Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Melancholia

Well, I might have been missing my mom today, or my family, or friends who passed on. Maybe I was just missing the Mooch, or Spicer. Hell, I don't know, but I felt like a little kid and so I wanted to eat like I was a little kid. You know, when we were poor and the best dirt to eat was always the cool dirt under the parked car. Man, and grub worms they told us were tiny fish, and mice on a stick they said went so well with marshmallows....if only we had marshmallows....
With those emotions running through me--and realizing that nobody has called me a Mik as a curse word since that guinea Antonio did it nearly 54 years ago, well, I was melancholy. So I decided to make franks and beans.
Took a head-and-a-half of chopped garlic in olive oil and started to saute that. Added three slices of salt pork, diced, a red onion, diced, three sticks of celery, diced, then let it steep for a few minutes. Then added 10 Ballpark beef franks, sliced to 1/2 inch pieces and three good Roma tomatoes, also diced. Fifteen minutes later, added good cracked black pepper.
About a glass of wine later, I added two cans of Bush's original baked beans and two cups of organic vegetable broth. I'm letting that cook for a while, letting the flavors get to know each other for at least another glass of wine, then add Heinz ketchup and let it sit another hour. Then I'll add a head of minced cilantro, serve it over good rice, top it with shredded smoked cheddar and stone ground mustard.
Won't be as good as dirt, but then it's hard for me to crawl under cars these days. Bon Appetite!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Once more with food and feeling

One more with food and feeling. Today was the baby shower for my incoming granddaughter Tiegan, presented by my daughter-in law, the lovely Sarah Gorman, and my boy Italo. I stopped in for a visit, saw some people I have not seen in some time but whom I like to see now and then, and then snuck out to come home and get food ready. I spent the morning cleaning out and scrubbing the fridge (not the freezer yet), and got rid of a lot of stuff that we didn't need, then went to the store and restocked what I'd tossed.
Tonight, with Madeleina coming home early--at about 6 PM, an hour or so from now--I'm keeping it simple: Making a little spicy chopped meat with black beans, more or less.
I'll cook about a pound of chopped chuck in garlic and a bit of olive oil with diced onions, scallions and tomato. I'll add organic black beans--a 1 pound can--when the meat is done and I've eliminated excess fat. To that mix I'll add fresh cilantro and achiote (the red colorant used by indigenous to paint their faces and used by cooks to make yellow rice in South America), and a little white vinegar for a good bite. I'll lay down a bed of mixed greens, put the meat/beans on that, top with freshly grated cheddar, top that with a dollop of sour cream and three slices--about a quarter--of avocado, top that with homemade pico de gallo (cilantro, onion, tomato in lime juice with salt and a bit of garlic oil). And then we'll eat. I'll have sliced cucumber in lime with salt on the side, and serve watermelon and organic black plums for desert. In the neighborhood, stop by. It's gonna be good.

Living in the Now

A friend of mine was feeling a bit uneasy about her choice to devote her life--at least this period of it--to healing people, rather than getting along on a more typical path. I did not want to push too much, but did say this, because it's how I feel:
Living in the moment takes a lot of self-starting. It can get overwhelming, at least for me, but beats the heck out of 9-5, again, at least for me. But yeah, sometimes you have to sit down and say "25 slow, deep breaths, long as they take, till I am on solid ground again." And then you are and as long as you are thinking about helping others, even if you're not always sure you have enough juice to do it, well, you'll only get stronger the more you work. And then you have the juice--at least till the next time doubt creeps in....Good luck. You're a strong human. Be that.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Back from Peru and Hungry for My Own Cooking

So I got back from Peru and two trips to the jungle with lots of good medicine and good people and now I am home and pooped. Caught in that week between the two worlds I generally inhabit. I cannot think straight, so I wind up cleaning the house, trimming the ivy that invaded the front porch and could be hiding a couple of copperheads, and read the news. The news was as depressing as when I left six weeks ago: Trump this, Trump that, Trump the complete idiot, Mooch screws the pooch and gets in, Prebus gets the shaft and is kicked out, taking away more of Obama's good work because Trump can't stand him; two embarrassing talks to the Boy Scouts and Long Island police officers (the first one encouraging the scouts to boo Obama; the latter encouraing police brutality). And then the failure to repeal Obamacare. Dang, that baffoon in the White House is sure keeping busy being crazy, ain't he?
Well, to keep my own sanity I cleaned and stocked the fridge. Madeleina and her friend Adrian are staying here while off from college, so I had someone to cook for. First night I made pork chops with saurkraut and onions, with a peach tossed into the kraut to give it a sweet aftertaste.
Second night I made lime chicken, a signature dish of mine.
Third night: Sliders with the works.
Fourth night: Huge (U-10) shrimp sauteed with a vegetable medley, leaning toward Chinese with bok choy, peppers, ginger, sesame oil.
Fifth night, cold chicken salad with mayo, celery, scallions, shallots, diced red pepper stuffed into perfec avocado halves. Side of sliced, peeled apples.
Last night, hot sausage/tomato sauce/mozzarella cheese heroes.
Tonight, Uncle Clem's Chicken, made Clare Waugh style: Cooked chicken breast in a bit of garlic and olive oil, diced. Put three cooked and diced half chicken breasts in deep baking dish with four heads of broccoli, parboiled and trimmed to bite-sized pieces. Cover with a sauce of mushrooms cream and top with fresh mozzarella. Bake at 325 till the cheese bubbles and browns. Serve over good jasmine rice.
Yeah, The news sucks, but I got to get an hour or two away from it and cooking is where I tend to go to get that.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Remembering the Bonghitters Softball Team

