In the land of the Maidu: 3-4 March 2012

4 March 2012

Feather Falls Casino                 Oroville               California

Check the calendar, change strings and listen to the tunes.

These are Elise’s handwritten directions.  She writes down the route and says, “Hey, it’s near Chico,” and I reply, “Yes. Paradise.”

Our room in the Feather Falls Casino hotel.

The hallway, such a familiar scene for someone who travels a lot.

The minute we get in the room, Elise starts making the magic happen.

I turn on the television. Have you googled “santorum” lately ?

I’ve played this guitar for a long time now. Paul Reed Smith gave her to me. She’s been a good one.

Donna Patterson and Tom Finch in the green room.

Donna always knows how to answer my questions about Twitter, Facebook, Google. You Tube, My Space. The woman is a cyberencyclopedia.

Peter making the sets. There is a certain sense of déjà vu here.

Peter, Sam, Stefanie, Tom.

This is who made the escalator in the casino. They’ve been around for a while.

Srefanie and her husband David.

Peter, Donna, Mike, Tom, Elise.

Donna. Hey, I could paint this and make it the Donna Lisa.

Peter playing It’s Cool…Baby.

We did two one hour sets.

Stefanie, Tom and Peter working on their dance steps.

Tom Finch. He’s getting a little frisky.

It can be so surreal backstage.

Thinking about Ishi.

This is a real Native American.

So we wake up the next morning and I pack the car, all the while thinking about Ralph, an unreasonable man. This sticker is on the back of Elise’s car.  She’s voted for him in every presidential election since 1996.

Elise leaves our room neat and clean for the next guests.

Says a prayer of thanksgiving and farewell.

And drives us down highway 70 south to Sacramento.

We decide to stop in Davis, California, near Sacramento. I have played in this town, but it seems to me that I have never really been here before.

We have a little vacation, very interesting, visiting bookstores and other interesting places. Beautiful day.

I bought this book and Elise read it to me.

We thought about going to this China restaurant, but it felt so good just being outside.

I am doing a painting of Lady Marchmain and the border will be very elaborate, but I am doing it in subtle colors so I don’t overpower her face.

Elise delighted in the metal sculpture on this Davis dumpster.

Art and ice cream… what’s not to love ?

I went into another bookstore and saw this image.

Is nothing sacred ? I mean, legendary pizza. Well, I hope it is.

What would she think of that ? She’d probably be amazed that anyone would care enough to name a shop Woodstock.

Things weren’t weird enough. We had to walk by this building, and Elise said, “Hey, it’s Barry. What’s he doing here ?”

What indeed ?

My main memory of Barry Melton is from when he looked a little more like Harpo Marx.

Such a great guy. We played together in Scotland a few years ago when Carla Piliwale and Edd Hart came over to be with us.

So, Elise and I said goodbye to Davis,  a charming little town.

We drove west on Highway 80 and took the 37 highway across the top of the bay. There was Mount Tamalpais at last, welcoming us to Marin.

Home to San Geronimo.

Thank you always for being here, and I’ll see you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company



26 February 2012

Max Clarke sent me this one:

This word in Greek meant “dissimulation.” It became ironía, die Ironie, irony.

Oh, the irony of it all.

“Irony” supposedly began with Eiron who was the clever comic charater in Greek drama who tricked his “better,” the braggart Alazon.

In irony the surface meaning and the underlying meaning are not the same.

Lelaina:  Can you define “irony?”

Troy Dyer:  It’s when the actual meaning is the complete opposite from the literal meaning.

Reality Bites.

“It is a fitting irony that under Richard Nixon, launder became a dirty word.”          William Zinsser.

Situational irony is a condition of affairs or events opposite to what was, or might naturally be, expected, a contradictory outcome to events as if in mockery of the promise and fitness things. For example, Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize while he was bombing Cambodia.  This man was nominated for the Peace Prize in 1939.

Dramatic irony can occur in a play where we are watching a character and we know something s/he does not.

“Simply put, dramatic irony is when a person makes a harmless remark, and someone else who hears it knows something that makes the remark have a different, and usually unpleasant, meaning. For instance, if you were in a restaurant and said out loud, “I can’t wait to eat the veal marsala I ordered,” and there were people around who knew that the veal marsala was poisoned and that you would die as soon as you took a bite, your situation would be one of dramatic irony.”                     Lemony Snicket, The Reptile Room

Oedipus Rex is an example of dramatic irony. We know that Oedipus is having a love affair with his mother, but he doesn’t know that.

Look at the Socratic method. Socrates pretends he does not know the answer to a question he is asking. He feigns ignorance in order to lead his student to a better understanding  of the topic. This is ignorance purposely affected.

• Kampenfeldt: This is a grave matter, a very grave matter. It has just been reported to me that you’ve been expressing sentiments hostile to the Fatherland.

Schwab: What, me sir?

Kampenfeldt: I warn you, Schwab, such treasonable conduct will lead you to a concentration camp.

Schwab: But sir, what did I say?

Kampenfeldt: You were distinctly heard to remark, “This is a fine country to live in.”

Schwab: Oh, no, sir. There’s some mistake. No, what I said was, “This is a fine country to live in.”

Kampenfeldt: Huh? You sure?

Schwab: Yes sir.

Kampenfeldt: I see. Well, in future don’t make remarks that can be taken two ways.             (Raymond Huntley and Eliot Makeham in Night Train to Munich, 1940)

• “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room.”                             (Peter Sellers as President Merkin Muffley in Dr. Strangelove, 1964)

• “I’m aware of the irony of appearing on TV in order to decry it.”                            (Sideshow Bob, The Simpsons)

• “Math was my worst subject because I could never persuade the teacher that my answers were meant ironically.”       (Calvin Trillin)

• “We’re conceived in irony. We float in it from the womb. It’s the amniotic fluid. It’s the silver sea. It’s the waters at their priest-like task, washing away guilt and purpose and responsibility. Joking but not joking. Caring but not caring. Serious but not serious.”                                       (Hilary in The Old Country by Alan Bennett, 1977)

• Lyn Cassady: It’s okay, you can “attack” me.

Bob Wilton: What’s with the quotation fingers? It’s like saying I’m only capable of ironic attacking or something.              (The Men Who Stare at Goats, 2009)

Suppose you hear a political candidate give a terribly long speech, one that rambles on and on without end. Afterward you might turn to a friend sitting next to you  and say, ‘Well, that was short and to the point, wasn’t it?’ You are being ironic. You are counting on your friend to turn the literal meaning, to read it as exactly the opposite of what your words actually mean.

