2 October 2011




I have been married to Elise Piliwale for ten years today.


Conservatism preserves the radical idea that someone had yesterday.


People are most conservative when they are least vigorous and most luxurious… that is, usually when they are older.


If you happen to be in Okinawa, Japan, 16 October, please come see us.


Kate Russo in a wonderful photograph by Elliott Landy.


Don Aters’ incandescent photo of Lynn Asher.


Salvador Dalì and Walt Disney.


A conservative will not look at the new sunrise out of respect for that “ancient institution,” yesterday’s.


Elise Piliwale, Athens.


“Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservatives.”   John Stuart Mill.


Ronald Reagan was the first… and so far only… president to have been divorced.


Republicans keep referring to Ronald Reagan as a great statesman, and, oh, if we could only return to his time, a golden age of sunshine in America. So, it might be worthwhile to take a look at his tenure in the White House.


I lived through Reagan’s administration and what I remember is that he basically slept through it. He was a non participant. That’s the most charitable view of the matter, because, if he didn’t sleep through his Presidency, then he is responsible for damage to the USA.


People around Ronald Reagan, if not he himself, made a deal to sell arms to Iran in 1986. This decision was made in hopes of obtaining freedom for Americans who had been taken hostage by pro-Iranian terrorists in Lebanon. But because the sale was carried out in secret, and despite Reagan’s oft repeated insistence that he would never make concssions to terrorists, when it came to light it undermined his credibility.


The money obtained by selling weapons to Iran was used to supply Nicaraguan anti Communist rebel troops (the Contras) with arms, despite the fact that Congress had banned such deliveries. Supplying weapons to the Contras was patently illegal. Reagan insisted that this was done by members of the White House staff without his knowledge which suggested that he was either lying or incompetent.


And then there was Reagan’s grasp of current events:

“Well, I would… if they realized that we… again if… if we led them back to that stalemate only because that our retaliatory power, our seconds, or strike at them after our first strike, would be so destructive that they couldn’t afford it, that would hold them off.”

Ronald Reagan when asked if nuclear war could be limited to tactical weapons.


A view from a fellow (very hard core) Republican:

Reagan is a person with whom you can’t discuss serious issues. Many, many times I have been with members of Congress in Mr. Reagan’s presence, and i don’t have the feeling that ever once, any of us have gotten through to him with any point of view other than the one that he entered the meeting with.”     (Jim Wright 1987)


Ronald Reagan was a person of much personal charm, but he set in motion the trend toward deregulation that led directly to the economic troubles we have today. If he was awake during his presidency, then he caused great harm to us and, if he was asleep, as I suspect he was… well, hardly a great statesman either way.


A true conservative is someone who can’t see the difference between radicalism and a good idea.


You learn something new everyday. And, if you’re really lucky, you get to learn something old every day too.


Some people are so conservative that they believe nothing should be done for the first time.


Kiss me, Kate.   (She’s probably heard that as many times as I have heard “Play it again, Sam.)


The words “Play it again, Sam.” were never uttered in Casablanca. See for yourself.


Ilsa:   Play it once, Sam. For old times’ sake.

Sam:   I don’t know what you mean, Miss Ilsa.

Ilsa:   Play it, Sam. Play “As Time Goes By.”

Sam:   Oh, I can’t remember it, Miss Ilsa. I’m a little rusty on it.

Ilsa:   I’ll hum it for you. Da-dy-da-dy-dum, da-dy-da-dee-da-dum…

(Sam begins playing)

Ilsa:   Sing it, Sam.

Sam: You must remember this, A kiss is still a kiss,

A sigh is just a sigh,

The fundamental things apply,      As time goes by,

And when two lovers woo,

They still say “I love you.” On that you can rely,

No matter what the future brings…


Dooley Wilson, who played Sam, was a drummer. The real piano player couldn’t sing, as it turned out, so Dooley, who had such a great voice, had to sit in. The original piano player was off camera playing the tune, and Dooley Wilson watched him and copied the piano moves as he sang the song.


Uma Thurman’s father was the first American to be ordained a Buddhist monk.


The Woolworth Building, 233 Broadway, between Park Place and Barclay Street, Manhattan., still dominates the City Hall Park area of lower Manhattan. This was the world’s tallest structure until the 1930 completion of the Chrysler Building.


President Bush declared a National Day of Prayer for Peace. This was shortly after he and Dick Cheney had prepared the Shock and Awe adventure in Iraq, you know, the useless war that we are still paying for?


Castro Theatre 429 Castro Street, near Market. Timothy Pflueger was a young man of twenty nine when the Nasser Brothers, who started out with nickelodeons, asked him to design his first picture palace. The Wurlitzer organ still rises from the pit for mini concerts before screenings.


With Greg Errico and Cynthia Robinson, Florida, 2010.


“Shalom Aleichem”  Peace be with you. The proper reply is “Aleichem Shalom.” This is a traditional Jewish way of saying hello and goodbye, as well as a familiar Friday night hymn welcoming the Shabbes angels.


