Thursday, August 06, 2020

Sickness and Societal Changes

Someone I know, a friend, was posting on FB about the media hysteria surrounding the current Covid-19 pandemic. He asked if anyone remember when the AIDS issue broke in the 1980s and said he remembered that it was going to kill everyone but that we were still standing. it was an idiotic comparison and I felt like just telling him off. I didn't. Instead i thought about it for a few minutes and think i came up with a much better response than telling him off. Here is what I wrote;

I think there is an important lesson or two to learn here. When AIDS hit, people were not certain about the cause. It wasn't a disease. It was a condition in which the immune system got overloaded and broke down. Mostly it got overloaded from needle sharing and unprotected sex with lots of partners. But some people got their immune system overloaded from blood transfusions — my friends with hemophilia, Barbara and Kenny Jenks were two of them — and others had their immune systems blown out by simple hepatitis shots. Of course, once the immune system is really blown out, your body can't defend against much of anything and even minor infections and viruses can lead to death.
    There was hysteria and it was warranted. Not only were drugs developed to help maintain the immune system, but the first needle-exchanges were established. People who had multiple sex partners, if they were intelligent, began to use condoms even if they hated them. And those changes were not only helpful in reducing those awful deaths, but were necessary across all levels of society.
    Now we have Covid-19 and there is some hysteria. It is warranted. There are medicines being researched that will hopefully help. Masks and social distancing might suck as bad as using condoms but they saved, and are continuing to save a lot of lives. Societal adaptations are always difficult, and met with skepticism, anger, denial, conspiracy theories. But in the case of AIDS, changing habits was necessary for a lot of people. Now, with a virus that does not care whether you are contributing to your illness with your behavior, those changes are even more vital. And they are not a big deal at all.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Here's a short one, finally

So a liar, a thief, and a narcissist walk into a bar.
The bartender says: "What'll you have, Mr. Trump?"

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Political question seeking answers

I need someone in the know to answer this. I know I am being cynical, but with the goings on of the last few years and during much of my lifetime, I don't know what else to be.
The moratorium on evictions, some federal, some state, will expire in just a few days. If those evictions are permitted to proceed — and there could be a reported 23 million of them, which would represent about 40 million or so adults — would those people still be able to vote? I ask because the address on their voter registration would no longer match. I ask because if they are registering now, or asking for an absentee ballot and it is sent to an address where they no longer live, how would they get it. If those evicted move in with family or friends in another state, will they be allowed to register?
Again, I know I am being cynical but I would love some informed input.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Another Insane Food Post!

Ladies and Gents. Gorman here. I am so tired of FB lately. Too many people shouting at one another. Too many decent folk have fallen for Q. I try to refrain from responding most of the time, but once in a while people I like write or reprint something so cockamamie that I dash off a negative response telling them how full of bologna they are. I'm right and they know it, of course, but they can't help themselves.
Okay, so I just feel like talking about food since that is currently a primary outlet for me. In the last week the Italian mama in this Irish boy came out. You'll see. Very unusual.
Started off about a week ago with a nice vegetarian manicotti with fresh mozzarella, asiago, and good ricotta -- along with garlic, spinach, tons of fresh organic basil, and scallions in a nice tomato sauce. Topped with more mozzarella.
Moved on to a barbeque of marinated chicken, sausage, burgers, marinated grilled veggies and a homemade macaroni salad with diced red and green peppers and scallions.
The burger was so good we had them again the next night. We used a mix of coal and pecan wood from a fallen pecan in the yard (big yard at 1 1/2 acres or so), and it was unreal. Served it with a Caprice salad that was outlandishly simple and good..(Thick slice of organic beefsteak tomato topped with a thick slice of fresh mozzarella, topped with basil, sea salt, cracked black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil steeped in chopped garlic.)
Next night was mussels posillipo — fresh mussels in a homemade sauce of garlic, onions, scallions, finely diced fresh Roma tomatoes, wine, salt and cracked black pepper. Served with garlic bread, of course.
Moved on two nights ago to fresh fried calamari. Got a pound of calamari tubes, cut them in 1/2 inch slices. Breaded and fried them and served them with a HOT marinara -- a regular marinara i made but to which was added red pepper flakes and some crab boil. A bottle of Shiner Bock beer beer finished the sauce off.
And last night was freaking excellent chicken parmesan with my fourth tomato sauce of the week. Served with spinach sauteed with garlic in olive oil.
That was a good-eating week. A few bites of each every night was plenty for me so there is lots of stuff left over in the fridge.
And I hope this was better than a political rant. This time.

Friday, July 03, 2020

Legality of Ayahuasca in USA

For the 10 millionth time, someone emailed me about the legal status of the ayahuasca outfit Soul Quest, in Florida. This is my response:
Lots of people love Soul Quest. Legally, it is, of course, entirely illegal and there has been at least one death there from someone drinking too much water before doing frog sweat, sapo/kambo. What do you want to ask me? If it is going to concern the grey area Soul Quest claims they are in, I have to say they are simply lying. They are not in any way connected to the Native American Church, and the NAC has no legal right to use any controlled medicine except peyote. ONAC is an invented silly name with no meaning, and and absolutely no legal significance.
One group of santo daime has the right to use ayahuasca in the USA at one location, and there might be one other exception, but it certainly ain't Soul Quest or any of the other hundred or two groups that I know are claiming legal right or grey area via connection to NAC (which has no connections) or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. They are just too small fry to bother with at the moment. They get big, they are all going to jail.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Sapo and Pregnancy: Don't Do It

Someone was asking me about using the indigenous Matses frog sweat, sapo, with regard to pregnancy. This is what I responded.

