Saturday, November 25, 2017

Bridges Not Walls

If I had my druthers, there would be bridges, not walls; relations, not separation. We are not better, we are not worse. We are all the same: We've got prejudices, idiotic belief systems, loves and hates and we are mired in those. We're willing to build walls to keep the 'other' out, when we are the other to the others. Bridges, not walls. Interaction, not inaction. We could fix it all if we stopped being fear driven and became fearless. It's not complicated, it's not impossible. It's just deciding to solve the problems.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

When is the right time to serve your kids ayahuasca?

My sons and daughter always got a bit on their forehead from Julio; after a time or two of that he'd put a drop on their lips; another time or two he'd let them wipe the cup after everyone drank and lick their fingers. Madeleina did that when she was maybe 3 or 4? Marco finally drank a full portion at about 13 or 14; Italo at probably 15, and Madeleina, who is the best assistant in ceremony in the world, still has not asked for a portion--and she's now 20. When she wants it, she will be served. BUTTTTTTT to go to your question: Marco and Italo and Madeleina were raised early on in Peru and so were around ceremony all their lives: Curanderos were always at my mother-in-law's house, sometimes five or six at a time--some were curanderos with ayahuasca, some were egg healers, or cuy healers, or smoke healers, or rock healers, or paleros, or any of a number of other types of healers. So they were exposed to this stuff daily, and would sit in ceremony with me at Julio's maybe 5 times a year. Now my wife's new babies, 8 and 11, have been in ceremony only about 4 times, and so if they suddenly, in five and two years, respectively, asked to drink a full portion, I would hesitate because they have not got the experience the others did. So I don't know that just serving a teen or preteen, based on their desire, is necessarily a good thing. Those people who have been around ceremony a lot, well, I think they get introduced incrementally, and so drinking the cup is not as big a leap for them as it is for others.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Ayahuasca Diet, another time....

So I'm so verklempt at newcomers voicing their encouragement of the Dieta associated with ayahasca--so salt, no pork, no hot peppers, no oil--that I want to strangle people. Here was my response:
No offense, but since salt was not a food in Amazonia--people licked salt lick clay for salt, for instance--to say that giving up salt, which no one in Amazonia ever ate, is the equal of saying don't drive a Ferrari in the jungle. Easy to give up since no one ever had one. Damn, lots of people listen to nonsense but do not do their homework. All food in the Amazon, all the fish and plantain, has MSG in it. No, I'm not lying. Any person who says they don't put that in there is lying. MSG was brought over by the Chinese in the mid 1800s, when they came to build the railroads in Lima/Cuzco, etc. Salt, what little there was, was to preserve food to sell. But MSG is everywhere. Every meal in Iquitos, every meal in the jungle, every dieta meal has MSG. And I will include every non-gringo owned restaurant in Peru that offers an
"ayahuasca diet". That's just the way it is. If you have a curandero who says he doesn't eat salt, I understand. Why? Because there never was salt--or hot peppers, or oil, or sugar--in the Amazon till 10 years ago. More or less. But the reality is that any curandero worth his weight will eat a huge meal four or five times a day while cooking ayahuasca. Then he or she will eat another huge meal--with coffee if available--10 minutes before they serve ayahuasca. The ones who deny this are full of bologna and I would never drink with them. Get real. No Pork? Of course not. Who the heck would live with a pig or pigs who bring ten thousands of mosquitoes under your hut for a year, bringing in tens of thousands of insects only to kill one to take a pork chop, which makes it non-saleable? No, no pork. But wild boar, wild pork, is fine. i've never met a curandero who turned down boar while they were making ayahuasca. I am so tired of the nonsense of religion, whether it is catholic--which is the best religion I know because it forces you to do at least one good thing you don't want to do every day, every day--or ayahuasca. It is gringos putting words in the mouths of curanderos, who say "yes" because it gets them more clients. Please understand that.

