Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Someone asked me and this is my answer

Someone asked me if I get excited about going to Peru twice a year. This is how I responded:
   You told me to ignore this, but now I see you asked a legit question. Do I get excited? I just finished a 1400 word piece yesterday for my newspaper, and I have a 4,000 word piece due Monday before I leave Monday night. Excited about Peru? While I am here I live here. I try to tighten up my life here--from garden to kids to animals and animal food and two months worth of bills paid, and then I go. And when I am in Peru I am not a dad, not an ex-husband,  not a grandpa. I'm Peter Gorman, Jungle guide and raconteur. They are two very separate worlds and it is a difficult crossing each time. I am expected to work magic both here and there and I know I cannot work magic  anywhere. No, I don't get excited, I get terrified that I will fail people who depend on me: While here I am terrified that I will fail my friends and family. While there I am terrified that I will fail people who come on the trips seeking healing that I might not be able to provide. YIKES!!!!!!!

Monday, June 04, 2018

Getting Ready to Leave, Lots to Do

Well, getting ready to head back down to Peru for 5 weeks or so. I've got two groups of seven and a couple of people in each group are friends who are returning, so they should be good allies for the trip. I think I've done just about everything I can think of: I've rented hotel rooms for the guests and got my old hotel, the Isabel, the oldest hotel in Iquitos, reserved for me. I've rented cabins on the riverboat, sent hundreds of dollars worth of goods up river, bought the supplies I need to bring, other than a couple of new shirts and sneakers for myself, and so I'm good to go.
   Where I'm falling short is here on the home front. I've got a story to finish today, then another one, a cover, to have done and edited by Monday, before I leave. I have more weeding to do in the garden, need to buy animal food for cats and dogs, birds and hummingbirds; need to get money to my family so that they'll have a little extra if they need it, need to pay my bills, two months each, and a host of other small things. So I'm feeling my blood pressure go up, but at the same time I know I got this if I just keep at it and do not falter. Plow ahead, Gorman. Chip away and the mountain will become a molehill. Of course, when that happens I'll notice there is another mountain behind the molehill, but I can chip away at that when I get there. Whew! Nervous, excited, cool.

Monday, May 28, 2018

The USA: Love it or Fix it

Somehow, my fb page had a conversation on it from some conservative types who were all touting that people complain about the USA but then enjoy its freedoms. They talked about how bad it is in other countries and if people don't like it here they should get the hell out. I had to respond, so I did. Here's what I wrote:
I don't know how this ended up on my page, but since it did, I have to tell you that there are dozens of countries that have the same and often more freedoms than we have here in the USA. And better economies, and better schools, better medical availability, and so forth. It's just a myth that we are the best. We're not any longer. And no, I'm not moving. My family is here an that makes this home. But the home, USA, could certainly use some improving in a lot of areas: How we treat immigrants--especially illegal immigrants--and asylum seekers; how we treat, mistreat, minorities; how we are in love with imprisoning people; how we like to make poor people grovel for the little bit of help we offer them in the way of food stamps or HUD housing; how we love to take from the middle class and give to the rich; how we care so little for the environment these days; how we deny science as a reality; how we love to bomb the shit out of other countries, and how we love to sell weapons to others so that they can do it too. The list of needed improvements is pretty extensive. Time to get to work on that.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Franks and Beans for Dinner

