Saturday, October 07, 2017

And Then Came Meatloaf

I don't know if I've posted this before, but someone brought it up on FB and I liked it, so here goes. Hope I'm not boring you to death with something you already saw.
And then came Meatloaf
Not the singer, the food. I was dying for the second piece of swordfish I've got in the fridge. Bought it a few days ago, it's still cold and fresh. Got capers, organic scallions, organic red peppers and plain old onions and garlic in olive oil to go with it. Was thinking of having it on a bed of spinach, no starch.
Then I got to the store and happened to see some ground pork. Yes, pretty horrible, but I got to thinking about meatloaf. Not the singer, the food. Though I did start singing Two out of Three Ain't Bad in the supermarket. It's okay, they already stare at me for my half-gone right calf, so I don't care.
Okay, so with Madeleina getting off at 8 tonight, I thought she won't be in the mood for fish. She will not have eaten anything but an apple and an orange all day and she'll be starving. So I went with the meatloaf instinct: "I want you, I need you, but there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you, but don't be sad, cause two out of three ain't bad..."
So I guess I was crying while picking up the chopped chuck to go with the minced pork. No veal. I have my limits. And no bacon today because Chepa had me make breakfast for the family Sunday and it included bacon, sausage, biscuits, sausage gravy, pancakes with blueberries and bananas, eggs, home fries, potato latkas--all of it made from scratch except the bacon and sausage.
Forget that. Let's get me back to crying about the meatloaf song. So I came home, put 2 pounds of pork and two pounds of chuck into a saute pan on high heat to brown it and get rid of as much grease as possible. Then I drained that. While that was draining I put three tablespoons of freshly minced garlic in olive oil into the saute pan with a diced red onion. Followed that with six stalks of celery, each cut into six lengths and then diced. Followed by several minced, fresh, roma tomatoes. Followed by those magic organic scallions--six of them minced. Why six of everything? I don't know. Maybe six is two times three and two out of three ain't bad? Damn that Meat Loaf!!!! He's gotten into the kitchen in my brain!!!!!
Okay, calm down. Have a sip of wine--vintage 2014 Cabernet....raw junk.
Anyway, put some breadcrumbs into the drained meat. Added vinegar to the veggies to make a sort of ketchup and added them to the meat. Added actual ketchup, sea salt, butcher ground black pepper. Chopped some good curly parsley finely and put that in. Let it cool. Added four eggs, raw. Mushed it with my hands--washed better than in a hospital--and then put the damned stuff into two baking dishes lined with a bit of olive oil to keep things from sticking, and put the baking dishes on silver foil in the oven at 330. That will give me an hour. I'll raise the temp to 400 for the last 15 minutes to crisp the top--and yes, on Madeleina's orders I'll spread a bit of ketchup on the top...but NO BACON, OKAY Madeleina? I'm fat enough!!!!
That will be done by 6:15. It will settle by 6:45 and be ready to serve by 7. Madeleina will get here at 8 and it will be perfect. We'll have it with a salad and broccoli. Dessert is gonna be ice cold fresh watermelon.
Bon Appetit! I hope you all are loving your food, your bodies, yourselves in some way that's similarly wonderful. (I'm sorry pig, cow, celery, garlic, scallions, olives for the olive oil, onion, tomatoes, grapes to make the vinegar, salt, peppercorns. Even the wheat to make the breadcrumbs, and the parsley. I'm not sure if I'm sorry about the eggs since they were never gonna be chickens. Doesn't mean they weren't having a great life. I'm just not sure about that... .)
And if you can't love yourself the whole way, remember that two out of three ain't bad... .

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Guns don’t kill people, but they sure help people kill people

