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Welcome To Vilcabamba
"The Sacred Valley of Longevity"

This Is A Privately Circulated Blog, scribbled exclusively for Friends & Familiars, that peers into and pontificates about Expat life in the hinterlands of South America. If your eyesight is less than optimal (like mine), then just click the type size up a notch on your browser..

Here you will find a series of curmudgeonly commentaries that I've posted from atop my rickety old soapbox for the past few years. And yes, there are indeed political rantings, so place your seats in the upright position and fasten your seat belts .... it may be a bumpy ride.


Ritalin and the Day-Dreamers Amongst Us

My paternal grandfather was a doctor, a physician specializing in psychiatry. However, he always thought of himself as a neurologist, that subsection of medicine dealing with the nervous system. HUGE difference between the two practices.

At its core all psychiatry is a collection of theories expressed by humans who still cannot define the ‘psyche’, ‘mind’ or what it to be ‘human’. Even the cult founder of psychiatry, Schlomo Freud (you probably know him by name of Dr. Sigmund Freud who died as a cocaine addict), acknowledged that since ‘mind’ cannot be examined by collecting and codifying all human behavior - - except by means of classifying the subject in question as being either ‘sane’ or 'mentally ill’.

Granddad never believed in that controverial psychiatric distinction. My father’s older brother, also a M.D. physician, but who called himself a psychiatrist, did. Different generation and different belief system.

This so-called ‘science’ known as psychiatry is based on criteria listed in the widely used “Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals of Mental Disorders”. In other words, criteria made up by the psychiatrists themselves that has generated much criticism, including the National Institute of Medical Health, which argued that the DSM is both unscientific and subjective. A good example of this is to be found in term “Attention Deficit Syndrome”, otherwise known as plain old inattention by those of us who habitually looked out of the school windows day-dreaming during boring classroom lectures. Today you get the prescription medication called Ritalin for that.

Both Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak who invented Apple Computers, along with a bright guy named Einstein, were dreamers ... and none of them were forced to take Ritalin back then. Oh wait a minute, “Attention Deficit Syndrome” had not been invented by the psychiatrists yet. Hmm-mmm, ‘Nuff said?


"A Wicked Storm This Way Comes"

In the midst of the elder-age season of my discontent, I see that there is already a wicked storm beginning to sweep across the land of North America. However, most folks are too distracted by their iGadgets and the imbecilic political campaigns to notice. Just so long as we can Twitter, text, post selfies and amuse ourselves with other electronic opiates, the longer we will remain unconscious to the dangers around us.

What we are now experiencing is but the lull before the actual storm. Despite those lightning flashes over on the horizon, few are heading for the safety of their storm cellars. The potential for catastrophe is exceedingly high and burying our heads in the sand is not a viable strategy.

“The people have been permitting a small cadre of elitists, billionaire financiers, corporate chiefs, propagandist media moguls, and crooked politicians to make the choices dictating the path of our country since the 2008 dawn of this Fourth Turning. The choices they have made and continue to make have imperiled the world and guaranteed a far more calamitous outcome as we attempt to navigate through the trials and tribulations ahead. Their strategy to “save the country” by saving bankers, while selling the plan to the public as beneficial to all and essential to saving our economic system, has proven to be nothing more than the greatest wealth transfer scheme in human history.” - theburningplatform.com


Don Alverto Taxo, Ecuadorian Shaman

Several years ago I posted a talk by an Ecuadorian Shaman/Teacher named don Alverto Taxo. It is in beautifully spoken Spanish, but with English subtitles. For those of you who would like an insight into the culture and belief system of the native people of the Andes of South America, this is well worth a listen.


Rattling of Sabers .... again!

I have moved this previously posted item up to the beginning once again, due to the continued bombardment of invective by our politicians crying for WAR against Iran and and Syria ... and everywhere else in this battered world of ours. It is well worth reading (and hearing) again. It is, in fact, my small tribute to those who have served us so well in battle, but who have been so ill-served upon their return by the very politicians and media pundits who sent them into harm's way.

