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November 15, 2014

How I Discovered the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. Remembering Scottie McMillan: a three year boy murdered. How I Became a Flexitarian. November 14, 2014 Calvin Schwartz

Filed under: November 2009 — Tags: , , — earthood @ 10:59 am

How I Discovered the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. Remembering Scottie McMillan: a three year boy murdered. How I Became a Flexitarian. November 14, 2014 Calvin Schwartz


a statue at New Jersey Vietnam Veteran's Memorial

a statue at New Jersey Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial

the panels of names memorialized

the panels of names memorialized



I was in college through most of the sixties; Pharmacy school and internship became a seven year commitment. They were turbulent times with many of my generation serving and dying. I have always been haunted about what the war did to the fabric of my generation. I’d never been to The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial; somewhere deep within, there was an element of needing to be there and express my gratitude and caring.

Cut to a brutally cold and windy February Friday afternoon seven years ago as I headed south on the Garden State Parkway; my exit is 123 south; I’ve been getting off the exit there for 18 years. Yet something this day made me drive- by my exit and continue south. I passed the next contingency exit and still headed south. My car vibrated in the extreme wind. I finally knew what I was doing. Something in the universe was taking me to the Vietnam Memorial and I wondered why so random a journey on such a cold desolate windy afternoon.




a part of the Vietnam Era. I finally made it to Haight-Ashbury in San Franciso a few weeks ago. I posed with my niece and two hippie holdouts. BUT I observed my hair was longer than the hippie guy.

a part of the Vietnam Era. I finally made it to Haight-Ashbury in San Franciso a few weeks ago. I posed with my niece and two hippie holdouts. BUT I observed my hair was longer than the hippie guy.

the entrance to the Visitors  center.

the entrance to the Visitors center.




There were no cars in the parking lot adjacent to the Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center; it was close to 3:30PM so I knew they still had to be open. Damn, it was cold. I walked briskly through the entrance and approached the front desk where two receptionists stared me down. I knew what they were thinking; why was I here? No one else was there.  And I told them bluntly, something made me come here this day. “Where is the Memorial?” It was a short walk in brutal cold and wind.

The Memorial is made up of 366 panels for each day of the year, January 1 through December 31 and leap year; soldiers are memorialized on the day they died (all 1563 New Jersey  soldiers who were killed or listed as missing) I looked at each name in 10 degree wind chill. It took a long time to scan all the names and somehow I stopped feeling cold. Something told me to pick two random names and hold them close and think about them as best I can for the rest of my days and so I did. Here’s thinking of Arthur J Abramoff and Albert Potter; in my thoughts often these last seven years. And now I think of a song title, “What’s It All About Alfie?”




I'll always try to remember 3 year old Scottie McMillan

I’ll always try to remember 3 year old Scottie McMillan

looking forward to many Thanksgiving celebrations with my great precious nephew Hudson Avery

looking forward to many Thanksgiving celebrations with my great precious nephew Hudson Avery


Last week news came from Philadelphia television of the brutal murder of a three year old boy, Scottie McMillan; there was an accompanying picture of this angelic boy’s face. He was beaten and tortured for three days and hung upside down by his mother and her boyfriend. There are murders everyday here in the tri-state area but this got to me and I can’t find the words to express myself. I paced and walked around the house. A few days later, I heard about a memorial for the little boy so I found a candle and walked outside at 7 PM in a tee-shirt, sweat pants and socks and stayed there in the cold staring at a clear sky and bright moon, verbalizing to something up there that I don’t know what to do. I still don’t.

Finally Thanksgiving is approaching and soon Christmas. It’s my favorite time of year. I savor every moment and conjure memories of family and friends, many long departed. I have a bucket list; one year when I’m ready, I’ll go to northern Montana in a snow storm ( I wrote this into my novel, ‘Vichy Water’) and go to Midnight Mass. It’s something I know I have to do. Thanksgiving is a time of turkeys and giving thanks and being grateful. I’m grateful to something up there that made me stop eating red meat in 1975. It’s a healthy life style. The other day I read an article that reinforces how deleterious red meat can be. Red meat contains carnitine, a compound that interacts with stomach bacteria to become a third party which hardens the arteries. I have not eaten anything with four legs since 1975 but I do eat chicken, turkey and fish. Here is my journey to becoming a flexitarian. And thanks to Hoop La Ha for letting me reprint my story originally published by them.







I posed with this cow at a Rutgers basketball game and I assured it that I do NOT eat any of its 4 legged relatives.

I posed with this cow at a Rutgers basketball game and I assured it that I do NOT eat any of its 4 legged relatives.

