A Colligation of Colporteurs Creates Clerihews

A Colligation of Colporteurs Creates Clerihews


Colligation:   conjunction, alliance, union


Colporteur:   (col neck,  porter  carry)  A hawker of books, newspapers, especially one employed by a society to travel about and sell or distribute Bibles and religious writings.


Shortly before I met him, Chet Helms was a colporteur in Fort Worth while I was trying to be a Cole Porter in San Francisco.


Clerihew:   named for Edmund Clerihew Bentley, a clerihew is a short comic or nonsensical verse, professedly biographical, of two couplets, rhyming aa, bb, with a syncopated meter and differing in length. Here are a few examples:


Sir Christopher Wren was to dine with some men.    He said, If anyone calls, I’m designing St. Pauls.


Turing   must have been alluring.    To get made a don     So early on.


Said Chet,      you ain’t seen nothing yet,        This is rock,       what the fock.


Said Bill,         what the hill,            It’s a fight,         and that’s all right.

1beau cerveau dans cette jolie tête

Why don’t you        write a clerihew or two          and send me a few?


Sir Humphrey Davy      who abominated gravy      lived in the odium     of having discovered sodium.


John Stuart Mill      by a mighty effort of will      Overcame his natural bonhomie      and wrote Principles of Economy.


Alfred de Musset       called his cat Pussé.        His accent was affected     which was to be expected.



Then there was Ahnuld         who wanted to be fondled.      Schwarzenegger,   poor begger.


Desiderius Erasmus    suffering from asthmas,       all those sneezes     caused by rotten cheeses.


It was a foible of Voltaire’s     to forget to say his prayers.      And one which to his shame      he never overcame.


Would Benvenuto Cellini      drive a Lambourghini?       Would Alexandre Dumas       sit astride a puma?


Bertrand Russell      always had to hustle.     He was perfectly serious    but his theorems were mysterious.


This form was evidently      invented by Clerihew Bentley.      He did nothing else well,   but what the hell?


Moses Maimonides      did his writing overseas.      Striving for amity    in an age of calamity.


G.E. Moore      was rather a bore.         More an old fossil      than a Cambridge apostle.

Beat Paris

Wittgenstein was blotto,     so Einstein wrote a motto.      I’ll not argue with a joker    who has a red hot poker.



Edvard Grieg,   said god,   your writing’s rather odd.     Hall of the Mountain King?    Does it sing?



Edward Ruscha     is passé?      Painter of the letter,     couldn’t he do better?


Jean-Paul Sartre was willing to barter,        Simone de Beauvoir     for a new car.


The California railroad     was closed to Thomas Joad.     Sour grapes, Tom,       keep moving on.


When he was younger        the patience of Felix Unger        was vast        it didn’t last.


Susan K. Langer wrote a magic twanger        called Philosophy in a New Key    a happy book for me.



There ain’t no disputin’    that Grigori Rasputin      was a tough old coot    and mean to boot.

cleri def

coney 1905

Coney is an island       but not a very high land      it’s just a ridge   seen from the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.


So sad that Thales        never tried Bailey’s.       All that Irish cream      could be a dream.


And poor Baruch Spinoza       never had a mimosa          on Sunday morning     now there’s a warning.


Hugh Grant’s been caught    with France in his pants.       Now he’s bigger,   go figger.


David Aguilar       will go far         to Red Bluff        to show his stuff.

db & bf

Don’t ask Hope         to do dope.        She’d rather be a bat         than do that.



Michael Tyson        could die soon,       but probably not     with what he’s got.


He said his peter was a meter,        what would a fellow give?     It’s all relative.


Madonna wanna gold statuette, but not yet.


Calvin rhymes with Allvin.      That’s my estimation of predestination.

fiona image

If the reference is inscrutable      and the meaning rather mutable     we can still be certain    of the final curtain.


When watching Jerry Lewis         the thing to do is       gape guffaw collapse and fall.


It’s difficult to be free, but when it works, it’s worth it.

G Gate 1935

G.W.F. Hegel      is not worth a bagel.      A bagel’s holy    but Hegel’s moly.

arthur kelly

Dennis Rodman, you’re an odd man, but in Korea, they like to see ya.

george III


George III      ought never to have occurred       One can only wonder          at so grotesque a blunder.

guitar cat

Friedrich Nietsche       could be a bit preachy.       In all events      he made no sense.

guitar solo


Wittgenstein       went out to dine        and by mistake      he ate a snake.

Memphis, Otis, Muddy, Bill, Sonny Boy, Big Joe, Len, Victoria Spivey, Willie, Matt

Sir John Gielgud said “I don’t feel good, cause I can’t park in Denmark.”

GW Bush 1966

George W. Bush was a well known tush.       There was never any knowing where he was  going.


M.C. Escher        was never under pressure          to write a book     but look!


In all the realms of Chet Helms       Jimi  would shimmy.


Poor Merle Haggard was absolutely staggered        when his bride to be said “I am she.”


It’s de Borse, of course     she’s a star who’s moving far.

Dixon, Big Joe, Memphis Slim

King Kong was strong, but he took all day to love Fay Wray.


Sir James Dewar     was smarter than you were.      None of you asses      can put scotch in glasses.


Lizzie Shaw knew how to draw,        but her paintings       caused faintings.

john george

The Spanish think Cervantes     is worth a million Dantes.      Which is resented bitterly       in Iterly.


John Gay wrote Mack the Knife, they say.    To William Blake this would be opaque.


King John     a sine qua non?     I could imagine it of another Plantagenet.

HOB Crumb

Elizabeth Taylor never married a sailor, and in her position she’d refuse a musician.


Dante Alighieri always shunned a dairy.      He wrote the Inferno with a bottle of Pernod.


Cecil B. De Mille had to take a pill         and leave poor Moses     with a Sinatic psychosis.


Alexander Selkirk was no good at hotel work.       He told his man Friday      he could never be tidy.


James Joyce had a lovely voice       So beautiful it would make     Finnegans wake.


E.C. Bentley didn’t study very intently.         He followed his muse and made clerihews.


Albert King could really sing,    he did just fine under that sign.



Tom Hanks      has a lot in the banks.       His earnings took a jump when he chose to do Gump.


Bill Gates      had a lot of dates       and pink slips      before cashing in his chips.



Cher       to    compare         has more money      than Sonny.

Little Walter

Little Walter he’d never falter,       he was the best,   forget the rest.


Nina was the Queen of the Nile with that smile.


Howard Stern could earn      more money if he were funny.



Oh, Héloise, give me a squeeze and it wouldn’t be amiss if you’d add a kiss.


If Cato met Plato, he might say, “Stay away!”



William Hurt removed his shirt and there were ripples on his nipples.


Ah, oui, Paris, it’s plain you’re in Seine.

paul betty

Gwyneth Paltrow has no faults, though, women are jealous they tell us.


peace too

This lassie has a lovely chassis, but under that fur, is that really her?


Rudolph Valentino, il bello latino, was he a Sheik, or was he fake?


person hole

Clark Gable was able when Colbert saw his underwear.


Tom Cruise makes big news when he insults strange cults.


Sylvester Stallone should leave it alone, cause he’s schlocky with Rocky.


Jann Wenner a winner?  Not in Austin or Boston.



Joe Pesci, you’d never guess he      had a high IQ and this woman too.


sal han

Sally Hanreck has a nice neck, she paints too and loves blue.


Sandrine Bonnaire

Sandrine is so clean and fresh, I guesh.



Spike Lee is talented, agree?  I like his pics but not his Knicks.

billy eckstein & june

Billy Eckstine sings fine, and June is his tune.



Danny de Vito can’t go incognito, cause he’s an item ad infinitum.



Jim Carrey would like to marry      Emma Stone, he’s not alone!



Charlton Heston was best in        What?  Squat.

simone de beauvoir

Au revoir, Simone de Beauvoir,   you’re so sensual…  so existential.

Situwuka & Katkwachsnea 1912

John Maynard Keynes     was using his brains    when he became a prancer  with that dancer.



Julian Assange says, “Qu’ils mangent du gâteau,” it’s so.

steve terra

And then there was Steve who said I believe Terra couldn’t be fairer.


Joss could be my boss    if she’d release Piece.



Joe Healey doesn’t feel he’s     alone in Cologne.


Evelyn Waugh is as funny as Shaw,   said Penny Marshall, but, then, she’s partial.


George Orwell tried to foretell     that we would be sore in 1984.


Or that there could be harm on the Animal Farm.    Did we hear?   Did we fear?

Les with Tele

Is that a Fender bender   in thrall to Les Paul?

lady bo

Pierre Abelard took it hard     when Lady Bo said, “Later, bro.”

Sam Houston Andrew III

David Hume, we can safely assume, thought Sam a ham.

Though when Wittgenstein had too much wine, he thought Sam fine.


The Manticore Tittups To and Fro All Aglow.

The Manticore Tittups To and Fro All Aglow.


The manticore (early Middle Persian Martyaxwar) is a Persian mythological creature similar to the Egyptian sphinx. It has the body of a red lion, a human head with three rows of sharp teeth (like a shark), and a voice like a trumpet.


Other aspects of the creature vary. It may be horned, winged, or both. The tail is that of either a dragon or a scorpion , and it may shoot poisonous spines to either paralyze or kill its victims. It devours its prey whole and leaves no clothes, bones, or possessions of the prey behind.


The manticore myth was of Persian origin, where its name was “man-eater” (from مارتیا martya ”man”  and خوار xwar- ”to eat”). The English term “manticore” was borrowed from Latin mantichora, itself derived from the Greek rendering of the Persian name, μαρτιχώρα, martichora.


The Manticore passed into European folklore first through a remark by Ctesias, a Greek physician at the Persian court of King Artaxerxes II in the fourth century BC, in his notes on India (“Indika”), which circulated among Greek writers on natural history but have not survived.


I hope you get my message.



Tittup:   (onomatopoeic, the sound of a horse’s hooves in a gallop)  canter, gallop.


There is a secondary meaning to tittup which connotes a hussy or a minx.  David Garrick writes, “Some tittups I saw and they made me to stare.”


It’s very instructive to see a raw piece of film and then to see that piece edited.  D.A. Pennebaker documented Big Brother and the Holding Company in the studio at Columbia in New York, mainly recording Summertime.  Pennebaker did two edits of the same footage. In one, we look like ill tempered babies, self indulgent and slow. In the other, we look like geniuses at the soundboard. To me neither one is how it really was (I cut my own film in my head), but what an education to look at both edits back to back.  Makes me realize how important, vital,  really, an editor is.

petty foto

Stacy Petty’s weird and wonderful world.

tori tree

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.


libertad jusrticia


I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn’t itch.


I almost never see advertisements, commercials, marketing brochures, and never hear telemarketers, so, look what’s happened. I’m rolling in the dough and it gives me a glow, don’t you know?  I thought so.

eliz pat

There is nothing in the world that I loathe more than group activity, that communal bath where the hairy and slippery mix in a multiplication of mediocrity.    Vladimir Nabokov

Sam Elise x x Peter

Don Aters took this photo of Elise Piliwale, Peter Albin and some other personnel whom he may identify for us.

kenya kids

BBHC Albuquerque

Money can change a lot of things, but it can’t change a light bulb.


Know yourself.  Know what’s in your suitcase. In my suitcase are back issues of The New Yorker. The only time I catch up on my reading them is on the airplane.


People can lose their way.    So can religions and governments.


