Sunday, January 15, 2017

Off Today

Well, I'm off today for several weeks in Peru. I've got two small groups to take out to the deep green. One of my guests is already in Iquitos though we don't start the trip till Saturday. It should be a good one. I can't make money on small groups, but I do generally like the overall intimacy of them. And people can learn so much when there are fewer distractions--other people--around.
   What this means is that I'm outta here and won't be writing on the blog for a while. I am not abandoning you, I'm just taking a respite and if I know myself, once I'm in Peru and with my team, that takes all of my focus. Heck, when I arrive tomorrow I'll have to jump right into the fray. First thing I'll do is have two of my guys go to the market and buy various types of tobacco--some smokes for me, some smokes to give away on the rive, and lots of local mapachos, black tobacco cigarettes, for ceremony; along with Halls/lollipops, and other hard candy the kids on the river expect me to bring; bottled water, soda and cups for my room. While they're out doing that, Sidaly will get the stuff I need to keep my room clean, from a broom to garbage bags.
   When she returns, the guys and I will go to where my equipment is kept in storage and they'll get all 18 boxes of stuff to my room where they'll sort out the hammocks, sheets, mosquito nets, blankets, towels and such that we need for the trip, and I'll go through the box of Jungle stuff to see what we need. Might be I need a few more flashlights, batteries, shotgun shells, fish hooks or line, that sort of stuff.
   Then we're off to the market to get that jungle stuff.
   Then we're free for the day.
   Tuesday we'll head to the market early to buy the dry goods for the trip, from coffee and tea to several kilos of a variety of beans, oil, salt, sugar, flour, spices, condiments, tinned butter and a host of other things. That trip usually involves two trips, with the second trip reserved for bar soap, bleach, kitchen dish/pot soap, clothes washing soap and so forth.
    Then we will recount all of the hammocks, sheets, towels, etc, and once that's done we'll seal up those boxes. We'll double check the dry goods and get them boxed as well.
    Then we're free for two days, during which time the guests will all arrive early and want to be entertained, so we'll show them a good time around town.
   So that's where my head will be, and it's hard to remember to write blog stuff when I'm in that space.
    So I'll see you when I get back. And thanks, as always, for reading.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

So we're going with Chicken Parmesan...

So, we're going with Chicken Parmesan tonight. I was going to go with lime chicken, one of my inventions--chicken breaded with a mix of seasoned breadcrumbs and finely ground parmasan cheese, sauteed till golden brown, covered with the juice of one good lime per portion, then baked for about 7 minutes, add a touch of parmesan and more lime, and serve with rice and sauteed broccoli or mixed sauteed veggies or sauteed spinach. But the store didn't have finely ground parmesan. I already had good peccorino-reginato but not very finely done, and a good tomato sauce I made for the bracciole a few days ago, so I'm going with Chicken parmesan instead of Lime Chicken. About to bread the chicken breasts, then saute them, then cover with good tomato sauce, then with mozzarella cheese with a bit of parmesan sprinkled on top, then baked till the mozzarella is browning.
   With that I've got organic garlic, onions, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower that I'll saute after parboiling the veggies that need that, and then I'll make cappellini with tomato sauce for the little girls who can afford to eat that and not get fat, and saute spinach with garlic and a bit of balsamic vinager for me, who cannot afford to eat cappellini.
   So three days till I leave for Peru. I'm freaking panicked like you cannot believe. NightLine is coming to interview me tomorrow and I don't have a chance of losing 50 pounds and growing new hair by then. Hell, I'm having a hard time cleaning the house!!!! Shit!
 And when they leave I have to pack for the trip. I don't mind packing for me, but when I take people out to the jungle, I'm doing a lot of packing of medicines and such for my guests.
   Ah, I'll make it. I always do. But it's always barely. Darnit. Wish I knew how to take it in stride.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Good Food Stuff