On Sunday night in Las Vegas, during a concert by country and western star Jason Aldean, a middle-aged, well-to-do white guy with a receding hairline sat at a window on the 32 floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, and started shooting with automatic weapons into the thousands of people at the concert below. In a matter of 15-20 minutes he’d killed more than 50 — that number is now 59 and climbing — and wounded 527. Some of the wounded might have gotten hurt in the human stampede that started after people began getting shot.
   I got the news in the middle of the night when I woke up from a fitful sleep and decided to sit at my computer for a few minutes. My heart sank. My first thoughts were of the people in that crowd and how that 15-20 minutes ended the lives of so many and changed the lives of thousands and thousands of others who knew the dead and injured.
   My second thought was of a friend of mine from Fort Worth who had written just hours earlier to say she couldn’t believe she was in Las Vegas. Then I thought of two friends of mine who helped build that club and of another friend, from north Fort Worth, who owns three cupcake stores on the strip. Were they safe? Had they been at the concert? Were they walking on the street and caught in the stampede?
   I’ve only heard from two of them. The one who had just gotten to Vegas was next door when the shooting happened and saw the people running and was shaken up but okay. The woman who owns the cupcake places is okay too. The friends who built the club I have not heard from as yet.
  All of us are asking “why did this happen?” We’re not likely to get an answer. The police and FBI say the killer, Stephen Paddock, had an absolutely clean record. His brother in Florida is dumbfounded. One of the gun dealers who sold Paddock some of the dozen or more weapons he had in his hotel room said Paddock seemed perfectly normal to him. Paddock himself can’t answer because the SWAT team that burst into his room said he was already dead from a self-inflicted gunshot. And he apparently left no notes to explain why he did what he did.
   He certainly didn’t just snap: This was well thought out, a planned action. Why?
   Here in Texas, as in Nevada, we’ve got open carry. Supporters say that you need a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun. That would not have helped in this case. It might help sometimes: The guy at the gas station on the corner is always strapped because he is determined not to get robbed again. Understandable.
    A little less understandable are the people at the Walmart and HEB in Burleson, walking around with semi-automatics hanging from their shoulders. It’s the law and I’ll live with it, but I wouldn’t hold my breath imagining that those guys are really going to save us if a problem crops up. In fact, I actually get the heck out of any aisle they are in because I don’t want to get caught in the line of fire of anyone who thinks they’re going to be a hero.
   While we don’t know they “why” of Paddock’s hellish rampage, we do know the “how”. The how involves guns. Paddock’s guns didn’t kill those people but they sure helped him do it. So what do we do now? Nobody wants to take people guns away, but there must be some room for making changes in our system to see that the future Paddock’s of the world do not get their hands on weapons that can do so much destruction and killing so quickly. Do we bother to close the “gun show” loophole? Do we make it illegal to manufacture or sell semi-automatics that can be easily converted to full automatics? Do we just put our heads in the sand until the next mass shooting, or the one after that? That’s what we have been doing. This was, after all, the 272 mass shooting in the last 274 days and we have not done anything yet. We, as a nation, have not even started a conversation about it.
    Our president’s spokesperson, Sarah Huckabee, said it’s “premature” to discuss guns. President Trump said “we’ll get around” to discussing guns. Meanwhile, Congress is set to vote on a bill this week that would legalize gun silencers.
   Not good enough. I don’t know what’s good enough, but anything would be better than keeping our heads in the sand.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Letter to a Friend

A friend reposted a hateful meme from Alex Jones on facebook yesterday. I wrote a very nasty comment in response. She called me on it and I killed my comment. I waited nearly 16 hours, until I could think my position through, to respond. She's a great person, but I disagree with her politically. This time I disagreed viscerally. This was my private letter to her explaining my response and my position.
Dear XXXXX: I want to respond to you personally on this. You know I love you. You are one hell of an artist and brilliant home designer, and good person and hell, I don't know but probably 20 other great things.

   But I have to object when you repost something from Alex Jones or Limbaugh, or Hannity or any of those guys. I don't know if you've ever reposted from Limbaugh or Hannity or Breitbart, but yesterday you reposted from Alex Jones. I went nuts, and rather than lashing out horribly, I decided to be a bit vulgar and describe Jones as a kind of festering, puss filled sore....Okay, you called me on it and I instantly took it down. No question. Your thread, you didn't like it, I killed it. Respect.
   But why was I going crazy? I'll tell you: Because Alex Jones, like Hannity, Limbaugh, Breitbart and several other right wing sources sell fear. Fear, to me, is the basis of every horrible thing man does to other men/women. What starts as fear demonstrates as anger, hatred, greed, guilt, bullying, war, genocide and any other negative thing that humans indulge in. Fear is the birthplace of it all. And when you repost a false piece of nonsense selling fear, you are part of a cycle that is actuating real time injury/hatred/murder in this world. If you sold hate, it would not matter. Nobody is afraid of hate. But sell fear? Fear preys on weak people, and they then buy guns, they then go into road rage, they then foreclose on houses to make a profit off suffering people. Fear is the devil if there is a devil. And I get upset when I see anyone reselling someone like Alex Jones' made up fear junk, intended only to inspire a retarded kid to set his grandma on fire or cut his ex-wife's head off, or shoot up a church. That's what Alex Jones and Limbaugh and Breitbart inspire. They are responsible for so much actual pain in this world because they sell fear to the masses and the masses lap it up because it justifies their position.
   So I go crazy when I see it.
   You might not agree. But I want you to know why I would write such a rude comment. I wrote it because I had to get the stink of it off of me. I do not want their little scardey-boy fear anywhere near me. I try to be fearless. I fail sometimes. But I try, then get up and try again.
   Alex Jones lives in the swamp where fear resides and he makes his entire living off of preying on weak people's fear. That's just wrong. And people die because of him. That's just wrong too.
    I hope you understand. I love you, but I don't love when you just post stuff that will wind up having someone killed. That's not cool at all. Please consider what you do on facebook and any other social medium. The children learn from what we post.
Peter G