The word “irony” might be one of the most misused words in English.

Irony is sometimes used as a synonym for incongruous and applied to “every trivial oddity.” This happens so often that one day “irony” will come to mean this because so many people misuse the word, which is distressing to contemplate. The notion of irony will have been cheapened and counterfeited.

Many people say “ironic” when they really mean curious, odd, unusual, interesting or funny.   Take these examples, interesting but not ironic:

It seemed ironic that Lowell Levine and I, who were both Jewish, were going over to identify the remains of a man who was so anti-Semitic.          Michael Baden

It’s also ironic that in the old days of tape and tape hiss and vinyl records and surface noise, we were always trying to get records louder and louder to overcome that.       T-Bone Burnett

It’s ironic that in our culture everyone’s biggest complaint is about not having enough time; yet nothing terrifies us more than the thought of eternity.        Dennis Miller

Here is another example of the misuse of the word “irony.”   “Sullivan, whose real interest was, ironically, serious music, which he composed with varying degrees of success, achieved fame for his comic opera scores rather than for his more earnest efforts.”

The following is true, but not ironic:     For a Latino to vote for a Republican is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders.

This is a pun and maybe even a visual pun on the two meanings of “bebe” (“baby” and the imperative of “drink”). Drink on board !  If you’re in the car, you shouldn’t drink.

I have read James Boswell since I was in the 8th grade. I have read every word he has written, although people keep finding new Boswell journals in castles and haylofts. All my life, Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson has been my Bible. This is Samuel Johnson telling the young Boswell how to live eithically and intelligently. The book is full of good sense expressed in a precise and beautiful language. I have also revered Robert Crumb to an inordinate degree. Imagine my surprise and gratification, then, when Mr. Crumb released this set of drawings:

More non irony:

“Corporations are people, my friend… of coure they are.” Mitt Romney.

Mitt would have sounded much more intelligent if he had meant this ironically.

“The only way to reduce the number of nuclear weapons is to use them.”        Rush Limbaugh.

“I’m a Christian first, and a mean-spirited, bigoted conservative second, and don’t you ever forget it.”                      Ann Coulter.

“I’m more of a man than any liberal.”       Ann Coulter.

Stop me when you’ve heard something you like.

The Irony of Incomprehension.

“Ironic, isn’t it?” Shawn said.

“It’s not ironic at all,” Gus said.

“Dude, it’s so like a black fly in your chardonnay.”

“How many times do I have to tell you that’s not ironic, either?”

“Rain on your wedding day?”

“‘Irony’ is the use of words to convey a meaning that’s opposite to their literal meaning,” Gus said. “That stupid song came out fourteen years ago, and we still have this exact conversation at least once a week.”

“Yeah,” Shawn said. “Ironic, isn’t it?                                                                                       William Rabkin, A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read

That face, that grace, that beauty !

Now, THAT is irony.

With fame I become more and more stupid, which of course is a very common phenomenon.          Albert Einstein.

100,000 sperm and you were the fastest?

For your information I would like to ask a question.          Samuel Goldwyn.

A play is made by sensing how the forces in life simulate ignorance – you set free the concealed irony, the deadly joke.          Arthur Miller.

“Although you know how to swim, always wear your floaters. What irony.”       No. Not irony. A silly pun on floaters and breasts, but not ironic in any way.

You have delighted us long enough.                              Jane Austen.

Now away with you.

With Anthea Sidiropoulos.

Thank you, and I will see you in a week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Giulietta e Romeo: Juliet and Romeo

12 February 2012

Nel tempo che Bartolomeo della Scala era Signore di Verona vivevano in questa città due nobilissime famiglie, i Cappelletti ed i Montecchi, che furono nemici per molti anni.

In the time that Bartolomeo della Scala was the Lord of Verona, there lived in this city two most noble families, the Capulets and the Montagues, who were enemies for many years.

Erano già morti tanti uomini dall’una parte e dall’altra che dopo un certo tempo cessarono di farsi del male, e senz’altra pace gran parte dei loro uomini parlavano insieme.

So many had died on one side and the other in this feud that, after a certain time, the families ceased to do each other evil, and finally a good part of them spoke to each other in peace.

Avvenne un carnevale che in casa di Antonio Cappelletti diedero molte feste di giorno e di notte, e quasi tutta la città vi andava.

There was a carnival and in Anthony Capulet’s house there were parties day and night, and almost the whole town went there.

A una di queste feste andò una notte un giovane dei Montecchi.

A young Montague went one night to one of these parties.

Era molto giovane, bellissimo, grande di persona, e ben educato.

He was very young, very handsome, tall and well mannered.

Quando si levò la maschera, come facevano tutti gli altri, fece impressione su tutti, tanto per la sua bellezza, quato perchè si trovava in quella casa.

When everyone removed their masks, the young man amazed everyone both by his handsomeness and by the fact that he was even in that house.

Specialmente fece impressione su una figlia di Antonio Cappelletti, la quale era bellissima e graziossissima.

But he especially made an impression on the daughter of Anthony Capulet and she was very beautiful and most gracious.

Fu tale l’impressione della bellezza del giovane, che non appena i loro occhi s’incontrarono, ella non fu più padrona di sè stessa.

She was so struck by the handsomeness of the youth, that as soon as their eyes met, she could no longer control herself.

Il giovane se ne stava tutto solo, e rare volte prendeva parte al ballo o alla conversazione.

He kept to himself and seldom took part in the dance or the conversation.

Passata la mezzanotte s’incominciò il ballo di capppello, che si usava alla fine delle feste; nel quale tutti stanno in cerchio, e cambiando, l’uomo piglia la donna  e la donna piglia l’uomo che vuole.

After midnight began the hat dance, usual at the end of parties, when everyone stood in a cirlce and the man chose the woman and the woman chose the man that she wanted.

In questo ballo il giovane fu preso da una donna e fu lasciato per caso proprio vicino alla fanciulla.

During this dance the youth was chosen by a lady and he was left by chance near the young girl.

Dall’altro lato della fanciulla c’era un giovane che aveva sempre le mani freddissime, così di luglio come di gennaio.

On the other side of the girl was a young man who always had very cold hands  whether in July or January.