I love a food challenge. I love it when someone asks: Can you make that tonight? or Can you make this? Well, this was a week for pretty good food. One night it was meatloaf with beef and pork and onion, celery, garlic, diced tomatoes. Another it was cous cous with Lamb Tajine. Since I have not made that ins about six months, it is still considered a challenge because cooking it only a couple of times a year I forget some things.
   Then it was Sopa de Mariscos, with shrimp, calamari, scungilli, mussels, and crayfish in a spicy tomato soup with cilantro and capellini to give it body.
   Then it was Duck breast with a nice savory sauce.
   Then it was, last night bracciole. I have not made that in 20 years, but my daughter Madeleina saw that my friend Al Giordano, from NarcoNews.com had made bracciole and asked me to make it. So I went and bought flank steak, butterflied it, cleaned it, laid it out, laid out fresh spinach along the entire 18 inches of meat, put a mix of very sharp provolone with tomatoes sauteed with onions and garlic in olive oil on that, then added fresh smoked mozzarella, sea salt and cracked black pepper. Then I rolled the two lengths of meat up and tied them with butcher cord and browned them on all sides. I put them aside, put garlic, diced red onion and later diced tomatoes into the pan, cleared it with half a bottle of red wine, then added a jar of organic Bertoli tomato sauce and a second jar full of organic vegetable broth. Little salt, little pepper, little oregano from Peru and once that had cooked about an hour and was looking fine, I put the two braccioles into the sauce, covered it with silver foil and cooked it for about 100 minutes, until that meat was falling apart good.
   That meat was so good it made good bracciole look not so good. Hey Al! Thanks for the idea!!!!
   Today, Sierra asked for homemade Ceasar salad dressing. I have no idea where she got it but I got out the organic eggs, cracked a couple and tossed the yolks only into a bowl and slowly added olive oil until it started to cream, or emulsify as we'd say in the kitchen. To that I added crushed garlic, salt, cracked black pepper, juice of a good lime, Worstershire sauce and finally some finely ground peccorino-romano cheese. I skipped the anchoves because the girls would find them too strong.
   So now we got it. And it's gonna be good going along with the chicken wings I just deep fried.
Bon Appetit!

Sunday, January 08, 2017

One More on Politics, then I'll Shut the Heck Up

Someone wrote on Facebook that the Democrats and Republicans are equally bad, that both groups are two heads of the same snake. I'll say that when it comes to world power and such that may well be, but in everyday life, I think that's not accurate at all. This is what I wrote:


J: I respectfully disagree. I have no problem holding the Democrats' feet to the fire, and I've railed against some things Obama did and certainly railed a lot at Bill Clinton, particularly with his drug war "let's imprison everyone" shit and his insane General McCaffrey drug czar who thought kids could melt down hemp shirts in alcohol to make marijuana flowers. But I do not think the leaders of their respective parties are at all equally rotten. Take simple things like Social Security and Medicare. We all pay into them. We get our return. It works. So the Republicans want to privatize them. The Democrats say do not touch those programs. The Democrats are better on that one. The Republicans want to defund Planned Parenthood because they offer abortions. But 1) not a single penny of public money goes to those abortions, by law; and 2) the Republicans care about the fetus but not a human baby for one instant, and they prove that over and over by tearing at the safety nets a lot of those babies and their moms depend on. The Democrats are better on that. The Republicans were on record, over and over, that the Keystone pipeline would bring in 250,000 jobs when they knew that was a lie. There were 40 permanent jobs to be had, a couple of thousand jobs laying the Chinese pipe that TransCanada had ordered, jobs that would have lasted a few months. And the Tar Sands were previously sold to China and elsewhere and would pass through Port Arthur, a free port that would collect no taxes whatsoever. The Democrats stopped that. They were better. The Democrats want to cap payday loan interest that holds people down. The Republicans fight to keep those rates as high as people want. The Democrats are better. The Republicans fight against equal rights for women, LGBTQ people, and minorities. The Democrats fight for them. The Democrats are better. The Republicans fight to kill unions and refuse to raise minimum wages. They are wrong on both counts and the Democrats are better on those counts. These are just a few of the basic social issues which make peoples lives better or worse, and the Republican platform in recent decades has always been to make people suffer more. So yes, hold the Dem feet to the fire on their bullshit, but it's not an equal amount of bullshit at all.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Donald Fucking Trump