Thursday, September 28, 2017

What We're Eating Around Here

An old friend wrote to say she missed my recipes and tales of cooking for the family. Well, over the years the family grew up. Italo moved away and married Sarah and has two babies. Marco moved away. Chepa, wife/ex-wife, moved away 16 years ago. Madeleina is 20 now and has a house she rents at her college as a junior. So there isn't the same urgency at cooking. But still, addicted to the hope that they, or some of them, will come by on a given night, I always have stuff I can hustle together in a half-an-hour. Plus, the occasional friend stops by and can be convinced to stay for dinner. So there is still pretty good food going around. (In private I add that when I go shopping and then cook it is the space between work and non-work and vital to my brain so that when it's time to sleep my brain is not full of work!!!!!)
So let's see: This week, I was dying for shrimp, so I bought large ones, roasted their skins then added water/onion and tomato ends and reduced that to make really good sauce base, then sauteed the shrimp with scallions, tomato, onion, nice peppers a friend brought, and the sauce and served it over rice. Just four or five shrimp, and not much rice. Had that with sauteed spinach--sauteed in the shrimp pan juices.
But the girls came over--Chepa with Sierra and Alexa--11 and 9, with my granddaughter Taylor Rain, 7--and they wanted jasmine rice with lime, steak, well done, and cucumber with lime and salt. I had the ingredients and tossed it together quick as a whip! Was good, too.
Tuesday I was dying for stuffed poblano peppers. Bought the peppers, cleaned them, parboiled them. At the same time I made rice with garlic. When the peppers were parboiled and put under cold water, I sauteed about 1 pound of ground chuck in garlic--along with the left over, minced steak from last night--diced onion, tomato, then added white vinegar, fresh cilantro, achiote (red colorant from Central and South America that makes white rice yellow or reddish), good salt and butcher ground pepper. I added rice to that and finally stirred in good shredded cheddar cheese. Then I took that and stuffed the poblanos to overfill, then baked them at 325 for about 40 minutes.
While that was going on, Chepa announced she was coming with the kids, so I had to come up with something for them--stuffed poblanos was not going to do it for kids--so I roasted chicken drumsticks and made gravy, which was fine with them.
Wednesday, I was dying for stuffed zucchini, so I made it: Cut good organic zuccinini in half, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds (sorry, but we need room for the stuffing), and then sauteed garlic and scallions in olive oil, added diced red pepper and a nice hot pepper the name of which I don't remember. When that was all good, I added a minced tomato, then seasoned breadcrumbs. When that was done I added a bit of unsalted butter, some organic vegetable stock, and really good asiago cheese, minced. Himalayan sea salt and cracked black pepper and then I stuffed the zucchini, topped with more parmesan and lots of lime juice.
I'd just put it in at 350 when Chepa called to say the kids were coming. Dang! She said she wanted fried chicken. Huh? I have not made real deep fried food since I left the restaurant business in 1988--except for once or twice--but I was stuck. So I cut up chicken breasts, put vegetable oil in a good pan at 8 on the stove--with 10 as the highest--then floured/egged/breaded the chicken pieces. I added garlic, oregano, majoram, and fresh basil to the breading, added salt and pepper to the flour and fried that shit. Realized I had a bit of steak left over so I cut that thin and fried that too, then made Chepa a blackened filet of salmon and everybody had a feast--with salad, cucumber with lime, and asparagus par boiled then sauteed with garlic and balsamic vinegar on the side.
But the kids wanted rice too, and they don't eat day old rice. So I took the old rice and made Arroz Chaufa--Peruvian style Chinese rice. You put garlic, oil, onions in a saute pan. You add diced frankfurters. When the franks and done and the veggies no longer identifiable, you add left over rice. When that's good and hot you add three eggs and stir them in. When they are near done as scrambled egg bits in the rice mix, you add soy and a bit of ginger and voila! You have Arroz Chaufa.
Today I knew I was off the hook. Chepa didn't call and it was 4 PM, too late to cook. Then she called: "We're at the corner. What's for dinner?"
Damn. I'd bought thin cut butt roast to try the chicken fried steak again, since it was good yesterday and I wanted to cement the recipe to my mind if was as good the second day as the first. So I put on rice, got the cucumber ready, put on the old oil--saved in a coffee tin after filtering--and got busy. Of course, Chepa came in, said she didn't want to eat the same meal as yesterday, so she made a Peruvian dish, Lomo Saltado--steak with garlic, vinegar, onions, tomatoes, and fresh french fries. We worked side by side, me at mine, she at hers. Hers smelled great and I stole bites. She thought my steak was fantastic, so she stole a couple of pieces.
The girls all ate well. Chepa ate well and took a bag of food home. I will eat tonight while watching a football game. Love those big boys in tight pants, as my Madeleina tells me.
Bon Appetite!!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Once More, The World, with Feeling

