Ants

ant parts

Ants

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The word ant is derived from ante of Middle English which in turn is derived from æmette of Old English and is related to the Old High German āmeiza, hence the modern German Ameise.

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Many of the shots below, particularly the better ones were taken by Dr. Alex Wild, whose work may be found at www.alexanderwild.com

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Dr. Wild is a biologist at the University of Illinois where he studies the evolutionary history of various groups of insects. Alex conducts photography as an aesthetic complement to his scientific work. We highly recommend a visit to his site and note that all of his photographs are copyrighted.

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All of these words come from West Germanic *amaitjo, and the original meaning of the word was “the biter” (from Proto-Germanic *ai-, “off, away” + *mait- ”cut”).

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The family name Formicidae is derived from the Latin formīca (“ant”) from which the words in other Romance languages such as the Portuguese formiga, Italian formica, Spanish hormiga, Romanian furnică and French fourmi are derived.

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It has been hypothesized that a Proto Indo European word *morwi- was used (Sanskrit vamrah, Latin formīca, Greek μύρμηξ mýrmēx, Old Church Slavonic mraviji, Old Irish moirb, Old Norse maurr).

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From the Greek μύρμηξ mýrmēx, we get the scientific name for the study of ants, myrmecology.  This is the Croatian version of the word.

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For every human in the world there are one million ants and a human weighs a million times more than an ant, so that works out to the same presence on earth for humans and ants. Taken altogether, they weigh as much as we do taken altogether.

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The ant’s sense of smell is as acute as the dog’s. Ants have survived on earth for more than 100 million years. Not many other animals can make that statement. There are more than 12,000 species of ants all over the world. An ant can lift twenty times her own body weight.

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Ants have elbowed antennae, metapleural glands, and a constriction of their second abdominal segment into a node-like petiole. The head, mesosoma and metasoma are the three distinct body segments. The petiole forms a narrow waist between their mesosoma and gaster (metasoma).

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Ants have an exoskeleton, an external covering that provides a protective casing around the body and a point of attachment for muscles, in contrast to the internal skeletons of humans.

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Insects do not have lungs. Oxygen and other gases such as carbon dioxide pass through their exoskeleton via tiny valves called spiracles.

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Insects also lack closed blood vessels; instead, they have a long, thin, perforated tube along the top of the body ( the “dorsal aorta”) that functions like a heart, and pumps hemolymph toward the head, thus driving the circulation of the internal fluids. The nervous system consists of a ventral nerve cords that runs the length of the body, with several ganglia and branches along the way.

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An ant worker is less than one millionth the size of a human being, but if you weighed all of the ants in the world they would be about the same poundage as all of the human beings in the world.  Ants feast on insects and spiders and they clean up ninety percent of their dead bodies dragging them back to their nests for food. Ants spread seeds around the world and they move more soil than earthworms. They live deep in the ground and high up in the trees. Ants, termites, stingless bees and polybiine wasps make up an astonishing eighty percent of the insect biomass. (Photo: Alex Wild www.alexanderwild.com)

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Ants are as social as humans, which probably accounts for their success as a species. An ant colony is a superorganism, a social unit. As long as the queen lives, the gene pool is secure. The individual worker, warrior, caregiver is nonreproductive and completely expendable. The colony is immortal, churning out queens and males year after year. Solitary insects are pioneers. They can go to strange places and live for a long time. Ant colonies take time to grow and they move slowly but once they get going it is difficult to halt their progress.

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An ant begins as an egg, which if fertilized will be female (diploid).  If the egg isn’t fertilized, it will be male (haploid). There is a complete metamorphosis, larval and pupal stages before adulthood. The larva is largely immobile and is fed and cared for by workers. Food is given to the larvae by trophallaxis. The feeding ant regurgitates liquid food from her crop, the “social stomach.” Adults also share food this way. Larvae may also be fed solid food such as pieces of insects brought back to the nest.

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The larvae molt several times and then begin the pupal development. Their appendages are free, unlike butterflies at the same stage. Whether the larva becomes a queen, a worker, and what caste she belongs to is determined in some species by what kind of food she is given.  Larvae and pupae need to be kept at fairly constant temperatures to ensure proper development, and so often, are moved around among the various brood chambers within the colony.

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A new worker spends her first few days of adult life caring for the queen and young. She then graduates to digging and other nest work, and later to defending the nest and foraging. These changes are sometimes fairly sudden, and define what are called temporal castes. An explanation for the sequence is suggested by the high casualties involved in foraging, making it an acceptable risk only for ants who are older and are likely to die soon of natural causes.

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Ant species in general have a system in which only the queen and breeding females have the ability to mate.  Colonies of these ants are called queen-right.

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Some ant nests have multiple queens while others may exist without queens. Workers with the ability to reproduce are called “gamergates” and colonies that lack queens are then called gamergate colonies.

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The winged male ants, called drones, emerge from pupae along with the breeding females and these males do nothing in life except eat and mate.

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Most ants are univoltine, producing a new generation each year. During the species-specific breeding period, new reproductives, females and winged males leave the colony in what is called a nuptial flight. The males generally fly up into the heavens before the females.

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Males then look around to find a common mating ground, for example, a landmark such as a pine tree to which other males in the area converge. Males secrete a mating pheromone that females follow. Females of some species mate with just one male, but in some others they may mate with as many as ten or more different males.

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After they mate, females then seek a suitable place to begin a colony. They break off their wings and begin to lay and care for eggs. The females store the sperm they obtain during their nuptial flight to selectively fertilise future eggs.

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The first workers to hatch are weak and smaller than later workers, but they begin to serve the colony immediately. They enlarge the nest, forage for food, and care for the other eggs.

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Species that have multiple queens may have a queen leaving the nest along with some workers to found a colony at a new site, a process akin to swarming in honeybees.

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Anthropomorphized ants have long been used in fables and children’s stories to represent industriousness and cooperative effort.

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In the Book of Proverbs in the Bible, ants are held up as a good example for humans for their hard work and cooperation. Note Aesop’s version of this in his fable The Ant and the Grasshopper, a story that I think about quite frequently.

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In the Qur’an,  Sulayman (Arabic: سليمان‎) is said to have heard and understood an ant warning other ants to return home to avoid being accidentally crushed by Sulayman and his marching army.

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In parts of Africa, ants are considered to be the messengers of the deities.

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In Hopi mythology, ants are considered as the very first animals.

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Ant bites are often said to have curative properties. The sting of some species of Pseudomyrmex is claimed to give fever relief, and ant bites are used in the initiation ceremonies of some Amazon Indian cultures as a test of endurance.  (This is an Alex Wild photograph, copyright, all rights reserved.)

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Ants communicate with each other using pheromones, sounds, and touch. The use of pheromomes as chemical signals is more developed in ants than in other hymenoptera.  Ants perceive smells with their long, thin, and mobile antennae. The paired antennae provide information about the direction and intensity of scents.

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Most ants live on the ground, so they use the soil surface to leave pheromone trails that may be followed by other ants. In species that forage in groups, a forager that finds food marks a trail on the way back to the colony; this trail is followed by other ants, these ants then reinforce the trail when they head back with food to the colony.  (Photo copyright: Alex Wild  www.alexanderwild.com)

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When the food source is gone, no new trails are marked by returning ants and the scent slowly dissipates. When an established path to a food source is blocked by an obstacle, the foragers leave the path to explore new routes. If an ant is successful, it leaves a new trail marking the shortest route on its return. Successful trails are followed by more ants, reinforcing better routes and gradually identifying the best path.

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An injured or crushed ant emits an alarm pheromone that sends nearby ants into an attack frenzy and attracts more ants from farther away.

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Some ant species use “propaganda pheromones” to confuse enemy ants and make them fight among themselves.

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Pheromones are produced by Dufour’s glands, poison glands and glands on the hindgut, pygidium, rectum, sternum, and hind tibia. Pheromones also are exchanged, mixed with food, and passed by trophallaxis, transferring information within the colony.

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Trophallaxis (regurgitation) allows other ants to detect what task group (foraging or nest maintenance, for example) to which other colony members belong.    (Photo copyright:  Dr. Alex Wild  www.alexanderwild.com)

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In ant species with queen castes, when the dominant queen stops producing a specific pheromone, workers begin to raise new queens in the colony. The latest movement in myrmecology is the study of these pheromones using very delicate instruments.

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Janis Joplin is stridulating here.

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She is rubbing a comb over a ribbed guïro.

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If she were doing this quicker and it were a higher pitch, it would sound like a grasshopper, a cricket, a cicada… all stridulating insects.

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Some ants produce sounds by stridulation, using the gaster segments and their mandibles. Sounds may be used to communicate with colony members or with other species.  See how much like a guïro the ant’s sounding board looks?

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You can just about hear ant stridulation in one or two species, although you can hear it very well in crickets and cicadas. I have always loved the sound which seems to be hypnotic in the way that chanting is.

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Ants stridulate to communicate.

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It’s a Ugandan jumping spider who has taken on the ant shape to confuse predators who won’t eat stinging ants.  (Alex Wild took this photograph, which is copyrighted:   www.alexanderwild.com)

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Ants attack and defend themselves by biting and, in many species, by stinging, often injecting or spraying chemicals such as formic acid.

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Bullet Ants (Paraponera) in Central and South America, are considered to have the most painful sting of any insect, although it is usually not fatal to humans. This sting is given the highest rating on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index.

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The sting of Jack jumper ants (less than a centimeter long with bright orange pincers) can be fatal and an antivenom has been developed for it.

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Fire Ants (Solenopsis) are unique in having a poison sac containing piperidine alkaloids. Their stings are painful and can be dangerous to hypersensitive people.

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Trap-jaw ants of the genus Odontomachus are equipped with mandibles called trap-jaws, which snap shut faster than any other predatory appendages within the animal kingdom.

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One study of Odontomachus bauri recorded peak speeds of between 126 and 230 km/h (78 – 143 mph), with the jaws closing within 130 microseconds on average.

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The ants were also observed to use their jaws as a catapult to eject intruders or fling themselves backward to escape a threat.

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Before striking, the ant opens its mandibles extremely widely and locks them in this position by an internal mechanism. Energy is stored in a thick band of muscle and explosively released when triggered by the stimulation of sensory organs resembling hairs on the inside of the mandibles. The mandibles also permit slow and fine movements for other tasks.

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Trap-jaws also are seen in the following genera: Anochetus, Orectognathus, and Strumigenys, plus some members of the Dacetini tribe, which are viewed as examples of convergent evolution.   (Photo: Alex Wild. All rights reserved.)

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A Malaysian species of ant in the Camponotus cylindricus group has enlarged mandibular glands that extend into their gaster. When disturbed, workers rupture the membrane of the gaster, causing a burst of secretions containing acetophenones and other chemicals that immobilize small insect attackers. The worker subsequently dies.

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Suicidal defences by workers are also noted in the Brazilian ant Forelius pusillus where a small group of ants leaves the security of the nest after sealing the entrance from the outside each evening.

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In addition to defence against predators, ants need to protect their colonies from pathogens.

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Some worker ants maintain the hygiene of the colony and their activities include necrophory (undertaking), the disposal of dead nest-mates.

