Monday, November 29, 2021

Back Surgery Followup

Michael Gorman Just so the world knows, if I am tough enough it is because you ran me ragged at baseball, street football and all sorts of "tough guy" things. You took a little brother who had been sick for two years and pulled, pushed, prodded, encouraged me to swing the bat with the weights on it, to run a dozen street football routes fifteen times to both the left and right daily, to make the 126' baseball toss from a catcher's squat 10-20 times a day, and you did the arrangement and fielding for all of that. At the time I thought I was sometimes being cruelly used, but as a grown up I realized decades ago that you were saving me from a life of self pity as a sick kid. What a yoman's job you did. I did get tough. I fought most of my own fights, I hitchhiked more than 50,000 miles. I spent time, and got away, with people I knew were going to kill me. I could write a book, but what it comes down to is you, our sister Patty, and our sisters Peggy, Barbara, and Regina -- along with Mom and Tom, of course -- took a kid who was near death and weak as weak can be, and allowed me to grow into someone who became a great investigative journalist, a fantastic New York City chef, and an Amazon explorer. Not famous, not rich, but who cares. I got to get my fingernails good and dirty and that is what counts. So thanks for doing that for me. I appreciate it boundlessly. (I'm still probably gonna be screaming for our mom when the doc starts burning off nerve endings tomorrow!!!!!)


Little Back Surgery

Going in for the first of two procedures on my lower back tomorrow. About a dozen hot needles to burn away the nerves on the vertebra. They will grow back in six months or a year and then we will do it again.
Doc asked if I wanted anesthesia. I asked if i could get through it with a local. He asked why. I told him I have been under anesthesia 4 times this year and do not want to push my luck.
He said that I had gone through the trial needles twice with just local and thought I could make it tomorrow the same way.
If you hear some strange sound, like a caterwauling at 2 PM Central Time, that will be me begging for anesthesia.
My daughter Madeleina, who will take me to the op has already said she's not gonna hang with me pre-surgery. "Dad, if I don't see or hear you, I can pretend you're a tough guy. But if I see you begging for mercy from the universe one more time, well, let's just say I don't want to see you act like an ahole again."
She has always been my best and toughest audience. Can't get away with nothin' on that girl.


Sunday, November 21, 2021

What's for dinner? An embarrassment of riches!

To be honest, I am often blessed with an embarrassment of riches despite being a poorish man. (I did just look myself up a couple of days ago on celebrity net worth and they, or a site like that, pegs me at $2million. HA! $2,000 separates me from going in the red and that's how it ever was.)
Okay, so on Saturdays, Adrian likes to cook. So while he and Madeleina go to the supermarket to buy things for Saturday dinner -- when he is off -- I generally make a list of things the house needs, including dinner for Sunday, since the supermarkets around here are pure hell on sweet heavenly Sundays.
I forgot to get food for tonight yesterday. Instead I gave Madeleina and her man Adrian the Thanksgiving list of a 20 pound turkey, a boneless spiral ham, fresh potatoes, yams, celery, onions, garlic, butter, cranberries, good quality ready to heat and serve dinner roll (lazy, I know) and seasoned bread stuffing to which I will add tons of stuff (lazy again). And oranges and apples and pears to stuff the turkey, and fresh maple syrup for the ham glaze.
You know too much about me now, so I guess I'll just kill myself. Okay, skip that. I have a point here if I can just find it... Oh, yeah, food for tonight. What to have? We don't have anything.
So I took a look: In the freezer was a duck and three duck breasts. There was a gallon bag of frozen lamb Tagine, and another gallon bag of fajita stew. Then there was a lot of frozen mariscos (shrimp, squid, octopus, mussels) and I have 8 ounces of cooked Atlantic halibut filets that will go with that. Then there was a couple of pounds of dried red beans and a pound of andouille sausage and Jasmine rice, a box of Manicotti and another of Lasagna with 3 pounds of fresh ricotta, a pound of shredded asiago cheese, tomato sauce, onions, a fresh bag of spinach and some fresh basil that I love, plus garlic, chicken and beef bone broth, and mozzarella cheese to top it all off.
I'm going with the zupa de mariscos with garlic, lime, onions, scallions, cilantro, fresh tomatoes, and finished with angel hair pasta to give it a little heft.
Honestly, an embarrassment of riches. I hope all the poor people out there who are hovering between $2 grand ahead or $2 grand behind can find the same riches in their fridge and cabinets tonight.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Smiling Wide Tonight

