Before my much anticipated Springsteen review; Immersion into Monmouth County music and art has caused a slippage into a time warp; I haven’t blogged in two weeks. Need to address that. Evolution is a wonderful world. No Darwin stuff here. Just a personal journey from starting blogging two years ago and of course, a novelist to a journalist in July, a writer and producer for both NJ Discover TV and HooplaHa in November.
A nor’easter hit New Jersey a few days ago. We needed the rain to avoid drought and suburban folks not being able to water their lawns on both even and odd days. I stopped watering my lawn 15 years ago and washing my car 20 years ago. Water everywhere, but not an endless supply of drops left. Down the salmon and even yellow colored brick roads, water will replace oil as the global commodity.
For those of you who remember the movie, ‘The Graduate;’ the opening scene when one of Benjamin Braddock’s (Dustin Hoffman) parent’s friend whispers just one word to Ben, “Plastics.” I’m whispering here on my blog, “Water.” Perhaps, I can dig a well here in central Jersey, purify and bottle water in plastic made out of plants and call it ‘Jersey Shore Water’ and ship it over to China which will have a huge imported water market one day (My personal theory; when that happens, the USA wipes out its debt). I need to call my son in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where only under-30 year olds live and whisper to him, “Water in plastic.”
Suburbia is a curious place. Not a prolific amount of adventurers here. I live on a corner house which parallels a main road with 40 mile/hour speed limit. Three houses in a row across that great street divide look out on my mostly weedy and yellow lawn. I don’t know any of the people in those houses and it’s been 20 years that we’ve been suburban neighbors. I said to my wife on Saturday as we were heading to Brooklyn and saw the middle house’s car pull out of the driveway, “I don’t know who they are. I wonder why. I guess 187 feet away is an insurmountable distance and it’s been two decades.” Silence filled the car. Intense thought does that. I was trying to understand how people 187 feet apart for 20 years have no clue who each other are. Not that there were ever any ‘We Like Ike’ or ‘Jimmy Carter’ political signs on our lawns. Maybe they’ve been put off with my yellow grass while they’re green. Then my wife introspected. ‘It’s another world over there, across the street.” Imagination played with my retina. I saw a sign, ‘Welcome to the Amazon River.’ Sure enough; it was a river, not black asphalt which separated us all these years. And on careful inspection, I saw those nasty piranha fish and was horrified yet redeemed in a convoluted way. Now I know why I never crossed over the river. Piranhas are nasty fish with a voracious appetite; so it’s been suburban self-preservation all these years. Absurd, isn’t it?
So what’s this I hear about Wal-Mart bribing officials in Mexican towns to get quicker permits to build more stores? I don’t have a running love affair with American companies/corporations. In my novel, ‘Vichy Water,’ I postulated that ‘some’ American companies are collectively responsible for the deaths of more people than the Germans in World War II. Would that be 50 million lives? Easy to calculate; start with cigarettes (Just this morning I saw a commercial on NBC Today Show. “Smoking kills 25,000 people every year in New York State”), coal (soot) dust, food companies that love salt, car and drug companies that don’t recall, the power company in California that used poisonous hexavalent chromium (thanks Erin Brockovich), insurance companies who reject treatments, purveyors of trans-fat, plastics (that word again) that land in land-fills and decompose into poisonous phthalates and so on forever.
Back to Wal-Mart. So there are 2100 Wal-Mart stores in Mexico and the word on the street; a lot of stores quickly; perhaps local town officials were allegedly (I love using this word) bribed by Wal-Mart, spending millions in bribes to get permits from local Mexican officials to build fast and tighten noose on competition. There are stringent American laws prohibiting bribing foreign officials punishable by heavy fines (duh) AND stiff prison sentences for company executives. Wal-Mart is concerned and looking into it. Once a decade or so I offer up one of my kidneys in a sure bet: no Wal-Mart official will ever go directly to jail; just like the ‘Monopoly’ game. Finally, Starbucks is NOT going to use red beetles/insects to color some of their strawberry frappes etc. instead using a lycopene (from tomatoes) derivative. Hey, lycopene is healthy stuff; a wonderful anti-oxidant; why not used all the time?