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Oleic acid has been identified as the compound released from dead ants that triggers necrophoric behavior in Atta mexicana while workers of Linepithema humile react to the absence of characteristic chemicals (dolichodial and iridomyrmecin) present on the cuticle of their living nestmates to trigger similar behavior.

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Nests may be protected from physical threats such as flooding and overheating by elaborate nest architecture.

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Workers of Cataulacus muticus, an arboreal species that lives in plant hollows, respond to flooding by drinking water inside the nest, and excreting it outside.

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Camponotus anderseni, which nests in the cavities of wood in mangrove habitats, deals with submergence under water by switching to anerobic respiration.

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Many animals can learn by imitation, but ants may be the only group besides mammals where interactive teaching has been observed. (Photo: Alex Wild www.alexanderwild.com)

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An experienced forager of Temnothorax albipennis will lead a new nest-mate to freshly discovered food by the process of tandem running.

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The leading tutor teaches the follower. The leader is acutely sensitive to the progress of the follower and slows down when the follower lags and speeds up when the follower gets too close.

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Experiments with colonies of Cerapachys biroi suggest that an individual may choose nest roles based on her previous experience.

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A generation of identical workers was divided into two groups whose outcome in food foraging was controlled. One group was continually rewarded with prey, while it was made certain that the other failed. As a result, members of the successful group intensified their foraging attempts while the unsuccessful group ventured out fewer and fewer times. A month later, the successful foragers continued in their role while the others had moved to brood care.

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Ants generally build complex nests, but some species are nomadic and do not build permanent structures.

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Ants may form underground nests or build them in trees. These nests may be found in the ground, under stones or logs, inside logs, hollow stems, or even acorns.

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Materials used for construction include soil and plant matter, and ants carefully select their nest sites.

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Temnothorax albipennis avoid sites with dead ants since these may indicate the presence of pests or disease. They are quick to abandon established nests at the first sign of threats.

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The army ants of South America and the driver ants of Africa do not build permanent nests, but instead, alternate between nomadism and stages where the workers form a temporary nest from their own bodies, by holding each other together. This is called a bivouac.  (Photo copyright: Alex Wild   www.alexanderwild.com)

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The weaver ants (Oecophylla) build nests in trees by attaching leaves together, first pulling them together with bridges of workers and then inducing their larvae to produce silk as they are moved along the leaf edges. Some species of Polyrhacis nest similarly.

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Other ant species build nests in and on buildings. Interior spaces in walls, windows, and even electric appliances such as clocks, lamps, and radios in the interior of buildings may be used as sites for nests.

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Ants are usually predators, scavengers, and indirect herbivores, but a few have evolved specialised ways of obtaining nutrition.

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Leafcutter ants (Atta and Acromyrmex) feed exclusively on a fungus that grows only within their colonies. They collect leaves which are taken to the colony, cut into tiny pieces and placed in fungal gardens.

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The largest of these ants cut stalks, smaller workers chew the leaves and the smallest tend the fungus. Leafcutter ants are sensitive enough to recognise the reaction of the fungus to different plant material, apparently detecting chemical signals from the fungus.

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If a particular type of leaf is found to be toxic to the fungus, the colony will no longer collect it. The ants feed on structures produced by the fungi called gongylydia. The white clumps are gongylydia.

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Symbiotic bacteria on the exterior surface of the ants produce antibiotics that kill bacteria introduced into the nest that may harm the fungi.

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Ants when they forage for food travel distances of up to 200 metres (700 ft) from their nest and scent trails allow them to find their way back even in the dark.

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Day-foraging ants in hot, dry places can easily die from the heat, so the ability to find the shortest route back is essential.

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Diurnal desert ants of the genus Cataglyphis (Sahara desert ants, for example) navigate by keeping track of direction as well as distance travelled. Distances travelled are measured using an internal pedometer that keeps count of the steps taken and also by evaluating the movement of objects they see.

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Ants measure direction by using the position of the sun.

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They can also make use of visual landmarks when available as well as olfactory and tactile cues to navigate.

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Some species of ant are able to use the earth’s magnetic field for navigation. The compound eyes of ants have cells that detect polarised light from the Sun, which is used to determine direction.

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These polarization detectors are sensitive to the ultraviolet region of the light spectrum.

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In some army ant species, a group of foragers who become separated from the main column sometimes may turn back on themselves and form a circular ant mill. The workers may then run around continuously until they die of exhaustion.

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Such wheels have been observed in other ant species, notably when a group has fallen into or been overcome with water, whereby the group rotates in a partially submerged circle on the surface of the water, which might allow for survival of a brief flooding.

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Worker ants do not have wings and reproductive females lose their wings after their mating flights. Therefore, unlike their wasp ancestors, most ants travel by walking.

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Jerdon’s jumping ant (Harpegnathos saltator) is able to jump by synchronising the action of its mid and hind pairs of legs.

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There are several species of gliding ant including Cephalotes atratus; this may be a common trait among most arboreal ants. Ants with this ability are able to control the direction of their descent while falling.   (Photo copyright Alex Wild.  www.alexanderwild.com)

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Some ants can form chains to bridge gaps over water, underground, or through spaces in vegetation.

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Some species, such as fire ants, also form floating rafts that help them survive floods. These rafts may also have a role in allowing ants to colonise islands.

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Polyrhacis sokolova, a species of ant found in Australian mangrove swamps, can swim and live in underwater nests. Since they lack gills, they go to trapped pockets of air in the submerged nests to breathe.

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Ants have different kinds of societies. Bulldog ants are among the biggest of ants. They are eusocial, that is very social, but their behavior is poorly developed compared to other species. Each individual hunts alone, using her large eyes instead of chemical senses to find prey. (Photo: Alex Wild, all rights reserved)

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Species such as Tetramorium caespitum attack and take over neighboring ant colonies. Others invade colonies to steal eggs or larvae, which they either eat or raise as workers or slaves.

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Amazon ants are incapable of feeding themselves and need captured workers to survive. Captured workers of the enslaved species Temnothorax have evolved a counter strategy, destroying just the female pupae of the slave-making Protomognathus americanus, but sparing the males (who don’t take part in slave-raiding as adults).

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Ants know their relatives through their scent, which comes from hydrocarbon-laced secretions that coat their exoskeletons. If an ant is separated from its original colony, it will eventually lose the colony scent. Any ant that enters a colony without a matching scent will be attacked.

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(Photo copyright:  Alex Wild   www.alexanderwild.com)

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Ants attack each other even if they are of the same species because the genes responsible for pheromone production are different between them. The argentine ant, however, does not have this characteristic, due to lack of genetic diversity, and has become a global pest because of it.

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Parasitic ant species enter the colonies of host ants and establish themselves as social parasites; species such as Strumigenys xenos are entirely parasitic and do not have workers, but instead, rely on the food gathered by their Strumigenys perplexa hosts.

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This form of parasitism is seen across many ant genera, but the parasitic ant is usually a species that is closely related to its host. A variety of methods are employed to enter the nest of the host ant. A parasitic queen may enter the host nest before the first brood has hatched, establishing herself prior to development of a colony scent. Other species use pheromones to confuse the host ants or to trick them into carrying the parasitic queen into the nest. Some simply fight their way into the nest.  (Photo:  Alex Wild)

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A conflict between the sexes of a species is seen in some species of ants with these reproductives apparently competing to produce offspring that are as closely related to them as possible.

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The sperm of the male ant appears to be able to destroy the female DNA within a fertilized egg, giving birth to a male that is a clone of its father. Meanwhile the female queens make clones of themselves to carry on the royal female line.

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An extreme of sexual conflict is seen in Wasmannia auropunctata where the queens produce diploid daughters by thelytokous parthenogenesis (giving virgin birth to female clones) and males produce clones by a process whereby a diploid egg loses its maternal contribution to produce haploid males who are clones of the father.

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Ants are partners with many other beings including other ant species, other insects, plants, and fungi.

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Also, many other animals and even some plants prey upon them.

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There are arthropods who spend part of their lives within ant nests, either preying on them, their larvae, their eggs, consuming the food stores of the ants, or hiding from predators. These are inquilines and they may bear a close resemblance to ants.   (Alex Wild, photographer, all rights reserved.  www.alexanderwild.com)

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The nature of this mymyrmecomorphy, ant mimicing, varies, with some cases involving Batesian mimicry where the mimic reduces the risk of predation. (Alex Wild, copyright)

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Other cases show Wasmannian mimicry, normally seen only in inquilines.   (www.alexanderwild.com  copyright Alex Wild)

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Then, in a sense, ants prey on other animals, sometimes rather benignly. Aphids and other hemipteran insects secrete a sweet liquid called honeydew. The sugars in honeydew are a high-energy food source, which many ant species collect, almost as we collect milk from cows.

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The aphids secrete the honeydew in response to ants tapping them with their antennae. The ants in turn keep predators away from the aphids and will move them from one feeding location to another.  A human being can tap an aphid with a hair of the head and the same secretion will happen.

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Many colonies will take the aphids with them when they move to a new area, thus ensuring a continued supply of honeydew.

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Ants also tend mealybugs to harvest their honeydew which can allow mealybugs to become a serious pest of pineapples if ants are present to protect them from their natural enemies.

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Ant loving (myrmecophilous) caterpillars of the butterfly family, Lycaenidae (blues, coppers, or hairstreaks) are herded by the ants, led to feeding areas in the daytime, and brought inside the ants’ nest at night.

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The caterpillars have a gland which secretes honeydew when the ants massage them. Some caterpillars produce vibrations and sounds that are perceived by the ants.

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Other caterpillars have evolved from ant-loving to ant-eating: these myrmecophagous caterpillars secrete a pheromone that makes the ants act as if the caterpillar is one of their own larvae. The caterpillar is then taken into the ant nest where it feeds on the ant larvae.

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The tribe Attini, fungus growing ants, which includes leafcutters cultivates certain species of fungus in the Leucoagricus or Leucoprinus genera of the Agariceae family.

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The ants and the fungus depend upon each other for survival.

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The ant Allomerus decemarticulatus has evolved a three-way association with the host plant, Hirtella physophora (Chrysobalanaceae), and a sticky fungus which is used to trap their insect prey.  Comme d’habitude dans les dossiers sur les espèces on s’attaque à celles qui ont quelque chose d’époustouflant voir d’extraordinaire et bien les Allomerus decemarticulatus sont extraordinaires dans le fait qu’elles construisent des pièges qui leur servent à attraper leurs proies.  (As usual with species one is attracted to those who are somewhat bizarre or even extraordinary and Allomerus decemarticulatus are extraordinary in that they build traps for catching their prey.)

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C’est une fourmi arboricole qui creuse des petits trous appelés “domaties” dans les branches d’une plante.
Les fourmis attendent à l’entrer de ces trous un insecte y mettant ses pattes …   Et l’attrapent !   (Allomerus decemarticulatus is a tree ant who digs little holes called “domaties” in the branches of a plant, Hirtella physophora. The ants wait by the entry to these holes and when the insect puts its legs there… they catch it!).

