Monday, September 25, 2017

I'm Curious Here

About once a week, I get a big bounce on this blog from readers in Germany. It might be twice a week. But I go from my normal 100-200 blog looks daily to 700-800 once or twice a week--and once it was 6,000 in a day a couple of years ago. So is someone just pressing buttons? I mean, I don't have ads, so I can't make money from someone just pressing buttons. Or does some teacher in a high school or college english class use my blog and so he/she has a lot of students looking at it?
   Just curious if anyone out there wants to take the veil off the mystery here.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Remembering Friends

I was singing this morning, as I often do, to say hello to the universe and so forth, and when i got to the part where I was singing to the South, which is where all the dead go for their walk to travel to the other side, I started singing for friends who have crossed over in the last few years. There is Dan B and his wife Yelena, my brother-in-law, Big Tom, Mike, Steve, the brilliant journalist Betty and her Husband, my uncle Neale and aunt Nel and a cousin I did not know well. There was Pat's son Drew and the indigenous Matses Mauro, who was brilliant in the jungle and my friend Pepe's son, and Papaya Head, who was a very cool guy and a great chef and a wonderful friend to Chepa and my kids. There was Fernando, an old guide of mine, Rubertillo, the jungle drummer, the man who hunted majas in the jungle who I knew for years but never knew his name, and Moises, my great friend and teacher. There is Bill Grimes, owner of Dawn of the Amazon in Iquitos, and Dave Peterson, from Tamishiyacu, and the irrepressible Richard Fowler, the ex-pat who knew so much about the natural world. And sometimes when I get to them, I get impatient, because there are so many souls to say hello to and acknowledge.
Today, when I realized I was impatient and sort of rushing through the names and faces, i caught myself. I realized that no, I do not need to enumerate them all. Yes, they're gone and are already long past that crossing over. But I realized it's important to enumerate them because my world is poorer without them. Whether I was in touch with them often or not doesn't matter. They were part of the skein of my life and losing 20 of them in two or three years has pulled a lot of threads loose from the fabric. Four or five or them just passed in the last month. I am going to try to remember their importance when I sing again, and not rush through their names. They all mattered and it's important that I remember that.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Fear to Fearlessness

You know, I've already posted that my new granddaughter, teigan Grey Gorman, was born today, and I have wished her well in my heart for hours already. But there is a part of me, a big part, that knows this world is an awful place for at least half of its inhabitants. There may not be enough water, or food, or there is war, or simple genocide. There is hatred of different colors, different religions, or different hairstyles. And the hatred results in awful things that people do to one another. I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir, but it's still important to remember. And I think that all that hatred has its roots in fear. How that fear festers and then presents itself--whether in greed, anger, cruelty or a million other ways--it still, at its root, is fear.
I sing sometimes in the morning. I sing for the health and well being of everyone. I sing in the hopes--futile as they are--that hungry people will find a regular food source; that people living without enough water will begin to get a little rain every day; that people who are mentally ill will somehow have the chemicals in their brains balanced out properly. I sing for those and other things. But what I am really singing for is to have the fear that causes the bad things to somehow be transformed into fearlessness. If that could happen, we could fix this world in a very short time. We cold end the suffering because fearless people wouldn't need to prey on others, fearless people would share willingly; fearless people would do miracles.
The teachers I've had, whether they were real teachers in the Amazon or in school or just friends or family, they all had fearlessness in common. Not that they didn't worry that they might not make the mortgage now and then; not that they didn't get afraid sometimes when they were alone. Those were just minor fears that come and go. They do not dictate a life. No, my teachers were all fearless in that they loved living, they reached out for it with arms spread wide, knowing they would take some knocks but not being afraid that they wouldn't be able to get back up and overcome them.
And if I was allowed one wish for Teigan Grey, or one wish for the universe, it would be that real fear, the kind that causes most of the world's suffering, be transformed to fearlessness today. Can you imagine a world without that fear? I can, and it would be a beautiful place to live in.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Asking for Help

