Sunday, February 28, 2016

Hell of a Sunday

Well, it's Sunday, last day in February. Normally. Tomorrow is Leap Day, so it's really not the last day in February today. Still, it was a hell of a Sunday.
   I had a client for sapo and nu-nu this morning. Those are Amazon medicines and we're starting an experiment to see if those medicines can permanently clear his very bad vision. The medicines work and do that already, but only for 24 hours. The experiment is to see whether with regular medicine doses that time will elongate.
   So I was up at 5 AM and cleaning house by 8 Am and then he called to beg off. "Peter, I did drugs and drank alcohol last night. I really partied. I'll come if you insist, but otherwise, I want to sleep."
   I told him to sleep. It's hard enough to do an experiment without including that the patient did LSD, Magic Mushrooms, illegal drugs and had liquor. We'll do it next week.
   But because I thought he was coming I got the kitchen cleaned from last night. And Madeleina, home from school, got the bathroom and living room cleaned. We were shining by 9 AM.
   Then Chepa, my wife/ex-wife came over with her two babies, Sierra and Alexa, and my grand baby, Taylor Rain, and her sister's two new kids, Ryan and Danica.
    Chepa took to the computer, Madeleina took the kids, I took to cooking for them.
    After food, they went outside and decided to paint my front porch with chalk. While they did that i changed a battery in my old 1998 Ford Ranger, changed a wheel on the wheelbarrow, and then sent the kids out to collect all fallen branches and small limbs from the yard. They did.
    And then I went to the store, bought organic, unfiltered apple juice, organic lime juice, good orange juice, wine and a few other things.
     When I got back, a young man who was introduced to me via facebook from an actual friend, had showed up and I taught him a lot in a couple of hours. I wish I had a recording of it.
     When I was pooped, I told him goodbye and he graciously left. Nice young guy for sure. I hope he has a charmed life.
     Then Chepa and the kids left.
     Then Madeleina said she had to go.
     So now I'm alone.
     Somehow that seems fine. I had five kids plus Madeleina and Chepa all day. Had a stranger. Got ready for work this morning. I'm tired.
     I'm gonna cook me a hamburger with a sesame bun and sauteed onions. I'm gonna dress it with mustard and Katsup. I'm gonna cook spinach with garlic and reheat those asparagus.
    To outsiders it might not have seemed much. To me, it was a hell of a Sunday.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

New Amazon Jaunts Coming Up: Time to Sign Up for the Time of Your Life!

Ladies and Gents: I've got two great Amazon Jungle Jaunts coming up; one in June, one in July. These are 9 1/2 day excursions into deep jungle--roughly 250 KM out of Iquitos--that are filled with fun/adventure/medicine. I don't have a lodge: We use a rustic but very cool place. Showering is in the beautiful Aucayacu river, for instance, as no showers are allowed. We basically live as the people on the river live for a week: We take walks looking for wild and semi-wild foods and medicines, we hike pristine high jungle, we stroll in the most primordial swamp I've ever seen. We swim in a lake that's home to pink and grey dolphins. We collect the vine and ad-mix plants our curandero will utilize in his ayahuasca. We'll have the opportunity to use--at the right time, in the right place--some local magic shrooms to get people prepared for ayahuasca; we'll have a chance to utilize ayahuasca twice (three if you push me but no one ever really asks for that); and we'll have the opportunity to use the indigenous Matses' sapo (frog sweat, AKA kambo), and nu-nu (aka rapé) snuff. We'll have you on an overnight riverboat underneath the Amazon sky. We'll have you forgetting your own name. We'll have you more protected than you've ever felt. My team is spectacular and will always outnumber guests, which are limited to 12. You'll eat some of the best food--mostly fruit, veggies, plantain, rice, fresh beans daily, with a bit of chicken and eggs for those who want that--you've ever had. In short, we'll offer you an opportunity to make a fresh start by blowing up your world view. You don't have to change, of course. If you're already a shining star, then then trip and my team and the medicines, and the river will just polish you to a high gleam. If, on the other hand, you suck, we'll you'll suck a lot less when we're finished with you. How's that for a promise? You can get the dates on the website. Price is high at $2200, but that includes everything except your airfare and walking around money. We pick you up at the airport and if you come in a day or two early, recommended, we still pick you up at the airport. There are no hidden fees/costs. You buy presents for your family, your money. Your hotel in Iquitos, boat cabins, food in Iquitos, food on the river, food in the jungle, my team of 12-14, the medicines, the whole shebang is included. And if you're broke, which I understand, I might take a few hundred bucks off the price to help out. Questions? Email me at
Thanks for listening,
Peter G