No more wire hangars and no red meat from any 4 legged creatures.

No more wire hangars and no red meat from any 4 legged creatures.

In 1975 I stopped eating red meat, perhaps for the wrong reason. With one lapse in commitment, I’ve been an adherent. I didn’t say I was a vegan and no animal products in my diet nor leather sandals on summer feet.  A Swedish Facebook friend said I was a Flexitarian. I remembered that  Amanda reassured that flexitarianism, not that there’s anything wrong with it, is an omnivore who predominantly eats a plant based diet but also eats animal meat occasionally. That’s me, Miss Crabtree. I do eat some chicken and turkey and fish just no red meat.

Back to the future; in 1975, I was just divorced; single again but out of the loop for five years. I hit hip book stores for contemporary guidance on dating. Every first chapter seemed to perseverate on finding commonality in early dating. I yellow highlighted commonality. Along comes a spider (annoying relative) who gives me a girl’s phone number with instructions to call. Spiders are bad news for me. Six months later, the spider continues to annoy so I finally call the girl. Walking up the 1/4 mile from the curb to the mansion, I pondered life. The castle door opens and a 6’ tall blonde blue-eyed girl (I’m 6’5 ½”) invites me into the library.

“What are we doing tonight?” she asked.

“I thought we’d go into Manhattan for a movie and dinner.”

“The movie’s good but I can only eat in two restaurants.”

“Why?” I was confused.

“I’m a vegan and there are only two places with vegan menus.”

Remembering the yellow highlighted word, commonality, I said, “I’m a vegan too.”

Noticeably, her face lit up. “You’re my first vegan date. How long have you been?”

I also like honesty in dating. “Not long,” thinking six seconds.

She lasted two dates but staying a vegan appealed to me but not my pot roasted, corned beef mother. Six months later, mother and I compromised. No red meat but poultry and fish. In social settings, I liked saying that I don’t eat red meat. It was cool and as the months transitioned to years, it felt good saying I don’t eat red meat. The longer I kept at it, the more investment it was to honestly say I don’t. And that’s the story of my 39 year journey of abstinence; nothing more than silly pride, stratospheric will power and honesty with a growing concern to health issues. There was once a transgression; I decided to go off the diet for a week 25 years ago. I’d map out (before MapQuest) some good delis in Jersey and ingest every imaginable processed red meat concoction. A business newspaper simultaneously reported upswings in restaurant take-out business during transgression. My second wife came from a long line of specialized brisket creators and I gently battled with new mother-in-law over my no red meat status.  But on July 21st 1989, I was back to a strict adherent.

Becoming more involved with environmental issues, I realized the value of being away from red meat and not supporting an industry that uses monstrous amounts of increasingly precious water for cows grazing in the grass. Caring about earth obsessively now, and realizing it’s all we got, I’ve been changing my life style. Joan Crawford in the movie ‘Mommie Dearest’ yelled to her little daughter, Christina, “No wire hangers;” they were rich and could afford fancy hangers. It was a scary movie scene; obviously impactful. The next day I told my cleaners, “No wire hangers” so that I get clean folded shirts in a recyclable bag; that’s what the green writing says. Look at the interplay; no red meat and no wire hangers as I’ve evolved into an environmentally conscious earth denizen.

My blog is over for the day. I am grateful for that something in the universe that makes me think and write these things.   I want to believe I’m closer to understanding myself. But I’m not.

Happy Thanksgiving.





August 14, 2012

Olympic Memories: Flo Hyman. Royal Caribbean Nightmare. Please Let My Apples Turn Brown. Dr Sketchy Asbury Park N.J. I Am a New Word in the Dictionary: Flexitarian. August 14, 2012

Asbury Park

it’s me the blogger who is sometimes sporadically tardy





I can’t wait to talk about Asbury Park; it’s becoming a real love affair to remember; me and that Jersey shore town with all kinds of magical musical Springsteen energy and history. The Olympics are now over and I was glued to my television set just like I was back in 1968, 1972 and every four years (not 1980, Jimmy) through most of my relevant life. Speaking of glue, a dermatologist just told me a few weeks ago that when I get those little cracks in my fingers which annoy and cause depressing pain, I should get crazy glue and blast the suckers shut. I was a little hesitant about the crazy glue thinking it’s almost irreversible so instead I used hoof lacquer (the stuff for horses) and it worked. I just thought about the Jane Fonda 1969 movie, ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’  I think they take old race horses now and ship them to Mexico to be made into human food stuffs.






Asbury Park

Olympic great volleyball player Flo Hyman. always one of my heroes.