Years ago at High Times magazine we had a softball team and entered the journalism league of softball. Now everybody wanted to play High Times because they thought we would be a joke: Just stoners out there and an easy win. Our schedule would include Penthouse, Playboy, Forbes, WBAI radio and a host of other magazines, many of them politically opposite High Times.
   Anyway, I wound up playing shortstop for a few years and was thinking about that--and about how other teams, when they discovered we were good, began bringing in ringers, former minor leaguers or college baseball players, and it was sometimes tough to stare them down knowing how hard they were going to hit the ball to me on the short softball field.
   And a few of us were reminiscing and I wrote this:
Sometimes those balls hit by big guys paid by Playboy were so fast they came like knuckleballs to shortstop. And if I drank some of the LSD before the game I was sitting there on short stop wondering which ball was the real one as it came to me. Then I would think: Hey, if you don't have the balls to play shortstop, don't play it. And I would step in two steps and say to myself: If this is the game on the line, who else should get it? Send it my way, MF's. If we lose and it is my fault, at least I will own it. You can't just give it to someone who isn't good enough to own it. And I think I attracted a lot of balls my way with that sort of prayer/invocation.I was still scared that I was not good enough, but dared myself to be there on point. And then we had a perfect season. We were great. I mean you, Bloom, I mean you, Steve, who must have turned eight double plays with me with the most awkward turn, but it was still efficient. I mean Donja, I mean Rick, the steadiest of us all, and 7 in left field, I mean Malcolm who made some great cut off throws to me. And Nate or Darryl, both of you had that dive to the right, straight down the line that still amazes me. And all the rest of you. WE WERE THE CHAMPS! They threw everything they had at us—semi-pro players and all– and we still came up strong with Dave at First Base, saving my errant throws. We WERE UNDEFEATED!!!!! That was us at our very best, both in the field and in the magazine. We kicked ass and I was and am proud to have been associated with every one of you in those years. You made my life easy and fun! You pushed me to write great stories. Thank you all. You are not forgotten in my book.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dance a Little Faster...

Well, I'm in a bit of a pickle, and while I love pickles, I'm not sure if sinking in the brine is what I love. I had an incredible month last month, taking in about $6,500 with sapo, social security, pay, book sales. But then I needed $500 plus for Madeleina's car; $500 plus for my car; $400 legal fees to help Chepa my wife/ex-wife out of a bind; $400 to Chepa for general sustenance for the kids because she had a little op and couldn't go to work for a week. Then a total of about $500 on fixing cats, getting Boots, the wonder dog's shots and a haircut and flea medicine; then $687 or so for my quarterly home insurance. Then tires for two cars, then $1500 for 15 sapo sticks, then, then, then. So I'm now down to $1200. Not bad, except I owe $1400 for bills this month, darnit. And then I leave in 12 days to Peru. I have a cover story due on Friday--I promised it a week early so we could edit before I leave--and of the 22 phone calls I've made I have had two returned. Of the 9 emails sent I have had 1 returned. And these have been repeatedly made. So I'm a bit skimpy on specifics for that. I did manage to write most of my 100th Skunk Magazine Drug War Follies Column today, but I won't know if it's good till I look at it tomorrow. I had 8 people for my June trip but 5 copped out. I have 11 for July, but only deposits so far--and I have spent nearly $10,000 more than their deposits already on the trip, so I hope they are all coming. So dang, this is getting scary out here on the ledge. Wind is howling and my sneakers have no traction. HAHAHAHA! It will all work out, sometimes for better sometimes for worse. But the cover story will either get turned in or I am no longer a viable journalist. The column will be great or I no longer have that income stream. The two new books in the hands of editors will either sell or I'm screwed. I'll get on the plane a week from Sunday and have two great trips, even if the first one is going to cost me $4000 because of the quitters. Ain't life grand? Just dance a little faster I guess, and then I will think I'm on key.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Animal Parts, veggies, fruits...

Animal Parts, Veggies, Beans, Fruit...What to eat, considering all of it is going to hate me for eating it...
It's Sunday afternoon. It's been storming here in Joshua, TX for hours, so no lawnwork today. I already advanced a couple of stories I'm working on and finished compiling my Drug War Follies columns--the best of them--to be able to get out to my first editor, who can tell me which 20 percent do not belong in the book.
I showered, cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed my office, and went to the store early. Having my first glass of wine, a Noble Vines cabernet named simply 337. It's good.
I am not hungry, but it is still time to think about dinner after spending hours thinking about the drug war and the state of the world for most of the day. There are lots of choices. Should I just make a couple of Ballpark Beef Franks on toasted Ballpark buns with crispy saurkraut and good mustard? Sounds good to me.
But I have a nice piece of salmon that I could saute with garlic and a bit of olive oil, then add capers and ginger and scallions and when it's near done a little teriyaki and sesame oil to candy-that skin.
Or should i throw in the 1/2 pork butt I just bought: Brown it on all sides, baste with plenty of garlic and black pepper, lay it on a bed of onions, celery, with sliced anjou pears for sweetness, and let that baby sit for 3 hours?
Then again, I have a few left over chicken thighs which might go very well in burritos. I've got good beans, cheese, avocado, sour cream, and can make a nice pico de gallo. Not a bad idea.
Thinking of the avocado, what about if i chopped the chicken thigh meat and added sauted onion and garlic, diced celery, and mayonaise to make a good chicken salad, then stuffed it into avocado halves to make Royal Stuffed Avocados?
Then there is the fresh corn, the red potatoes, a beautiful sweet potato i could boil up and slice with fresh boiled beets. And there is spinach, of course, and broccoli, and salad I could make and top with my special dressing. Or I could steam asparagus, then saute them up with a bit of garlic and olive oil with jowel bacon bits and balsamic vinegar and top with a little finely grated good blue cheese.
I'm full just thinking about all this. I guess i don't really need to make anything since I just gained 5 pounds writing this.
I hope everyone, everywhere, gets to make these kinds of decisions one day. That I get to choose among several possible meals of fresh food--none of which is very expensive--while millions are starving to death, and millions are going to bed hungry right here in the US is a crime. If I ever get some money, I will have several food trucks outfitted and scouring the poorest neighborhoods here in Fort Worth and surrounding areas and we will give away fantastic food to anyone who wants it. That's a dream I've had since I started working in kitchens in New York restaurants and realized we were throwing away enough food nightly--at the small places I ran--to feed 100 hungry people. I really am not a fan of the unequal hands people have been dealt. Dammit. Now I really don't feel like eating.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

NOT PC but TRUE

.On 21st Ave in Whitestone, Queens, in 1959, when I was 8, we had Mics, Spics, Pollacks, Guineas, Jews, Gypsies, a couple of Greeks, a Ruskie family, and gumbas from Sicily (very different from Guineas from northern Italy). That's how we called each other and that;s how we identified and it was all very cool. Then a black family moved in and we called them Afrikaners, and nobody got upset. I was proud to be called a Mic. And I think everybody else was proud to be called shorthand from where their families came from. We had great sports, everybody ate at everybody else's house, and it was wonderful growing up in that soup. I know it's not PC right now, but nearly 60 years ago, it worked and nobody got mad. Ah, idyllic youth.....