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Sink; Tonight's Food

So I was washing veggies in my sink and suddenly thought: How many hours of my life have been spent looking into sinks? For at least 59 of my 65 years I've either been employed in an Ice Cream Parlor, a restaurant or cooking at home. I've peeled tens of thousands of pounds of potatoes looking into a sink--90 percent of them while working as a 12-15 year old at Cresthaven Country Club in Queens, NYC--and spent countless hours washing veggies, washing dishes, washing sinks. It might average out to an hour a day for 59 years. That's a long time to be staring into a metal hole.
    I've also spent a lot of time--I mean a LOT of time--cutting and cooking veggies and meat and fish. Tonight, I'm alone and was not sure what to cook. I've got a rack of ribs in the fridge--but that would be way too heavy and I'd only eat two before I was turned off at the notion I was eating an animal. I have a nice piece of salmon, but I had that two nights ago and then yesterday for lunch I had the leftover, so forget that. I've got a half-pound of swordfish, but not in the mood. I've got left over chicken thighs--already roasted a few days ago--and could make one of them into a burrito (with fresh pico de gallo, beans, avocado, sour cream and cheddar), or a chicken salad with celery, onions, and mayo, or I could put them in a pot with celery, onions, garlic and tomato and make a nice soup, or do 30 other things with them (just eating things, not dirty things). But I'm not in the mood. I've also got sausage, peppers, and onions (with garlic, of course) and tomatoes left over from a couple of days ago, but again, I had it twice, once when I made it on Friday, then again for Sat. lunch, so I'm not in the mood.
     So what am I to do? I settled on a sort of Spanish Beef with Veggies. It's a concoction I make a couple of times a year and there are probably a million other people who make something like it. Start by sauteing 1 1/2 pounds of chuck chopped meat in a heavy skillet with garlic, salt, pepper and a bit of oil.
    Once brown, strain the fat and put the meat aside.
    While you're making the meat, put on good basmati rice with garlic and then add achiote for flavor and coloring. The rice will be yellow/orange and very tasty.
    While you're doing that stuff, cut broccoli and cauliflower into small florets, cut a zucchini and a yellow squash lengthwise, then cut into half-moons about 3/16 of an inch thick. Put the broccoli and cauliflower into salted, boiling water. Wait two minutes and add the zucchini and squash, cook for one more minute, remove from heat, put under very cold water until cool, then drain.
    When the pieces are ready for the puzzle, get a deep saute pan and put in four tablespoons of good olive oil that's had minced (fresh) garlic in it for a couple of days. The garlic goes in as well. Add a nice-sized diced red onion; when the garlic is done and the onion is see through, add a diced sweet red Bell pepper and a diced tomato. When that's all good, add the meat and then salt and pepper and add achiote (you can buy it from Goya) and a minced handful of cilantro. When that's looking good, add the veggies and cover with a big--maybe 5 ounces--handful of fresh organic spinach. Add a can of organic black beans and more achiote. Stir it all up for about 8 minutes or 6 minutes until it's good and hot and you're about to go crazy for it. If you're in the mood, top the meat/veggie mix with a good quality of cheddar cheese that you've minced.
    Serve that over your yellow rice.
    That's good eating.
     I've made that dish while I was writing this. Almost done. Time to add the meat to the garlic/onion/red pepper/tomato mix. So I'm still 10 minutes away but nearly done.
     Of course, now that I nearly have it finished and have written about it, I'm not in the mood for it anymore because it feels like I already ate it. Damn.
     Maybe I'll just go for a salad instead.

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Very Nice Day

So a few friends came over for a Peruvian-style ceremony the other night. The ceremony was beautiful, I think. Medicine and songs were strong; Lynn and a woman named Michelle, the guardians, were great. All survived. Thank you universe!