Don't mean to be a pest but I have a question. I've been trying to cull some of the recipes I've jotted down on both facebook and my blog (pgorman.com) over the past several years. On the blog it is not a problem, just time consuming--and if I could afford an assistant I'd freaking hire one to do it for me--but on FB, when I go to my home thing, I only get to see about the last 10 entries I've posted and the responses people have made to them. There is no second page, no "next page" thing. I must be doing something wrong, but then that's a given, given that I cannot turn on the television with all the damned buttons on all the darned receivers I have to memorize. So can you guys help?
I really hate to go back through all the nonsense, but some of those meals sounded really tasty when I described making them. And even though they all use the same three ingredients over an over and over again, you got to think of it like playing the blues: You only need the three chords, slight variations to minors, ninths, sevenths and so forth, and suddenly you have a million different blues songs, even though they share the same small playing field.
(When I write this stuff, sometimes I wonder who's really writing it because I am not nearly clever enough to have this shit just come popping out. Yesterday, for instance, when I wrote about Jesus and the loaves and fishes and him suddenly realizing he'd forgotten to hire any vendors, well, man, I was laughing at that. Like, who the heck wrote that? It's perfect, but way more clever/smart/intuitive phrasing than I would ever be capable of writing. Whoever you are, keep it up. I'm your huckleberry conduit, baby. (after Val Kilmer in that cowboy movie).
Long as I'm mentioning food, today I bought two large center cut, bone-in pork chops (grass fed; no pens; still killed) and I'm gonna cut them open from the fat end down to the bone, and then stuff them with braised spinach, diced shallots, and garlic, then add fresh mozzarella and a bit of good blue cheese. I'll seal those babies with a couple of toothpicks, then sear them in a bit of olive oil and garlic. I'll tamp them dry, then flower, egg, and bread them (good bread crumbs I'll infuse with a bit of spice), then sear them again. Then they will go into the oven, pre set to about 325 for maybe 25 minutes. Then I'll turn the oven up to 400 for maybe 10 minutes until that cheese is oozing out all over the place. I'll pull them, take the pan juice and mix in a bit of floue and butter roux, add ( I know, heretic! But I don't have any real brown sauce here!!!!!) a package of McCormick pork gravy and some organic vegetable stock--along with one anjour pear that's sort of rotting, and the juice from two really fresh large naval oranges and make a gravy. Keep it light, not thick and heavy, just a sauce to tie things together like a good throw rug in an interesting room to make things shine.
I'ma gonna have that with a nice romaine and carrot (both killed at my behest, sorry guys!!!!!) with my variation of the most fantastic vinagrette in the world, taught to me by Christie Engel, who used to work (with her husband) for the Big Apple Circus, one of the best circuses in the world!!!. It's just olive oil, garlic, shallots, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. But LOTS of balsamic vinegar. Normally they tell you 3 oil to one vinegar. This is 2 vinegar to one oil and man, that thing bites your tongue all the way to the brown places in the back near your throat, and then soars up into the back of your head. I am not kidding.
Anyway, I'd love some help here. Thanks. And I hope you area all eating well tonight and every night and that when you have extra you invite people who have less to share it with you. Bon appetit!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

