Brushes With Fame.

25 September 2011





By the 1700s, there was still no way that each item in a set of, say, dinnerware would be consistent in color and quality. One determined man, Josiah Wedgwood, born in 1730 into a family of potters from Staffordshire, England, would soon change that after experimenting with glazes, clay additives and firing techniques. Wedgwood’s perfectly reproducible plates came to the attention of England’s royal court.



Josiah Wedgwood, despite his personal wealth and friendships with European nobility, remained a man of strong democratic views. He publicly supported the American Revolution and was outspoken in his opposition to slavery. An “anti slavery cameo” he produced showed a slave in chains and bore the inscription “Am I not a man and a brother?”



Janet Furman, Tamra Engle, Nusi Decker, Shelley Champine, Glenn Herskowitz, Rob RJ Franco, Dee Myers, Dava Sheridan, Andrew Perrins, Alan Monasch, Tommy Castro and Shannon Cinnamon McCloud’s elbow all came to see me at Aroma Café and while they were there, they talked about the local music vibe.


Reindeer like to eat bananas.


“People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.”     Richard M. Nixon, 1973.


When a pop fly is hit in an outfielder’s direction, s/he should step back. It’s easier to come forward to catch a ball than back up to it.

For some reason, I see this as akin to the idea that it is better to tune up to the correct pitch than to tune down to it.


Mellila, quid sentis?

Honey, what do you think?


Enrico Caruso sang in the bath, accompanied by a pianist in the next room.


We’ve heard about manbags and mantyhose, but how many of us remember the manhole? Excuse me, the personhole. It’s useful, it’s ubiquitous, and, dammit, it’s about time we paid some attention to this very utilitarian object, always underfoot and seldom given its due.


A serious shortage of ivory prompted a New England manufacturer of ivory billiard balls to offer a $10,000 prize for a suitable substitue. John Wesley Hyatt, won the prize with a product he christened Celluloid, invented by Alexander Parkes who was experimenting with a laboratory chemical, nitrocellulose. He mixed it with camphor and discovered that the compound formed a hard but flexible transparent material. Doctor Parkes was only too glad to sell patent rights for the useless novelty to John Hyatt.

Photo: Don Aters


So, John Wesley Hyatt began making ersatz ivory billiard balls in Newark, New Jersey, but he immediately realized that Celluloid was too versatile a compound for only one application. Hey, it was plastic. It could become anything.


By 1890, Celluloid was a household word in America. Men shot Celluloid billiard balls while wearing high “wipe clean” Celluloid collars, cuffs and shirt fronts.


Women proudly displayed their Celluloid combs, hand mirrors and jewelry. The elderly began to wear the first Celluloid dental plates and children were playing with the world’s first Celluloid toys.


Celluloid was the world’s first plastic. American inventor George Eastman introduced Celluloid photographic film in his Kodak cameras in 1889, and then Thomas Edison conceived of Celluloid strips as just the thing to make motion pictures.


Nomen mihi est Salvator.

My name is Salvador.


Ben Spreng’s wonderful photograph of the living, breathing Manhattan.


Pete Slauson and I did some recording this week, so I decided to photograph Pete’s walls. There is this frame of Phil Lesh staring down at us as we try to stop the tape on time. (Yes, for a while there, we were working with cassettes… so antediluvian.)


Someone threw this vegetation into Pete’s remote truck, and so he just had to try to eat it.


As George Appel (1928) was being strapped into the electric chair, he said to the witnesses, “Well, folks, you’ll soon see a baked Appel.”


Can you believe that we still kill people for killing people? In one hundred years or less, capital punishment will join such other arcane pursuits as pro football in being regarded as incredibly barbaric for their place and time.


Joel Hoekstra’s first band. They did Runaway. Joel is probably the best guitarist I have ever known. Plus, hey, the hair alone is worth it, by Michelle B.


Being a boy requires no experience, but a lot of practice. Noah Murphy.


This is what Germany really looks like. Even the new buildings are half timbered.


Propino tibi salutem !

Cheers !

(I always like to drink to world peace.)


Personal beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of introduction. (Aristotle)


One should never know too precisely whom one has married. (Nietzsche)


Come ho tentato di spiegare (ma, non deidicherò molto spazio a questo argomento), “MMM-mmm-mmm.”

As I have tried to explain (but, I won’t dedicate a lot of space to this question), “MMM-mmm-mmm.”