Quando Romeo Montecchio (chè così si chiamava il giovane) giunse al lato sinistro della donna e prese la sua bella mano, come si usa in tal ballo, la giovane, forse vaga di udirlo parlare, subito gli disse:

Benedetta sia la vostra venuta presso me, signor Romeo.

When Romeo Montague (for that was the youth’s name) came to the left side of the lady and took her beautiful hand as was customary in that dance, she said, “I’m so glad you’re here, Romeo.”

Il giovane, che si era già accorto che ella lo guardava, meravigliato le disse:

“Come ! benedetta la mia venuta?”

The youth, aware and amazed that she was looking at him, said,    “Pardon? Happy with my being here?”

Ed ella rispose:       And she answered:

Sì, benedetta la vostra venuta presso me; almeno mi terrete calda la mano sinistra, poichè la destra è freddissima.

Yes, happy that you are near me. And you will take my warm left hand, because the right is so cold.

Romeo, prendendo coraggio, continuò:

Se io con la mia mano riscaldo la vostra, voi con begli occhi accendete il mio cuore.

Romeo, taking heart, continued:

If I warm your hands with mine, you with your beautiful eyes set my heart on fire.

La donna, dopo un breve sorriso, gli disse:

Io vi giuro, Romeo, che non c’è donna qui che paia tanto bella ai miei occhi quanto voi.

The lady smiled and said:     I swear to you, Romeo, there is no woman here as beautiful to my eyes as you are.

E il giovane, già tutto acceso di lei, rispose:     Se non vi dispiace, sarò sempre fedele alla vostra bellezza.

And the youth, already burning with love for her answered:      And it please you, I will always be faithful to your beauty.

Accesi dunque i due amanti di ugual fuoco, cominciarono a guardarsi con diletto, quando in chiesa and quando in qualche finestra.

The two lovers burning with equal fire began to see each other with delight whether in church or in whatever window.

Non erano mai felici nè l’uno nè l’altro, se non si vedevano.

They were never happy, not the one nor the other, if they didn’t see each other.

Ed egli specialmente si trovava così di lei acceso, che quasi tutta la notte stava solo dinanzi alla casa dell’amata donna con grandissimo pericolo della sua vita.

And he especially was so in love that he stood in front of her house all night  at great danger to his life.

E qualche volta saliva sopra il balcone della sua camera, e lì ascoltava il suo bel parlare senza essere veduto; altre volte restava nella strada.

And sometimes he climbed to the balcony of her bedroom and listened unseen to her beautiful voice. Other times he stayed in the street.

Una notte che la luna riluceva più del solito, mentre Romeo stava per salire sul balcone, la giovane venne ad aprire quella finestra e lo vide.

One night, the moon shining brighter than usual, Romeo was climbing up the balcony, and she came to open the window and saw him.

Lo connobe, e chiamandolo per nome gli disse:

Che fate qui a quest’ora, così solo ?

She recognized him and, calling him by name, said to him:

What are you doing here at this hour alone?

Ed egli ripsone:

Quello che Amor vuole.

And he answered:

I am on a Love mission.

E se vi trovano, non potreste facilmente morire ?

And if they found you, couldn’t you easily die?

Madonna, rispose Romeo, certo che potrei morire. E ci morirò di certo qualche notte se non mi aiutate.

My lady, answered Romeo, of course I could die. And I will die here some night  for sure if you don’t help me.

Ma poichè in ogni altro luogo sono così presso alla morte come qui, cerco di morire più vicino che possa alla vostra persona, con la quale bramerei di vivere sempre.

I could die anywhere as well as here, but I want to die here near to you and I am yearning to live with you always.

Nulla si può bramare più di quel che io bramo voi.

I yearn for you as no one has yearned before.

E perciò se a voi piace di esser mia, come io desidero di esser vostro, lo farò volentieri.

That’s why if you will be mine as I desire to be yours, then I am happy to yearn for you.

E nessuno mi potrà mai togliere da voi.

And no one can ever take me from you.

E detto questo, si misero d’accordo di parlarsi un’altra notte e ciascuno se ne andò dal luogo dove era.

And saying this, they agreed to speak another night and parted.

Il giovane andò molte volte per parlarle, e una sera  che cadeva molta neve, la donna prese tanta pietà di lui che decisero di sposarsi in segreto, in presenza di frate Lorenzo.

He went many nights to speak with her and one very snowy evening, she took pity on him and they decided to marry in secret, in the presence of Friar Lorenzo.

Questo frate era un uomo molto intelligente, e grande amico di Romeo.

This monk was a very intelligent man and a great friend to Romeo.

Il giovane andò a trovarlo e gli disse quanto bramava di sposare l’amata giovane; e che erano d’accordo che lui solo doveva sapere il loro segreto e poi cercare di convincere il padre di lei.

Romeo went to find the friar and tell him that he yearned to marry Juliet and that they agreed that the monk alone should know their secret and should then try to convince her father to let them marry.

Il frate ne fu molto contento, tanto perchè non poteva negare nulla a Romeo quanto perchè desiderava veder la pace fra le due case.

The monk was very happy both because he could refuse nothing to Romeo, and because he wanted to see peace between the two families.

Così la giovane, fingendo di volersi confessare, andò un giorno da frate Lorenzo.

Thus Juliet, pretending that she wanted to go to confession, went one day to Brother Lawrence.

Allora in presenza del frate Romeo sposò la bella giovane.

Then in the presnce of the friar, Romeo married the beautiful young one.

Divenuti segretamente marito e moglie, aspettarono di trovar modo di convincere il padre della donna, perchè sapevano che era molto contrario ai loro desideri.

So they became secretly husband and wife, and they were waiting to find a way to convince the father of the bride that their marriage was good and holy. They knew that he was much against their love.

Avvenne però, che invece di far pace, i Montecchi ed i Cappelletti diventarono più nemici, tanto che una volta vennero alle mani per la strada.

It happened that, instead of making peace, the Montagues and the Capulets became more enemies than ever, so much so that one time they came to blows in the street.

Romeo combatteva, ma cercava di non ferire nessuno della casa della sua donna.

Romeo fought, but he tried not to wound anyone from his lady’s family.

Alla fine però, vinto dall’ira perchè molti dei suoi erano feriti, uccise colui che pareva il più fiero dei suoi nemici.

But finally, conquered by the anger he felt about his many comrades who were wounded, he killed the proudest one of his enemies.

Per questo Romeo fu bandito per sempre da Verona.