The way it looked walking on the south side of Oak Street in the 1960s.  There were families in each old mansion, people who had come together and shared everything, and tried hard for a truly communal experience. Given human nature, it was tough, but everyone did well, considering.

auto guitar

Calligraphy, graphology, handwritten evidence is always interesting.  Signatures are a visible track of inner mental and spiritual rhythms.


Flexibility, a willingness to compromise, these are not weaknesses, although very thick spirits may wish to think so. It takes strength to remain flexible with all the straightening that goes on in this world.


With drama it can be hard to tell if you’re succeeding or failing.  With comedy you know right away if it’s working or not.


There’s a difference between death and taxes. Death does not become more complicated every time congress meets.


The United States Treasury started with no cash, and that’s the most debt free we’ve ever been.

beatles 9

Rome declined.  She had a Senate.  We have a House and a Senate.  What’s going to happen to us?


It was a very cool thing to be a smart girl, as opposed to some other different kind.  And I think that made a difference to me growing up and in my life afterward.      Elena Kagan.


Each political party is worse than the other one.

sal dal

My loathings are simple:  conservatism, cruelty, crime, background music.


If stupidity got us into this mess, why can’t it get us out of it?


I’m not a rock star.  I’ve still got the same wife I started out with thirteen years ago.


An onion can make you cry, but, let’s see, are there any vegetables that can make you laugh?

berry cartoon guns cc

tittup spelling

If at first you succeed, then what?


It’s not really a black and white issue, is it?


Life all comes down to a few moments.  This is one of them.

bbhc symbol

Tomorrow comes to us all fresh and clean at midnight, puts herself into our hands and hopes for the best.


Thank you, god, I’m Italian.


I would love to be in Kansas.


Filling someone else’s shoes doesn’t scare me.  I’ve got big feet.


I read history, but reading history doesn’t necessarily make you a better person.  Adolph Hitler read history.



Every bullet should cost $ 5,000.

jeff blake

Jeff Blake took this photograph at a press conference in Toronto.


Revelation can be far scarier than revolution.


There’s no rehab for stupidity.


A sense of humor goes a long, long way in a marriage.



If life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and then try to find someone to whom life has given vodka.


She had the right to remain silent… but not the ability.


When you think of the atom, you are probably thinking of a model this man drew long ago. The nucleus surrounded by orbits as in the solar system?  The atom really isn’t anything like that. It’s more like a fuzzy group of shells around a tiny, hard center, but Michio Kaku’s design is so universally accepted that it is the symbol for CERN in Switzerland.  Centre Européen des Recherches Nucléaires.


Hunting is not a sport like basketball is a sport.  In a sport it would help if both sides knew they were playing the game.


I don’t care if you’re gay, black, Chinese, white, brown, straight… it’s all an illusion anyway.


Science fiction without the science is quite common.  It’s sword and sorcery, heroism, romance and a lot of twaddle.



Computer power is supposed to double every eighteen months according to Moore’s Law. Actually, in real life it seems to be doubling at a much quicker rate than that. What this means, among other things, is that it won’t be long at all before computers are making themselves without human help and that they will be more intelligent than we ever can be, and that there will be a merging of human and machine.

langues d'oc color

Because our consciousness can enter the machine, phenomena such as warp drive, traveling faster than the speed of light, parallel universes and time travel may become familiar much sooner than we think.


I’m mildly afraid of heights. I’m afraid of depths too. Have you ever been swimming in very clear water and looked down for a hundred feet or so. That’ll wake you up.



Genius is an Inuit who dreams up the African savannah.


What we need are some crazy people, considering how we’ve done with normal people.



People can smell lies.

Picture 53

Thanks to hallucinogenic drugs, I completely understand you.

Etruscan 540-530 BCE

Acting is just a sophisticated way of playing cowboys and Indians.

janis & john till

You don’t choose whether or not you’re gay or straight. Everybody knows that, right? Any more than you choose whether you have brown eyes or not.



Test for drugs?  We should test for stupidity, ignorance, greed, power lust.


Her hot pants were so tight I could barely breathe.


The Republicans say that government doesn’t work.  When they get elected they always prove that.


You know how you’re supposed to wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident?  Well, you should always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it too.


Seriousness is stupidity with a college degree.



Gi ta a.   This is one way the Japanese write “guitar.”


Some people can wear hats and some people can’t.  My wife will make any hat look really good.  I took off my hat to greet my aunt when I was 25 and never put it back on again.


You will never arrive at your destination if you stop to throw rocks at every dog who barks at you.


There’s one more terrifying fact about old people:  I’m one.


I make fun of myself for the same reason that I paint myself. I’m always around and I’m a cheap model.

VenusofDolni Vestonice 25,000 BCE

Nobody likes insurance companies, especially other insurance companies.



Curb Your Enthusiasm.  Very seldom has a directive been easier to follow.


My life has been one long steeple chase with me as the steeple.

folies bergère

Immigration is the sincerest form of flattery.



I don’t need you to remind me of my age. I have a bladder to do that for me.



Generally we admire the thing we are not.


It would take a lot for me to walk out of a film. For one thing, I would hate to spend money and then not see what I paid for.  Some people walk out of films and then try to get their money back, but the less said about them the better.  I’ve probably walked out of a film five times in my life.I can’t even remember the name of any film that I have hated.  Instant blockout.


I went window shopping today.  Got four windows.


Guy goes into a French restaurant, asks the waiter, “Do you have frog legs?”   “No, I walk this way because of my arthritis.”


I’d rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are, because a could-be is a may be who is reaching for a star.  I’d rather be a has-been than a might-have-been by far, for a might-have-been has never been, but a has was once an are.


Why would anyone in her right mind go to a psychoanalyst?


Always a winning combination.


A committee is a group that keeps minutes and loses hours.


Anytime a person goes into a delicatessen and orders a pastrami on white bread with mayonnaise, somewhere a Jew dies.


We owe a lot to Thomas Edison. If it weren’t for him we’d be running our computers by candle light.


A sense of humor is the ability to understand that the joke is oneself.

Beat Roy

You wiggle to the left, you wiggle to the right, you do the Ooby Dooby with all your might.


There is no revenge so sweet as forgiveness.


There are two kinds of fools: those who can’t change their opinions and those who won’t.



Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute.


Be like a postage stamp.  Stick to one thing till you get there.



There are a lot of people who mistake their imagination for their memory.



The best time for you to hold your tongue is the time you feel that you must say something or explode.

mariana armenta

Everyone has their follies and sometimes that’s the best they’ve got.


There is only one school of music… talent.


Two things in life difficult to prepare for:  twins.


Flattery is like perfume.  Smell it, don’t swallow it.


Adversity will very quickly reduce you to your fighting weight.


It’s getting harder and harder to make ends meet.


Corporations can do a lot of things well, but running countries isn’t one of them.


If you go out with a woman, ask her about herself. When she answers, ask her something about the answer. Show her you’re interested in her, because, after all, you are.


I’ve seen a lot of women give up after they’ve had three or four bad gigs in a row.  It’s very difficult to learn not to take nasty heckles personally.


My first gig in London was with The Kozmic Blues Band, probably in 1969. It was supposed to be for a couple of days, but I finagled a week out of it and nearly didn’t come home.  I reluctantly left for the Continent, but pledged right there to live in London for ten years at some point in my life. A promise unkept thusfar.


I’m just more into playing golf.  It’s a great thing.       Kenny G


Never try to be witty with US airport officials. Irony  is always lost on them and they are holding all the cards.  No sir, yes ma’am. That’s as creative as you want to be.



Everyone is a nerd in some way.

una sonrisa para esta tarde

Every seed destroys its container or else there would be no growth.



It is very easy for me to love myself, but for ladies to do it is another question altogether.



When I wasn’t as attractive as I am now, I suffered at the hands of cruel children and their taunts until I realized that confidence and a bit of esthetic care can overcome that.


We all have days when we can’t pronounce things or give that special moment the ooomph it deserves.

acropolis fr4om monastiraki

The way to have a lot is to not want to have a lot.


Class still matters in Britain today.


The Wicked Witch of the West.

mont st. michel

If I had become a priest, the sermons would have been electric, but they would have been in Latin.  So, who would know?


I avoid any kind of organized outings.


I was reading a book, The History of Glue. I couldn’t put it down.


I use very few muscles at the best of times.


There could be a seat belt there too.  Those things have saved thousands, if not millions, of lives including my own.  The government made us wear them.


Velcro:  what a rip off.


I’ve got my finger in a lot of pies.



I always look for other peoples’ approval.


One in six people in the world is Chinese. There are eight people in my family.  Hmmm, I wonder if it’s my brother Lee.


Kathi McDonald used to call me. I’d say, “This is Sam,” and she’d say, “No, it’s not, it’s Kathi.”     That was the beginning of our daily vaudeville routine.


A punny person is a paranomasiac.

OEFM_The Case of Lena Smith_K_01_low

I can bench press 250 pounds, and I run five miles a day and do aerobics at lunch. Also, I lie a lot which keeps me really thin.

lisa paul

We’re all the same, but some are more than others.



What would your teen age self think about your sixty year old self?




I should just pick one book and read it over and over again for the rest of my life. I can’t remember anything anyway, so it would be like reading something new all the time.



Compromise and tolerance are magic words.


As I get older, I just prefer to dodder around in the garden looking at bugs on the tomatoes.

janis smoking

I’m not afraid of clowns as many people are, but there is always something of a testosterone run amok thing about them.


You know how corny those Flash Gordon serials from the 1930s look?  That’s the way all science fiction looks to me, lots of chrome and tinfoil, and voices like computers. It’s all like a bad Outer Limits episode.


Why don’t cannibals eat clowns?   Because they taste funny.

novia peinando y matrona

Simplicity is the real sophistication.

faux noose

Sam Elise Don

My only shortcoming is that I can’t predict the future.

jane russell underwater

A lot of good arguments are spoiled by some fool who knows what he’s talking about.


Some people will believe anything if you whisper it to them.

jesus dino

theremin poster

I can see right now that my old age isn’t going to be a quiet time.


It is sometimes shocking to find out what people really believe.


What could this disgusting ad possibly mean?


Is being yourself worth the trouble?  It is your duty, but is it worth the trouble?


I got a woman that’s mean as she can be.  Sometimes I think she’s almost mean as me.


Most of the time I am very distracted by music used as a soundtrack in a film or a television piece. I would much prefer it not to be there. If someone is walking down a hall, I like to hear the footsteps and I like to see it in real time. That’s far more interesting than some trumped up some special effects scene.

george john

Beatles imitating Monkees.


People are praising the iridescent and beautiful colors of the peacock and he is looking down embarrassed by his big feet.

guitar bridge


Politics is not a world for the squeamish or fainthearted or quitters.



God would probably not want to touch America’s tax code, since it is already on the third rung to hell.


She was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad.


Success = talent    determination   timing (luck).     Any two out of these three will probably do the trick. Notice that one of them is completely in your control.


Feeling sorry for yourself might be the worst thing you can do.




Big Brother and the Holding Company history, part 25: January to June 2013

The 11-13 January   Autograph show    Los Angeles

Laurie Jacobson    Elise Piliwale      Lauren Dow

Jimmy McNichol had the table next to ours.

Karen Lyberger


Jon Provost  (Timmy from Lassie)

Jimmy McNichol and Elise Piliwale

Laurie Jacobson

Ellyn                 Laurie

Elise Wainani Piliwale

Jimmy McNichol and his sweet mother, the only one who managed to bring an Airedale to the show.

I loved this couple, Valerie Dugan and her attorney.

This artist has a strong, interesting style but no idea of how to do a likeness. Peter looks like Ron Howard.

