29 May 2011



Japan’s currency is the most difficult to counterfeit. I have personally verified this.


Kerry Kearny took this photo: Sam Andrew, Peter Albin, Michel Bastian, Dave Getz, James Gurley, 1980s.


So, who’s in this photo?


Escapees from the Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, south of Interstate 10, west of Blythe, in unincorporated Riverside County, California. 101632 and 945782.


Have your ball joints checked once a year at least. Watch her do it if you can. If she didn’t jack up the car, she didn’t do it. This is important.


Leg. Charcoal.


What Planet Are You From? Excellent film, by the way.


Suck and blow, blow and suck, oh, Buddha, help me now.


When planting tomato seedlings, crush some eggshells (one to two eggs’ worth) and put them in the hole with the seedling. The shells will promote the growth of large and more flavorful tomatoes.


Esistono ospiti di ogni specie.

There are guests of every species.


There is no problem in this country, no matter how complex, that Americans, when they really get down to it, can’t completely ignore.



“I wish Karl would accumulate some Kapital rather than just writing about it, and Engels? He’s no angel.” Minnie Marx about her no good son.


One of the Japanese companies is coming out with a five valve per cylinder engine (engines usually have two). Picture a four cylinder engine with twenty valves. The machine shops are going to love doing valve jobs on those. Nah, that won’t cost much.


Questa creatura affascinante era addirittura uno schianto.

This fascinating creature was really a knock out.


Bamboo (the world’s tallest grass) can grow up to ninety centimeters a day.


Me ineptum. Interdum modo elabitur.

Silly me. Sometimes it just sort of slips out.


Relax. Don’t get caught up in such homilies as “You must do something with your life.” This is outmoded thinking, and, besides, you are doing better than almost everyone else anyway. Look at this photograph and see what you are giving to this new person. Lucky you, lucky her.


Psychiatry is cure of the id by the odd.


Carburetors have become more and more complex and have evolved into today’s “feedback carburetor,” which uses, yes, you guessed it, a computer chip and various sensors to reduce emissions. Oh, forgot to tell you, no one is making cars with carburetors anymore. Carburetors are dinosaurs, you know, kind of like Big Brother and the Holding Company?


There’s never been an answer. There is no answer now. And there is not going to be an answer tomorrow.


Spero che tu non perda la strada.

I hope you don’t lose your way.


No one says “half a month,” but some people say “a fortnight.”


Work is way more fun than fun.


Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas. OK, so Massachusetts is a commonwealth. Maybe Virginia is one too. Saipan has more abandoned World War II tanks, though.


Stephen Andrew IS the blue marble.


It’s cheaper to keep a car rather than buying a new one every couple of years. The costs level off about the fourth year and stay the same.


Brittany Devan Hale. Whew, it is tough to write “Devan,” tough for a proofreader. She’s a smart woman, matter of fact, funny and happy.


Senza aiuto, nessuno potrebbe scrivere un capitolo così monumentale come è questo excursus sull’amore.

Without help, no one could write a chapter as monumental as this treatise on love.


Reincarnation? Think about the math.  Say everyone who ever lived has six lives. That’s a lot of souls. Are all those souls going to keep their same value when there are trenty gazixty billion instead of twelve (the number that Adam and Eve had)? Maybe they will, but I’m glad I don’t have to do the accounting. (You have to be particularly expert to know how many “trenty gazixty” is.)


Corporations often make marketing decisions by weighing the cost of being sued for your death against the cost of making the product safer. Car makers specialize in this.


The thing I like about Lynn is that you are not distracted by her looks or anything like that.


Remember that couple in Woody Allen’s Radio Days? They had a program Breakfast With The Demetrions. They were the man and woman about town, urbane, witty, sophisticated. Here they are in the flesh, Marti and Phil.


Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscripti catapultas habebunt.

When catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults.


This is Mammy Kimura performing Hamlet. No, she’s just backstage in Tokyo wondering how she can get out of singing Ball & Chain.


Paul Moyse does Steve Coogan and very well too.


Time could be the most valuable thing you spend.


The Arch Fiend of the Universe, as he billed himself then. Later when he joined the ranks of the rest of us wicked, he became Saint James. Go figure.




La crème de la crème, and I kid you not. Sophia Ramos.


Consequences, shmonsequences, as long as I’m rich.

Kathi McDonald and Long John Baldry.


Few people realize that the song Try which we premiered in The Kozmic Blues Band was written by Angelina Jolie’s uncle, Chip Taylor, from Yonkers, New York. A real Yonkers boy, Chip wrote an entire CD celebrating his youth in that town, a very affecting effort from the author of such tunes as Wild Thing and Angel of the Morning. Chip’s brother, of course, is Jon Voigt who now belongs to the singularly ignorant wing of the Republican Party, after an early liberal life, when being liberal was “hip,” and after making a couple of truly worthwhile films, Coming Home (featuring a beautiful ballad by Sam Andrew), and Heat by Michael Mann. Chip Taylor holds his own with integrity in such a family. In fact, he shines, and so does Angelina, of course.


