Friday, December 30, 2016

Got through Christmas

I'm still pooped from it all but we made it through Christmas. The 'we' includes Madeleina, my glorious partner in slime and 19-year-old daughter who helped shop with me, did all the wrapping--except of her presents--and kept me sane. We were coming off that heavy load of guests, desperately needed to get shopping for nine people done in three days, had those same three days, plus the day after Christmas, to write a cover story for the Fort Worth Weekly, and we had to do it with no car, while we were taking care of Sierra, Alexa and Taylor during the day. We had them because everyone was working and we were the only place for them to hang out during Christmas/New Year's school closing. And I loved having them. As Madeleina says, "Dad, I think you still love being dad, I mean dad of everybody, a few hours now and then. You just seem to relish it." I assured her I do. It's one of the sadnedses in a dad's life when his kids grow up, move out, and you no longer are needed as "dad".
    So it was hectic, impossible, and yet we did it! Hooray, Madeleina!
   And now I've got a new client for my 10-day sapo (indigenous Matses frog sweat) course, have to find some fireworks for New Year's Eve, need to finish up a Drug War Follies column, then get ready for my January and February Amazon Jungle Jaunts. Boy, I could use a couple more people, but I'll let the universe sort that out. It's a great trip, someone will join at the last minute, I think.
   And even better, Italo brought my repaired truck back yesterday. He built a new engine a couple of months ago, from the block up; then I had a specialist put in a new clutch, then one of the new cylinders stopped firing--so he took a week and finally figured out what old parts needed to be upgraded to work with the new engine. And he did it. That man is a monster with a motor! Makes me very proud.
   So I'm gonna celebrate and take some of the garbage that's been accumulating here for two weeks out to the dump this morning. Why? Cause it's stinking up the place mainly, but also because I need to do a manly job today. Too much shopping and preparing food and other manly things like that, and not enough manly things like lawn mowing and garbage dumping lately.
   Y'all have a good one. And, of course, a very Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Whew! I'm gonna sleep good tonight!

Whew! I'm gonna sleep good tonight. I'm also going to miss several friends and a new friend. The last 15 days at the Gorman's have been hectic, to say the least. I had a fellow come in about 2 weeks ago who wanted to do a 3-day sapo--frog sweat--treatment. No problem. I applied the medicine daily, took care of him, and he'd disappear until the next day. He was strong, took a lot of medicine. The day after he left, another person came to start my 10-day Sapo Course. That is a brutal thing, with the student doing larger and larger amounts of the medicine and then doing it twice a day, then serving me, then serving others. She was great and got her diploma. But while she was here, Two friends came in, one from New York, one from England, to do ayahuasca. They were joined by two other friends and the person taking the course. That meant a lot of house cleaning, while simultaneously cooking for everyone, washing dishes, shopping for food, etc. During that time Madeleina came home from school and was able to help out. But we also had charge of Sierra and Alexa and my granddaughter Taylor Rain, which meant picking them up after school and making dinner for them as well as my guests.
   Somehow, Madeleina and I pulled it all off. The last person, the student of Sapo, left this afternoon. I'm about ready to collapase. Now it's just Madeleina, Sierra, Alexa and me for the next few hours, till Chepa picks up the girls.
   I loved having my friends in. I loved having the 3-day sapo guy and the 10-day sapo student. I loved shopping, cooking, cleaning, shopping for Christmas and trying to finish a cover story at the same time. But I am wiped out. I mean, genuinely wiped out. Gonna have a couple of glasses of wine, make dinner for the girls, eat a little something myself, then sleep good tonight. Whew!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Getting on Christmas Time

Well, it's December 20, so it's getting on Christmas time. Part of that is getting quiet, thinking over the last year and mulling what needs doing for the next. Part of that is taking a few extra minutes to think about family, friends, and for those of us who have been around a while, friends who left this plane this year. Part of that is wishing good things for everyone on the planet:
For those who are starving, a wish for good food daily;
For those who have no clean water, a wish for fresh rain daily;
For those who suffer physical ills, a wish that they get healed;
For those with broken hearts, a wish that a glimmer of new love reawakens their hearts;
For those who suffer from being alone, a wish that they might meet a new friend;
For those who are homeless and cold; a wish that they have a warm bed to stay in tonight;
For those suffering emotional problems; a wish for balance in their lives;
For those suffering from mental problems; a wish for a magic reboot to their brains;
For those suffering spiritually, a wish that they will take a moment to see the spirit in everything;
For those suffering the effects of war; a wish to end all wars today, this minute.
For those and the rest of us: A wish that we could recognize that we could do anything if we got together to do it, and it would only take a moment to make that decision.
    I just realized that I made the same wishes for you all on Thanksgiving. I apologize for repeating my prayers, but I stand by them, at least twice.
    But this is about Christmas and beyond friends, family, the whole world, is the job of being dad. And that means presents. That means foraging in store aisles I'd normally avoid trying to imagine one of my kids with this or that. It means spending $500 just on stocking stuffers that no one needs but everyone wants to open. It means going to hell daily for three or five days to get something that someone will cherish. In my family, that means Chepa, Italo, Sarah, Marco, Madeleina, Taylor Rain, Sierra and Alexa. But the nightmare of shopping is quickly forgotten when all arrive at the house and light up at the scene of all those presents. Most of them small: we were generally into one big thing--like a ping pong table, or a foosball table--for the family, then several small things each. It's dad's work, but it's really effortless because we love them all. Among the small things Italo and Marco always get are large bags of Twizzler red and black licorish. Both hate the stuff and won't bother to take it home. Fortunately, I love it, so willingly pick up their leavings.
   And now, out shopping again. Thank God I have Madeleina helping me. Have a good one everyone.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

INDIEGOGO Call for Cash: Pass the Word, Please

So a client of mine who has become a great friend has been following me around with a camera for a year or so, both here in Texas and in Peru. Turns out he's making a film about me called "More Joy, Less Pain: The Life of Peter Gorman
   Mostly it will deal with the jungle medicines, but it will also deal with my family, friends, the river, the jungle. There is a two minute trailer that I think is worth watching. And if you watch and you see the potential for something interesting, well, by all means share it with friends and send Mike a couple of bucks. There's lots of good stuff he has me giving away to contributors so please take a minute and look at my friend Mike's work. Thanks very much.
Here is the link. I think you have to cut and paste, and if you forget it, I think you can just go to and punch in More Joy, Less Pain to get to it.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Wow! I didn't expect that to hurt so much!

One of those days. They somehow sneak up on me when I least expect them. I've got a person coming to work with Sapo next week, and later in the week I've got a friend flying in from England, one from Chicago and one from New York coming to stay for a few days. Right now I'm in the midst of treating someone with three days of sapo--the Indigenous Peruvian Matses frog medicine--and he's having a blast. So I've got more company than I know what to do with. But then Madeleina called this morning to say she's going to be busy till at least Thursday, so won't be home from college till then. And man, that just about blew me out of the water. I just felt it like a knife. You know, I want her to be grown up and independent, just like I did with Marco and Italo, but now that Marco and Italo are grown up and independent, I don't get to see them enough. Don't get to toss a football, or clean out the garage with them. Or just watch a movie with them often enough. And Madeleina? Well, she's been my sidekick for 19 years and when she's not here, I'm freaking lost. Yes, I am thrilled she's growing up, but I guess the sap part of me still wants her around. How can I do proper medicine and keep the house clean, and get ready for a guest who will be here for a week and get the cats and dogs fed and get the garbage out and make great food if I'm not showing off to her? So yeah, it snuck up on me and I wasn't ready for it. I'm dealing with it, I'll be fine. But it still hit me like a Joe Frazier body shot. BANG! Ow. Okay, I'll be better in a minute. Just let me catch my breath here...
And that's my sob story for today. Hope all of you are doing fantastically and are surrounded by lots of love. And I mean that.