Franks and beans for dinner. Wanted something that would cook slowly and not take a lot of prep time because I have a garden to admire and some lawn to cut. So I decided on franks and beans. Started off with two nice short/fat slabs of salt pork in a bit of olive oil. Once that was good, tossed in more olive oil with lots of rough cut garlic, and a diced large red onion. Sizzling, I added 16 Ballpark beef franks, cut in half-inch pieces and browned them. Once that was good I diced four nice tomatoes; two from the vine, two Roma, and let them cook a while. Then I added a 32 ounce can of Bush's Original Baked Beans and a 32 ounce can of Texas' own Ranch Style Beans. Then a quart of organic vegetable stock.
Now I'm going out to do what I need in the yard and I've left the pot on at a "2", so it won't burn. When I come back I'll add some good mustard, cracked black pepper, sea salt if it needs it, some Heinz ketchup, Peruvian paprika, and then, when near done, a bunch of fresh cilantro, minced. If I need body I'll borrow half a beer from Devon and add that; if not, I'll just add more stock till it's spicy and rich.
I'll serve it topped with good smoked cheddar cheese over jasmine rice, and serve a side of broccoli and cauliflower florets in minced garlic and a bit of olive oil.
Papaya for dessert.
Nice Noble Vines 337 Cabernet on ice in an old pickle jar to help me get through the heat of the lawn mowing.
I hope you are all eating well tonight. I wish I could serve everyone in the world. Imagine if we had stoves that could feed 7 billion people, the cooks to do the cooking, the food to cook, the plates or leaves to serve it on, and the will to get it done. Wouldn't that be great? Have no one in the world going to be hungry because they had no food, or thirsty because they had no water. Ah, shit. This world sucks, but I got to keep trying to fix it, one post, one meal, one invite at a time. I don't know what else to do.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Shift of Perspective

Lately I've been indulging in self-pity. Pitiful. I'm too fat, my freaking back is locked up tight, I can't breathe well, I have too many stories to write before I leave town for two Jungle Jaunts in Peru. All that jazz. Fortunately, a friend started to straighten me out: he pointed out that with the wine I drink and the number of cigarettes I smoke, it's up to me to change or die.
So I cut back on both and will cut back further when I have the guts. For the back, I've been weeding the garden, painting, mowing lawn daily. Those things, coupled with a chiropractor every couple of weeks have loosened me up considerably. And helped me breathe better because I got to force myself to push that damned lawnmower over 5,000 feet of lawn daily in order to get the acre of grass cut every week.
And then this morning I woke up with lightning in my head. I had promised myself to get one of my stories in by tomorrow afternoon, but I've been slogging. Just no oomph! in the work. But this morning I woke with the idea that I should stop complaining. I got to change the way I'm looking at it: This isn't work. This is a chance, as an investigative reporter, to give voice to those who normally have no voices: In this case a huge population of women in Texas prisons and the treatment (lousy) they receive. What a gift to me to get to do that!
Ah, Gorman, what a self-indulgent old fart you are! Time to take the love, grab the gifts and kick some ass!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Meant well, but going nuts

So I wanted to write a short and sassy piece about the left over food that's sitting on my counter as I prepare tonight's meal. I've got a bit of highly seasoned chopped meat that was used in an open burrito, something I think we used to call Nopalitas--feel free to correct me. That takes a heated tortilla. Put the well seasoned (cumin, garlic, onion, tomato, black beans) meat mix on the large tortilla. Grace with pico de gallo (diced onion, tomato, cilantro in fresh lime juice with a bit of salt and a touch of garlic oil), cover with cheese. Heat. When finished heating, adorn the open tortilla with sliced avocado--room temperature--sour cream, an lettuce or a Spring mix. Eat.
There is also a bowl of shrimp and clam pasta in a garlic clam/shrimp skin reduction. That, with good garlic bread, was fantastic.
Then there is the last piece of the Chicken Cordon Bleu--a half a chicken breast stuffed with good diced ham and swiss, breaded, sauteed, baked, and then covered with a mushroom Marsala sauce (basic white sauce with fresh mushrooms and Marsala wine). I was not happy with the quality of the Marsala wine but now I know better. Too thin, not what I would have used in the New York restaurants I ran. Still, that was a meal to drool over as the cheese oozed out with the ham into the sauce.
Then the barbeque: All that's left are some barbequed veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower, zuccini, yellow squash, corn on the cob, and onions that were par boiled (except for the onions), then soaked in an oil/white vinegar/teriyaki marinade that had lots of onions and garlic and black and red pepper in it. Then barbequed, of course. With the chicken, sausage, and the potato and egg salad (with mayo and a bit of white vinegar to give it a bite), it was a good barbeque.
So I wanted to write about that. But then I'm thinking about the damned Embassy in Jerusalem that Trump insisted on, and which lead to nearly 60 Palestinians being shot like fish in a barrel by the Israeli army--guys using sling shots are NOT a threat to the military, I don't care how scared you are!!!--and another 2400 wounded. And it continues today. Do not believe the lies. These poor Palestinians are being massacred say my friends on the ground over there.
Then we find that Trump decides to ignore the Chinese phone company's violation of the Iran and North Korea sanctions--which automatically disallows them from buying American parts they need--three days after the Chinese government backed a park that will bear the TRUMP name for $1/2 billion dollars, which will be matched with another $500 million from Chinese Banks. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Let's just (fill in the blank) the motherfucker or douse him in hot tar and feather his ass. How the freak am I supposed to write nice stories when so much horror is going on in the world, and so much of it is directly caused by the USA and Don Trump? Ivanka was doing a ribbon cutting ceremony while Palestinians were being slaughtered! Damnit.
I could go on but I'd probably have a heart attack, so I won't. Man, I cannot find anything worthwhile about this president. Everything is for him and his friends. That $20 a paycheck you got from the tax stuff was already eaten up by the highest gas prices in several years. We're at $2.66- to-$2.89 here in Joshua, Texas, generally the cheapest place to buy gas in the USA. When Trump came into office it was $1.89 and I was pissed off about that as it had been around $1.70 for most of the Obama administration and rarely went above $2.00.
Ah, I better stop. Sorry, my blood is just boiling with the greed and distain for life--from immigrants to pot smokers, to Palestinians, to Syrians, to people who need medicaid to pay for their old folks homes, people who need clean water and air, to damned near everybody who ain't fukkin' rich, that this administration shows.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Sapo and food

