Saturday, September 30, 2017

Letter to a Friend

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

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

Thursday, September 28, 2017

What We're Eating Around Here

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

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Once More, The World, with Feeling

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

Monday, September 25, 2017

I'm Curious Here

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

Monday, September 18, 2017

Remembering Friends

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

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Fear to Fearlessness

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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Asking for Help

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

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

I was raised Catholic

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

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Gun Control

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

Cost of Serving Ayahuasca

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

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

Monday, September 11, 2017

An American Tragedy 9/11/2001

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

World Trade Center, Pentagon, Attacked by Hijacked Planes

By Peter Gorman

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

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Eliminating Energy/Entities from a Patient

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

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

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

My Take on Banco Curanderos

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

Friday, September 08, 2017

My Dreamers

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

Thursday, September 07, 2017

One More Time on the Ayahuasca Diet Prior to Ceremony

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

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Turning the Dream into a Nightmare

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

Saturday, September 02, 2017

The Damage Done

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