23 January 2013        Interview for PBS at our old house in Lagunitas.

Back Camera

Amy Berg, Alex Rodriguez  and Olivia Fougeirol

Julie Haas

David Niehaus

Here I am rehearsing in this same room forty-seven years ago.

Rita Bergman and I lived in this little cabin out back. The Sons of Champlin later used it for firewood.  Thank you, Sons.  Well, at least they didn’t cut the redwoods down. I’m going to write about your using my cabin for your firewood.

Elise Piliwale and Bjorn Berg

Olivia Fougeirol




2008 jan 12 Slick

24 February 2013        Benefit for Slick Aguilar       Great American Music Hall       San Francisco

slick sign

We arrive at two in the afternoon to load an amp in there and get a hotel room.


There was Adrian, already standing in line, happy as could be.

elise car

It was so good being with Elise. We loved being in San Francisco for recreation, even though she had worked at St. Francis all night the night before and all night this evening too. I walked her to work right from the gig, after we watched a bit of the Oscars.  This was a sweet moment.



The equipment people are already hard at work. This is supposed to be an acoustic gig, but I saw a lot of amplifiers going in there.


The Great American Music Hall is a beautiful place. I believe that Boz Scaggs owns it now. We have played there many times over the years and every time was good.


After loading in, Elise and I walked up Polk Street and looked at the sights.


This is Polk and Pine from our hotel window. In the 1960s, I spent a lot of time at this intersection, because a friend of mine had a clothing store and the Palms nightclub was right across the street… all at this same intersection.

Prairie & Donnie

Prairie Prince and Donnie Baldwin were kind enough to propel the band this evening, or as Donnie put it, to add some “color.”

BBHC soundcheck



She was taking a lot of photographs.


Country Joe was the Master of Ceremonies.


Marty Balin sounded so good. His voice is better than ever and his songs are interesting.


Min Min Anderson, helpful and sweet as always.


We’re doing this for Slick and sending him positive thoughts.


I’ve known Keith for so long. We’ve seen each other for about five minutes a time over the last thirty years. He has a great sound on the sax and he played with Tommy Castro for a long time.

Darby & Sam 24 Beb 2013

I love Darby Gould. She sings so well, she’s a professional, she’s good natured, and, darn it, she’s just a beautiful woman.


This looks like a Frans Hals portrait, doesn’t it?   Chris Smith played keyboards with us and he did a great job.

Big Brother GAMH

BBHC performing GAMH

The way the gig looked:   Chris Smith, Sam Andrew, Darby Gould, Prairie Prince, Donnie Baldwin, Peter Albin

Snooky 24 Feb 2013

Old friend Snooky Flowers.  Snooky and I were in the Kozmic Blues Band.


I’ve played with Peter Albin for forty-eight years.

auto guitar

We signed a guitar for the benefit auction.

Sam Darby

Steve Keyser’s version of Darby and me.


Pete Sears


Great American Music Hall is right next door to this place.


The view from our hotel room.


And a little later…


Next morning, after Elise got off work, we had a little breakfast.

Elise 25 Feb 2013

She orders for us.



Then I have an interview at Merle Saunders’ Fenix in San Rafael.

Claus Bredenbrock


This is for German television with “autor” Claus Bredenbrock who asks intelligent, thoughtful questions.


Sol does the sound for the interview.


1 March 2013            San Diego  and  Tijuana

Back Camera

There was a very interesting exhibit of board games at the airport.

Elise elevator

Elise found us a beautiful hotel, the Westgate, in downtown San Diego.

lobby from stairs

This was across the street from where I did Love, Janis in 2001.


That’s where I met Kacee Clanton, Sam Monroe, Beth Hart and many other good people. I shot this photo of Kacee in front of a building that doesn’t exist anymore.

Fox Theatre building

It all changes fast. I tried to look for a hotel that my grandfather managed about the time I was born. It was in the old Fox Theatre building, which is no longer there either.


elevators symphony

This block is now the Copley Symphony Hall building.  My grandfather’s hotel is in there somewhere, but I couldn’t find it.


I used to draw this statue every day when I lived in San Diego twelve, thirteen years ago.


The statue is a copy of an Etruscan motif and it was made and cast in Florence.


Randal Myler wrote and directed Love, Janis, and we all had a good time doing the show.


Especially because Amelia Campbell was doing the “speaking” Janis. She has such a gift for comedy that every line got a laugh. It was like watching Friends.

MoM Balboa Park

Elise and I walked up to Balboa Park.

Sam fishing San Diego 1946

I visited this place with my mother when I was five or six. I’m trying to catch a carp here. Early version of multitasking.

Back Camera

We went to Tijuana then, and Elise and I decided to go this time too.

Tijuana arch

Tijuana has its arch qualities.

Back Camera

And a tinselly temporariness.

Back Camera

Are you coming or am I going?

Back Camera

The green room for a mariachi band on the corner.

Tij mur

The Mexicans are a very artistic people.

Tijuana mural

Trompe l’oeil a la mexicana.

hoy accordeón

22 March 2013       interview at eight in the morning on Friday    Sonoma    California


I drove up to Sonoma, the original capital of California, to do an interview with Mayor Ken Brown of the Bear Flag Party.


Donna was there and it was fun to talk to her and Ken about a gig that Big Brother would play on 20 April, Marijuana Day, at the Sebastiani Theatre.

kurt krauthamer

Kurt Krauthamer and Roy Blumenfeld put this gig together for Sonoma and Kurt played harmonica with us on I Need A Man To Love.


Ken Brown belongs to the Bear Flag Party which refers to a period of revolt by American settlers in the Mexican territory of Alta California against Mexico.


The Revolt was initially proclaimed in Sonoma on June 14, 1846. Though participants declared independence from Mexico, they failed to form a functional provisional government. Thus, the “republic” never exercised any real authority, and it was never recognized by any nation. In fact, most of Alta California knew nothing about it. The revolt lasted 26 days, at the end of which the U.S. Army arrived to occupy the area.


Once the leaders of the revolt knew the United States was claiming the area, they disbanded their “republic” and supported the U.S. federal effort to annex Alta California.


Sonomans are very conscious of being “the first Californians,” and they take great pride in their town and in the Sebastiani Theatre.


9 April 2013     Today is Elise’s birthday and she has a Director of Staff Development seminar in Lodi, California.

sacramento street

We get a motel near downtown and I walk there everyday to visit the library.

mrs. & mr. lodi

Lodi is an interesting city, named for a town in Italy, a lot of grapes grown here.

elise bday

We have Elise’s birthday dinner at this place. We were trying to find oysters, but not a lot of seafood this far inland.

lodi arch

choo choo

The train runs through the middle of town and you can feel Lodi’s agricultural past here.

lodi century past

I like the old downtowns of places like this.

piano Tillies

Every morning before going to the library to study I have a double espresso at Tillie’s coffeeshop.




There’s a science museum for children at Sacramento and Locust, an interesting place.

heart drum

Elise and I listen to our hearts beating on this instrument.

wire recorder 40s

We had a wire recorder when I was ten or so. It used the exact reel spool on the left.

computer insides

So, this is what it looks like inside a computer.


It was interesting watching the kids play with things like this gyroscope.

belt drive

I was studying technology in China while we were in Lodi, so exhibits like this caught my eye. The Chinese invented a belt drive like this.

malia & brett

Malia and Brett. It was quite a coincidence to see them. Brett framed a lot of my paintings in San Rafael.




The kids stormed through the place.

elise & brett

Elise and Brett

malia & maia

Malia and Maya

elise bubble

Elise doing science.

father daughter

Brett has a big family.

sacramento st & lodi ave

We see this billboard after we leave the museum. That’s my old buddy Joel Hoekstra on the left.


lodi tower

Goodbye, Lodi.

sonoma set

20 April      Big Brother and the Holding Company     Sebastiani Theatre   Sonoma  California

Kristina Tom 18 April 2013

Kristina Rehling and Tom Finch getting their harmonies together.

Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox, Esquire, public defender, San Francisco, came to our rehearsal. He lives just down the hill from Kristina’s mother, Lynn Giovanniello.

Lynn Giovanniello 18 April 2013

Lynn plays bass viol with the San Francisco Symphony, the Marin Symphony and numerous ensembles in the Bay Area. She is an excellent sight reader, of course, but also has soul and can jam with the best of them.

Lynn Kristina

Mother and daughter. They play string quartets with other daughters. I first knew Kristina as a violinist.

Sandi Freddie Herrera

Sandi and Freddie Herrera. Freddie used to own the Keystones. We worked for him many times.

Valley of the Moon

Sonoma is a beautiful place. The drive from Sonoma to my house in San Geronimo has to be one of the most beautiful in the world. 116 West to Petaluma D Street and then to Nicasio Valley, gorgeous.

Roy Elise

Roy Blumenfeld and Elise Piliwale.  Roy is getting ready to tour with the Blues Project again.


Tom Sam Kristina

Steve Keyser took this one.

Sam Kristina

And this.

Great Music 30 May 2013

30 May  Cutting Room   NYC

SamCutler Cutting 30 May 2013

We show up at The Cutting Room on 44 East 32nd Street, and there is Sam Cutler, who will read from his book and tell stories about the old days.

Sam still 30 May 2013

I start signing things right away.

Kessler's 30 May 2013

I used to know a guitarist named Josh Kessler, hmmm. I would have asked him to sit in if I had run across him.

sam chealsea

Chealsea Dawn is helping Sam with his book and other merchandise. She’s doing some research on Buddy Miles and I promised I would help her.

Guitarist Cutting 30 May 2013

The Cutting Room is a beautiful place with lots of art, the lighting is good, the people are good, it’s just a great place to play.

Dr. Photo 30 May 2013

Elliot Newhouse, an excellent photographer, is there and I catch him in his identity as Dr. Newhouse.

ben nieves

Ben Nieves played very well on this and all of the gigs.

Cutting couple 30 May 2013

I walk around and try to see what I can see.

elliot newhouse 30 May 2013

Right before our set, in a typical act of kindness, Ben, observing that I am ill, hands me a huge vitamin pill. Little did I know that it was also “high energy,” which means, I hope, caffeine. I swallowed it whole with no water and it went halfway down my gullet and lodged there. The place was so hot that, two songs into the set, after the pill and the extreme heat, I had to sit down… first time ever in sixty plus years of playing, and we still had a great musical conversation. Dr. Newhouse took this photograph which looks very colorful and rather Renaissance like.

Lisa Mills 31 May 2013

Lisa Mills has sung with me for a long time, but she sounded better than ever on this gig. I think she’s just getting started and she started very well.

High Note Amityville 31 May 2013

31  High Note  136 Broadway Avenue    Amityville    Long Island

Flatbush Avenue 31 May 2013

Next day we set out in our van to drive from Staten Island to Amityville, Long Island, which is out there a ways in more ways than one.

Mills Cutler 31 May 2013

There was no green room, so we sat on couches and chairs near the bar for the eight hours until our set began. Such is the life of a musician.

Jim Lisa Ben 31 May 2013

We took plenty of walks and kept up our high spirits.

Comfort Inn 31 May 2013

I should have just rented a motel in this town, which would have been cheaper in the long run than spending on meals and other passtimes.

Crossroads 1 June 2013

1 June 2013         The Crossroads   78 North Avenue    Garwood     New Jersey

Lisa elevator

Garwood was a charming town, slightly gentrified, reminding me of villages in Connecticut or Ross or Larkspur here in Marin County, California.