Gum is part of the U.S. Armed Forces’ field and combat rations, and soldiers consume gum at a rate five times the national average.


Samantha Gorton loves this Dale Burckhardt drawing so much that sparks are coming out of her nose.


Watch out for this one. Shelley Champine.


My Gibson SG Standard. Mouse painted this, one of the most beautiful guitar decorations ever.


Orange County, isn’t it?, has an airport named for John Wayne. Jimmy Stewart served in World War II. He was a good man. The Air Force gave him a medal. He never mentioned his service in interviews. John Wayne was a draft dodger. He stayed home to act in the movies, and he never tired of proclaiming his patriotism and machodum. I mean dumb. Green Bray, donkey. Phony. Here’s to you, General Stewart. You were a real man when it counted.


Michael Carabello, a good person. You notice he’s closest to the fire.


Ecce magnitudinem illae molae piperi.

Look at the size of that pepper mill.


People love me because I am a multifaceted, talented, wealthy, internationally famous genius artist.


Why attack God? She could be as confused as we are.


Houston Person, sultan of the saxophone, hero of the horn, Rex of the reed.


Enjoy yourself. If you can’t enjoy yourself, enjoy somebody else.


The Sam Andrew Band playing at Manny’s Car Wash, New York.


My brother Dan sent me this photograph, and my other brother Lee knew Kris even before this photograph was taken.


Maria Sorrentino came to my house with Ezio Guaitamacchi and Stefania Vialetto to film an interview.


Non vi dirò il nome della stella, ma quando hai detto Cipollina, hai detto tutto.

I won’t tell you the name of the star, but when you’ve said Little Onion, you’ve said everything.


We have a Department of Defense and a Pentagon. Why don’t we have a Department of Peace and a Hexagon?


Hey, Chad Quist can play a C chord, or is that a C flat 5?



Photo: Max Clarke.


Get your alignment checked about once a year. These days that’s about the only time someone is really going to look at your car.


Goodbye till next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Testy and Bilious

22 May 2011



“A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”   Albert Einstein


Sympathy, education and social ties should all prompt us toward a tolerance of others’ beliefs and differences. I am a nonbeliever but I respect the believer. After all, she may be right. It is unlikely that we are going to die and then “journey,” as a totally conventional person would say, to a heaven where an old white man is serenaded by a lot of harps. (Substitute here any picture of the hereafter that anyone has imagined.) Unlikely, but not impossible. Who knows? The most sensible thing is to respect all points of view and even enjoy them as one enjoys different flowers in the garden.


Yes, I am aware that this is “secular humanism” and is thus anathema to fundamentalists of all stripes. There may be 600 virgins waiting there in Paradise for those of us lucky enough to be religious martyrs and there may be hellfire and damnation for the ones who don’t belong to The Pentecostal Chruch. But, eh?, probably not.  ¿Quien sabe?


Someone said “Virtue is its own reward.” Was this Aristotle, Plato? Some wise person said it, and it only seems self evident.


I have a great idea. Let’s cut funding for Medicare and other social programs for the poor so that we have enough money to lower taxes for rich people and corporations. Oh, wait, no, someone’s already thought of that. It’s going to be the Republican Party platform for 2012.



The Democrats are being particularly spineless at this poiint. President Obama is not calling them as he sees them. He’s trying to mollify everyone, and he knows that we have no alternative, given what the opposition is offering, so he can take us for granted. The two party system is not such a good system right now.

Republicans, those who can put a complete sentence together, make some sort of ridiculous statement almost once a week. As noted earlier, Mike Huckleberry said that Obama’s world view is influenced by his upbringing in Kenya. Michele Bachmann has joked innacurately about the “coincidence” that swine flu emerged during the Carter and Obama presidencies and hinted publicly that Obama may have “anti-American” sentiments. Someone recently asked Sarah Palin who the most influential journalist was. “Oh my goodness, that’s a great question,” she said, before turning to her husband Todd and asking for his input. When Todd also balked, Palin came back and said, “Um, gosh, that’s a great question, I have to think about it, OK? Because there are many.”  Tom Marino, Republican, Pennsylvania, recently said that our intervention in Libya could spread to Africa. I mean, what were these people doing in school, paying people to take their exams? No wonder they can believe all of the ridiculous things that they believe. They are completely ignorant. Anyone knows that Maureen Dowd is the most influential journalist. And the cutest.


Of course I’m not talking about Republicans who are Republicans for financial reasons. They are not ignorant. They’re just amoral.


