30 January 2011

Mi ricordo, or as Federico Fellini would say, in his dialect, Amarcord.


People used to tell me, “Janis, you were so good last night, that was such a good time,” and, I’d say, “Was I? I wish I could remember that.”

A car hit an elderly man. The paramedic says, ‘Are you comfortable? ‘ The man says, ‘I make a good living.’

Equilíbríbrio en el mundo. Busquemos que así sea! En el mundo interior, en el mundo exterior y en el mundo intermedio que integra el Todo. Feliz semana!

Some balance in the world. Let’s look for it to be there. The inside world, the outside world and the world that ties us all together. A good week to all of you.

Doctor: ‘You’ll live to be 69!’

Patient: ‘I AM 69!’

Doctor: ‘See! What did I tell you?’

Shirley Piliwale, Elise’s aunt. Her stage name was Varoa Tiki and she could scat sing like Ella Fitzgerald. Shirley played eighteen instruments in the hotels of Hawaii in the 50s and 60s. The entire Piliwale family were musicians. They played a Hawaiian lounge show in Las Vegas and they would take Elise along with them. Elise’s father Lui was also multi talented. He was a dancer, painter, singer, novelist, musician. Quite a family. I’m listening to Shirley Piliwale sing Moonlight in Vermont now. There are many photographs of her with Jack Benny, Bob Hope, et alia. She was a beautiful woman. She died in 2008 at 77. Aloha, Shirley.

Guy calls his mother in Florida , “’Mom, how are you?’”

“Not too good,’”  said the mother. “I’ve been very weak. “

Son says, “Why are you so weak?’”

She said,”’Because I haven’t eaten in 38 days.”

Son:  “That’s terrible. Why haven’t you eaten in 38 days?’”

The mother answered, “Because I didn’t want my mouth to be filled with food if you should call.”

This is Bob Dill, the Singing Pickle, in The Quonset Hut, Nashville. My brother Dan sent me such a great item about The Hut. Thank you, Dan.

In Texas for mohel or moel, they say “mole.” Moel in “Standard English” usually rhymes with Doyle. The British say “mole.” Peter Sellars said “mole.” The rabbi gets the fees, but the mohel gets the tips. I’m circumcised, but I wager that this strange rite is falling into disuse among the general population. Doctor Dean Edell, just to name one physician, went on a long crusade against young males losing the tip of their penis first thing after they were born. A bizarre and outmoded procedure. Like clipping the ears and tails of Doberman Pinschers. Relics of an unfeeling age.

Sam Levy was driving down the road, gets pulled over by a policeman.

Walking up to Sam’s car, the policeman says, ‘Your wife fell out of the

car five miles back.’

Sam replies, ‘Thank god for that… I thought I’d gone deaf!’

Antonio Pigafetta sailed around the world on the very first world circumnavigation with Fernão de Magalhaes (Magellan), wrote a wonderful journal of his travels and came home to Vicenza, Italy, at last. He put a plaque on the front of his house. It’s still there. “Il n’est rose sans épines.” (There is no rose without thorns.) Signore Pigafetta died in 1535 in Vicenza. If only he would have lived 500 years more, he could have met Antea Salmaso, poor guy.

Nescio quomodo illud in sinum meum intraverit.

I don’t know how that got into my pocket.

A Peter Albin joke:

My wild oats have turned into Maalox, prunes and All-Bran.

I wrote earlier that while Big Brother and the Holding Company were in Saint Dié, France, we stayed in Le Globe, a hotel with an Amerigo Vespucci room. There was an imprimerie (printing shop) in Saint Dié where it was decided to name our continent America after the Florentine explorer. A footnote to that story is that Amerigo Vespucci had a sister Simonetta who was a model. Botticelli used her in The Birth of Venus and Piero di Cosimo painted her many times.

Better ten enemies than one nebbish.

Be’ , non era un bello spettacolo.

Well, not the prettiest thing you would want to see.

I’m listening to Ella Fitzgerald sing “I’m Making Believe” with The Inkspots.

I finally got it all together, and now I can’t pick it up. (Erma Bombeck?)

Boogie In The Dark (Jimmy Reed). What is it that makes this man so interesting? He was all we wanted to know about when we were sixteen. His music was simple and deep at the same time, original, perfect. We all copied him. I understand why now more than ever.

Brook Benton recording at The Quonset Hut, Nashville. (Thanks to Dan Andrew for this.)

On my first day on this earth, I was in bed with a beautiful woman.

If you want to write a hit song, write a guitar line that is simple and convincing, so that a 14 year old would want to play it. Easy, right?

Fac ut gaudeat.

Let her be happy.

This place was so remote. Mary Bridget Davies and I drove here from Frankfort. At least, I think it was Frankfort. We had no maps and we just asked people along the way till we found it. We played the gig that night, wonderful gig, and, through a misunderstanding, I abandoned her and drove home to the hotel in Gfällmühle. So, Mary had to find her way home in a country she didn’t know by asking directions in a language she didn’t know. Life on the road.

