Sunday, April 30, 2017

Guests came in, this is what I served them

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

Thursday, April 27, 2017

If only Trump knew anything about anything!

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Trumpanini again

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

Keeping up with Trump

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

Monday, April 10, 2017

Madeleina's 20th

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

Friday, April 07, 2017

Trump's Syrian Strike

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

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

On the Ropes...

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

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Why Not Just Give Peace a Chance?

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