Yes, I completely recognize the problems of the world. We've got people suffering from major natural disasters in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Texas, Florida, all across the Caribbean, in the Pacific Northwest, in Bangladesh, in India, and elsewhere. We've got people suffering from major man-made problems in Myanmar, the Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine. Somalia, Nicaragua, and the USA, among other places. It just stinks. Why the freak can't we humans get our stinking act together? There is so much to go around. There is a boundless amount of food, and the water you piss today will become rain that waters someone's crops that you will eat tomorrow. You don't need to hoard money because you're going to die without it. If you didn't hate, perhaps the other guy wouldn't respond with hatred. Damn, I feel so helpless. I try to help a little with my singing to the universe; I try to help by recycling what I can. I try to help by being a good dad and a good friend. I'm sure I fail all the time, but I'm trying. I bite my tongue most of the time when I feel like screaming at someone. I resist the urge to honk my horn at some jerk who cuts me off--heck, maybe he or she is having a bad day, or simply had a brain freeze for a second, and my honking is not going to fix anything.
To help me through, I have occasional meetings at my house for former guests of mine in the Amazon. They're more than former guests, they're friends. And I love having them in for a weekend or so. Of course, I have to get ready. Today was a get ready day: Bought six new large, good quality towels that I think were made in the USA. I bought 8 drinking glasses because mine are at my kids' and ex-wife Chepa's house. I bought four new dinner plates for the same reason. I also cleared, washed and gave away two large bags of good clothes and stuffed animals that have been sitting in the washing machine room for months. While there I consolidated all of the stash of fireworks into two boxes, to help clear a table. Last week I painted the bathroom and scrubbed the ice box. On Monday, my oldest, Italo, finished laying a new floor in my kitchen. My daughter Madeleina and her boyfriend Adrian cleaned the back porch and my friend Dave and I made two or three runs to the dump to get rid of all that had accumulated there. I've since bought four all-weather chairs to put out there for the guests who like medicine outside. I had two guys come in and cut, then spray, all the poison ivy I had, thousands of stalks of it. So I'm getting there, little by little. Still need 4-5 more air mattresses, but that's not hard.
By the time the guests arrive in a couple of weeks, the place should be okay. I'll still have the two spots in the house and one on the front porch where it drips when the rain comes, but I can't worry about that. Just call them water-art-installations and I'm done with it.
Now, if you could tell me how to apply the same "let's get this one done" approach to the problems we create for each other, I am on board with you.

Monday, September 25, 2017

I'm Curious Here

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

Monday, September 18, 2017

Remembering Friends

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

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Fear to Fearlessness

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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Asking for Help

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

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

I was raised Catholic

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

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Gun Control

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

Cost of Serving Ayahuasca

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

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

Monday, September 11, 2017

An American Tragedy 9/11/2001

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

World Trade Center, Pentagon, Attacked by Hijacked Planes

By Peter Gorman

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

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Eliminating Energy/Entities from a Patient

Someone who works with sapo wrote to say she has some clients who have been taken over--not completely, but to some extent, by outside energy/entities, causes by things like "Juju, Voodoo, Santeria- you  name it - it consumes some of my clients."
   She asked if I could give her some insight into removing that energy/those entities using sapo, the frog medicine, and if that was possible, how many sessions those patients might need to have that ick removed. I rolled that around in my head for a while, then wrote this answer: 

 Some people are addicted to the drama of it all, in love with the idea of being taken over by other spirits and such. You cannot fix those. But some people have made themselves vulnerable to spirits or the will of other people without intending to do that, and those people you can help. I think you will need 3 sessions: The first with two good dots, the next with three, and if they are strong enough and do not have physical issues, you might go to four on the third time around--though be careful with that because it's a very strong dose. Stay with three for the third session if you are more comfortable with that.