You know, it’s strange, I’ve never seen judgment at all inhibited by knowledge, talent, insight. In fact, it seems  the less you have of each of these, the better qualified you think you are to judge someone else.

Ben Nieves. Ben = son in Hebrew. Nieves = snows in Spanish. What does this mean? Not a damn thing, but names are fascinating. They have their own life.

Sophia Ramos, for example, means “Wisdom bouquet.”

Molte anni fa, quando ero giovane e scapolo, andavao matto per le ragazze.

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

Into each life some rain must fall, but too much is falling in mine.

The Inkspots with Ella Fitzgerald.

Photograph: Max Clarke

It’s hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.

Oyster, a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.

From the church bulletin:

Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM.

Please use the back door.

Coming Home (Elmore James)

History teaches us that every day is beautiful, shining, and that Elmore James is a badass guitar player.

Pack Up Your Sins And Go To The Devil (Ella Fitzgerald)

They called him Bird because he flew up so high above the chord changes.

Church announcement:

The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David, the  sin of Rev. and Mrs. Adams.

Put this on my tombstone:

It’s All Over My Head.

Watch My Dust.

Or, in case I wish to be cremated:

What a burn.

Remains To Be Seen.

Conversation on the San Geronimo Valley golf course:

I play in the low 70s.

Me too, but any colder and I go inside.

Maybe just once someone will call me “Sir” without adding, “You’re making a scene.” (Last time this happened I was asking for $ 25 in Tucson so I could go home from the gig on a bus instead of having to walk.) Guess what? I walked. I only wish I could have persuaded my agent to have taken fifteen per cent of that walk.

Two old guys meet on the street:


You’re telling me!

Perhaps worth noting from the 17 January 2011 New Yorker, page 32:

(Happiness) happens sometimes when you are lost in a hard challenge, or when an artist or a craftsman becomes one with the brush or the tool. It happens sometimes while you are playing sports, or listening to music or lost in a story, or to some people when they feel enveloped by God’s love. And it happens most when we connect with other people. I’ve come to think that happiness isn’t really produced by conscious accomplishments. Happiness is a measure of how thickly the unconscious parts of our minds are intertwined with other people and with activities. Happiness is determined by how much information and affection flows through us  covertly every day and year.

Su questo punto ogni uomo deve decidere da sé.

About this matter every person should decide for her/himself.

God, if there is a god, created a universe so grand that we cannot even imagine it, so eternal that we can’t even dream it. Just last week scientists decided that there are certain black holes where time itself stops.  Do you think such a god, if there is such a god, would reveal herself to a person on cable television with a sloppy sentimentality and a bad haircut?

Televangelists: the pro wrestlers of religion.

Caress Me, Baby by Jimmy Reed. Do you know this tune? This is as funky and soulful as it gets.

AT&T fired President John Walter after nine months, saying he lacked

“intellectual leadership.” He received a $26 million severance package.

Perhaps it’s not Walter who’s lacking intellectual leadership.

A man walked into a Topeka, Kansas Kwik Stop, and asked for all the money in the cash drawer. Apparently, the take was too small, so he tied up the store clerk and worked the counter himself for three hours until police showed up and grabbed him.

Muddy Waters: Rollin’ Stone.


1. He went into His Father’s business

2. He lived at home until he was 33

3. He was sure his Mother was a virgin, and his Mother was sure

he was God.

This image here is reassuring because:

1.     Jesus has blue eyes.

2.     Jesus has white skin.

3.     Jesus has soft, wavy blonde/brown hair.

4.     Jesus is obviously Anglo-Saxon, thank god.

In the film Avalon (directed by Barry Levinson) there is this line:

“The only Jew they will let in their house is the one nailed on a cross.”

Little  Rain: Jimmy Reed

You just have to hear this guy to realize how great he is.

When I was 14, I wanted to BE Jimmy Reed.

Asked at a library:

Do you have any photographs  of dinosaurs?

Well, only myself with Big Brother, why, you want a date?

Rachmones (Compassion) comes from the Hebrew for  “a mother’s womb” (rechem). We are all connected. There are times when we may not want to be, but we are.

Where were you born?

Hmm, I was so young then. I’m not sure I remember.

Fino all’età di quattro anni, ho ignorato la differenza fra i sessi.

I didn’t know the difference between boys and girls until I was four years  old.


Evangelist     Evil’s Agent

I am a deeply superficial person. (Andy Warhol)

Question: If you could live forever, would you and why?

Answer: I would not live forever, because we should not live forever,

because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live

forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever.

-Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss Universe contest

At twelve noon, the natives swoon, and no further work is done,

But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday, out in the midday,

Out in the midday sun.     (Noël Coward)

He frantically calls the hospital: My wife’s contractions are only two minutes apart.

Is this her first child?

No, this is her husband!

Dicisne hoc opus artem esse? Quivis infans rem meliorem facere potest.

You call this art? Any baby could do better.

Well, goodbye, everyone. Do me a favor and don’t take any of this too seriously.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company