At the earliest stages of pregnancy, the first few weeks, sapo in a very tiny amount is applied to a woman's wrist to discover who the father is. Later, very tiny amounts are applied to see what the sex of the fetus is and whether it is healthy. If not sapo can be used as an abortive.

   As a male, I never witnessed how tiny those initial applications were. Now, as someone who has seen several women abort/miscarriage with sapo I would strongly, strongly urge it not to be used by pregnant westerners at any amount. The abortion can take a couple of days. It is very painful. I knew someone who used it as an abortive and the evacuation — at just six weeks of gestation — took 12 hours. She was in serious pain the entire time.
   A couple of years ago a woman sat at the table I use as my office while in Iquitos. I had never met her prior to that moment. As she sat she was obviously in pain, and i asked her what was wrong. She told me that several hours earlier she'd been treated with sapo because she was pregnant — three months — and was told the medicine would strengthen her umbilical cord. She would not tell me who treated her, and there are lots of idiots, both locals and gringos, in Iquitos serving sapo/kambo. Whomever it was i wanted to strangle them because I knew the woman was beginning to abort, and she had wanted to bring the fetus to term. I did not tell her because it was too late to stop the process.
  She finished aborting about 24 hours later.
  Please use sapo wisely. It can strengthen the body overall, but for pregnant women, it is primarily a very lousy abortive. It should NOT be used on lactating women either, as no studies have been done to see 1) if the poisons being eliminated from the mother might find their way into her milk, and 2) if the medicine itself found its way into her milk, what effect that would have on a baby.
   I hope this helps.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

All of It is Trump's Fault.

It is all Donald J Trump's fault. The whole mess. It started with him eliminating the pandemic team put together by President Obama to get a jump on future pandemics. It continued with him discarding the Pandemic—101 booklet on handling pandemics put together by Obama's administration. It continued with Trump ignoring all the warning signs and actual warnings about the coming pandemic throughout January and February, while he held rallies and golfed.
Those moves, plus a refusal to secure masks that were offered led to the severe outbreak of COVID-19 in the USA, which has led to over 110,000 deaths here thusfar.
That outbreak, most of it directly Trump's fault, led to the economy crashing, putting tens of millions out of work.
On a completely different tact, Trump's cheering on — while himself a coward — of violence by others against hi perceived enemies, whether at rallies or in the media or even in his administration, helped lead to the George Floyd killing and others like it. That killing led to the protests 've had here for two weeks, most of them peaceful, but with enough agents provocateur and ordinary looters to justify the use of police force in dozens of cases, resulting in serious injury to many.
Last week Trump got news that a couple of million people went back to work in May and he crowded like the cock of the walk about that. He omitted the part that he encouraged states to reopen and that once reopened people who did not return to work lost their unemployment and would probably lose their jobs. So that 2-plus million who went back to work are now at risk for COVID-19 to give Trump something he could pretend was good news.
I have people writing to me that I am too harsh on Trump. I am not. I am not because all of this is his fault. All of it.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Glad to Be Part of the Movement

A friend noted that liberals freed the slaves, gave women and blacks the right to vote, voted in the civil rights act and twenty other things. I felt compelled to add this:
    Damned fucking straight! This is what we liberals did and I am proud that I wrote and marched against the Vietnam war, for Women's rights, for Gay rights, for LGBT rights, to end prison privatization, for the Americans and Mexicans to take their place in out society, for the rights of Weed smokers and growers when I worked for so many years at High Times, for the end of forfeiture laws connected to marijuana, for the environment, for peace, and for everyone to get a square deal while we live together on this planet. I still have work to do and I am ready and able. If I can't march anymore, I can still write. Victory to decency!

Friday, June 05, 2020

Good Food Found in the Fridge

Like most of us, I have been spending time concentrating on trump's attempted coup of the USA, the murder of George Floyd, the collapsed economy, the racial divide in our country, and COVID-19. I've also been watching the bunker boy trump ease and erase control on the EPA and infrastructure rules, while he gasses church rectors to get a photo op holding a bible upside down and backwards.
I have also had to see that the shopping was done, do the cooking, and clean up.
Tonight I  was not in the mood to cook and was thinking about getting pizza. We have two pretty good joints near me, mom and pops, and while they are not Manhattan, Brooklyn, Philly or Chicago, are still pretty good for texas.
But then I looked into the fridge. I was startled by the leftovers. There was two or three pounds of potato and egg salad and 4 chicken legs, plus marinated and grilled veggies from a barbeque a few nights ago.There was a nice hot sausage in chicken velouté we'd used on thin pasta. There was a bowl of meatless dahl made with small red beans, a bowl of raita (cucumber salad in yogurt with cumin), some pork vindaloo, a fajita stew, five pieces of lime chicken (my invention: Chicken breasts dressed in breadcrumbs and grated parmesan, sauteed, then baked with fresh lime juice), and one piece of sauteed salmon done in ginger, teriyaki, garlic and sesame oil with a candied skin. There is also an almost new loaf of sourdough that we used last night to make grilled Virginia ham and Swiss cheese sandwiches with tomatoes. And plenty of left over ham, plus two good avocados, fresh cucumber and a beefsteak tomato.
Damn. I hope my family shows up in the new bar my kids Italo, Marco, and my granddaughter Taylor Rain made to eat some of this.
If they don't want it, I guess I'll just order pizza. Dang.
Dang.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Agent Provocateurs