    Went to a regular doc today (now that i have Medicare because I'm old)—first time I've seen a doc for a checkup in at least 15 years—and he took blood, ordered a chest X-Ray, did an EKG, took urine.
    EKG was great, he said, "Perfect." Thank you, sapo, and daily garlic for 65 years.
    Urine was great, he said: "We were looking for sugar. None. Perfect."
    We'll see what the blood and X-Ray turn up.
    Started CBD oil just two days ago. That, with the Una de Gato has me feeling much better. Slept on the couch, laying down, for a total of 7 hours last night, most since just after Christmas. Took about 7 pees during that time, and swelling on legs almost gone.
    Took my blood pressure pills early and blood pressure came back 122/80. Rarely see it that close to just right. Maybe the hemp pills are cool. Hope so.
    Now I'm smoking a cigarette and having wine. Italo just fixed my green truck: New water pump, new spark plugs, new thermostat. I've apparently been running on 3 cylinders for some time. Truck has more pep now.
   Gonna eat a prime rib with onions and blue cheese with a side of spinach with garlic. No starch. There goes the blood pressure!
   Things are going good today.
   Fingers crossed I wake up tomorrow morning.
   And I hope you all had a wonderful day as well.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Reminder for Those Entering the Ayahuasca Realms

Someone wrote me recently to say they were very terrified while under the influence of ayahuasca. As the person had been a guest of mine in the jungle, I was surprised. I guess they continued the work when they got back home, wherever that is. Anyway, I sent this quick note out:
   We all get terrified and are unable to move at times in that world. I just get frozen and beg my heart to stop so that I can be free of the fear. BUTTT, remember what I told you about not having a body?
In the other realms you have no body. No one and no spirit can grab you, stab you, hurt you physically.
    Which means you are not constrained. If something menacing is engulfing you, become more menacing and engulf it. You don't need to know how to do it, if you can just tie a string around your finger to remind yourself to do it, then you can do it.
   If it's a physical monster, become a bigger one. It has 20 heads grow 100 heads.

   If it's just an overwhelming sort of darkness, turn on light—again, it will just happen—and the
darkness will vanish in it.
   If it's something you need to deal with, put yourself on equal terms and then deal with it.
   None of which is easy when you're frozen in fear.
   Hence my suggestion of a reminder piece of string around your finger.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Life is Tough; Life is Worth It

So I'm home nearly two weeks. I've written a couple of short pieces to earn a few dollars, had a couple of surprise things happen that were great; had a hole in my working truck's radiator which was not great, have an infection in my good leg that's been cultured out and it turns out it's a combination of staph and pseudomonis, not good, but not as bad a couple of years ago when there were four bacterias attacking my right leg.
    I am having trouble sleeping more than an hour at a time; I feel lucky when I go to bet at 9:30 and don't wake till 11--a full hour-and-a-half is almost like REM sleep after the last month in Peru. I've paid off thousands in bills, leaving me nearly broke, but only owing $14,000--not bad. I turned 65, so I get senior discounts at places I would never eat.
   I've got people coming to the house for ceremony Saturday and have spent close to $1000 on them--and I am not allowed, morally, to accept anything, even contributions. So what? I'll earn more next week. I've been cleaning my house, one meter at a time. Still to go? Mop floors, polish floors; do rugs; clean front and back doors of dog prints. But otherwise, I've done hours and hours, and I'm paying someone $100 to come and help me tomorrow, the day before ceremony, so that when guests arrive they don't think I'm a bum. I've already scrubbed the new tub, toilet and sink. I've done the dirty work.
   Now today is my granddaughter Taylor Rain Gorman's birthday. So I'm making a small party. Bought some presents, cleaned the kitchen, made ribs and chicken, white rice and yellow rice, salmon filet and spicy black beans. Have broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash, zuccini, tomatoes, scallions, garlic in olive oil ready to stir in a pan. That's a lot of different things to cook for 8 people, but I know my family: They each want what they want and I take up the challenge willingly.
   I have had red wine but no whiskey, not even my three airplane bottles, since Jan 1. So we'll argue tonight, but I won't fall into the trap of being a fool.
    Every day I wake up I thank the universe for another shot at it all. I love living. Sometimes it's hard. It's hard when my legs hurt from infection. It's hard when I can't get ahead and don't have enough for what everyone needs. It's hard when I remember I'm not 21 or 31 anymore. But it's easy to love living anyway.
   And I hope you are all loving living, despite setbacks.

Monday, February 15, 2016

My Madeleina Growing Up

I just took Madeleina out of college for the day and brought her into the city to meet two formerly homeless people who are now living in Sec 8 housing--a very nice apartment--put out a street newspaper and the guy is going into chemo for lung cancer on Wednesday. The delivery system was put in place in his right upper chest today. What a marvel they were. Madeleina got some great shots and I think she's got a shot at the cover or opening photo for the Fort Worth Weekly when the story is done--she might make a couple of hundred. I love working with her. She is so non-imposing, just like when she helps with ceremony: Just there when you need her; not a moment before or after. Absolutely silent, absolutely invisible. If she could learn to use the camera correctly she'd have an adjunct income for the rest of her life the way that a short -order cook can always scrape by in lean times.