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Lemon ants make devil’s gardens by killing surrounding plants with their stings and leaving a pure patch of lemon ant trees, (Duroia hirsuta).

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This modification of the forest provides the ants with more nesting sites inside the stems of the Duroia trees.

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Although some ants obtain nectar from flowers, pollination by ants is somewhat rare. Some plants have special nectar exuding structures, extrafloral nectaries that provide food for ants, who in turn protect the plant from more damaging insects.   (Photo: Alex Wild)

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Species such as the bullhorn acacia (Acacia cornigera) in Central America have hollow thorns that house colonies of stinging ants (Pseudomyrmex ferruginea) who defend the tree against insects, browsing mammals, and epiphtic vines.

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Studies suggest that plants also obtain nitrogen from the ants. In return, the ants obtain food from protein- and lipid-rich Beltian bodies. (Photo: Alex Wild    www.alexanderwild.com)

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Another example of this type of ectosymbiosis comes from the Macaranga tree, which has stems adapted to house colonies of Crematogaster ants.

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Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) is widespread and estimates suggest that nearly 9% of all plant species may have such ant associations. The ants are collecting a protein rich material attached to the seed. They do not eat the actual seed, which is later discarded in the ant midden. This makes a perfect seedbed. This symbiotic relationship is called myrmecochory.

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Elaiosomes (Greek élaion ”oil” and sóma ”body”) are fleshy structures that are attached to the seeds of many plant species. The elaiosome is rich in lipids and proteins and may be variously shaped. Many plants have elaiosomes that attract ants, which take the seed to their nest and feed the elaiosome to their larvae. After the larvae have consumed the elaiosome, the ants take the seed to their waste disposal area, which is rich in nutrients from the ant frass and dead bodies, where the seeds germinate.     (Photograph:  Alex Wild  www.alexanderwild.com)

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Some plants in fire-prone grassland systems are particularly dependent on ants for their survival and dispersal because the seeds are transported to safety below the ground. 

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A convergence (mimicry?), is seen in the eggs of stick insects. They have an edible elaiosome-like structure and are taken into the ant nest where the young hatch.

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Most ants are predatory and some prey on and obtain food from other social insects including other ants. Some species specialise in preying on termites (Megaponera and Termitopone) while a few Cerapachyinae prey on other ants.

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Some termites, including Nasutitermes corniger, form associations with certain ant species to keep away predatory ant species.

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The tropical wasp Mischocyttarus drewseni coats the pedicel of its nest with an ant-repellant chemical.  (The pedicel is the part at the top that attaches the nest to a tree or a building.) It is suggested that many tropical wasps may build their nests in trees and cover them to protect themselves from ants.

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Stingless bees (Trigona and Melipona) use chemical defences against ants.

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Stingless bees, sometimes called meliponines, are a large group of bees (approximately 500 species) belonging in the family Apidae, and are closely related to common honey bees, carpenter bees, orchid bees and bumblebees. Their name is slightly misleading as male bees and bees of other species, such as those in the family Andrenidae, can not sting. Meliponines have stingers, but they are highly reduced and cannot be used for defense.

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Flies in the Old World genus Bengalia (Calliphoridae) prey on ants and are kleptoparasites, snatching prey or brood from the mandibles of adult ants.

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Wingless and legless females of the Malaysian phorid fly (Vestigipoda longiseta) live in the nests of ants of the genus Aenictus and are cared for by the ants.  Most of what you see in the lower of the two photoes above are larvae of army ants of the genus Aenictus. The odd one out is the whiter ‘larva’ in the centre—which is not a larva at all, but a fully adult female of the phorid fly Vestigipoda longiseta.

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Fungi in the genera Cordyceps and Ophiocordyceps infect ants. Ants react to their infection by climbing up plants and sinking their mandibles into plant tissue. The fungus kills the ants, grows on their remains, and produces a fruiting body. It appears that the fungus alters the behaviour of the ant to help disperse its spores in a microhabitat that best suits the fungus. This behavior is induced when the fungus takes partial control over the ant’s brain.     (Photo:  Alex Wild  www.alexanderwild.com)

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Strepsipteran parasites also manipulate their ant host to climb grass stems, to help the parasite find mates.

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A nematode (Myrmeconema neotropicum) that infects canopy ants (Cephalotes atratus) causes the black-coloured gasters of workers to turn red. The parasite also alters the behaviour of the ant, causing them to carry their gasters high. The conspicuous red gasters are mistaken by birds for ripe fruits such as Hyeronima alchorneoides and eaten. The droppings of the bird are collected by other ants and fed to their young, leading to further spread of the nematode.    (Photo:  Alex Wild)

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South American poison dart frogs in the genus Dendrobates (tree climbers) feed mainly on ants, and the toxins in their skin may come from the ants.

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This Central American species (Dendrobates) occurs from southeastern Nicaragua to northwestern Colombia. Though mostly distributed in humid lowlands and premontane rainforests from 0-800 m elevation, some montane morphs can be found up to 1200 m elevation. Type locality is the Pacific island of Taboga in the Bay of Panamá. In 1932, that morph was introduced to the Hawaiian Island of O’ahu.

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Army ants forage in a wide roving column, attacking any animals in that path that are unable to escape.  The name army ant (legionary ant, marabunta) applied to over 200 ant species, in different lineages, due to their aggressive predatory foraging groups, known as “raids”, in which huge numbers of ants forage simultaneously over a certain area, en masse.

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Another shared feature is that, unlike most ant species, army ants do not construct permanent nests; an army ant colony moves almost incessantly over the time it exists. All species are members of the true ant family, but several groups have independently evolved the same basic behavioral and ecological syndrome. This syndrome is often referred to as “legionary behavior”, and is another example of convergent evolution. (Photo: Alex Wild   www.alexanderwild.com)

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In Central and South America, Eciton burchellii is the swarming ant most commonly attended by “ant-following” birds such as antbirds and woodcreepers.  The objective of the army-ant-following birds is simple: to devour the grasshoppers, katydids, crickets and other insects that think they are escaping death by flying away from the swarm.

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Birds indulge in a peculiar behaviour called anting that, as yet, is not fully understood. Here birds rest on ant nests, or pick and drop ants onto their wings and feathers; this may be a means to remove ectoparasites from the birds.

Anteater

Anteaters, aardvarks, pangolins, echidnas, and numbats have special adaptations for living on a diet of ants. These adaptations include long, sticky tongues to capture ants and strong claws to break into ant nests.

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Brown bears (Ursus arctos) have been found to feed on ants. About 12%, 16%, and 4% of their fecal volume in spring, summer, and autumn, respectively, is composed of ants.

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The life of ants is as strange as anything in science fiction. They are fascinating animals. During the writing of this I have imagined myself as an ant being raised from an egg in a colony. I have dreamed that I became an ant.

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Thank you and I’ll see you next week.

_______________________________

Big Brother history, part seventeen – 2005

clam house

BBHC name printed

Sam Andrew, Ben Nieves Illinois 2011

Ben Nieves

1 January 2005       We played in Cleveland.

Amanda

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Then we went to Europe.

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Driving through the Czech Republic, we were stopped at a Hrensko passport control (Zollamt) that looked as if it were in a 1940s film.

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Bluesiana Club in Velden, Austria.

Velden, Austria (near Klagenfurt), is 30 kilometers or so from the Italian border and even closer to Slovenia, so Slovenians often came to see us.

With Slovenians and Kacee Clanton, Glenn Halvarsson, Chad Quist and Peter Albin.

1 April 2005   Bluesiana   Velden   Austria        Between Villach and Klagenfurt on Lake Wörther.

Elise took this photograph of the Wörthersee.

4 April 2005    Spectrum          Augsburg           Germany

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Halle             Germany

7 April 2005         In Halle, Elise and I visited the Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte, the Provincial Prehistory Museum.

From the early Bronze Age, these are, however, made of gold.

Menschenwechsel.  Human change.  Evolution.

The theme at this museum was the evolution from Neanderthal to contemporary humans as it happened in Germany, right where we were.  We were seeing the history of the same Sachsen-Anhalt region around us.

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Some people stay in the same place for millennia. They are happy there, and they keep their families around them.  Remember that dig in England where they ran the DNA testing on bones they found from thousands of years before, and one of the closest matches was to a school teacher who lived right down the road?

We were looking at tools and toys made by ancestors of people who were standing around us in the museum.

For an American, this is an unusual experience because we are new people in our continent, unless we’re talking about Native Americans. My friend Lance who is Navajo must feel something similar to this when he visits a museum in Phoenix.

This Neanderthaler, for example, looks a little like Rush Limpburger.

His thought processes may be a little subtler and quicker than Rush’s, but there is a certain physical kinship.

Handwedge or handaxe (Faustkeil) 200,000 years old. Beautifully made.

8 April 2005  Alter  Gasometer  Zwickau   Germany

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Zwickau

Sometimes they sit down on the job.

9 April 2005   Forlì  Italy    Today is Elise’s birthday. She celebrated it by driving us from Zwickau in eastern Germany to Forlì in Emilia Romagna, a long, heroic drive overnight and over the snowy Alps.

Ernesto De Pascale was an old friend of mine.

Figli dei fiori…  flower children

11 April 2005   Teatro Blu     Milano         …nel blu di pinto di blu.

AM

Nowwww don’t tell me you didn’t know all along,   You’re not Donna Read and I’m sho not Don Juan,

ex en Provence

We’re just two losers with good come ons.   But not quite good enough.      (Merci, Thomas.)

The gig was in Hannover, but we stayed in the tiny town of Nienburg.

A shout out to George Michalski, the Elton John of San Francisco.   Hi, George !

BB

16 April 2005     Luzern      In Italian Locarno.  Everything here is in two or three languages.

AuMe

Jessie

Burg Satzvey:  We actually played in this castle. I thought, wow, the reverberation will be awful with all that stone, but the sound was quite good.

When the Germans want to play Renaissance Faire, they do it very well.

masiela

Now we go to Frankfurt am Main.

19 April 2005     Frankfurt    Das Städel is such a great museum.

They have this beautiful Botticelli there. Botticelli’s model was a woman named Simonetta and, improbably enough, she was the sister of Amerigo di Vespucci, the cartographer and explorer after whom our continent is named. Another coincidence is that the Vespucci lived in Vicenza, a place we visit often, the hometown of Arianna Antinori and Antea Salmaso.

Simonetta was also the model for The Birth of Venus and many other well known paintings from the Renaissance.

Primavera    Many other artists in Florence painted Simonetta but none so well, perhaps, as Botticelli.

In that same small town Vicenza where Simonetta and Amerigo di Vespucci lived, a farmboy was born a little later. He was a worker on construction projects but he showed a great flair for design and architecture.

A nobleman recognized the boy’s talent, gave him a place to live, an education and a name, Palladio  (in honor of the goddess Pallas Athena).

Palladio designed many, many buildings around Vicenza, Padua and surrounding areas. They look very familiar to us. This is the Villa Moro.

The White House and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello are both exact copies of buildings that Palladio made in Italy.

So, thank you to the little town of Vicenza, Italy, who gave us Simonetta and Amerigo di Vespucci, Palladio, Arianna Antinori and Antea Salmaso.

