>Wednesday and Thursday were chock full of exciting site visits for my upcoming book on things to do that are off the beaten path in New York City.

On Wednesday, I bought an awesome magnet depicting Louis Armstrong sitting on a toilet shilling for Swiss Krissly laxatives. (Satchmo-Slogan: Leave It All Behind Ya) at the Louis Armstrong House. As I learned on the tour, Armstrong took Swiss Krissly laxatives every day. Yes, every day. He also smoked a lot of pot and once fooled Richard Nixon into carrying his trump case, stuffed with the wacky weed and his instrument, through airport security in France. The whole house tour and strange rituals sort of reminded me of that other Southern musical sensation who died 30 years ago yesterday. (Sorry, Ma, but Graceland seems even tackier compared with Armstrong's house, even though it has some over-the-top elements as well.)

At the end of the day, I stopped by El Indio Amazonico botanica that someone told me would be perfect for the book. Unfortunately, the website is no longer up, but this place scared the fucking shit out of me. (No need for Swiss Krissly here.) The window had a picture depicting a close up of Jesus's face and the cross he is nailed to behind his head. As the picture rotated, his eyes flipped open and shut, thanks to the high tech working of whatever material it is that causes images to shift when the angle changes. (Not and saina hologram, but I can't think of the term.) There were oodles of Jesus statues with blood gushing from their sad eyes to welcome me when I stepped inside. What I didn't notice, however, was the painted chicken foot attached to a string of beads dangling from the ceiling. It would up slightly tangled in my hair. Chicken feet weren't the only talismans available, though. Horseshoes with shit glued and/or nailed on them were everywhere. Photos show El Indio Amazonico healing people, and the pile of abandoned crutches in the front corner of the shop seemed to testify to his success. This would have cracked me up had the statue of some saint with blood gushing from numerous gaping wounds stared accusingly at me. I bought a candle that would bring good luck (it has pennies glued to the outside and stuck within the wax, and I am sure that they charged the gringa at least double for it) and got the fuck out of there.

Thursday afternoon's odd adventure is told so well by Super Des that you should just read it there. I am so glad she joined me for the fun. Damn, I love this kind of shit.