When I first met Elise, she and her girlfriend Debbie Bianchi, who now has a new Sedona name that i can’t remember, used to look at flying saucers every night and discourse about their every detail.


The printing of parts and products has the potential to transform manufacturing because it lowers the costs and risks. In a world where economies of scale do not matter any more, mass manufacturing identical items may not be necessary or appropriate, especially as 3D printing allows for customization.


Shannon Cinnamon McCloud at Aroma Café. Summer 2011.


Elise took this photograph of us by the side of a road in Germany.


I once had, and indeed still have, a sort of veneration for this institution. My brother Dan took this photograph.


25 Or 6 To 4 by Chicago refers to the time of day when it was recorded… 25 or 26 to 4 A.M.


Due persone possono avere lo stesso Dna ?

In teoria sì, ma la probabilità è così piccola da far risultare praticamente impossibile il fenomeno.

Can two people have the same DNA ?

In theory, yes, but the probability is so small as to render impossible such a phenomenon.     (Terry Haggerty)


My friend Rick Carroll tells an affecting story about Ku’ulei Nitahara (right, on Okinawa) in his new book Mean High Tide, due out Fall 2012.


The Elise Corner.


It’s hard to know what they’re thinking, isn’t it? They’d be good poker players. Peter Albin and James Gurley.


Way Down Upon the Swami River.


Our little creek becomes a raging torrent in February.


We call it a flight case or a flight bag, but in most other languages the terms for it connote a “wrappiing” or a “slip.”

A guitar in a soft case for flying is called in German die Tasche or die Hülle.

In French, it’s la housse, and,

in Spanish, la envoltura.

Italians call it l’involucro.


If you’re marching in step and marking the times the left foot strikes the ground, a mile will be 1,000 drumbeats. A thousand steps in Latin is “mille passus” and that is the origin of the word “mile.”


Don Aters, Aroma Café, August 2011.


Strange things happen backstage. i remember one night in Bergen, Norway, when… well, I’d better not tell that story. Anyway, Dizzy Gillespie and some of his guys were backstage one night horsing around when one of them fell into Diz’ trumpet, and, oh, mother, twisted it, beyond retwisting it. What to do? Mr. Gillespie had to go on, and in five minutes too. When he tried some of his trademark high notes, he found that he could blow them a little softer because of the new angled piping. That was it. Diz became a convert. All of his future trumpets would be made that way. Still, he watches everyone a little more closely when they’re all backstage. Here’s Dizzy Gillespie acting like a nut with Bird even though his horn is the usual shape. He wrote so many great songs and he was a real musician of high quality.


And Lester Young holding his horn the way they taught him to do in the One O’Clock Band.


College white guy?

Era una frase che non aveva molto senso.

That was a phrase that didn’t make a lot of sense.

(Except to a racist.)


Frankfurt.  I got into a whole religious thing about drawing. I loved that time.


Elise Piliwale and Andra Mitrovich. Deutschland and Norway.


Torsten Maronna. Honorable, decent, hard working, echt Deutsch.


I made this out of clay. One third lifesize.


Velden am Wörthersee, Austria. Elise took this photograph from our hotel room early one morning.


I’m going to give my psychoanalyst one more year, then I’m going to Lourdes.

(Woody Allen)


Ever since he took this photograph, I have been trying to get Jim Marshall to reshoot it with the same people. Elise and I saw a documentary called Great Day In Harlem where they reshot a famous photo of all of the great jazz players who had taken a photograph on the same front stoop years earlier. I thought, hey, this could be the San Francisco version of that shot. Jim always said, “Wow, that’s a good idea. Let’s do it!” This is what everyone said. Now Jim has gone, and a few other people here too. The reshoot will never happen. Too bad. Oh, well.


It’s not a Panzer tank, it’s a German garbage can. (Der Müll.)


A pair of identical American twin boys were separated at birth in 1940 and adopted by different people who didn’t know each other. Each boy was named James, each boy married a woman named Linda, had a son named James Alan and then was divorced. When they eventually met at age thirty-nine, they found that their hobbies, experiences and tastes had always been and were now remarkably similar.


The story of this vacillating Wasillite becomes more and more bizarre as time goes on. Thank you, Phil Demetrion.


It’s not often that you see a name misspelled on a promo photograph… twice.


Elise’s magical photograph of our ancestors in an anthropological museum in Germany.