Ayahuasca Dieta and Salt

Someone asked a quetion about why was salt forbidden on the ayahuasca dieta. His take was that since he used Himalayan Sea Salt he didn't see why he could not use that. A couple of people replied that lack of salt made you weak and that that was a good way to go into ayahuasca ceremony, and someone else noted that your body cannot be purified by the medicine if water is tied to it by salt. I don't buy those explanations. Here's my take, once more:
Actually, until quite recently, there was not much salt available in the Amazon. What salt there was was used to salt fish and meat to bring it to market without spoiling, not to be wasted on food. Remember, until 2000 or so, nearly all village to town trips were made by dugout canoe, meaning they often took several hours or maybe half a day. If collecting enough fish to make it worthwhile to go to town to sell them took a week, salt was vital to preserving them. (In 2000 or so the cheap Honda motors for peque-peques became available for the first time, allowing a lot more people to have access to motorized tranportation in the Amazon.) The Chinese, however, when brought over to build railways in Peru, brought with them Aji-no-Moto, MSG, and that became a staple of food seasoning in the Amazon. It certainly was everywhere when I got there in 1984, and is still the seasoning of preference over salt. So I think the "no salt" thing is simply another "thing" that was not available, so not used, and which has now become part of a doctrine of dieta. And that's fine if people want to include it, but not traditional in the sense that it was given up as it was not normally used anyway. Certainly for gringos in lodges who are not going to sweat, giving up salt is okay. But for people who are going to do jungle tours that include hiking in jungle and other strenuous things, giving up salt is not a good thing for the body. Going into ceremony physically weak--low on electrolytes, low on sugar, dehydrated from lack of salt--is not a good way to go. Just my opinion, of course.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Gumbo Tonight

Well, it's chilly here in Joshua, Texas today. Bout 65 but lots of wind making it feel colder. So I'm lazy cause I'm tired--slept from 10-1AM last night, then again from 5-7, so not full of energy--though my head is freaking crystal clear from all the indigenous Matses snuff--nu-nu--that I've been doing. So I've got this clear head and lazy body: I mean, who wants to rake when the wind is blowing down the last of the leaves and I can get them all tomorrow, right? And it's too cold to give the bridge over the creek one more coat of paint. And I did some good writing for the Fort Worth Weekly this week, so I'm laying low, cutting out, relaxing.
Still, I got to eat. I realized I had good 10-15 size shrimp, some Andouille sausage, and roast chicken. Sounds like Gumbo Time! Won't be anyone to share it with as Madeleina is still at school till tomorrow and the rest of the family are on their own quests, but Gumbo is one of those dishes that gets better a day or two after you make it, when the flavors have a chance to marry up and get to know each other.
So that's the project for the day. I know it's only a 30 minute active project, with an hour of simmering, but I already admitted I'm being lazy. For those keeping score, I did feed the dog, 10 cats, swept and cleaned the kitchen, mopped it, then vacuumed my office and polished the floor. Okay, that was only another 30 minutes. It's a small house. Mostly I'm being lazy.
Shout out to Dathan for the red peppers from his garden that are going in the Gumbo and to Mike for the lightly pickled and perfect okra that's going in there as well.
I hope all of you are doing well, being lazy, and going to enjoy a good meal tonight. If you're stuck, come on by, there will be plenty.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Trumps and Elephant Trophies

Oh, and while I'm in the mood to rant, and I am not even going to go after the tax reform that will cost every middle and lower class earner tons of money and lost services in homage to the super rich and upper middle class earners (they call people who make $250,000+ a year middle class for Christ's sake. I call them surgeons and industrial lawyers!!!! Not pipe fitters, garbage men, cops, journalists, cooks, waiters and waitresses, cleaning people, union guys and gals!!!!!), I will go after Trump and his stupid boys. Trump, today, said that he would allow trophies from elephants legally killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia to be imported into the USA. You know what those trophies are: Not just elephant tusk chess sets, but elephant foreleg ashtrays, mounted heads, Elephant ears, trunks, tails, elephant feet necklaces. And who hunts these--well, the super rich, the people who have no concern for animal welfare (and don't give me any shit about saving cultures by culling animals. You could just give those people the means to work, to fish, to do permaculture, etc. Giving them dead animals is not the only way!). The people who hunt the elephants include the Trump boys!!!! Yes, this is a gift to his sons, Pukey and Ukey! They get to bring elephant leg ashtrays back to Trump Tower. Isn't that special? Oh, how I'd love to meet any or all of the Trumps in an alley off 13th street in NYC, just to give them a good talking to. What a bunch of weasels!!!
They make me want to puke.