Calling All Intrepid Travelers

Ladies and Gentlemen! Adventurers of all Ages!

Announcing the 2017 Tour Dates for the Gorman Jungle Jaunts!

January 2017
Saturday, Jan 21, through the morning of Monday, Jan 30

February 2017
Saturday Feb, 4, through the morning of Monday, Feb 13

June 2017
Saturday, June 17, through the morning of Monday, June 26

July 2017
Saturday, July 1, through the morning of Monday, July 10

Looking for a dozen intrepid seekers for each of the Jaunts. Looking for people who want to see and be in deep Amazon jungle; people who want to experience ayahuasca and the Matses’ medicines Sapo and Nu-nu in their natural settings; people who don’t mind dirt under their fingernails if they get it because they were walking in high canopy jungle or in a primordial swamp or collecting wild foods or even making clay pots. I’m looking for people who want to collect the medicines they’ll use and watch their preparation, people who would rather participate than observe and be served. I want a small group of curious people, humans interested in their personal growth, in the spirit world, in the Northwest Amazon as it is today but may not be tomorrow. I want people who see bathing in the beautiful Aucayacu river as an opportunity, not as a poor substitute for a hot shower; people who view the chance to eat a few local magic mushrooms while traveling overnight on a flat-bottomed river boat on the Amazon as a once in a lifetime thrill, and see night canoeing in dugouts while searching for medicine frogs a rare and wonderful opportunity. In other words, I want anyone who sees living as a bit of a risk but one worth taking.
   And if you join, my team—which will outnumber the guests—and the medicines and the jungle and the rivers and I will all work our collective asses off to give you something you’ll hold onto for a very long time. The medicines will astound you, the people will thrill you, the jungle will amaze you. So what are you waiting for? Drop me a line at or head over to the website for more info, photos, and an idea of the trip itinerary and costs.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

A Tree Swing in the Yard

This is a story I wrote for a magazine about 12 years ago. I don't think I ever put it here, and I saw it for the first time in yeas and thought it worth sharing:

A Tree Swing in the Yard


Sometimes the simplest changes in our lives make the most difference. I was reminded of that about a year ago, not long after I’d moved with my kids from Manhattan to Joshua, Texas.
         It was a difficult time for my family. My wife and I had separated, and she’d moved to the Fort Worth area to be near her sisters. She left with Madeleina, our 5-year old girl, and I stayed back in New York with our boys, Italo, 16, and Marco, 13.
We’d initially thought the separation would be short-term, but after some months my boys told me they thought otherwise, and that if I wanted the three kids back together we’d have to move to Texas. It would mean giving up the closeness of my family, my job as a magazine editor, my friends and the familiarity of my home.
            I decided that having the boys back with their sister and near their mom was the most important consideration, so after a three day trial trip to look for homes—my boys picked one just south of Ft. Worth—we set off in a rental truck with our world packed in boxes.
         We arrived and entered a period of adjustment: I was suddenly an out-of-work freelance writer at 50, the owner of a small house on an acre-and-a-half of yard dotted with lovely old sycamores, cedars, gnarly oaks and hackberrys, in a rural area where small ranches and farms dominated the landscape. It was bucolic but everything was new to us: I’d never even started an electric lawnmower, much less owned one, the neighbors didn’t know what to make of us Yankees, and we had to work on turning our new house into a home. We hung our pictures and unpacked our books, found out where the local supermarket was and got the boys enrolled in the local high school. It was all made easier by having Madeleina nearby and with us a few days a week, but none of it quite did the trick.
         And then one day, maybe two months after we moved in, Madeleina asked, “Dad, are we going to have any tree swings?”
         I’d never thought about it but after a moment said, “Sure, if you want one we’ll make one.”
         “Can we do it when I come back on Saturday?”
         “You got it, kiddo.”
         It seemed like a simple enough request, but never having made a tree-swing before, I wasn’t sure how to do it. I asked Italo and Marco what kind of swing we should make and they decided that a tire wouldn’t do, that we should have a board-seat swing.
         We’d been replacing rotting boards on a foot-bridge over a seasonal creek and that ran through our property, using water-resistant, heat treated 2” X 10” pine, so as we had that around we decided to go with that for a seat. For the length, we had Madeleina sit and open her arms as if she was holding on to the swing’s ropes: 30 inches was a generous fit.
         For stability we decided to go with a four-corner design: two ropes, each thrown over a tree branch, passed through holes we’d drill near the corners of the board and tied-off underneath. For rope, I though nylon would be the strongest and most weather resistant, but when we told the attendant at the local ranch store what we were going to do with it he said that the nylon would stretch and that our swing would be sitting on the ground in no time. Instead, he suggested a 3/4 inch rolled cotton rope. “That will last, won’t stretch, water won’t hurt it, the bugs won’t like it and it’ll be soft to hold onto,” he said. “Plus, it’ll hold about 600 pounds, so you won’t need to worry about it snapping any time soon.”
         By Saturday, when Madeleina arrived, we were ready. We asked her which tree we ought to put it on. “The chain tree, of course,” she said without hesitation. The tree she’d picked was an old hackberry, maybe 40 feet tall. It had been hit by lightning at some point years earlier and the stout trunk had been split. The previous owner had double-wrapped a thick chain around the trunk about five feet above the split to keep it from falling, and the chain was now embedded deep with the trunk and the tree remained healthy and strong. It wasn’t far from the house and because of that chain, was our favorite tree. Best of all, it had a good thick branch growing horizontally out from the trunk about 15 feet from the ground, perfect for a tree swing.
         We drilled half-inch holes an inch inside each corner of the swing seat, then Italo scrambled up the tree and threw the ropes over the branch. Marco and Madeleina and I pulled as hard as we could to test the branch’s strength: the branch hardly moved.
         Confident it would hold him, Italo climbed out on the branch and notched the places where the rope would sit. He eliminated the bark without cutting into the wood, giving the ropes a good smooth surface to ride on, as well as a place to sit so that they wouldn’t slide sideways.
         While he did that, Marco and I taped the ends of the ropes tightly and forced them through the holes in the seat. We set the height so that a grownup could sit on the swing with their feet flat on the ground: for Madeleina it meant boosting herself up a bit, but she was growing fast.
         We leveled the seat and tied large triple knots just beneath it, then stepped back: The 13’ foot white cotton ropes almost glistened in the afternoon sun. The swing looked like it had been there forever.
         Italo and I got on the seat to test the rope: perfect.
         Then it was Madeleina’s turn. We put her on and she grabbed the two ropes on either side of the swing, her little hands clutching them tightly as we gave her her first push. The swing began to mark an arc that grew greater with each ensuing push. Madeleina began to laugh, her laughter trailing all the way from here to there and back again. “Higher! Higher!” she giggled, swinging back and forth, her long hair flying, until it seemed she might just take off. “That’s enough! That’s high enough!” she laughed, and we slowed her down.
         “Well,” I asked when she got off. “Does it work?”
         “That’s the greatest swing ever, dad!” she beamed. “Thanks for buying this house with that chain tree.”
         And that was it: our house was our home. And that swing has been used Madeleina and her friends, the boys and their friends, and even dad once in a while, ever since.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Immediate follow up to Sapo Collection Post

On that forum where I occasionally post, someone questioned whether it was right to collect the frog medicine (Sapo or Kambo, depending whether you're in Peru or Brazil), given that it caused fear in the frog. The question was really about whether we could justify using the frog medicine given that to get it we had to stress out the frog. I felt the need to respond. Here's what I wrote:

 I think you've got to imagine what the spirit of the frog is thinking, or sensing: I'll bet they don't like the 5 minutes of inconvenience/torture, but that they would prefer that to being boiled in soup. The indigenous who live in the Amazon, at least in the old days when there was not much agriculture, depended on harvesting wild foods, some tree barks for starch, fishing for those who knew how to do it, and hunting. There were not a lot of alternatives. Yes, they knew that if they ate a pineapple and tossed the top on the ground that when they returned there months later there would be a plant with harvestable pineapples, but those would be eaten by the first people who came on them.
To have a medicine that would steady their hand, stave off hunger/thirst/need for sleep, and eliminate the killing grippe had to have been a godsend. And the frogs are not dumb: They, like all of us, would choose inconvenience and some short-term fear over death.
In terms of us, now, yes, I think there is over-harvesting, bad harvesting, people who don't know what the heck they're doing and so shouldn't be doing it (you can buy egg yolk dried on sticks being sold as sapo or kambo in Iquitos; you can buy candle wax being sold as sapo or kambo in Iquitos; you can buy the medicine from frogs who are kept in a camp and harvested over and over--which will produce really lousy medicine; and a host of other icky or bad things). But harvested correctly, used as real medicine with good intention, I suspect the frogs go along with that. It's a very brief process of a couple of minutes from top to bottom, they are then released and put on their tree of preference, and if they have an obvious mate, they're put near that mate.
In terms of humans needing this, well, if you're 20-years old you might not. But if you're 50 or 60 or 70, the idea that you can eliminate the plaque from your arteries, trim the fur off you heart valves to eliminate an irregular heart beat, and cleanse your liver and kidneys in 15 minutes--or in 15 minutes a day for 5-10 days in a row--well that's pretty good and necessary medicine. If eliminating plaque from your arteries provides you with the space in those arteries to deliver just 3-4 percent more blood to your organs, that's 3-4 percent more oxygen getting to where it's supposed to go. That extra oxygen will improve your eyesight, your hearing, your balance, your heart rate, your pulse, your ability to assimilate and eliminate foods....that's pretty important. And if you maintain doing the medicine a time or two a month, well, you'll keep those arteries clear, you'll keep your heart beating regularly, you'll improve your kidney and liver functions. And most of us, at least us old timers, even if we eat organically and live in the country, are suffering from chemical waste inhalation (cars/coal/oil/shale drilling/cement factories) and so we really do need this boost. So yes, it is a very necessary medicine for a lot of people. And the frog is just doing its part--a bit cruel and insensitive, yes, but beats being soup meat.

Sapo/Kambo Frog Medicine Collecting

So on a forum to which I occasionally post, one thread has been discussing sapo/kambo, the medicine extracted from the Phylomedusa Bicolor tree frog that is such a great body cleanser. And one person wrote a long entry on the pain the frogs must suffer when they are tied up and stretched out between four little posts and sticks are rubbed along their bodies to collect the secretions which are the medicine. She wondered if the fear caused by the collecting process meant it was something we humans ought not to do--the fear creating an imbalance in the general universal harmony.
    Well, given that this is a topic I deal with a great deal, I weighed in with my two cents. Here's what I wrote:
Hello. In my experience, which is tons with this medicine, certainly the frogs are inconvenienced and probably scared to death for a few minutes while the medicine collecting is done. But then they are released. While they are tied up like green trampolines, the chambira fibers generally used to hold them leave marks around their wrists and ankles. The frogs are not collected again until there is no trace of those markings--which can be up to two weeks. In areas where there are large numbers of the P Bicolor frogs, some frogs are probably never caught.
   According to the Matses/Mayoruna who introduced me to the medicine in 1986, the story goes that they were going to eat the frogs but that the frogs suggested that their medicine would be better for the hunters than eating them would be. So they began to collect the medicine. And yes, it was much more valuable than the two ounces of meat (or so) they would have gotten in a soup would have been.
   In all likelihood, the Matses and other indigenous groups who utilize sapo or kambo collected the frog to eat when there was no bigger game around and the frightened frogs gave off their "venom" which went into cuts the hunters had on their hands and they quickly learned about the medicine that way. It's about 15 seconds from application (intentional or not) to effect, so the indigenous would have no trouble identifying what caused their initial sickness and subsequent strength and clarity. (As a result, all good collectors of the P Bicolor collect the frog by cutting off a section of the branch the frog is on and bringing that, with the frog, back to camp so that the frog is not disturbed and does not give off its initial, and most powerful medicine in the collection process.)
   While the medicine has a diminished value for indigenous groups that no longer depend on hunting, it remains valuable for breaking a fever, general well-being, and several other things. In my experience among people who depended heavily on the frog medicine for an extra edge while hunting daily, the frog was always held in high esteem. I never saw one injured, hurt, or abused beyond the abuse of the collecting of the secretions. I imagine that holds true among all groups that utilize the medicine.
   And I'll bet if the frogs could talk they would say that while they hate being caught and tied up, they much prefer it to being boiled in soup.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Suddenly lots of people reading this blog...

Suddenly, lots of people are reading this blog. Not lots of people like the big blogs get, but instead of 100 people a day, for the last couple of weeks it's been 300 a day. And they are coming from the USA, though I don't know where in the USA. I'm still getting 40 a day or 50 a day from countries all over the globe, but the majority of the additional 200 daily reads are coming from the USA.
     Now a few years ago, I had one day where I chanced to look at the numbers to see who was reading what, and it was a day when there were 6,000 views from Germany. That blew my mind. It was as if the students at a small university was given the assignment to read one of my blog pieces. This sort of feels like someone has given high school students the task of reading my blog daily for a couple of weeks. Why? To see the range of topics a writer might post on; to see the style of writing in my blog, who knows why?
    If these new numbers are from that sort of assignment, please let me know. I'm curious. On the other hand, if there is some wild and crazy speed freak out there reading and re-reading my posts all day long during a two-week binge, I'd like to know that too. Don't hesitate. Thanks.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Here's what I'm wishing for:
For those who have no food, those who are starving, I want you to find access to healthy food beginning today.
For those without water, I'm praying for rain for you, enough rain every day to keep you healthy, and not too much to cause flooding.
For those who are physically ill, I'm singing for your recovery.
For those aching from loneliness, I hope you meet a friend.
For those with broken hearts, I wish you a glimmer of love to ease your pain.
For those suffering mentally, I pray for sudden and wonderful clarity.
For those suffering spirituality, I sing for balance for you.
For those suffering from the horrid effects of war, I pray all of the war machines just stop functioning and people realize they're no longer needed.
And for all of you, I hope/sing/pray that your life suddenly fills with absolute joy and laughter, and the strength to deal with hard times.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Ayahuasca Dreaming

A new magazine publisher in Italy read the Italian version of my book, Ayahuasca in My Blood-25 Years of Medicine Dreaming. She wrote to ask if I would permit her to pull a few excerpts, and if I would also give her 500 new words on Ayahuasca. No pay as they are new. I said okay. This is what I gave her. I hope it resonates with a few of you and if you are in ayahuasca groups and it does, please feel free to share it.

