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I am a mystic madman, a wandering wildman, scholar of esoterica, dilettante sadhu, dready-headed hippie (only have a few jata on the back of my head right now, though more be forming of this third set of knotted hair), gentle yogi, fierce foe of falsity. I was a preacher, but I renounced that. I was married, but she renounced me. I was a grad student at one of the top universities in the world on my way to becoming a professor, but I realized they taught lies there too. I am protector of souls, lover of mountains, smoker of herb, fond of hot springs, oceans and lakes and rivers and rain and sunshine, devotee of Devi.

Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Care For a Chip with that Public Insurance Option?

Though I might be often classified as a "conspiracy theorist," I try to take with a proverbial grain of salt whatever new dark top-secret information is revealed via the internet. This in mind, I do feel the obligation to spread the word about a the potential extreme violation of personal privacy that seems to be included in at least one draft of the heath-care reform bill being offered to congress: widescale computer chip implantation!!!!

According to abovetopsecret.com, a site that does include sometimes veritable and sometimes frighteningly valid information about the grand conspiracies of our world as well as some amount of bunk and bullshit, HR 3200 includes the authorization for the implantation of chips containing not only pertinent health information on the implantee, but also the possibility for tracking functions.


If this site hadn't such strong quotation and citations included in the strand I perused, I might brush this aside as an attempt to derail health care reform and the offer of a public health insurance option. I have yet to be able to verify this information on opencongress.org or any other site with copies of this bill. If true, however, this is clearly an exceedingly startling and obvious move further from freedom and towards the sort of totalitarian society warned of in Brave New World and 1984.

Yeah, even with Obama as President the totalitarian creeps are still at it, and perhaps (and if so, quite disappointingly) in the guise of a trojan horse. Inasmuch as I'd like to be unhesitatingly a supporter of the seemingly best figure to hold this nation's highest governmental office in decades, it seems portions of the agenda have changed little from the fascist laws enacted with the Patriot Acts, and likely set in motion decades previous.

In other words, don't let down your guard just yet, young revolutionaries!! The struggle for justice and freedom continues . . . !!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More thoughts about लीला (lila)

Life as divine theater, a workable analogy for our roles in existence, the Raison d'être for joy and sorrow, for all human drama at the interpersonal and corporate scale (not directly, though not entirely not, including the denotation of the word "corporate" as refering to the most common usage these days, i.e., as an adjective refering to a "corporation" in the nowadays perjorative sense), and even including other two, as well as four and six and eight and no-legged creatures and plants, water and rocks and air and fire, the planets and stars, galaxies spinning and . . .

A "love story" for lack of a better English phrase, of Goddess and God, for lack of a better pair of terms in the English language (though I ought note, as I've in a previous post, the English word God is derived from the Sanskrit word go, which translates directly as cow).

Sometime this divine human drama has been--though hopefully decreasingly in the future--a story played out in the battles between states and between empires; has and shall be writ at levels macro- and micro-, above and below, in a breeze blows, a proverbial tree that falls in the forest, a significant drop of water falling upon a leaf, the collision of two distant planets and in so many other ways which may or may not directly involve the divine creatures known as man and woman in any given scene. Yet always it comes back to a Yoga that is good, a dance that is beautiful, play that is pure (abhyasA-yoga, atirUpa-nata, sattva-lila).

Of options given in any discourse to which I've been made privy, 'tis the best paridigmatic framework I've discovered, the most healthy and beatific vision can seemingly be made of the confusion of love that makes life interesting, and of said word's opposites and seeming opposites that make life not so seemingly beautiful.

लीला, Lila is more Much Ado . . . than No Exit, though life lived sometimes does not well fit lila, at least not from every given vantage.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Plants and Drugs: There Is A Difference

Mexico has just announced the decriminalization of small amounts of certain "drugs" including marijuana, cocaine and heroin. This move is understood as an attempt to shift the focus of Mexican police further towards prosecuting producers and cartels, and away from prosecuting otherwise innocent users. Though I do not entirely disagree that this approach makes some sense in terms of law-enforcement logistics, my primary issue with this policy is that marijuana is still being lumped together with the chemically refined and far more harmful substances which definitely do deserve the classification as "drugs," and which should not be legal, whereas plant form substances should not be controlled by any government.

Marijuana, and even hashish (consisting of the concentrated THC crystals that form on the female Cannabis plant's buds, usually gathered by hand--charas, else separated from the green plant material by a water process, as in the Mediteranean style of hash production), is a natural-form of a plant that happens to have wonderful medicinal and recreational uses. There is neither any significantly negative environmental nor social impact caused by the production or consumption of Cannabis.