   Now when you are watching them during those session, instead of just making certain that they are breathing well, that their head is in a good position for vomiting should that happen, or cooling them off with a bit of water on their corona if their temperature is too high, you will need to put on a different set of eyes. You will need to "see" into them, and so the work is on you, not them. You will be looking for any sign of any outside force within them. Those can come to the surface when working with sapo, so you might get a glimpse. Maybe not on the first session, but at some point during the three sessions. And if you do get a glimpse of outside energy you will need to physically grab and remove it. You will use your hands as if they were gripping the energy: Your energetic hands will actually be doing that. But you will need to pull that energy out and it will fight you. Why? Because it is comfortable in the host and does not want to leave. So you'll have your hands full. You will need to get it all out, but at the same time you will need to make certain it does not get on you, so you will need to protect yourself as best you can with whatever it is you do to keep other people's energy from jumping on you. Worse, you will have to get that entity or energy disposed of quickly and completely. And it has to be done in a way that it can not wind up affecting others.
    This is important in any healing tradition: Taking an illness out of someone is hard, but if you just leave it on the floor, it will grab the next person or animal coming by and enter a new host, where it might or might not show as the same illness or negativity. So you got to get rid of it. Do you have a disposal method? Some people wrap it in tightly bound light and then send it off to a far away planet that has never had and will never have life forms that the energy can latch onto. Some people put it into the sun to burn and get transformed by that great magnetic magma into something good. You will need some place to dispose of it before you start removing it or you are liable to wind up getting it in you.
    That said, it is easy to not get it all on a first try. That does not matter. Get what you can, and then go after it again during the next session. If you need more sessions to get rid of it all, that's okay too. Sometimes smoke helps you identify the places in the body where the outside energy is, allowing you to pinpoint where to do your work.
     After each session clean yourself and your hands very well, to keep any of the energy's ether off you. And remember to clean and seal the place/places on the client's body where you tore it open energetically to get that energy/entity out. You do not want to leave them with holes.
    All of this and now one more: DO NOT freak your client out. If possible, do your part of the work as quietly and non-interruptingly as possible. Remember that they will be going through their own misery during the session, and do not need you to push that further, particularly if they are having a difficult session.
    It is a pain in the ass, sometimes impossible to do, not particularly rewarding. Worse, sometimes the people who managed to get that energy or entity into themselves are likely to have it happen again because of their energetic availability.
    So know what you are getting into before you start down that road.

My Take on Banco Curanderos

People who deal with curanderos, whether they work with ayahuasca, San Pedro, tobacco, tree barks or roots, often use the word "Banco" curandero to indicate the highest level, the top of the top curanderos. It has become almost an ego thing to claim you are working with, or your teacher is, a banco curandero. I think that's nonsense. Here's my take:
Well, a banco in Spanish is a bench. So a curandero of any sort who has helpers, perhaps teachers who have passed on but left some ether he or she can access, well, just imagine them as bancos. It generally indicates that you are old enough that your teachers have passed on but are still available to you. I know that is not how many people see it, but that's how I look at it. And keeping it plain, think of a sports team: You have your starters, but if you do not have a good bench, well, when a starter is winded, or hurt, or just not on his/her game, the team would falter. But a good team always has a good bench they can go to. So a good curandero who has been working at it a long time, generally has a good bench he/she can go to when needed as well. That's my take on it.

Friday, September 08, 2017

My Dreamers

My dreamers worked at my house today. They are two 60-year-old guys, and they were tasked with cutting and burning a couple of thousand poison ivy that were growing along a run-off creek bed about 8-feet-feet-deep by 10-feet-wide and 200-feet-long. I already cut hundreds from other parts of the yard--I don't seem to be affected by it--but did not want to get down into the creek bed and be completely surrounded by it while I cut them one by one. These guys came with a chain saw, two good weed eaters, a cooler full of beer and a half-gallon of fire starter to be able to burn it all when cut.
Now I called several plant and garden places nearby but nobody would come to do the work because it was all poison ivy, some of it 12 feet tall, most of it seven or eight feet tall. And I needed it cut or it would be even more invasive next year. So I mentioned it to a friend, who mentioned it to a friend,  who mentioned it...and then two guys showed up and said no problem for them. They have day jobs but are off on Fri, so they showed at about 6 AM and went at it. By 4 PM, the fires were almost done.
I'll bring in 50 gallons of white vinegar over the next couple of days and use that to kill the roots without killing the land. Hopefully that will be that. They did the work for free, but I paid them $20 an hour, plus a tip, for their gas money, so no taxes need to be done.
I don't know if they are legal or not. I don't have a phone number or names for them--not cause I don't like them but because I don't want to be able to help any authorities be able to check them out. If they are legal, cool. If not, well, I'm glad they were here and I'm glad we got mutual benefit from one another. I love illegals. I worked with them for 20 years in New York City kitchens, watched them lay the road in front of my house, worked with them at the Fort Worth Day Labor Center for the 5 weeks I worked there hoping to get to dig ditches, and have watched them take care of lawns and gardens ever since I got to Texas. They work hard, they're honest, and they do jobs you can't get a legal person to do. They're my dreamers and they're fantastic. And all of Texas would die tomorrow if we got rid of them.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

One More Time on the Ayahuasca Diet Prior to Ceremony

So someone posted on facebook about their diet before ayahuasca. Sounded miserable to me, and pointless. Here is my take on it, one more time, perhaps from a different angle.
   I have always been the dieta hetetic, as I never heard of one until about 2000, 16 years after I started drinking the medicine. At the same time, when I take people out to the woods, I am very clear: On the day of ayahuasca, after I've already controlled your diet for a few days with good food, beans, rice, a bit of chicken, lots of veggies and fruit, I will feed you one meal. That meal will be finished before noon, 9 hours before you drink the medicine. After the meal I send my guests out on a 3-4 hour jungle medicine hike, and when they return they are allowed lime tea (if they need electrolytes), a single mandarin orange if they need sugar, a bit of cucumber with salt if they are short on salt, or a glass or two of water if they need hydration. I explain that anyone in ceremony who is dehydrated, short on sugar or electrolytes or salt, will do me no good in ceremony. But I also explain that if they go back to their private spaces and eat two handfuls of almonds or three granola bars, then that is what they will be vomiting. And with ayahuasca they have the chance to vomit out the bile of their lives. They have the opportunity to eliminate pain they have received or inflicted. If their stomachs are full of Chinese food or candy bars, that's what they will vomit, but they will forfeit the chance to eliminate the deep pain they carry. So why cheat? I do try to control their diet for several days prior to first ceremony by what I suggest and what I cook, but the day of ceremony, I want them coming in strong and clean.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Turning the Dream into a Nightmare

I am so goddamned tired of Trump's obsession with getting rid of every good thing former President Obama did because he's still got his fucking panties in a knot over getting laughed at by Obama's jokes at the annual Correspondents' Dinner in Washington DC a few years ago.
Okay, so this morning, Pres Trump caved into Texas AG Ken Paxton and several other state attorneys general--who had threatened to sue the administration if it did not kill DACA by Sept. 5--and announced that the program would be phasing out starting in six months. As of today, if people who are eligible have not applied, they will not be allowed to apply. Now, first, what is DACA? Well, it's a 2012 Executive Order by then-President Obama that allowed people who were brought to the USA illegally as children to apply for renewable two-year deportation stays based on going to school, keeping a spotless criminal record, how old they were when they arrived, and so forth. The long title is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and it was important to put it into place--after congress refused to do it for 11 years--because a lot of little kids brought here no nothing of Mexico or whatever country in which they were born, and so deporting them seemed pretty cruel. I mean, they don't know their birth country or anybody in it in all probability, don't generally speak that country's language, don't know how to function there. And they had nothing to do with their arriving here illegally. So cut them some slack, right? Tight rules to follow, but if you follow them, you get to stay and not worry about ICE knocking on your door.
It affected about 800,000, with more than 230,000 of them in Texas. Our AG Paxton didn't give a shit about them. Just tossed them under the bus with a load of batcrap about how he wasn't against the idea of it, he was against Obama's overreach with Executive Orders. This from a guy who told judges in Texas they were free to ignore performing gay marriages--mandated by the Supreme Court--if it offended their religion. This from a guy who refused to enforce the federal mandate on non-gender bathrooms. This from a guy who rails against rampant voter fraud and then found one lady who voted illegally and had her put away for eight years! This from a guy who is so anti-abortion that he's closed nearly all the abortion clinics in the state, winding up killing women to save zygotes. Oh, and this from a guy facing up to 99-years in a federal penitentiary for two felony counts of securities fraud in an upcoming trial.
Way to keep it real, Kenny. Making America White Again, making most of us sick, and turning the Dreamers' dream into a nightmare.
Good luck with your upcoming trial. Wonder whether your lawyer will be able to weed out all the Latinos from the jury?

Saturday, September 02, 2017

The Damage Done

The damage on the human psyche caused by Harvey and the massive flooding is going to be long term. The tens of thousands of people in the affected areas have lost everything they worked for. Yes, in time their homes might be repaired, but their pictures, their keepsakes are probably gone. Their furniture gone. The peace in their homes permanently shattered because this could happen again and they know that in their souls. Now, given that, if there is any good that can come out of this horror, I would ask that it be that the US, as an entity both political and as a collective psyche, come to realize that the people who seek our shores as refugees did not come here because they wanted to, but because they too were displaced, by flooding, by war, or famine, or something else so grave that they either no longer have homes to live in, or their own souls are seared by pain to the point that they need to seek solace elsewhere just to survive. Maybe, just maybe, this will make us remember the words at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Cooking and Killing

Talking about food. I do a lot of that. And I do it in a world that is filled with anger, hatred, selfishness, fear, cruelty, pain, anguish, and every other word you can use to describe people being hopeless and helpless against marching armies, over-armed police forces, entrenched enemies, insane ideologies, natural disasters, and a host of other pests and biblical pestilence.
Why do I talk about cooking dead animals and dead vegetables and tearing fruits apart in the midst of all that tragedy? I ask myself that. It's a recurring theme in my life. How can I take such joy in inflicting pain on animals, fruits, vegetables while railing against the pain inflicted on humans. I don't know if I have a good answer. I'm 66. Maybe I will have one when I'm 70, or 75, if I last that long. What I do know is that I love the food I cook. I know I'm responsible for it's death, whether it's a cow or a goat or a carrot or a cucumber. None of those wanted to be grown to die for me. And so I know to try to honor them as best I can: To use sparingly, to sing, to apologize because I don't know how to live, how to stay alive, without killing those things. I do not know how to keep my friends and family from starvation without feeding them, yet I know that every thing I cook is sentient, has a soul, has a personality, has desires, has fears, just like we humans do. No carrot ever jumped onto my table and asked me to cut them. But I know that every cut hurt. So I try, and have always tried, to cut swiftly and with assurance, so that the pain did not last too long, nor linger, nor was scoffed at.
Idiotic as it is, cooking, killing, is a meditation for me. It starts with getting into the car to go to the store. What will make my family and friends healthy? What should I prepare? I might run through 20 things in the 20 minutes it takes to get to the store. And once there, I might go through 20 other meals based on what is available and what I can afford.
Tonight I planned on making shrimp and salmon, because I had both. I thought I'd make them simply, with a Chinese bent, and bought bok choy, scallions, red pepper, some hot peppers, green beans, broccoli, daikon radish. I already have cilantro and a organic zucchini and yellow squash and spinach and garlic and ginger and the right spices. So I thought I'd make the fish and shrimp I had killed at my behest and put them on a bed of vegetables I'd killed. I would sing to them while I worked. I would thank them, not for the sacrifice they never volunteered for but for the pain they endured at my hand, and still ask them to make me and my family strong--if that would be possible, because it would demand a lot of forgiveness on their part.
And I bought those things, then got home and discovered that Madeleina would not be here for dinner because she has a class 60 miles away that won't end till 10 PM, and so I veered off course and decided to make hot sausages in a tomato sauce and serve a couple of them simply, over sauted spinach with a side salad. The other veggies were happy, the salad was not. So I've sung to try to ameliorate the pain, but I know I can never really do that. Nobody, nothing wants to suffer.
I will enjoy a couple of hot sausages that were once fantastic pigs with bright eyes and wonderful smiles and who trusted humans till we killed them. I will enjoy sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, oregano, majoram, vegetable stock, and a bit of cow milk parmesan cheese. I will keep singing and try to make that simple dish the best it can be so that I will be able to sleep despite the killing I caused and did.
I will try not to make it needless death and pain. And that is the difference between cooking and war: In war, the aggressors kill and do not have to care. I am sure that some do and I'm pretty sure--though I never had the courage to go to war so I cannot say for certain--that a lot of people who have killed in war have suffered for that later. But there is a difference, somehow, though it's pretty subtle, in killing to stay alive and killing to kill because someone said those people are your enemies. At the time, there cannot be much thought: You either kill or die. But the puppet masters are the ones deciding the fates of millions, whether it be the civil war, ww1, ww2, vietnam, syria, iraq, the upcoming war with Iran or North Korea or both.
I don't know if I'm making any sense here. I hate that we need to kill to stay alive. At the same time I hate it more that we live in a world where people kill and hurt other humans not to stay alive, but for selfish reasons. Somewhere in there there is a difference. I think, anyway.
PS: For those who want to know: I get really good hot and mild sausages. I poke about 10 holes with a sharp knife in each sausage, both sides, then put in water and boil to eliminate a lot of fat, which comes out as thick white scum. Then I drain and put them in the oven in a heavy skillet at low temp to brown. While I do that I make my tomato sauce: Fresh garlic, onions, scallions, tomatoes in olive oil. To that I add, when ready, a 32 ounce jar of organic tomato sauce--Just a marinara--then add my salt/pep/spices and cook. When the sausage is done in the oven--45 minutes at 250, very low, the tomato sauce is coming together (sorry to all the Italian grandmas out there who slaved for 5 hours!!!!! I've done that too but I'm just cooking for myself here!!!!), and I put the sausages in the tomato sauce. I add good quality parmesan cheese, and let it simmer half-an-hour. Then I will pull it off the fire, saute spinach in garlic and olive oil (just a touch), put that like a bed on the plate, pull two sausages and put them on that spinach, then put a couple of good spoonfuls of tomato sauce on that. Top with more parm and serve with a salad with simple lime juice--fresh--and I think you're done!
It's still killing things, no matter how good I make it sound and taste. Damnit!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Finally Alone, but not gonna love it