The Al Franken molestation charges

I have no opinion yet as to whether or not Al Franken molested Ms. Tweeden in 2006. But if the claim is based on his posing in front of her and pretending to grab her breasts--while not actually touching anything--while she wore a flack jacket that has a ceramic breast piece, well, then I'm not buying into it. The Hulk could not have felt anyone's breasts through that ceramic piece in the flack jacket. You might claim he was trying to feel up the flack jacket, but that's about as far a anyone could possibly go--IF that photo is the proof. To me, it's just proof of why I was never the biggest Franken fan--until he entered politics, where he's fantastic--: He simply went for the easy joke too often. Pretending to feel up a flack jacket is one of those dumb jokes. This is not the same as "grabbing them by the..." or a 32-year old trying to force a 14-year old to touch his privates. It's just not in the same ballpark--at least from what she's told us so far.
I do like that he immediately called for an Ethics Commission review of his actions. That's stand up.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Making Cumalanga, the Great Amazon Spirit Protector

I've got a friend with whom I am sharing the secret of Cumalunga, an old time Amazon spirit protector that prevents negativity or bad energy from attaching itself to you. Here is the recipe for those who want it:
With the Cama Lunga, or Cumalanga, or however you want to spell an indigenous word that's only phoenetic, you are putting ingredients from the world's second harshest desert, the Altacama (male and female onions and garlic), with the male and female seeds from the chrysanthemum and male and female camphor from the Longest and second highest mountain range in the world, and combining that in cane liquor from one of the world's deepest Jungles, the Amazon. The power of those three locales is immeasurable. As a protector, they are impenetrable. Take it seriously and you will ward off negativity both on the ethereal plane and the human plane.

   I want you to get a 20 ounce bottle of water. Drink it so that your saliva and spirit is on that bottle, cap included. Then wash it. Then dry it  over the course of a day or two until it is spot dry. Then work a rag into which you have smoked mapacho, into it, to clean it with that.
   When done, fill the bottle with mapacho smoke as best you can, put the cap on and set aside.
   Take the male and female camphor I gave you (male has four pieces, female six) and put them on a paper. Crush them with your fingers or a spoon. Do not turn them into dust. Just break them up into pieces. There will be some dust. When done, smoke them with mapacho and put them in the bottle. Do not lose any little pieces, even if it's a pain to find them. Find them. You don't know which pieces have the most strength, and often it's the ones that run away. So get them.
   When they are in the bottle, take out the four camalunga seeds: Two males are large and long, like dicks; two females have vaginas at the bottom of their round butts. Smoke them, sing to them, ask them for protection, then add them to the bottle.
   Buy a pint of cheap rum: Aguar Diente is the cheapest of rums, so get a cheap one, 80-100 proof, clear, no color, and smoke it, then add it to the bottle. Smoke the bottle, smoke the top, then set aside.
   I will get you the onions and garlic to add, and you will dice them with the same clear intention as you did the camphor: Nothing lost. When you add them, put the bottle in a cool, dark place so that the medicines can mix. Best if you make two bottles, so that one can learn from the other. When I get you the onions and garlic, ask me and I will send you two or three ounces of my older bottle, about 10 years, that has been schooling my younger bottle, about six years now, to get you started on the second bottle. You need to use these freely: A bit in your mouth to spit or sopla on your chest; a bit in your hand to put on your crown chackra; a bit to clean your hands after you have taken goop from someone to insure that none of the goop stays on you. This is important stuff.
   When making the first parts that you have, please let it take 30-60 minutes. Enjoy it. Meditate it. Sing it. Smoke it. Encourage it. Ask it. You are asking a lot from these things. You are asking them to protect you while you are working in difficult realms. Their spirit will do that, but you need to do your part. I know you, and I know you will. But I still have to make the reminder. Remember that the little bit that got lost might be the most important part, so take your time to find it and include it.
   This medicine is like having the FBI watching your back. It's good, old time medicine, and as simple as it is, not many people bother to make it any more. I'm oldish school: All of my teachers used this and made it very solemnly, so I try to copy and respect. I know you will.

Nu-Nu dieta: Indigenous Matses snuff

So tonight I did my--something like 24 day in the last 28 days of nu-nu, the indigenous Matses snuff. Why do it so often? To see if there were cumulative effects: Short term it improves eyesight fantastically. Now I see it cleans your head so that I'm thinking very, very clearly, at all times of the day or night. So a worthy experiment. Nearly done, and not recommended because it's painful, daily. The snuff, made from the inner bark--reduced to ash--of the cacao tree, mixed with Nicotiana rustica--the black tobacco of the Amazon, also reduced to ash, is very powerful stuff.
Mostly I've used the nu-nu made by my friend Pepe and his brother in law Jaime--nu-nu is typically made by two hunters to insure that the spirit of both of them is in it to make it powerful. But I also pulled out a couple of stashes made by my friend Pablo, a Matses headman who died years ago. In theory, his medicine is not good anymore because it doesn't normally have much of a shelf life. But man, Pablo's medicine put me on my seat.
Tonight, I did it at 6 PM and could not stand till 7:30, and could not function--as in feeding dogs or cats or making food for myself--till 8:15. I was alone, so the time lost--or used differently--did not interfere with anyone else. That is some powerful medicine. And I am still under the influence. Not stoned, not drunk, just seeing the life force pulse through everything, from my desk to the ivy growing outside in front of my porch.
Wow! If people tell you that the ingredients of a medicine count more than the spirit of the person making them, well, I think they're dead wrong. Spirit is everything. Ingredients are incidental.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