The medicine vine rises high above me, so broad she looks as wide as an oak or an elm tree. I look up at her and ask her to bathe me in her essence. The sap begins to flow, pouring down on me, covering me. I feel the change begin. In short order my imagining of the vine as a huge oak will be replaced by actual visions: Some of them will be remembrances of things I’ve done or things that have been done to me: Mostly bad things, hurtful things that I will get to revisit and relive, sometimes several times in the course of just a few seconds. They will sear me. They will frighten me with my own callousness. Why did I treat someone that way? Why did someone treat me that way? They are painful to relive, but the medicine is urging me to let them go, to release them. They are dead weight hanging on my heart and soul, bearing me down. Remember that I did them and don’t do them again: Perhaps I lied to a lover, knowing it would hurt her when she discovered the truth but I didn’t have the courage to tell the truth. Perhaps I was not generous with a stranger when I had ample opportunity to be generous, yet still acted selfishly. Remember the memory, commit to being a better human next time, but let the guilt go. The lover I hurt has already moved on; the stranger has no recollection of me. Relive it, then vomit it out, hurl it into the ground, allow the medicine to eliminate it, allow the medicine to make me lighter, someone who can move more freely in both the medicine world and daily reality.
   And once cleansed, the medicine, the ayahuasca lays me down, immobile, and imparts a dream. It won’t necessarily be what I want to dream, but it will certainly be what I need to dream. It might be of human suffering, horrible images of pain and anguish, shown me to steel my back to doing my best to prevent that kind of suffering in the world; it might be of dancing flowers encouraging me to share their joy with everyone I meet. It might be a glimpse of other planets, other beings, other spirits; it might even be simple answers to questions I’d never thought to ask. 
    Once, while I was going through a terrible end of a marriage, terrible enough that my children, our children were being badly affected by the pain and acrimony, the medicine whispered: “More joy, less pain”, to me. I took weeks trying to reason out what that meant, how to work that into my life. And then it came to me. Every time an argument arose between my ex and myself, I was to work at creating more joy and less pain. If I wanted to fight and knew I could say a phrase that would set her off, I had to bite my tongue and say something completely different, something nice instead. If she wanted to fight and pushed a button that would cause me to roar back in anger, I had to bite my tongue and either ignore it or find something to disarm her instead.  It took weeks to learn how to do that, and I failed many, many times, but once I got it, that was the end of the anger, the end of the acrimony, and the beginning of the healing of my family.
    Ayahuasca didn’t solve my problems then, and she never will. But she pointed me in a direction that, if I worked hard at it, would allow me to solve my problems.  That is ayahuasca healing, and that is ayahuasca dreaming. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Follow Up to "Name Caller" Trump

In a follow up note to my last post here, I wrote this--and I know I was shouting, so put ear muffs on, okay?:

Some people I know are saying "Give Trump a chance." Not like he or the Republicans ever gave President Obama a chance. Well, I'm watching and gave Trump 72 hours. That is the end of his chance. Here's what I say:
Hey, people! Stop! There is no giving this asshole a chance! He's got Ku Klux Klan in Bannon running his show. He's got a number one guy for Supreme court who wants to imprison gays. He's got a vice-president who thinks gay conversion therapy is how to handle LGBQT issues and that no abortions are allowed--and he even includes miscarriages--without a formal burial. He's picking Jamie Dimon to run one end of the economy, and Mnunchin, who has been charged with racist lending policies, to run banking. He's got a retired general with serious Russian ties to be the head of National Security Administraton. He's got Cory Lewandownski saying he's grateful that the FBI's Comey interfered with the election and credits him with glee with turning the election. He's offering John Bolton, who wants regime change forced on Iran, as his number one choice for Secretary of State. He's got a coal mine owner who's had a lot of his miners die in mine collapses and explostions pegged for his Secretary of Commerce. He's got a guy who wants to eliminate the EPA in charge of the EPA; He's got a guy who wants to eliminate the Consumer Protection Bureau to head the Consumer Protection Bureau, which, despite tied hands, has returned $12 billion to 27 million people bilked by bad business practices, including the freaking shame of the Wells Fargo Bank. He's got a person for education secretary who says that only Creationism can explain the world as we know it. He denies Global Warming. Are you guys paying attention? This is surrounding himself with the worst of the worst--I mean, there is not a 90 IQ among them--because, as Trump says: "I like to hire dumb people because that makes me the smartest person in the room!"  Trump says he wants to carpet bomb Isis, make friends with Assad. No. NO forgiveness, no space. Trump is an idiot. He gets no quarter. Get rid of him now. And if the Electoral Collage did it's job, it would lose him next month. It's job is to avoid a populist idiot from becoming president. I hope they are paying attention.

which got a lot of attention, some of it quite angry. One fellow even asked me if we could make a bet: If nothing really happens in the next four years, he would win; if something bad happened, I'd win. This was my response to that, with a little less vociferous tone of voice, thank goodness...

Well, we'd need to agree on "nothing really happens" just to start, before we could even begin to think of betting whether or not this administration will be disastrous. With a Republican House and Senate, for instance, there are going to be a lot of federal and then a couple of Supreme Court justices put in place. Skewed anywhere but dead center and fair--no political Scalia's please--those decisions will have a huge effect on our future. I don't believe there will be much more wall than there already is, but the pathway to citizenship for Dreamers might be blocked. That would be awful. Any continuation of the fear engendered by P-E Trump and his legions would be generally disastrous for the country. So if the criteria for "nothing really happens" only means there is no nuclear war or no actual civil war, well, I wouldn't go along with that. If "nothing really happens" does not include leaving Obamacare alone or improving it to single payer, or does not include leaving Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare alone--except for raising additional funds and disbursing more money, well, I couldn't go along with that. If "nothing really happens" does not include improving rights for women--including vastly expanding birth control and abortion availability, along with good sex education in schools; and if it does not include widening the embrace of LGBTQ people in every aspect of society, then I could not go along with it. If "nothing really happens" does not include raising taxes on the wealthy and closing loopholes that allow the very wealthy to avoid paying the fair share the rest of us pay in taxes to keep this all working, then I couldn't go along with it. So I'd be willing to bet, but there would need to be parameters on how we define "nothing really happens".

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Some people say President-elect Trump won because...

Some people say that President-elect Trump won because he's a street-brawler. In fact he's not a brawler, he's a name-caller and that's all he's got. From trying to tear down Senator Warren to his crazy birther take downs of President Obama, to his work with the slew of other undeserving Republican nominees for president, all he ever did was name call. And then push buttons: Get rid of them gays! They want your guns! The illegals are living like kings! Bring the Jobs back! I'll raise taxes on the wealthy! We'll build the best wall! We will pay pennies on the dollar for our debt! We will never touch your Social Security!
    And now, 10 days after he's been elected by nearly half the voters who got around to voting, he's put together a transition team that will try to unravel social security and medicare and medicaid--you know, the things we pay for with every pay check we ever get, even after we're 65-years-old. And he's backed down on the Wall idea. He does want to deport 3 million illegal alien criminals. Good luck with that: Even if they existed, and they don't, except for the misdemeanor of entering the country illegally, the local cops would get them if they knew who they were and where they were. It's not like the police throughout Texas are hiding 200,000 dangerous felons, or the cops in LA are hiding another 43,000. But even if you did find them, it costs minimally--if you don't send them to a private prison first--$10,000 per person to deport them. 3 million people comes to $30 billion. Not chump change.
   Okay, so for those of us who knew he was wrong, we won't be surprised; hopefully we'll be ready to educate people so that we can raise our voices to our legislators to stop the worst nonsense, like eliminating the EPA in an effort to go back to grey skies in perpetuity again. For those who believed his bombast, well, you're gonna take it hard in all likelihood. And no matter what jobs he produces you'll still never get to stay in one of his hotels, lounging around a golden pool.
   And what bothers me about the people who believed President-elect Trump had any real message was that they didn't see he was a name caller, not a street brawler. Name calling was apparently enough to get them to sign on the dotted line. Is that who we, as a people, in the USA, really are? Go for the easy kill rather than work at things to improve everyone's lot? Are we gonna cheer when national forests are further opened to drilling and our precious rivers are running in oil spills and our trees are cut even further back? Will we go wild when some LGBTQ kids get bullied out of school and some of them bullied into suicide? Will we get any joy out of marginalizing huge swaths of the population, denying women the rights to their own bodies, keeping people we helped make refugees from coming here because they wear hijabs?
   If that's who we really are, I'm disappointed. I always thought the people in the USA, rural and city alike, were, in the end, a fair bunch overall. I thought we sneered at the gutless wonders (yes, name calling myself here) in the KKK, not cheered them. I hope I'm right and the majority of the people decide to be decent and push back, through legislators both R and D, to demand equality for all and things like clean air and water. We can do it. We just have to decide to do it.

Having one of those mornings...