Someone in a kambo page on FB recently noted that they were going to have their first encounter with frog medicine and they said they'd fasted for 12 hours, but wanted to know what else to do to prepare. I couldn't help be a wise guy and suggest two cups of coffee and an egg sandwich. Well, that threw some people off in a big way because in the Brazilian style of doing the medicine, which is called Kambo there, you normally drink a couple of liters of water after fasting, and then do the medicine with a concentration on vomiting and cleaning out the gut. Well, I had to explain myself, so I made an edit to my initial post suggesting that people look at a new post further down the page. Here is that post:
Explanation of gorman comment above: When I first used sapo and watched the Matses use sapo, it was still an epoch when few Matses had fields to speak of. They were serious hunters, aiming at bringing back about a kilo of meat per person per day. If a man had 4 wives and 20 children, that meant 25 kilos of meat, or about 60 kilos of animals hunted. That was not a monkey or a boar. It was 10 monkeys or two or three boars. Every day. So in my experience, the majority of sapo use occurred when a hunter's aim was a bit off. They would not have been able to explain it scientifically, but what they benefited most from in that regard was the combination of turning on the adrenal cortex and opening the arteries. The first allowed them an extra level of calm when hunting; the second provided more blood to their organs, sharpening their senses, including their eyesight, their sense of smell, their hearing,, all vital tools to hunting. Those elements also allowed them to run faster, longer, without tiring, and to stay out hunting longer without being thirsty or hungry. Vomiting when doing sapo was incidental at best. Yes, there was stomach cramping and a bit of bile might get eliminated, but no one in my experience ever did sapo for the purpose of stomach cleansing. That is apparently different among the Brazilian kambo users, where vomiting seems to be vital to the use of the medicine. So while I am being, or trying to be cute when I say to have "two cups of coffee, maybe an egg sandwich," what I really mean is that it never mattered to the Matses I knew. They simply did sapo when they wanted: Sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon, sometimes in the middle of a meal, sometimes after a meal. At a session in my home yesterday, one fellow had eaten some fruit, one fellow had had several cups of Yerba mate' and I had had two cups of coffee (half decaf) when we decided to do sapo. We did, no one threw up, all was fantastic cleansing, lots of sweating out toxins through the pores of the skin, and then afterwards we did several shots of nü-nü each to 1) finish up sharpening our eyesight to incredible levels, and 2) to eliminate any residual "drag" from the sapo toxin release. That style is just different from the kambo style with a focus on the gut. So sorry I was a wise guy, I guess I just wanted to draw attention to another way of approaching the medicine. And no, to be honest, I do not recommend a huge meal before sapo. That becomes very painful and is utterly pointless.