Mills Building, San Francisco, 220 Montgomery and Bush, 1891. Darius Ogden Mills made his fortune outfitting gold miners and he laid out the town of Millbrae. The first steel framed skyscraper in the West, the Mills Building is a beauty. I worked here as a legal editor for a law firm, and I used to walk up and down the stairs once a day, 22 floors, 26 floors, I forget. The Mills Building has that white archway, a Romanesque inheritance from the Chicago school of Louis Sullivan, and a lower façade of light-colored Inyo marble. The architect John Wellborn Root also designed The Chronicle building.


After three days, fish and guests stink.

Everyone claims this statement. John Lyly (1554-1606) wrote it, and Leo Rosten says it is a Yiddish proverb. My mother told me that she made it up, and of course she was right. It’s a German saying too. You know? Maybe it’s just universal. Maybe everyone made it up, everyone who’s ever had guests for more than three days.


The Beatles arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Queens, 7 February 1964, aboard flight 101 of Pan Am’s Yankee Clipper for their first visit to the United States. They went to stay at The Plaza Hotel, 768 Fifth Avenue, and played on 9 February for The Ed Sullivan Show. They did All My Loving, Till There Was You, She Loves You, I Saw Her Standing There, and I Want To Hold Your Hand. They returned to New York on 12 February to perform two shows at Carnegie Hall.


Till There Ws You was a song from The Music Man and I loved it. It had a couple of diminished chords, very unusual for pop music at that time, it was fun to sing, and Paul did it very well. He played this sort of song, I am sure, to learn what chords could do and it served him well. This is learning music theory on the job. (Of course John was probably over in the corner going “Ack, Ack, I can’t believe I’m playing this song.”) Takes all kinds to make a band. At least they were both talented. It could have been worse, believe me.


And speaking of longhairs, the average scalp has 100,000 hairs. Redheads have about 90,000 hairs, blondes about140,000, and brunettes fall somewhere in between.


My cousin Kelli Andrew.


Elizabeth Gage writes to me about her Yiddish antecedents:

My favorite Yiddish statement of all time was coined by my mother. I am sure you are aware of the kosher dietary regulations (no eating milk with meat). My parents took us to Grossinger’s, a chi-chi Jewish resort in the Catskills (Ketskells) when I was 17 (1966.) I do not think it even exists anymore. On New Year’s eve, there was a woman wearing a dress that left absolutely nothing to the imagination, and my mother’s impromptu response was, “Oy vey, melkich and fleishich on the same plate.” (Milk and meat on the same plate.)


What Elizabeth may not know is that both Lenny Bruce and Bill Graham both worked at Grossinger’s as wait people, along with many other well known characters both in front of, and behind, the scenes. Milton Berle and Danny Kaye were both tummlers at Grossinger’s. What was that film with Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze? Dirty Dancing? Wasn’t that supposed to be a fictional Grossinger’s? She was Baby. He was a poisonous goy. And isn’t that the best kind?


In the 1970s I taught guitar for a couple of years at Ragona Music in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, every day of the week for six or seven hours a day. Often, just to decompress from this intense schedule, I would walk home to the West Village in Manhattan. That was a long walk, many miles, but a very good one, and towards the end of it, I would walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and do a long meditation on everyone else who had been there, not least Sonny Rollins, premier tenor saxophone player who used to come out to the Bridge and practice at night.


It took from 1867 until 1883 to build the Brooklyn Bridge which was the first physical connection between Brooklyn and Manhattan… a connection that would be politically solidified with the 1898 consolidation of Greater New York.


Remember the film Blazing Saddles? There were some  Native Americans in it who spoke a strange language, Yiddish! Chief Mel rides up to the cowboys and says, “Abi gezunt,” (As long as I have my health). This was the name of a hit song by the great Yiddish actress Molly Picon and composer Abe Ellstein from the 1938 Yiddish film Mamele (Little Mothers).


Donna found this Mann coat of arms. Mann is my mother’s maiden name, but I think her people are far too humble to have a coat of arms. One nevers knows, though. This is from the right part of Europe. Donna is on the track of my family and she has already found out some very interesting things.


Always take life with a grain of salt… a slice of lemon… and a shot of tequila.


The Phelps House, 1111 Oak Street, San Francisco, 1850-1851, was built by Abner Phelps, a Montgomery Block lawyer, on 160 acres in what was then the countryside. The house was moved three times and has undergone significant interior changes, but is said to be the oldest externally unaltered residence in town. The high foundation, balcony and veranda provided a taste of the South to appease Phelps’ homesick bride whom he met while mayor of Lafayette, Louisiana.


Ronnie Campsey on right, his son Beau and Sadie.


The Orthodox Coptic Church is one of the oldest Christian Churches, founded and based in Egypt in 41 AD when the evangelist Mark founded the Church in Alexandria. Coptic Art was influenced by the art of ancient Egypt and also by the Greek or Hellenic artistic tradition. The portraits are often done in encaustic (wax) and have several common features: large eyes and ears, gentle, sweet lips, small mouth, small nose and a large head.


A government cannot declare an act a crime after it has been committed.  Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution prohibits ex post facto laws. This protection guarantees that individuals shall be warned ahead of time if their actions are illegal.