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Madeleina learning about cars....

Madeleina learning about cars...
So my daughter Madeleina got a used Mustang last summer. She was warned it had a small oil leak. Well, the oil leak blew up the engine when the engine went dry and the "check engine" light didn't come on. So my son Italo bought a new--used--engine, then bought a new block and put the car back together, but there seems to be an unrelated problem with the transmission. Well, I paid about $2 grand for the car with everything, put near another $2 grand into the engine and block, and that about tapped me out. So Italo gave Madeleina his wife's old Neon to drive and will probably make the trade final once Madeleina's 2003 Mustang is running smoothly again.
Two weeks ago Madeleina was supposed to get a new inspection. She didn't because she was at school most days, and so got stopped three days ago for the inspection being out by two weeks. The officer was going to give her a warning on that but then noticed she wasn't wearing her glasses--it's on the license--so he gave her a ticket for that.
She came home sobbing, acting like the universe was against her. "I was going to get the inspection, dad! I didn't need a ticket to remind me!"
As for glasses, she doesn't need them. No eye doc can figure out anything wrong with her eyes, and she wore plain clear plastic glasses to pass the eye test at the driver's place after she failed without them.
So I told her to buy $10 plain glasses from a local store and leave them in the car. Then we went for the inspection. She failed because of a bald back tire. So I took her to our local tire place and asked the guy to put two good used tires on the rear. Madeleina suggested she needed brake pads as well because her brakes were squealing. So I asked him to put on brake pads.
Now the failed inspection was only $27. The two tires and brake pads were $175. The ticket turned out to be $174.50. When she passed inspection, we got an oil change for $59, with a new air filter. But in Texas you bring the notice of passing inspection to the local tax office and pay your annual registration at the same time. That was $82.25.
I think we're done. But boy, that was a quick $500+ gone in a hot flash!
On the positive: Madeleina now knows how to get an oil change, how to get an inspection, how to get tires and a whole lot of car stuff she didn't know three days ago. So there you go.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mothers' Day!

I just want to say a thank you to mother earth, my mom, my grandma's, Momma Lydia, my sisters, my sister-in-law, my nieces, my brother's daughter-in-law, the mother of my kids, your moms and grandmas and all the women who have born the children that have been the people of the earth. And I would like to add that not one of those women ever wanted her kid to grow up poor, sick, afraid, stuck in a war they didn't make, hungry, or hurt in any fashion. Not one of them. And yet, that's is what we allow, and sometimes encourage, to happen. Can we pause for a minute and fix that? Could we really give the moms of the world a great present and start treating their children the way you want your kids treated, and the way your mom wanted you treated? That would be a grand present indeed. Here's looking at you, Moms of the World!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Respect in small things

With all the problems we have in this world, from starving kids, to people stuck in wars they have nothing to do with, to loneliness, to joblessness, to physical illness and relentless pain, my issue of the moment is so trivial that it's meaningless. Still, it got my blood boiling.
I use att for phone, internet, television. Couple of months ago my bill for all three started climbing from $155 monthly until it hit $223 a couple of months ago. I called and told them I quit. They quickly made a deal: Would I be willing to pay $109 a month for everything? Yes, I would. First bill came in April and it was pro-rated and very inexpensive. Today's bill came in at $171. I called and was told that four premium channels had been added to the account. I asked by whom, and when? That info was not available. Took nearly 40 minutes to get them to take off the channels I had never ordered, which will bring my monthly bills down to the promised $109. Or should, until att decides to add something else to my bill.
I recognize that this is not very important. It is dwarfed by real problems. But if it has any importance beyond my wallet, it has to do with dignity, with not allowing people to run roughshod over me/over us. We deserve respect in all things great and small.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Hungry Tonight!

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Sometimes it's so simple, but scary good. Have no idea, but after making chicken parmesan for my family last night with a good hearts of romaine salad, asparagus and a nice shallotl-balsamic vinegar dressing, tonight I was going crazy for franks and beans. But sometimes it's so good you go crazy. Fresh garlic, two heads, with two diced slices of salt pork, a diced onion, four diced plum tomatoes, a pound of sliced BallPark beef franks--if you are from New York it can be Nathans or BallPark, or Hebrew National, but everything else is fake--then two cans of good Bush's original baked beans, cracked black pepper, good sea salt, three or four ounces of a biting bar-be-que sauce, a couple of ounces of good mustard, and then, after an hour, a full portion of cilantro. If it gets tight, add vegetable stock, preferably organic, and then finish with diced sharp cheddar. Now that is franks and beans. And even people from Boston, including Agurkis, are going to agree that it smells and tastes like heaven on a fork.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Malaise!

Malaise
Don't mean to get all touchy-feely, sorry-for-myself here, but I am having one of those days. I go from real highs to kind-of-lows. Last week, I knew I had six or eight people coming in for a medicine weekend and I cleaned the house wildly. I rented the rug shampooers, put clorox on the cement front porch, killed bugs, cleaned windows, toilets, floors. They came and it was fantastic. But on Sunday, the first couple left. Then on Monday two more left. Tuesday, two more, Wednesday one and Sunday past, the last. I was teaching, I was learning. I was focused. I made good food, I watched myself to be cool, I took care of people and they took care of me.
Yesterday, Madeleina and her boyfriend Adrian left. That left me alone. I cleaned and worked my ass off to get a 1500 word story ready for the Fort Worth Weekly, the fantastic alternative press here that pays my salary. I finished it this morning, getting up at 5 AM after going to bed, without dinner, at 10 PM.
My son Marco came by at 7 AM to say hello. He has been the only human contact I have had today, other than saying hello to the check-out person at HEB where I bought groceries and wine. I called my friend Larry and we spoke for a while--he's my brother so speaking with him is really easy--and then I spoke to one of my wife's new kids, Sierra, who said she thought I should be happy they were not here making a mess. I told her I would rather she and Alexa and Taylor Rain, my grandbaby, were making a mess than than I was alone with a clean house.
I've used my time well. I have several people to call on a list I made in the last few hours for another story. I made another list of things to do tomorrow. But I grew up in a house with a brother and four sisters. So I am used to having people around. And when there is sudden silence--well, in Manhattan that was okay because of the white noise on the street--here in Texas, it is really silence. So while I bought several prime rib steaks in hopes Chepa, Madeleina, Italo, Sarah, Taylor Rain, Sierra, and Alexa were coming over, the prospect of cooking one or one half of one for me, with garlic, onions and mushrooms, with sides of spinach, cucumber with lime and sliced tomatoes cooked in steak grease with parmesan just does not sound as good when I am alone as it did when I imagined all, or some, coming over.
So I don't mean to be maudlin, but I hate this. I will probably go to sleep in an hour, without food for the 4th time this week. Darnit!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Guests came in, this is what I served them