I love watching the Olympics; every four years I get a generation older; could’ve started and finished another college education and the Olympics come back. I’m four years older, wiser and that far removed from ever being an athlete in the Olympics. If I lived to be 100 years old, then the most Olympics I could ever see would be just 25 summer classics and that’s pushing it.









Asbury Park

Carli Lloyd scored the winning gold medal goal against Japan with seconds left. A Rutgers graduate too.





How I wish there was a bucket floating around a Jersey shore jetty that would lift and move me to attend an Olympics live. Imagine sitting in Wembley stadium last week and watching Carli Lloyd (Rutgers University) score two goals to give USA the gold medal in Women’s football (soccer) over Japan.  I sometimes think about Olympian Flo Hyman. I wonder how many viewers of NBC’s Olympic coverage know who she was; yes, an Olympian and not that long ago. I lament that more folks don’t know who she was and what she contributed to team USA winning a silver medal. Flo passed away much too young yet she impacted me enough to be blogging about her now.







Asbury Park

Jesse Owens. always an Olympic hero



In 1974, Hyman was a member of the US volleyball team, but the team did not play in the 1980 Olympic Games; the United States boycotted the Moscow Olympics because the Russians were messing around in Afghanistan.  I still remember Flo Hyman’s fast, hurting volleyball spike that hits at 100 mph. I loved to watch her play just like I do now with Misty Mae and Kerri. At the 1984 Olympics, Hyman, the tallest and oldest member of the team, led the US to the silver medal.








Asbury Park

First Lady Michelle Obama and Mayor Cory Booker at my grammar school, Maple Avenue where I was always tardy.



After the Olympics, Hyman moved to Japan, where she played for the Daiei team. In the summer of 1986, she intended to return to the United States permanently, but never got the chance. On January 24, 1986, Hyman collapsed while sitting on the bench.  She told her team to keep fighting, then moments later slid to the floor and died. It was a condition called Marfan’s Syndrome which affects tall people. I’m 6’5” and I still think about Flo Hyman, Jesse Owens and Bob Mathias among others. With respect to universe connectivity, I wonder why thoughts of Flo Hyman are always with me. One more Olympic thought; international sport and athletes are a beautiful thing. I get all choked up watching humanity interact on playing fields. Its 1960’s love and peace and gives the species and our globally warmed world, hope. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the species all signed the Kyoto protocol a month after the Olympics?



Asbury Park

Leaving Bayonne on Royal Caribbean under the Verrazano Bridge



Seemingly there’s always a reason why my blog gets tardy grades. I remember my Maple Avenue School in Newark in the 1950’s. Mrs. Obama visited my old grammar school a couple of years ago. The school report cards are still in my basement protected from rising hurricane waters so I can show grandchildren way in the future that their grandfather got unsatisfactory grades in tardiness. I was always late; still am. Even yesterday, in New York City hanging out with a social media guru, she told me that my tardiness may be a passive aggressive behavior disorder. I tongue and cheeked her (aggressively denying her notions) that I’ve been to a geneticist and my tardiness is chromosomal so I live with it and endear myself to readers, friends and family so my extant tardiness is overlooked. Therefore this blog is a little tardy (late) because I was away for 10 days on a cruise to the Caribbean.





Asbury Park

a view from the deck. it’s big.



As I go through the maturation process like fine wine or cheese, I’ve grown less accustomed and enamored with flying; perhaps a fear too; perhaps a lack of control (back in June, 1974 for about a half-hour I thought about taking flying lessons). Recent vacations have been designed around avoidance of Newark Airport and leaving on jet planes. Enter Bayonne, New Jersey and the cruise ships which leave for points south. Bayonne is a mere 20 minutes and one Turnpike toll away. In July we boarded Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas ship for a 10 day cruise to Bermuda and the Caribbean. We subliminally thought this was an elegant cruise line; we didn’t do enough homework. My blogging herein is to convey the message ‘buyers beware.’





Asbury Park

working out in the empty ship gym. where did all the flowers and people go.



No long laborious cruise diary necessary here; just the facts. Ten minutes in the stateroom, our olfactory sensation is bombarded by sewage odors. Three days later and a very uncaring, unresponsive housekeeping staff finally partially tends to the odors. We got a bottle of merlot for our troubled nostrils. I forgot to tell the housekeeping executive that since I saw the movie ‘Sideways’ a few Christmas vacations ago, I don’t drink “effen” merlot anymore.







Asbury Park

the infamous towel line. all that humanity waiting to get or return towels.