The International Exhibition of Modern Art (aka The Armory Show) opened at the 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Avenue between East 25th and East 26th Streets, Manhattan, 17 February 1913. This was the splashy showing of modern art to an unexposed New York public. President Teddy Roosevelt called the artists “a bunch of lunatics.” Artists on display included Pablo Picasso,  Georges Braque,  Edvard Munch, Wassily Kandinsky, Puvis de Chavannes, Odilon Redon, Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy, van Gogh, Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Marsden Hartley and Joseph Stella. This show only ran a month, but it made a big sound in the art of the 20th century.


An allergy is the excessive or hypersensitive response of the immune system to benign substances in the environment. The most common cause of allergy is pollens that are responsible for seasonal or allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the nose). My friend John says that a certain tree with yellow flowers in his house is called an AcaCHOO!acia Tree, and Elise is trying to get me to cut down an acacia on our property now. I was born without this curse and am hence insufferable to the suffering sisterhood of allergists.


in the 1960s, I sat for hours in James Gurley’s living room, actually just down the hall from me on Oak Street, San Francisco, and drew everything in the room. That painting on the opposite wall is by Martin Gorak. I loved his work. Now I wish I would have photographed all of his canvases, but no one could afford a camera or film then. Martoon, as we called him, was such a great and interesting artist.


Alwyn Court Apartments, 182 West 58th Street at Sixth Avenue, Manhattan, 1907-1909. This French Renaissance extravaganza of terra cotta detailiing was one of New York’s early luxury apartment buildings, not far from the southern edge of Central Park. I used to walk by here and marvel at all of the delicacy in this building, which boasted fourteen-room, five bath apartments when it was new. The courtyard within is adorned with a painted architectural façade by muralist Richard Haas. The Alwyn is a good example of why walking around Manhattan is such a wonderful adventure. There are treasures in every block.


Fun dein moyl in Gotts oyeren. (Yiddish). From your mouth to God’s ears. Another Yiddish sentence that would be understood by any German speaker. This is something that you hope, that you wish may come true. Tom Finch plays guitar lines like this all the time. They are beautifully expressed and i reply, “Fun dein moyl in Gott’s oyeren.”


The flatiron building of San Francisco, The Phelan Building, 760-784 Market Street, 1908. James D. Phelan was a mayor of San Francisco from 1897 to 1902 and later a US senator. At the University of San Francisco, training ground for San Francisco leaders, I had my dormitory experience in Phelan Hall at school with people like Howard DeNike, Kevin Starr, Ming Chen, Darrell Solomon, Silvano Votto, Gordon Bowker and other truly remarkable people. You wouldn’t even believe me if I told you only some of the things that these people did. For example, one of them founded Starbucks, and he is by far not the most significant one. Another is on The Supreme Court of California. Another is the California State Librarian and Historian. These were not people whom I knew distantly, but they were close friends and amazing figures even then. Especially then.


The porous stone in the Theban necropolis made a difficult support for paint, so the tomb decorators smoothed the walls with mud plaster covered with a thin coat of gesso to which they applied paints from various mineral based pigments, and created immortal images of beauty and delicacy.


This is the real beginning of my happiness.



What do Maytag Washers and this photo have in common?


Dad, don’t stand behind the screen door. You look strained. Sam Andrew, Jr. and his men.


Article V of the Constitution specifies that an amendment to the Constitution becomes valid once it has gained the vote of two thirds of each house of Congress and three quarters of the states. States can ratify an amendment by a vote of their legislatures or by electing special conventions.


Elise Piliwale consorting with a ray.


Parts of Texas look like Kansas with scabies.


Senators serve six-year terms, and one-third of the senators run for election every two years. Senators are divided into three “classes,” with elections held on a staggered basis. With one hundred senators, the classes are divided into thirty-three, thirty-three and thirty-four. When a state enters the Union, its first senators toss a coin to determine which class they will join.


At The White Horse Tavern, his favorite New York bar, Hudson Street and West 11th Street, 4 November 1953, Dylan Thoomas began his final drinking binge. He returned to his room at The Chelsea Hotel, 222 West 23rd Street, and said to his companion, Elizabeth Reitel, “I’ve had eighteen straight whiskies. I think that’s the record.” He passed out and never regained consciousness.


I lived a half a block from The White Horse Tavern for a long time in the 1970s, and, though I’ve never really been a bar person, I did go to the White Horse occasionally with friends. Big Brother and the Holding Company, as i  mentioned before, lived often at The Chelsea Hotel, 222 West 23rd Street. Another correspondence is that for a year now I have been naming my paintings with lines and titles from Dylan Thomas.


Glaucoma is the unrelieved increase of inner eye pressure. In a normal eye, pressure is kept in check by the continuous production of aqueous humor, its movement through the pupil into the anterior chamber and its drainage out of that chamber. When drainage is decreased or prevented, glaucoma may result.