Crossroads banner 1 June 2013

We played a late night set here. All of the music on these four gigs was good. The band coalesced and Lisa sang so well.

BBHC Staten Island 2 June 2013

2 June 2013      The Dugout Bar    1614 Forest Avenue         Staten Island

Kerry 2 June 2013

Kerry Kearney came to play with us here, and sounded very good on bottleneck guitar as well as the standard model.

Ann S Kerry K m2 June 2013

Ann Sullivan, Kerry’s manager, fanned us in the extreme heat of Staten Island.

Ann Sam Xroads Lisa 2 June 2013

Good feelings, happy times.

janis blues hall of fame

Awards time.

blue moon

gate 3 june 2013

Flying home from Newark to San Francisco.

Fur Peace concert hall


29 July 2013      Fur Peace Ranch       Pomeroy, Ohio

Sam& Elise door Fur Peace

Our honeymoon cabin…

29 June 2013 set One

Jorma signed my set lists.

29 June 2013 set Two

Jorma question

It meant a lot to me to see Jorma thriving and prospering after all these years.  John Hurlbut wrote this question and Jorma asked it. Peter Albin and I liked it that we were here with someone who has figured so largely in our history.

John Hurlbut

John Hurlbut, the factor at the Fur Peace Ranch. Responsible, kind, respectful, capable.


Rabbits a Fur Peace down the road.

changing strings

Changing strings, getting ready for the gig.  Isn’t this exciting?


Don Aters.

jorma don

Jorma and Don.

Elise Fur Peace 29 June 2013

Elise Wainani Piliwale somewhere in the middle of Ohio.

don's nikon

Don’s Nikon.

ben sam 29 june 2013

Don shot this one.

don blonde

Life at the Fur Peace Ranch.

Fur Peace ranch signs

It’s a happy place.

Jim Wall Fur Peace

Drummer extraordinaire and good friend, Jim Wall.

Jorma painting

Kevin Morgan’s inspired painting of Jorma.


What bill would be cooler than Lenny Bruce and the Mothers of Invention?

Don's Leon

Don Ater’s superb photo of Levon Helm.

Carla Piliwale

Carla Piliwale, Elise’s mother, at the Fur Peace Ranch.

Edd Hart

Carla’s husband Edd Hart.

BBHC Fur Peace

We’ll see you in part 26 of the Big Brother and the Holding Company history.


Big Brother and the Holding Company, part twenty-four. July – December 2012

July to December 2012

13 July 2012     What Peter Albin has in his pockets. Some candy, a couple of cigar cutters, ballpoint pens, SuperGlue, it’s a lot of stuff.

We’re in the Detroit Airport waiting for Sophia Ramos and nevously wondering if they ever found Jimmy Hoffa.

Rosa Parks helps balance things out a little bit.

Sophia shows up and orders a tripio.

In the lobby in London, Ontario.

Then, we drive back to Windsor and stay in a hotel right on the Detroit River.

14 July 2012

I take a walk along the river to the Festival.

There were some truly great blues musicians at this event.

It was good to be playing with Ben Nieves again.

And other giants of the blues.

We did a 75 minute set, which is just about the perfect length.

She has a Janis tribute band.

Au revoir au Canada.

San Rafael, Fourth and C Streets, looking east.

It’s always that last leg of the trip home that is the diciest, because that’s where I go into the redwoods to our home on the hectare.

Today I was practicing some scales out on my deck, when I noticed a vivid movement in the bush. It was a fawn gamboling all over the hillside as a new kitty would. Jumping over trees, running through woody paths, leaping over rocks, the young deer gave me a show that I won’t soon forget. She owned the hillside.

Lynn Asher                        Sam Andrew

9 August 2012       Londonderry          New Hampshire

Ben Nieves

John Kane came and interviewed me because he is writing his PhD thesis on Bill Hanley who did sound for us at The Monterey Jazz Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, Fillmore East and several other venues.

Bill Hanley has been called the father of festival sound. He designed and built sound systems for the Newport Folk Festival and Woodstock among many other events.

When the Rolling Stones played at Madison Square Garden, Bill Hanley was the one who made their sound exciting and immediate to the audience.

When Big Brother and the Holding Company played at the very first night of Fillmore East, Bill was doing the sound. He also worked at The Bitter End and many other places where we played, so it was an honor to talk about him with John Kane.

John Kane

John did this illustration of Janis.

Ben            and          Lynn

I thought about this ale name recently on Mayan day.

Erin, Sam and Kelsey       10 August 2012     Foxborough      Massachusetts

Lynn Asher                        Peter Albin

11 August 2012       89 North        Patchogue               New York

We took the ferry from New London, Connecticut, to Orient Point on Long Island.

The trip lasted maybe an hour and fifteen minutes.

When he was in the Coast Guard Academy, my brother Dan sailed on this vessel, The Eagle, to the Mediterranean, literally to “learn the ropes.”

A ferry is alike the world over. She is noisy, clanky, massive, painted many times, disconcertingly punctual and involved with a lot of heavy metal.

You are a captive while on board, which can be a pleasant sensation for some people, an escape from life on land.

While others might feel a slight bout of panic or claustrophobia.

I have played music on ferries in Acapulco Bay, México, and in Puget Sound up in Washington.

We disembark at Orient Point on the north fork of eastern Long Island and drive to Patchogue on the south shore.

Kerry Kearney lives in Breezy Point, Long Island, which is just across from Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, but he has become something of a mayor of greater Long Island. Kerry sat in with us and played some marvelous guitar, including a fine slide solo on Bobby McGee. It was good to see him again.

Lynn Asher sang well and made a lot of friends. She is optimistic, outgoing, cheerful and she laughs a lot. A good traveling companion.

Joe Healey     Peter Albin     Sam Andrew     Bo Healey     Kerry Kearney

Ben Nieves played some great guitar as always.

All of these photos that have a great look? That look as if they were taken by someone who knows what she’s doing? They were done by Danielle Filasky of Yellow Girl Studios, and, Danielle, thank you so much.

Peter Albin sings Blindman.

I loved playing at 89 North.

It’s a noisy place, friendly, open, like the beach. You feel as if there is sand on the floor.

Everyone seems to be related and there is a loud camaraderie that is quite engaging.

Kerry Kearney brought his Long Island “family,” all of whom were cheerful, hearty and boisterous.

Lynn Asher was uninhibited, happy, having a good time.

And Ben Nieves was his usual shy, retiring self.

Thank you to everyone at 89 North but especially to Danielle Filasky…

You rocked our world until it was upside down.

We hope to see you again soon.

The next day, Ben and I drove to Queens and around the western tip of Long Island into Westchester County.

Past Armonk, New York.

We’re going to Litchfield, Connecticut, through some very beautiful country.

Every town has its church, public house and cemetery.

Ben and I stopped at this one to lay some flowers on a grave and find the stories of those who lie here.

I mentioned earlier that the Romans often wrote on their tombstones: Ubi es eram, Ubi sum eris. (Where you are, I was. Where I am, you will be.)

We come to our Inn which is so beautiful that it reminds me of the Seeschlössl in Velden, Austria.

Later we drive to Norfolk, Connecticut, where I get quite a scare.

The Infinity Hall is such a beautiful place. Mark Twain spoke here. Ben and I visited the little room where he waited to go onstage.

I meet an old friend Mary Carotenuti and her husband Richard.

“Carotenuti” almost sounds like “holding someone dear.”

12 August 2012                    Infinity Music Hall    Norfolk              Connecticut

Peggy Getz

A couple of years ago, for a Heroes of Woodstock tour, Tim Murphy tried to “dress us up” in Ed Hardy clothes. To a man we refused. Our bodies have, er, changed a bit, but there is one body in the band that does just fine with Ed Hardy.

Good night, everybody!

That was a good time.

The Litchfield Inn reminded me of Samuel Johnson who was born and raised in Litchfield, England.

We go home for almost a week and then we play one night in St. Charles, Illinois, but, first, we have dinner.

Elena Lichtenberger                   Jim Wall

Tim Murphy

Tim                             Ben

18 August 2012       The Arcada Theatre      St. Charles              Illinois

We did Bye, Bye, Baby also.

Lynn Asher

Jim Wall                        Bill Graham

29 September 2012        The Monterey Summer of Love Festival       Monterey    California

Stefanie Keys, right, with Nick and Bella de Ville.

Gail Muldrow                  Ed Earley

Laurie Jacobson   Linda Laflamme   David Laflamme   Joli Valenti   Glenn Herskovitz

Tom Finch               Sam Andrew

Galaxy Channel

Rock Scully

Ruth Copland came from England, interviewed me and asked some very good quetions delivered in a most charming manner.

Ed Earley, Sam Andrew Band alumnus from the mid 1990s.

Here we are in July of 1993.

Joli Valenti              Gail Muldrow          I am pestering Gail to come sing with us sometime.

Min Min Anderson      Amani & Grayson Arellano

It’s Groovy Judy!

Allen Weiss and I go  back a long time to pre Big Brother days in San Francisco.

We had a GOOD time at Monterey.         Donna Patterson shot this one.

4 October 2012          The Landmark Hotel          Los Angeles                      Photo:  Howard Sounes

6 October 2012       The Sam Andrew Band       Last Day Saloon        Santa Rosa     California

25 October 2012         The Sam Andrew Band           Sweetwater           Mill Valley       California

Marc Carmi Smith

Kurt Huget

Tom                 Lisa              Sam               David

Marc Carmi-Smith        Stefanie Keys        Rich Kirch

28 November 2012        Sam Andrew Band              19 Broadway          Fairfax, California

Our set list is looking a little more adventurous.

Rich Kirch came along and played guitar on this one, because Tom Finch was in Bali with his wife Tara.

We are doing a Memorial for Kathi McDonald on 8 December, and so this gig is something of a rehearsal for that night.

Marc Carmi-Smith played some excellent drum solos.

Kurt Huget usually plays guitar, but he was on bass tonight.

Glenn Herskowitz came by to talk about the Kathi McDonald Memorial. Always good to see Glenn.

1 December 2012          Palace Hotel     Ukiah Brewing Company         Ukiah       California

Norman and Jane Hudson are restoring this beautiful building.

Sam Andrew                 Jane Hudson

This basement/theatre in the Palace Hotel reminds me of 1090 Page where Peter Albin and I started playing as Big Brother.

Norman Hudson was our host.

Terry Haggerty             Jo Miller

Jerry Miller fingering his Gibson L5 which he has played since the 1950s.

Stefanie Keys         Katie Guthorn

Jody and Chastity Wells

Peter Albin                        Sam Andrew

Katie Guthorn sang with Terry Haggerty and Jerry Miller.

And Ed Vance played the keyboards. That was a very enjoyable set.

Keith Graves                       Stefanie Keys

At our motel, this Moroccan man, Yoba Bouabid, played my guitar in a Django way. Beautiful.

Stefanie Keys

Glenn Herskowitz (left) made the Kathi McDonald Memorial happen.

Steve Keyser

Kathi McDonald

8 December 2012         Kathi McDonald Memorial          Georges       San Rafael      California

Diana Mangano sang As The Years Go Passing By and I’d Rather Go Blind, Kathi’s theme song.

Kristina Rehling sang More and she played a beautiful violin on the rest of the tunes.

Prairie Prince sounded so good.

Prairie, Stefanie Keys, Tom Finch, Elise Piliwale

Call On Me

Linda Imperial  (left with Katie Guthorn and Darby Gould) did How Hard It Is with me.

Darby Gould sang Black Widow Spider.  This was a great moment.