So I get baited once in a while. And I did today. My friend Tanya suggested we give Trump a chance. Knowing that Obama was labeled a "Nigger Muslim who Wasn't Born in the USA" for his entire time in office, I took the bait. Here was the exchange, and it's rude, and I was rude, but I have a hard time being nice to people who were not nice to President Obama and his beautiful family. My friend asked if us liberals were all about dividing and not coming together...LOL!!!

Peter Gorman I grew up near the guy. He paid other kids to fight his fights. He's a sissy, a bully, and completely full of nonsense. He's entertaining, but now he's dangerous. He didn't want to be president, he wanted a new tv network. Now he's stuck with it. It's not about divide. It's about stopping a kid with an IQ of 75 from starting wars. The last president was hated because he had the nerve to be black, well spoken, brilliant, and was working for all of us. This new president has lied 1000 times in the last year, does not remember what he tweets between snorts of cocaine, loves the killer Putin, kicks out reporters who don't report what he likes, denies intelligence from the freaking 17 intelligence agencies while refusing to go to daily intelligence meetings because, as he says, he's
"like smart". Like smart is not a description of anything. This guy can't read, can't write, doesn't pay taxes and went into a debate saying that made him smart; loved FBI Director Comey when Comey talked about Hillary's emails a week before the election, but hates Comey now that he says Putin ordered and oversaw the hacks of our political system and we all saw Trump encourage that. And even though there was nothing in any of the emails that was the least bit bad, idiots who didn't read them believed they had bad stuff. That cost the election. Trump encouraged that. He's a bad man. Wish all you want for snowflakes to come out of his ears, but you will not get that from this freaking horrible human that I grew up near. He's been rotten since he was born, discriminating against blacks, against women, against gays, everything he is: Gay, a sissy, a man who cannot get a real woman and would not know what to do if he had one. You asked for him, you got him. The rest of us who know him know how dangerously unhinged he is: He's a short bus guy not just for his mental capacity, but for his willful bullying and hurtful temperament. Good luck with prayer. That's not gonna help here.


Peter Gorman
Peter Gorman And yes, liberals would--and I would, I promise--be all over Trump if things improved. But since he's inheriting a fantastic country with a great economy and promising to dismantle regulations, eliminate the EPA, kill the Ethics Commission, get more nukes, use the nukes, eliminate the safety net that I've paid into for 60 years since I was 6 years old, well, if he's successful, that's the end of the USA. If he fails, we survive. He's promised to screw us over. That is the part people miss: He wants to lower or eliminate minimum wage; he's against unions, which keep kids like me from working at age 6, though I did, and paid taxes, he does not pay his workers, he uses almost exclusively illegal aliens to do his work; he wants to build a wall when 1 million more Mexicans are leaving the US every year more than are coming in--We've dropped from 19 million to about 10 million during Obama's administration. And he just makes shit up. He kills me with his freaking stupid shit. And it's all stupid shit. He has never said anything, and I mean ever said anything, that was not completely idiotic. That's what you get when you have a person who cannot read. They think we're also making up shit. We're not. We know. He is. He does not know how much he doesn't know. He inherited $400 million and turned it into a billion dollar debt. C'omon, T, you're way smarter than this. This guy is 12 figs short of a fig freaking tree! He cheats contractors, hires illegals and doesn't pay them, boasts about "pussy grabbing", went bankrupt six times with investors money--and went bankrupt with casinos, the only person in the history of the world to lose money at casinos--cheats on his wives and what else do you want? You want me to give him the benefit of the doubt? There is no doubt here. He has told us who he is. He's been upfront, a characteristic I like in him. He says "I"m shit and I'll shit on you." And then people think that's cool. It's not. It's a wake up call to say "No. You do not get the right to shit on me, asshole." That' s what the response of normal people is. Not: Give him a chance. A chance for what? To show you he is exactly who he said he is? A freaking moron with no empathy? Why would you give a jerk like that the benefit? We've watched him for 50 years in the public eye. We know who he is. As they would say in parts of Brooklyn: He's a schmuck. That's the lowest of the low. And I'm giving him credit to go that far. But you will learn. I have confidence. So love him. But you will learn.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Aah, the Pathetic Reality