As I see and hear those in congress, and those in this current administration, rattle their sabers and cry out for war with .....(insert your choice of countries here) ..... the majority of whom have never even served militarily, not to speak of never having seen combat, I'm reminded of a very old ballad sung by the late great Liam Clancy of the Clancy Brothers. It is a cautionary tale about the horrors of war presented in the lyrics of a mournful song, one which every armchair warrior and political hack urging us to war ought to take to heart.


"The Drum Major Instinct" Martin Luther King, Jr

Here is something quite different from my usual 'offerings'. By way of the always brilliant mind of "Jesse"


It is the last sermon given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr prior to his assignation 2 months later.

It is a christian-oriented sermon, but it goes far beyond mere secularism and is something that needs to be heard with an open and unbiased mind. As important today as it was some 40 years ago.


Vilcabamba's Glacial Milk

I am often asked about why I selected Vilcabamba as a place to live. That's easy to answer. It was the water.

Let me explain.

There is a protected Ecuadorian regional preserve, Podocarpus National Park, which claims to have pre-Ice Age microorganisms and one of the world's few remaining pristine rainforests. This virtually inaccessible area surrounds the hidden-away Garden of Eden called Vilcabamba.

High up among the surrounding mountain peaks lies this area of primeval tundra, which is made up of great masses of vegetation .... layer upon layer of these grasses and vegetation of many types and colors. In this untouched and uninhabited area, there are also some fourteen lakes, each containing the melt of this uncontaminated glacier ice.

This icy melt is often referred to as "Glacial Milk", a solution of ionically dissolved elements in a suspension of finely ground rock dust from the living parent rock of the mountains through glacial friction. The suspended minerals in this "Glacial Milk" are referred to as metallic colloidal minerals.

Come the rainy season, these lakes of glacial water overflow and flood the tundra, which then acts as a filter for any undesirable heavy metals or minerals. But this humic layer does far more than merely act as a filtering devise. These plants and ancient vegetation had never been exposed to any chemicals, fertilizers or pesticides. The plants are gradually transformed into humus, a rich organic mass that is food for new plant life.

After seeping through these countless layers of humic tundra, this purest of waters flows down into thousands of pools, then into hundreds of cascading waterfalls. And remember this part, because the countless waterfalls contribute to the wonderfully high negative ion count in the valley, which contributes to its healthiness. Finally, the long journey of the pristine water ends up in the water jugs and homes of the people of Vilcabamba.

And that, dear readers, is what brought me to Vilcabamba .... the Agua Sacrada (sacred water) of this Andean village in the mountains of Ecuador.


Listen up, Congress people!

Here is an older post that I have moved up to the present. Why, you might ask?

Well, it is even more relevant today than when I first wrote it back in 2012. Take a peek and see if you don't agree.

Listen up, Congress people! You are NOT going to disintegrate our country because of your petty bickering, pandering and posturing. You who have been sent to our nation’s capitol to represent and serve us—the very men and women we elected to get us out of this mess—cannot seem to tie your own shoe laces, much less offer a solution to our economic problems. Instead, you have sold our votes cheaply to those who would profit from your political ineptness …. The banksters, lobbyists and corporatists. But NO MORE!

We The People are coming together in a coalition as diverse as the left-leaning 99% Occupiers and the conservative Tea Partiers to sweep you and your oligarchical cronies into the dustbin of history. We are slowly arising to take back our Republic, to reestablish our constitutionally guaranteed Rights and the Rule Of Law .... with Justice.

And the first order of New Business will be to revise the size and complexity of our institutions and practices of governance. Nothing should be “too big to fail” if it means that our beloved country falls as a result. You, the politicians, could have led in this renewal effort, but to your everlasting shame you have not. So we say to you, NO MORE!

Go home and be replaced by those who are no longer constrained by either ideology or political obligation, by those of our fellow citizens who will sit down in the spirit of compromise and find solutions for the good of the whole country and its citizenry. It CAN be done. It MUST be done.


A Thought ..........

I have been thinking about what has been going on in my former long-time home, back on the Island of Maui in Hawaii.

When I boarded a flight back to the US Mainland some seven years ago, in route to my newly established home in Ecuador, I left a place that had felt like Paradise for a quarter of my life. But it was also a place that was entering troubling times ..... a place which required a round-the-clock delivery schedule from the outside world. Hawaii, you see, is smack-dab in the middle of the North Pacific ocean, some 1,200 miles away from the US Mainland. All it would take is one prolonged strike by the Longshoremen union to cut off the flow of required Stuff and Things for the islanders.