Contraceptives should be used on every conceivable occasion.


In vino pulchritudo est.

In wine there is beauty.


“Sarah Palin.” (Sam Andrew on being asked to say something funny.)


First secure an independent income. Then practice virtue.


No one can earn a billion dollars honestly.


The term cartonnage refers both to a material resembling papier-mâché and to objects fashioned from that material. Consisting of layers of papyrus and/or linen covered in gesso or plaster, cartonnage was first used in the Middle Kingdom of Egypt to make funerary masks. Although a few cartonnage coffins are known from that time, it was not until Dynasty XXII that cartonnage was used regularly to make one-piece mummy cases, probably as an inexpensive alternative to coffins made from wood, a material that is scarce in Egypt. I like this cartonnage idea; I’d love to learn how to do it.


A man in love mistakes a pimple for a dimple.


Sam Andrew, Alan Merrill at The House of Blues, Manhattan.


A Yiddish saying: Ven men vinsht in eyn hand un men kakt in der anderer hand, beleibt di letzer tamid ful. (When you wish in one hand and shit in the other hand, the last one stays full.) Kakn means “shit” and is cognate with cagar (Spanish) and caccare (Italian). Kakn is the verb. The noun is Dreck. A shtik dreck is a piece of shit.


My first day on this painting.


In life the final examination often comes before the lesson.


Passenger list, 19th century: I’m closely related to at least eight of these people. Probably more.


Elise Piliwale and Michael Miller.


I wonder if Borg ever said, “I wish I would never have been Bjorn.”


Musicians are very easy to get along with, if you like children.


Have you ever seen a statue of a critic? Have you ever heard a song about a critic? Have you ever read a poem that wasn’t scurrilous and scatological about a critic?


James Gurley singing Easy Rider.


Let Bhagwans be Bhagwans.


The Stephen Andrew tribe: Erin, Jack, Elizabeth and Kathy.


Of course there is progress in civilization. In every war they find a new way to kill you.


All truths are half-truths.     Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947)


About one person in a thousand looks good with no clothes on. I have personally verified this.


OK, I’m gping to take a nap now.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company



15 May 2011



I have a lot in common with this dog.


OK, Donald, just in case, here it is.


One of the places I would love to be over would be over a delicatessen.


Cathy Richardson playing my Hummingbird duriing an interview in San Francisco. She sang a truly great Bobby McGee that morning.


The Way We Lived Then: 1967

Phil Hammond, Chet Helms, Joanne, Sal Lombardo, Robert Dries, Kathleen Kelley, Bill Merrill, Mary Ellen, Martin Gorak, Bob Fine, Alan Stone. Photograph: Irving Penn.


The Way We Lived Before Then: John Farnsworth, Sam Andrew, 1960.

John is playing the blues in E, because we really suffered on Okinawa.


This is the grave of my great, great, great grandfather’s sister on my mother’s side.


Don Wehr had such a great place on Columbus Avenue in San Francisco. Everyone came there. Don had great prices for amps and guitars and keyboards. A 17 year old kid came in there, and started playing. It was Neil Schon. He was so good. It was a thrill to hear that much talent and energy all brand new and ready to go. Chepito, Carlos, all the Mission kids were there.



Big Brother and the Holding Company in Moscow, 1995. We had so much fun on this trip. The Russians are beautiful and intelligent and do they love to party?


Rozman Khalid went to Malay College, maybe the best private school in Malaysia. Then he came to the USA and learned our evil ways and even some ways to better those evil ways. In Arabic, Khalada means to last forever. And Khalid, which can be a surname or a given name means immortal or eternal. In Egypt, the pronunciation is often Khaled. This is a pre Islamic name. Khalid Ibn Al-Walid was an Arab general who defeated Byzantine and Sassanian forces and never knew defeat himself. Rozman is my Thursday friend. That’s his day off and he comes and talks to me. We laugh a lot.


My mother’s father Albert Mann and his friends. Look at the way that rifle is just lying there in the dirt. So organic.


Elise Piliwale photographed this dumpster in Mariposa, California. “Mariposa” means “butterfly.”


An interview (in my kitchen!) with the BBC. Yes, we even had the kitchen sink.


You’re A Thousand Miles Awa-hay…


My first review. Fifty dollars was a lot of money then, probably equivalent to $ 750 now.


In 2005 I was doing a lot of drawing like this.



The job of a vice president… to get kicked in the balls now and again.


Sam Andrew is an old name in our family. He is the third or fourth one.


There are two kinds of air travel in the United States, first class and steerage. Did you see Night At The Opera (Marx Brothers)? Economy class is like the stateroom scene in that film.


My brother Lee and I at a little theatre in St. Cloud. Upstairs they had the, ahem!, oldest urinal in Minnesota, all marble and regal. Quite impressive.


Dan Andrew with his daughters Diana and Kelsi.


