen:  Thursday

Little lady:  No—Friday after 4:30.

STEPHEN SONDHEIM  from the show “Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”  Album “Putting it Together.”


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Transcript below  is obtained from the official CD-R recording made available to Blogfinger by the Township Clerk.  See our original post about this confrontation between a citizen and the Neptune Township Mayor.    Confrontation link

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @blogfinger

Scene: This exchange took place at 3 hours and 20 minutes into the meeting, during the public portion. Mr. Jack Bredin was called to the microphone. Presiding was Mayor Mary Beth Jahn.

Bredin had 5 minutes, and he began by quickly questioning Committeeman Randy Bishop about the New NERP concept plan which had been announced. After that he brought up the subject of a recent Redevelopment meeting that Bishop attended regarding the NERP but at which the Mayor, a member of the negotiating team, was absent.

The exchange below lasted about one minute and occurred about midway during Bredin’s 5 minute allowed time. At no time during the exchange did his time expire.

JB : Mayor, were you at the meeting?

MBJ: No I wasn’t able to be there.

JB: You had something busy to do? Did you arrange the meeting? Did somebody write you a letter and tell you not to go or to go or what?

MBJ: First of all, watch your tone, OK, ’cause I’m not in the mood tonight.

JB: Well yeah, you could watch your tone too.

Two loud bangs of the gavel.  (a signal for the police officer in the room to remove the speaker.)

MBJ: Thank you so much Mr. Bredin. You can take your seat now.

JB: I can take my seat?

MBJ: Yes you can.

JB: My 5 minutes are up?

MBJ: Yes they are.

JB: You’re calling the police?

MBJ: Yes I am.

JB: You’re calling the police to remove me?

MBJ:  I am. I am.

JB: What a terrible thing.

MBJ shouts: I’m a bitch. Sit down.

JB, as he moves away from the mic to go to his seat: I agree

Sound is muffled after that until the next speaker comes to the mic.


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