So, let's see: I had eight people come in last weekend for a weekend of medicine. All of them have been on trips to the Amazon with me. One came in Thurs., most came Friday, one or two showed up Sat. That's a lot of cooking. So I made couscous with lamb tajine on Thursday night, because I knew it would hold. On Friday, with the full crew, I had good hummus with white and blue corn chips, three or four cheeses, homemade guacamole, and then I made chicken parmesan with thin spaghetti. Fruit for dessert, though someone brought in ice cream, so that got eaten as well. My friends are slightly piggish, of course, so they ate copius amounts of magic shrooms that appeared out of who knows where, as well as a good spoonful of blue honey that materialized (honey infused with magic shrooms). Heck of a night.
On Sat, first Medicine day, I served sapo and nu-nu, then sent them out for breakfast, then had them clean the huge--26' by 38' garage--then served them lime tea, then aya. After medicine there was fresh, cold papaya and watermelon, apples, oranges, lime water and little else.
Sunday morning, I made scrambled eggs with garlic, onion, diced tomatoes and good cheese, and served that with bacon (a once a year experience around here) and cheese bread and fruit, if I remember rightly.
Sunday evening we did a bar-be-que: Marinated chicken thighs, shrimp on sticks, brats in beer, and marinated and barbequed broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and asparagus. With BBQ fresh corn, of course. The marinade is oil, teriyaki, white vinegar, lots of achote, garlic, onions, cracked black pepper, sea salt. Man that was good.
Monday, I think I made omelets but I forget.
Monday night was burritos: Fresh chicken thigh meat, good red beans, homemade pico de gallo, sour cream, a bit of garlic in olive oil, cheddar cheese.
Tuesday morning, one of the guests made really good oatmeal with honey, raspberries and blackberries, with a bit of organic milk.
Tuesday afternoon I made sliders: Tiny burgers topped with good cheddar, pickles, lettuce, sliced tomato, a bit of onion and mustard and ketchup. Three bites each, but worth it. Mouth watering.
Tuesday evening, with the crowd dwindling, it was lime chicken: One of my own dishes from years ago. Chicken breasts breaded in a mix of seasoned breadcrumbs and good quality parmesan cheese, sauted, then covered in fresh lime juice and baked. I think I served that with jasmine rice and spinach.
Wednesday I was down to two people. I made moussaka: I used very seasoned ground beef (with garlic, onions, parsley, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg in an organic tomato sauce) served between seasoned and browned eggplant, and thin-sliced new potatoes, covered in a good parmesan bechemel sauce. It's Greek to me, but still delish.
Thursday, I was down to one. I made seared/sliced chuck steak with onions and mushrooms and garlic, with a side of sauteed spinach in garlic and olive oil and Brussel sprouts with garlic and a little salt pork (boil first, cut in half, then saute in the olive oil, salt pork and garlic) with sea salt and cracked black pepper.
Friday, simple salmon, I think, with veggies, though I cannot for the life of me be sure.
Saturday, I made a roast chicken with hot sausages. Baked, perfect. I made rice and spinach and a really good pan gravy--no packets, just the real deal.
Tonight, I am here and my daughter and her boyfriend are coming over. Before I took the last sufferer to the airport he had watermelon, papaya, blackberries, chips, an avocado and leftover rice, chicken, gravy. In the oven now is a pork butt roast. It's been cooking for nearly 3 hours. It will be ready at nine. No sweat because Madeleina isn't here yet.
Two of those days I did not eat a single bite for 24 hours, preferring to cook and fast.
Oh, and somewhere in there, my friends were offered San Pedro, more shrooms, nice pot candies. Since I don't have any of that stuff, I just have to thank heaven it materialized.
I think it was a good weekend and a good week. At least for food and medicine.....and cleaning out that freaking garage!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

If only Trump knew anything about anything!

If only Trump knew anything about anything. In the last couple of days, Trump has decided that we do not need to get out of or renegotiate NAFTA. I never liked NAFTA, because of the jobs it took from the US, but then I never ran for president with one of my key promises being to get out of or renegotiate NAFTA. Trump did. Then he spoke with Mexico and Canada and changed his mind.
Today, furious that he cannot get his way on defunding federal grants to what he calls sanctuary cities, he is calling for the breakup of the US Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit. Two problems there. The first is that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals did not hear the case on sanctuary cities. The second is that the president has no authority to break up--whatever the heck he means by that--and US Court of Appeals.
But wait! There is more! If you order now...Trump obviously has no idea what sanctuary cities actually are. They are cities in which the local police are told not to help federal authorities with catching and detaining illegal aliens. But local police have no legal authority to do that, anywhere. That is a federal responsibility, and laying it on localities to enforce those federal laws is not even legal. So there is that.
Trump went even further to expose his complete lack of knowledge of how things work when he declared that both his Muslim travel ban (which was heard by the 9th Circuit Court) and the Sanctuary Cities funding ruling (heard by a district court in San Francisco) were opposed by judges because lawyers suing to stop his executive orders "judge shopped" [actual phrase "judge shopping"] to find judges sympathetic to their cause. This did not happen. The lawsuit against sanctuary cities' defunding was filed in San Francisco, so it was heard by the district federal court there; the 9th Circuit heard the Muslim-travel-ban case because that was initially heard in Hawaii, and automatically went to the 9th Circuit on appeal by the US Government.
Trump went even one step further than that when he declared "...Ninth Circuit, which has a terrible record of being overturned (close to 80%..." SHEER LUNACY. According to the Washington Post, while it is true that 80 percent of the 9th Circuit cases taken up by the US Supreme Court in 2015-2016 were overturned, the Supreme Court only heard one-tenth of 1 percent of their cases for 2015-2016.
There is more, but if I keep thinking about Trump and his complete lack of understanding of any and everything in the world, my head will explode.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Trumpanini again