Having one of those mornings where I am totally embarrassed by my behavior last night. For some reason, I got dead drunk on wine. Had a lot, but it was over the course of several hours, during which time I worked quite a bit, cooked up a storm (salmon for Chepa; chicken breasts for the girls; chicken legs for the dogs and pork chops and sauerkraut for me and anyone else who showed up), and so did not think I should even be high, much less dead drunk. But there I was, losing my balance in the bathroom while I brushed my teeth, and there I was this morning, seeing a couple of drunk-posts I made on fbook. Yikes! The moral certitude! The abject idiocy! I wanted to crawl under a rock and die! But it's too late, of course: Once you write 'em, you own 'em, and you can't return and replace them. Oh, my, I have not done that in a long time. I know not to get near a computer if I'm high, but then last night I was dead drunk and it probably seemed like such a good idea. Oy, vey!
    I hope all of you woke with a much cleaner taste on your tongue than the bitter, angry, what-a-fool-I-am taste that I'm still trying to eliminate.
   Peter Gorman, 65-year-old wise man and idiot, all in one package!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

I Have Been So Alone...

I have been so alone since Madeleina returned to Tarleton University and got her own aparttment in August. She stops by for a couple of hours once or twice a week, but not to be here, just to shower. And Chepa has been working at a local factory--good for her--and doing as much overtime as she can get. Italo is working 1-9 PM, so I don't see him except at his daughter Taylor's soccer games. Marco has taken to calling me on his way to work at 5:30 PM, which is cool. He's old enough to make sense and be enjoyable to talk with for 40 minutes (I do not want to hear his critique of me, thank you!).
   But this week, because of Chepa's overtime, I had to pick up Sierra, Alexa and Taylor Rain, my granddaughter every day from school. I made them Burgers one night, Chicken Wings the next, Baby back ribs the next, Chicken thighs and rice the next, and then Chepa got off early yesterday, so I did not get to treat them to pizza.
   When Chepa came to pick the girls up, she had her own food: One night I made her a prime rib with onions/mushrooms/balsamic vinegar sauce; another night Shrimp with veggies in a Chinese sauce of Sesame Seed oil, ginger, bok choy, scallions, oyster sauce. Another night I made her a seafood soup: Shrimp, fresh oysters, crayfish, calamari, scungilli (previously frozen) in garlic, tomato soup with fresh tomatoes, celery, cilantro, black pepper, paprika, achote, organic vegetable broth.
   Two days ago Italo said he wanted to stop by after work, about 10 PM, so I made franks and beans, one of his favorites: Smoked jowl bacon with garlic, onions scallions, avocado oil, add pure beef Ballpark franks, sliced into circles, add three kinds of beans, add cilantro, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, five or six slices of regular bacon, then bake for 45 minutes at 325. It's really good.
   Last night I made hot sausages, onions, red and green peppers and tomatoes in seasoned garlic, then added half a bottle of organic tomato sauce and topped with fresh mozzarella cheese and baked for 45 minutes.
   Tonight I'm making stuffed Poblano Peppers: Garlic, onions, scallions, lean ground beef, basmati rice, previously cooked, cilantro, achiote, black pepper, sea salt, diced Roma tomatoes, and when near finished, took off heat and added shredded sharp cheddar.
   That was all stuffed into cleaned out Poblano Peppers that had been par boiled to soften them up. They're baking now. In 15 minutes I'll take them out and add a homemade Chile sauce to give them some spice.
  I might not eat that. I'm in the mood for a salad and that's probably plenty. Though I do think I'll try the stuffed peppers because they sound and look so fine!
   Bon Appetit! everyone.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

President-Elect Trump

Well, I'll get over it. I can't say we'll survive, because the president elect will have the full backing of the House and Senate behind him and probably the power of the Supreme Court to back him up. Not good. The Republicans have already tried to eliminate the ACA, to privatize Social Security and Medicare, decrease taxes on the wealthy again, keep the minimum wage stagnant, eliminate a woman's right to choose, disenfranchise minorities and a host of other rotten things. Top that off with Trump's promised wall, deportation force, refusal to back NATO if partner countries don't ante up, refusal to allow Muslim refugees to settle here, punishment for women who get abortions, general misogyny, anti-minority invective, Climate Change denial, elimination of the EPA, and whoa!!!! We might very well be heading into a shitstorm. And that's if he doesn't carpet bomb the Middle East or let loose the nuclear warheads.
   So I'm not happy. I thought Hillary, who has been unfairly flogged by the right for 24 years--ever since she had the audacity to propose health care reform--would have made a very good president. She's come around on issues with which I disagreed for the most part, and given some back up I think she would have expanded the work President Obama has done, which has been socially wonderful, if financially conservative. Now we'll head in the opposite direction again and in four or eight years, the Dems will have to come in and rescue the economy, the country, and possibly the world.
   Good luck, everybody.

Friday, November 04, 2016

New Drug War Follies Column for Skunk Magazine

Well, I've just turned this in. I figure it will be published around the New Year, so that's what I wrote it for. It's the 97th column I've done for Skunk since its inception. Very cool. I love having my column. So here it is:


Well, we’re about ready for a new year, aren’t we? What do we want? Peace, Pot, Prosperity, Health, Climate Change Fix, End of Hunger, End of Hatred, you know, the usual cool shit.

By Peter Gorman

Happy New Year! And thank god it’s here. Man, those of us in the lower 48 were raked over the coals by that freaking election! If it had gone on another week we might have seen mass suicides just to get away from it all.
   But that’s behind us, thank goodness. Now we just have four more years of same old, same old. Or we get lucky and everything comes out beautifully! Maybe if we all smoke a bowl, hold hands and sing Kumbaya we’ll get it done. Yeah. Keep dreaming. This is the real world and it sucks. People get hurt by other people tens of thousands of times a day. People kill each other for no freaking reason ten thousands of times a day. Greedy people keep food from hungry people millions of times a day. People enslave people over large parts of the world. People bully people in all walks of life. Man makes climate change and we are not together on how to get it fixed—with some people still not believing in it and probably half the world’s population never having heard of it. And people still go to jail for smoking freaking marijuana!
    None of that is likely to change, but we’re allowed to dream it when the New Year comes rolling in. We’re allowed to imagine what it would be like if the new year really brought a clean slate with it and we could start building the real world most of us would like to inhabit, instead of the world we’ve somehow fashioned in a reckless way. Hell, we invented nuclear weapons! Nuclear weapons? What if those same scientists were working on something positive and not a weapons-system? They’d have probably come up with something equally spectacular but something that came without the temptation to melt people.
   So I’m dreaming a little bit. I’m dreaming that sick people find healing; that those close to crossing over find peace; I’m dreaming that those with broken hearts get their hearts filled again with love. I’m dreaming that every person about to shoot or machete, or knife another person suddenly realizes that they don’t have to do it and then lay down their weapons. I’m dreaming that stressed out moms and dads stop taking it out on their kids or dogs. I’m dreaming that we all realize how much food we throw away and then find a way to get that food to people who are hungry. I’m dreaming of decent people coming together and realizing that we could change it all in large parts of the world in just half-an-hour if we could agree that everyone has worth. That bad kids weren’t born that way, they were shaped by pain or fear. That having more than your neighbor doesn’t make you better or win you any prizes. That bullying people only makes the bully small in the long run. That thieves don’t really need to steal, they just need to ask for help.
   I’m dreaming that law enforcement, all over the world, comes to recognize that its job is to help people, not just enforce laws. I’m dreaming that we quickly realized that solar power can work almost everywhere and help put the brakes on climate change. I’m dreaming of people loving everyone the way they want to be loved.
   I guess I’m really dreaming about John Lennon’s Imagine.
   The problem is that nearly everything negative starts with fear. Not fight or flight, those are important impulses. When a tree is about to fall on you it’s a good instinct to move before you die. No, I’m talking about the kernel of fear that we all seem to have. That fear—fear of not being big enough, strong enough, fast enough, good looking enough, worthy enough, successful enough—does not like to be exposed. The fear itself has a fear of being recognized and so it covers up. It covers itself in resentment, in anger, in aggressiveness. It masks itself in pride and arrogance. It shrouds itself in the lie of being better than other people.
   And it’s that resentment, that anger, that aggressiveness, that pride, that arrogance, that lie of being better than other people that allows us humans to do the horrible and wretched things we do to one another. It allows us to have wars, allows us to justify incarcerating more than 2.4 million people in the U.S. alone without hardly a thought that what many of those people need is love and respect and learning their own self-worth—something that doesn’t happen in our prisons today. Those negative embodiments of fear allow the people in power to make laws to put pot smokers in jail or to take away their homes and children—they only do it because they’re afraid of the pot smokers. But why? If they could see themselves for one minute as they truly are, they would realize that they’re not afraid of the pot smokers, they’re afraid of their own value and are covering that fear up by creating a class of people worth even less than they are—at least politically.
   We, as a race, cannot continue to be divided and ever hope to reach our potential. When we spend half of our lives proving we are better than the next guy, we’re losing all that time to making this world a better place. Somehow, something must occur that makes all of humanity take pause for a minute. Something that gives us a few seconds to hit a reset button on our hearts, accept that we have the fear, and then exuberantly let it go.
   Yes! I’m afraid that I’ve never been as fat as I am and I’m fat because I drink wine and I drink wine because I’m afraid to admit I’m getting old. But why on earth am I afraid of getting old? That comes with the price of admission, if you’re lucky enough to make it to old age. But there’s that fear that you are no longer strong enough when you’re old—and I know about that fear. Maybe I’m afraid that I cannot fend for my family any longer, or that my grown children no longer need me. SO WHAT? I have friends and the people I protected will protect me should I need it. Better yet, in the world I’m dreaming about, I don’t need protection because other people will not become predators in order to hide their fear of being inadequate.
   So it’s a new year, and we’re all allowed to dream. And I’m dreaming that the fear in each and every one of us gets somehow remolded into hopefulness, into the ability to accept who we are with joy and to spread that joy around until it touches everyone and those machines of destruction can be beaten into plough shares.
   And if that happened, it wouldn’t mean that everyone is happy every moment. Stubbing your toe or breaking your arm is still going to hurt. But it might mean that as a race we begin to recognize one another as fully equal partners and can begin to eliminate hatred and greed and resentment and replace them with respect, love, and understanding. That would certainly put us on the road to working together and seeing what the real potential of the human race might be if that happened.
   Hey, I know I’m dreaming. But I like this dream.
It would all be funny if people weren’t dying and the prisons weren’t full.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Food Needs All Over the Place this Week!!!!