For this Romeo was banished forever from Verona.

La misera giovane, vedendo queste cose, piangeva di continuo, e soffriva molto di più perchè non poteva scoprire il suo dolore a nessuno.

The miserable young woman, seeing these things, cried continually and suffered much more because she could reveal her sadness to no one.

Il giovane, non potendo andare da lei, andò dal frate, che trovò il modo di farli incontrare.

Romeo, non being able to leave her, went to the Friar, who found a way that he could meet her.

Assai piansero la loro sventura, ed alla fine diss’ella:

Che farò io senza di voi? Non ho più desiderio di vivere. Sarebbe meglio venire con voi, dovunque andiate. Mi vestirò da uomo e verrò con voi come servo.

She cried much about their bad luck and finally said,

What will I do without you? I don’t want to live. It would be better to come with you, wherever you go. I will dress like a man and will accompany you as a servant.

Moglie, mia cara, le disse Romeo, quando verrete con me non sarà mai altro che come mia signora. Ma poichè sono certo che la pace fra noi si farà, resterete senza me soltanto per poco tempo. E se le cose non succedono come penso io, prenderemo qualche altro partito.

My darling wife, said Romeo, you will only come with me as my lady. But since I am sure that there will be peace between our families, stay here without me for just a little while. And if things don’t turn out as i think they will, then we will take another course.

Dopo poco tempo, Romeo se ne andò a Mantova, ma prima di partire disse al servo della donna di far sapere subito al frate ogni cosa d’importanza.

A little while later, Romeo left for Mantua, but before leaving he told his lady’s servant to let Friar Lorenzo know about every important matter.

Romeo era partito da molti giorni e la giovane piangeva sempre.

Romeo had been gone many days and the young wife cried always.

La madre, che teneramente l’amava, le parlava e le domandava la ragione del suo pianto.


Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Sam Andrew in the Civil War, 1861 – 1864.

5 February 2012

History, biography, memoirs are fictions that we construct to bring order out of this chaotic, complicated reality called life.

Samuel David Andrew, born  1839 in Jefferson County, Georgia. Died 1885, Corsicana, Texas.

Sam Andrew is an old name in our family. It dates from at least the eighteenth century and probably long before.

Jane Andrew and her son Samuel lived in Jefferson County, Georgia (1802-1822), where Samuel David Andrew lived for much of his life, so it seems very likely that they were his great grandmother and grandfather.

Part of the Andrew lineage.

Eliza Finney Clarke married Allen Andrew, an English born physician, on 25 September 1836 in Augusta, Georgia. Allen died on 11 September 1839, in the terrible yellow fever (cholera) epidemic. He was only 22 and he came to Georgia from New York. Allen Andrew was buried in the Magnolia Cemetery, Augusta. Eliza and Allen’s son Samuel David was born only a few months after his father’s death.

Magnolia Cemetery.

Samuel David Andrew’s mother Eliza Clarke met America’s benefactor, the Marquis de Lafayette when she was seven. Her parents served on a welcoming committee for Lafayette when he visited Augusta in 1826, and Eliza had sharp memories of crying because she could not shake the hand of the general, being “only” a child at the time.

Eliza Finney Clarke Andrew (1819-1897), Sam Andrew’s mother.

Samuel Andrew was the son of a physician and he married the daughter of a physician, Ireana (Irene, Rena) Scarborough on 21 July 1860. Irene’s father was Dr. David Scarborough and her mother was Penelope Louisa Bembry. Sam met Irene because he was a tutor to her brother David Scarborough, Junior. Sam was well educated for his time, and he taught school both before and after he was married.

Through Irene Scarborough Andrew, I am related to most of the Scarboroughs in Georgia, and to all of the Bembrys.

To Kevin Bembry…

To Amber Bembry…

Irene Scarborough Andrew in 1880, Penelope Louisa Bembry’s daughter and Sam Andrew’s wife.

The first year that Sam and Irene were married, there was talk of war with the North. All the young hotspurs in Georgia were anxious to join the army. Sam went to Hawkinsville, Georgia, and enlisted on 16 May 1861 to become a private soldier in the Pulaski County Volunteers commanded by Dr. T.D. Lawrence Ryan, soon to leave for Virginia in May 1861.

Hawkinsville, Georgia, steamboat landing.

Sam stayed behind a while to make sure his young pregnant wife was taken care of, and rejoined the Volunteers in Winchester, Virginia, June 1861. His outfit had been busy.  Assigned to General Joseph E. Johnstone’s Shenandoah Valley Command, they marched to Harpers Ferry late in May and helped Thomas Jonathan Jackson take a good quantity of military supplies back to Winchester. The taking of all this ordnance and even some railroad locomotives was a boon for the Confederate Army. This feat helped T. J. (Stonewall) Jackson become a brigadier general.

Winchester, Virginia.

Thomas Jonathan Stonewall Jackson.

Harpers Ferry at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers in the long, beautiful Shenandoah Valley, higher at the southern end, lower towards the north. Thus, marching “up the valley,” was to travel southward.

The Pulaski Volunteers were absorbed into the main army and renamed Company G, 8th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Francis Bartow, a Savannah attorney and politician, later killed in action at Manassas. He was the first brigade commander to die in the war.

My wife Elise owns several daguerrotypes and tintypes from this time.

First Manassas  (Bull Run) 21  July 1861

Company G was not yet fully trained when they received orders to march to Manassas Junction which was quite a distance over the Blue Ridge from Winchester. The Company left so soon that Sam Andrew and a few other men did not even have enough time to retrieve their laundry. About ten in the morning on 20 July 1861, Sam became one of the first Confederate soldiers to be under fire at the stone bridge over Bull Run. He received a bullet nick on his musket. (Much of the equipment dated from the Revolutionary era.)

The action at Manassas showed both sides that this war was not going to be over any time soon. Now there was a long wait for spring.

Sam wrote home from winter quarters in Centreville, Virginia. (He spelled it Centerville.)