During the protests of the Vietnam war, both in New York and Washington, DC, most of the violence was started by agents provocateur. Sometimes they were crazies, sometimes they worked for the police or the FBI, sometimes they were paid by the police or the FBI. 
    From the looks of the white guy who was filmed breaking all the windows in Autozone, it looks like he was one of those. 
   Once the powers that be decide they do not like the television version of what is going on, the best way to change it is to send in someone to commit violent acts, allowing the police to respond to all protesters with violence. That, in turn, produces real violence. 
   Right now, with all the photos of white people looting stores, and with the film of the white guy breaking the windows at Autozone, I suspect that's exactly what is going on here. Create violence to change the perception of what is/was happening.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Life Hack Beauty Tip

When I got my first apartment in NYC when I was 19, my neighbor in the tenement apartment next to mine, an elderly but sprightly woman, used to rub bacon grease into her face every evening. She would rub and rub, then put her face over hot water to get rid of it. she swore it eliminated wrinkles, and by god, she didn't have a one! 
And then, of course, when I was a chef in NYC once a week a 
fat-render would come from the Ivory soap plant in Queens, NY to buy my fry grease to make Ivory soap, shampoos, and facial products with, so I think my neighbor was on to something.

Monday, May 25, 2020

It's raining in Joshua, Texas

I've spoken on this before, but I'm gonna speak on it again. I hope you don't mind.
It's raining outside here in Joshua, Texas. Been raining pretty much since yesterday afternoon. The greens get greener as the roots of the trees and grass get to lap up the fresh rain water in the earth.
And I am reminded of the beauty of green magic. That water will find its way to streams, and rivers, and finally oceans. Some of it will evaporate quickly; some will take a longer time. But all of it will make its way around the world sooner or later. All of it will appear as rain on oasis, or on Chinese villages, or feed the Amazon jungle.
At its most vulgar, remember that what you pee today will water plants that feed a yak or an elephant one day. And what that yak or elephant pees will feed the vegetables that feed your children and mine.
We are all so very, very connected. We are all so intertwined that we cannot do without one another. I am guilty of sometimes forgetting that. But I am a better person and this is a better world when I remember it and remember to live it.

Friday, May 22, 2020

How Sister Somayah came to be a public figure.

How Sister Somayah came to be a public figure. In the early or mid 1990s a crazy woman began calling me at 3-4 AM about once a week at home. I'd anser my rotary dial phone and she'd cuss and cuss at me ant then hang up. After maybe 15-20 such calls I finally got her attention and asked what the hell she was calling me for and what could I do for her. He calmed a little and told me that white folks, very few of which get sickle cell anemia, were ignoring black folks who had the disease. then the hung up. Over the course of the next few weeks and next few phone calls, she explained, with a lot of cussing, that she was a black woman suffering from sickle cell and had had to leave the military — I think she was in Navy provisions — because of her illness. she said the US government provided all sickle cell patients with morphine two or three times a week to alleviate the pain, but that just made them junkies. She said that marijuana dilated the blood vessels and arteries and allowed the sickle cells to pass without causing unbearable pain. She was angry that High Times did not report on this. She called me because I was the editor of the Highwitness News. By chance, I had a friend doing a Masters thesis at (I think) Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. She looked into patients getting morphine for sickle cell and then questioned hundreds and discovered that many, when they could afford marijuana, discovered it worked better than morphine and allowed them to work pain free again rather than being government junkies. so I wrote a story about her and the movement picked her up and the issue got out there and she was marvelous when the spoke about marijuana. And that's that.

Monday, May 18, 2020

I disagree with friends about the pandemic

So I have friends, friends I love, who do not believe the pandemic is real. They think the government is slowly herding us into sheep by starting off with masks and social distancing. I think they are crazy.
They think Bill Gates and his (transsexual, they say) wife are trying to implant things in us. They think the Bildergergers are going to run the world.
I want to laugh and I want to strangle my friends for sheer stupidity.
If you have a smart phone, the government and 2,000 other agencies knows where you are at all times, from shitting to sleeping to fucking your neighbor's husband. If you have Siri or one of the others, you gave up your freedom willingly.
So there are no new tricks needed to know where you are 24/7. Hell, I have a land line with a rotary phone and it has been tapped since I went to work for High Times in 1986. When I brought my wife back from Peru's Jungle in 1994 she would call me once or twice a week to say the men with the blue suits -- the FBI-- were at our door, asking to come in for a minute. I always told her to tell them no,
But they were there twice a week. they knew who we were. The difference between me and paranoia is I accepted it and did not care. I moved a lot of marijuana for High Times centerfold or story shoots in the day and I did not care that they knew I was doing it. When child services came to check out my boys during a separation between my wife and myself, I told them to tell the truth about the pot in the house if they asked.
My point is that being fearful, running away, does not help. Smuggle in plain sight, wear the damned mask and do not be afraid that it suggests cowardice. Not wearing it represents a level of fear I hope I never achieve.
Stay strong, Stay smart. Do not fall prey to the bullshit that well-meaning people are putting out there. Just be yourself.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Too Many Times with the Knife

I am getting tired of knives. I've been using them since I worked at Louie's candy store when I was seven or eight or nine. I used them at Cresthaven Country Club in Whitestone, Queens, New York when I was 14, 15, 16 and working the kitchen and day camp kitchen. I used them at home when mom asked me for help, and I used them with Philly B in my first apartment on 76th between 1st and 2nd Avenues when I started Hunter College. I used them at the Lodge Restaurant, and Jimmy Day's, and the Mad Hatter, and Arthur's Court, and the Banana Boat, and Bayard's — great restaurant/bar top to bottom — and at Wilson's, a standard bearer for years. I used them at Fellini's restaurant in Los Angeles, and I've used them at home with my family since 1994. i used them in my own restaurant, The Cold Beer Blues Bar in Iquitos, Peru from 1998-2001.
I am getting tired of cutting garlic and onions every night. I am tired of cutting parsley and squeezing it dry. I'm tired of cutting fucking Roma tomatoes and cilantro. I am tired of getting 120 slices out of every cucumber I've ever cut.
If i have made an average of 1,000 cuts a day for 60 years, that would come to roughly 20 million times I've brought a knife down on a cutting board. If I am wrong by half, that's still 10 million. that's probably as many times as Eric Clapton has played notes. He's probably tired of the guitar and I cannot blame him.
I will still cut. I'm just saying I'm getting tired of it and wish someone else would cut the damned onions!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 15, 2020

