Tuesday, December 29, 2020

A little something about sapo/kambo frog medicine

On a FB page I am associated with, people were discussing the use of saliva versus water for moistening the frog medicine. i was going to stay out until someone put my name in there and asked what i thought. This is what I wrote:

In my experience with the Matsés. only a strong person would serve the medicine, and their saliva included their spirit, so that the recipient was getting the medicine along with the strong spirit of the server. Same with nü-nü; the person blowing the medicine into you was sharing part of themselves with their breath. Of course, in these current times it is probably better to serve yourself or use your own saliva. But I'll be getting back to tradition as soon as I feel it safe enough.

Someone responded to that with a question about how I actually mixed the medicine. This is what I wrote:

For mixing, I put a little saliva (very clean, freshly brushed teeth, a gargle with a mouth wash, a small bit of agua florida, then a little water and then wait 10 minutes--no hocking loogies!) on a cleared spot on the stick, then, with a very sharp knife run that over a tiny bit of the medicine to moisten it, then scrape that moistened medicine into the saliva on the stick. Mix well and there you have it. i do understand some people have issues with this method of application. But it is the only way I do it. I always have a song to sing and a few ministrations to do before I mix and serve the medicine to make certain I am centered, clear, and strong enough to do the work required -- which is exhausting.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Age if Aquarius

 Singing: I don't know much about history, don't know much about geography, but I do know that I love you.... I don't know anything about anything except that I am running on an empty I cannot explain. Little eating and sleeping for near two weeks now. Need to rest every 20 steps. Two huge projects, a cookbook and a musical that could be finished in a month but have not had the strength to work on them for a month. Gonna get tested tomorrow. But more importantly tonight starts the age of Aquarius. Coming is a time of peace. Coming is an age of decency. The birth has been a difficult one. The last thousand years has seen Pisces fight against itself. Now comes the change. I will be part of it. I hope you all will be part of it as well. Good luck, everybody.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Cooking in the Kitchen


So there I was: Three days I did not want to cook, just because. Maybe the first three day stint of not cooking for my kids since they were born. Made macaroni salad to go with the fresh Corned beef and pastrami I bought at Carshon's Deli in Fort Worth (with egg bread and fresh rye), the other day, and made a rice side for something a couple of days ago, but basically was too freaking depressed to cook.
Today I woke differently: I wanted to sweep, mop, pick up stray garbage from the road that had found my place, get rid of cobwebs in the house, do laundry and that sort of thing. And for dinner I was gonna make my semi-famous Lime Chicken (buy the cookbook cause that recipe is worth the price of admission). But I realized that my son-in-law, Adrian, had bought an extra pound of Virginia ham the other day, and we had really good Swiss cheese, so I switched to Chicken Cordon Bleu. Cut pockets in the large half-breasts of chicken, stuffed them with chopped Swiss and Virginia ham, then breaded and seared them and tossed them in the oven where they are currently cooking at 325º.
Normally, you would make a mushroom-Marsala sauce with those babies, but I don't have mushrooms. What I do have is some refrigerated and still-fresh homemade cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving and some Marsala wine and a bit of heavy cream so I am going to make a Cranberry-Cream-Marsala sauce and it is going to be innovative and fantastic.
Remember that when you are in the kitchen, you are supposed to play. That keeps it interesting and makes it fun.