Bernice Cartledge and Sherwood Carter on their way to the Prom. Okinawa, Japan. In our senior year, Bernice and I were in a play together and I was called upon to kiss her. Lots of howling and catcalls from the audience. Such innocent times. Oooo, la, la.


The Vitales: grandfather, father, sons. This could be Roman portrait sculpture. Gene, Michael, Anthony and Chris Vitale.


OK, so now you can which one Chris Vitale is, right? No? He’s the one on the right. You couldn’t tell that? Come on.


Shakespeare, despite the fact that a lot of people say he is good, really is very good.


Sarah Palin, Bettie Page and Angela Davis, girlfriends. OK, it doesn’t look like them yet, but it will, it will. Or else I will change the title. (Photo: Max Clarke)


Micaelas Schönesfoto. Micaela’s beautiful photograph.


Kalakaua Avenue near Montserrat, Honolulu. Speed limit 25.


In every big fat book there is a little thin book trying to get out.


Ben Nieves had to put his glasses just to SEE this amp.


You have to believe in luck and timing. How else are you going to explain the even partial success of someone that you don’t like? BaDaBing.



Did you know we had Commonwealths? This is the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. They are all US citizens. Ah, the farflung empire.


Fashion is a temporary disease ordered by clothesmakers once or twice a year. (Jack Andrew, Erin Homs)


Better copulate than never.


Why is it forbidden to show someone blissfully fornicating in the movies, but it’s all right to depict a horrible slashing murder? Isn’t this kind of backwards? In every sense of that word?



The Queen’s advice to Katy: “Close your eyes and think of England.”


A sense of humor is an asset, if you can conceal it at the right time.


I want a girl, just like the girl, that married dear old dad.  (Oedipus Rex)


The main problem with being rich is that you have to socialize with other rich people.


American cities might seem frenetic because it is usually hard to find a place to pee.


There is not happiness; there are only moments of happiness, and I have these moments when I look at the art of Jude Harzer.


Oh, Katharine, Katharine!


Katharine Boyd at Aroma Café, May 2011.



I have learned to spell hors d’oeuvres, which gets on everybody’s nerves.

One third of psychoanalysis is psycho and and another third is anal. And we won’t talk about the sis part.


I’m almost seventy and I still don’t need glasses. I drink right out of the bottle.


Law is the opposite of sex. Even when law is good it’s boring.


Sam Andrew, Bill Andrew, Nashville, 1953.


Injustice is hard to bear, but hardest to bear is justice.


You can live happily ever after, but you have to take it one day at a time, and don’t buy anything.


Every man has disciples. Just don’t let Judas write my obituary.


Io te amo. Non dirlo à nessuno. (I love you.  Don’t tell anybody.)


Praise and criticism are both frauds.


So far the 21st century isn’t going all that well.


When confronted with two evils, take the prettier one.


Is sex better than drugs? That depends on the connection. While I’m sure many frequent visitors to sites like https://www.nu-bay.com/categories/112/big-tits would argue so, others would argue that drugs give you a much better time.


I was going to buy a copy of The Power of Positive Thinking, but then I thought, “Nah, it would just be the same old thing again. What good is that going to do?”


Nothing matters very much, and many things don’t matter at all.


See you soon!

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Useless Information?

8 May 2011



Django Reinhardt played at the bals of Paris. i attended some of these affairs in the early 1960s and they didn’t seem all that different from the photograph here. The people who went to these bals were called Mulots (mice) and they do rather look like Minnie and Mickey, don’t they? Mulots mignons, cute mice.


Try to play one new thing a day, even it’s a small idea. Do one thing differently. Put your sock on the foot that you never start with. Vary the routine in some way.


More than half of the coastline of the entire  United States is in Alaska. That’s something Sarah Palin could say rather than discussing matters that are above her pay grade. She could use her bully pulpit to tell us something about where she lives. Alaska is actually a very interesting place.


Have confidence in your ideas. They will develop if you nurture them.


The Lee Andrew tribe: Edie Andrew, Alyssa Amundson, Bryan Anker holding Harley Amundson. Thank you to Kari Borle for this photograph.


Django Reinhardt was a Manouche Gypsy. “Django” is a first person verb; it means “I awake.”


Listen to the actual physical sound of the notes you are playing. Sit alone sometime, play a note and listen to it until it decays to nothing. You will hear all of the overtones sooner or later. This can be spooky. The harmonics appear one by one as if entering on stage.


The Amazon rainforest produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen supply.The Amazon River pushes so much water into the Atlantic Ocean that, more than one hundred miles at sea off the mouth of the river, one can still dip fresh water out of the ocean. The volume of water in the Amazon is greater than the next eight largest rivers in the world combined and three times the flow of all rivers in the United States


Accent the notes that you don’t pick, the hammer ons and the slurred passages. This will make for an even set of notes, legato and smooth.