Two weeks ago my son and I went to the Bruce Springsteen concert in Madison Square Garden. To prepare cerebrally and emotionally, I got into the city eight hours before the concert and wandered, roamed and absorbed the world of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) to innervate neural ganglionic connections in my mind. And it worked. I was naturally and visually elevated, feeling the air beneath my wings and souls (soles) of my feet. I wonder so many things these days. One wonderment; how can a sedentary sofa compare to MOMA, Manhattan and fruit and pretzel stands on city sidewalks. Rather than more words at this juncture, MOMA and me pixs. My review of the Springsteen concert, more cerebral musings, was picked up by Facebook’s ‘Bruce Springsteen News’ because, like the ending of the Mickey Mouse Club song, they “liked it.” Review at end of blog.
Finally, nearly two years ago I convinced my wife to get a mammogram. Remember I’m the guy who blogs about living to 150 years all the time; she’s not as diligent with health issues. The deal was that I accompany her to the office for the exam. I went for the deal. And I also wound up spending nearly 6 hours 44 minutes sitting in gender solitude that day. What I experienced that day was powerful emotionally, more so than even walking around MOMA or going to a Springsteen concert and sitting on the floor. Emoting about the mammography office that day in August 2010, I started my blog that night and posted it. Thing is; my blog was young back then so not many folks may’ve seen it. Blog times have changed; 200,000 yearly visitors and growing. I think it needs reposting now; stylistically it became part of my stream of consciousness. And here’s that blog from August 2010 (it’s all archived. Even the follow-up blog to that)
suburban poetry: only Male in a special Mammography office. august 23, 2010
an august thursday last week. 10:30 am. i need to accompany and support. first sight. a painting of a woman, large prominent features, wings, surreal, tall as me.
two women assistants looked at me looking. one pointed with a long finger and i imagined, some kind of instrument used for cutting dense overgrowth in a jungle far away from central jersey. she pointed to a waiting, waiting room of varying comfort level of chairs, none soft and cushiony. a lonely box of kleenex on table near a book, ‘art of survival’, binder broken, pages ready to evacuate. anatomical paintings on wall; two half globes, america and australia. two lockets with small pictures of women. two half globes of a green mossy substance, small dinosaurs and dragons walking precariously on side. a painting of a planter covering a wide chest expanse, a vine escaping. reminded me of a bean stalk. i was jack for sure. looking around, wondering, imagining, asking myself questions. what if? why am i the only testosterone person here?(just the word i thought of too) music piped in through speaker directly over my head (what used to be my soft spot). my day of crossing canal coincidentally close. not just music, no elvis. no rap. no dusty springfield. no iris dement. no voices. lots of piano. 5 hours of this music. not music but a dirge dragging on. i was in the land of funereal thoughts. couldn’t help it. outside the window to my left, a courtyard separating a one story building with all glass walls and no people about. one lone tree notably branch neutered and not moving or blowing in the wind. i wondered if the operation made it lethargic. the sky was uncannily blue. not a cirrus or cumulous cloud for 5 hours. not one passing by to change view. why was i the only male here? the colors all around were beige, green and white. chairs were too. i was feeling ominous, beige and white and sickly.
a woman walked in with a clipboard. filled out a form. i was busy reading a primer on hemingway, the particular page about living life, experiencing and inventing. i was where i never dreamt to be. no eye contact with the woman. i think it was mutual, perhaps for me out of privacy respect. another woman walked in, dropped belongings and paced back and forth endlessly. i understood. i felt. that’s it. i started feeling things like never before. was i invading a private world. i still waited for gender company which never came. why was i the only male? i walked outside office looking for gender company. even my gender’s washroom, no gender company. the silence of a washroom, water splashing. strange but i was noticing things i never noticed. something was happening. surreal air in the conditioning system.