Keeping the Trump score. Man, I feel like I'm gonna be doing this daily till that boy is impeached. Why? Because every darned day something so stupid happens it makes my eyes roll. On Sunday, during the singing of the Anthem, his wife Melania had to nudge him visibly to put his hand over his heart. He probably thought he didn't need to do that because the song was being sung for him.
Then at the Easter Egg Roll, a kid asked him to sign his hat. President Trump obliged, then tossed the hat into the crowd, instead of giving it back to the kid.
This morning on Fox and Friends, (according to an article on Huffington Post) Trump said that both Clinton and Obama had been outplayed by "this gentleman," when referring to North Korea's dictatorial leader. "They've been talking with this gentleman for a long time. If you read Clinton's book, he said 'Oh, we made such a great peace deal,' and it was a joke.
"You look at different things over the years with President Obama. Everybody over the years has been outplayed, they've all been outplayed by this gentleman, and well see what happens."
Problem, of course, is that Kim Jong Un has been ruling North Korea (insanely) since the death of his father, Kim Jong II in 2011. Kim Jong II took over from his father in 1994. So Clinton dealt with the current NK dictator's grandfather and father, while Obama dealt with the both Kim Jong Un and his dad. All three of those men cannot be the same "this gentleman" that Trump referred to, leading to the suspicion that Trump, once again, has no clue as to what the heck he's talking about. I mean, given that he's threatening to start a nuclear war with NK--as is Kim Jong Un with us--you would think he at least knows the name of the person ruling the country you're threatening to bomb, wouldn't you? Tell you what: I'll bet Kim Jong Un at least knows that Donald Trump is the president of the US.
Dang, and you know there will be something else just as idiotic by noon.

Keeping up with Trump

Okay, so now not only did Trump step all over his feet not knowing what Easter represents yesterday, but the man just refused to release the visitor logs from the White House, claiming they were presidential papers, not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. Then he immediately began to issue ethics waivers to people he's putting in positions of power in his administration--and you know that if you have to issue an ethics waiver there is probably an ethics problem there.
Plus, he damned near started WW 3 over the weekend and has VP Pence telling N Korea to back the heck down because you don't want to upset Trump.
How, how, how is any of this a benefit to you, your family, my family or anyone? It does not, and that is not okay. The president works for us, supposedly on our behalf. Trump does not even recognize that there is an "us" here, and he certainly does not recognize that he works for that "us". This needs addressing.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Madeleina's 20th

So my baby, Madeleina, turned 20 at about 3:09 AM on Sunday morning--yesterday. My it's been a long time, but only a second, really, since the doc had me help pull her out and she looked up at me with eyes wide open and made a sound that I swear I thought was "help, help", and all I could say was "It's too late to put you back inside, little one. You're going to have to finish coming out and live through it and we're going to do our best to make it a wonderful life."
   I don't think I actually said those words, but I know I thought them, so something like them. She was spirit who decided to try on a human body and was frightened at first feel of it. But there she was and once you make that decision and you come to term and come out into the world of physical beings, well, it's too late to change your mind.
   I have sometimes been a good dad, sometimes rotten. I've taught her some things and she's taught me a lot. When her mom and I broke up I screamed way too much; sometimes I still use the dad voice too quickly. There has always been enough money for good food on the table--even when we were flat the food was still good, if simple. But there has never been enough for some of the things she and her brothers would have liked. I've worked at home--whether in Peru where we had our bar/restaurant, or in New York when we came back from Peru, or here in Texas--for her whole life, and so I've been available more than most parents. But then I disappear down into Peru for three months or so annually, when I'm not available at all.
   I can say that I have loved her every second of her life, as has her mom, so that's a positive, if a given. But she has mostly been her own woman, even as a child. She is creative, fun, sometimes a fury, a hard worker, an independent spirit. I'd been my pleasure to know her all this time.
   Last night we had a small family party for her. I cooked sliders, a big roast pork, potato and egg salad, guacamole, regular salad--just good stuff. And when it was time for the cake, well, a nice evening turned real gorman, very fast. I was cleaning some dishes when I felt a chunk of cake hit me in the back of the neck. I turned: Chepa was arming herself with a second cake-bomb. The fight was on: Madeleina grabbed a piece and walloped Italo; Italo walloped his wife Sarah; Chepa got me again, then Madeleina got her. Sierra and Alexa were smearing cake on everyone's clothes. When we ran out of cake, the guacamole got into the mix. It was a beautiful mess of food and laughter, just the way we seem to like it around here.
   I'll clean up whatever didn't get cleaned last night later this morning.
   Happy Birthday, Madeleina! Have yourself a wonderful year!