This was an age when Frank Zappa could appear on the cover of a teen magazine. And… the Fugs !


Speaking of funny names, do you realize that Howdy Doody’s mother and father are known as the Doodys ? And Bo Diddley’s parents are the Diddleys? Quick show of hands… does anyone even know who Howdy Doody and Bo Diddley are ? Bo Diddley is a real artist. He played some things that we are still trying to digest. Look him up.


An American who used the razor selectively was General Ambrose Everett Burnside, commander of the Union Army of the Potomac during the Civil War. His most distinguished features. which launched a trend, were his profuse side whiskers, ears to cheeks, and called “burnsides.” The impulse to change this to “sideburns” was too strong to ignore because it was so logical.


Wash Saloon (Waschsalon), laundromat, in Zwickau, in the east of Germany.


Interesting psychologically, isn’t it? Catalina, Shannon, Lynn and Dava.

Don Aters took this.


Twin Reverb.     (Thorstein Velbinger and Chad Quist)


Boy Scouts of America: 1910, Chicago

Colonel Robert Baden-Powell’s motto was Be Prepared… Baden-Powell. BP. in 1908, he published Scouting For Boys, my bible for many years. Now, another Baden-Powell is a wonderful musician from Brazil.


The First Reich was the Holy Roman Empire (962-1806). As the nuns used to tell us, it wasn’t Holy. It wasn’t Roman. And it wasn’t an Empire.


Elise, tree and water worship, Yosemite.


Good night.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Prelapsarian (before the Fall)

18 September 2011





Peter Albin.


Local Marin musicians at their Wednesday meeting, Aroma Café, 2011.


Elise Piliwale, Chicago.


Japanese calligraphers very often start with this character because it has every stroke possible, vertical, horizontal, diagonal, the dot, the tail. There are two pronunciations for this, EI and naga, which mean eternal, everlasting, permanent, long, perpetual. “Nagasaki” means a “long point,” a geographical term. A point of land. “EImin” means “eternal sleep, death.”


Puellae pulchrae sunt.



Kristina Kopriva and George Michalski.


Vicki just back from Marbella, Granada and Madrid.


Noah Murphy, 2011.


A street in Okinawa not so long ago.


Euripides was the first person on record to denounce slavery.


Miriam Makeba, a South African singer. She often sang with “clicks,” a feature of an African language made well known in a film called The Gods Must Be Crazy.


Elmore James had a distinct singing style and en even more distinct guitar style. Once you hear him, you will never forget what he sounds like.


The top of the guitar is called die Decke in German, the deck.


In English, this part of a guitar is called the top or the “soundboard.” In other languages, there is a notion of a table. The same part in French is la table d’harmonie and in Italian la tavola armonica. in Spanish it’s la tapa armonica.


“Tapa” sounds quite a bit like “top,” doesn’t it? Tapa in Spanish means “a lid, cover, cap, top.” “Saltarse la tapa de los sesos” means “to blow one’s brains out,” and it sounds funny in Spanish, because it’s like making your brains jump. Tapas are a kind of appetizer, something that goes “on top” of the meal.


I love this woman. Maybe not as much as Jim Carrey does, but I love her.


Der Gittarenspieler, le guitariste, el guitarrista, il chitarrista, Chris Vitale.


They should engrave this on a medal and sell it in churches.

Davide Galassi, Arianna Antinori, Ben Nieves, Sam Andrew.


Enko Elisa Vaccari and Oreste Vaccari wrote a series of beautiful books about Japanese grammar and life in the 1940s. Their texts are, by far, the most interesting, informative and well organized studies of Japanese life and language… even now today. Every time I go to Japan, I take one of the Vaccari books with me. Some of the alphabet is outmoded already, but, still, these works are a joy.


A page from one of the Vaccari books showing how a handwritten letter would look. This is legible, but it is the beginning of what Japanese call “the running style.” In their very careful culture, the Japanese prize writing that is flowing, fast and almost illegible.


This is how Japanese write now. When I’m in Japan, I get notes like this frequently. It says:

To Hayashi san

This Saturday

won’t you come to my apartment.

We will watch American videos.

Curtis san will come too.