I was raised Catholic

I was raised Catholic. I went to catholic grammar and high schools. I was an altar boy. I had a great priest in charge of the altar boys, Father Colbert, who had us go out and spend time with old and infirm people who did not get many visitors. We painted a house once (bad job cause we all got drunk) that the church donated to a family that had lost their home. We were expected to do an act of real kindness--which meant it had to be something we would have preferred to avoid--daily.
Some of that was the same stuff my mother and father expected of me and my brother and sisters. It was a given that you would go out of your way to help others, even when it was an inconvenience.
I have not been a practicing catholic for a long time. But I know what it means to be a decent human and I know when i fail that I have to wipe myself off and try to be better. I'm probably 50-50 with being decent and failing.
One of the stories I most loved as kid was the story of the loaves and fishes. You know the one where Jesus is having a rally of some sort and gets thousands of people onto a hillside in the midday heat and then remembers he didn't arrange for any vendors. I'm being loose with it, but you get the point, right? You can't have thousands of people sitting in the damned desert sun without water or wine or food or you are going to lose that audience quickly, and probably in a negative and gnarly fashion.
The story goes that once Jesus realized what was up he called for a loaf of bread and a fish. Then he had the people on the hillside come up to get bread and fish. And no matter how many loaves of bread and cooked fish he gave away, he still had one loaf of bread and another fish. It was a great miracle story. It was intended to show not just Jesus's compassion, but his ability to make miracles at will.
I was probably still in my teens when it dawned on me that that was nonsense. Not that Jesus didn't pull it off with aplomb, but that if he could work miracles like multiplying fish and bread, well, he would have had such an unfair advantage on the rest of us as to make his doing-good worthless.
What occurred to me was that he probably called out to everyone there to take out what they had and to begin to share it with others. And then they did. And there was more than enough to go around. And it WAS a real miracle to get people to share like that when people prefer to hoard for themselves.
And I look at our world, knowing there is much, much more than we need for everyone in terms of arable land, water, building supplies and all the other necessities of life. No, there's not enough good redwood for everyone to have a 5,000 square foot redwood cabin in the woods, but then most people in the world wouldn't want that. Waddle and daub works better for housing in some places; reed houses in others; mud homes elsewhere. But there are enough materials for everyone. And enough food. So what are we fighting for? Why are we hoarding? Are we really taking it with us when we die? Will that hoarded 50 pound bag of potatoes be good in three weeks, or will you throw it away when it rots and starts to smell? If it's the latter, why not take that over to the food bank while it's still good? Or those old clothes? Why not take them to the Salvation Army to give to someone who needs them more than your overstuffed closet does?
I just get so tired of knowing that half the people in the world are suffering needlessly, and often at the hands of others who have much more than they need, more than enough to share and alleviate that suffering.
And no, I probably don't do enough myself. But I try to remember, I try to share. Don't mean to be maudlin here, but that's how I feel. There's enough to go around. So let's share it and alleviate a bit of suffering.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Gun Control

Okay, I'll tell you what I want with guns. I want guns to have a sensitive plate that can tell when you are angry, moody, drunk, high, or in any other way not your normal self. I want that sensitive plate to shut that gun down the second you put your finger on the trigger when it recognizes you are not the same person you were when you bought that gun and had your mood registered. I think if we had something like that, something akin to a drunk driver's breathalizer, we would have many less killings. I know some people are going to think I'm going too far, but I'm not. You never spank your kid in anger. You never whack someone because you're fed up with them--or if you do you go to jail for a couple of years for felony assault. So why shouldn't we make guns that can read your temper, frame of mind, clarity of mind with regard to drugs or alcohol that could simply shut down and not function till you are normal? And anybody who says they have the right to shoot someone when they are drunk or angry will be visited by demons in your dreams tonight because you are plum stupid. Cool?

Cost of Serving Ayahuasca

So there was a battle on Facebook today over whether people should charge money for ayahuasca or give it for free as it's medicine and if people need it they should get it. Let me frame my response, which you will see below: When I am in the jungle and one or two or ever three locals ask to drink the medicine, there is never a charge. Never. At my house there is never a charge, never. And I do not ask or want donations. I only serve people who have been on trips to the jungle with me, and they are in my charge forever, so they pay to get to the airport, I take care of the rest. That's the way to do it. Why don't I serve ayahuasca every two weeks to strangers for $200 bucks a pop? I'll tell you why. Because can you imagine if I thought I had 15 people coming over and was dreaming of $3000, and then only 9 showed, for $1800, can you imagine me saying to madeleina: Damnit, I thought we were getting three grand, and now we're not even making two grand!
   Sorry, I do not want to be that person, so I do not serve publicly. Two or three times a year, however, I serve former guests. And that is free. Not entirely for me, but it's my invite, so my cost. And I am very happy with that. But here is what I wrote in response to all the chatter of "do you pay?" or "It should be free". Both of which do not reach the point by any means.
Here you go:
Wow. Lot of opinions here. I'm sitting in Joshua, Texas. I do not serve the medicine to anyone who has not been on a trip to the amazon with me. For those who have, the medicine is free. But I know it's not free. It costs $100 a kilo to get the vine here (50 for vine, 50 for shipping), and a two liter batch will take 8-10 kilos of vine, or nearly $1000 dollars. The same for the chacruna, with shipping from peru, so that's another $1000. Then I will spend a day cutting wood for a fire, spend at least $500 to have someone pick people up from the airport on a Friday for a Saturday medicine event. Food for 10 people for Friday night and Saturday morning, and then Sunday breakfast will run maybe $300. I will pay two or three assistants $100 each to watch out for the clients. Then I will pay $500 to get people back to the airport on Sunday morning. Oh, and toss in $200 for house cleaning before and after they come. So I give 4-5 days, and spend $3500 or more to treat former guests and I'm happy to do it. I could not offer it to anyone else because I'd have to charge--I don't have a lot of $3500's hanging around, and I cannot allow myself to do it. If six people came, six people who were not on my former trips, I would have to charge them $600 to break even and then I would lose 4-5 days of normal work. Add that in and we'd be talking at least $1000 per person. So I give it freely and free to my friends. How anyone thinks it should be free to all amazes me. Maybe they do not spend what I do, but I don't think I'm special here.