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Rock 'n Roll


Rock n Roll
Not sure how it came up but while I was driving today with my friend Adrien, the subject of rock 'n roll encounters came up. I told him I didn't have many but did have a few good ones. My first was with my absolute favorite, Al Kooper. I'd seen a show of his at the Cafe Au GoGo in New York — it was located in a basement in Greenwich Village — and after the show he was hanging around. He was playing with The Blues Project at the time, which I thought was an incredible band, and so I walked up to him and offered him a joint. He suggested we smoke it together. He told me the story of playing the organ, unexpectedly, for Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone, and some others. Man, I thought I was in the presence of greatness.
Later, just being in New York City, ran into Art Garfunkle, Dave Crosby, and Rod Stewart, among others. For each I just thanked them for the music but didn't have any longer contact.
I do have a good Rod Stewart story, however. My friend Philip B, with whom I shared a tenement apartment on 76th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues in Manhattan, had gone to California, and one of the things he was going to do was see a Rod Stewart show as a guest of the great photographer Annie Liebovitz, after which Philip had been invited by Annie to come to the place where she was staying and planned to shoot Stewart for a Rolling Stone cover.
I left for California a couple of days after Phil, hitchhiking out west and came in a few hours late for the show and shoot. Phil came in a few hours after I got to the place he was staying, and told me that Annie sort of hated him. I asked why. He said that after hellos and such, Annie went to another room to get what she needed for the shoot, and told Stewart to get comfortable in African fan-back wicker chair. Phil said that Stewart sat in it and began to lounge comfortably in the big chair.
But Phil knew that Annie had used the chair once before and said he could not resist telling Stewart that he looked great in the Ian Anderson chair. Anderson, of course, was the founder of Jethro Tull and had been on the cover of Rolling Stone in that same chair.
Phil said that Stewart, on hearing that he was sloppy seconds, almost had a heart attack, and then ran out of the house, so that when Annie came back into the room, her model had fled.
I was later at Annie L's loft in New York and on one of the walls was a strip of small photos, maybe eight or 12 of them. They were pics of Janis Joplin taking off her blouse and showing off her breasts but they were private and Annie did not publish them to the best of my knowledge. Of course she might have and I am just in the dark.
A few years later I was working for Chris Blackwell, helping build both Island Records Grove Street townhouse (meant for visiting Island record musicians) and Island's large Carnegie Hall office/studio location. I was actually working for Danny B, Phil's brother, who often hired Phil and I near the end of big jobs to sort of tidy up the work his real crew had done. We'd worked one of the Kennedy houses on, I think 63rd Street off 3rd Ave, and then Oscar De La Renta's house almost next door and James Schlesinger (CIA Director, Secretary of Defense for Nixon and Ford, among other things, a spook's spook) across from the Kennedy house.
One day at the Carnegie Hall gig I was on my knees at the door, cleaning up the paint at the cut of the floor molding near the door to the complex. In walked Bob Marley with Peter Tosh and some other fellas. Marley accidently stepped on my foot, which was stretched out behind me while I was on my knees. He immediately apologized and offered me a hit of a fat joint they were smoking.
Probably earlier than that, Dan B used Phil and myself for similar work at Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland Studios on 8th street in the Village, where we helped glue up the famous bathroom montage Danny B designed, and I got to work building Jimi's bed. I only met him once because he left for Europe and died. But Phil and I did get to see Led Zepplin recording there through the thick glass windows of a studio. They stopped a song to come out and ask who the hell we were any why we were starting at them.
Years later, maybe 12-15 years ago, I was at home here in bucolic Joshua, Texas, when I got a call one evening. It was from a woman asking if it would be okay if Carlos Santana gave me a call. I said sure but thought it was a prank.
A few minutes later Santana did call. After I went all effusive-fan on him he said he'd seen a story I did about a pot magazine in Chile for High Times a couple of years earlier. He said he and the band were going to Chile and needed a lot of marijuana from a good source, a good driver to show them around, and could I arrange those two things.
Man, I adored Santana's music and to have him come to me for a favor was freaking fantastic. Took about 4 calls to get it all arranged by we worked it out.
Anyway, that is my little history of contact with the world of rock 'n roll. I'm sure there is more — like catering a private party for the Talking Heads and the B-52s, or working with Sting on a project he was doing in Amzonia — but I can't think of many more this minute.