February 24


A very kind Japanese woman wrote this out for me. This shows dramatically that even if you can read Japanese, you sometimes won’t know the meaning:


I visited Texas last summer where Janis Joplin was born and brought up. The hot climate reminded me of her destructive passion. But, on the other hand, I remembered the fact that she was considered a strange person, knowing people there were conservative. There were some people who made a grimace and referred to the cause of her death. Maybe it is because America has serious drug problems. I took it with surprise and sorrow.


With Ben in Mostar, Bosnia, 2011.


Perfect sentence by Anthony Lane in The New Yorker:


Given that Gainsbourg resembled a horse with a hangover, it may seem unfeasible that creatures of rare perfection kept falling into his hay, but such are the mystical rules of attraction that prevail under Gallic skies and, alas, nowhere else.


Olivia Newton-John’s grandfather Max Born won the Nobel Prize for physics.


An acre is about the size of a football field without the end zones. Elise Piliwale and I live on two and one half acres, or, in the metric system, a hectare.


Privatizing Social Security? I wouldn’t trust them with a nickel. Every time they get in charge, they ruin everything financially. From Ulysses S. Grant to Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush. This is the party of fiscal responsibility?


If my friend Dario, a chef, found himself transported back in time to a first century Roman kitchen, he’d be able to prepare a meal using bronze frying pans and coppper saucepans, a colander, an egg poacher, scissors, funnels and kettles… none of these things very different from what he uses today.


Non racconto storie.  (Let’s don’t tell any lies.)

Per quanto sia divertente, non lo è come ai vecchi tempi.

Ma a settant’anni, che cosa è divertente?

As much fun as this is, it’s not like in the old days. But, at seventy years of age, what is fun?


Here are two completely sober guys in Thailand. Even the photographer is sober.


If you fear change, leave it here.


Well, surely, anyone would be gay with some Ovaltine in the morning.


Construction on the tower at Pisa began on 9 August 1173. There are 296 steps to the top.


Sexy Sadie, written by John Lennon for the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who, John reckons, “made a fool of everyone” by pretending to be pure when he really was a womanizer. Oh, gee, isn’t this a shock? All of these shlockmeister holy men are so bogus anyway. I don’t believe any of them and never did. What about these evangelical pastors who specialize in speedfreak boys? What a bunch of hypocrites. All Republicans, of course. Total idiots. Preaching to us about family values. Please. Rick Perry anyone? This guy wants to trash social security and turn it into a RICK PERRY ENTERPRISE, INC. Unsexy Sadist.


A lump of gold the size of a Matchbox car can be flattened into a sheet the size of a tennis court.


In German, it’s a Mittelfinger, but in French it’s a majeur. Medio in Spanish. That’s on the right hand. The left hand, interestingly, has its own nomenclature. The same finger over there is called der Zweiter in German. The second. (They don’t number the thumb.)


It takes 110 cocoons to make a tie, 630 to make a blouse. A heavy silk kimono equals the work of 3,000 silkworms that have eaten 135 pounds of mulberry leaves.


There was a young speller, frighteningly good, who spelled everything so well, all the while being spontaneous and musical. He played Star Spangled Banner on his guitar, when any other contestant would have been studying hard. He went down on the word “banns.” This is a tough one. During European feudal times, all public announcements concerning death, taxes, , births or weddings were called “banns.” Harry Altman was a Jewish boy. How is he going to know the word “banns?” Or, as his mother said, “I just feel sorry for that kid from Texas who got “yenta.”




Non so se Willow le senti, ma in quel momento un topo di media taglia schizzò fuori improvvisamente dal camino.

I don’t know if Willow heard it, but in that moment a rat of medium size scurried suddenly outside in the street.


This is what a Valentine Dance looked like in 1960.


Elise with her aunt Joan Piliwale.


The word “checkmate” in Chess comes from the Perian phrase Shah-Mat which means “the king is dead.”


Lucie Baratte, bon voyage, douces rêves, bisous.


There’s an Abba tribue band called Bjorn Again.


Tommy Castro at Aroma Café, Fall 2011.


How high?

You can describe the location of objects that are low in the sky by holding your hand in front of you at arm’s length, with your palm facing in and your little finger on the horizon. The width of your hand covers 15 degrees of arc above the horizon.


Salvador Dalì and Coco Chanel.


The Sanskrit word kupa meant “water well,” and was appropriately adapted for the oldest of household drinking vessels, the cup. “Glass” came from the ancient Celtic word glas which meant “green,” since the color of the first crude and impure British glass was green.