     Plus: These two were at least 350 pounds each but kept making jokes, talking about sex, talking about their 3 AM trips to the bathroom and the banter about making coffee at that hour. What a pleasure to be with them. And at the end, Madeleina, an avowed non-sexual, said something along the lines of: "I'm not saying I'm convinced, but I will say I never thought love could last like that. 25 years of marriage after years of being junkies together! Dad, they were cool!"
     Which is a step in the right direction. As long as the guy can talk enough to give me an hour or two tomorrow, and then on the weekend after the first round of chemo--and as long as his wife Annette will give me some time--I'll have a nice story about Homeless, Not Helpless. They seem to be all about sharing what little they have.
    And now, after driving 110 miles today--going to Ft Worth twice--I've got to drive Madeleina to school, another 150 miles RT. Damn. My legs are jumpy and painful already from the infections I picked up in the jungle last month, so I've taken a bit more ibuprofin than normal.
    Personally, I'd just as soon give Madeleina the week off. I love hanging around with her.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

New Drug War Follies Column

Okay, I'm back from the jungle. I got leg infections, foot infections, am in constant pain since I've returned home. Way too many ibuprofin to be good for me, I cannot concentrate on anything because the damned pain takes over. I'll get past it. And my doc said the infection isn't too severe; he's giving it a few days before I start on a regimen of antibiotics hoping that I I won't need to do that.
      The trip was wonderful: The guests were just great, the jungle was beautiful, the medicine was deep. Couldn't have been better unless I was 30 years younger.
      Even that I'm going to try to take care of: Now that I'm 65 I get the Medicare I've been paying into since its inception and my surgeon said I could use it for the out-patient physical therapy the hospital has. It's supposed to be very good. I'll call early in the week, once the pain subsides a little.
     Today, in the mail, was the newest issue of Skunk magazine, the pot magazine for which I write a regular column called Drug War Follies. It is often about the drug war, but then it often strays as well. I love having the column and the freedom to rant a little. It's like having this blog. Just write what I want to write, what I'm feeling--and that is a kind of freedom we investigative reporters rarely enjoy.
     So here is the newest column, the 91st I've done for Skunk. And in the next few days, I'll start on #92. Damn, that's gonna be cool.

Drug War Follies

A little rant about guns. You know, the guns that don’t kill people. The guns that were involved in as many deaths in the U.S. in 2014 as were motor vehicles. You know, the guns that don’t kill people that were involved in 84,000 non-fatal injuries in 2014. Yeah, those guns.