Sunday, December 06, 2020

A note on Ayahuasca

 My friend, Steve Bloom, who owns and runs the website Celebstoner.com and was my compatriot at High Times for nearly 20 years, asked me to write a short thing on ayahuasca to go along with a piece he had on Miley Cyrus talking about it's effect on her life. Here is what I gave him:

Curved Papers

Miley Cyrus Calls Ayahuasca 'One of My Favorite Drugs'

Miley Cyrus (image via Rolling Stone) and pot full of vines and leaves that will become ayahuasca when cooked.

Miley Cyrus is sober these days, but she tells Rolling Stone:

"I would possibly take mushrooms. I did take ayahuasca, and I really liked that, but I really don't think I would do it again."

Cyrus goes on to explain:

"Ayahuasca was definitely one of my favorite drugs I’ve ever done. When I did it, I asked everyone else in the room, 'Did your entire life just change? Are you a new person?' They all looked at me and said, 'No.' And they’re like, 'You’re so extreme. Of course you have to have the most extreme trip off all.' Actually, the shaman said people take ayahuasca three, four times, sometimes 30 times before they have the kind of trip I had. I saw the snakes right away, and the snakes come and grab you and take you to the Mama Aya, and she walks you through your whole trip, and it was pretty crazy. I loved it, though."

Named CelebStoner of the Year in 2013, Cyrus smoked marijuana in public everywhere she could, including at award shows. But by 2017, the pop star stopped using it and knocked potheads.

"I like to surround myself with people that make me want to get better, more evolved, open. And I was noticing, it's not the people that are stoned. I want to be super clear and sharp, because I know exactly where I want to be."

Cyrus tells Rolling Stone she fell off the wagon during the pandemic and began drinking again. But no drugs. "Haven't done drugs in years," she says. "It would have to be a cold day in hell for me to relapse on drugs." It's unclear which drugs she's referring and whether Cyrus even considers marijuana a drug.

Peter Gorman pilots a boat near Iquitos, Peru.

A Few Words About Ayahuasca

By Peter Gorman

We asked enthogenic plants expert Peter Gorman for his thoughts about ayahuasca. He sent us this reply.

Ayahuasca is a traditional tool for divination used throughout much of the Amazon jungle, particularly in the Northwest regions. It's a brew made by combining ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) with chacruna (Psychotria viridis, a plant in the coffee family) or huambisa (Diplopterys cabrerena) infused with the smoke of regional black tobacco, in river water. It's known by a host of names - yajé and natem among them - depending on which indigenous group is talking about it.

As a tool in the hands of a medicine man or woman, it allows the user, a curandero or curandera, to divine whether the medicine person’s village is about to be attacked, or when it was the right time to attack other villages, as well as when it was time to plant foods and so forth.

But ayahuasca also lets the user interact with the spirit world, allowing them to get in touch with dead relatives or ancients, and to connect with the spirits of plants to divine how to heal illnesses. It's also used by riveriños - people who live on the river - to divine who's bringing them bad luck with their crops or with love, who's giving them the evil eye and so forth.

"I’ve always thought of ayahuasca as three years of psychotherapy in a three-hour dream."

The Western world began a fascination with ayahuasca in the late 1980s, much of it due to the work of Terence McKenna and his brother Dennis. The central point of that fascination is Iquitos, Peru, which currently has several dozen lodges specializing in serving the medicine.

In much of Amazonia, it's typical of river people to reach out to a curandero or curandera and present them with their problems. The medicine person then drinks the ayahuasca, goes to another level of reality and contacts friendly spirits there who provide answers to the user’s questions. Westerners have turned that model on its head by insisting on drinking the ayahuasca along with the medicine person serving it.

As popular as ayahuasca has become it's unlikely to catch on as a club drug because most people drink it spend a good portion of the ceremony vomiting up the bile of their lives in an uncontrollable manner.

The ceremony is generally done at night, in darkness, lasting from three to five hours. The participants sit in a semi-circle around the person serving, who chants and shakes a bundle-leaf rattle throughout the ceremony as an anchor to the people drinking.