Note sulla società, compilate da un rifiuto della società.

Notes on society compiled by a social reject.


There’s something about this woman. Could it be… intelligence?


The universe is flying apart faster and faster. How to account for this when, by the laws of gravitation, everything should be imploding? Either gravity has some unknown laws or some other force is pushing galaxies apart. Scientists have named this unknown force “dark energy,” and they have decided that  it makes up SEVENTY THREE PERCENT of all the mass and energy in the world. So, next time you think we know a lot, consider that we don’t even know what almost three fourths of the universe is.


Az di kale ken nisht tantsn, zogt zi az di klezmorim kenen nisht shpiln.

When the bride can’t dance, she says that the musicians can’t play.     (Yiddish saying)


Nunc novi quid Manipupa sentiat.     (Now I know how a Muppet feels.)



The guitar neck is called in German der Hals. (Yes, Franz Hals was Frank Neck.) In French the guitar neck is called le manche which sounds like the English Channel (la manche “sleeve” in French). LE manche, masculine, means a “handle” for a tool, which seems like a misunderstanding of the neck’s function. In Spanish the neck is el mango or el mástil and in Italian it’s il collo. So English, German and Italian see the guitar neck as a human neck, where French and Spanish see it as a handle.


Mark Twain read his own obituary. So did Bertrand Russell.


Some of my friends at Aroma Café. I miss seeing Shelley Champine here, but someone had to hold the camera. She and I trade off.


She can sing too. Really well.


If you see blue fireworks, you are watching a top-notch display.


With Mary Bridget Davies and Elise, Athens airport.


And now, my impression of Dick Cheney.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company



11 September 2011


Sound check. Waiting. Waiting.


Franco Scalzo and his beautiful friends in Città della Pieve.


In a multiple choice test, eliminate any answer with words like “always,” or “never.” Choose the longest answer, and/or choose B or C because test makers avoid A and D.


The oldest known vegetable is the pea.


Mira Sorvino is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.


“I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.”     Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)


Robert Hollis, a very good painter.


The north Texas branch of the Andrew family, Kyle, Kelli, Craig and Robert.


“It seems to me a barren thing, this conservatism… an unhappy cross-breed, the mule of poitics that engenders nothing.”     Benjamin Disraeli.


“Are we an exceptionally unlikely accident or is the universe brimming over with intelligence?”   Carl Sagan.


Questa era una simpatica notizia.

This was happy news.


A Venetian wedding document 1503 lists “one marrying ring having diamond.”  The Venetians discovered that the diamond is one of the hardest, most enduring substances in nature.


“Let’s Get Another Deck.”

This was the Republican response in 1936 to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. The New Deal saved a lot of people when times were very hard.


While  My Guitar Gently Weeps. No one was keen on doing this originally. George Harrison was reduced to asking Eric Clapton on  the session just to sell the song. Clapton then went on to play on “Lucy.”


She was following her father. I liked her purse.


Elise Piliwale in Yosemite.


One of my buddies down at Aroma Café.


Frogs move faster than toads.


If snow squeaks when you walk on it, the temperature is ten degrees Fahrenheit or less.


Teressa and Ben.


People who have died on Friday the thirteenth include Benny Goodman and Hubert Humphrey.


Friday is named after Frigga (Freya), the Skandinavian Venus/Aphrodite, free spirited goddess of love and fertility. When the Christians came to the frozen north, Frigga was banished to a mountaintop and labeled a witch. Every Friday, Frigga convened a meeting with eleven other witches, plus the devil, a party of thirteen, where evil was brewed. For many centuries in Scandinavia, Friday was known as “Witches’ Sabbath.”


In the Latin languages, too, Friday is named after the goddess of love, Venus: in Latin dies Veneris (day of Venus); venerdì, vendredi, viernes,  divendres (Catalan), vennari (Corsican) and vineri (Romanian).


Of course, good things happen on Friday the thirteenth too. The Third Man premiered January 1950; the Allies recaptured Tobruk November 1942 and Alfred Dreyfus was restored to the French army and promoted to major July 1906.


Two good artists, Julie Knight and Christopher Skura.


Janis Joplin, Sam Andrew.


Can you tell it’s the 80s? David Freiberg and Grace Slick.


Laurence Olivier (Hamlet 1948) and Roberto Benigni (La Vita è Bella 1998) were the only two people to direct themselves to acting Oscars.