Darby sang Buried Alive In The Blues too.

Linda Imperial and David Freiberg did a beautiful duet on My Romance.

Joli Valenti came up and sang a song by his father Dino… Come on people now smile on your brother, everybody get together, gotta love one another right now. Then Darby Gould sang Heat Wave and Etta James’ Lovin’ Arms.

Linda Imperial                       Diana Mangano

Prairie Prince

Prairie Prince played drums and Peter Albin shared the bass spot with Kurt Huget.

Kurt Huget, Richie Kirch, Lynn Giovaniello and Kristina Rehling

Richie Kirch played some great guitar for his old friend Kathi.

Prairie Prince, Sam Andrew, Tom Finch, George Michalski

Ed Perlstein and Steve Keyser took all of the photographs that look good here. I took the rest.

Snooky Flowers. Ed Perlstein took this classic photograph.

Elise Piliwale and Jerilyn Brandelius

Peter Albin

Barry Melton, Robert Altman, Sam Andrew and Barbara Langer Melton

Vicki Leeds, Jeanne Anderson, Marlene Dupont, Jim Anderson, Sam Andrew

Ann Cohen’s drawing of our band. I see Terry Haggerty there. He did some godlike guitar playing.

I loved playing with Diana.

12 December 2012          Lawrence Shore’s Seminar at Ondine’s            Sausalito      California

Ondine’s is upstairs from the Trident, scene of many an adventure from the late 1950s on.

I read on a plaque that Dave Richards painted the ceiling of the Trident. It doesn’t look like his work to me, but whoever painted it did a beautiful job.

I’m showing you a rainbow, Belvedere, and Angel Island is over my head, if you’ll pardon the expression.

Larry Shore wanted us to have a spirited, freewheeling discussion about the counterculture and what we all meant to each other.

Jesse Bloch came along and filmed everything. He showed me some footage of the Chet Helms Tribute where Kathi McDonald was singing… lovely, sharp, high quality.

Terry Haggerty and I talked about the Sons of Champlin and Big Brother and the Holding Company and our interactions over the years.

Joel Selvin put his Mickey Spillane spin on everything that has happened in the last fifty years.

And Eric Christensen, who has a vivid historical sense, pulled it all together and made it make sense.

18 December 2012      Today I became even older than I already was.

Carla Piliwale (left), my mother-in-law, called me at five in the morning (I was up as I usually am at that hour) and she sang Happy Birthday to me. Her husband Edd said I should put Carla’s rendition on my next album, and, by gosh, maybe I will.

Elise and I drove into San Francisco to find some stairsteps in the inner Sunset District.

These stairs were created by local residents and they are beautiful.

It was fun walking around this neighborhood and looking at things old and new.

We kept climbing and climbing.

There was a huge outcropping of Franciscan rock that I plan to describe in a future writing about the geology of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Elise took some samples and talked about them with me. There was blue schist, chert, sepentenite,

but mostly a lot of Franciscan.

This is the way some of the houses up here are supported.

Narrow steps going higher and higher.

We found the Grandview steps leading still higher.

All this stairclimbing made us hungry so we drove to Clement Street and had some flat noodles at our favorite little Thai spot.

After that, a short trip to Green Apple Books where I couldn’t find a book I have been looking for.

But I did find an edition of the Commentaries of Caesar on the Gallic War which I plan to use soon. Always interesting to be in Green Apple.

Then we made our way home, happy that we had electric power, which we didn’t have when we left, and I heard a phone message from my brother Lee, and so to bed after a happy day.

The audacity of Hope.

Happy 2013 to all of you, my friends…

Rich Kirch                  Jim Anderson


Birds At Our House


We live north of San Francisco in Marin County, where we have a house that is too small and too expensive on a hectare (two and a half acres) of beautiful California terrain. Henceforth this area shall be known as the Piliwale Andrew hectare.

rail context

I sit here writing this web log and look out the window at a railing where birds come to find the birdseed that Elise so kindly provides for them. I’m so glad that we decided to replace our windows, as if we hadn’t, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to see these beautiful birds that have decided to pay us a visit. My friend had told me about a company called, Graceland Windows (https://gracelandwindows.com/) that they used for their replacement windows and they had some great designs on there which would enable us to get a better view of the birds. Unfortunately, though we don’t live in the area so we had to use a company that was more local to our area. If we ever moved to Texas, we will definitely consider using this company. For the time being though, I’m going to enjoy looking at the birds through our windows. Also, I often see them in our outdoor home security cameras, pecking awaty at the lawn or drive. They’re relaxing to watch.


We get some good views of these fascinating and varied creatures.


There is a family of foxes who live on the Piliwale Andrew hectare, a lot of hungry deer, bobcats, skunks, a snake or two, racoons, coyotes, occasionally a mountain lion, but what we see and hear mostly are birds.


At night we often hear, but rarely see, the Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus). I love their lonesome sound.

turkey vulture

This little valley where we are has been home to Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) probably for thousands of years. They stretch out their wings to dry and then circle lazily overhead, riding the thermals and living the good life.


The Turkey Vulture will not eat anything that is alive, and they are one of the few birds with a sense of smell.


The vultures are very comfortable here and perhaps twenty of them circle around and come to rest on various tree stumps near our house. This is their laughing place.


The Corvid family (crows, ravens, jays, magpies) is well represented. There must be forty crows who carry on and carouse in the pines, cawing and gossiping, squabbling and commenting loudly on anything that catches their attention. Crows can be taught to “talk” in captivity. They actually practice their vocalizations. You can hear them. They do this even in their sleep. Their ability to mimic is uncanny. They can mimic a squeaky door closing if they choose.


These birds are larger than you might think. Seeing the occasional one who lands on our railing reduces all of us (two humans, a dog and two cats) to a kind of reverential awe. Our crows are nearly the size of eagles.

corvus corax

Common Ravens (Corvus corax) are serious carnivores and their search for food leads them to live in more varied habitats than any other California bird. They eat road kill, any kind of meat they can find in dumps, crickets, grasshoppers and almost anything else.


The Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) is also an improbably large bird with a crest, comb, topknot, whatever you want to call it. They are raucous, noisy and thieving. They will eat other birds and they often imitate Red-tailed Hawks to frighten intruders.

steller's jay

You can see clearly with the jays that they are descended from dinosaurs. They have an otherworldly look and their behavior is aggressive and predatory. Ornithiscian dinosaurs, they will eat almost anything and rob eggs when they can.


Woody Woodpecker in the Warner Brothers films has a characteristic call that is based on bop rhythms, popular music in the 1940s when he was created, but the pileated woodpeckers around here have a call that is quite similar to Woody’s. You recognize it right away. “And, then I said Baby!” If you sing that very quickly on an ascending scale, you will hear the woodpecker cry.

acorn woodpecker

Our woodpeckers bore hundreds of holes in the trees. They have an extra backward pointing toe for clutching the bark and they lean on their strong tails while working. Woodpeckers have a stiff extending tongue for insects and their eggs.


When you first hear them you think it is someone hammering a nail somewhere.


They knock busily against the tree trunks looking for insects and making nests. I hear them right now hard at work.

pil wood

Pileated Woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus) like dead or dying trees and we have a lot of those.


The Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) often selects nest holes on the downward side of leaning trees, where gravity can hinder any tree climbing predators.


The Downy is a small woodpecker, the smallest in North America, and it likes to live around bay trees. It drums loudly on dead limbs.


In the spring we see Olive-Sided Flycatchers (Contopus borealis) who like our wooded canyon in the coastal lowland and so come here to breed.


Olive-Sided Flycatchers spend the winter in Central America. Lucky them. That’s a lot of flying, though.


Western Wood-Pewees (Contopus sordidulus) come see us in about mid-April to early June. They and the Flycatchers have a crest or comb which makes them look distinguished. We have an “ephemeral” stream running through the Piliwale Andrew hectare and the Pewees like that. That “stream” becomes a raging torrent in February. My friend Clark brought his metal detector here one day and found a 1900 dime in the water.


The towhees might be the bird we see most. This is the California Towhee. which resembles a large, good looking sparrow. The plumage is very even and smooth.


The towhee is a handsome bird with a patch under the tail, called the crissum. One of the subspecies of the towhee is called crissalis because of this patch.

Rufous sided Towhee

Rufous-sided Towhees (Pipilo erythrothalmus) have regional accents. The ones in California talk like surfers. No, no, just kidding, but they do sound quite different from eastern towhees. Their call can sound like a buzz.

Towhee range

Towhees like to eat nuts, seeds and fruits.


Spotted Towhees (Pipilo maculatus) like to live near the ground but I see them on our railing pecking at nuts and seeds. They are also sparrowlike.


Males are gleaming black above (females are grayish), spotted and striped with brilliant white. This is a sparrow in overdrive.


Sometimes we see a Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens) and think it is a towhee.


This is a handsome chickadee that matches the rich brown bark of the coastal trees that it inhabits.


The Chestnut-backed Chickadee is the species to look for up and down the West Coast and in the Pacific Northwest but especially on the Piliwale Andrew hectare. I saw one today in a tree out by the “river,” actually a trickle through the rocks at this point, though, I repeat, a raging torrent in February. Riparian pride is strong on the hectare.


Active, sociable, and noisy as any my little chickadee, these Chestnut-backed Chickadees move through tall conifers with titmice, nuthatches, and sometimes other chickadee species.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

I have seen these birds in the shrubs in the heart of San Francisco. They seem at home everywhere.


Dark-eyed juncos are sparrows that nest on or near the ground in forests. In winter, they typically form flocks and often associate with other species. It’s fun to watch their beaks move as they “chew” their food. When they land, Juncos will fold their white feathers under, perhaps to escape detection by falcons and hawks.


When disturbed the entire Dark-eyed Junco flock suddenly flies up to a tree, usually perching in the open and calling in aggravation at the intrusion. I like to see animals talking back this way.


The House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) is a plain brown bird, very widely distributed. You probably see them everyday. They nest almost anywhere and will sing incessantly.


Bewick’s Wrens (Thryomanes bewickii) have a very long tail, tipped in white which they flick and jerk side to side. These hyperactive vocalists belt out a string of short whistles, warbles, burrs, and trills to attract mates and defend their territory, or scold visitors with raspy calls.


The Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) have scarlet-and-yellow shoulder patches they can puff up or hide depending on how confident they feel. Females are a subdued, streaky brown, almost like a large, dark sparrow. We always like to see them because they mean spring is coming, plus, they are a beautiful bird.

Cooper's Hawk

The hawks sit up high where they can see everything with their extremely acute vision. This is a Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii). They like canyons like ours with rivers or creeks running through them.


Accipiter striatus (Sharp-Shinned Hawks) like broken woodlands of coniferous, deciduous or mixed forest, so the Piliwale Andrew hectare is perfect for them. They are more common than the Cooper’s Hawk.

Red-shoulderedHawk buteo lineatus

The Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) has its main San Francisco Bay population center in Sonoma and Marin Counties, so we see a lot of them.


The Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is hunted as the “chicken hawk,” but this bird is far more valuable for rodent control than for its occasional taking of a chicken. We value this hawk and wish there were more of them on our hectare.

Red Tailed Hawk

The Red-Tailed Hawk breeding season begins with a spectacular sequence of aerial acrobatics. Male and female fly in large circles and gain great height before the male plunges into a deep dive and subsequent steep climb back to circling height. Later, the birds grab hold of one another with their talons and fall spiraling towards earth. This has to be the origin of several ancient myths (Icarus comes to mind). Here is probably the origin of another myth: Red-Tailed Hawks are monogamous and they mate for life.