By Peter Gorman

Open carry. Forty-five states in the U.S. now permit people to openly carry guns in public. I don’t mean in a gun rack in the back of a pick up truck, like a lot of people see in areas where hunting is permitted, I mean pistols in holsters and rifles and semi-automatics slung over your shoulder. You have all probably seen some news footage of nutty men strolling into fast food joints carrying enough fire-power to wipe out a small town. They’re supposed to be “the good guys with guns”, as the National Rifle Association puts it, who will stop the bad guys with guns.
    Texas, which has allowed open carry of rifles and semi-automatics for a long time, just implemented a new law that will allow anyone with a concealed handgun permit to now wear that gun in a holster on their hips. You know, football moms and dads staring each other down over whose kid is better after they’ve each had had six beers and while carrying a .45 semi-auto on their hips. What could go wrong with that? Or what about guys fighting over a parking space, or what if someone gets the wrong order at Arby’s?
   “I said no goddamned ketchup, motherfucker!”
   Nah. Nothing could go wrong there.
   And what’s the chance of a bar fight escalating when everyone is drunk and strapped?
   And let’s suppose a bad guy with a gun starts shooting people and a couple of good guys with guns start to fire at him, just as the police arrive. Are the cops gonna ask who the good guys are? And if they ask the bad guy, is he gonna say, “I’m the freaking bad guy, copper! Come and get me!” Or is he going to say: “Stop those guys! They’re crazy!”
   Okay, that was an easy test.
   And how will anyone know who has the concealed carry permit and who is the dangerous felon with bad intentions?
   Only one time in my life did I see the good guys with guns stop a bad guy. I was cooking brunch at a New York City joint call the Mad Hatter. At any given time more than half the people in the restaurant were police officers—it was a cop joint.
   One Sunday a guy came in, walked to the bar, pulled a pistol and asked the bartender for his money. The restaurant was instantly silent for a moment, then suddenly there was a bit of movement in the crowd, and probably 50 guns came out all at once. The bartended told the guy to turn around. He did, saw the guns, dropped his, and fled.
   The thing about that was that it involved 50 trained policemen, not Uncle Joe who goes to the gun range three times a year and has probably never shot at a live moving target.
   Why are we so afraid, and what are we so afraid of? Will people carry guns to ward off being the target of a street robbery? Would you really shoot someone who asked for your wallet? Is it that important?
   Or are people afraid of losing their rights in the U.S.? Do they really imagine someone is coming for their guns? And if all hell broke loose and the military decided to take over the U.S. and that necessitated disarming the population, does anyone really believe their semi-automatic rifle will be a match against trained military with military grade weaponry? Oy, vey! I get upset just thinking about all those people who are so very afraid. What a rotten way to go through life, eh?
   Upset jumps to a kind of rage when I think of the power of the NRA. The organization has nearly all of our politicians cowering. No one dares suggest real gun control laws for fear of the NRA pouring money into the next campaign to get them defeated. And I’m not talking about super stringent gun control laws; hell, no one is even willing to take on the gun show loophole.
   The gun show loophole is this: If you go to a gun show and buy a gun or 40 from a licensed dealer, he’s got to put your name into the FBI file, via telephone, for a moment. If you don’t have a felony or outstanding warrants, you’ll be green lighted to buy your guns. If there is something on your record that prohibits you from having a guy, the background check will red light you to the dealer and you won’t get your gun. In all cases, all information obtained by the FBI about people trying to purchase guns is destroyed at midnight of the same day, so there is no record of who tried to buy what.
   But there is a loophole big enough to drive a tractor-trailer through in the process: The Gun Show Loophole. Private citizens who want to sell their guns are not licensed dealers, and therefore don’t even have to do the ridiculously simple FBI background check. The seller just shows up at the gun show with his stash of personal guns and sells them, legally, to anyone who wants them. In Texas, thousands of those guns wind up in Mexico to help fuel the drug wars there. But a lot of those guns wind up in New York or Los Angeles or Toronto on the black market. And there is no way to trace them, no way to know if the gun show loophole purchaser really wanted a gun for him/herself or wanted 500 guns to later sell on the black market. Money talks, people die. The NRA hides behind the Second Amendment of the Constitution.
    Make no mistake: The NRA is the elephant in the room on this issue. If they’ve got politicians so cowed that they won’t even attempt to close the Gun Show Loophole, you can forget about any real gun control. When the subject of 30,000 gun deaths per year in the U.S. comes up, the NRA is quick to point out that half of those are suicides—as if easy access to guns didn’t help a lot of those suicides along. When it’s pointed out that Canada only has 2.2 gun deaths annually per 100,000 people while the U.S. has 10.64 per the same 100,000, the NRA is quick to point out that the problem is that too many bad guys have guns, so more good guys have to arm themselves.
    We have an estimated 300,000,000—yes, that is 300 million—guns in private hands in the U.S. That’s a lot of guns. And a lot of ammunition. But hell, when someone wants to buy 10,000 rounds, what’s to stop them? No law against it. Maybe they do a lot of target shooting. And when we have another crazy person walk into a school or movie theater or candy store and start blowing people away, well, the NRA says that’s not good, but part of the price of freedom. And it’s part of the price of freedom when a three-year-old finds daddy’s loaded gun and shoots his brother in the face. The problem wasn’t the gun, it was that daddy didn’t lock it in a safe. Bad daddy.
   I’m probably one of the few people in Texas who doesn’t own a gun. When I’m out in the jungle in Peru I have a shotgun at all times, just in case I need to scare away a predator, but not here in Texas. I don’t have a gun because I have nightmares about sleepwalking and killing one of my family, or them killing someone when they get really angry. What if I got drunk and stupid? What if I shot a stranger who came to the door at 3 AM because their car broke down and they didn’t have a cell phone and I took them for a burglar? I get chills when I have those dreams. So no guns for me.
   Obviously, I’m in the minority here in Texas and probably throughout the U.S. At the other end of the rainbow are the open carry people. They not only have guns, they walk around letting you know it.
   In Colorado recently, a man was walking around with a rifle. Someone called 911 to report him. The dispatcher reminded the caller that there was nothing illegal in that because Colorado, in addition to having legal pot, is an open carry state.
   The police were finally dispatched to look into the guy with the rifle. By the time they got there he’d killed four people he’d never met. Just killed them at random. No big deal, said the NRA. Just the price of freedom.
It would all be funny if people weren’t dying and the prisons weren’t full.