In Frankfurt, Chad and I walked back to the hotel from sound check.  Find Chad.

In the black room… I mean, the green room.

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23 April 2005      Augsburg       This was the town of Augustus Caesar.  Augusti burg. Augsburg.

SJL

Hamburg                   There is a wonderful museum here, the Kunsthalle, the art hall.

Tal Wilkenfeld bassist

The Hanseatic city of Lübeck way up north just before you go into Denmark. A Hansa is a trading league or partnership. “Lufthansa” is an “air league.”

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Århus     Denmark      This is a school town, bohemian.

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25 April 2005    Copenhagen  Denmark     This was a most interesting museum. I like the name Glyptotek. Carving case, which is a way of saying sculpture museum.

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When I was here with the Kozmic Blues Band in 1969, I had the most delicious mushroom soup, but couldn’t find it this time. I don’t know why. It’s only 36 years later.

27 April 2005     Randers    Denmark

Peter Albin onstage in Randers, Denmark.

Late at night, after the gig, Elise photographed this building across the street from our hotel.

With Andra Mitrovich

30 April 2005       Bergen          Norway

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In the right testicle of Scandinavia, there she is, the town of Bergen.

Look at the venue name, Peer Gynt, Grieghallen. Hall of the Mountain King from the Peer Gynt Suite by Grieg was our theme for years. I still quote the tune in my solo on Blindman.

Andra Mitrovich          Elise Piliwale

It’s not the girl with the pearl earring, but it’s the girl hearing Pearl.

As Charlie McCarthy would say,  Bye, bye, Bergen.

Meanwhile, back in Fairfax…

12 May 2005           Dean Suzuki invited me to give a talk at San Francisco State University.

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Photo:                  Polly Belinda Rendall

7 June 2005        Cleveland           This was a wonderful show.

Manet did this one of her.

And she did this one of herself.

Kate Russo

Kacee Clanton lying down on the job and looking pretty darned good while she’s doing it.

23 June 2005   Mountain Festival   Batesville         Arkansas

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I know that I do a lot of foolish and dangerous things.

How can I talk about how I sing? It’s something totally instinctive that comes from inside me. I can’t describe my insides.

The only things that count are feelings: and my music is feeling.

Being intellectual raises a lot of questions and very few answers. Your life is full of ideas but you go home alone.

blue Janis

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Salerno-mapa

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We very seldom play in the south of Italy, so when I walked around the streets of Salerno, everyone looked like they were from Brooklyn or Queens, because “our” Italians generally come from the south.

7 July 2005           Salerno

Una Salernitana      Chad Quist    Sophia Ramos

Don’t say anything bad about Salerno.

DD in Brooklyn

8 July 2005      Sant’Elpidio   This is a lovely place on the Adriatic.

Laura Albergante Visconti

Cesena

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Cesena is a little to the south of Ravenna.

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Michael Falzarano     Diana Mangano     Kerry Kearney

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11 July 2005   Genova    A beautiful town.

Emilia on drums

Emilia Febbraio a la batteria

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Gianna Nannini was here in our hotel lobby in Genova. I had introduced her to the audience in Salerno, although they knew who she was better than I did. She is quite famous in Italy.

Genova is a wonderful town to walk in. Many hills to climb with great views of the harbor and the city.

13 July 2005       Up north in Udine, a beautiful place.

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Udine, if not now, when?

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zero-tolerance

udina

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14 – 17 July 2005

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We recorded this gig and the result was the CD Hold Me released in 2006.

Friday  15 July 2005             Burg Herzberg          Germany

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20 July 2005          Louisville        Kentucky

29 July 2005      Great American Music Hall     San Francisco            Still playing for Chet.      This was a great night.

2009 31 dec Nicole Elise Sophia

23 September 2005              Ko Samui          Thailand

Sophia Ramos

Elise in the hangar after we flew around the island of Ko Samui.

With Sophia Ramos    Alan Sadd   Elise Piliwale    Eugene Skuratowicz

Kate Russo    Peter Albin

With Randal Myler

7 September 2005        Louisville

4 October 2005       The entrance to the Landmark Motel        Hollywood.

28 December 2005              Coco’s            Ko Samui            Thailand

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Guapísima Rosemarie

Back Camera

See you next week?

Sam Andrew          Sophia Ramos

__________________________________________________________________

Notes from a Bindle Stiff

Bindle Stiff:  (bundle man, hobo)   Jack London in a 1901 letter, ”Wyckoff only knows the workingman, the stake-man, the bindle-stiff.”

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Come live in my tent and pay no rent.

bird

Appreciation makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.

miles

Don’t play what’s there. Play what’s not there.

egg

A good education will show you how little you know.

ficken

If you understood everything I say, you would be I… or me.

antea

Mistakes in improvised music?  There are none.

glen farg

Probably the main duty of the young is to challenge the received notions of the old.

james gurley 1966

A jest is a truth with a melody.

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I sometimes wonder if Americans aren’t fooled by our accent into detecting brilliance that may not really be there.

jockey

When are you going to figure it out about guns?  How many shootings is it going take?  They are occurring almost daily now.

jimi 17 sept 1970

People see the past as better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be

noah peter

It says “extinguisher,” but it looks more like “stinker.”

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Anything is possible as long as you keep working at it.  Don’t back down.

biella

Common sense is not so common.

acarena

You can’t leave yourself out of that mix. You have to be honest enough to say, I’m the messed-up one in the family.

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I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.

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The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

aoe

Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.

marty kerry

God gives us nuts, but she doesn’t crack them.

jack

Take a deep breath after any outburst of vanity or complacency.

aki

It wasn’t Don Quixote’s madness that bothered him. It was Sancho Panza.

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You Greeks are god driven crazy! One of the most beautiful peoples of the kosmos.

fass

A stairstep not worn by footsteps is only a boring something made of wood.

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Begin with what is right rather than what is usual.

sally

Women dress for women.

jaway

I’d rather they all hate it and I like it, than vice versa. I make music to please myself first, and if the audience likes it, all the better.

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My father wouldn’t get us a TV, he wouldn’t allow a TV in the house.

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Kindness and politeness are not overrated at all. If anything, they are underrated.

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I’m always happy to have a job.

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Interviews are all right with me. I don’t pursue them. When the people I work with deem them appropriate, I’m perfectly willing to serve.

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Characters with no integrity are just as interesting as characters with lots of integrity.

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I think that no matter how much you don’t like yourself or the drama of your life you can still find some comedy in it.

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The proper union of vodka and vermouth is a great and sudden glory; it is one of the happiest marriages on earth, and one of the shortest lived.

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The mind and the heart have their own logic but do not often let others in on it.

jouis

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It’s scary to wake up one morning and discover that your university class is running your state.

Lincoln inaugural 1861

Watch out how you see yourself, because how you see yourself may be what you are.

hannah

Growing old is an interesting process. There’s no cure for it. The best medicine may be laughter, if laughter is any kind of medicine at all.

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I’ll play it and tell you what it is later.

juke

The universe is truly large. From here to Alpha Centauri is an unimaginable distance, and that is just a tiny, tiny corner in this whole universe, almost imperceptible. So, now, what were you worrying about again?

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The feeling about a soldier is he wasn’t really going to do very much with his life anyway. The example usually is: he wasn’t going to play music that would be as ravishing, enlightening and as impassioned as there ever was, but how do we know this?  History is full of examples of people who were almost going to die, and yet, because of some unlooked for miracle, survived and went on to do such great things that benefited us all. What a narrow escape, and think of those who didn’t escape. Anyone who reads biographies will be very conscious of this.  There is only the most tenuous thread between life and death for us all.  Accidents play a much larger part in life than we are willing to recognize.  What if Jimi Hendrix had been killed in Viet Nam?  Who WAS killed in Viet Nam?

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I wanted to write about a normal young girl whose only difference was that she behaved in the way a boy might, without any sense of guilt on a moral or sexual level.

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If you’re feeling strong and emotional when you’re creating something, it will come out that way.

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Whiskey is by far the most popular of all remedies that won’t cure a cold.

karm

Name me an emperor who was ever struck by a cannonball.

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I don’t really want to control anyone, to be honest.

heat

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.

mari

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing views. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.

Saipan 1944

I speak Spanish to god, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my goat.

karsshall

Abolition of a woman’s right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsive maternity, a form of rape by the state.

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The missionaries go forth to Christianize the savages, as if the savages weren’t dangerous enough already.

beidi

The tragedy of war is that young soldiers die fighting each other, instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.

kauto

A drink a day keeps the shrink away.

alexandra

The trouble with returning to a place where you once were is that you can never repeat the same experience.

Jesse James 16

Our neoconservatives are neither new nor conservative. They’re as old as Babylon and evil as Hell.

ahn

Ignorance, apathy, hate, fear, greed, as long as these things are in human nature the Republicans will get some votes.

suzanne

Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity for the human spirit.

heather

It’s not the equipment, it’s the operator. It’s the singer, not the song.

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I think when I practice, but feel when I play. The playing occurs ahead of my ability to understand it.

keak

Some parts of my solos are OK and other parts I can’t stand. You have to live with that.

bookstore London 1940

I keep reading between the lies.

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I was born lucky. I’ll be the first to admit that.

Back Camera

TV = Terrible Vaudeville.

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If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do a  job, wait until you hire an amateur.

koboe

A person’s intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view she can entertain simultaneously on the same topic.

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Forgiveness is good for your health.

London 1940

Aeschylus said that it is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered, but I think I have this quality. Several of my friends have gone on to fame and glory and I very seldom want to kill them.

idiot

OK, I’ll give Brooke back her underwear.

silvia sf

There are a lot of people in the phone book, but very few ideas.

Back Camera

Not one of the first six Presidents of the United States was an orthodox Christian.

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The best time to buy something is a couple of years ago.

abbot

We all think we’re going to get out of debt.

space chimp 1961

don

I would have answered your letter sooner but you didn’t send one.

skip spence

Much better to desire than to have.

lamy

I’d better say I belong to myself and the world rather than belonging to one nationality or another.

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felise

Nothing is ever the same as they said it was.

Princeton students 1893

You gotta have swine to show you where the truffles are.

veronica f

The best cure for hypochondria is to forget about your body and become interested in someone else’s.

lask

The thing that’s important to know is that you never know. You’re always sort of feeling your way.

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amara

Artists don’t retire. They stop when there’s no more art in them.

droga

We might be be the holographic image of a two dimensional structure.

vittoria silvia franco

Tell me about yourself, your struggles, your dreams, your telephone number.

Hitler's men Xmas 1941

I consider your conduct unethical and lousy.

leet

There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them.

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All my life my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name.

baby

I consider myself more of a visual comedian than a physical one.

iltaire

People look for happiness as a drunk looks for his house: he can’t find it, but he knows that it exists.

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loor

If you get the quality right, then the marketability or whatever; your ability to sell videos or your ability to earn money or whatever, will follow naturally. But try to be creatively lead rather than market lead.

Liberty 1885

I’ve been so liberated it hurts.

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Tokyo to Nagoya.

hancaster

One of the most attractive things about writing your autobiography is that you’re not dead.