The American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) is the smallest falcon in North America and is the smallest American raptor. It will often hover over its prey, deciding before diving. We see them maybe more than any other falcon or hawk. This kestrel, the only kestrel in the Americas, has three basic vocalizations: the “klee” or “killy”, the “whine”, and the “chitter.” The “klee” is usually delivered as a rapid series – klee, klee, klee, klee when the kestrel is upset or excited. This call is used in a wide variety of situations and is heard from both sexes, but the larger females typically have lower-pitched voices than the males.


The Wild Turkey (Meleagris galloparvo) was very rare here in Marin after the great hunting slaughter of the 1870s, but since the 1960s, these turkeys have been reintroduced several times and are now a very successful species. You see them in any open field, often contending with the cattle on Flander’s Farm down the road on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. The males strut around and show themselves to the females. It’s all very educational.


Wild Turkeys look like the classic Thanksgiving Turkey, especially the males with their preening, overweening behaviors. The females mostly wander around ignoring such ostentation, but it is difficult to enter the mind of a turkey. She may have her own designs, unknown to us. They probably center around reproduction and the continuance of the species.


I always think of the turkey and the chicken as Indian birds, because, if you really look at them, it seems as if they recently arrived from the Subcontinent. They are too ornate, too exotic, too beautiful and too obviously related to the peacock to originate anywhere around here.


We on the Piliwale Andrew hectare are vegetarians, so we observe these feathered bipeds with great interest but not great hunger. We hear chickens in the morning, as we hear the Great Horned Owl at that time, but we are up long before they are, working, toiling, scratching for worms ourselves, indifferent to their carnal attractions, but always aware of their beauty.


How do California Quail survive? They are slow, they are stupid, their call is distinctive and they are very easy to see. Every predatory animal within reach must be intent on their immediate slaughter, and yet they live from year to year scampering along with little regard for safety. Our cats regard their comings and goings with great interest and yet the quail still live… how? They have large broods for one thing. They can run, walk, really, very fast, fast enough to get out of the way of an onrushing car. They will only fly as a last resort. They are like island birds that way.


Mountain Quail (Oreortyx pictus) walk upslope in the summer and downslope in the winter. Quail travel in flocks except when paired for breeding. They have a curious, guttural cry which some people interpret as “chi-ca-go,” which is as good a way to describe their vocal as any. That song is very low and in the back of the throat. Quail, pheasants, turkeys and chickens all eat grain and they are all related.


I usually hear hummingbirds before I see them. When I am gardening I hear a buzz and think it is a large fly, but turn to see the hummer. This is the Black-Chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri).


We leave our doors open a lot and we have a skylight, so hummingbirds will fly in and then try to escape upward to the skylight. Which reminds me, we are currently in the midst of a few home renovation projects and are actually thinking of replacing our skylight soon. We have been looking at DaLyte residential skylights for some inspiration. If hummingbirds buzz against the glass long enough, they die of exhaustion, so there is always a great rushing around for ladders and brooms to try to show them the way out. The trick is to catch them when they are really tired and then they will land on the broom and we can convey them outside. Easier said than done. Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) is a frequent visitor who is often seen flying backwards.


Allen’s Hummingbirds ( Sealasphorus sasin) visit us early, somewhere from January to March.


This is a Canada goose washing. When we leave the Piliwale Andrew hectare and drive anywhere we see these beautiful birds in ditches, streams and ponds. They breed here and in Canada. They nest on the ground, but sometimes build nests in trees too.


The goslings follow their parents and learn what to eat.


One of the oldest songs in the English language, maybe THE oldest song in the English language is The Cuckoo. Peter Albin and I did The Cuckoo long before there was a Big Brother and the Holding Company, and long after too.

Janis Coffee Gallery 13 Dec 1964

The song finally became Oh, Sweet Mary, but The Cuckoo was long a staple in folk music days. Janis Joplin and James Gurley used to sing the lyrics, which went something like, “Oh, the Cuckoo, she’s a pretty bird, she warbles as she flies, she never hollers cuckoo, til the fourth day of July. Jack of Diamonds, Jack of Diamonds, I’ve known you from of old, you’ve robbed me of my silver, you’ve robbed me of my gold.”

Janis Joplin, Sam Andrew, James Gurley

The Cuckoo song is about treachery and betrayal and it is fitting because the cuckoo and her relatives are parasites and traitors, at least viewed from our Judaeo-Christian überconsciousness.


The cuckoo lays her egg(s) in someone else’s nest, the egg then hatches, and ejects the other eggs from the nest.


Now, there is probably no real evil (nor good, for that matter) in the universe, but, if there were, this throwing of the “real” young out of the nest might come close to some kind of evil. This is why the cuckoo became the symbol in ancient folklore for betrayal, treachery and infidelity. Some birds will actually build a new nest bottom over this false progeny and begin their nesting life anew, but most accept the new, huge, ungainly, false offspring, who has killed her “siblings.”


The Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) is the California version of the Cuckoo. Cowbirds deposit their eggs in the nests of over 220 bird species. If the egg is accepted into the brood, the cowbird doesn’t disrupt the family further. But if the egg is rejected, cowbirds trash the nest, destroying the host’s eggs. This brutal behavior led ecologists to dub the species “mafia birds.” Cowbird eggs hatch earlier than host eggs, and although the parasitic hatchling rarely attacks other nestlings, it cries louder, demanding a greater share of the food-which it almost always gets.


This Cowbird behavior frequently leads to the starvation of host nestlings. Here is the problem of Good and Evil nakedly presented. Are we to blame the Cowbird for her behavior? She is acting on instinct. There is no thought, no consciousness here. No free will. Is she “wrong?” Is she “unethical?” Who would posit such a thing? And yet? And yet? If the Brown-headed Cowbird is not evil, then what is? Is “evil” an idea that won’t fit a situation like this? And then, if so, what area would “evil” fit? Adolph Hitler comes to mind. Other very sick people. Allow me to quote myself, “What used to be evil is now a disease.” Such are the lessons of observing nature.

Western Kingbird

The Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis) has ashy gray and lemon-yellow plumage, and is a familiar summertime sight at our house. This large flycatcher sallies out to capture flying insects from conspicuous perches on trees or utility lines, flashing a black tail with white edges. Western Kingbirds are aggressive and will scold and chase intruders (including Red-tailed Hawks and American Kestrels) with a snapping bill and flared crimson feathers they normally keep hidden under their gray crowns.


Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) build their cup-shaped mud nests almost exclusively on human-made structures. This is a bird of open country which normally uses man-made structures to breed and consequently has spread with human expansion. It builds the nest from mud pellets in barns or similar structures and feeds on insects caught in flight. In England this bird is known simply as the swallow.

american goldfinch male

The American Goldfinches (Spinus tristis) are active and acrobatic little finches that cling to weeds and seed socks. Goldfinches fly around here with a bouncy, undulating pattern and often call in flight, drawing attention to themselves. I like the group name for finches, “clarity.” A clarity of finches. It sounds so Elizabethan. My friend Tom Finch and his family are a clarity of Finches. It seems such an appropriate name for them.

Carduelis lawrencei

Lawrence’s Goldfinches (Carduelis lawrencei) are named after George Lawrence, a New York businessman and ornithologist. The bird was given this name by John Cassin in 1850. This goldfinch feeds on seeds and insects. Their plumage is very beautiful and subtly colored. The female lays 3-6 pale white or pale blue eggs which hatch in 11 to 13 days.


The Lesser Goldfinches (Carduelis psaltria) travel in swiftly moving packs and they like to be on warm south slopes where there is open fresh water.


Lesser Goldfinches will imitate and mimic songs of other birds.


House Finches (Haemorhous mexicanus) are small-bodied finches with fairly large beaks and somewhat long, flat heads. The wings are short, making the tail seem long by comparison.


Many finches have distinctly notched tails, but the House Finch has a relatively shallow notch in its tail.


White-crowned Sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys) are a large sparrow with a small bill and a long tail. The head can look distinctly peaked or smooth and flat, depending on the bird’s attitude. We see White-crowned Sparrows low at the edges of brushy habitat, hopping on the ground or on branches usually below waist level.


The Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) is, to me, one of the most striking birds on the hectare. They arrive in the fall and winter. The Cedar Waxwing is a medium-sized, sleek bird with a large head, short neck, and short, wide bill. Waxwings have a crest that often lies flat and droops over the back of the head. The wings are broad and pointed, like a starling’s. The tail is fairly short and square-tipped. These birds are so smooth and sculpted that they don’t look quite real.


The Latin/Greek name for the Northern Mockingbird says it all. Mimus polyglottos. Mockingbirds are best known for the habit of some species mimicking the songs of other birds and the sounds of insects and amphibians often loudly and in rapid succession. They can put on displays of calls that they have learned that will rival any concert hall offering.


When I was a boy I was fascinated with these birds and tried to kill as many of them as I could with my BB gun. Such is the insane legacy of testosterone. There were hit songs about mockingbirds, musicians always being fascinated with a fellow songster. Says here (English Wikipedia) that Darwin studied mockingbirds when he was in the Galápagos and not finches. News to me. I would have bet on the finches. On his second voyage he used what he had heard about the tortoises varying from island to island with his data on mockingbirds to buttress his case for the mutability of species.


This is a photograph of a University of Florida student being mercilessly harassed by a mockingbird who is protecting her nest, but it reminds me of another species (were they Cedar Waxwings?) at San Francisco State University where I took a graduate course on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales one summer long ago.

Cedar Waxwing group in tree fwsADCB2BD2-1551-43CC-860AC1B31A6CA090

When we walked across campus we would be divebombed by birds who had been eating more fermented berries than was strictly wise, and the drunken avians would fly down, tear at our hair, and then make their getaway. They seemed mightily proud of doing this.


This upclose and familiar encounter with the birds was actually most entertaining.


The American Robin (Turdus migratorius) must be the best known American bird, although what an oddly funny Latin name she has. The Robin lays three to five guess what color? eggs in a tree nest made of mud and grass.


This should be our national bird. She is a migratory songster, named after the European Robin because of her reddish-orange breast, though the two species are not closely related, since the European robin belongs to the flycatcher family. Do you find this somewhat disillusioning? I do, but am not sure why.


The American robin belongs to the thrush family.

amer rob

Some people think that the American Robin ranks behind only the Red-winged Blackbird (and just ahead of the introduced European starling) as the most abundant, extant land bird in North America.

Turdus migratorius

The American Robin is active mostly during the day and assembles in large flocks at night. Her diet consists of invertebrates (such as beetle grubs, earthworms and caterpillars), fruits and berries.


The American Robin is one of the earliest bird species to lay eggs, beginning to breed shortly after returning to its summer range from its winter range. Its nest consists of long coarse grass, twigs, paper, and feathers, and is smeared with mud and often cushioned with grass or other soft materials. It is among the first birds to sing at dawn, and its song consists of several discrete units that are repeated.


Hermit Thrushes (Catharus guttatus) have a chunky shape similar to an American Robin, but smaller. They stand upright, often with the slender, straight bill slightly raised. This is a winter bird.


I just saw an article about Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus) this morning (8 June 2013) in the Marin Independent Journal.

Swainson's Thrush @ Magee Marsh May 2006.  DSC00054 = Raw file #

“A local population of Swainson’s thrushes – a melodic songbird heard along trails and near streams – has had its 1,500-mile-plus migration tracked from Bolinas to Mexico with the use of small tags applied by researchers.”