Photo: Elise Piliwale


With Catalina.     (Photo: Don Aters)


Roman soldiers wore focale, scarves soaked in water and wrapped around the neck to cool the body.


In 1688, a regiment of Croatian mercenaries in the service of Austria appeared in France wearing linen and muslin scarves around their necks.


Whether the scarves were once functional, as were focale, or merely a decorative accent to an otherwise bland military uniform, has never been established.


Fashion conscious French men and women were greatly taken with the idea of the scarves around the neck.


The French began appearing in public with neckwear of linen and lace, knotted in the center, with long flowing ends.


Les Français called the ties  “cravates,” their name for the Croats who inspired the sartorial flair.


The French word “cravate” is remarkably close to the Croats name for themselves, Hrvatska. The sound of the two words is almost the same, although, yes, the spelling is quite different. When we were in Bosnia, we passed in and out of Croatia and we saw this word Hrvatska many times at border crossings.


The fashion for wearing the cravate spread quickly to England and it might have died out had not Charles I I decided to make the neckwear a court must.


In the next century Beau Brummel became famous for his massive neckties and innovative ways of tying them.


Knots and ties of cravates were named for famous people and fashionable places, such as the racecourse at Ascot. Most ties today are done in a Windsor knot.


Since 1688, then, neckwear in some form__ belt long or bowtie short, plain or fancy, rope narrow or chest broad__ has been continually popular.


So men, the next time you tie that cravate, don’t curse the Croats. Blame Beau Brummel.


Elie Piliwale’s photograph of her leg.


Molti anni fa, quando ero giovane e scapolo, andavo matto per le ragazze.

Many years ago, when I was young and single, I went crazy for the women.


There’s a cemetery town in California called Colma. Bruce Latimer works there. The ratio of dead to living in Coma is 750 to 1.


Slot machines closest to the doors are the most generous.


In Paris  I knew I was catching the flu, so I drew it sitting on my shoujlder.


No photograph can capture the charm and sweetness of this woman.

Nusch Eluard    (Man Ray)


Dépôt People. Everytime I sell a painting, I regret it. I’d much rather have the painting than the money.


Elise Piliwale’s photograph of her hobnail glass and coin dot glass.


Karen Lyberger and Stefanie Keys in the land of the Maidu.


Liz Aday and Elise Piliwale in Tacoma.


To calculate a dog’s age in human terms count the first year as 15, the second year as 10, and every year after that as 5.


Sarà uno scherzo, dissi fra me, ma io non ci casco.

(It’s probably a joke, I said to myself, but I’m not getting it.)


If you toss a penny 10,000 times, it will not be heads 5,000 times but more like 4,950. The head picture weighs more so it ends up on the bottom.


Every seventh wave is a big one.


In Sanskrit, nana meant mother. In Latin, nonna was a child’s nurse. In Greek, nanna was “aunt,” and the Coptic word nane meant “good.” All ancestors of the word “nun.”


Sono disposto a garantire la veridicità di ogni parola.

I am prepared to guarantee the truth of each word.


The average life of a nuclear plant is forty years.

(Remember when George Bush said “nukuler power pants” for “nuclear power plants?”)


Actual newspaper headline: Grandmother of eight makes hole in one.



In San Diego with Randal Myler, playwright, Love, Janis. We were packing our suitcases on the morning of 11 September 2001 to fly to New York to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award from High Times Magazine. i still have the bong on my mantle. Randy called me and said, “You can stop packing now.” “Why?” “Turn on the television.” No, but why?” “Turn on the television.”  So I did.


An earplug is properly sized if two thirds of it fits inside the ear canal, and one third remains exposed.


Elise Piliwale rocks her welding costume.


Joe Healey has a daughter named Chelsea.


Holy See is a corruption of the Latin “sedes,” seat. “Kathedra” is Greek for “seat.” When the Pope speaks “ex cathedra,” s/he is speaking “from the seat,” that is, officially. A “cathedral” is where the holy seat is.


A steet on Okinawa.


Come la maggior parte delle donne che hanno raggiunto il successo, è dotata d’intuito e di senso pratico.

Like most women who have achieved success, she is endowed with intuition and common sense.



Next week, then?

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


And Your Bird Can Sing.