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While I have never been a regular churchgoer, I’m anything but immune to the power and the majesty of a spiritual experience.

chad

I swear, if you existed I’d divorce you.

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box

In those days, boxing was very glamorous and romantic. You listened to fights on the radio, and a good announcer made it seem like a contest between gladiators.

barion

The marvelous thing about a double entendre is that it only means one thing.

dale

He won’t, won’t he? Then bring me my boots.

mask

If Attila the Hun were alive today, he’d be a music critic.

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I am the the type to have a personal experience with a celebrity, but I’m too classy to bring that up.

andrian

I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. She said that I was being ridiculous… everyone hasn’t met me yet.

report card

If ten was the perfect score, he needed help in French.

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My wife was afraid of the dark. Then she saw me naked and now she’s afraid of the light.

might

The way my luck is going, if I were a politician I’d be honest.

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Nossa! Quanto tempo!

dontan

One of the fundamental truths about marriage. The wife is in charge.  Fine by me.

Back Camera

There is hope for the future because god has a sense of humor and she thinks we’re funny.

samurai

When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.

bershaid

Do you ever really look at people in a health food store. They are pale, skinny and look half dead. In a steak house you see robust, ruddy people. They’re dying, of course, but they look great.

mony

Wally!

aonii

Old is always fifteen years from now.

eastellon

There are no authorities on love, just those who have had luck with it and those who haven’t.

nee

May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.

Russia 1941

Death is caused by being born.

devin

His eyes so dim, so wasted each limb, that, heedless of grammar, they all cried, that’s him!

nelise

I have one day today, and I’m going to be happy in it.

Das Städel

Anyone who says he understands women is missing a lot.

annie

Just because you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean that the circus has left town.

nimmy

Timmy from Lassie.

Disney

Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do.

ilyria

Bella questa.  Che stelline che siete!   What stars you are.

not

I wanted to improve my looks at The Body Shop, but now I’m improving them at the Photoshop.

aoupy

I’m shy, but I’m not clinically shy. I don’t have social anxiety disorder or anything like that. I more have a gentle shyness. Like, I have a little trouble mingling at parties.

engelo

One way to find out if someone’s honest. Ask. If he says yes, you know he’s not.

otar

In the beginning there was nothing. Then god said, “Let there be light.” So then there was still nothing but you could see a lot better.

binge

Aim high. That way you won’t shoot yourself in the foot.

oudic

People think because I can make them laugh on the stage, I’ll be able to make them laugh in person. That isn’t the case at all. I am essentially a rather quiet, dull person who just happens to be a performer.

eoley

Hello Kitty will never speak.

parby

Marriage is a mistake every man should make.

perry

As I get older, I get smaller. I see other parts of the world I didn’t see before. Other points of view. I see outside myself more. I was one meter and eighty-five centimeters when I lived in Paris in my twenties and now I am one meter and eighty-three centimeters, so I’m smaller that way too.

Tasmanian Tiger 1933

Better to burn out than to rust out.

ascal

Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act.

Elise-Piliwale-flower-dress

Partnership is the way.

box

Sam Andrew Lisa Battle

When we talk to god, we’re praying. When she talks to us, we’re schizophrenic.

poel

Journalists were so unkind to me. They said I knew only three chords, but they were wrong. I knew four.

caureen

Sometimes the best songs come all at once in twenty minutes or half an hour. Chords, words, melody, everything.

Churchill

Everything that used to be a sin is now a disease.

hit parader

Multitasking?  I can’t even do one thing at once.

pouse

Who’s your real friend? The person who tells you the truth.

aalex

If you think your life is tough, read a bit of history.

fouse

Karl Rove said that if Arnold Schwarzenegger’s father weren’t a Nazi, Arnold wouldn’t have any credibility with conservatives at all.

l'avantage

The advantage for the snorer is that he is the one who’s sleeping.  (Merci à toi, Thomas.)

eourdes

The word “privacy” does not appear in the Constitution.

standard

I want the world to be better because I was here.

manu

Everybody’s nuts. Enjoy the ride.

olise

If you hear me saying, “I’m a serious artist,” please slap me.

quili

“Republican party” is an oxymoron, isn’t it?

ceffi

People take comedians seriously and politicians as a joke.

quirk

Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. Believe in what you are doing.

les

Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.

omount

You can learn by travel, by reading or by associating with people who are smarter than you.

rig

Advertising can convince you to spend money you don’t have to buy something you don’t need to impress somebody you don’t like.

ingrid

Crime does pay… if you’re a lawyer.

rim

Things aren’t what they used to be, and that’s a good thing.

evin

There is nothing that will get your mind off everything like golf. I’ve never been depressed enough to take up the game, but they say that you can become so angry with yourself that you forget to hate your enemy. Actually, I doubt this very much.

paul

A holding company is a guy you hand the stolen goods to when the police arrive.

roe

Marriages are made in heaven. So are hurricanes.

ion

Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.

roma

Don’t just do something, sit there.

dat

asile

If you love someone, say so.

Lisa Dave Tom 1996

What if, at this very moment, we were living up to our full potential?

sacred-steel-2

aosie

People who complain about President Obama should consider how things would be if Romney and Ryan were running the country.

coriana

Not everyone in Hollywood is on the left.  Just the smart ones.

saroma

Strength doesn’t have to be boastful, belligerent and loud. Quite the opposite, really.

cellen

Every musician knows that a melody can come to you that is so beautiful, so universal that it’s not yours but god’s. You’re just a conduit.

olvia

That’s what show business is, sincere insincerity.

black swan sampler

The harder you work, the luckier you get.

sird

Such is life and life is such, and after all it isn’t much, first a cradle then a hearse, could’ve been better, could’ve been worse.

carianna

solor

I started school in Okinawa, Japan, and have never really stopped.

sour

Steam punk can be scary.

ELM STREET DALLAS 1920

Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.

linda paul

I always wanted to be a physicist, but it seemed that I was doomed to be nothing more than a very silly person.

Sam Andrew motorcycle Lisa Battle

Thank you for being here and we’ll see you next week.

__________________________________________________________

Big Brother history, part sixteen – 2004

I need you, darling, like the fish needs the sea.

Beautiful-Fish

Please don’t take your sweet, sweet love from me.

Kate with us October 2004

Kate Russo has played with us in hot places, México, Thailand, Arizona, Dallas, Austin, New York City in Manny’s Car Wash, where we were on a postage stamp sized triangular stage about the size of your closet filled with chain smoking New Yorkers out of their minds in the August heat. THAT was fun.

2 January 2004    The Docksider    Erie   Pennsylvania

BBHC Newport j&p

See how Pennsylvania made that little portal out to Lake Erie ?   Croatia has outlets to the Adriatic Sea much narrower than this, maybe a mile in length. Access to water is very important.

The Erie Canal, dug in the early 1800s, and connecting the Hudson River to Lake Erie, is what made New York New York.

MK

Many other ports, Savannah, Boston, were more important at the time, but with a way to get goods over the Appalachians (Alleghenies, Catskills) and to Ohio and points farther west and south, New York City became the dominant Eastern doorway to and from the rest of the country out to the rest of the world, all because of that canal.

Even today transport by barge on the Erie Canal uses a tenth of the fuel of a truck.

Goods could be taken from the New York harbor up to north of Albany, and then west on the Erie Canal, which connected with Ohio canals, and then with the Ohio river on to the Mississippi and then on down to New Orleans. The young nation was now tied together by her waterways.

Erie_Canal,_Packet_Dock,_Syracuse,_NY

beach 1918

I used to sing this song in my folk music days. This printed music, however, is very odd, with its B#. I’ve never seen anything like this and in the fifth measure there is a trill between B# and C natural, and it looks as if the tablature has both notes in the same location. Very strange.

JE

Anyway, I loved this haunting Erie Canal melody and the history embodied in the song.

AH

This song is rather like what The Volga Boatman must have been to the Russians.

Minor key, strongly pentatonic, a chant, really, primitive, strong, good for keeping time while rowing or pulling a canal boat.

gates

Map showing Present and Proposed Canal System

This version makes a lot more sense. This one’s in E minor. I think I used to sing it in D minor.

US_road_river_canals_1840

Rodney Albin            Ellen Cavanaugh       Peter Albin

mother daughter

JB

3 January 2004        Sellersville Theatre         Sellersville    Pennsylvania

21 April 2004          Kellogg Foundation   Lake Tahoe  California      At this event, I met Don Graham, a neurosurgeon who since has gone from this…

… to this.             He and Sarah made Adyson Graham who is impossibly beautiful.

i photo

And, speaking of beautiful…

24 April 2004  Wild Hog Festival  Helena   Arkansas         It rained so hard at this event.

manu s

We really thought we might be electrocuted. Everything was soaking wet.

debbie_reynolds

Electrocuted in Arkansas, that would have been some fate.

Now we’re down at the mouth of the Mississippi in a Caribbean city, New Orleans.

United_States_in_1840_A

25 April 2004      Rosy’s Jazz Hall       New Orleans

noon 1946

lisa m

Mama Mills

Orlando, where the Carol guitar was stored in a vault for a while, is an inland place.   Photo:  Anthony Edman

13 May 2004   The Vault  Orlando Florida     The Carol guitar travels around the country and is in San Francisco now, I believe. Those are some of Janis’ things behind me, a cape and a dressing gown.

When we played there in Orlando, I took the guitar out of The Vault and put it on stage.

The Vault in Orlando.

Elise and I moved into this Marin house where we live now in 2004. It’s a small house on two and one half acres, a hectare.

Back Camera

So, now we have lived here ten years, time enough to cram the place full of books and a lot of love.

The Hawaiian archipelago is actually much longer than these main islands.  The whole archipelago extends some 1,200 miles over the Pacific.

Midway Island, that small two mile long dot there on the globe, is at the northwestern end of the Hawaiian archipelago. It is one third of the way to Tokyo from Honolulu.

sweet thoughts

My family traveled once (1956, 1957) in a propeller plane that actually refueled at Midway en route to Okinawa, Japan. We refueled again at Wake Island too, if I’m not mistaken.

Chad Quist, guitar    Kacee Clanton, singer     Todd Zimberg, drums

heifer

Kona Brew Pub

Colin and Wayne, good guys, erstwhile equipment managers for Big Brother, now far richer than we are, PLUS, they get to live in Hawaii.   Así es la vida.

See that red dot that says Makena?  James Gurley and I lived on the beach there for two and a half years or so, off and on, lived there with maybe ten of our friends. I wrote a song called Maui about our sojourn there. That was a beautiful time. Of course now Makena has resort hotels and is spotless. They wouldn’t let our kind in there now.  What else is new?

Regina and Kacee were with us.

19 June 2004  Red Cross Waterfront Festival        Alexandria  Virginia

clunky

Tristan Avakian played guitar with us and Todd Zimberg was on drums.   Tristan is now with Jennifer Espinoza in some incredible Queen tribute scene, and Todd has a series of jazz camps up in Washington.

rainier

We certainly drank our share of it.