Camped at Centerville, October 20, 1861

My Dearest Darling Wife,

Today the twentieth day of October I seat myself to answer your dear welcome letter of the 6 inst. Oh Dolly the pleasure that it affords me to get one of these letters from you is indescribable, the lingering uneasiness of the hours are swept away by them as by some fairy hand in an instant and I am all thankfulness and filled with pleasure atr the idea of my darling being in good health. As I scan the pages whose lines are penciled by her hand bystanders can clearly see the  heavy gloom leave my brow and the pleasant smile present itself in the stead on my lip at the intelligence of Sam’s having a letter from home and it from his Dolly. Oh Dolly, that home, home sweet home. Who can express an idea of thy luxuries? (and thy man’s – the loved wife of one’s heart and the dear little babe of his bosom) so will say the Poor Soldier who has left thee and thy dear ties – no matter whether they be, “The humble clay pipe, or the more aristocratic Havana, silk dressing gown, embroidered slippers, or an uncut Magazine, he has exchanged thee for the hardships of the battlefield, and subject to the vile and inhuman control of base upstarts shielded by parchment and shoulder straps (part of sentence illegible)… from the upstart officers is enough to melt away the patriotism of the most zealous, which cannot be resented on account of the commissions they hold which would subject us to Court Martial, but there is not a man in the Army of the Confederacy but at the close of war will have something to settle with Capt this or Col that when the insolent Puppies will not be any better than we are and the sholder strap and the commission will be an ineffective barrier to hide behind. enough of this. Dolly, you asked me a question in your last in reference to a fight with any of the boys. Oh! Dolly how glad will you be when I say I have not as much as had a quarrel with any of the boys, nor do I expect to unless I can’t keep out of it. Instead of this I have gained the respect of all the boys that are in the company. To prove to you, but keep it to yourself, they are anxious to elect me orderly sergeant in place of and over the heads  of all other sergeants. But I will not accept it as the boys who come here in or with the company are entitled and they suit me well enough. You may say that is quite a small office which it is but it is next to third lieutenant and the Pay is about 21 dollars a month.

Orderly sergeant’s insignia, Army of Northern Virginia.

You say it ain’t worthwhile to write. I don’t get the letters, in August I got only one and in Sept two but since that I have gotten every letter you have written I guess as these dates were about a week apart so you must must write to me My Dolly if you don’t the Bullet will not get a chance at me for such would shorten my days a hundred percent. Well Dolly news is scarce (illegible sentence due to fold in paper) … fallen back and are granted an encampment there where we were when we were at Fairfax Court perhaps at the same place. We are now at Centerville all huddled up together anxiously awaiting the attack which I hope will come soon so then I can get to come to Dolly sooner than if it is delayed much longer, if I do not get killed which I feel confident will not happen although I may. The Yanks are in greater force than at Manassas but we will give them licks if they come on us as that is what we retreated for – we are fortifying Centerville. In a few days I guess it will be in a good state of defense against the Yanks, but it would not surprise me if we win (next two words illegible) greatly diminished our baggage and we were compelled to send many things of necessity to us but could not have them hauled so there was no other alternative. Well I must close My Dolly by Giving my love to John, Can, Em, Aunt F, Cousin E, Betty, Davy, John G., Vic, Tomy, Bob, Uncle Tom. Remember to Maj. I would write to him and Uncle, but they wont write to me so receive a large share of love for your Dear self. May God Bless and protect you in the prayers of your

Dear Husband, SDA

(“Can” is Kenneth Bembry, killed at Gettysburg, July 1863, and Uncle Tom is Thomas Bembry.)

Varina Howell Davis, First Lady.

Now the men leave their winter encampment and began the march to the Virginia peninsula. June 1862. This map shows the Union movement. The Army of Northern Virginia came from the west.

In the spring of 1862, , the Union Army was at Yorktown where General Cornwallis had surrendered to George Washington a lifetime earlier.

Sam Andrew and his comrades in the 7th and 8th  Georgia attacked and drove out the northern troops and now occupied the wet, moldy, muddy trenches, where Sam caught the flu and had to be sent to the Medical College Hospital in Richmond and was only fully well again at the battle of Malvern Hill.

Medical College Hospital, Richmond, Virginia.

General Robert E. Lee now created the Army of Northern Virginia from commands of Jackson and Longstreet and the 7th, 8th, 9th and 11th Georgia were assigned to General Longstreet for the rest of the war.

Cecil Johnson, 8th Georgia.

Malvern Hill, July 1862.

Second Manassas, August 1862.

A.P. Hill.

T.J. Jackson’s regiments began leaving Frederick, Maryland, on 10 September 1862, traveling through Hagerstown and Williamsport to encircle Harpers Ferry. On the march through Frederick, Sam Andrew had one of those strange, fortuitous encounters that happen occasionally to all of us. As he was walking, he recognized James McGlohen, his mother’s husband,  leaning against a bridgerail. “Too sick to walk,” James muttered. Sam said he should get on one of the wagons and rest, and that, he, Sam, had to rejoin his company. That was the last anyone in the family ever saw of James McGlohen.

This is the fuel for all of that marching and fighting.

Hard tack. A cracker that was difficult to smash with a hammer. Most of the men soaked the  hard tack in their coffee. Sailors called this sea biscuit or pilot bread which I occasionally see in markets, although I assume that the present version is much more palatable. I seem to remember that in Two Years Before The Mast, Richard Henry Dana called it hard tack. The men were issued eight to ten of these crackers a day.

D.H. Hill.

McClellan’s leading corps ran into D.H. Hill early on 14 September 1862. The Confederates were outnumbered by several thousands but they held strong positions in the mountain passes. General Longstreet ordered Hood’s half division and G.T. Anderson’s Georgia Brigade into the fray. Sam Andrew and his comrades were soon under attack by a Federal division. The Texas Brigade came to the rescue and the Union soldiers were beaten back with heavy losses. This is where Sam met many Texans that he was to know in later life.

John Bell Hood, Major General, commanded the Texas Brigade.

Another Georgia name that will resonate with Texans, Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar was from the same county as Sam Andrew, and he was secretary to Governor Troup. Janis Joplin went to Lamar State College in Port Arthur, Texas . Her mother Dorothy worked there.

Sharpsburg (Antietam), September 1862.

Not long ago, Big Brother and the Holding Company played in Hagerstown, Maryland. It still looked much like this.

During our set, I kept seeing images of battle and death, and actually winced as I was playing. Not sure what was happening, but I was thinking powerfully of another Sam Andrew that day.

The same thing happened to me when we played outside one afternoon at Gettysburg. I had an intense feeling that, “Well, you can be in a mass of men and murder each other, or you can play music, and it’s not entirely in your control which one you will be doing.” I had such a strong sense of connection to what had happened here.

Fredericksburg, December 1862.

It’s one thing for men to be damned fools and kill each other, but it’s quite another to drag the horses into it.