Mark Twain arrived in Honolulu on Sunday, 18 March 1866 fresh from Virginia City and San Francisco. Hawaii would be his last apprenticeship. When he returned to San Francisco on 19 July where he would give the first of hundreds of lectures, he was ready to begin his career as “about the best known honest man on the Pacific Coast.” (Like Charlie Chaplin he would go on to become the best known person in the world.)


Dynamics, dynamics. Play the softest you can play and the loudest you can play in one song. James Gurley and I did this in Summertime.


In an autmobile with a rear wheel drive, the main parts front to back are the radiator, the engine, transmission, clutch, catalytic converter, drive shaft, universal joint and differential.


Instead of copying notes from someone, express the feeling that those notes give you when you hear them.


But if the car has front wheel drive, many of these parts are crammed up in the front of the auto, which makes working on them a bit difficult.


Let your mistakes in music and in life lead you to new strange areas and teach you something by showing you something new. This can be strange and uncomfortable. Play through the fear and uncertainty.


The Beatles did Got To Get You Into My Life in the key of G. Matter of fact, when I think of the album Rubber Soul, I think of the key of G. Even the photograph on the front of the album is in the key of G. I’d rather you wouldn’t ask me how I know this.


Stop thinking. Let go. Feel it. That’s what she said.


With front wheel drive the universal joint is in the front of the car and it becomes a constant velocity joint (a C-V joint) or even two constant velocity joints. The drive axle and the transaxle are up front there too.


The sound is in you more than in your amp or in your guitar. It’s in you. You can’t buy it. You can’t copy it. It’s the singer not the song. It’s you. Be proud.


I remember frequenting La Porte de Clignancourt in Paris in the early 1960s. There were still Gypsies at the flea markets. It was here in 1928 that Django or his wife Bella accidentally set their caravan on fire. Bella had made a lot of celluloid flowers that day for the burial  of a Manouche boy. Django pushed Bella out of the fire and tried to put the fire out. His whole left side was badly burned. The doctors said he would never play the guitar again.


Quickest way to improved guitar tone? Change your strings.


Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country. Ninety percent of the world’s ice covers Antarctica. This ice also represents seventy percent of all the fresh water in the world. As strange as it sounds, however, Antarctica is essentially a desert. The average yearly total precipitation is about two inches. Although covered with ice (all but 0.4% of it ice.), Antarctica is the driest place on the planet with an absolute humidity lower than the Gobi desert. Think of how your refrigerator dries out everything you put into it.


Brazil got its name from the nut, not the other way around. Maybe the only country named for a nut? Hmmm. How many nuts are there?


Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined. ”Canada” is a Native American word meaning Big Village.


Oddly enough, no automobile company has designed a car where the engine is in back and drives the front wheels. The Volkswagen had the engine in the back and it drove the rear wheels, which seems like the most logical arrangement, although there haven’t been a lot of cars with this design.


Consider switching pickups on your guitar. Change is good.


Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan, carries the designation M-1, so named because it was the first paved road anywhere.


Damascus, Syria, was flourishing a couple of thousand years before Rome was founded in 753 BC making Damascus the oldest continuously inhabited city in existence.


Istanbul, Turkey, is the only city in the world located on two continents.


In 1001, lower caste Indians were conscripted to battle Muslim invaders. The wars lasted for years and when they were finished, the erstwhile soldiers traveled westward. From Byzantium (Constantinople, Istanbul) their trail split into north and south. Some went up into Europe and others went along North Africa. This was the gypsy road.


Every riff you know, learn it in all keys and with all possible fingerings. Each new key sheds a new light on the idea. Same with changing the fingers you use. Look at each new idea you have from every angle. This will lead you to  places that you didn’t know were there.


In France, the first mention of Gypsies is in 1415. They were called Tziganes from a Byzantine word for animal trainers and traders, or Sinti because they came from the river Sind in India. In German Gypsies are called Tzigeuner which is from this same word root.The French word for Gypsies, Gitanes, also has the same origin. And you thought it was just a cigarette?


Roma or Romany is the Gypsy word for “human,” and this is their favored name for themselves. We call them “Gypsies” because there was a belief that they came from Egypt.


Los Angeles’ full name is El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula. This name can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size:  LA.


My next painting is called Hoc Erat In Votis (This Was To Be Wished For). I am going to do a fairly elaborate drawing at first, right on the panel, and then slowly build up the color. That’s the method. I am not sure of the subject matter. Maybe I’ll make it abstract.


Play loudly. If you make a mistake, play it very loudly. Ask yourself why it’s a mistake and then see if you can use it as a non mistake. Every single note, all twelve of them, each single one, has its own validity and its own meaning.


The term ‘The Big Apple’ was coined by touring jazz musicians of the 1930s who used the slang expression ‘apple’ for any town or city. Therefore, to play New York City is to play the big time, The Big Apple. There are more Irish in New York City than in Dublin. More Italians than in Rome and more Jews in New York City than in Tel Aviv.