Friday, April 07, 2017

Trump's Syrian Strike

Okay, just the way my mind works. I've spent a couple of hours reading dozens of reports of the US strike--read: Trump's strike--on a Syrian airfield last night in retaliation for Assad's using poison gas on his own people a couple of days ago. Now Russia, aligned with Assad and Syria, is supposedly upset with us, with Putin saying that the strike seriously affects US-Russian relations. Trump supporters have run out the line that this affront to Russia via Syria, proves that Trump and Putin are not aligned, in cahoots or otherwise on the same page. Some Trump haters have decided that this was a good move and makes him look presidential, finally.
    My take is a bit more skeptical. I think this was a very cynical move on Trump's part, done with the A-Okay of Putin. Here's the deal, from where I sit: Trump needs to do something presidential, and the US citizenry always finds war things presidential. Trump is forced, by public opinion, to respond to Assad's slaughtering of dissidents, including children, by gassing them, and then having his planes bomb the hospital that was treating the survivors. So Trump and his inner circle decide that an airstrike on the airbase allegedly used to deliver the poison gas will be an appropriate response.
    But then Trump contacts Putin, or someone in Trump's circle contacts someone in Putin's circle to announce the airstrike on the airbase, giving Putin fair warning to get any military or civilians and any Russian equipment out of there. Putin, in turn, relays the message of the upcoming airstrike to Assad's people, who move all aircraft and anything else of value, off the site and out of harm's way. Then the US fires off 59 Tomahawk missiles in the direction of the airbase. At the moment, the dead count is seven, and I have not yet read if those are civilians or military or both. But apparently no planes were hit, nothing of value destroyed, no message sent....
   Except the message to the American people that Trump is not Putin's patsy, which is a wonderful thing considering Trump and his people are being investigated right now for colluding with Putin and the Russians to fix the election that brought Trump to the presidency. After all, if Trump is willing to confront Putin and risk his wrath--which you would imagine would include releasing anything harmful he has on Trump--it almost proves that there could not have been any collusion in the election here in the US. Except for the fact that Putin was given a heads-up about the missile strike, which allowed him to warn Assad, which allowed him to get rid of anything of value.
   So Trump gets to look presidential, USA gets to bomb a vile Assad, Trump looks like he's standing up for dead children and standing up to Putin, and Trump, Putin and Assad all get to have a good laugh together at how well the publicity stunt went off. The seven dead? That's nothing for Assad to concern himself with: He killed many more than that just days earlier.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

On the Ropes...

I will admit, I am having a hard time. I am an investigative journalist. I've got chops that go back 30 years, and while I/ve made an occasional small error, I have worked hard to be fair, decent, open-minded. Reagan blew my mind with Contragate; Nixon blew my mind with Watergate; Clinton blew my mind with his hard-right stance on the war on drugs; Bush blew my mind with putting little Dick Cheney in charge of the nation and outright lying us into the Iraq war. Obama blew my mind when it turned out he was a right-of-center president on half of the issues, and only a left-of-center president on social issues (including climate change, finally). But the current administration is blowing my mind daily. I have not heard a single true word spoken by anyone associated with President Trump, ever. Not a single word of honesty, decency, equality, fairness, truthfulness. That really has me reeling on the ropes. I got to get a breather, wait for the bell and get some ammonia salts into my nose to wake up so that I can fight this extreme evil with full force. I mean, these people are so bad, so very bad, that I feel I've taken a couple of body shots to my soul. We cannot allow this to continue. He's not just a reprobate, he's a man full of hate, so angry that the graceful President Obama shamed him at the correspondent's dinner several years ago that he will not rest until he has undone every single thing Obama accomplished. And in my local stores people praise him. What are they thinking? That Jesus rode with dinosaurs 2,000 years ago? That climate change is cool? That stripping away protections against polluting our air and waterways is a big advancement ? For whom? Asthma and neurological docs, who will see their business boom? Just today Trump stripped money away from the UN group that works to stop female genital mutilation and child marriages and promotes healthy birth practices. What the freak? Why? Why? Why? My head spins. I want to find a rationale, no matter how crazy, but there is none. There is none. And that is the real problem. We have a rabid hydra reaching out to bite and tear into everything good about us, and we are not stopping it. I need those ammonia salts, quick. It is going to take a lot of us coming up with smart ideas to stop this awful trajectory of our nation into worthlessness. I was raised to think that the USA was a great nation because we cared about people. We helped stop Hitler and Mussolini and Hirohito. We were righteous and strong and fought for the little guy who was not strong enough to fight for him/her self. Now we just fight each other while the billionaires pull our puppet strings with lies, disinformation, more lies, more disinformation. We need to stand up, stand up strong and say, that's enough. That's enough and no more. I am ready to enlist in this fight. Tell me where to sign up.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Why Not Just Give Peace a Chance?

I've done a post like this once or twice before, but I think it is worth revisiting now and then. I just checked my daily stats to see if anyone is reading my blog. I've got 238 hits today, on pace for about 300, normal range. But the audience is what attracts me. Not only because I am still waiting for my first hit ever from Togo--which my daughter Madeleina made clear some time ago, was the only important thing: "Dad, until someone from Togo is reading your blog, your blog is nothing. Nothing!--but because sometimes the makeup of the countries that have visited the blog in a 24-hour period are pretty fascinating. Today, I've had readers from the US, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Hungary, Ukraine, Russia, China, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
   Imagine the Ukraine, Russia, China, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the US having citizens who are all on the same page, so to speak, meaning my page. Now, if those people could arrive at the same place at the same time, why can't all of our countries come together the same way? I know I'm dreaming, but boy, I sure would like to see the world say, "Fuck it, this war thing ain't working, and it hasn't been working for the last several thousand years, so let's try getting along and see if that works any better." I'll bet it would work a lot better. We just need to be willing to share, give up out-sized egos, and turn the machines of war into ploughshares. Does not sound hard to me to give peace a chance. What have we got to lose, right?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

For Those Keeping Score on Trump's Evil Deeds...

For those keeping score on President Trump's idiotic moves meant to hurt people, let's see:
In the last couple of weeks, he's proposed cutting administrative funds for Meals on Wheels, which would kill the program that brings hot meals to old and infirm people who would not otherwise have them;
He's proposed cutting back on public school funding;
An appointment of his has suggested cutting funding for school lunches, calling them unnecessary and saying there is no evidence that kids who eat well do better in school;
He's repealed legislation protecting federal workers from wage theft and dangerous working conditions;
He's in the process of rolling back the Climate Change-fighting regulations the Obama administration put into place;
He's calling for opening US protected lands for gas and oil drilling and coal mining;
He's given the green light to the Keystone Pipeline, which will bring Canadian tar sands through the US to the Texas tax free Port Arthur, where it will be shipped overseas (by existing contracts), meaning there will be no taxed paid on it, and about 1,000 temporary jobs--up to two months each, most shorter than that--with the 40 permanent jobs going to Canadians who work for the pipeline company-- a giveaway to the Koch brothers, who own much of the contested tar sands, to try to get them into his corner;
He's willing to go along with internet companies selling your private information and browsing history;
He's put into place the least competent people ever assembled for a cabinet;
He's reauthorized the use of private prisons for federal prisoners, which Obama had disallowed several months ago, leading to a huge increase in GEO Group's stock price, enough that they are about to do a stock split;
He's cost $16 million thus far for vacation travel and protection for his adult kids while they fly around the world on our dime doing his business, as well as protecting his wife and child in New York;
Oh, and he tried to take healthcare away, okayed a Navy Seal mission that cost the life of a Seal, a US plane and between 20-30 innocent women and children;
Then he's tried to stop the investigation into his team's possible collusion with Russia during and prior to the election that made him president;
For a cherry on top, he put his son-in-law in charge of revamping the United States federal operations.
Talk about a busy first 65 days or so! Wow! He's been at it, alright, if you want to see the country disappear.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Not the Best Mom in the World