Food presentation was better back in 1955 at Maple Avenue School. I know lettuce is lettuce but throw a doily and some creativity into presentation. Three thousand passengers got one partially working low fat frozen yogurt machine. And afternoons were partially consumed by long lines waiting to take out or return pool towels. They don’t trust us anymore and throw our towel names into computers. Failure to comply is a $25 charge/towel.






Asbury Park

the boat in dock in bermuda


I wanted to wear a badge of honor: “I don’t drink so leave me alone and stop hovering over my lounge chair with melted iced concoctive drinks. I want peace in my time.´ Neville Chamberlain said that peace thing before World War II. They never stop hawking drinks. We didn’t have time to arrange a tour of San Juan that the ship provided for $49.95/person. It was a two hour bus tour around new and old San Juan. After leaving the ship once we docked in San Juan, a street tour service asked if we wanted a two hour tour of new and old San Juan for $10/person. We did. And this part of the blog is over. Oh and be careful of Royal Caribbean potato salad. It’s spiked with ham. And I am a flexitarian.






Asbury Park

a cemetery in old San Juan


Yes, flexitarian is in the blog title. So this now becomes the perfect segue. Just this morning I was listening to the ‘Today Show’ and a segment on new words being added to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. ‘F-bomb’ and ‘gassed’ (drained of energy), ‘tipping point’ (means we haven’t signed the Kyoto protocol and our earth is near tipping point so we’ll never be able to fix our planet so good-bye Miami and New Orleans and Key West. (Hemingway and Jimmy Buffet memories). Finally flexitarian. I am so redeemed. I’ve been calling myself a flexitarian for several years; way ahead of trending and lexicographers. A flexitarian is a vegetarian who sometimes eats meat, poultry or fish. I stopped eating red meat in 1975 (a long story) but I do eat chicken, turkey and fish. I’m so proud I’ve been officially defined now.






Asbury Park

the bird is real. hanging around the pier. $10 to sit on your shoulder. i’m too tall i reasoned.


Finally along the health related thoughts (remembering I’m also a trans-humanist and aspire to live to 150 years). There is now an apple that has been genetically modified not to turn brown. The Arctic Apple created by Okanagan Specialty Fruits is an apple that won’t turn brown when cut or bruised, keeping its perfect appearance. The brown harmless hue that develops when you bruise, bite or slice an apple comes from polyphenol oxidase (PPO) The company science team replaces a variety’s PPO-producing genes with “silenced” (low PPO-producing) versions extracted from other apples, aided by time-proven biotechnology tools. This results in apples that don’t produce enough PPO to brown. And I  wonder. Hey Mah, tell them to leave my apples alone. There’s this Russian scientist who someday will be able to take my entire cerebral essence (every cell, neuron, synapse) and transplant it into a Terminator cyborg and I get to live forever. By then, my blogs will never be late. Promiso.






Asbury Park

public speaking in old San Juan. and i have no further aspirations.




Finally last week I attended this Dr Sketchy Asbury Park event at Asbury Lanes and I loved it for a myriad of journalistic and sociological reasons. Here’s my words (pixs) describing my observations. I’m smiling. It’s purist fun being a writer, blogger and a fan of Andy Rooney, Charles Kuralt and Flo Hyman:






Asbury Park

the morning sailing back to Bayonne by the Verrazano. where was everybody. at the last buffet meal.



There’s a recurring theme to my words and explorations this past year. “I love Asbury Park.”  Sometimes I feel like Winston Zeddemore, the character from ‘Ghostbusters’ when he proclaims at the end of the movie, “I love this city.” I do. But it’s Asbury Park. I’ve been saying for a long time as well that I keep feeling a magic dust constantly descending upon this New Jersey seaside city. Part of the dust is definitely a Bruce Springsteen affectation; pure magic and inspirational. You can feel it everywhere. Good old palpable dust that moves you to creativity and dreams. If you want a piece of it, to experience it, then come to Asbury Park.






Asbury Park

asbury lanes, asbury park at night. scene of dr sketchy. and my shadow in in bottom of pix. how rod serling is that.



Asbury Park is becoming that iconic cultural hub for music, art, theater, food and walks on boards. I suppose there’s nothing quite like salt air, inhaled deeply to sweep you back to seeing news reports of President Eisenhower playing golf or Good Humor ice cream trucks pushing Chocolate Éclair bars; obviously my favorite; toasted Almond in second place.  Part of the allure of diversity of culture in Asbury Park is Dr Sketchy Anti-Art School. I think it’s time to tell the deal with Dr. Sketchy and why I have so much fun attending (as a journalist).