The transactions of even pounds of homegrown marijuana rarely include guns or violence (weed just doesn't lend itself to fighting, despite sometimes large amounts of money sometimes involved). A high percentage of functional and happy (very happy) professionals use marijuana on a regular basis, and with incomparably minimal detrimental effects in relation to even the moderate use of alcohol. If one is an accountant, for example, one might find it inexpedient to smoke weed much during tax season, but other than that, ain't any real harm marijuana does to the average man or woman who puffs, from time-to-time or all the time . . . till the enforcement of unjust laws get involved.


Pure leaves from the coca tree make for a very tasty cup of tea, with a stimulant effect milder and healthier for a body than even caffeine. I was given a box of tea bags packaged and marked just like a box of Celestial Seasons SleepyTime from South America by a friend who went there to visit his missionary sister and brother-in-law. This coca leaf tea was pretty tasty, and didn't leave me jonesin' in the least.

Cocaine is refined by the use of sodium carbonate mixed with coca leaves and stomped in pits or barrels by peasants with bare feet, who thus sustain burns and lose flesh into the mix, then by using kerosene, sulphuric or hydrochloric acid, potassium permanganate and acetone to come up with the final product--all noxious chemicals that damage both the health of the people involved and the environment to no small degree.

Insofar as societal effects, you ever happen to know somebody who was cool and kind until cocaine got involed? Pretty common to see a decent human being turn bad when much cocaine gets into the mix . . . not to mention enhanced violence when cocaine and money are intertwined, which they usually are.

The opium poppy, a rather pretty flower, produces opium with minimal preparation involving no use of toxic chemicals to produce a substance which has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Though potentially addictive, occasional and respectful use of this flower's pure essence has minimal impact--though I might add, I have smoked opium on occasion, and must say I'm not particularly fond of it.

To make heroin, production near the opium fields and farms of Asia utilizes such environmentally detrimental and potentially deadly chemicals as calcium hydroxide, ammonium chloride, and hydrochloric acid, not to mention those further chemicals used once the partially refined product is sent to the labs. These chemicals end up spilled and dumped on the land and then in the streams, rivers and lakes of the countryside, poisoning fish and plant and animals as well as people having nothing to do with the production of this drug. Heroin is well known as the cause of the ruination of the lives of many users, and as a means of potentially deadly disease transmission via dirty needles.


Basically, I am arguing that these three plants, when in or very close to plant form, are fairly innocuous, and in fact beneficial with appropriate usage. The refined forms produced from coca leaves and opium flowers, however, have both extremely negative human and environmental impact.

Herbal medicine and "drugs" just ain't the same thing!! The world's laws and law enforcement policies ought to reflect this, and to recognize the difference between toxic chemically-tainted shit and useful plants given by Goddess and God for our use.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Instead of Nerve Gas, How About Natural Mosquito Control?!?!

Well, after hanging all sorts of flyers in Laramie and now a few in Saratoga telling about the potential side-effects of the synthetic pyrethroids and malathion that many communities and regions spray in the air to control mosquitos, I decided I ought to offer a few alternatives to those of you who don't like getting fogged with nerve gas . . .

First one, and one I've been promoting for years as a natural replacement for fogging with neurotoxins:


They just love to munch those bugs!!!!

Get rid of any standing water, or if you have a fountain or ornamental pond, why not add some fish that eat mosquitos and their larvae. Koi (i.e., those big goldfish) eat mosquitoes and their larvae, as do frogs and their tadpoles. There are also mosquito specific parasites and bacteria that can be purchased for the issue, but I'd rather watch the fish or tadpoles or frogs eat 'em!! It is also of note that the toxins sprayed from trucks or planes designed to kill mosquitos also kill their predators!!! Rather counterproductive, eh?!?!

Purple martins and mud swallows are also effective at depleting mosquito populations, and putting up birdhouses for the former and encouraging the presence of the latter can be of no small help in naturally controlling said blood suckers . . . and they're a nice way to bring nature closer to your urban, suburban or rural home.

Catnip, garlic, rosemary, marigolds, mosquito plants and citronella grass/lemongrass grass planted in your garden are all reported to repel these flying menaces, and can all be nice aesthetic additions to your garden . . .