Coronavirus death Percentages

I keep hearing and reading that caronavirus kills about .1-.3 percent. Nonsense. In the US we have 80,000 dead out of 1.4 million, which is more like 6 percent. Get that? 6 percent. Much more than the flu ever killed. Worldwide, out of 4 million tests, we have 300,000 deaths, about 7 percent. So please stop talking about .01 percent, or .3 percent. We are talking about 6-7 percent of known cases of coronavirus, COVID-19, resulting in death. Get it? Good. It's scary when you look at the numbers and stop believing the bologna on FB. Stay safe. Do not act out of fear, but act out of knowledge. You wouldn't walk into a gun held by a madman, would you? Don't drop your guard here either.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Blood Pressure issues and Sapo/kambo (frog sweat medicine)

Someone asked about serving a patient sapo or kambo if they are on blood pressure medicine. I think I've gone over this before, but just in case I have not, here is my take-- though you should check with the person's doctor before making any decision to serve.

Normally you can work with sapo/kambo with high or low blood presure so long as you are ON your medication. The meds bring you to normal, so when the blood pressure drops while doing kambo (feels higher because more blood is going through your arteries and veins from vasodilation) the pressure medicine will quickly bring you back to normal. Still, always start lightly to make sure a new patient handles it well. You can always do more tomorrow. But if a person has high or low blood pressure and is NOT on their meds, do not serve them. That's where the danger lies.  And check with their doc first, of course. I hope that helps.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Bring Me Fresh Meat

Near the end of my book, Ayahuasca in My Blood, I have an interchange with Ayahuasca where she makes the demand that I bring her fresh meat. People have often asked me if  I ever resolved what Ayahuasca meant by that. I responded to one of those people with this, this morning.
    I've never gotten a straight answer from ayahuasca about what she meant. Like so many things, she offered the opportunity to me to figure it out. And I think it meant both that she wanted me fresh when I visited --as in do not have a glass of wine or three during the day of an experience, and also that she wanted me to bring new people, spread the word about her.

   This is where we run into an issue: I believe that all things have spirit, and that all spirits have desires and fears, in other words, an ego. In the case of ayahuasca, she labored in the Amazon and a bit in the mountains for a long, long time. She was a medicine and tool for those people. But when she was brought out to the Western world suddenly she was being revered – something I don't believe the indigenous ever did. (Respect, yes, revere, no.) I think that got to her spirit a little and she started taking herself very seriously, thinking she was very important, rather than recognizing that she was a spirit equal with all other spirits. Which is where the demand for more "fresh meat" came from: for a little while she was not seeing us as equal spirits but as fodder for her ego.
   So she needed a little reminder that she is not more important than other spirits. All spirits have things they can do, and she opens the doors to other worlds, other levels of reality, very well. But that does not make her those other worlds: She's just the one seeing what you need to learn and then opening the door to a place where you can learn that.
  I hope that makes sense.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Lots of leftovers


I went to grab a plate to put the leftover barbecued baby back ribs on and didn't have one that was the right size. That was odd. It was especially odd because I'd had to search for the right sized bowl to put the leftover franks and beans in-- a dish that had lots of garlic, onion, scallions, fresh tomatoes, brown sugar, mustard, cilantro, and some dark beer.
So I went to the fridge and was taken aback by what was there. There was a small piece of salmon in a sesame oil dressing with long red-pepper spears, scallions, and ginger. There was a bowl of marinara sauce I made a coupe of days ago. There were two roasted chicken thighs from the same night we had the spaghetti marinara. There was half-a-pan's worth of delicious meatloaf. There were a couple of things older than three or four days and I put them in bags for the dogs and chickens and ducks.
I made the ribs last night -- but I didn't have any -- just in case the others, my daughter Madeleina and my friend Devon, didn't like the sandwich I made for dinner. It was an avocado, tomato, and cucumber sandwich with fresh, smoked mozzarella on sourdough bread that was seasoned with some mayo, a teaspoon of garlic-infused olive oil, and horseradish sauce.
It turned out they loved the sandwich as much as I did, which is why I have so many ribs left over!
I got to stop wasting all my money on this good food and the plastic wrap I need to wrap all the leftovers!