About Guns

So a friend of mine posted a video that showed something about more guns don't kill more people per capita in the US than less guns. I call bs to start. But I didn't want to answer with a knee jerk reaction, so I thought about it and then responded with this:
Personally, I am not a fan of guns. I don't own one, but since I live in Texas, everyone thinks I own one, and so nobody will bother me. I also have two big dogs, and if you come into the house before I can get out the back I'll probably clip you pretty good with an aluminum baseball bat or a hammer- hatchet, and when you're down I'll stab you with a skein of blowgun darts tipped in curare... It would be hard for me to go crazy and kill my family with that stuff. Very different if I had a gun, got blind drunk, and imagined my family were bad guys... That is what happens a lot. People with guns tend to die by gunfire a lot more than people without guns. And people with guns seem to kill or hurt a lot more people than people with broken bottles, or cars, or knives. Guns just allow people to be removed from the act by a step or two. 
   I do understand hunters, i do understand protection. I'm not against guns per se, I just am not a fan. 
   And I wish simple laws could be changed. If I go into a gun store and ask for a rifle and they call the FBI and the green light comes on, I don't think I should be able to change that order to "I think I'll change that order to include 1000 .50 caliber sniper rifles, 5,000 AR-15s, and 150 30-30s. Oh, and toss in 10,000 rounds of ammo for each gun, won't you?" which is totally legal. And then I can sell those personal guns to anyone I want, including felons, so long as I do not know they are felons, or to people who will take them to foreign countries, so long as I do not know they will take them to foreign countries. I thing that sort of stuff is completely crazy, but I've done it as a reporter and never been blinked at--though I always cancelled the sale before paying.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

The Work!!!!!

The Work, The Work. So today I had a story due. It was assigned late Thursday, and I couldn't make calls till early Friday. But I'm going in blind, right? I don't even know what questions to ask. By Friday AM, I've figured out the two main people and do interviews. But they were weak because I don't know the thrust of the story yet. They tell me I can call them back....I go through their notes, see 5 groups I need to get in touch with--these are all groups trying to help immigrants and refugees, so if you don't like those people you can stop reading--but by that time it's Friday evening and no one is reachable. I work on background all weekend, do better interviews with my main people, leave emails for official people--ICE, Border Patrol, Homeland Security, School of the Americas Watch-- but cannot go further. By Monday morning I know what the hell I am doing. I start
making calls at 8 AM Central Time, which is 9 AM East
but by 11 AM I HAVE a splitting headache. I can't think. I can't write. My interviews are in, it will only take two hours to write a draft of the story--Hell, I've got 5,000 words of interview, 20,000 words of back story, and I am only writing 1,500 words--but my head is splitting. For the first time in my life I asked for an extension based on feeling bad--and I am not kidding. If I had a gun I would have killed myself to stop the pain.
My boss let me slide till 10 AM tomorrow morning--we go to press tomorrow, so that's very cool on his part. So I lay down. Then a friend called who needed medicine, and he came over and I served it. While serving the medicine--the south American frog sweat known as Sapo or Kambo--my head started feeling better. Then Chepa, my wife/ex-wife, called to say she'd be coming over for dinner with the girls--her two new daughters, 11 and 8, plus my granddaughter, 7--and they needed rice with garlic and lime, cucumber with lime, fried chicken breast pieces, and she needed talapia, onion, tomato, cilantro, red pepper, scallions. And a good mix of veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower, green zucchini and yellow squash, corn, tomato, onion and garlic. So I raced to the store, bought what we needed, head splitting, raced back, cooked good jasmine rice in garlic, got oil hot enough to fry the chicken breast pieces, reduced the juice from last nights' Coq au Vin, made the food.
All the while I was cooking 5 pounds of chicken legs for the two dogs and 2 pounds of chicken livers for the 10 cats to go along with 3 pounds of dry food.
It is now 6:32. I've fed the dogs and cats. I fed Chepa, Sierra, Alexa, and Taylor Rain. I gave Taylor $20 for something she needs for school and Chepa $100 for jackets for Sierra and Alexa. The fried chicken breast is gone. The two Talapia filets Chepa made with capers, garlic, onions, tomato and garlic are gone. I'm sick of the Coq au Vin.
So there is nothing for me to eat, but I fed a lot of people and I felt good. Now, I just feel tired. I think I will smoke a joint, watch a little television--which I rarely do--and go to bed by 9. I need to get up by 5 to get that story in by 10. I promised, after all.
Ain't life grand!!!!!!