Beyond these remedies, there are a number of natural and non-toxic topically applied mosquito repellants that work as well or better than the questionable DEET products sold over the counter. These include Neem Oil, Soy Oil, Citronella Oil, Lemon, Eucalyptus Oil, Cinnamon Oil, Castor Oil, Rosemary Oil, Lemongrass Oil, Cedar Oil, Peppermint Oil, Clove Oil, Geranium Oil and Oils from Verbena, Pennyroyal, Lavender, Pine, Cajeput, Basil, Thyme, Allspice, Soybean, and Garlic. Some of these have proven as much as twice as effective as DEET based products, and without the risks. DEET has been especially called into question when it comes to its use on or near children, so do please consider its use especially when preparing your kids for time in the outdoors. Planting these in your garden will also likely keep away those biting aerial attacks.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Domesticated Hot Springs and Yet More Wild Food in a Semi-Wild Place

Hanging out in Saratoga at Lolipops, the only semblance of a coffeehouse in town, though their homemade icecream seems the main seller in the summertime. I'm mainly in town for the "Hobo Pool," the super-hot mineral hot springs that flows at 118 degrees fahrenheit. Luckily their are a few cooler pools, including the one pictured above.

I've pitched my tent in the midst of some willow thickets several dozen yards from the pools near some channels that connect to the Platte River, and only a stone's throw from a golf course. Lush growth covers the area, and deer, rabbits, and a plethora of migratory songbirds wander past my sleeping-place at all hours. And with only a cursory glance around my campsite I've found quite a surprising abundance of wild edible plants.

As I sat meditating and chanting just outside the door of my tent, I looked amidst the grass in front of my half-lotus seat and what did I spy, but two wild potato plants--at least that's what they appear to be, though I've not dug to find the tubers.

Just before reaching my tent through the brush are a batch of milkweed/silkweed (Asclepias speciosa). The shoots can be cooked like asparagus. the younger leaves cand flower buds can be prepared as a potherb, and even the early stages of the pods can be cooked and are said to taste similar to okra.

A few feet further is the first of many patches of thistle, which though common and not so appealing as many wild edible plants, has many culinary uses.

A little ways down a two-rut road that leads to the Hot Springs park I noticed off the side of the path at the edge of one of the irrigation ditches a patch of cattails, which are a virtual pantry in the wild.

Tumblemustard (genus Sisybrium) is quite common, and have reasonable quality as a potherb and can be added to salads. The seeds, though rather small, were gathered and ground by Native American Indians.

A little further down the trail grow numerous patches of Lambs Quarters, also known by the colorful names "Pitseed Goosefoot" and "Pigweed." The seeds can be ground and made into gruel or bread, and the young leaves and tender shoots have long been used in salads or cooked like spinach.

Speaking of plants named for geese, on the same path I found a very fecund gooseberry current bush. Though a bit sour until first frost or so, these raisin-like fruits have many well known uses.

Next on the path I glanced to my left and discovered some rosehips, a well known source of vitamin C.

And then rows of Lamb's Quarters/Pitseed Goosefoot/Pigweed

With all this wild food growing within the limits of a city--granted, a city surrounded by much wilderness--nature shows her bounty, available for any and all. Many of the plants I mentioned grow even in the densest urban settings, if not necessarily in the quantity required to make an easy meal, at least present enough to show that all humans need for nourishment is given by the providence of mother nature.

As a last notable wild food, one in fact more common where there has been human disturbance, I was out on the lawn behind the coffeehouse when I noticed several "plantain" plants. Not to be mistaken for the banana-like fruit, native plantain leaves can be cooked any number of ways. These plants are often found growing through the cracks in sidewalks, in lawns and on the sides of roads. My favorite mode of preparing this particular plant is battered with cornmeal or flour and salt and fried in oil like potato-chips.

Whilst I was contemplating the amazing amount of food Goddess Annapurna provides throughout the natural and even the densely populated world, I looked up and noticed that a local police officer was approaching. Despite the laptop, cell phone and digital camera, tweed jacket and nice button-up shirt--assumed signs of professionalism, etc.--some f-ing bumpkin local still stuck in the fifties and still clinging to life despite being far past his/her/their shelf-life apparently noticed a man with a big beard and long hair and decided I must be a threat to their false assumption of what is the current status quo. Well, as this post is supposed to be about wild foods and not civil liberties, I shall wait a bit before penning (er, typing) an entry about this experience. I will note, however, that the officer was quite cordial and not at all offensive. More later . . .

[Just wanted to add the photo below of a wild edible and medicinal plant I found on the path to the hot springs after originally publishing this post. Nettle, or "stinging nettle" is listed as a potherb in the Harrington book, and has various medicinal uses as a tea and to relieve arthritis. If your joints ache, just sting your aching knee or elbow by touching it to the stingers on the side of the plant, and the numbing action is said to soothe pain from your spell of rheumatism.]

[Another addendum: what I thought was Lamb's Quarter was actually saltbrush, also an edible plant. They really do look a exceedingly similar . . .]

[and just had to add this one more wild fruit I found, a wild cherry bush that along with some gooseberries and turbinado sugar provided me something tasty and delightful to add to a peanut butter and tortilla sandwich]