Normally, I cook to my body's needs. I feel the urge for iron, I cook spinach. I always need good blood, so I always include onions and fresh garlic. I need some carbos, I make rice or couscous.
   But this week has been all over the freaking map and I'm looking at my leftovers and not knowing what to make of it, other than that my body is in complete turmoil.
   I've got two lamb chops with a nice madeira sauce in a plate in the fridge.
   I made a good New York steak the other day, with onions and mushrooms and garlic, then ate the mushrooms, onions and garlic and fed nearly the entire 8 ounce steak to the dogs.
   I made sausages and sauerkraut--a combination of crispy and bavarian, with white vinegar and good cracked black pepper--and left the sausages for the dogs.
   Madeleina was home so I made a good chicken parmesana, but cannot bring myself to eat the leftover piece for some odd reason.
    Yesterday I made a smash of veggies: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Red Pepper, Tomato, Onion, Garlic and could only eat about 8 bites.
    Chepa said she was coming over so I made shrimp and salmon with an Eastern flavor or Teriyaki, ginger, garlic, cilantro, and could only eat two bites.
    Tonight I'm making Tacos for the second or third time in my life. Something tells me I need the salt and garlic that will go into the chopped beef, along with tomato, and then I'll put a little of that into a taco shell, add good romaine and cabbage, add pico de gallo (fresh cilantro, onion, tomato in lime juice), a spoonful of black beans, topped with good cheddar I already shredded in one of those old time 4-sided shredders. I want that with spinach and some of yesterday's left over veggies. Will I eat it? I don't know. My body will tell me.
   Right now, I have no connection with my body. It tells me what to make and then is not interested in eating it. Very freaking strange after all these years. Yikes!!!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Beautiful day here in bucolic Joshua, Texas

Well, it's a beautiful day here in bucolic Joshua, Texas. And everything is going well except for a couple of small bumps in the road. One of those bumps is my old Ford Ranger. While I was in Peru Italo made a present of rebuilding the entire engine from the block up. Purrs like a kitten. Cost was $1,000 just for parts but no sweat. Treated the truck to a new windshield and two used but good front tires, another $300. Then the clutch started slipping last week. Italo had not rebuilt that. Now it's bad and I'll need to put another several hundred into it to get the clutch redone and the slave cylinder in the transmission fixed. Damnit, total of two grand and I'll still need bushings for another $300.
    So I've no car at the moment. Which makes it hard to do my job as a journalist.
    And the air conditioner that I just spent about $700 on is on the fritz as well. The pan that collects the condensation is just overflowing and so it must be stuffed up but I can't even get to it and don't know how to clear it so I just can't use it until Italo--he's always the hero lately--takes a look and fixes it. Fortunately, it's not the condenser that was recently replaced, but it's still a pain in the neck, what with water dripping and the ceiling sheetrock ready to fall.
    Then my Ipad was borrowed and somehow has come up missing.
    And several people who said they were signing up for the January and February Amazon tours--I mean said they were transferring deposits via paypal immediately--have not done so and i cannot dun them or I will lose them. Of course, I may already have lost them.
    Then someone on social media made a really nasty and WAY OUT OF LINE comment about me on a forum about ayahuasca and since I don't know the person and to the best of my knowledge have never met him, it will take on a life of its own among his friends and I'll look like a schmuck with no way to defend myself. Just responding that he's full of shit will only stir the pot. I did ask him to be more, much more specific, in terms of time, place and so forth (I know he has nothing because, as I said, I never met this person), but he has not and will not respond.
   By chance, the same day that appeared and was pointed out to me, Madeleina happened to be home from college and asked, out of the blue, whether I'd ever actually witnessed negative black magic. I showed her what the guy wrote and said: "Darling, that's black magic. Someone, for some reason only they know, is jealous of me and decided to make up a complete lie about me that will affect future clients who read it. The administrator of the site has asked the man for some proof--it not only involved me specifically, but another member of my Amazon team--and will take the message down if the fellow cannot provide satisfactory specifics. So yea, Madeleina, that's black magic in the negative sense of the word."
    And I think the administrator will only give the guy another day or two to respond before she pulls the plug, but the comment, and subsequent comments, have already been seen by several hundred people, darnit! Fortunately, a few of the posters have come to my team and my defense, calling bs on the whole thing so it's not as bad as it could be, but still, I don't like it.
    Hey, other than those few details, the world is freaking beautiful down here in bucolic Joshua! Have a great day everybody. And yes, the car will be repaired and run beautifully for another year or two; the ipad will be found, the guests will eventually join the trip with their deposits. And the bum who wrote the nasty thing will have to deal with his own karma. So it's gonna be okay after the clouds lift.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Trump's Video and Hillary's Bank Speeches