Users find that it treats all sorts of illnesses, from PTSD to chronic stomach ailments, that it frequently allows a person to glimpse what they describe as the divine, or life force of the universe, and that it can reset a person’s life by bringing up and eliminating painful and debilitating memories. I’ve always thought of it as three years of psychotherapy in a three-hour dream.

Gorman is author of Ayahuasca  in My Blood and the subject of the documentary More Joy Less Pain. He leads ayahuasca tours several times a year.

Trump Dementia

 A friend of mine is a Trumpster. When she writes I have to contradict her. Today she claimed that I have never produced exact points to prove my point. So I gave her this round up:

He left our allies, the Kurds, to be slaughtered when he sent our military to protect Iraq's oil. He is leaving Yemen and Somalia to be slaughtered without our military training. He has dropped twice the number of drone bombs that Obama did while pretending to be disengaged from foreign engagements. he has sold more military death equipment to the mid-east than any previous president. He ignored Putin putting a bounty on our soldiers with the Taliban. He has overseen the worst pandemic in 100 years in this country with joyfulness as our friends have died from it. HE has overseen the worst depression this country has ever had and joyfully rolls in the suffering of citizens. He has had millions and millions of dollars directed to his golf courses, hotels and so forth, completely against the law. He promised infrastructure and never gave a hint at what that would be. He promised to bring jobs home but kept his own factories in China and lost millions of jobs here through his inane trade misques. He promised to give us healthcare but has not bothered with that. He has spent billions on a total of a new "WALL' with Mexico which totals six miles but has lined his friends pockets with billions. He has rolled back restrictions on clean water and air, he had claimed that windmills cause cancer and kill millions of birds. HE IS, in short, a madman. You want to get into this, I'll be glad to go toe to toe.

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Being Afraid of Something

Okay, so most of you probably heard this before, so just shut it down. Cause I am gonna complain a little. I am 69, going on 70 in two months or so and I am terrified. I have never been afraid of anything in my life. Let's amend that to say I have not been terrified of most things in my life. That's better and more honest. I have always been afraid of Chris Barker, who wanted to kill me for dating Diane Z when she was his high school girlfriend, but I did not know that.
Okay, so I have been afraid some times. But not so much. I walked across the Peruvian Amazon to brazil a few times, I hitchhiked 50,000 miles in the USA, been to India, Morocco, Columbia, Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and so forth and not been afraid. I've been bitten by a bushmaster snake, a coral snake, an anaconda and not been afraid. I've been bitten by botflies, poisonous ants, bullet ants, vampire bats, and a Braziliaqn wandering spider, the most poisonous spider in the world, and not been afraid. I have had my intestines rupture, flesh eating bacteria twice and was not afraid. I raised three kids and was terrified. That is the exception.
But I am going into my third surgery in a month on Tuesday and I am scared as shit. What if they keep me for a week or two like they did a year ago or in February? What if there is something wrong that I don't know? And then I see kidney doctors three days later, on Friday and what is up with that? Shit, I find myself frightened after living a daring life mostly without fear. Damnit!!!

 I followed up that post with this a few days later:

Well, I bored you all with my irrational fear of hospitals and doctor visits because of how many I have had in the last several years, most of them costing me money and causing me pain, which is why I don't like them.
So today I hyperventilated from about 2 AM until 1 PM, when I was in an open hospital gown and laying on a hospital bed being prepped for surgery. That part is fine. It's the preamble that messes me up.
Anyway, survived the wait, survived the anesthesia, and evidently survived the operation, which my Doc, Doc Waters, said was a success. I'll find out if that's true in the next few days, because if I can stop self cathererizing 12 or so times a day, which I have done since March 2 well then, that is a good operation. thanks to all of you who sent light, love, peace and good juju. I appreciate it a great deal. You all were probably the difference, so thank you.
And I hope that any of you facing an operation have them go well as well.