6 September 2011


This happy breed of men, this little world,

This precious stone set in the silver sea,

Which serves it in the office of a wall,

Or as a moat defensive to a house,

Against the envy of less happier lands,

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this Okinawa,


Don’t try to save money on your bed or your shoes. You will be in one or the other your entire life. Spend more on these things than you think you should.


Peggy Pettigrew Smith did this sculpture of Elise Piliwale.


Samantha Leoni took these beautiful flower photographs. Sam, thank you.


The Gentileschi were great painters, but Artemisia was particularly good.


William Bradford wrote Of Plymouth Plantation, which tells the story of the Pilgrims, from their departure for Holland through the voyage of the Mayflower and the founding of Plymouth, and on to 1646. This is an eyewitness account by an intelligent participant.


Elise Piliwales’s family were musicians in Honolulu during the 40’s, 50’s. They played in the hotels. One of them, Varoa Tiki (Shirley Piliwale), became well known and traveled in the Sammy Davis, Dean Martin, Jimmy Durante circles for years. I see these musicians, whom we met  on the big island, as the continuers of this tradition.


All Along The Watchtower: Dave Mason played 12 atring on this track. Noel Redding walked out of the session because Jimi was, surpise, sure of what he wanted and wasn’t ready to take excuses (or he was an overbearing egomaniac, take your choice. Mine is the former.), and so Dave Mason did the bass, which Jimi finally played himself. Hendrix used a different tone setting for each solo part and used a Zippo lighter to play the slide parts.


Big Brother and the Holding Company played on this FTA tour while it was in California, and I wish we could have gone on to Okinawa, Japan, where this is. Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland.


Brian Lippman (no relation to Walter?) and friends getting down in a Texas roadhouse.


Trivia is the Roman goddess of sorcery, hounds and the crossroads. “Trivia” means “three roads,” just as “Tripoli” means “three cities.”


Catholics feel guilty for what they weren’t supposed to do and did. Jews feel guilty for what they were supposed to do and didn’t.


If you want to be friends with an animal or a small child, let her make the first move, and don’t be too quick to respond.


A great bass player and a dignified stand up guy every time it really counted, Terry Mann.


Virginia Woolf wrote all of her books standing up. Standing up is good for you. It makes your brain stand up. It’s obviously a more alert posture. Not to be macabre, but Virginia Woolf met her death standing up and even walking. She went out into the sea on the year that I was born and she kept on going.


Early Christians understood the term Xmas as an abbreviation for Xristos mass. Later Christians, unfamiliar with the Greek reference, mistook the X as a sign of disrespect (probably because many of these illiterates signed their name with an X), as an attempt by a secular world to rid Christmas of its central meaning. For several hundred years, Christians disapproved of the use of the term. Some still do. And so it goes. HoHum.


All of us in the Love, Janis, Sag Harbor, New York version, met Julie Andrews and worked with her daughter Emma Hamilton, who was intelligent, warm, capable and caring. It was a real privilege to meet Julie and even more of one to work with Emma.


Elise’s grandfather, Silver Piliwale, walked many miles over the Hawaiian Islands. There is a famous hiking trail on Oahu called the Piliwale Ridge.  It is considered one of the most difficult trails on the island. This Maui road is named for the family and there are many more Piliwale landmarks in the former Sandwich Isles.


There’s an old song called Chloe, haunting and mysterious. I want to learn it again.


Melanie Joplin carrying on the family tradition.


Take a bath. Take heart. Take five. Take advice. Take a break. Take a nap. Take a breather.


Laura Mann and Wilhelmina Mann, my mother. Mom, I love the saddle oxfords with the high heels.


The French stock exchange is called the Bourse which came from Latin bursa, the Roman word for purse. Bursa came from Greek byrsa which meant cowhide. These words became “purse.” Janis Joplin used to carry enormous purses made of cowhide. They had a life of their own sitting there on the table menacing everyone.


An Ideal is like a star. You never reach it but you can navigate by it. Elise Piliwale.


America is a mistake, a giant mistake. (Sigmund Freud)


Sigmund Freud was a mistake, a giant mistake.  (Sam Andrew)


Credo di non essere mai riuscito a conquistarmi un posto nelle colonne mondane dei giornali.

I believe i was never successful at winning a place in a newspaper column.


Ledger lines, the five lines that carry the music notes, are called die Hilfslinie in German… helplines.


There are many small towns south of San Antonio, Texas, where German is spoken. Castroville is one of them. My mother’s people who were from Alsace lived in this area. Her father spoke German, English and Spanish. Whoever came to him, he spoke in her language. This was an inspiration to me.