Swainson's Thrush pictures

“The findings could help better protect the habitat of the birds as their lifecycle and travels are better understood, according to Point Blue Conservation Science – formerly the Point Reyes Bird Observatory – which did the research.”


“Until now, all we knew was that these birds likely wintered in Mexico or Central America,” said Renée Cormier, an avian ecologist at Point Blue and lead author of the study. “We’re very excited to finally pinpoint where Swainson’s thrushes spend the winter.”


The Swainson’s Thrushes are distinguished from other spotted thrushes by their eyering and “buffy” face.


Bushtits (Psaltriparus minimus) weave a very unusual hanging nest, shaped like a soft pouch or sock, from moss, spider webs, and grasses. They are fairly plain brown-and-gray birds. Slightly darker above than below, they have brown-gray heads, gray wings, and tan-gray underparts.

western bluebird

The Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana) is a beautiful, small thrush that often gathers in small flocks to feed on insects or berries, giving their quiet, chortling calls.


Western Bluebirds spread mistletoe seeds and they make us happy. The bluebird of happiness.

Mountain Bluebird

It’s always a bit of a shock to see a Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides). They look as if they just flew out of a Disney cartoon because their coloring is so vivid. They will nest up under the eaves of the house or shed, like these lp smartside sheds, because they seem to like human built structures. Sheds are more popular for these birds as they’re not often disturbed, whereas there’s often people in the house. Additionally, if homeowners are keen gardeners and have worms in a compost heap or store birdfood, like suet, mealworms or peanuts in their sheds, the birds will love choose to nest and feast in the shed, compared to the house where they’ll still have to forage for their food.


The Black headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus) is one of the few birds able to eat Monarch butterflies, despite the noxious chemicals those insects contain from eating milkweeds in their larval stage.

2009-06-14 007 black-headed grosbeak

These birds visit us most years and even when we can’t see them we hear the young ones who whine and whistle for food.


Western Tanagers (Piranga ludoviciana) are popular at our house because they eat wasps, ants, beetles and termites. They build their nests, usually in coniferous trees, at a fork in the horizontal branch well out from the trunk.


The Western Tanager’s plumage and vocalizations are similar to members of the cardinal family. They sing somewhat like American Robins, but more hoarse. The call sounds like “pit-er-ick.”

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-Crowned Kinglets (Regulus satrapa) weigh about as much as two pennies so they are one of the tiniest birds and rather elusive. In Marin County, they breed mostly in Douglas fir and redwoods.

id gcki sy m 950 body apr06

They eat a lot of insects, gnats, caterpillars, aphids and spiders. The female lays a surprising 5 to 11 eggs, sometimes in double layers. The male feeds her while she sits on the nest during incubation.


Early Marin ornithologists weren’t even aware that the Golden-Crowned Kinglet bred here and the birds probably didn’t react well to early logging, but they returned with the regrowth of dense forests. Golden and ruby-crowned kinglets are the only members of their genus in North America, but they are astonishingly similar in appearance and behavior to their two Old World cousins – the goldcrest and firecrest.

yellow warbler 2

We see the Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia) fairly often and they were once considered abundant in Marin.


Female Yellow Warblers sing sweet-sweet-sweeter-than-sweet or sweet-sweet-l’m-so-sweet, but males sing various other songs as well, one of them being mean-mean-meaner than mean or mean-machine-I’m so mean. It is rather difficult to write out a bird song even using music notation. Birds’ songs and calls are ineffable and so beautiful. This morning I heard three hawks talking to each other and the conversation was so interesting that I wanted to fly up there myself and say a thing or two about vole catching, an area where I feel they could use a little improvement.


The dreaded cowbird often lays her parasitic eggs in Yellow Warbler nests who thwart these “evil” birds by building a new floor over the cowbird eggs and laying a new clutch of their own. Persistent cowbirds have been known to return five times to lay more eggs in the nest, and the even more persistent warbler builds SIX layers of nest floors to cover up the cowbird eggs. This goes on all the time, whether we are there or not.

orange-crowned warbler

Have you ever heard that Latin saying, I think Horace wrote it? It goes Ars est celare artem, and it means it is art to hide art. Keep’em guessing, would be the American vernacular equivalent. Anyway, we now consider the Vermivora celata, the hidden wormeater, otherwise known as the Orange-Crowned Warbler.


Adult male: dusky olive green upperparts, grayer on crown and nape. Whitish or yellowish narrow broken eye ring, indistinct dusky eye line. Greenish yellow underparts with indistinct blurry streaks. Undertail coverts always brighter yellow than belly. Adult female: duller and grayer than male. Immature: duller, similar to adult female. So, where is the orange crown?


The most frequent call is a very distinctive, hard stick or tik. Flight call: a high, thin seet. Song: a high-pitched loose trill becoming louder and faster in the middle, weaker and slower at the end. Birds don’t drawl the way Americans do. An American pronounces “stick” with a bit of a twist. It’s almost like “styi ck,” it’s a lazy diphthong. Birds speak more as British or Continental people do. “Stick,” very short and bitten off to our ears. It’s fast and clipped, virtually without a vowel. “Stck.”

Wilson's Warbler

With a length of only 12cm/4.75in, the specific name pusilla (small) given to Wilson’s Warbler (Wilsonia pusilla) by Alexander Wilson in 1811 is appropriate.


Alexander Wilson moved from Scotland to Pennsylvania in 1794 at the age of 28, became interested in ornithology in 1801 and decided in 1802 to publish a book illustrating all the North America birds. This appeared as the nine volume American Ornithology between 1808 and 1814.


Wilson met John James Audubon in 1810 and probably inspired him to publish his own book of illustrations, even though Audubon’s reaction to Wilson is described as ‘decidedly ambiguous’. (He declined to subscribe to American Ornithology, felt his own illustrations were much better and, in 1820, decided to publish the ‘greatest bird book ever’.)


This bird is quite small and will fit in the palm of your hand with room to spare. Occasionally I see the females down by our creek in the underbrush, so little that I think at first that they are flies. How can you fit all that life into such a diminutive package?


The Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) is a truly beautiful bird and the only swallow that lives in the woodlands and forests of Marin County. The purple on the upper-tail coverts, often not seen, identifies this as a male. Green on the back can be bright in both sexes, male head usually relatively bright green; female head duller green to brownish. The extension of white above the eye is a mark that allows distinction of Violet-green from Tree Swallows in flight. The two species co-exist in the San Francisco Bay Area, with the Violet-green usually at higher altitudes and the Tree more often near bodies of water


These swallows will find old woodpecker holes or natural cavities in trees for nest sites, and they will also use nest boxes or crevices in buildings.


Swallows catch insects in flight. They have a short, wide bill that opens into a gaping mouth ideal for scooping up prey in mid-air.


The Violet-green Swallows are winter birds. They arrive sometimes as early as mid-January. They get along well with other swallows and add some much needed color in the cold months.

Elise Piliwale Sam Andrew Steve Zia Victoria Rayles

I see other birds here on the Piliwale Andrew hectare, but I don’t know what they are and need to take a good photograph for identification. Birds are singers and travelers, so we feel a lot of kinship with them. See you next week.


Polyonymously Perverse

Fur Peace concert hall

Polyonymously Perverse



Polyonomous could mean having many names.  Cicero was known in his time as Marcus Tullius Cicero.  My name is Sam Houston Andrew III.

Sam& Elise door Fur Peace

Where we lived at the Fur Peace Ranch.


Melina Riverblues has many names.

Stephen Bruton, Leah Hawk, Kris Kristofferson

Stephen Bruton, Leah Hawk and Kris Kristofferson.

jorma don

Jorma Kaukonen and Don Aters

visconti 9

Il diavolo si nasconde nei dettagli.     The devil is hiding in the details.


My beautiful and wise friend Sally.


We were the Spice Boys.

Fur Peace kitchen

The meeting and eating house at the Fur Peace Ranch near Darwin, Ohio.

a 1f7de49be1_z

I love to engage in repartee with people who are stupider than I am.                 Ann Coulter (how does she find any?)



visconti 1

La bottega dei sogni.    The dream boutique.

Aquila, ragazze

If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president.         Ann Coulter.

Fur Peace kitty

The welcome kitty at Fur Peace Ranch.

Harrison & Shankar

I’ll play what you want or I won’t play at all.

a 265-The-Science-Museum

All the world is a birthday cake, so take a little, but not too much.



visconti 2

Ahahahahhaah, ma che faccia ho!   My god, what a face I have!

Fur Peace ranch signs

About fifteen minutes from Athens, Ohio.


I think there should be a literacy test and a poll tax for people to vote.      Ann Coulter (noted cheater at the polls).


I wanted to be successful, not famous.

a 945309778_91f3dffee6_z

Gossip is the devil’s radio.



Jorma Fur Peace

Jorma was so kind and generous to us. Everyone was. This was a wonderful stay.

visconti 3

Le ragazze del rock.         The girls of rock.

Amad and Poetry

Polls? Nah!   They’re for strippers and cross country skiers.               Sarah Palin.


I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.

a _master

Music belongs to everyone.  It’s only the music publishers who think that someone in particular owns it.

Don's Leon

Don Aters took this photo of Levon Helm.



visconti 4

Interessante…. dove? come? partecipazione libera?     Interesting… where? how? free participation?

Angels LJ AZ

I could possibly have beaten Senator McCain in the primary. Then I could have been the candidate who lost to Barack Obama. Mitt Romney.


President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and their team have failed the American people, and that is why their majority will soon be out the door.        Mitt Romney.

Elise Fur Peace 29 June 2013

Elise Wainani Piliwale at Fur Peace Ranch: 29 June 2013.

a science-museum-london

If someone thinks that “love and peace” is a cliché that must be left behind in the 1960s, that’s his problem. Love and peace are eternal.



Absolutely all the people I know are a little crazy.

visconti 5

Che presenza inquietante hai lì dietro di te! Con tanto di simil “funcia”!  What a disquieting presence there behind you! And you can function with all of that!


As usual there is a great woman behind every idiot.

Hot Tuna italian

Hot Tuna à l’italiana.


When the President does it, that means it’s not illegal.       Richard M. Nixon.

Wax anatomical model of female human head showing internal struc

People react to fear, not love; they don’t teach that in Sunday School, but it’s true.        Richard M. Nixon.




Janis Joplin and Jorma Kaukonen sat in an apartment one day and recorded some songs while Jorma’s then wife Margareta typed a paper for her UC Berkeley class in the next room.  This is the typewriter she used.

margareta kaukonen

The clicking and clacking of the keys went straight onto the tape.

visconti 6

Ho perso tutte le foto di quella sera tranne la più bella.  I have lost all the photos from that evening except for the most beautiful one.


It is necessary for me to establish a winner image.  Therefore, I have to beat somebody.      Richard M. Nixon.


Solutions are not the answer.           Richard M. Nixon.

a vrmh

Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national government too.     Richard M. Nixon.

Vanessa Kaukonen

Vanessa Kaukonen made us feel at home on the Fur Peace Ranch. She is Jorma’s wife now and a capable, intelligent woman.



visconti 7

Mi viene da piangere. Cosa mi sono persa?      I’m about to cry.  Oh, no, I missed it.


The press is the enemy.            Richard M. Nixon.


Politics would be a helluva good business if it weren’t for the goddamned people.          Richard M. Nixon.

John Hurlbut

John Hurlbut, a prince among men, the factotum at Fur Peace.


I let the American people down.            Richard M. Nixon.




Ringrazia la sorellona che ti ha fatto questa foto.      Thank the big sister who took this photo for you.