“The parties that made the Consitution aimed to cheat and defraud the slave, who was not himself a party to the compact or agreement.”

Frederick Douglas, “The Constitution and Slavery,”  1849.


The rebec and the oud were common instruments in Africa. They crossed over the narrow strait that separates Morocco and Spain and came into Europe who knows when? They evolved into the lute (al oud), the guitar, the violin, the violoncello. the viol family. This must have happened during the first thousand years after the Common Era.


“Once they notice you, they never completely close the file.”

Philip K. Dick (1928-1982)


A person telling an emotional story slips from first person to third, and s/he has reached the point where the feelings start to become overwhelming.


What I said to an audience in Moscow, 1995.

“We love Russia and we are so happy to play for you.”


Wesley Freeman has chosen Chiko to sing with me in Okinawa, Japan.


“Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest.”

Mark Twain.


Ikh bin a bisl antoysht vos mir kenen nisht a bisl lenger eyner mitn andern reden.   (Yiddish)

I’m a little disappointed that we can’t chat a little longer.


Antioxidants are vitamins believed to prevent cancer and heart disease. These vitamins neutralize circulating free radicals (reactive molecules). which are destructive to cells. Vitamins A (beta-carotene), C, D and E make up the antioxidant family.


Clark Walker contemplava avidamente le fatezze opulente della macchina, come un cobra adocchia una gallina ben pasciuta.

Clark Walker avidly contemplated the opulent attributes of the car, as a cobra would covet a well nourished hen.


The Ptolemaic Period in Egypt derives its name from Ptolemy I and his descendents, who ruled Egypt from 305 to 30 B.C. Ptolemy was a general under Alexander  the Great and the Ptolemies retained their Greek ways and ruled from the newly founded city of Alexandria.



Wright-san wa o-taku ni irasshaimasu ka?     (Japanese)

Is Mr. Wright at home?


27 August 1776. George Washington sneaked his entire 9,500 man force across the East River, out of Brooklyn and into Manhattan, narrowly averting slaughter at the hands of the British under the command of General William Howe. Washington engineered his troops brilliant retreat across Bedford Pass, Flatbush Pass and Gowanus Creek and finally into Brooklyn Heights whence he steered his army to safety in Manhattan, thus keeping the flickering hopes of the Revolution alive.


There is a town in Texas called Ding Dong. Not sure if Rick Perry has ever been there.


Any officer of the federal government can be impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors” by a majority vote of the House of Representatives, but he or she is tried in the Senate rather than in a court. The House has impeached seventeen officials: twelve federal judges, one Supreme Court justice, one senator, one cabinet member and two presidents, but the Senate found only seven of these officials guilty and removed them from office.


Étui. I’ve always liked this French word. It means a case. i first came across it in André Gide where he used it for a “cigarette case.” In German a guitar case is der Koffer, which sounds a bit like coffin or coffer, but in French, Spanish and Italian the words are all related to étui, estuche and astuccio.


Hey, who’s that guy standing in Joel Hoekstra’s place by Brad Gillis?


The Dakota Apartments, 1 West 72nd Street at Central Park West, Manhattan., 1880-1884. Singer Manufacutring Company heir and West Side developer Edward S. Clark built this luxury apartment building so far away from the rest of the City that it was said it might as well have been in the Dakota Territory. Leonard Bernstein, Judy Garland, John and Yoko and Rosemary’s Baby lived here, and Yoko still does.


Hey, who’s that guy with Don Aters?


Far fetched as it may seem, many people are using three dimensional printing technology to create medical implants, jewelry, football boots designed for individual feet, lampshades, racing car parts, solid state batteries, and customised mobile phones.


San Francisco City Hall, 400 Van Ness Avenue, 1915. The steel framed Beaux Arts city hall is clad in Marin granite outside and Indiana sandstone inside. The dome is fourteen feet taller than the US Capitol’s. The cascading staircase, surrounded by a Corinthian loggia is beautiful and stately.


A rare “hometown” gig. Georges, San Rafael, California.


Rib cage, pen and ink.


My Vermeer version.


This character means “mountain” in Japanese. Doesn’t it look like a mountain? There are two readings, SAN and yama. Fujisan, Fujiyama. Mount Fuji.


The Hebrew word for “under” is ta-chat, which became the Yiddish tuchis, the tush.


Chuck Berry was born on Goode Avenue in St. Louis in 1931.


Pen and ink. The horse’s hoof is the nail of its “middle finger.”


My homeys at Aroma Cafe:

Mickey Fischer, Peek Sawyer, Shelley Champine, Brad Flaharty, Bill Hansell, Alan Monasch, Andrew Perrins, Veronica Page, Shannon Cinnamon McCloud, Kevin Phillips, Karen, Jimmy, RJ Franco, Glenn Herskowitz. Seated: Nusi Decker, Dava Sheridan, Terry Morton, Sam Andrew.


Study for a painting.


Elise in Greece.


And now, my impression of a Holy Man.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


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