Just feel like letting some shine a few people put on me to rock free. Yes, ego engaged, but hopefully justified. Ignore this if you like. I was looking at for my new book, Magic Mushrooms in India and Other Fantastic Tales, to see if anyone had bothered to post a review. That's ego talking.
Well, I knew my brother had posted something nice, but to my surprise there were five other comments as well. They took me by surprise because I only know one of the people who wrote one, but the other four are utter strangers. And it is very nice, but scary, when utter strangers review your work. I've been lambasted as working for the devil for my Ayahuasca Dreaming book, been called out by animal and indigenous rights folks for my Sapo in My Soul book, and years and years ago had fruit thrown at my actors during one performance of my play Rumors, at Lincoln Center's Library Theater. That stuff stings, but it's what you open yourself up to when you are working in the public eye.
So I was thrilled to read these three reviews of my new book a few minutes ago. Someone named Barley wrote: "I got a contact high reading Peter Gorman's vividly colorful accounts of buzzing around the globe.
"As a storyteller, Gorman is so facile that, as a reader, I easily slipped into each adventure. Joining in the cacophony in India, the grit of New York City and the scent of hashish in the Rif was an extraordinary trip. A gifted writer whose everyman sensibility had me laughing from the first sentence. Gorman's tales are delightful."
Someone named Ishmael wrote: "I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It is a collection of fantastic adventure tales as lived by the author, Peter Gorman. There is also a chapter on Peters "First Time Sex". It's hilarious!
"Lots of stuff that has never been written about before, like naked Catholic swim team meets.
Well worth the money just for that story.
"Gorman is a master story teller.
Fast read. A+++"
And then this was added this morning by someone named Karla: "Somehow somewhere I heard about Peter in another book relating to experiencing DMT in the Amazon. So, I ordered his book Ayahuasca Dreaming, absolutely profound reading for me, so I had to order his next, Sapo. Read that, and then I had to go searching to see what the internet could tell me about him and I found his web address. Honestly, I ranted and raved about him to all my girlfriends at my last cabin retreat and they're scratching their heads wondering what's up with me. I think Peter is opening the western world up to something amazing, because he is amazing. I have never met him, but what he is sharing openly about his lived life is raw, heartfelt, transforming and especially beautiful to the soul. In this book, Magic Mushrooms, I came away with a deeper sensation of his human-ness and found my heart relating to all his misgivings once again."
Please forgive me my temporary shit-eating grin. I just don't get treats like this every day.

Monday, November 15, 2021

My Brother Mike's Regimen

Growing up, my brother Mike had a big influence on me. He was the one who let me know that if you ate cheese or listened to most rock 'n roll you would never be able to concentrate enough on the hard work of baseball to become a pro player. And he was a good player. Partial scholarship for ball at St. Johns, a perennial powerhouse and generally a team in the top 20 in the USA. He went on to play semi pro for 3 decades. And he got me, a kid who was really sick with rheumatoid arthritis midway through kindergarden to believe in myself and become a pretty good athlete in my own right, playing NYC handball against all comers and holding my own, riding a bike 10 miles a day for years, being shortstop on the High Times Bonghitters team when we went something like 15-1 and 17-0 against the likes of Playboy, New Republic, Forbes, Money, WBAI radio station and so forth. My brother turned me into a small "c" champ.
   Today I was thinking about some of the songs I could listen to without contaminating my drive to be a pro in baseball.
   "Ou e, ou a, a, ding, dang, walla walla bing bang, Ou e, ou a,a, ding dang walla walla bing bang." That is from My Friend the Witch Doctor
    Then this: "I took my troubles down to Madam Rou, you know the gypsy with the gold capped tooth," from Love Potion Number 9.
    And "Walkin' to New Orleans, Walkin' to New Orleans. Ain't got a plane, ain't got a train, so I'm walking to New Orleans." From Walking to New Orleans.
   And: "That's the sound of the men, working on the chain, gang....That's the sound of the men, working on the chain gang. All day long they work so hard... . From The Sound of the Men Working on the Chain Gang.
   Then there was: "Hang down your head Tom Dooley, hang down your head and cry, hang down your head Tom Dooley, poor boy you're bound to die." from Tom Dooley.
   And I could listen all day to 16 Tons and King of the Road or even Blueberry Hill without losing my edge. It was just those romantic songs you shouldn't hear because the next think you knew you were liking girls and that was the absolute death of any one wanting to become  pro player in any sport. Kissing softened you up and you had to be hard and focused on swing weighted bats, sit ups, push ups, short sprints, fielding, throwing, running routes if you liked football, or practicing dribbling or jumpshots in the dark if basketball was your aim.
   It was slightly crazy and by 16 all I wanted to was eat cheese and kiss girls, but it got me out of being a sick kid. Thanks, Mike, you were the best.