OS

30 June 2004     Stop 345      Memphis     Tennessee

dotrob

31 July 2004   Magic Springs Theme Park   Hot Springs    Arkansas

bikers

6 August 2004   Sellersville Theatre      Sellersville    Pennsylvania      Sellersville is a borough in Bucks County in the Philadelphia-Camden metro area.

2014 Sundance TIn Type Portraits - Elle Fanning

7 August 2004   South Park Concert Site    South Park   Pennsylvania

c69f74fc5168ed3822aea3d7deb75b9b

13 August 2004   Gray’s Harbor Fair        Elma      Washington        I always wanted to open for a parrot.

1305204-bigthumbnail

DSR

karla downey

Kate Russo and I passed this one with ease. I could do this one with my eyes closed. I HAVE done this one with my eyes closed many times.

cow maiden

14 August 2004   Berbatti’s Pan     Portland     Oregon

ladle

18 September 2004    Tree Frog Music Festival     Fairibault    Minnesota

Lisa

MW2-MHS

Jimi trio

Met them in Monterey.

jimi generation

Jimi was once the sound man for Big Brother and the Holding Company and he did a good job. We played at his club The Generation in New York and he ran sound and recorded us on a Nagra tape recorder. Here he is applauding the band. This was a wake for Reverend Martin Luther King, Junior.

forym

24-25  September 2004     El Dorado Hotel & Casino      Reno

chelsea

Chelsea Healey

 

Na’alehu Theatre

Chad Quist

Peter Albin                    Karen Lyberger

2 October 2004    Hamakua Music Festival      Honoka’a       Hawaii

BBHC ancient album

Chloe Lowery  and Elise Piliwale

The banyan tree downtown Lahaina, Maui. This tree just keeps on going and growing. It’s all one tree and it covers this entire very large block.

biblio

4 October 2004       The Landmark Hotel       Los Angeles                      Photo:  Howard Sounes

16 October 2004    Largo Cultural Center   Largo  Florida       Wendy Rich

mawa

Peter Albin

NAJ

Shanna and Susan

31 December 2004    Coco’s in Ko Samui, Thailand.      set lists

crumb arthur

See you next week?

Sam Andrew, Peter, Jerry

Peter Lewis           Jerry Miller                Sam Andrew

______________________________________________

Big Brother history, part fifteen – 2003

2003

Antea gazpacho

MainStreetPorterville1905

ca_porterville01

18 January 2003      Porterville Auditorium           Porterville         California

helen

Back to the Beans and Bangers circuit.

lily

brook-tickets

13 March 2003   The Brook   Southampton   UK

14 March 2003    The Rayners    London Harrows  UK       I asked Kacee Clanton to sing with us on this trip, and she did a good job. I said, “Only thing is, don’t bring anyone with you, and pack extremely light. We only have a small van to travel in. Also, where we will be staying, there are often no elevators and many flights of stairs,” so Kacee showed up with her girlfriend and the largest suitcase I have ever seen. She’s been to Europe many times since then. I bet her luggage was lighter each time.

The band this time:   Chad Quist, Glenn Halvarsson, Kacee Clanton and Peter Albin.

The band with the van.  Yes, we can. Yes, we have to.

15 March 2003  The Borderline   London

peg

16 March 2003    The Borderline   Diest   Belgium         Quite a coincidence to play two clubs with the same name in two different countries on two consecutive nights.

rose

InMa

Ingrid Maassen

17 March 2003  Club Banana Peel  Ruiselede   Belgium            This was a tent in an open field. A happening place, though.

oar

One of the best men who ever lived: Vincent Van Gogh.  I read his letters to his brother Theo, and, even allowing for the fact that he is putting on his best face for a dear relative who is going to send him money, comfort and love, still, the piety, honesty, penetration, sheer energy and deep feeling of Vincent are amazing and very affecting.  If he had never painted a stroke, he would still be a very remarkable person.

Van Gogh’s birthplace.

He was born in Zundert, in the far south of the Netherlands.

18 March 2003   Stairway To Heaven   Utrecht   Netherlands

nathalie

19 March 2003   Rijksmuseum   Amsterdam     I went to this museum long ago when I was in the Kozmic Blues Band, and back now.

NancyStelaEliseSam

Elise Piliwale, Stela Mandel and Nancy Pollock

20 March 2003   Wilhelmina          Eindhoven                Netherlands

My mother’s name was Wilhelmina.

She was named for this queen of the Netherlands.

21 March 2003   Patronaat  Haarlem  Netherlands       This is the hometown of Frans Hals, an extraordinary painter.

Franz Hals visited this home for retired men and painted the inhabitants in the very room where I saw his work. One of the quickest artists ever, he handled all that 17th century lace with verve and accuracy, alla prima, very few corrections. It was a privilege to be in the same room where he did that.

Hals did this painting in this building in about three hours. If you look closely at the original, you can see the almost incredible rapidity of the brushstrokes.

22 March 2003   Iduna   Drachten   Netherlands

Some of these towns were so destroyed in World War Two that they are brand new and even strip mallish today.

IM pretty

Hengelo is almost due east of Amsterdam, close to Enschede.

23 March 2003    Kleine Kunst    Hengelo        Netherlands     “Kleine Kunst” means “little art.”

anneke

Now we drive far south to Velden am Wörthersee, Austria.

25 March 2003   Bluesiana Rock Café        Velden am Wörthersee  Austria     Gúðrun Kofler (center above) has brought us here to her place many times now.

Velden is way down in the south of Austria between Villach and Klagenfurt, very close to Italy and Slovenia.

In old Germany the catchphrase was Kinder Küche Kirche (Children Kitchen Church).  Here it’s Konzert Keller Kofler, something like:  Concert  Cellar Kofler, Gudrun’s surname.

Chad can not only bowl, he can also rock and roll.

We had fun. I apologized for George W. Bush, but otherwise we had a wonderful night.

Monika Pabst !    ”Papst,” exactly the same pronunciation, means “pope,” and I think she would make a great pope.

Glenn Halvarsson, sommelier for the Swedish tap water tour.

Chad Quist. One of the all time great guitar players. Clean, intelligent and always interesting.

Austrians are light, witty, schpritzy like Mozart’s music.

An example of their sense of humor may be found down the street at the Stehbar (stand bar).  You think a US bar would advertise this way ?

ali

My friend Ali

26 March 2003         Planet Music             Vienna

GiMi

28 March 2003   Colos-saal    Aschaffenburg Germany   The name of the club is a Wortspiel, a pun. Koloss (Colossus) is a giant, and Saal is an auditorium (like French Salle).  And the whole thing is colossal.

IngMas

29 March 2003    Alter Gasometer    Zwickau  Germany    The old gasmeter or the old gas company. I like the reuse of these buildings. This one is a beauty.

“East” Germany was under Soviet domination for a long time and there was not a lot of money under Communist rule, so, paradoxically, many places were left “unimproved” and as they were in the 1930s. Indeed, Prague in many places looks much as it did in Mozart’s time, which is why they filmed extended portions of Amadeus in Prague instead of in Vienna. Communism had the inadvertent virtue of preserving an older way of life.

When I stay in an old hotel room in eastern Germany, I think a lot about the lives lived there under Communism. The faded walls, ancient appliances and creaky floors speak to me of all the people who simply tried to make it through those parlous times.

JMM

The “cookwash.”  Laundromats are great places for guitar playing. Somehow they filter out the mistakes. It’s like singing in the shower.

The Sword of the East.   Don’t get me wrong. There were a lot of beautiful ideas in Communism. The rights of women, for example, were recognized under that system, and in old Soviet films you see women engineers on locomotives, women doctors, a real gender equality only beginning to be seen in the West now.

Communism, though, had the misfortune to be directed by human beings and we all know how selfish and venal they can be, and how even a little power can pervert the finest ideals.

So, in the former East Germany, I see much evidence of the wreckage of hope and ambition and comfort.  This can be dispiriting.

ingrid

The times, though, as someone once noted, are a changin’.  All of these old buildings and old lives have a new lease now. Suddenly former East Germany is hip.  The people in the DDR were “hillbillies” not so long ago. Now they are “authentic” and preserved from the olden times. This is a familiar scenario. Social regentrification, I suppose you could call it, and it’s worth a lot more than nothing.

 

It’s just that, when I am in those old hotel rooms late at night, I think of the ones who didn’t make it, the ones who died shortly before the Wall came down and thus lived their entire lives in desperate hope, cramped conformity and, sometimes, in terror.

We are the people.

Vacation in the DDR, the Orwellian named Deutsche Demokratische Republik.  Now that it’s over, everyone wants to reëxperience life under Communism.  The Ford in the East Germany of that time was called the Trabant (the Trabi) and now everyone wants to have one and especially that little tent that was erected on top of the car. It’s so chic, don’t you know ?

How quickly we forget and how easy to remember the “good old days,” which, of course, never were good.  Nostalgia for neuralgia.

Brezhnev and Honneker, the East German leader,  certainly seemed to be feeling the love, but there wasn’t a lot of trickle down.  There never is. There never will be.

31 March 2003    Objekt 5    Halle          Germany

marti

1 April 2003   Musiktheater Rex  Lorsch  Germany

I'm under a train

Sylvia Bartolotti tells me that Sto sotto ‘n treno (I’m under a train) is a way of saying, I feel as if I’ve been run over by a train, or I have a horrible hangover.

karte-ludwigsburg-171274

2 April 2003     Rockfabrik    Ludwigsburg             Germany

It’s funny to me, because Rock in German means skirt, and Fabrik could be cloth, but it really means Rock Factory.  Rock und Blouse could be a skirt and blouse, or it could be Rock and Blues.

GM

4 April 2003  Fismo   Einsiedeln    Switzerland           My hotel room was right across from this monastery.

IngrMa

Fismo is an acronym:   Fédération Internationale des Sports Mécaniques Originaux.

The CH = Confoederatio Helvetica    The Helvetic Confederation.  In his book De Bello Gallico The Gallic War, Julius Caesar used the word Helvetica for what is now Switzerland. So, the abbreviation for Switzerland on license plates and elsewhere is CH.

6 April 2003            Albani Music Club         Winterthur           Switzerland

Emily-Switzerland

My niece Emily Bullis Rollins came to see me in Winterthur. We had such a good time. I wish I would have had her sing a jazz standard or two.  Cry me a river?  Next time, Emily?

Cathy Richardson sang with us in Texas and

Joel seated

Joel Hoekstra played guitar, two hot Chicagoans. I have raved about Joel elsewhere. He’s a good human being and probably the best guitarist I have ever known. He plays in White Snake now.

9 May 2003     Wildflower Arts & Music Festival   Richardson  Texas, or Wichowdson, as Cathy pronounces it.

Shane-Luke-Rollins

28 June 2003            Jenner By The Sea       California

TSRDIRECTIONSMAPa

amanda

17 July 2003           Point Breeze           Webster             Massachusetts

hong

18 July 2003    Ocean Beach Park       New London      Connecticut

fish

19 July 2003       Vetrock     Mason Field    North Attleboro          Massachusetts

Elise Piliwale             midtown Manhattan.

27 July 2003   Central Park Summer Stage  New York City          Nina Simone’s daughter Simone and Elise.

Diane Lotny and Rob Clores.  There is something special about Diane. She has a big brain and a lot of talent.