Sunday, November 05, 2017

My kid is taking a nap

My kid Italo just went to take a rest. He's my oldest at 32, father of my two grandbaby girls, Taylor Rain and Teigan Grey. He showed up 45 minutes ago, just as the Philly-Denver game was getting boring and I was starting to cook Coq au Vin for Madeleina for tonight. I was glad to see him because I've been in a strange lonesome mood lately. I feel like my family doesn't need me much and instead of feeling freedom, I've been feeling lousy. They've been over, they've visited, but they don't need me.
So Italo walked in, sat down on the couch and started pulling one leg of his sports shorts up. "I need that stuff you do."
"The medicine. Right now. I need to feel alive."
He wanted the indigenous Matses medicine, Sapo, (misnamed in Spanish), frog sweat.
"You kidding me?"
"Pops, give it to me now or I'm leaving."
I took down a stick of sapo, still not sure he was not just pulling my leg. "Take your shirt off so I can apply it to your shoulder," I said.
"I didn't show you my thigh for sex, dad. Put it on my leg like last time."
I'd forgotten I'd applied it to his leg last time, which might be four months ago.
So I got the medicine ready, got a piece of tamishi vine good and hot, burned him, scraped the skin from two very large burns, then applied the medicine.
Then I sang.
I was in wonderment. Fifteen minutes earlier I'd been feeling lousy at being alone while Chepa and her new kids were at her sister's house, Madeleina was busy at school, Marco was working, Italo was playing soccer and didn't invite me to the game--he knew it was Sunday, football time and I was going to be busy--but I still felt lousy.
Then I watched as my kid went through an enormous cleansing of both physical and emotional toxins. Nothing to do but count the minutes. He didn't want help; he's tough.
He endured the very difficult 15 minutes and went into one of the bedrooms to take a nap. He asked what I was making for dinner and if he could stay to watch the Cowboys' football game when he wakes up.
For a minute there I was needed. That was good. It'll get me through the next couple of weeks. I hope the medicine was very good to/for him.
You got to stop being selfish, Gorman. They'll need you when they need you. As dad, the basic premise is that they just need to know where to find you when that occasional time they need you comes around. More than that is just being selfish.
Note to self: Got it. For now.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Someone asked about Sapo with a heart problem

So someone asked about using kambo--brazilian style sapo, mixed with water, not saliva--after he had a heart attack and a stent put in. THIS was my reply:
As a rule, sapo is the best darned medicine for heart problems, whether they be irregular heart beats, junk collected on the valves that don't permit them to open and close perfectly, etc. With a stent, I do not have experience. But after my heart attack several years ago, a little heart burp which the doc said was okay, but that I needed more exercise, I added exercise and did quite a bit of sapo and now my heart is very normal. The stent is the thing I'm not sure about....And I'm sorry I cannot suggest doing more sapo or kambo with it in place. If I were treating you I would probably give you one sapo burn one day and see how you did. If you did okay, I would up that to two the next day. If you did okay with that I might give you five days of two tamishi burns with sapo--and I am not sure how that translates to kambo burns but tamishi is generally larger, with 4 sapo burns being very, very strong. The mix with saliva instead of Kambo's water is significant. So tread cautiously, try one, see how you do. Have a sitter with a phone for emergencies, but do not get paranoid: One will give you a base line of how you can handle the medicine.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

New York City Coffee

My sister Reg posted a pic of her son Tom in half his fireman uniform visiting her when she had yard duty this morning at her public school in Manhattan. The kids loved Tom, my nephew, but I saw that Reg was holding a blue cup of NYC coffee in her hand and I commented on it. "I love NYC coffee!!!" I shouted. She didn't realize at first that she had the cup in her hand. When she did she responded and laughed. I responded: "Reg, if you have a corner store that has newspapers early and good coffee, and then if you know a guy or two selling good hot dogs on the street, and then if you know a really good pizzaria near your apartment, and then if you also know a great Chinese restaurant, you are set in NYC. Those are your basics. She responded with a laugh, and reminded me of one of the great pizzarias we used to go to. Man, oh Man, it doesn't take a lot to love Manhattan!!!!!