Peter Gorman
Peter Gorman Even back in the old days, in 1984, '85 and such, I would always bring fishing nets, thread, hooks, salt, sugar, oil, new clothes and boots to the curandero. I mean, you spend a couple of hundred dollars on presents that the curandero needs and wants and save him/her a trip to town (in those days by dugout canoe, so it was saving them a whole day). So even that wasn't free. That was $200 in presents for a single ceremony just for me. Seemed very normal, considering I was going to ask the curandero to stop his life for two days for me. PS: I know the cost of things in Iquitos and the Belen Market and no, they dont come to an actual $200. But when you include the time to go there, and someone you pay to help carry the stuff--which generally also included a box of shotgun shells, a flat of flashlight batteries, a box of cheap lighters, mapacho, aqua florida, Tabu, and a couple of blouses and maybe pants or a skirt for his wife....well, it all added up.

Monday, September 11, 2017

An American Tragedy 9/11/2001

I wrote this the day after the twin towers went down.


AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY
World Trade Center, Pentagon, Attacked by Hijacked Planes

By Peter Gorman

NEW YORK CITY—It’s Wednesday afternoon, September 12.
Acrid smoke is making it difficult to breathe here in
the High Times offices on East 19th Street in
Manhattan. The smoke is from the fires still burning
further downtown, where the twin towers of the World
Trade Center collapsed in a heap of rubble and dust
and human suffering yesterday morning, after two
hijacked planes headed from Boston and DC to Los
Angeles were flown at nearly full speed, and with full
fuel tanks, into them.
It is too early yet for blame to have been assigned
for the monstrous attack, though several pundits have
tried to place it at the feet of Osama bin Laden, the
notorious terrorist who was trained and used by our
own CIA during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
Others have pointed the finger at Islamic
fundamentalists, particularly Palestinians, and former
CIA Director James Woolsey has spoken of "state
sponsorship" being responsible, with Iraq as the
probable state at fault.
At this point in New York, Boston, and Washington, the
blame almost doesn’t matter yet. Those responsible
will be caught and dealt with in a frightening manner,
make no mistake. The US and its allies will exact a
toll far greater from those who did the damage than
the damage done. But here, now, they haven’t even
begun to count the bodies yet. There were more than
200 killed aboard the four hijacked planes involved in
the attacks—three successful and one unsuccessful—on
the American symbols of corporate and military might.
An estimated 200 firefighters, who were the first to
arrive on the scene in New York, even before the first
tower collapsed, are thought to have died while trying
to evacuate that tower’s tenants. Dozens of police and
emergency medical workers are presumed dead as well.
Here in New York, they are not faceless. Two of the
police on the scene who survived were my older brother
and his son. The same is true of the families of the
dead in the hijacked planes. They are our brothers,
sisters, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, cousins
and friends, as are those who died in the horrible
disaster at the Pentagon.
I have fought them on political grounds, as I have
railed against the corporate greed of America
represented by the Twin Towers, but I have never for a
moment wished them harm. One of my friends who worked
at the Twin Towers lost at least 600 coworkers and
friends yesterday. He and a handful of others from his
firm survived by the happenstance of going to work
late on the day someone decided that the symbolic
destruction of the towers was of greater value than
the lives of those who earned their rent money there.
In all, the death toll will certainly reach into the
thousands.
There will be time to talk about the reasons for this
immense tragedy. There will be time to assign blame.
There will even be time for exacting retribution to
ensure this will not be perpetrated again. But for
now, it is a time of mourning. It is a time to rally
around loved ones and for thanking whatever god you
believe in that you and yours were not on those
planes, were not at work in the Pentagon or those
towers, were not assigned the job of rescuing those
trapped inside when they collapsed. Now it is only
time to find and bury the dead and speed them on their
way.
—September 12, 2001