back to waiting room. even a crying baby would’ve worked to break an eerie silence. more women and clipboards. i started noticing faces. a sadness. a fear. a silence. one woman sat facing me. i tried to bury myself in book. there’s only so much clinical hemingway to absorb in an hour. an assistant walked in and handed that woman a large folder of x-rays or something. a few muffled words. a face left with no emotion. i saw fear. i wasn’t there. i was silent but felt i was changing. i think i was resolving to notice things in my world for the rest of my time in it. i couldn’t help it. i was changing. i hoped for gender company. none would ever come. another woman and a clipboard. another what if for me and then another one. hours passed. i didn’t even want one of the butter cookies on a tray in kitchenette(what a strange word, kitchenette). i wanted no water. i wanted no movement. i just noticed a painting was not perfectly level and the neutered tree which i realized was probably my gender was still not moving. maybe there was no wind. a mighty wind would win branch movement. i wondered about this special kind of place and a special kind of fear and it’s gender tender specialty. the dirge music annoyed but i knew why it was there. i noticed i’d been there a long time. patients have come and gone and i still sit, hemingway now resting near the lonely kleenex box. if i wrote tissue box would readers know? why am i the only male here? why is there such loneliness here? why am i so lonely? why am i still here? why hasn’t one of the pointing fingers come in to reassure and point me out?
finally an assistant. “just coming out now” i noticed her face, then a whisper, “we have to come back for a biopsy at 2:45pm” we drove around then some lettuce with balsamic to masticate, kills time. back in waiting room. more women no men. more clipboards. more fear. more noticing details. i was never so quiet for so many hours. a few more hours. more, what if? i wondered about erectile dysfunction and if that gets more money for research than where i am. there are no words as hard as i try to describe my evolution and revolution. i’ll notice and feel and be a better human. promise to myself.
lasting thoughts: a day without male company. a day of fear, unknown, feeling, noticing and thinking about words. two hours ago on this day of my birth, writing words, praying and communing. then a simple phone call that things are alright. happy birthday calvin. Best Gifts are simple life things. i noticed that.
NOW The BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN Madison Square Garden Concert REVIEW from
“Bruce Springsteen News’ on Facebook:
A review from Madison Square Garden April 9, 2012 by BSN’s own reporter @ Calvin Schwartz.
by Bruce Springsteen News on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 1:43pm ·
Springsteen Concert: Madison Square Garden, April 9, 2012: Electric Sociology Defined.
Calvin Schwartz, writer NJ Discover TV http://www.njdiscover.com/
Facebook: Cal Schwartz
http://vichywater.net/blog (a frequent blogger about Asbury Park, Jersey Shore and Springsteen geography)
I’m a writer, blogger, reporter and novelist from central Jersey (two miles from Freehold), with leanings towards the cerebral side of life. I was asked to share a few thoughts on Monday night’s Bruce Springsteen concert. I’m not a music critic and I don’t ever want to be, but I love everything about Springsteen from the molecular point of view; as I search to describe myself. Molecular means that I’ve felt for the last several years, a fine particulate of Springsteen dust settling down on me. Dust you ask? Remember the old movie ‘Incredible Shrinking Man’ from 1957, when sparkly dust descends on this man in a boat and causes him to shrink into eternity. For me, in a positive way, this observed Springsteen magic has elevated (opposite of shrink) me; heightening an awareness for my central Jersey surroundings and made me a better writer. And as I descend on the places where Bruce is felt, like Asbury Park, I’ve noticed his magical dust is part of almost everyone. He is molecular; people feel him, his energy (he can’t be 62), caring and words. He lifts and elevates his home grown geography, meaning us here in Jersey and rock fans globally.