Camped at Fredericksburg, Va, January 5, 1863

My Dearest Rena

I have come to the conclusion that you are entirely (out) of writing material or surely you would have written to me before this time. I wrote to you yesterday stating that I was well except Dysentery. I am now well or so nearly so as to feel very much better. My Darling if I could only hear from you and my Mother, Grandmother, I should be entirely changed or feel so, but it has been so long since I heard from you I am quite miserable as you may know as all the solace or comfort I have now is in writing to the one of my affection. I am perfectly restless you just ought to see me like an Hyena never satisfied unless moving or running about. The boys are now preparing breakfast and I writing to pass off the time untill Roger McCall makes out the biscuit that I may bake them. Gainor is baking beef and Jim is arranging his knapsack. Tate Bridges is drying a towel he has just washed, Henry Shepard is looking on wishing for breakfast. Pap Eubanks is spinning a yarn greatly  to the amusement of the whole Mess. George Folds is poking the fire hurrying up the cooks and I am in my feeble way writing to my Dolly. The weather is quite pleasant here now if it remains so much longer, I think we will have another brush with the Yanks before long as they are lying just on the opposite bank of the river by the thousands.

I wish I could see you now I would be entirely happy. I have a faint hope of getting to come this winter or next spring as I think there will be a mediation on the part of the European Powers. I hope there will. Give my love to all and receive a large share for your dear self. Kiss the baby for Sam.


Chancellorsville 1 – 3 May 1863

This was perhaps Lee’s greatest victory, but he lost his “right arm” here. General T.J. Stonewall Jackson died in this battle.

In Stephen Crane’s short story, “The Veteran,” published a year after The Red Badge of Courage, an elderly Henry Fleming reminisces about his first experiences in battle: “That was at Chancellorsville,” he remembers. The veteran Henry’s recollection of his reasons for flight match those of his younger namesake in The Red Badge of Courage, and he recalls with sorrow the death of Jim Conklin, the “tall soldier.” “The Veteran,” then, explicitly identifies the battle in Red Badge as Chancellorsville, one of the bloodiest struggles of the Civil War.

The Girl I Left Behind Me.

Camped near Orange Court House, May 31, 1863

My dearest Rena

I addressed you yesterday or the day before and now feel like writing to you again as I had some news to write you but felt a delicacy in letting you know of it until things came to a head. It was this, on the 25th of the present month I ran against Sergt. G. W. Folds for 2nd Lieutenancy gr and at last I was elected by a majority of 12 votes. After I was elected I had to go before the examining committee for eamination. Which came off yesterday evening and this morning. I passed without a riffle so I can tell you with propriety that I am a Lieutenant. The above is the reason I did not tell you of it the other day as I was afraid I might possibly make a failure. I as well as Jim are well and feel fully recompensed for the way I was treated in the preceding election. I do wish I could see you. I would be happy. I have not heard a word yet from your uncles if you have do not fail to acquaint me of it. I hope this will find you, your Aunt Anna, Emma, and all the others of the family in the enjoyment of good health. I hope this may reach Aunt F restored to health. Remember me to … (names illegible due to fold in paper) . We had a long service today in which we had a sham battle though I recon nobody was hurt as there were no balls in the cannons. I must conclude Wife, may boy & write soon to your Dear Husband

Lieut S. D. Andrew

Second Lieutenant collar strap, Army of Northern Virginia.

Gettysburg, June-July 1863.

General Hood’s regiments took the summit of Round Top easily, but were blocked in an area of rocks and boulders, not far west of Little Round Top. This place was called Devil’s Den and it earned its name.

Generals Hood and Anderson were wounded, and, indeed, most of the officers were dying. Captain John A. Young of Company G, 8th Georgia had a mortal wound and First Lieutenant G.L. Bridges was captured. Sam Andrew was now in command of the company. He had lost his best friend, Jim Gordon, and his wife’s uncle “Can” Bembry that same day.

General Robert E. Lee began moving the wounded toward Hagerstown during the evening of 4 July. The 8th Georgia assumed rear guard duty and suffered still more losses at Funktown, Maryland, on 10 July, during which Sam Andrew lost his second in command, Lieutenant William J. Sapp.

Gettysburg finally ended the hope that the European powers might intervene.

Diagram of a minie ball.

Camp near Rogersville, Tennessee, on the road to Bristol, Virginia,

December 11, 1863.

My Dearest Rena.. I am once more permitted to thank Kind Providence for carrying me through another fight though not entirely unhurt. But so slight I never left camp for it. I have been very uneasy about you ever since the fight as in a short time after our communications were cut off by a large force of the enemy coming up in our rear from Chattanooga which made it impossible for me to get the news to you as we had to leave Knoxville and are now on the road somewhere I dont know where. The wound I got was from a minie ball in the side which cut the skin about four inches through. It is well now and I hope I may hear from you soon as I am almost crazy to hear from you and my boy. Tell him when  when I come home I will bring him the knife he told me about. John came through the fight safe. A. W. Folds was killed, Charley Vaughn was killed and George W. Folds was shot in the back of his right eye and the BAll popped out behind his left ear. I fear he will not recover. We had to leave him in the hands of the enemy. Remember me to all and receive my everlasting love. Kiss my boy.

Your loving


P. S. I am not certain this will get through (words illegible) so short. I will write you a longer letter when we get into camps.

Wilderness 5-7 May 1864   This was the Overland Campaign.

General Robert E. Lee was the “winner” of this battle, but, unlike Grant, he couldn’t replace the men he had lost. One of those men was Sam Andrew.

On the second day of Wilderness, 6 May 1864, Union general Hancock attacked and began driving back A.P. Hill. The 8th Georgia came under cannon and rifle fire while advancing down a gentle slope toward the Federals. Sam was hit on the right wrist and his hand was mutilated. They sawed off his arm right there on the field, and he was then taken to General Hospital in Charlottesville for convalescence.

In Hospital at Gordonsville, Va

May 11, 1864

(Written lefthanded)

My Dearest Wife.   Today I am trying to write you a few lines to inform you of my health. Though my dear dolly as you see it is quite an undertaking for my dear as you know by this time of my misfortune in the late fight at or near Chancellorsville on the 6th of the month in which I had my right arm shot off. It is gone from about halfway between my wrist and elbow but I am alright now my wound is healing very fast and I feel as well as I ever did in my life. John was well at the time I left the line and unhurt. I shall try and get home in a very short time if nothing happens to impede my recovery. I shall get home by the first of June so my dear wife do not give yourself any uneasiness for me as I am able to move about whenever I want to. I am not confined to my bed at all. Goodbye, kiss my boy and excuse this for I am writing it with my left hand.