Well, it's October 8, and we're about 31 days from a presidential election here in the USA. And lots of senators and representatives up for election in congress as well, along with local elections. And last night two huge events occurred: One was the release of some of Hillary Clinton's private speeches, made while she was not in US government service, to bankers and other bigwigs, who paid her $225,000 or so per speech. The other involved an 11 years old tape of Donald Trump going off on women.
    Thus far, what I've seen of Hillary's speeches, while I don't agree with all of her positions, look well-reasoned and thoughtful: she lets the bankers know that they're being watched and should act accordingly, is for single payer healthcare, is for open trade (not exactly sure what she means, but she's careful not to use the phrase "free trade"), and would like to see Mexico, Canada, and the US as a large trading block. She discusses "public and private positions"--public being what you are aiming for, and private being what part of that you're willing to compromise on to get the rest of it. She recognizes that she is no longer middle class, financially, but says she remembers being middle class well, and empathizes with people struggling. Among a host of other things.
   The Trump tape, made while taping (I believe) a special episode of his show, has him discussing his inability to not kiss beautiful women (I'm a kissing machine), even if he's just met them, talking about trying to fuck a married woman and not getting lucky, and then saying that when you're a star you can do anything you like, including just grabbing "pussy", and get away with it.
   I'm not really surprised by either revelation: Hillary showed herself not to be beholden to Wall Street, and Trump showed that he has always been what he is now, minimally a misogynist, and maximally a sexual abuser.
   Neither was I altogether surprised with Trump's subsequent apology, taped in Trump tower and released several hours after the tape went viral. In it he noted that the words didn't represent who he really is, and that he apologized for saying them; he said being on the campaign had changed and humbled him; and that Hillary Clinton had made a mess of America and that Bill Clinton was a serial abuser of women--a subject he promises to delve into more deeply in the next few days.
   Unless additional Hillary Clinton speeches are released that hold some dark secrets, the bombshell dropped on her was nothing. She wasn't promising the bankers special treatment, playing the public for a fool behind closed doors, nothing.
   Unless Donald Trump pulls a miracle out of his Make America Great Again hat, his blockbuster reveal should cost him another 7 percent of the electorate. It was an old tape, but in line with how he's spoken about women as recently as the last couple of weeks.
   Get out and vote, everybody. Make your picks carefully. They count.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Finally Responding to the Brain Dead

Okay, I'm tired of the freaking meme that this presidential election is about the lesser of two evils. So someone posted something about that on facebook and I finally decided to respond. Their argument was to copy and paste a meme that said, essentially, isn't it a sad state of politics when the only reason to vote for one candidate is to keep the other candidate out of office. My response:

Nonsense. Hillary Clinton is brilliant. She's worked her whole life for women's rights--even as the first woman on Walmart's board--around the world, she's the one who got the first responders the medical attention they needed after 9-11, and has never stopped fighting for more for them. She's the one who fought for "equal pay for equal work" which resulted in the Lily Ledbetter law; she's the one who introduced a new model for healthcare in the US--which is why the Republicans have run a 25-year attack on her that amounts to NOTHING. Her foundation, with Bill, has helped millions and saved the lives of hundreds of thousands and will continue to to that and she's never taken a dime from it--nor has Bill or Chelsea. She's worked tirelessly for the people--and even though I don't like all her choices, I can recognize a good and smart person when I see one. Smart because she can evolve. DADT that Bill pushed was great at the time; it led to President Obama being able to allow everyone to work in the military, regardless of sexual orientation. Of course Bill could not have pushed for that at the time, so he moved the goal posts with DADT. Now she's behind gay marriage and will defend it to the death. Natural evolution of an intelligent person. People accuse her of authorizing Bush's invasion of Iraq. She didn't. The vote didn't do that. The vote was on : If weapons of mass destruction can be found and proven, will the president have authority to go to war? She said yes. Bush lied, and entered the war illegally. Not something she was for. She's just way too smart and elegant for almost all of the people. People accuse her of taking things from the white House when she left. The President is allowed to receive gifts. They had a ledger of 94,000 gifts and took parts of 14,000. About 200 turned out to be gifts that the givers said were for the White House, not the Clintons. They were returned, or purchased. Girl ain't perfect, but she's a sort of hippy chick that I would have tried to get close to in a minute. And she's grown up to be a sparkling humanist, despite some errors. You don't like Syria? Well, Assad the asshole was killing his own people at a genocidal level. They had to have a revolution. Ghaddafi the same. Had to go, given the US idea that we are world police. I'd just as soon stop being world police, but that was her job. Emails and Benghazi are the pathetic ejaculations of idiot retards who cannot see the forest for the weeds.She has grown constantly, has withstood the shit thrown at her for 25 years, has no family or patriarcal political influence--her husband was the freaking governor Arkansas for Christ's sake, which doesn't get you into any political "In" circles, and paid a grand $30,000 a year, essentially minimum wage, so they didn't do it for the money. So I'm not gonna go with "this election is about the lesser of two evils." I'm gonna shout that she will shut down bad banks, she will go after Wall Street--why the fuck you think they threw money at her? They're scared to death of her and tried to buy her but it won't work and never worked! She's a fighter for regular people because her record shows that and she grew up the daughter of a drape maker, while her husband grew up an abused kid whose father left and step-father abused him. These are not political big shots, no matter what the refuckingpublicans say. These are extreme outsiders who have tried their best to help people all their lives. Did Bill fuck up a lot? You bet. His revenge on the MTV kids who asked him about pot smoking was a draconian prison system. Horrible. If I were allowed I'd hit him senseless every day for a year or 10 to remind him that his retaliation for embarrassment was the loss of a million man-years in incarceration. But he's not running. She is. She's fucked up too, in my book. But she helped pinpoint Bin Laden, got the deal done in Iran, will continue to kill the Keystone Pipeline and eliminate TPP while protecting Planned Parenthood, fighting for a decent wage, forcing companies to take a financial hit if they continue to off-shore jobs--which will encourage them to bring those jobs back--and will actually answer some emails from regular people.

Wow! Two weeks passed that quickly!

I was thinking I'd written about Mr. Trump just a few days ago and now realize it was Sept. 19, about two weeks ago. Wow! Who knew things were spinning so quickly??? Certainly not I. So what's happened since then? Well, we had a bar-be-que for my son Marco's birthday; I wrote a column for Skunk Magazine, my 96th for them going back about 10-11 years, since their inception. I missed one deadline because I didn't know when the deadline was--it gets moved and I don't get a print calendar, so I'm always guessing, as as they print just 8 copies a year and my stuff has to be timely, well, I guessed wrong once in 10-11 years. Then I missed one column when I was in the hospital, either with my flesh-eating bacteria or my exploded intestine, I forget which. I do remember being in a lot of pain, however, and writing the editor an email that I just couldn't do it that month. I love my column. Then I had a few people in to do sapo--frog sweat--and sold a couple of my trips for January and June. Then this weekend I had several guests in for 4 days for medicine ceremonies. Oh, and Chepa and I are working through the divorce. Not easy, not hard. She has her house, I have mine. We don't mind being married, even though we've been separated for 15 years and not been together for maybe 10 of those. We get along. She comes for coffee in the morning. She makes me laugh. She's the mother of my kids. But I guess it's time to just get this done. We didn't do it for years because Madeleina was young and the courts would have awarded her custody and I was not going to take a chance on her moving elsewhere again, forcing me to move again. But Madeleina's old enough now to not need either one of us, not really, so it makes sense. And who knows? Maybe I'll enjoy writing "my ex" rather than "My wife/ex-wife". I guess we'll see. We'll file next week and have it done 60 days after that.
    So nothing much going on. I'm buried in stories and the politics of the season. I could out-debate anyone running for any office anywhere in the USA, I think. That's probably an indication that I've got too much time on my hands, what with Madeleina off at college and not seeing the babies as much as I'd like.
    So that's where I'm at. Not really anywhere, but lots of places at the same time. Tonight I'm gonna treat myself to half a good prime rib steak and a lot of spinach with garlic. Just had fresh carrot juice so I'm already full. Maybe I'll just have the spinach and save the steak.
    Have a great one, everyone. Know that you are important. You're part of the essence of us all. Treat yourselves with live and kindness and then spread that around so that we all benefit from tomorrow's world having a bit less pain and suffering than today's. And think about how to end the strife in the Middle East. That's so horrific I don't even want to get started. But it comes down to people hurting other people over non-existent differences. Open their eyes, Universe, because if they could see, they'd stop in an instant.