Ashley Kahn and friends.

This is where we met the beautiful and talented Sophia Ramos. Sophia sang Ball & Chain and she stopped the show.

Couple Number One :    Carrie and Rob Clores.

There was an embarrassment of riches that day: Annisette, Baby Jane Dexter, Chan Marshall, Christine Ohlman, Caron Wheeler, Diane Lotny, Genya Ravan, Judith Owen, Kate Pierson, Lene Lovich, Little Queenie, Milini Khan, N’Dea Davenport, Phoebe Snow and Simone.

Judith Owen.

Kate Pierson was her usual charming self.

Miz Happiness and Joy, Milini Khan.

Brad Campbell and Snooky Flowers came, and we pretended we were the Kozmic Blues Band with Rob Clores and Maury Baker, the original drummer.

Milini Khan belongs to Chaka, and Simone belongs to Nina, so we had some royal princesses there.

Liz Payne Getz and Elise Wainani Piliwale.

Phoebe Snow came by and sang Piece of My Heart.  It was so good to see her… and hear her.

Diane Lotny, Kate Pierson and Elise Piliwale.

Chan Marshall.

Chan sang Down On Me.

Cat Power

Ry Cooder came to Central Park because he was playing with some Okinawan musicians.

18 September 2003      Sky Church    Experimental Music Project         Seattle

Sam blondes

19 September 2003   The Kenworthy Performing Arts Center    Moscow   Idaho

Lynn gamba

Lynn Asher has been on my mind a lot lately.

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20 September 2003  First Orcas Island Music Festival     Orcas Island     Washington

Lynn Asher GGate

San Francisco that a way.

25 September 2003        Justin Herman Plaza          San Francisco

4 October 2003        The Landmark  Hotel    bathroom sink, room 105     Los Angeles            Photo:  Howard Sounes

Yes. We remember her all the time.

12 October 2003     Avalon Ballroom              San Francisco

Lauren and Lynn

Wishing her well.   Lynn and Lauren

Wendy Rich sleep learning.

6 November 2003     Skihuette    Oberwangen    Switzerland

Oberwangen is very close to Bern.  We often play also in Rubigen (in the lower righthand corner of this map).

Hazel and Lena

Hazel Scott and Lena Horne

7 November 2003         The Krone Bar          Einsiedeln        Switzerland

Red Dog merchandise

8 November 2003      Baden Halle 36     Baden Baden was a famous spa. Dostoyefsky set a novel there, Der Spieler, The Gambler.   This word “Messe” can mean “a mass” or a “tradefair.” You see it a lot with city names.  ”Messe” can merely mean “town center” or something to that effect, since the fair, and the mass, were usually held in the center of town.

9 November 2003   Albani Music Club   Winterthur   Switzerland       Lovely people here.

Wendy Rich              Glenn Halvarsson     Glenn is Swedish, don’t  you know?  In fact, he’s a big Swedish meatball.

Sound checks. I love them so much. (That’s an example of irony.)   During this one, which was actually pleasant, we performed Blue Bossa and Cry Me A River, which Wendy Rich sang to perfection. The jazz ballad is really her strong point.

Wendy with that dazzling smile.

11 November 2003    Hirsch    Nürnberg   Germany   To some, this town Nürnberg connotes trials of World War Two gangsters.

To me, Nürnberg is the home of Albrecht Dürer.

I visited Dürers house in Nürnberg, and pulled this print on his own press upstairs. Big thrill for an artist.

Dürer was very successful.  He was as well known in his time as, say, Vincent Van Gogh is now. Dürer’s art was instantly understood and very popular.

I love his work too, and have made many copies of it.

Laura and Lynn

Photo:   Baron Wolman

Bielefeld

Lynn Sausa

13 November 2003    Das Movie    Bielefeld           Germany

Bielefeld doesn’t exist! For some reason, internet users in Germany write this a lot. I know it exists. I’ve played there a couple of times.

Michael Spörke published the German edition of his book Big Brother and the Holding Company, Die Band, die Janis Joplin berühmt machte, in 2003 or so.

Elaine Mayes took this interesting photograph.

14 November 2003   Alte Mälzerei  Regensburg      Malz = malt, so this could mean Old Maltery, a brewery.

Lynn Asher, Caroline Sky

The Cotton Club       Zug       Switzerland

Lynn Asher

Zug is a little south of Zürich.   Zug means a train or a column (of, say, marching soldiers) or a procession, so it’s an odd name for a town.

JR

30 December 2003         Sudsy Malone’s          Cincinnati          Ohio

steve ashman and daughters

Steve Ashman and friends

31 December 2003          The Rose         Medina    Ohio

Niones

See you next week !

Sam Andrew

__________________________________________________

I Homologate This Message.

1987-27-aug-BBHC-New-Georges-27-Aug-1987

Homologate:   agree with, approve, approbate, sanction, authorize, warrant, countenance, ratify, confirm, confess, acknowledge.

Che Guevara

Janis homologated these images.

Jim Wall, Sam Andrew, Ben Nieves

To render valid by some subsequent act.

256895_Janis_Joplin-2

A marriage contract, though defective in legal solemnities, is held to be homologated by the subsequent marriage of the parties.

Watashi?

Homologate is derived from the Greek homologeo (ὁμολογέω) for “I agree”, which is generally used in English to signify the granting of approval by an official.

blue Janis

The homologating body may be a court of law, a government department, or an academic or professional body, any of which would normally work from a set of strict rules or standards to determine whether such approval should be given.

1 14 67 b

The word may be considered very roughly synonymous with accreditation, and in fact in French and Spanish may be used with regard to academic degrees.

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Certification is another possible synonym.  To homologate is the infinitive.

ant knee red vic

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Products must often be homologated by some public agency to assure that they meet standards for such things as safety and environmental impact.

Elise phone kitchen summer 2013

A court action may also sometimes be homologated by a judicial authority before it can proceed, and the term has a precise legal meaning in the judicial codes of some countries, especially in Scotland.

2006 BeinInn laminate

The equivalent process of testing and certification for conformance to technical standards is usually known as Type Approval in English-language jurisdictions.

elliot newhouse 30 May 2013

Another example of the use of homologate  pertains to the biological sciences, where it may describe the similarities used to assign organisms to the same family or taxon, similarities they have jointly inherited from a common ancestor.

girls together outrageously

So, dear reader, what would this organization, Girls Together Outrageously (GTOs) have to do with the word “homologate?”

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In racing, a vehicle must be homologated by the sanctioning body to race in a given league, such as World Superbikes, International Level Kart Racing or other sportscar racing series.

Janis airbrush

Where a racing class requires that the vehicles raced be production vehicles only slightly adapted for racing, manufacturers typically produce a limited run of such vehicles for public sale so that they can legitimately race them in the class.

Twin Reverb

These vehicles are commonly called “homologation specials.”

Melina

The term homologation is also applicable in the Olympic Games, in venue certifications, prior to the start of competition.

Janis alone amazed

An issue was raised at Cesena Pariol—the bobsleigh, luge and skeleton track used for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino (Turin) —over its safety in luge.

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This delayed homologation of the track from January 2005 to October 2005 in order to achieve safe runs during luge competitions.

Janis and Dorothy

A judge must homologate the plea bargain between the district attorney and the defense.

Sam Nick Peter

Gran Turismo Omologato is the origin of the acronym GTO.

Janis autoharp

“We’ve major issues which appear to be discussed in the press. Decisions are made and then we’re asked to homologate these decisions.”

1 14 67

“What was needed was a more streamlined street car to homologate for racing.”

Janis close up

Now the same amazing race technology is available in fully homologated form for use on the road by drivers who know what satisfaction means.

Sam Monterey 1967 tinted

This protective front headlight grill for use off-road is not homologated for on-road use.

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Homologation is the certification of a product or specification to indicate that it meets regulatory standards.

1 29-30 71

There are companies that specialize in helping manufacturers achieve regulatory compliance.

Janis Mona Lisa

These homologating companies have services that might include the explanation and interpretation of standards and specifications.

Sam lag 66

There may be homologatory assistance in plant facility audit and approval, testing and certification of materials, product design consulting, and translation of manuals, legal mandates and other written material.

Melina R

My friend Melina has a beautiful collection of black and white photographs of blues players and she has tacitly homologated my use of them from time to time, just as she may use any image that I have.

chris

I don’t know why I did it, I don’t know why I enjoyed it, and I don’t know why I will do it again. What do you want? It’s a birthday.

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Reason itself is fallible and this fallibility must find a place in our logic.

Freeman Perry May 2013

We started out as opportunistic renegades. By now, we’ve lasted long enough to become American Original Respectable Renegades.

2 17 68 a

I want it to go on, but I want us to go out on top.  Well, so much for that. OK, then, go out on the bottom, yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket.

jeff air

I don’t miss the rat race, but occasionally I miss the rats.

Janis real

One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal, or even inability, to be compromised.

Sam Kathy Nick

The element of surprise is what I look for when I am playing.

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We all come into the world not knowing who we are.

2 20-21 70

Women get the work done, with lesser play of ego.

Sam still 30 May 2013

If anyone thinks I am wrong, I am inclined to agree with her.

Sam Janis Winterland PostSteiner

You know what would be interesting to see? A film about an Al Qaeda follower from her own point of view, how she became that, what her ambitions are, her name, her family, her petty dislikes, her secret wishes. This would show us more than a thousand state documents.

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There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves any of us to find fault with the rest of us.

Sam Janis studio 68

If you want to change your life, change your mind.

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Don’t be afraid of failure. Be afraid of succeeding too early.

Sam Janis sculpture

God limited the intelligence of humanity, but not the stupidity.

Melina Ri

One sure way to please a tigress is to let her eat you.

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The biggest risk in life is not taking any risks.

Sam Janis Richard Snooky

A bad temper is a sign of weakness.

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They had several car crashes in that film, but none of them killed the right people.

Sam Janis Peter Monterey

When you see old photographs, it’s lovely to remember being young, but even better to know that you grew up.

Cathy Richardson, Hummingbird

Every now and then do something that you think you are really bad at.

Sam Janis Memphis

Some white people hate black people, and some white people love black people, some black people hate white people, and some black people love white people. So you see it’s not an issue of black and white, it’s an issue of Lovers and Haters.

bug summer 2013

I like to do interviews where I see that the questioner is pondering his next line while I am answering his last… NOT!

Chuck Flood Hummingbird

I’m definitely not a shopper. I totally hate the process of researching and then haggling for the price. I wish I could just snap my fingers and it would be there. I would pay extra for that, actually, and, in fact, I suppose I do pay extra for that. Actually, I would pay extra for not having the thing at all.

Sam Janis Lag 66

My family were Democrats. In fact, if one of us children was acting up and being stubborn, my father would say, “Stop acting like a damned Republican.”

SamCutler Cutting 30 May 2013

Music is irrational. The better it is, the madder it is.

Humming top & case

Life is a song, so sing along. Life is a game, it’s never the same. Make it your goal to nourish your soul.

jerry lee

This looks totally posed. They’re probably his cousins.