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Working on the Cookbook

Working on the cookbook. Been working on it for several months now and getting fairly close to finish. The problem is that with each section, as I get close to finishing it, I think of a few new recipes I have to add. Or I think that I have to put at least one or two little stories in each section.
Today I was finishing up the "Burgers and a Few Sandwiches" section. I got a few down, then came to the Reuben. I don't make the Reuben in a traditional way, with corned beef. Here's what I wrote:
Reuben
Every recipe in every cookbook will tell you to make this sandwich with corned beef. That’s pretty traditional. But when I worked at Jimmy Day’s Restaurant in New York’s West Greenwich Village back in the day, we made it with pastrami and that’s what I still think makes the best damned Reuben in the world.
I’ve got to say a word or two about Jimmy Day’s. It was not far to the west of 6th Ave. It was probably my second job in a restaurant as a grown up. I had a small apartment on Broom St. just off 6th at the time, so it made sense to try to get a gig not far from home.
Now I don’t remember exactly how many seats the joint had, but it was far bigger than my first job at The Lodge. I want to say I think it sat about 82 people. The kitchen was tiny, and the crowd came in surges. I would get in at about 6 PM and work with the chef till 8 ish. Then he would leave and I was on my own — with a dishwasher, of course — until 2 AM, when the kitchen closed.
We had a pretty big menu but it was mostly easy stuff to make: Eggs, steak and eggs, meatloaf, burgers, chops, spaghetti, and sandwiches dominated. Not a problem, except that the crowd was used to very fast service. I could look up after finishing five plates and see eight new chits calling for 25 meals staring me in the face. You either learned speed and dexterity — working the oven, grill, meat and cheese slicers, deep fryer, and the six-burner stove simultaneously — or you quit. I thought of quitting quite a lot at first because I was so overwhelmed. I’m glad I didn’t because I really learned speed work — without sacrificing quality — while I was there, something that made a huge difference in my whole career.
A lot of the guests were weight lifters who wanted their steaks trimmed of all fat and then wanted three fried egg whites on them. Or they wanted egg white omelets with their steak or pork chops. My hands flew separating out those eggs.
Now one of our big sellers was the Reuben. I’d toss two slices of rye bread into the grill to toast them. I’d pull them out quickly and put them on an oval metal sizzle plate, and put Russian dressing on one side of each slice of the toasted rye bread.
I’d slice a good portion, maybe six ounces or more, of fresh pastrami on the slicer, and toss that on the bread, splitting it evenly. I’d top that with sauerkraut we always had on the stove, then top each slice of bread with good Swiss cheese. Toss that into the grill till the cheese melted, pull it, and slide it, open faced onto a plate. Add pickles and coleslaw and done. Ring the bell, get it out of here.
That is still my favorite way to make a Reuben.
So go to your nearest Jewish deli and get six or seven ounces of very thinly sliced pastrami for each sandwich you’re making. Pick up a nice loaf of rye while you’re there.
Home, heat your oven to 350º.
While it’s heating up, put sauerkraut on the stove at medium heat. Add a tablespoon of garlic in olive oil for each sandwich. You want the kraut to start to brown and get a rich, deep flavor, so the longer you cook it the better it gets. Add a little white vinegar or dill pickle juice to it if it starts to dry out and burn. Oh, and turn down the heat on it.
So the pastrami is ready, the kraut is cooking, the oven is getting hot. Time to make your Russian dressing.
For each sandwich — two open halves each, remember — you need about two table spoons of mayonnaise, one good squirt of ketchup, and a tablespoon of pickle relish (sweet or not, your choice) or chopped up sweet and hot Jalepeños. Mix that up, then toss your bread into the oven or toaster to toast it.
When the bread is toasted, bathe one side of each slice with the Russian dressing, top with the pastrami. Top that with the perfect sauerkraut, and then top the whole shebang with a couple of slices of Swiss on each half.
Put your open sandwich halves onto a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is righteously melted.
Pull sandwiches, plate them, add a couple of dill pickle spears and a dollop of coleslaw and get after it.
Thanks, Jimmy Day’s. I loved working that speed factory!

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Ridiculous Meme and My Responses