Your loving Sammy

Clara Barton.

Sam Andrew was furloughed to Millen, Georgia, for convalescence. Irene Andrew had relatives nearby. Her sister Narcissa was living in Sardis, Burke County, already a war widow. Several months later, Sam was ordered to apply for disability retirement. He did that and was waiting for the result when the war ended April 1865.

There was plenty to do at home. Sam helped Anna Bembry with the Kenneth Bembry estate and Julia Emma Bembry with John Bembry’s farm properties.

Bembry family cemetery.

Sam and Irene had a son, Oscar David Andrew, and Irene was expecting a second child now. Sam became a schoolteacher and a storekeeper through most of the post war period.

This man Oscar David Andrew, Sam’s son, raised my father whose mother died early and whose own father was mostly absent.

After Wilderness and his amputation, Sam Andrew had traveled on foot and however else he could to Millen, Georgia, where Irene had been visiting for a while. He was learning to use his left hand, and as a boy I always thought I was left handed because of his new skill. Sam and Irene returned to Millwood. They had a daughter Lena (1865) and another daughter Frances Amelia (Fanny) 20 August 1867. Life was hard in Georgia, and Sam began thinking of his old Texan friends from General Hood’s command.

Sam and Irene had a small amount of money from the Scarborough and Bembry estates and Sam’s work in Georgia. It was just enough to move to Texas and buy a small farm.

Zada Lee Scarborough.

“Texas fever” was in the air.  Sam, Irene, Eliza McGlohen (Sam’s mother), Arthur and Frances Clarke, Anna Bembry and others talked of transportation to Texas, which was to be by ox-drawn wagons.

Maybe on the old Federal Road?

Sam and Irene were ready to leave as soon as the 1868 crop harvest was complete.

The first party to leave were Sam and Irene with their three children; Anna Bembry with her four children; David Scarborough, Jr; Thomas and Narcissa Hodges with Narcissa’s twelve year old daughter, Amelia; and the John M. Collins family.

Maybe their trip to Texas looked like this, but, well… no, probably not.

They arrived in Dresden, Navarro County, Texas, where Sam soon became a partner with R.J. Grady in a general store three and one half miles north of Dresden at a crossroads which became known as Gradyville, and which in time became the new town of Blooming Grove.

Sam later bought 140 acres from Anna Bembry and he began farming the land with Benjamin Bembry, 14, Oscar David Andrew and John Bembry, 10, as his helpers.

Grave of Benjamin Bembry near Hawkinsville, Georgia. Certainly a relative but maybe a son, grandson?

Sam was appointed deputy marshall to take the 1880 Census of Barry Community and this is part of his report:

Blooming Grove, Navarro County, Texas. First it was Gradyville and the Grady House where Sam died might have had something to do with these Gradys. The Andrew and Bembry farms were located on what is now the southwest edge of Blooming Grove.

Corsicana was about ten miles east of Blooming Grove.

The Dallas Morning News:


A farmer found dead in the street.

Special to The News. Corsicana 10 December. Capt. Sam Andrew a well to do farmer residing about eight miles west of this city was in the city yesterday on business which kept him overnight. He stopped at the Grady House last night but was found by a policeman lying on the ground by the sidewalk dead. He slept during the night on the second story of the house and is supposed to have arisen in the night and walked out on the awning from which he fell to the ground. When found his neck was broken and his body was still warm. A coroner’s jury was summoned and a verdict was rendered in accord with the above statement. His body was taken to his home this afternoon and will be buried at Blooming Grove tomorrow. Capt. Andrew was a candidate for the office of Tax Assessor of this county a few years since and was well esteemed throughout the country.

Broke His Neck

Fort Worth Daily Gazette:

Corsicana Texas 10 December 1885. Captain Samuel Andrew an old citizen of this county for a long time engaged in mercantile pursuits but lately engaged in farming fell this morning from the awning of the Grady House and striking on his head broke his neck and was instantly killed. His wife and children are in good circumstances. Capt. Andrew was a soldier during the Civil War in which he lost an arm.

Samuel David Andrew is buried here: White Church Cemetery, Blooming Grove, Texas. (If you’re going to make a spelling mistake, try not to do it in wrought iron.)

Irene Scarborough Andrew, Sam’s wife, was born in 1845 and died at Forth Worth, Texas, 1940. She was fifteen when she married Sam and when the Civil War began and she lived into our modern age of automobiles and airplanes. She made the long trek to Texas. Her husband died in 1885 and she lived  55 more years, the Andrew family matriarch.

Irene is buried here, Bradford Cemetery, Troup, Texas.

Direct descendants of Samuel David Andrew: (clockwise from top) Sam Houston Andrew, Jr.; Albert William Andrew; Sam Houston Andrew III; Leland Thomas Andrew, Albany, Georgia, 1948.

… and younger, more attractive siblings: Paula Jeanne Andrew, Stephen Andrew, Lillian Marie Andrew, Daniel Timothy Andrew, Austin, 1980s.

Samuel David Andrew’s grandson Sam Houston Andrew holding his grandson Sam Houston Andrew III, San Diego, California, 1943.

If Sam Andrew had lived in Ohio, he would have fought on the Union side. He was not a slave holder, and, in fact, probably 95% of his comrades were not slaveholders. The slaveholders stayed home. They were the one percent who avoided combat. As is usual, this was “a rich man’s war, but a poor man’s fight.”

I wrote this using my father’s memoirs as a starting point. Donna Patterson, indispensable Big Brother cyber maven, has helped so much with the genealogy. Donna, thank you for everything.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company



29 January 2012


Peggy Pettigrew Stewart made this.

Linda Eastman, a real friend to me when it counted.

Another great photographer, Keizo Yamazawa.

So, THAT’S it.

My friend Bill Rude went to Turkey and came back with these wonderful photographs. I love this alphabet. It is Armenian, I believe.

Candy Kane.

Megan de chez nous.

Elise Piliwale at The Seafood Peddler, January 2012. Phil Lesh recently bought this place and has big plans for it. Among other things, he is contemplating a center for the Latin Americans in the Canal area of San Rafael.

With Kurt Huget.