Sam Janis April 1969

On two occasions I have been asked, “Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?”  I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.

Hummingback

Neither success nor failure is ever final.

Sam Janis apres baiser

The best command of the language is often shown by saying nothing.

Melina Riv

To make your dream come true, you need to be wide awake.

Cutting 30 May 2013

Bad politicians are elected by good people who don’t vote.

Hummingbird bridge

Look up. When you’re flat on your back, look up.

Sam Janis forward

Don’t worry about what is going to happen. It’s bad enough worrying about what is happening now.

stones early

Everybody doesn’t have to get every joke. People really appreciate not being condescended to.

Hummingbird case open

If you have health, friends and enough money to pay the rent and eat, you have a lot.

sam james peter janis newport

Legends are all about the past and have nothing to do with the present.

Kessler's 30 May 2013

You can’t think clearly when your fists are clenched.

Great Music 30 May 2013

I often play language learning CDs in my car, and I’ve noticed that when I become angry at another driver, I don’t learn anything at all from the CDs. I have to listen to that spot over again. This in itself is educational.

Hummingbird Nudie

I’m the L word.   Liberal.

Sam Big Brother Park

It’s not so much the taxes we pay as it is the feeling that someone is picking our pockets without our knowing why.

Chealsea Dawn 30 May 2013

As long as there is one pretty woman on stage, the theatre will live.

Guitarist Cutting 30 May 2013

When you’re wrong, admit it. When you’re right, be quite.  (Or quiet, whichever is best.)

Cutting couple 30 May 2013

A door is what a cat is always on the wrong side of.

Dr. Photo 30 May 2013

Am I a late bloomer or an early rotter?

Brian Barry 30 May 2013

Most people would rather be right than be reasonable.

Hummingbird, sideways

You cannot move others unless you too are moved.

Flatbush Avenue 31 May 2013

Remorse or reminiscence?

Mills Cutler 31 May 2013

The fruits of our private study should appear in our public behavior.

High Note Amityville 31 May 2013

Sometimes I look at the stars for so long that they seem to move and dance in the sky.

Jim Lisa Ben 31 May 2013

My father seemed to me to know everything, all about the artists in the Renaissance, all about the carburetor under the hood, all about the rocks and how they came to be that way, all about the plants and their histories. If he couldn’t afford something, he would simply make it with his own hands.

Comfort Inn 31 May 2013

Labels are for medicine bottles. Labels are for clothes. Labels aren’t for people.

Lisa elevator

Whoever said, “It’s not whether you win or lose that counts,” probably lost.

Crossroads 1 June 2013

People want to matter. Help them to do that and show them that they do.

Hummingbird, stylized image

For the caterpillar it’s the end of the world.  For the butterfly it’s her birthday.

Playland At The Beach

My wife.  She makes life come to life.

Janis with my:our Hummingbird

A professional musician is an amateur who didn’t stop.

Janis Sam Victor Fill East?

If you want something in your life, act as if it’s already there.

Melina Rive

Living to the highest standard you know leads to happiness.

Shiho arms cross Hummingbird

A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the word you first thought of.

in bed full view

Learning when to leave is not a negligible part of one’s education.

Crossroads banner 1 June 2013

I have been in the twilight of my career for longer than most people have had careers.

Ann S Kerry K m2 June 2013

Actually, I’ve been in the twilight of my career for longer than many people have lived.

janis blues hall of fame

Music has given me soul.

Kerry Kearney 2 June 2013

Talented people are the easiest to get along with.

Shiho cradling Hummingbird

The simpler it is, the more beautiful it can become.

BBHC Main Squeeze

One must always maintain one’s connection to the past and yet ceaselessly pull away from it.

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When you walk into a party, you don’t see someone’s brain right away, although it doesn’t take long to see her soul.

blue moon

No matter what you do, you can’t live in the past.

BBHC first promo

I wake up at five every day, even if I went to bed at three. I’m blaming it on my cats.

0812122041c

The optimist says we live in the best of all possible worlds.  The pessimist fears that may be true.

Andrew_BBHC_Petulia

Write the kind of song you would like to hear.

2009 31 dec Nicole Elise Sophia

No lady is ever a gentleman.

1

You begin growing your wisdom teeth the first time you bite off more than you can chew.

1992 sam peter

People worry more about what they can’t see than what they can.

Melina River

It is better to create than to learn.

Elise 7 May 2013

Picture you upon my knee, just tea for two and two for tea.

Kerry 2 June 2013

My ambition is to do a good job. I never plan anything.

Ann Sam Xroads Lisa 2 June 2013

Life is accepting what is and working with that, or, as my mother put it, you work with what you got.

Lisa Mills 31 May 2013

Everyone has a story that is worth telling and, if told right, it can be a beautiful song.

gate 3 june 2013

Self consciousness, shyness, timidity are all forms of egotism and that’s all right.

2

People believe quickly what they wish to be true.

1990 Sam Andrew  Mick Taylor woman

You take the truth and you put a little curlicue on the end.

3

Every language has its own song.

1967 Jame Gurley

James Gurley.

4

You can’t teach talent, but you can teach competence and confidence.

Spanish

I used to be afraid of being normal even though nothing is normal.

5

Films have the power to change people’s minds. A film can make you a better person.  In fact, a film should make you a better person.

Sophia la cantadora

Good old days? What good old days? People who wish for the old days have very selective memories.

1968-Cooke-Joplin

Life is much shorter than it seemed at first.

Sophia & Peter

For at least a hundred and fifty years, America’s best ambassador has been her music.

1967-BBHC-Lag-282x300

Being a musician is just a job, but it can be an interesting job.

Combination of the Two

I was always shy, timid, introverted, whatever you want to call it, and mortally afraid of going onstage. I bet that is true of many, many performers.

Melina Riverb

I wrote Flower in the Sun in a bathroom in Bernal Heights, San Francisco.  It was the only place I could find any privacy.

1967-bbhc-park-bootleg-cover-300x297

I try to live by the Golden Rule.  Most of the time that works.

Andrew 70 pub BBHC

We’re not disgruntled. We’re actually fairly gruntled and couth.

1967-janis-mag-mt

Anybody can succeed, anybody can play, but you’ve got to work hard to do it.

via San Vitale

I’m a skilled professional musician. Whether or not I have any talent is beside the point. Main thing is to do the job well.

1967-janis-rellax

I read many, many books, but I am careful to to let anything I read influence me.

tom georges 1

Many people who are brutally honest are more brutal than honest.

1967Motherload poster signed by Chet

At 53 I got the girl!  Now she’s almost 53.

edmund kean

Dying is easy, comedy is hard, as Edmund Kean observed on his deathbed.

spörkebuch

Comedy is not only hard to act, but hard to write.  As Michael Caine noted, you get one comedy script for every twenty dramas.

SpoerkeRegensburg

Comedy is underrepresented in every actor’s résumé because comedy is very difficult.

1969-james-163x300

English is clipped in speech.  Texan is clopped in speech.

1968-sam-james-john

Be like a duck, always oily calm on the surface and furiously paddling underneath.

1986-BBHC-Rolling-Stone-1986-300x198

I admire other musicians but I would never think of competing with them.  What we do is so different. I compete with myself. I have had so many great guitarists play and sit in with Big Brother over the years. More guitar players have performed with Big Brother than musicians on any other instrument. Even singers, and that’s saying something.

Melina Riverbl

The Jack Benny philosophy:   I feel like 39.  At 39 you’re old enough to know something and young enough to look forward to what you can do with that knowledge.  So I’m staying at 39.  It sounds so much better than 40, doesn’t it?  It sounds better than 71 too, which is what I really am, and very happy to be 71 too.

sam 2

Talk low, talk slow, and don’t talk much.

Rushmore

Count your money.  I’m not going to retire, so I don’t have to worry about that part, but you always need about three times as much money as you think you are going to need.

petulia

The first star I saw was Lash La Rue, and I thought, that’s what I want to do, be Lash La Rue.

Mostar-Sarajevo-sign-225x300

If you see money as the solution for every problem, then money is the problem.

Montezano

You get paid the same for a bad gig as for a good one.

matrix fillmore west

My fan mail is enormous.   Everyone is under six.

marionette

To an engineer it’s “good enough for government work.”  To an artist there’s no such thing as good enough.

LARK sam lisa

There are as many ways of loving as there are people in the world.

kelley mouse

I sang before I talked, before I had a memory. When my memory began, I was already singing.

kb

I’m a huge shoe person.   I only wear shoes that are truly enormous.

joplin cotten

Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can – there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.

jimi lagoon

The fact is that great musical pieces take and hold the stage because they provide great emotional experiences.

Melina Riverblu

Success is important only to the extent that it puts one in a position to do more things one likes to do but it’s even more important because it can allow you to help people who truly deserve help.

Janis Joplin Reunion Concert Front

Music is a process which is successful only if it is achieved by people who love to collaborate.

Hotel-Chianti-due-chitarre-300x265

If you approach a song as though it were something that always went a certain way, that’s what you get. Maybe best to approach a song as though you never heard it before.
Golden Rule

gm

We all make mistakes. Best to look at them closely, confront them honestly and learn from them.

fear

Are we not all desperate in one way or another?

Elise-Joan-Karen

I have been the victim of heartless and, worse, pointless malice delivered by stupid people who truly believed that they had something to say.

Elise Greece

Giving a phenomenon a name does not explain it.

elise bratislava

Even the most malignant gods would not continue to inflict life upon humanity, time without end.

Donna Patterson

Don’t rush into adulthood. It is not really all that much fun.

dan o'neill

The only real failure is one you don’t learn from.

crumb cwiz

combo two

The most important things in life aren’t things.

Melina Riverblue

Promise a lot, and then give more.

clarinet com

Learning is an avenue to happiness, ever open to those who are deprived of honors or wealth.

cheetah 1967

The worst thing is to get involved with people who aren’t passionate about what they’re doing.

bruce

A little nonsense now and then is good for women and good for men.

Big Brother Maryland

I wish I could understand why the electoral college is necessary.

BBHCGerman

The greatest peril to the soul is an answered prayer.

BBHC Winterland 10 Yrs. After

I don’t have everything I want, but I have a lot that I am grateful for.

1968 sam sepia

You can sell out if you want to, but just because you did doesn’t mean they’re going to keep their end of the bargain.

affects bored

1968 july 28 sam janis Newport

In film there’s just one chance to make something decent. In the theatre, you get to do it over and over.

1725_Washington_1966-1

Don’t worry about being modern.  That’s something you can’t avoid.

71 peter

A miracle can happen at any time.

BBHC publicity

Sam Janis gold dress Peter

Don’t be silly and don’t waste your time.

Sam BHOF 2 Jujne 2013

I appreciate the love and respect behind such an award, but I can’t help thinking about people like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, Son House, Skip James, Tommy Johnson, Willie Brown, Geeshie Wiley, Ishmon Bracey, Kid Bailey, Arthur Crudup, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Little Walter,  John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Mississippi John Hurt, Booker White, Furry Lewis, T-Bone Walker and Ike Turner, so I am going to write about them next week.

BBHC Staten Island 2 June 2013

Thank you for being here.

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