Here is a ridiculous meme going around asking nutty questions. I've answered them. This is a haul folks, so get a glass of wine and relax while you read through.
I got this from a good friend and could not let it go unanswered:
Sharing from a friend:
Everyone should be asking these questions! 👇🏼
These are the important questions folks need to be asking themselves:
1. Why can you go to Walmart but not Kohl's?
Answer: Kohl's sells clothes and shoes, not food. Supermarkets are necessary; clothing stores not so much. But you can still order Kohl's stuff online.
2. Why the Dollar store and not a mom-and-pop shop?
Answer: Dollar General here in Texas sells a lot of food stuff, cheaply, making it vital for poor people. Mom and Pop stores are open here as well, depending on what they sell. If they sell food, they are open.
3. Why can't you have an elective surgery, but you can have an abortion which is elective?
Answer: Elective surgery, like the surgery on my prostate, can wait. Abortions become more difficult as time goes by, so calling them "elective" is disingenuous.
4. Why should you stay inside but yet heat and sunlight kill the virus?
Answer: No one is supposed to stay inside. Go out all you want here in the USA, but don't mingle much (though that is fairly ignored). In Peru you are welcome to enjoy the sun in your yard or porch all day long.
5. Why can't kids (who are not at risk) play on an outdoor playground, where sun kills this virus?
Answer: Kids at an outdoor playground will get saliva on one another, making the risk of their bringing Covid home to parents and grandparents dangerously high. Like everyone else they can play in their yards or on the rooves of their apartment buildings, like a lot of us did.
6. Why don't people know that these are "recommendations" not laws because they have not gone through due process?
Answer: Here in the USA people know these are recommendations and some people protest them by not wearing masks and congregating. The incidence of covid among them rises dramatically after such actions, of course. In some places, Marshall law has been declared, but not in the US. Restaurants near me have never closed.
7. Why is it okay for government officials to get a haircut, but not common citizens?
Answer: I have no idea why govt officials can get a haircut. If they can go to a barber, they should pay a steep fine for risking my life for their ego. The rest of us have friends cutting our hair.
8. Why the fear, when this virus has a less than 1% death rate?
Answer: In the USA we have 70,000 out of 1.2 million, which is about 6 percent, not 1 percent. Worldwide it's closer to 7 percent. And those numbers are low becuse of lack of testing, Florida's prohibition of publising the covid death numbers, etc.
9. Why have coroners questioned death certificates listed as CV-19?
Answer: People die from kidney problems, heart problems, pneumonia and a host of other things that they would not have had if not infected by covid-19. So some people question whether those are really covid-19 deaths. They are if the dead in question would not have died if they didn't have covid-19 to create/exacerbate other problems.
10. Why are areas like Chicago and NY gearing up for mass vaccination?
Answer: New York and Chicago have very dense populations. On a given "normal" day in Manhattan you might pass within 5 feet of 10,000 or more people just going to and coming from the subway. While I am not a fan of vaccinations I can see why densely populated areas would think it would be a good idea.
11. What makes one person essential and another not?
Answer: Some jobs, like doctors and nurses and hospital orderlies are obviously essential. So are police, garbage men, firemen, morturary workers and people who provide food. I'/m a jounalist and not essential to be working among others except occasionally--otherwise I can work from home. Someone who tends a zoo is essential to keeping those animals in his or her charge alive and healthy. We love barbers and nail salon people, but if we don't have their services for a few weeks, nothing will die. So they, like me, are non-essential.
12. Doesn't shelter at home; mean there is a whole population of people, not staying home so we can?
Answer: Yes, essential workers are out there on the dangerous front lines. But once off work they should go back and shelter at home too.
13. Why are they dividing us?
Answer: Red herring. No one is dividing us if we don't play into the selfishness of others.
14. How do people not know that we are a Republic, not a democracy?
Answer: Another red herring. Sticking this in a series of questions about covid-19 is just silly.
15. Where has the flu gone?
Answer: Still here, killing as many as it generally does.
16. Why do the homeless consistently demonstrate the lowest infection rates?
Answer: They don't.
17. Why are they telling us to mask up after 2 months of lockdown?
Answer: It's been 5-6 weeks of separation, not lockdown (at least not here in the USA) but we wear masks so we don't spit, cough, or sneeze on other people, as that is how people get infected
18. Why is the CDC saying kids need to be masked when they return to school or attend church, when they know cloth masks restrict oxygen?
Answer: You are really, really reaching here.
19. What is this oppression and loss of liberty doing to the mental health of our kids and to us?
Answer: Calling basic safety precautions "opression" gives away your extreme right wing political bent. Not good. Staying apart and not hugging our friends and kids is certainly taking an emotional and mental toll, but it beats dying.
20. Why have most other death rates dropped since the virus?
Answer: They have not. Stop peppering these questions with bologna.
21. Why did world leaders meet in China in October 2019?
Answer: They didn't. The Summit was cancelled. There was a G-20 meet in June, 2019, a regularly scheduled meeting of the G-20.
22. Why are the common people being controlled by the government and no one is controlling the government?
Answer: Who is being controlled by the government? No one is controlling the government because trump has been given a free hand by McConnell and his ass kissers.
23. Why are hospitals paid more for Covid 19 deaths?
Answer: I think this is phony, but if they are it's because covid-19 deaths are freaking expensive to handle becuse of the possibility of contagion.
24. Why are some doctors speaking out and then getting silenced?
Becuse plastic surgeons and people who are advertising their businesses have nothing to add to the dialog except to endanger people
25. Why did Obama give the Wuhan lab $334 million dollars?
Answer: It was $3.7 million, not $334 million, and it was over a seven year period. It was given by NIH and a chunk of it was given by trump. Very little went to Wuhans virology lab as most went to a non-profit eco firm
26. What does a computer geek have to do with a pandemic and why does he want 7 billion corona virus vaccines?
Answer: Good god, now you're movig into the Gates conspiracy theories?
27. Why ID 2020, Agenda 21 and 2030?
Answer: Because you are freaking, flaming paranoid.
28. Why did the CDC have a job posting for pandemic relief workers in November 2019?
Answer: CDC posts job openings regularly. Only the very paranoid fringe -- and unhinged -- right wing nuts thought that was unusual, though they post job openings all the time, including for pandemic relief workers.
29. Why did Dr. Fauci say in 2017 that the Trump administration would be faced with a " SURPRISE PANDEMIC " and then runs the pandemic team?
Answer: Because we were due for a pandemic. They arrive every several years and it was time.
30. Why are they infringing on Christians religious freedoms?
Answer: Because you are fucking weenies who are the most priveleged people but who think you are infringed upon. Grow some balls you dickless schmucks.
31. Why can 500 people shop at Menards or Home Depot, but we are not allowed to go into a church building?
Answer: Because the things you need to keep your home operating are at Menards and Home Depot, and God is within you, not in a church.

Monday, May 04, 2020

Stolen Lawnmower

So I'm out here in bucolic Joshua, Texas. Outside of the few blocks of town everybody has an acre or 50, and there are lots of neighbors' homes I've never seen because they are hidden behind tree stands or just too far back on the property to get a look at.
People here are nice: In my 18 years here since moving from New York I've never been robbed, never had an issue with anyone. Until a few days ago.
I've got a huge garage that is normally unlocked that has lots of stuff in it, much of which someone might want. I also have a small cabin that has some stuff in it.
Nothing ever touched.
Now last week my lawnmower stopped and my son Italo took it apart, found out what was not working, ordered the part and left the mower on or near the porch of the cabin.
Part came in a couple of days ago and Italo came over to install it and put the mower back together.
Only problem was that someone had stolen the mower. Who the hell steals a push electric lawnmower that is several years old with its motor taken apart? What kind of nimnod does that?
I'm still pissed because now I have to lock the garage and cabin, and I have to get a new mower, but what the heck: They could have just rolled away the tractor-mower if they were gonna rob me. It was right next to the broken mower.
Takes all kinds, I guess.