Ah, the pathetic reality is that I would love to have another person or two on my January and February Extra-Extraordinary Jungle Jaunts to the Peruvian Amazon. I'm going with very small and intimate groups, the way I love it, but at the same time, since my team currently outnumbers my guests 3-1 on each trip, and my team members each gets paid $30 US per day, plus food, including several days before and after the trip, well, I'm just about gonna break even, if I don't eat till the end of February. So are there a couple of intrepid people out there who are dying to see some things they have never seen, experience the jungle the way it really is right now in 2017, deep jungle with all the bugs and trees with spines, and mud that sucks your boots off when you step wrongly, and the host of the most beautiful birds and fish you've ever seen? Are there some people who would like to try the jungle medicines ayahuasca, sapo, nu-nu in a traditional setting, each served by people who have a long tradition of using and serving these medicines Are there a few of you who would like to get an old-fashioned Amazon haircut with pirana teeth, or hunt for wild edibles with indigenous Matses women? If there are just a couple of people out there thinking, man, I wish some trip would come along that could change my life by introducing me to lots of new things, well, then send me a message. I'm your huckleberry. My team is my ace in the hole. The jungle, her rivers, people and medicines, are he tricks I've got up my sleeves. This is more than pretty cool. This is so cool it makes cool things look not so cool. Cost is high at $2200 for 10 days, acknowledged. But this is not your beautiful run of the mill retreat. This is real immersion into another world.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

So this is about my truck

Well, I've got two old Ford Rangers with extended cabs and long flatbeds. One is a 1994 with 299,996 miles on it that runs but for some reason can't pass inspection--there is no engine light on and nothing shows up wrong with it, but it just won't pass inspection, inexplicably.
   The other is a 1998 with 252, 556 miles on it. Italo, my son, surprised me while I was in Peru in July and August and put a new engine he built from the block up into it. My cost was about $1000 for parts. While he was in it, he put a new timing belt on, put in new spark plugs and wiring, new fuel injectors. What a cool surprise.
   Since that was new, I decided to replace the cracked windshield--$200--and drop two new front tires--$200--on it. Mine were shot because my bushings were shot and so they were a little bow-legged, more or less.
   Naturally, a month after that work was all done, the clutch went, so I had to drop a new clutch into it for another $700.
   Two weeks later the engine light came on and it turned out that one of the new cylinders was misfiring. Guy said it was probably a loose wire or spark plug.
   It wasn't. Italo worked on it for a full day before coming to the conclusion that there were four old sensors that needed changing that were causing the misfiring. So he spent another $400 of my money and that was good.
   With all that, he decided he'd better change out the bushings, ball joints and sway bar. Another $300.
   But man, that thing rides like a brand new truck. I mean it's tight. It's so tight it makes tight things look not tight.
   Next thing up: Take it to one of those detailing places to have it scrubbed brand new inside and out for $150.
   So I've got an 18 year old truck with less than 1000 miles on most of its moving parts. Cool.
   Yeah, I'm $2800 in the hole and looking at more. And when I get some money I'm gonna have to give Italo a grand, but hell, I couldn't have bought a truck like this for $4 grand, so it's still a deal. Yea, truck! Yea, Italo!