Yesterday I had the need to be in New York, within two miles of Madison Square Garden, about 8 hours before the concert; I’d like to think for absorption of molecular incidentals, so I strolled semi-aimlessly around MOMA(Museum of Modern Art), all the time in high anticipation mode that soon I’d be on the floor of the Garden for Bruce Springsteen. My prodigal son and I woofed down a salad with extra string beans and jalapenos, hooked-up with son’s college friends for a beer, then I wandered inside the Garden about an hour before doors open. Being on the floor, I had the opportunity to roam around close to AV computers, where I caught sight of two Springsteen musical catalog books. Those books are probably needed by computer show people; you never know when Bruce decides to add a song, like he did with ‘Rosalita’ at the finale, even catching Steve van Zandt by surprise as I surmise.
Why do I love Springsteen concerts? My need for first hand observations of “amazing electric sociology;” a term I conjured introspectively trying to come up with right words; the old ‘nail it’ philosophy. Watching meticulously as the Garden slowly filled with cravers of rock, you could sense everyone was waiting to have unbridled fun, standing, gyrating, singing, throwing digits and fingers into Springsteen molecularly charged air. I guess saying ‘palpable’ works, but there’s so much more involved. I think for first timers, and even for the regulars (I bumped into a Rutgers friend afterwards at Penn Station. It was his 102nd concert), this would be a life experience; they always are; like a meta-morphed cool cat with multiple lives; every time you go to a Springsteen concert, they’re never the same especially if you dig electric sociology.
“New York, New York,” appropriately filled the Garden, the band arrived and Springsteen who is molecularly thoroughly Jersey, comments on the New York Giants winning but playing all home games in Jersey and perhaps renaming the Empire State Building to Jersey State but leaving it where it is. ‘Badlands’ blasted the audience into permanent stand upright positions. Bruce magically becomes part audience, turning, moving close to loyalists, even those sitting behind. He forgets no fan because it’s genuine love; electric sociology. That’s essential Bruce; in the audience chugging two beers, lying down and being elevated, picking a young boy from the audience to sing and slide across the stage and a young girl to dance in ‘Dancing in the Dark’ reminiscent of Courtney. Personally, I could listen to him sing ‘Jack of All Trades’ (me?) from ‘Wrecking Ball’ all night long like I’m doing now, inspiring my writing.
The concert went on all night long; electric sociology. Springsteen loves his audience; they love him back. To my left this 60 something man stood for three hours; moving, smiling, laughing, contorting, throwing hands into the air, loving every moment; that’s a Springsteen concert. Jake Clemons, Clarence’s nephew filled while the audience pulled; you could feel it; electric sociology. I closed my eyes a few times and listened to Jake. At the finale, the tribute to Clarence slowed my respiration; the love on the big screen evident while watching Bruce watch. Ah, the finale. Like an old coffee commercial for me, “Heavenly.” ‘Born to Run’ and Dancing in the Dark’ with a ‘10th Avenue Freeze Out.’ I watched carefully for as many signs of electric sociology; the love all around between Springsteen, the Band (they’re ALL amazing) and the audience. I thought about being in college for a moment; how what I’ve seen should be required reading or viewing for sociology, American history, European literature (Bruce is universal). No one left a seat to be first on a subway; electrically sociologically glued to our seats near where we stood all night. With my son, memories forever and bonding beyond comprehension. That’s my wrap on a typical molecularly Springsteen concert.
NOW HERE THIS: a bit of an advertisement. I don’t do those very much here. 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.
Judy Feinstein: Female Pilot:
Judy Feinstein pilot: http://www.hooplaha.com/no-rearview-mirror/
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):
Also a very worthwhile cause to read up on:
Butterfly Circle of Friends. http://www.butterflycircleoffriends.org
MY CONTACT INFORMATION
Facebook: Cal Schwartz
book trailer. hey its 65 seconds long
If on Facebook check out this NJ Discover site:
LINKS TO VIDEOS. Please Watch.
1. ZOMBIE WALK October 22, 2011
2. VETERANS DAY NJ VIETNAM MEMORIAL
Nov 11, 2011
3. RANDALL HAYWOOD & VICTOR JONES JAZZ CONCERT
Nov 19, 2011
Randall Haywood and Victor Jones Interview from Chico’s House of Jazz Asbury Park
FINALLY FROM LINDA CHORNEY GRAMMY NOMINEE: