Saturday, March 10, 2018

Why Would Anyone Need Sapo/Kambo Training?

Someone on a social media platform asked me what I thought of people being trained in kambo --frog sweat -- medicine by an organization called IAKP which has been training people in the medicine use for several years now. They suggested that indigenous kids just get the medicine a couple of times and are good to use it on themselves and others. This was my response:

I do not have any direct experience with IAKP, but have met some of their practitioners and they appear well trained. I know that when I occasionally train people -- and I don't know where I get the right to do that other than wanting people to use the medicine in a careful and positive fashion -- it is not at all similar to someone being brought up in an indigenous culture that depends on the medicine for hunting, for eliminating the grippe, and so forth. Those kids are around the medicine from birth, just like they are around the jungle from birth and so are at home with it without any need for formal training. But then you take a kid from Whitestone, Queens, New York, like me and put me in the jungle and I need lots of training to be able to survive well out there. I think the same applies to sapo/kambo training. 
Yes, a person can just use it once or twice and then give it to other people, but what happens when something goes wrong? What happens when you allow a guest to walk, unattended, to a bathroom and they black out and hit their head on a counter top? Or wind up with their head in a bad position and start to vomit and then choke and panic? What do you do when someone absolutely freaks out on taking the medicine? There are so many things to learn to use the medicine in our cultures that it is impossible to compare the learning to indigenous culture learning. I have guests who need two or three hours to come together again after a session, and other guests who are good to go 20 minutes after initial application. How do you judge when to give them back their car keys and let them drive off? 
I am not a believer in shrouding the medicine in a whole lot of mysticism and pomp theatrics, but I do sing people into the first four or five minutes of the experience to help them go into it gently -- as you all know it's darned abrupt!!! So while I do not know the IAKP directly, I think that training people to the things to be aware of prior to serving others, is probably a good thing. And I do not know what they charge, but if they are giving you 10 days or two weeks' attention, well, someone has to get paid to do that. That is a lot of work.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

New -- Old -- Car. Get Lucky Sometimes

Get Lucky Sometimes. Couple of weeks ago a friend called to say she had a friend who had a sister who had a mother who was going to move into assisted living and she had an old car she wanted to sell for two hundred bucks. Would I want it? My first thought was "Of course not. I've got my truck with the beautiful new engine that my son Italo built, my second truck that's nearly back on the road, and no, I don't need no more stinking clunkers around here."
I didn't say that, of course, because the woman who was bringing the car to my attention is a really cool friend and I didn't want to offend. So I said I'd take a look.
Day came to take a look and I really didn't want to drive the 35 miles to the place where the car was, but I was committed, so I let my friend and her husband drive me there. We were nearly at Lake Granbury, where the car was, when my friend got a call from her friend that the car was not available to be seen because the sister and her husband were currently using it and were in town and wouldn't be back for an hour. Cool. I was ready to head home. My friend, however, insisted we go and wait it out to take a look.
We were visiting with my friend's friend when the car pulled up. It was so quiet that I did not hear it pull up behind me. When I turned to it I was fairly amazed: it was a 1999 Crown Vic, silver, high polish, not a mark on it. I took it for a ride: 83,000 miles, original owner, smooth as glass. Leather upholstery, faux wood highlights on the dash, AC and heat worked beautifully, radio was really good, and it had an opening to play casettes. Cigarette lighter worked. Spotless inside. I double checked the price: I mean, right off the bat it was worth $2 grand, easy. No, $200 was the price.
I said I'd buy it after I drove it for 30 minutes. It easily jumped to 55, then 75, and oops, 90 without anything more than a purr from the engine. Unreal. The sister and her husband needed it for a couple of days, and when I went back to pick it up I saw that they had changed the oil, filled the tank, included a few hundred bucks worth of tools and roadside reflective jackets and such.
I got it home, then took out my truck for shopping. I felt the clutch slip. It got worse quickly. So I got the car on the perfect day when I needed it. My son Italo will have a new clutch and a slave cylinder in place in my truck this week sometime. Meanwhile I'm driving a pimp car. Thanks to my friends, their friends, the mom, and the universe. I just get really lucky sometimes. I hope you all get lucky today too.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Cooking Duck Breasts

Just something to make non-vegetarians drool. I bought three large duck breasts today. I've scored them into diamonds on the fat side, not touching the meat. Then I threw 6 small red potatoes, cut into quarters, into salted water to par boil them. They'll come out in two minutes; they will be drained, then go into a ceramic saute pan that my daughter just bought me with diced sweet red onions, diced fresh garlic and olive oil.
While they are cooking I will saute the duck breasts, fat side down, for 7 minutes or so, after salting them with good pink sea salt, and peppering them with good rough ground pepper, in plain olive oil. After seven minutes I'll turn them meat side down, add quartered scallions, long sliced red pepper, sliced--not diced--onion and garlic, and put them into the oven at 325 for another 7 minutes or so. Then I will pull all of that and put it on a plate. I will take some of the duck grease and add it to the quartered potatoes and onions to finish them, put on a pot to make nice steamed asparagus, and in the duck breast pan I will add balsamic vinegar, fresh basil and a pint of fresh, organic raspberries. I'll add organic vegetable stock as needed until the raspberries have become a sauce. Then I'll serve the duck breast over a bed of sauteed spinach, top it with the raspberry-basil-balsamic vinegar sauce, and serve the potatoes and asparagus on the side. Bon appetite! Worth the pain, for sure. We all deserve a treat once in a while. But while you're buying those expensive duck breasts, don't forget to give some money to the local food bank, because not everybody gets to eat duck breast. Some people just need tuna. So give what you can, but still enjoy an occasional luxurious meal. At least that's how I'm justifying it to myself!!!!!