Monday, September 19, 2016

I'm about to go off on Donald Trump. Yes, some of you might hate me. I'll live with it.

 So I wrote this on facebook the other day:

I'm getting really tired of Mr. Trump, the inveterate liar, third rate carny con man, and general idiot. I'm tired of his blowing hot air out of his mouth in one direction and then, in the same day, claiming he didn't say what he said. I'm tired of his lies about Hillary Clinton. During her time in the public eye, her positives--and there are lots of them--include working as a US Senator from New York to get help for the First Responders after the World Trade Center horror. And she has continued to work hard for that. She worked very hard for equal pay for equal work for women. She worked for health care for all as First Lady of the US--which is the real reason people don't like her politics, she showed too many lazy dems and dumb repubs up--and that nearly cost her husband his second term and certainly brought 25 years of animus on her. And then, with the Clinton Foundation she's saved countless lives and made countless others livable by getting medicine and water and farming equipment and a host of other necessities to them. Oh, and she and Bill pay about 1/3 of their income into federal income tax: $9.6 million following their best year on the speakers' circuit; $3.4 million last year. Nothing Mr. Trump has done for the public good--including his modest donations to good causes in the distant past--comes close.
Oh, and if you are going to come back with unfact-checked nonsense about the Clinton Foundation--which has an "A" rating from Charity Watch, a non-partisan charity watchdog--please do your research before commenting.

One of the people reading it reacted badly because I insulted his intelligence. I was wrong. He also blasted Hillary Clinton in a long response. Here's what I wrote in my reply:

Dear X: I was strident. I apologize for being rude. BUTTTT, I think you are way, way off base with Hillary. She's spent her adult life working for women, children, underprivilidged people. In the time after she was First Lady, and after she was Secretary of State before becoming a presidential candidate, she was one of the top tier speakers on the speaker circuit. There are tens of thousands of people on various speaker circuits. Some get $300 a talk, some get $1 million plus. She was in the $225,000 range evidently, according to her tax records. Who would pay that? I don't know. Not me, but I don't live in that rare air up there. People who need a tax write off, I suppose. And she gave a lot of that money to the Clinton Foundation[s], which is a monstrously great foundation and from which no one in her family ever took a dime. Now you tell me that Trump is a "maverick populist" and I say, "no dice." He's a criminal through and through. He lies incessantly and often denies his lies on the same day he makes them. He's backed by every white supremecist group in the USA, he's backed by the anti-women, anti-choice, anti-life-after-birth crowd. He's cheered on by those he describes as "uneducated". He accepted a present of a Purple Heart medal from a man who had been wounded in war, held it up and said, "I always wanted one of these." yet did not protest the Vietnam War, simply got out on "bone spurs" and has recently declared that avoiding Venereal Disease was his Vietnam. Along with saying that going to military high school was pretty much the same as being in the military. With that in mind, he says he'd "bomb the shit out of Isis", would "carpet bomb the Middle East," and wants to know why we have nuclear weapons if we can't use them. He claims he was against the Iraq war when he's on video being for it. He claims he didn't want to see Gaddafi removed from his position, when he's on video calling for him to be summarily killed by a "strategical strike". This is a man you want to have nuclear codes? He's a pathological liar, a man who works with the mob in New York and New Jersey, a man who dumps his wives at the drop of a hat and now professes a Christian faith to appeal to the alt.right crazy right-wing Christian voters. This is a man who has never, ever done a decent thing for another human being without touting it endlessly. This is a man who just today patted himself on the back for calling last night's bomb in New York a bomb. He relishes idiocy. He has reporters arrested and then touts free speech. He incites violence and then hides like a baby when someone jumps on his stage. He calls HIllary out for her Secret Service body guards when he not only has Secret Service body guards but his own guards as well. This is a man who has cheated, lied, stolen money from enough people that more than 1,300 have sued him over it. This is a man who has paid cash money to two attorney generals who were considering taking Trump University to court for fraud--and who, after they received his contributions to their campaigns, decided not to. This is a man who says he contributes to political campaigns because he knows that when he calls in a favor his phone calls will be taken by them. This is a guy who claims he'll bring manufacturing jobs back to the US while making everything he sells overseas. This is a man who insisted that Mitt Romney could not be president if he did not release his tax returns and now will not release his own, after swearing on television that he would. This is a man who has a family foundation that buys gifts for himself. This is a man who suggests his opponent might be stopped by "second amendment, people". This is a man who, in the past, has paid no federal income taxes, yet wants more tax breaks for people in his tax bracket. This is a man who refused to rent his apartments to black people--and was caught by the US Department of Justice doing just that and had to settle to avoid a criminal record--who claims he is loved by the African American community. This is a man who decries illegal aliens and then hires them to work for him. This is the man you want for president? I understand, Haydon, that you are an Australian and so might not know all of this. But everyone in the USA knows all of this and much, much more about this man. So no, the choice of a person who ain't perfect but has given her life to helping the public sector, versus this man, this small, small human being whom we all hope someday will do something for someone other than himself...well, that's not a choice. He's a joke who never meant to get here, got here, is stuck being here, is trying desperately to get out of being here, and he should be shown the door. 

Peter Gorman
Peter Gorman Haydon: Now for Hillary: Never met a war she didn't like, eh? Hmmm....after 9/11, President Bush and insane Dick Cheney went all out on Saddam Hussein as terrorist protectors. Everyone who know anything knew that Hussain, crazy as he was, was keeping the entire Middle East stable. He kept them stable because he was crazy enough to attack anyone and win. But we also knew that he especially hated the Saudis, and if Osama Bin Laden had touched foot on his soil he'd have been vaporized. Nonetheless, Bush/Cheney insisted he was part of the Bin Laden protectorate and chose to go to war there. A vote was taken in the US Senate. It was NOT a vote to go to war. It was a vote authorizing the US President to go to war PROVIDED HE COULD PROVE that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Yes, Hillary voted to give the president, President Bush, that power. But Bush then ignored the glaring truth that Hussein had no weapons of destruction, outed a CIA agent because her husband had proved there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and then invaded. That destabilized the Mideast. On top of that, Hussein's Royal Guard and much of his military were disbanded and sent home--without money but with all the weapons fo war they could carry. That's ISiS backbone and Hillary had nothing to do with it .The Spring was going to happen no matter what the US did. So we did out best to outfit the freedom fighters so that they'd have a chance. It has not worked out so well. ISIS has had an odd mesmerizing effect on a lot of disillusioned kids in the US, Europe and the Mideast. I don't think Hillary or anyone could have anticipated the draw of cutting people's heads off on TV would have on the gullible and hopeless. Should we have left Gadaffi in power? Should we have not tried to take down Assad? No. These were monsters, killing their own. As was Hussein, with the Kurds. But we didn't go after Hussein for the Kurd massacres, did we? No. We went after him on the false pretense--the absolute lie--that he harborded terrorists and had weapons of mass destruction.

Hillary's work as Sec of State will be evaluated properly in 20 years. It will ask the question: Did her work to bring Iran to the table prevent them from obtaining and using nuclear weapons or not. That's going to be a huge question for a while. Right now, that looks like some of her best work: Bringing Iran to the table, kicking and screaming. As president, I don't think she'll enter a single war. I only have my belief systems on that. But looking at her 40 year record, from blemishes to cool shit, and her cool shit so far outweighs her blemishes that it's a non-topic. You brought up, Haydon, that things were rigged against Berni. Not true. In all those thousands and thousands of emails there were 7 or 9 that suggested things to undermine Berni, none of which were acted upon. The superdelegates have been in place for years and years: They were not put there to stymie Berni, as he knows. Now I did not want to spend all this time on this issue, Haydon, but you pushed me with your rant. I hope you suffered as much reading this as I did reading your rant.