Every now and then I am reminded by stark reality that I am not the best mom and dad in the world. Today is one of those reminder days. Chepa came over for coffee early, and noticed that my daughter and her boyfriend were in the same bedroom. They had come home from college last night about 2 AM to take care of their dog, Seven, who was neutered yesterday and was sort of freaking out. So I got a scolding for that, even though they are both second year college kids. Then Chepa announced that I would be taking care of Alexa, who is 8, who was staying home from school today. No problem.
   On her way out, I asked Chepa if she had been in touch with the lawyer about the money she owed for the next stage in a lawsuit she's unfortunately embroiled in. She hadn't, but suggested I get in touch so that the lawyer would know we remain a strong team.
   She dropped Alexa off a short while later, then called me from her job to say she desperately needed a locksmith as she'd locked her keys in her car. So I called six or seven and finally got one willing to drive over if Chepa would call. Chepa would not answer her phone.
   So I called the school about Alexa being sick, called the lawyer and made it clear I would be good for the money--hated doing that--if need be, then got ready to see Madeleina off to school. Unfortunately she had a flat tire. Worse, she had lockdown bolts that I could not get off. So I drove to the local tire place and they promised to come to the house to take off the tire but told me I would have to wait for an hour because it was lunchtime.
   I came home to a sobbing Madeleina, who, truth be told, has seen about 20 of these roadblocks pop up in front of her in the last week.
   It's a little later. The mechanic came, got the wheel off, took it to his place and he'll repair or replace it (I just bought it, used, last week). Then I will take Alexa to the store with me, she's sick so she is no mood so I know I am in for a fight, then we will pick up Sierra and Taylor Rain when they get off the school bus, and I'll come home to some other tiny, but real, emergency--like Madeleinia's dog pooping in the house.
   Gonna need some wine later. Today was supposed to be about other things but it got taken over by reality. My own mother and father always seemed better able to handle this stuff than me.

Drug War Follies


This is my 99th Drug War Follies column for Skunk Magazine. They have let me run with it for about 12 years now, and I hope they let me keep on running. In any event, this one is political so if you hate politics, or my position, just skip it. Or read it anyway and then write hate mail!!!!! 

DRUG WAR FOLLIES #99

We have met the enemy and we are fucked.

By Peter Gorman


As a rational, reasonably intelligent citizen of the USA, and one who has now been voting for 48 years, it bewilders me that Donald Trump, the thief of New York, the con man of carneys, the troll l’orange, has wound up as president. What did we do? How did it happen that we elected a guy with the intelligence of a can of Spam (sorry, Spam), the soul of Machiavelli, and the heart of a rattle snake to be the leader of the free world? What were his credentials going in? What did he promise—to the people, not the devil—to earn this position? And what is going to come of this errant experiment in populism?
   I’m not sure what you up in the Great White North think about this, but down here a lot of us are going crazy on a daily basis, and with good reason. This guy is killing us. His 3 AM Tweets knocking former President Obama, healthcare, Hillary Clinton, the connection between his closest associates and Russian intelligence in the lead up to the election are enough to make a sober man grab for a pint, or a doper to reach for a needle and spoon. His refusal to display his tax returns that might show where he could be compromised as president, his insistent chanting to have Hillary locked up, his choice of Cabinet heads, from a woman who hates public schools to head up the Department of Education, to a man who wants to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency to head the EPA, to Dr. Ben Carson, the man who says that slaves were immigrants who had to work really hard to head up the Department of Housing, and all the rest of them leave us baffled, bewildered, and yeah, reaching for a second, third and fourth pint.
   How did this happen?
   This is a man who was caught saying he liked to grab women by the pussies on video tape and yet 53 percent of white women voted for him. This is a man who said he would bring back coal mining jobs to forlorn towns which didn’t lose coal mining jobs to regulations, they lost them to animation and a disinterest in coal given the glut of natural gas the US has had for years. This is the man who promised a border wall after years of more Mexicans and other Central Americans leaving the US voluntarily than arrive annually. This is a man who claims the election was rigged and begged, on national television, Russian spies to hack Hillary’s emails, then won and called the election not rigged--though he did lie and say that the fact that he lost the popular vote my more than 3 million was due to illegals voting. This is a man who lies easier than he breathes. To help define his condition, the constant and abject lying, his marble-mouthed spokesperson, Kellyanne Conway explained that he simply has alternate facts—when there are no alternate facts. I have no idea what actual color you see when you look at a clear sky, but we all agree to call whatever we see “blue”. That is how society functions. There are no alternate facts unless we want chaos.
   But then it seems this President Trump actually does want chaos. He claimed, for years, that President Obama was not a US citizen, sent a posse to Hawaii where he said the truth had been uncovered and would blow Obama out of the White House, but never showed the proof. He swears he has proof that the election was rigged but has no proof to show. He swears, on Twitter, that he was bugged at the personal behest of President Obama, but has no proof, no incriminating evidence, nothing. He just recently sent high-level advisors to monitor the goings-on at each of his Cabinet departments and agencies to ascertain that people are loyal to him and not leaking anything to the press. This is not democracy, this is the extreme paranoia of a madman. He lied to his entire constituency before the election that his healthcare plan would include everyone and cover everyone better and for a lot less money than Obamacare, and now, in late March, admits that millions of people will not be covered, but will have access, if they have the funds, to medical insurance. The fact that tens of millions obviously do not have the funds was the precise reason Obamacare was crafted and drafted into law. The current president thinks it’s a great idea to go back to the old way, despite it meaning he lied through his teeth to his voters and that people will go back to being kicked off their insurance in the middle of treatments, even if they have insurance.
   This man bullshits every time he opens his mouth. He has never met the truth in his life. During his short time in office he’s pushed for mentally ill people to be allowed to buy guns, for everyone to be able to buy silencers for their guns, for rollbacks on guarding rivers and waterways from industrial waste, for pushing to rescind the Russian sanctions so that his friend Rex Tillerson, now Secretary of State, can have his former company, ExxonMobil, begin working on the billion dollar deal he crafted with Putin prior to Trump’s unexpected win at the polls. He has decried climate change science even while the sea rises around us; proposed to cut off meals for old and sick people who have no way to get out to get their own; he’s planning to defund Planned Parenthood, the primary source of medical attention for two million women and hundreds of thousands of men in the US because one branch of their operation—funded privately, not with a cent from the federal or any state or local governments—performs abortions. He has reinstituted the ban on any country that promotes birth control to stop receiving foreign aid. He has put forward a budget that will increase our military spending by $54 billion this year while phasing out money for school lunches for kids, afterschool programs, endowments for the arts, public radio and a host of programs that cost nearly nothing while educating millions annually.
   And he’s done this while spending more on weekend retreats—and maintaining a wife in New York who hates him—in two months, than former President Obama ever spent on vacations in a year.
   Then there are his businesses, all 500 or so of them. Rather than divest himself of them, he’s put his kids in charge of them and, what luck, they get secret service protection, and probably an armed jet escort, wherever they go to do business to make him money.
   Folks, we are in the Matrix and it is not pretty here. Things are out of whack.
   But it gets worse: His call to round up innocent illegal aliens who have been here 20-30 years, or were brought over before they could talk, has re-infused life into the dying private prison industry. Yes, the private prison giants have seen their stock prices soar wildly since his election. And then he has Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions in the Attorney General slot and he has promised to look hard at states where marijuana is legal. No, you did not think you were getting away from this red-haired octopus, did you? Yes, by the time you read this he will probably have started that war. Can you imagine him sending local police or national guard into Colorado, Oregon, Washington or elsewhere to shut down legal pot shops and grows?
   Somehow, this man, this man-child who pouts like a 3-year-old and acts like a terrible-two, this short fingered vulgarian—to copy someone smarter than me at perfect insults-—has managed to secure the Oval Office. And he has brought Steve Bannon, a scum sucking—in all ways—piece of flotsam who has never done a single thing worth noting in his entire life, into the Oval Office with him. Bannon, the white nationalist whose term as head of Breitbart News was marked by White Supremacist slogans, endorsements, paid advertisements.
   How did this happen? Were we all drugged? Were people just so angry at the idea of the beautiful nigger in the white house that they would have drunk the toilet water of anyone who shit into it just to get a white guy back into that place?
   As the head dies, so follows the body. We’re not doomed yet, but unless we change things quickly, we are definitely in deep shit and the stink is only going to get worse as people start dying from this freak’s programs.
   Give me a pint, bartender, and keep them coming till I puke, okay?
It would all be funny if people weren’t dying and the prisons weren’t full.