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Another of My Teachers has Passed

More than 30 years ago, after a year of trying to get included, I was invited, as a journalist, to a Native American Church peyote ceremony just outside of Durango, Colorado. The story I wrote was the first of three I did on the church over a period of a few years for High Times magazine in the late 1980s. Malcolm MacKinnon, a wonderful photographer, took the photos.
I also attended several ceremonies I didn't write about. Three outstanding teachers of mine came from that group: Bertha Grove, a healer who was the matriarch of the Southern Ute band that held the ceremonies; Bertha's brother Everett, a powerful human and an extraordinary Peyote Roadman; and Bertha's son Junior.
Bertha and Everett passed some years ago, but I still reach out to the ether they left behind for advice and strength. Now Junior, a strong buck of a man and, like his uncle Everett a wonderful Peyote Roadman, has just passed. I will sing him on his way though I suspect he's clear enough to get there without my help.
Thank you for everything, Junior. I hope you don't mind my reaching out sometimes for your help.
And thank you, Malcolm, for this wonderful shot of a younger me with Junior.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Oldie but Goodie

A friend of mine reposted this yesterday on FB from April 19, 2017. It's an oldie but goodie and I was very surprised to see someone repost it three years after the fact.

With Trump it never stops. The nonsense, the lies, the overt corruption...just keeping a light track of it is like shooting fish in an aquarium: You can't miss. Today's notes: We've just discovered that while the Pres had dinner--and that really good chocolate cake--with the Chinese President Xi Jinping just over a week ago, the dinner during which Trump decided that China was not a currency manipulator after all, and that North Korea was a more complex issue than he'd imagined, his daughter Ivanka was also at the table, and that she immediately got three trademarks for her wares there. What coincidence! And yes, that was a meal we all paid for; not White House meal payments, of course, but the Mar-a-Lago charges, which come to you complete with the cost of rooms for the Chinese Pres and his group, the room rentals for the secret service detail, etc. So he made out, his daughter made out, and China made out. Only we citizens of the USA were on the short end.
    

We also discovered yesterday that the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson and strike group that Trump told us was being sent to the Korean peninsula as a show of force by Trump actually went to Indonesia for a scheduled training mission with Australia. In any event, the Vinson group headed nowhere near Korea. Sort of embarrassing if you're the commander-in-chief and make this big threat announcement and it turns out nobody told anybody in the military about it.
Then we've got Monday's call to congratulate Turkey's President Erdogen on a narrow win in a very tainted referendum election. Erdogen is a horror on human rights, so much so that even the New York Post, a completely reliable mouthpiece for Trump, called him out on it, noting that: "Mr. President, you're the leader of the free world; you shouldn't come off as cheering a rigged election that sets back the cause of freedom." Man, when the Post comes down on Donny boy, you know it's bad. \

   
Oh, and then as a kicker, Trump signed an executive order to Buy American, Hire American, which will make it harder to hire non-Americans on work visas and bring up the cost of some foreign made exports. Which could be a good thing of only Donald Trump and his daughter had anything of theirs made in America. Or if Eric Trump would hire US citizens for work in his vineyard; or if Donald Trump would hire US citizens to work at Mar-a-Lago. Ah well, the hits just keep coming.
 

More tomorrow, I'm sure. I just want to keep score so there will be no confusion later.


Sunday, April 19, 2020

Bicycle Day!

It's Bicycle Day today, the day that Albert Hofmann took the first intentional dose of LSD back in Basel, Switzerland, while he was working for Sandoz Laboratories. I got a chance to interview Dr. Hofmann for High Times magazine for the 50th anniversary of LSD issue we did, and this is a section of the interview I did with him that relates to the famous bicycle ride he took to go home from his laboratory after purposefully ingesting the novel compound.

HT: How did you take it?
HOFMANN: I drank it. And within half-an-hour I began to experience similar symptoms to those I’d had three days earlier. But quite quickly they became very strong, very intense, and I became anxious, so I asked my laboratory assistant to accompany me home.
As it was wartime and I had no car, we went home by bicycle, and the bicycle ride was strange. And this bicycle ride, which was only about six kilometers from the lab to my little village, has been so important to the story of LSD. I don’t know why.

HT: Tell us about that ride and that first induced LSD experience.
HOFMANN: I had the feeling that time was standing still. It was a very strange feeling, one I’d never had before. There was a change in the experience of life, of time. But it was the most frustrating thing. I was already deep in the LSD trance, in LSD inebriation, and one of its characteristics, just on this bicycle trip, was of not coming from any place or going anyplace. There was absolutely no feeling of time.
At home I asked my assistant to call for a doctor. And as my wife and children were away for a few days, I also asked him to ask the neighbors for milk. Milk, you know, is known as an antitoxin in general.

HT: Did it help?
HOFMANN: Not at all. I was in a very odd state of consciousness. The outer world had changed. The room seemed to be full of life in the light, and colors were more intense. But I also had the feeling that I was changed, that my ego had changed. And then it became such a strange experience that I was afraid that I had gone insane. And sometime during that experience, at the climax, I had the feeling I was out of my body.
In the meantime the doctor my assistant called arrived and he tested my blood pressure and my head and such and he could not find anything abnormal, with the exception that the pupils of my eyes were enlarged. But nothing else.

HT: Did the doctor’s visit and his assurance that you were alright calm you down?
HOFMANN: No. I had the feeling I was going to die. I had no feeling in my body and thought I’d already left it, was already out of my body, which was something I couldn’t explain to the doctor. I couldn’t really speak rationally to explain that I had made an experiment, either. He wouldn’t have understood that.
So he sat with me through that very difficult experience—horribly difficult—and after about four or five hours the feeling began to change. I felt that I was coming from this very strange other world back to our normal world. And I had the feeling, when I came back from this strange world, that our normal world, which ordinarily we don’t think is wonderful, was a wonderful world. I saw it in a new light. It was a rebirth.
But this happy feeling was only at the end of the experience. And when I came back I closed my eyes and had beautiful, colored visions. It was of course very strange. There was a transformation of every sound in optical figures. Each noise produced a corresponding colored figure, which was very enjoyable.
Finally I went to sleep, and in the morning I was completely fresh. I had the feeling that I was seeing the world as it was on the very first day of creation.