First off, I hope the people of Houston and Rockport and the other affected areas are okay. That is the major concern of the day. Along with other natural and man-made tragedies around the world. God, I wish you would fix this shit. You're all powerful, well, then show it, goddamn it! Cause if you are not all powerful, or if you just like seeing us suffer, then a big FU cause you are not helping here. We have anger and hatred. We are bombing civilians with my money, and I don't want to bomb anyone. I don't want limbs taken off babies or teens or grownups or grandmas. I do not want people suffering and starving and dying of dehydration. I want us all to share, like the story of the loaves and fishes, just share what we have and we will discover we have more than enough for everyone if we do not hoard, do not keep extra for ourselves because we fear we won't get more. Damn, I am so tired of human greed!!!!!!
Now second, I am alone. I came back from Peru a month ago, nearly to the day. Since then I had one client in for a 10 day course in being a Sapo (the Matsés frog sweat medicine0 practitioner, and she, Corey D. was great. She has a real gift of giving if she will work to bring it to potential. It was my pleasure to be her teacher in that medicine and in the sister Matsés medicine, nü-nü, a snuff. It is a short, hard, intense, difficult course and Corey was not only game but wonderful. She's going to heal a lot of people.
On about her eighth day here, my friend Dave came in from Australia and he stayed 10 days, just left 30 minutes ago. What a great guest he was. The pleasure was all mine and my daughter Madeleina's.
During their time here, my wife/ex-wife Chepa came over almost daily with her new kids Sierra and Alexa. My son Italo brought his daughter Taylor Rain. My son Marco came over for a visit. So we all ate well, all did medicines. all had a wonderful time.
And now Dave is gone and I am finally alone. I am fine now, but with Madeleina going back to college tomorrow it's gonna get lonesome around here.
Ah, Gorman, quit yer bitchin. You just had lots and lots of company, and in about 6 weeks you have nearly a dozen people coming over for several days.
Okay, I'll quit. Life is generous to me. I hope you are all having a wonderful day. And for those caught in the horrible natural or man-made crossfire, I hope your lives ease up and allow you go get past the suffering.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Differences Between Sapo and Kambo

Sapo and Kambo are medicines used by indigenous groups in some areas of the northwest Amazon. Both are the collected secretions from the Phyllomedusa bicolor tree frog, or the Giant Waxy Tree Frog. Those secretions are what the frogs puts out through its skin when frightened/attacked by a predator. They have the ability to "freeze" a predator who tries to eat the frog, giving the frog a chance to back out of the predator's mouth--generally constrictor tree snakes--and make its escape. In human use, the secretions are collected and dried on a hardwood stick. When it's time for use, the material is liquified with either saliva or water, and placed on the subcutaneous layers of skin which has been burned with a piece of vine. The medicine quickly enters the blood stream and the user goes into a 15 minute period of a kind of agony, during which the peptides in the medicine clean out toxins from the body that have been stored, sometimes for years. The 15 minutes is painful and agonizing; the aftermath is wonderful: Your senses are heightened, and your strength and stamina improved. Regular use of the medicine can prevent disease, improve organ function, clear out arterial plaque and do a host of other positive things for the body.
   But there are subtle differences between the use of Sapo and the use of Kambo that should be noted. It should also be noted that the use of Sapo originates, as far as we can tell, with the indigenous Matses of Peru, while the use of Kambo originates with Brazilian indigenous.
     There are a couple of differences between sapo and kambo. While Kambo is liquified with water, Sapo is liquified with the server's saliva, which not only imparts the spirit of the server with the medicine, but the enzymes in the saliva quickly break down the peptides in the medicine, making them more available, so that the effect is generally stronger. Sapo is also generally given in larger points (burn marks), so that 2-3 points is a full serving, while Kambo is used on very tiny burn marks, allowing for a much higher number of points to be used.
   The second primary difference is while most Kambo users ascribe to the theory that you should drink a liter or two of water a half-an-hour or so prior to Kambo use, you don't drink water prior to sapo. You might have a cup of coffee or a bottle of water, but that would be incidental. (Yes, you can have it 10 minutes after eating lunch as well). The Matses, in my experience, did it when it was time to do it: Sometimes that was in the middle of eating, sometimes in the morning, often in the morning, afternoon and evening of several days in succession. By NOT drinking a lot of water, as is generally done with Kambo, the medicine does not concentrate on the stomach, but rather roams more throughout the body. Which I think gives a more well-rounded body reset. (My opinion only).
    A third difference, though new, is the edict about only doing Kambo three times during a moon cycle and then waiting a few more moon cycles prior to doing it again. I think this has only appeared in the last year or two.
    With Sapo, if you just do it once, that's okay; three days in a row goes much deeper; seven or 10 days in a row goes much deeper than three. I've never been able to do more than 10 but I'm sure it would be great. In the Sapo course that I teach, people do Sapo 7 days in succession, during the last three of which they do it twice a day.
   Small but important differences between Kambo and Sapo use, despite it being the same medicine.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017


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.