Asbury Park

sketching models at dr. sketchy


Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School is both a burlesque cabaret and life drawing event originating in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and was founded in New York City in 2005, by illustrator and former artist’s model Molly Crabapple and illustrator A.V. Phibes. They’ve grown globally with branches all over.  As of September 2007, Dr. Sketchy’s branches exist in 100 cities around the world. Branches vary in their conservatism and the skill of their artists. Asbury Park’s Dr Sketchy brings in eclectic, beautiful, charming, and fun models. I’ve been to several events which are always themed. Several months ago it was ‘vampires.’ The other evening was ‘horror.’ Sociologically speaking it’s quite an event; artists sketching and photographers capturing.






Asbury Park

with dr sketchy models courtney wood and jess stroh. and i always thought i was 6’5″. are times changing??




Asbury Park’s Asbury Lanes has hosted several Dr. Sketchy events. For a small cover charge you’ve got up to four hours of sketching models and themes. Poses range up to five minutes and sometimes you feel as if you’re on a movie set. Props and music put you in the themed mood; sometimes the models even act as impromptu judges for a captured particular sketch. Tim, the franchisee has been particularly gracious and helpful in keeping me in the information loop.






Asbury Park

Tim from Dr Sketchy presiding over a sketching contest with models.

Asbury Park

candles and bowling balls occupying same rack at asbury lanes. and welcome back to the future.


Back to Asbury Lanes; as one donut chain advertises; it’s definitely worth the trip to set a bowling foot back in time to bygone days of the Lone Ranger, Pac Man, Photo Booths, Art Deco paintings and posters garnishing the walls and a bar that reminds me of Jack Torrance and red-rum and Stephen King.  Even the water fountain belongs in a hip-hop museum. Everything about Dr Sketchy Asbury Park is in good taste and fun. The models are professional, outgoing, and intelligent and yes, beautiful. Usually a professional photographer takes part of the bar area and recreates scenes and themes with the models.  I could learn to be a photographer if I keep hanging around.






Asbury Park

a surreal look at the lanes. bowl a game?


Asbury Park

more asbury lanes, asbury park back to the future props.


This particular night was ‘horror’ themed so I got to see a replica chain saw, a few skeleton face wall paintings and I even got a chance to personally administer a massage to a skeleton resting comfortably on a bar stool. Everybody goes out of their way to make your Dr. Sketchy time enjoyable and fun. So my advice as a fun journalistic advisor (consigliere) for central Jersey and the Jersey shore folks or even NYC, New Hampshire or Maryland folks is not to get thee to a nunnery but to a future Dr. Sketchy event preferably at Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park and have some sociological fun. You’re in Asbury Park, so grab dinner beforehand. And yes Virginia, you could probably bowl a few games.  Speaking of the ‘Terminator’ before: this is a perfect time to close this blog by saying “I’ll be back,” but probably tardy. But isn’t this worth the wait?




More Asbury Park Calvin articles:


Asbury Park

dr sketchy theme ‘horror’ so i’m administering massage therapy to a skeleton.


Asbury Park

yup the terminator and i too will be back but probably tardy.


PLEASE CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE OF ARLAN FEILES AND HIS NEW CD. “Weeds Kill the Wild Flowers” Arlan is a wondrous singer and lyricist. I keep listening and drifting all over my life and his words.    


Asbury Park

Asbury ParkAsbury Park





Asbury Park


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NOW HERE THIS:   another  bit of an advertisement.  BUT there’s a very unusual upbeat funny precious 2 minute video involving 102 year old Emily Cook who talks about the life briefly and then invites me back to her room. Not to be missed especially the last 23 seconds.   PLEASE  check it out and share it.


emily cook video she’s 102 years old:


HooplaHa Videos and Article LINKS Asbury Park


Feinstein: Female Pilot:

Judy Feinstein pilot:




Ida Gonzalez: A Mother’s Journey to Light:


Common Sense Approach to Common Sense:



Meryl Streep and Me:


A Real College Pep Band Video (yes 85 seconds):

rutgers pep band video:


Also a very worthwhile cause to read up on:

Butterfly Circle of Friends.




Facebook:  Cal Schwartz

Twitter:  Earthood





book trailer. hey its 65 seconds long


Vichy Water Book Trailer:  Vichy Water BOOK TRAILER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Asbury Park




If on Facebook check out this NJ Discover site: Asbury Park




 LINKS TO VIDEOS.  Please Watch.


1.   ZOMBIE WALK   October 22, 2011

Zombie Walk Asbury Park



Nov 11, 2011   Veterans Day at NJ Vietnam War Memorial


Nov 19, 2011






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