Monday, March 23, 2020

I Am the Face of Potential Coronavirus – And It Does Not Feel Good


I am Peter Gorman. I have been writing for the Fort Worth Weekly since 2004, not long after I moved from New York to Texas for family reasons. I am 69-years-old. I’ve just gotten out of Huguley Hospital after a 13-day stay. It was my sixth time in the hospital in four years, all of the stays due to issues that cropped up from my second job, which is as a guide and medicinal plant collector in the Peruvian Amazon jungle. Those recent stays include time for dealing with a flesh eating virus that took three hospital stays, an exploded intestine that took three operations, and just last month, sepsis when my kidneys failed, my bladder collapsed, my legs reinfected, my heart went into severe arrythmia, and a host of less life-threatening problems.
   It is just the way things are for me and I have not changed over the last 35 years and probably won’t. I love the Amazon jungle, even though it will finally get me. I live with that.
   What I did not expect to live with was coronavirus. I am the perfect age, and currently dealing with several severe conditions, that make me the perfect candidate for this virus. Should I get it, I don’t know if I will survive. It would be awful to die of COVID after I’ve survived the jungle, but the reality is there to deal with daily. On the other hand, I can only run so much.
   I clean my hands. I wash canned and packaged goods before I use them. I go to the store with a friend daily but stay in the car and listen to music while he or my daughter fill my shopping list for dinner. And I make spectacular dinners daily – the only job I’m permitted to do. Well, that and cleaning the kitchen.
   But my friend Devon and my daughter Madeleina are still in touch with people in the supermarket. Madeleina’s friends Adrian, a fast-food delivery guy, and Patrick, who works at Target, still come over. My friend Matthew H, with whom I am writing a musical, is in touch with people but over at the house several times a week. We wash, we clean, but we’re not perfect. My younger son Marco comes over to hug me and eat dinner a couple of times a week. And then I have doctor’s appointments two or three times a week, and a home-nurse and physical therapist here several times a week.
   You get the picture, right? I try, but life goes on, even if mostly in quarantine. You avoid what you can, but you don’t roll up and sit in a fetal position. At least I don’t.
   What I miss most are the other members of my family. My ex-wife, generally over for coffee most mornings, is afraid to come and expose me to infection. Her two new daughters have not been here since I’ve been out of the hospital. My oldest son, Italo, and his wife Sarah, along with my two grandkids, Taylor Rain and Teigan Grey, have not been here either since I left the hospital a couple of weeks ago. I am used to seeing them a lot and miss them enormously. Sarah called and asked for a couple of dozen eggs from our coop –- Including half-a-dozen fresh organic duck eggs – and I have to leave them on the front porch for her to pick them up tonight.
    I am not looking for sympathy here. Things are what they are. A lot of people are in much rougher spots than I am. Meals on Wheels was killed a couple of years ago. ow How will those folks get good food now, and how will they stave off the virus without it? Where will people living on the street eat if they can’t dumpster dive because the restaurants are closed and the dumpsters are empty? What will people like me, of the right age and sick, do for food if they have not friends to buy it for them. Will they risk it and shop for themselves?
   This is a huge issue, everyone. I hope you all make it through.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Back From the Jungle, Sick Again

WELL, it's been more than a month since I am home from Peru, where Devon and I treated two fantastic groups to deep jungle work in the Amazon, both in getting acquainted with the dangers of that place and the fantastic medicines it offers as well. Both gropups melded wonderfully. Everything was perfect. EXCEPT>>>>> that I stopped being able to walk or stand on my own, which as not just strange but terrifying.
Things got bad enough that Devon insisted I come home several days early from the trip--days that I was sup[posed to be using to find a boat for my next big expedition--and I was in bad enough shape that I let him lead the way.
If he was not traveling with me I do not believe they would have let me on the plane. I did not realize how ill I was.
I got home on a Friday afternoon and was in the hospital on Saturday morning, one step above regular hospital and one step below ICU. Turns out my kidneys had failed, mu bladder had collapsed, I was holding several gallons of water in my legs and torso and bladder that couldnot pass becuse my prostte had sudenly enlarged horribly. I had a majpor bleeding ulcer and needed four pints of blood, and then there was the infection in my legs.
Oy vey, this was not great. 14 days in the hospital and they set me free with a catheter tied to my privates and my leg to allow me to drain my urine. 10 medicines that have me terrified to use sapo right now because I don't know what the interactions will be. I am still laughing as best as I can. I'm cooking up a storm. I'm getting better. I do not like having to put a 12 inch catheter into my private parts every five hours--that is a serious invasion and it hurts, as well.
Oh, and I got fired from y job at thenewspper--Im too sick these days--and some land I OWN IN Peru was invaded by dozens of people who started butting my pristine forest to build houses.
All in all a tough month. I wonder why I keep getting tested. WHAT'S THE POINT? SEEMS Ive been tested for years now. Do I ever get a freaking diplomaq? I don't think so.
And I know that millions of people every day have it way worse than me. I wish I could alleviate their pain and eliminate their suffering. I would do anything if I could do that. Unfortunately, I'm just this guy in this pretty broken body with no superpowers to heal people.
For all of you, I hope you are strong and share your strength. Hug someone you love and make sure they know you love them.