Michael Joplin in the bloom of youth. His salad days. The best he ever looked.


Sam Andrew, Janis Joplin, Brad Campbell and Snooky Flowers. Clark University, 1969.


“Native American” is a term invented by the Department of the Interior in 1970 to keep track of people. Did you know that “Native American” includes Hawaiians, Eskimos, Samoans, Micronesians, Polynesians and Aleuts? My wife is Native American because she is Hawaiian. Tribal names might be a better way of referring to everyone, better and more respectful.


Peggy Pettigrew Smith did this wondrous glass sculpture of Elise and me.


Don Wehr, Bobby Vega, Carmine Appice and Ray White backstage, maybe Winterland.


Kacee Clanton and friends. Kacee y sus amigas.


The first day of Spring in Valparaiso.


My father’s grandfather, Oscar David Andrew.


Republican motto:

Beati pauperes, quoniam tanto plus pecuniae nobis reliquis reliquunt.

(Blessed are the poor, because they leave so much more money for the rest of us.)


Orson Welles was cremated and his ashes shipped to the retired bullfighter Antonio Ordoñez, an old friend in Ronda, España. Orson’s cremains were placed into an old brick well at Ordoñez’ country house, which was then sealed and, per Orson’s request, no designation of any kind marks the spot.


Most of the things that you worry about will never happen, or, at least, they won’t happen at all the way you think they are going to. Did you ever notice that rain looks much worse from inside the house than it actually is when you are out in it?


Wash your car before taking it in for service. Mechanics may have more respect for a car that looks as if its owner respects it.


Morde citharam meam.

(Bite my guitar.)



James Gurley, 1995.


Fiction writing:

Always decide who it is before you figure out what they will do. You can follow a good person through a trivial plot, but no story, however good, is going to work with someone who is uninteresting, or worse, bad and stupid.


The opium traffic, like the sugar trade, seems to have begun in Persia. Both opium and sugar were discovered and introduced far and wide by the Arab empire. it took only a few centuries for these products to pass from medicinal usage to that of a purely pleasurable pursuit. In 1867, opium was grown in Tennessee where Kate Russo and her babies are. During these years and on up into the 1930s, opium, marijuana and cocaine could be, and often were, purchased over the counter from any chemist. I used to sing a song called Cocaine Bill and Morphine Sue, walking hand in hand down the avenue. Oh, baby, won’t you have a little sniff on me, have a sniff on me. A very sentimental song to be sure. It had a moral too.


Oh, yes, this is going to happen: For a minimum level of financial security, your net worth (the cash value of all your assets) minus all your debts should equal one year’s income.



Elisenstraße. Elise Street. It’s One Way.


If we all really knew each other, if there were universal telepathy, and, I know this is hard to believe, we would love each other.


Julius Mann and Albert Mann, my grandfather on my mother’s side. Julius, like certain members of Big Brother and the Holding Company, is smart enough to wear a hat. Albert, who very generously passed his hair pattern on down to me, believes in letting it all hang out, just as I do. Well, for right now anyway. Albert Mann is eighty years old here and he doesn’t have gray hair. He gave me that too. These men worked incredibly hard all their lives. Remarkable individuals.


Pole vault poles used to be stiff. Now they bend, which allows the vaulter to go much higher.


My cousin on my mother’s side, Terry Mann, with a couple of overendowed palookas. Tanks for the mammaries, guys.



Good histories are written by people who were actually there. Everything else is just gossip.


Three dimensional printing from digital designs will transform manufacturing and allow more people to start making things. A machine is RIGHT NOW “printing” a complex titanium landing-gear bracket, about the size of a shoe, which normally would have to be laboriously hewn from a solid block of metal.


Kathi McDonald, Bob Mosely and Sam Andrew in Seattle playing a ballad. The same ballad that was in that Jane Fonda, Jon Voigt film Coming Home. Bruce Dern was in that one too. He was good in that. Call On Me.


It serves honor, respect and a certain kind of show business when others discover your good qualities without your help.


Did I take this, or did Max Clarke take this? Remember this film? Diane Keaton did her PhD thesis on the poetry of Rod McKuen and Walter keane was an Old Master. And candy bars and Fritos were the real health food? Ah, those were (will be) the days.



Good night and good luck.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company