Sunday, November 14, 2021

Sharing Spirit with Medicine

For some of you this will sound ridiculous; for others, it will make perfect sense. Since the pneumonia and the Covid -- pretty much back to back -- I need to drink the Peruvian cure of fresh ginger and chopped raw garlic cooked in lime juice and water. One or two gulps, hot or cold and you will be hocking up lugies from deep in your lungs. And of course, since both pneumonia and Covid try to drown you in fluid in the lungs, you need anything that will help clear that shit out. It is gross, but vital to healing.
My daughter or near-son Devon generally make it for me. Tonight Madeleina was not in the mood and Devon is in Hawaii. I asked her a second time and she begrudgingly said she would do it. I told her to clear her heart. Clear her spirit. No begrudging. I want her to make it -- physically I could easily make it -- because I want her spirit in it. Her spirit will double, triple the value of the medicine.
That might sound strange here in the USA, but in Peru and some other countries I've visited where medicines are collected and made on the spot the value of a strong, clear person adding their spirit to the medicine is what makes the medicine work. It is simply what I have observed. And dang if it doesn't work that way. I absolutely love getting a little spirit with the medicine. And when I serve medicine, if it is at all possible, I will make it for you rather than saying, "go boil these sticks for two hours and drink half a cup every four hours." There isn't enough power in that. But you put me, my friends more than me, in front of that medicine for two or 12 hours coaxing that medicine to give up its strongest spirit, and now we're talking.


Thursday, November 11, 2021

Magic Mushrooms in India reviewed by Steve Bloom

 Steve Bloom, an old compatriot and friend from my High Times days, has published a review of my new book, Magic Mushrooms in India and Other Fantastic Tales on his CelebStoner page. Go on over and take a look. And after you are done with the review and bought half-a-dozen copies of the book, go through the website. Bloom is a terrific writer, reporter and editor and his site reflects that. Definitely worth checking out. Here is the review:


Don't like being trapped

First I have to say this is an edit. In the original I was angry at family and have no right to be. So I apologize. That said, it remains true that I have been in this house for months and I am going insane. I am allowed to accompany people to the store, so long as I stay in the car, two or three time a week. I make lists of food daily so that I can cook but I am still housebound. Except for when I go to various doctors. And they all ask the US Government for an unfair amount of bucks. My back doctor, giving me four shots of steriods, with a local anesthetic (lidocaine on a cloth, rubbed on my back) charged Medicare more than $14,000 for less than 15 minutes work. You get that? It is $1000 a minute with total cost of materials under $25.00. Throw in a lab tech, a greeter, an assistant and maybe you're up to $200.00. In Peru I just ask for the steroids in my back and the pharmacist has me raise my shirt and injects me for s/50 or $12 US per shot.
So I am going slightly insane. I have been in this house too long. I want freedom. I am working daily to fix this slightly broken body, but it seems I am in some illness quicksand: At the very start of the pandemic I had just returned from Peru and was in the ICU at the hospital with them telling me I should have my will done. I got over that and learned how to walk again when I suddenly needed 3 small operations. l got those, but on the last one I evidently picked up pneumonia and spent a month pretty sick and then several months getting my lungs okay. Much of that my fault because I have been a heavy smoker until very recently. Still, nothing ever felt like that nd just at that was clearing up I got covid, despite being double-vaccinated. I'm getting cleared up from that now and doing exercises to get my balance back and to get in shape for my upcoming Amazon exploration -- by boat. I will talk about that in a few days. And, since something has me by the throat, now I need and will have lower back surgery in two weeks. I have already had two procedures. I can't imagine what my doc is going to charge Medicare for the big one!
So I felt like screaming. If I was 30 I probably would have punched the walls until I needed stitches. I am not 30, so instead, I made Philly cheese steak sandwiches, with peppers, onions, tomatoes, thin beef in olive oil and garlic, topped with fresh cut Provolone cheese. On Hoagies. Nice.
They are gonna be good. I hope all of you have a wonderful night. Unfortunately, I will bet that a lot of you feel just as imprisoned as I do. I hope we're all clear soon.


Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Some Artists I Love

 I was raised with a lot of art in our house. Not expensive, just copies, but still, lots of it. And I later worked in the art world for a few years, pulling paint on silk screens, delivering artist's proofs, setting up a gallery's shows. So I posted a couple of beautiful pieces of art by my friend Larry Lavalle and then my friend Mac McGee wrote that they were nice. Now I used Mac as an illustrator for stories sometimes when I was at High Times, a lifetime ago. He was poor but fantastic, but he had no idea that I had ever worked in galleries of shops. So I wrote this to him:

Thanks. Means a lot coming from the freaking brilliant artist that you are. And I do not think every artist is brilliant. i love Bosch, Oldenburg, Larry Rivers, the pointilists, and some others. I worked at Multiples Art gallery on 74th and Madison for a couple of years in college, then went on to work for "the impossible man" Dave Basanow who had a huge loft in SOHO where he worked with polymers for artists like Rauchenberg, Marisol and so forth, so I was one of the people filling those molds, mixing colors for the artists to choose from and so forth. I later worked at Chrysalis in SOHO where we pulled the squeegees filled with paint to make the silkscreens for Warhol and Indiana and dozens of others. So I am particular -- I do like Cristo and Tommy Christmas and Jasper Johns and Haring and Klee, Georgia O'Keefe, Vinny Van Gogh and a thousand others. But you, Mr McGill, and my friend Larry Lavalle should be picking up $25 grand per piece, just for starters. Go up to a lot from there. You are that good and there should be that demand.