At least that was the consensus of opinion of the tiny group of people who were my trusted advisors, helping me to make certain that I was fully conscious about what was in the process of coming, both political and economically in the immediate future.

Alas, we were all of us wrong .... at least about the time-span we had left before the SHTF struck the Islands and the US Homeland. But only about the timing, not the fall-out that would surely follow ..... like the up-swelling anger toward the self-serving politicians, Beltway opinionators and professional political hangers-on-ers.

That, my dear readers will certainly come about ..... just as soon as the current Fed chairperson realizes that she and her room-full of bright young economists don't have a clue of what they are doing.


Our Opinionated Politicians

{Opinionated (adjective) .... dogmatic, of fixed views, dictatorial, pontifical, domineering, pompous, self-important, arrogant; inflexible, uncompromising, prejudiced, bigoted.}

Alas, there have been times in my rather long life when I might have held opinions that, to some folks at least, might have seemed to have matched many of the dictionary definitions shown above. But not for long.

I have usually been open-minded enough to eventually embraced a different or revised point of view, when I have been given sufficient facts to support such a change in my thinking. I also try to stay away from expressing personal opinions tainted with bias and prejudice. It is not easy, I will admit. But I do try.

And why, you may ask, do I bring this up? I seriously doubt that anyone listening to or reading the highly politicized remarks of those currently running for elective office anywhere on Earth has firmly believed them to be true. It certainly does not take a genius to realize that the promises being made by our would-be leaders can never be fulfilled. It is almost always a case of a politician holding a wet finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing before making a statement as to what to expect from them in the immediate future.

This may help to explain why a person who is an acknowledged blowhard with little or no chance of eventually winning his party nomination, and of course I am speaking of Donald Trump, is currently leading the pack of Republican hopefuls for the presidency of the United States of America. "The Donald", as he likes to be called, is playing the part of a non-politician, which resonates broadly with younger voters if not with the professional political class itself.

As I write these words I am fully aware that the prolonged political circus being engaged in right now is merely a distraction for the cranks and crazies who make up the electorate these days, plus it provides grist for the mill of our scribes and commentators who would otherwise need to dig up useful NEWS upon which to write and pontificate. Perhaps I should include myself in this, except that I really have no dog in this fight.


A reader's question

A reader asked me a question after I posted yesterday's scribble about my recovery from a stroke. She noticed an unusual tempering of my usual irascible and curmudgeonable outlook on life, which is no doubt very true.

You see, I journeyed from being a completely self-actulising and self-sustaining individual to being someone who was totally dependent on others to take care of my basic needs, in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, I was dependent upon round-the-clock nursing care, which after taking a couple of bad tumbles trying to get around by myself, I still need today. Fortunately for me, the cost of such care here in Ecuador is negligible even without any health insurance.

This dependency at the rather advanced age of 86 can only have a couple of outcomes, either a heightened degree of "woe is me" irascibility or a case of gratitude toward those who take care of me. I am happy to say that it was the heartfelt gratitude that won out in my case. I now have all of my mental faculties back and a very few physical hitches to contend with these days .... nothing that my trusty wheelchair and walking cane can't take care of. So yes, these days my general outlook on life is one of sunny gratitude rather than a harboring of any sour grapes.


Hooray ... Back From The Dark Abyss Of Darkness

Well friends, familiars and assorted readers, I am finally back among you once again. Got what might be considered to be a good excuse for my two-year-long absence ... a major stroke that cost me my short-term memory, including all of my internet passwords. Just today I stumbled upon the access code that would allow me to edit this blog, so here I am at long last.

As soon as I get through celebrating a return to my well-beloved website I will post something of interest .... other than my unexpected health issues. Many things have happened while I have been absent, some of which were to be expected, some not. But as you can imagine, I will have some truths to share with you about the state of affairs taking place in our battered and bruised old world ... just let me gather my strength a bit before I give voice to my opines.

Until then, I wish you a very warm best wishes and my thanks for sticking with me, if indeed you have.