Arianna Antinori, Antea Salmaso, toscana

What a terrible thing to have lost one’s mind. Or not to have a mind at all. How true that is.    Dan Quayle.

Jorma question

Peter Albin and I did an interview with John Hurlbut and Jorma. John wrote questions like this one, and Jorma asked them.


I am not part of the problem.  I am a Republican.       Dan Quayle.


I love California.  I practically grew up in Phoenix.     Dan Quayle.



visconti 10

Ma che figata!

Edd Hart

Edd Hart.  Elise’s mother Carla Piliwale is married to Edd.  We had a beautiful drive through Ohio with these people.


Bank failures are caused by depositors who don’t deposit enough money to cover losses due to mismanagement.      Dan Quayle.


People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history.    Dan Quayle.


Bobby Knight told me this: ‘There is nothing that a good defense cannot beat a better offense.’ In other words a good offense wins.  Dan Quayle.



Carla Piliwale

Carla Piliwale.

visconti 11

Musica e rappoorti umani…camminano insieme.       Music and human relationships…they go together.


Republicans have been accused of abandoning the poor. It’s the other way around. They never vote for us.    Dan Quayle.


I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy – but that could change.         Dan Quayle.


For NASA, space is still a high priority.        Dan Quayle.




London OH public library

We stayed in London, Ohio, for a couple of days and I haunted the library.

visconti 12

Volevo farti i complimenti perchè hai reso perfettamente l’idea di quello che, credo, ognuna di noi pensa. Complimenti!   I wanted to give you my regards because you have rendered perfectly the idea that each of us, I believe, thinks.  Congratulations!


The future will be better tomorrow.           Dan Quayle.


I deserve respect for the things I did not do.          Dan Quayle.




Nella vita e nelle feste non smettere mai di giocare!

Jim Wall Fur Peace

Jim Wall, drummer extraordinaire and good friend.


It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.       Dan Quayle.


It’s wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago.         Dan Quayle.


Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.       Dan Quayle.





Peter green room

Peter Albin in the green room at Fur Peace.


If Al Gore invented the Internet, I invented spell check.           Dan Quayle.

John Lennon

The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation’s history. I mean in this century’s history. But we all lived in this century. I didn’t live in this century.           Dan Quayle.


A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls.            Dan Quayle.




Minchia questa e fantasticaaaa!

Jorma painting

I love this Kevin Morgan painting of Jorma.


This president is going to lead us out of this recovery.            Dan Quayle.


The global importance of the Middle East is that it keeps the Far East and the Near East from encroaching on each other.     Dan Quayle.


Every once in a while, you let a word or phrase out and you want to catch it and bring it back. You can’t do that. It’s gone, gone forever. Dan Quayle.




Grazie alla fotografa.      Thanks to the photographer.


The loss of life will be irreplaceable.          Dan Quayle.

and I love her

We’re all capable of mistakes, but I do not care to enlighten you on the mistakes we may or may not have made.        Dan Quayle.

an oramics-portrait-560x414

I have made good judgments in the past.  I have made good judgments in the future.         Dan Quayle.




Che uomo fortunato che è Luca…        What a lucky guy Luke is…


Vanessa, Jorma and John Hurlbut.

a stell

In George Bush you get experience, and with me you get – The Future!               Dan Quayle.

Description=Beatles drummer Ringo Starr eats fish and chips, 1967.

It’s a question of whether we’re going forward into the future, or past to the back.            Dan Quayle.


It’s time for the human race to enter the solar system.            Dan Quayle.


Nieves Alvarez for S Moda


Questa è la mia preferita.          This one is my favorite.


Ben, Sam, Jim, Stefanie and Peter holding forth at the Fur Peace Ranch.


My friends, no matter how rough the road may be, we can and we will, never, never surrender to what is right.       Dan Quayle.


One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice-president, and that one word is ‘to be prepared.’       Dan Quayle.


This election is about who’s going to be the next President of the United States!          Dan Quayle.




Veramente bella questa foto.      Truly beautiful this photo.


Jorma with lovely Nikon.


Unfortunately, the people of Louisiana are not racists.           Dan Quayle.

arr wonder

Hawaii has always been a very pivotal role in the Pacific. It is in the Pacific. It is a part of the United States that is an island that is right here. Dan Quayle.


I do have a political agenda. It’s to have as few regulations as possible.            Dan Quayle.




“Cosa sono questi occhi stupiti”, diceva una vecchia canzone italiana…   “What are those amazing eyes,” said an old Italian song…


Jorma’s family.


I don’t watch it, but I know enough to comment on it.              Dan Quayle.


I stand by all the misstatements that I’ve made.             Dan Quayle.




Che belle le rottoballe!          What beautiful bales of hay!


Jorma on his way to Hawaii.


I was known as the chief grave robber of my state.                  Dan Quayle.

a 69

I want to be Robin to Bush’s Batman.                  Dan Quayle.


If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there would be peace.     John Lennon


If we don’t succeed we run the risk of failure.               Dan Quayle.




Non ti facevo così mainstream.       I didn’t think you were that mainstream.


Jack Nicholson has his eyebrows insured. Jack Casady should probably do the same.


I’ve never professed to be anything but an average student.                     Dan Quayle.

ainda m

Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it.               Dan Quayle.


People who bowl vote. Bowlers are not the cultural elite.                Dan Quayle.




Se tutte le serate finissero cosi…             If only all nights finished this way…


Don Aters


Reading is like kissing:  with someone who doesn’t do it a lot, you notice it on their tongue.


It’s a very good historical book about history.                     Dan Quayle.


It’s rural America. It’s where I came from. We always refer to ourselves as real America. Rural America, real America, real, real, America. Dan Quayle.


Bernardo Nieves - Retrato


..chi ci ha già rinunciato e ti ride alle spalle forse è ancora più pazzo di te..   …who has already refused and maybe laughs behind your back is even crazier than you..


Rabbits in the road at the Fur Peace Ranch.


Let me just be very clear that the Republican Party will select a nominee that will beat Bill Clinton.          Dan Quayle.

Paul McCartney and his wife Linda attend the 13th Grammy Awards at the Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, 16th March 1971. Paul is collecting the award for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special on behalf of the Beatles, for the song 'Let It Be'. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children.             Dan Quayle.


Space is almost infinite.  As a matter of fact, we think it is infinite.        Dan Quayle.




Sarebbe davvero bello rivedersi!         It would be really wonderful to see each other again.


Driving into the Fur Peace Ranch in the early morning.


The more I see, the less I know for sure.


The American people would not want to know of any misquotes that Dan Quayle may or may not make.         Dan Quayle.


Tobacco exports should be expanded aggressively because Americans are smoking less.         Dan Quayle.




Sentivamo la tua mancanza.        We felt your absence.


Brett at Fur Peace.

an dongen

We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.          Dan Quayle.


The President is going to benefit from me reporting directly to him when I arrive.        Dan Quayle.


We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe. Dan Quayle.





don's nikon

Don’s Nikon.


We should develop anti-satellite weapons because we could not have prevailed without them in ‘Red Storm Rising.’      Dan Quayle.


We’re going to have the best American educated people in the world.       Dan Quayle.


What you guys want, I’m for.         Dan Quayle.

Ben X - Movie Wallpaper - 06



Svegliarsi dalla notte e vedere certe sorprese..       To wake up in the night and see certain surprises..

changing strings

Changing strings.


Welcome to President Bush, Mrs. Bush and my fellow astronauts.       Dan Quayle.


The other day the President said, I know you’ve had some rough times, and I want to do something that will show the nation what faith that I have in you, in your maturity and sense of responsibility. He paused, then said, would you like a puppy?      Dan Quayle.


I have a very good family. I’m very fortunate to have a very good family. I believe very strongly in the family. It’s one of the things we have in our platform, is to talk about it.       Dan Quayle.






Hubert Sumlin. I love his guitar playing.

aria ruta

When I talked to him on the phone yesterday. I called him George rather than Mr. Vice President. But, in public, it’s Mr. Vice President, because that is who he is.       Dan Quayle.


You do the policy. I’ll do the politics.        Dan Quayle.


You all look like happy campers to me. Happy campers you are, happy campers you have been, and, as far as I am concerned, happy campers you will always be.       Dan Quayle.




Guardali…bellissimi!        Look at them…beautiful!




We shouldn’t have to be burdened with all the technicalities that come up from time to time with shrewd, smart lawyers interpreting what the Constitution may or may not say.       Dan Quayle.


El Salvador is a democracy so it’s not surprising that there are many voices to be heard there. Yet in my conversations with Salvadorans…I have heard a single voice.          Dan Quayle.


I spend a great deal of time with the President. We have a very close, personal, loyal relationship. I’m not, as they say, a potted plant in these meetings.       Dan Quayle.




Che belli che siete!     How beautiful you are!


Warm, friendly people.

aria teresa

I’m going to be a vice president very much like George Bush was. He proved to be a very effective vice president, perhaps the most effective we’ve had in a couple of hundred years.       Dan Quayle.


Japan is an important ally of ours. Japan and the United States of the Western industrialized capacity, 60 percent of the GNP, two countries. That’s a statement in and of itself.       Dan Quayle.


The thing is, if you control the Senate meetings, you control the gavel. And the gavel is a very important instrument…an instrument of power. An instrument that establishes the agenda.          Dan Quayle.




…scusate sono di fretta devo correre a Porcia…..la festa sta’ per iniziare…..  Excuse me, I am in a hurry, I should run to Porcia…the party is about to begin….


Lenny Bruce and the Mothers.  What a bill.


Votes are like trees, if you are trying to build a forest.  If you have more trees than you have forests, then at that point the pollsters will probably say you will win.         Dan Quayle.


To those of you who received honors and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States. George W. Bush.


When I take action, I’m not going to fire a $ 2 million missile at a $ 10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It’s going to be decisive. George W. Bush.




Non è vero, se non fosse stato per Samuele sarei caduta 8000 volte.   It’s not true, if it weren’t for Sam I would have fallen 8,000 times.


It was fun driving through Ohio.


You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.     George W. Bush.


A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there’s no question about it.            George W. Bush.


I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.           George W. Bush.


Rico Nieves


Voto 10.        I vote 10.

fur peace too

Educating myself in the London, Ohio pubic, I mean, public library.


I think we ought to raise the age at which juveniles can have a gun.              George W. Bush.

don sam 29 june 2013

It’s clearly a budget.  It’s got a lot of numbers in it.             George W. Bush.


You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.               George W. Bush.


Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods.  George W. Bush.

Elise Lynn Gaia

We got to put more food on our families.                George W. Bush.




Bellissime le mie bimbe..      Most beautiful my bimbos.

london city hall

The London, Ohio, city hall.


The legislature’s job is to write law.  It’s the executive branch’s job to interpret law.          George W. Bush.


Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction.       George W. Bush.


No one was more shocked or angry than I was when we didn’t find the weapons. I had a sickening feeling every time I thought about it. I still do. George W. Bush.




Ma no te si neanca bona a girar le foto?

don blonde

Don Aters captures life at the Fur Peace Station.

Lennon And McCartney

It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.    Ronald Reagan.

new wave divas

A people free to choose will always choose peace.       Ronald Reagan.




Ahhh, ecco!  Contenta?     Ah, there! Happy?

ben sam 29 june 2013

Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement.       Ronald Reagan.


But there are advantages to being elected President. The day after I was elected I had my high school grades classified Top Secret. Ronald Reagan.


Polyonymous for sure…

Sam Elise pastel

Elise Wainani Piliwale   and   Sam Houston Andrew III