The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn, Polynesia, at just 1.75 sq. Miles/4,53 sq. Km. This is MUCH smaller than Okinawa, Japan, which is a prefecture. Also smaller than Saipan.


Stéphane Grappelli was born in Italy but raised in French orphanages. He had a father who was a journalist and left his son to roam the streets. Grappelli père gave his son a three-quarter size violin that he had found in a Montnmartre secondhand store.


Keep your tires inflated to the recommended pressure but not higher than that. Overinflation of the tires makes the car hard to handle and will cause more tire wear. Underinflated tires cause the engine to work harder to maintain the same speed and thus will waste your precious gasoline.


When you come up with a new idea, some conventional person is always going to compare it to something that has already been done, because that’s the only way he or she can keep from creating. It is your duty to ignore such  cynical, shortsighted people. They are lazy and they want everone else to be lazy so they can be comfortable in their laziness. Have faith in yourself. Persist.


“Manouche” is the name for gypsies who found their way down into the south of France and into Spain. The word comes from Sanskrit “manusa,” meaning “true man.” Django Reinhardt was a Manouche. His great grandchildren are still playing in the south of France today and many of them play the same brand of guitar that Django did, the Maccaferri.


The tradition continues.


The first city to reach a population of one million people was Rome in 133 B.C. There is a city called Rome on every continent.


Start your solo on the pick up note, the “and” of one or four. Try to play as softly as you can and still be heard. (Yes, I know this contradicts something i wrote above. Try everything.)


If you look under your rear wheel drive car at the rear axle, you will see a big lump almost in the center of that axle. That’s the differential. The differential allows the wheels to turn at different speeds, which is important when you go around a corner.


Siberia contains more than 25% of the world’s forests. Once upon a time long, long ago, Siberia was a beach but no bikinis in evidence now.


Django Reinhardt toured from the south of France all the way up into Belgium. When he was in the south he would play at Lourdes, for example, and in Cannes at the casino. The club in Cannes was called La Boîte à Matelots (The Sailors’ Club). Django began playing here in 1931.


In the Sahara Desert, there is a town named Tidikelt, Algeria. Tidikeit did not receive a drop of rain for ten years. Technically, though, the driest place on earth is in the valleys of the Antarctic near Ross Island. There has been no rainfall there for two million years.


Listen to the drummer if you are lucky enough to have one who plays in time and keeps her eyes open.


If your car shakes or shimmies, this is not good at all. Have it looked at right away. This is not something that should wait.


The third and the seventh of a chord are really all you need, unless there is some alteration, such as a raised 9th or a flatted fifth. The bass player already has the root. Try playing just the third and the seventh. This gives a good spare radical sound which may lead to exciting new ideas.


Spain literally means “the land of the rabbits.” (This dates from a time when “Spain” didn’t sound like España or even Hispania, which is what the Romans called it. The Phoenicians, and who knows how many people named this land before them?, the Phoenicians found rabbits in abundance where they landed in Iberia, and thought the rabbits were hyraxes such as they found in Africa, so, in their Canaanite dialect, they called the land i-sepanim, Isle of the Hyraxes.


In the 1930s, 40s, 50s, there was a zone around Paris where the Gypsies could park their caravans. Now the Périphérique, the belt road that runs around the City, has obliterated the places where Django lived and played. It gives me a strange feeling when I am in this new, sterile, automobilistic land.


The deepest hole ever drilled is the Kola Superdeep Borehole in Russia. It reached a depth of 12,261 meters (about 40,226 feet or 7.62 miles). It was drilled for scientific research and gave up some unexpected discoveries, one of which was a huge deposit of hydrogen so massive that the mud coming from the hole was boiling with it. I remember vividly trying to dig a hole “all the way to China” more than once when I was young.


Practice the way a cat eats. Not a lot all at once, but a little bit frequently throughout the day.


The Eisenhower interstate system requires that one mile in every five be straight. These straight sections are usable as landing strips in times of war or other emergencies.


It’s the right hand, not the left hand. Try circle picking, keeping the pick at the same angle and making a small circle, down and up.


You really want to take care of the steering assembly in your car. This ensemble, steering gearbox, ball joints, center links, steering arms, coil springs, this whole assembly literally holds the front wheels on to your car, so if any of that breaks or just “feels different”, you need to attend to it immediately. You don’t want your front wheels falling off, do you?


When you feel good, take more chances. On a really good night even the mistakes work. In fact, on a good night, the mistakes are the best things that can happen.


The water of Angel Falls (the world’s highest) in Venezuela drops 3,212 feet (979 meters). These Falls are fifteen times higher than Niagara.


Lulu Reinhardt made her début on this recording. She is a powerful player and carries on the tradition. “Do you remember the time?” it says in Romany and German. This quintet played Gypsy jazz in the 1970s and 1980s.


Take care of yourself. See  you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company