aa

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Pat's!

 Well, Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! Raise a pint or two of Guinness but keep it safe out on the road. Dying is one heck of a lousy way to wind up a nice celebration.

Now this came out yesterday in The Guardian. For some reason it is not a live link, but if you cut and paste into a new window it will come up. It is a profile of me, including my belly, but the writer, Lance Richardson did a good job with it. I think it's worth a look if you've got 15 minutes on your hands.


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/16/ayahuasca-peter-gorman-amazon-drugs



Saturday, March 11, 2017

I'm Back and I'm Nuts

Well, I've been back from Peru for two weeks now. Sorry I have not written, but things have been very hectic and I got a nasty couple of bites on my right hand from a very angry anaconda--a juvenile at about 8 feet that was caught in a fishing net, and when I later tried to pick her up I missed by enough for her to nail me. She nailed me again as I tried to snap her off. The result was extreme numbness in my right thumb and right ring and pinkey fingers. Not from poison, as anacondas are not poisonous, but from just biting deeply enough to get some nerves or muscles out of whack. The feeling is coming back slowly and I can finally type again.
   Lots of other stuff going on as well.
   Some of it involves me getting way too angry on facebook at friends who copy and paste political lies. Twice now I have allowed myself to get trapped in stupid rants that make sense at the time but which I later wish I could eliminate from people's memories. The crux of the problem is not with people who disagree with my political position, it lies in people who simply repeat obvious lies. Why respond at all? It's just nonsense, right?
   Well, yes, except that it has real life consequences. If someone copies and pastes something from a source known to make up bs about, say, the new healthcare, well, people might believe that, and not bother to look into what is really going into the new healthcare bills being written. And if that happens, and those bills become law, people are going to die with no healthcare insurance. That is a real life consequence of a lie and I have a hard time ignoring those things.
   Now calling out the lie isn't the problem. The problem is that when people on the thread shout me down as not knowing the truth, I respond, and twice recently I've wound up calling people stupid or brain dead or idiots, that sort of thing. In other words, I have let myself get caught in traps--or maybe it would be more honest to say I ran into the traps full speed--that reduced me to a jerk and caused any validity of my initial reaction to the lies to lose all of its power.
  So I need to stop that. I have no excuse and am embarrassed by my behavior.
  So stop it, Gorman. Let's let those things stand and start over, beginning this morning.
  Hope you all made it through the winter okay.

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!

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year, 2017

Madeleina and I just shot off a bunch of fireworks. Scared the life out of the dogs and cats, made us happy to set them off and run away. It's now 12:37 here in Joshua, Texas. Life could be better but it ain't bad so I'm not gonna complain.
For all of you who read this: I hope that 2017 brings you some wonderful surprises that fill you with joy. I hope that your wishes come closer to fruition than they've ever been. I hope that your loved ones recognize you for your full worth. I hope that you are loved dearly in a way you want to be loved. And I hope there are no nightmares, no scary things to make you shrink into a shell. I'd prefer you to stand tall, strong, brave and feel wonderful looking at the universe. Happy New Year, everybody!