Bérénice Bejo.

She Shall Have Stars, oil on canvas, 2012.

Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869) was born on 18 January in London. As a wordsmith, Roget collected words and meanings as well as their synonyms for more than half a century.

He did not publish his thesaurus until he was 73.

He was a medical doctor, school teacher and he even contributed to the development of the motion picture.

In a paper written for the Royal Society, Roget explained a phenomenon now known as “the persistence of vision,”

how watching a series of similar, fast-paced images could produce the illusion of motion.

I’m going to use this design motif in a painting. Bill Rude shot this in Turkey.

Lots of Toms:

Tommy Smothers, Tom Constanten, Sam Andrew, Tom Finch.

Aporrhipsis: an insane aversion to clothing. I have a borderline case of aporrhipsis, and walk around naked whenever possible. Not a pretty sight.

Yes, the wrong people walk around naked.

Myropolist:  one who sells unguents. Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language, 1755.

Nocent:  guilty, the opposite of innocent, from Latin nocens.

Guilty. Nocent. They’re going to steal that tank.

Kurt Huget and Lynn Asher.

Cully:  One easily deceived, a companion or mate who is cheated or imposed upon by a sharper, strumpet. Italian coglionare “to foist, to deceive.”

Dooley was a drummer. The real piano player was behind the curtain, rather like the little old man in The Wizard of Oz,.

Thinking of Chet.

Church in São Paulo.

The trickle UP is working just fine, though.

Thanks to my friend Greg for that one.


Dick Cavett.

Kat Patterson has been taking flying lessons.

How to make a rug.

Susan Zelinsky.

… and in a somewhat less inhibited pose.

Clanjamphry:   a company of people, especially a disorderly or vulgar crowd; a mob, rabble; rubbish, trumpery, odds and ends. Nonsensical talk. You know, like backstage.

Harold Ross who more or less created The New Yorker.

Patrisha Vestey and Chet Helms.

Acyrology:   improper speech.

Villakin:   a little villa, a little village.

It is said of a person who is sulky or in the dumps, that she has the peezy-weezies. Great name for a band.

The smallest of a brood is called a niscal, formed like the word nescook from the Anglo-Saxon nesc, tender, delicate. The idea of nestling is here.

With Rabia Yamazawa, 5 January 2012.

Anata wa honto ni go-shinsetsu desu.   (Japanese)   You are very kind indeed.

Bibliothecary:   this word comes from bibios (book) and theka (chest, coffer) both Greek words. A bibliothecary is a keeper of a library. Una biblioteca is Spanish for library.

A discothèque was originally a case where discs were kept. In fact, when I was in France in the early 1960s, a “discothèque” was a record store or a record library, and not a club of any kind.

“Apothecary” originally meant “from the chest, coffer,” so a person who took pills, unguents, powders and other medications from his/her storage chest was an apothecary.

This word is still used in German speaking countries for “drugstore,” just as it was in Shakespeare. In German it is die Apotheke.

A bibliotaphe is one who shuts her books up as if in a sepulchre (taphos = tomb. Think of epitaph, cenotaph.).

George Washington was a book lover. In fact, when he died he had a couple of books overdue, just as I will. On 5 October 1789, President Washington borrowed a couple of books from the New York Public Library, the Law of Nations and the 12th volume of Common Debates from Parliament, never to be returned.

According to a library spokesperson, a 233-year overdue fine was calculated, based on the sizable initial penalty of two pence per day. BUT today’s fine is fifteen cents a day, so, let’s see, that’s something like, and we are being generous here, $ 4,600 due to the Library. Sheesh, I wonder how much I owe.

Ataturk, a remarkable man, brought Turkey into the 20th century.

This is the Charles Van Damme ab0ut 1972. She rests at Gate 5 in Sausalito, California. I have often played aboard this vessel, both as a meditative musician looking out at the Bay,

and with Big Brother and the Holding Company. At high tide, this craft would try to float off into the water, which made for an interesting dance experience.

She was also known as The Ark, although, technically, an ark rests half on land, half in water. This poster is for a gig we played there on the same bill as Moby Grape.

Flexanimous:   Samuel Johnson defined this word as “having the power to change the disposition of the mind.”

Kathi McDonald and Sam Andrew at The Greek Theatre in Berkeley, 1978, 1979.

Angeline, great bass player. I hope she will come sit in with Big Brother sometime.

Kurt Kangas and Rob Morse at Aroma Café, January 2012. Rob wrote a column in The San Francisco Chronicle for years. Kurt is the mighty Krowbar.

Beevers:  a portion of bread and beer laid out in Winchester School Hall at beever-time. From French boire, Old French boivre, to drink. From Italian bevere (beverage).

Beever-time was a quarter of an hour’s relaxation allowed to Winchester boys in the middle of the afternoon.

Digamy:   a second marriage, that is, a marriage with a second wife after the death of the first, as distinguished from bigamy.

Mutchkin:    a liquid measure equal to an English pint.

In old England, ale and bread continued to be the chief items, even of the royal breakfast. The quantity of ale consumed by ladies at breakfast was considerable.,

In the reign of Henry VIII the maids-of-honour were allowed for breakfast, “one chete loaf, one manchet, two gallons of ale and a pitcher of wine.”

We’ll see you next week.

James Gurley and Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company

Chime Children

22 January 2012


Alan Merril wrote I Love Rock and Roll… and then he retired. He’s truly a gifted singer and a good friend.

J.K. Rowling’s books, targeted for their sorcery, were banned by some American libraries and burned in some cases. Shame, shame. You are the followers of Qin Shi Huang, Diocletian, Savonarola, the Nazis, Republican senator Joseph McCarthy and other ignorant book burners throughout history. Have you learned nothing? Of course not. You are book burners.

With Susan Zelinsky.

La bellissima Arianna Antinori, Roman by birth, and now she lives in Vicenza.

Ben Nieves, a real, true musician, born that way, and has studied since.

Lani from New Orleans, love you, Lani.

Herb Caen, what is there to say? He was Mr. San Francisco for fifty years, even though he was a suburban kid from Sacramento.

He did what he called “three dot journalism” EVERY DAY for years and years. Item, item, hoosegotta item?

Carmine and Kacee, Hawaii.

Chad Quist, a Berklee product, although I knew him before he went to Berklee and he was very good then.

Cher and Gregg Allman in their funky southern phase.

Cher in her earlier Sonny and Bob chapter.

Don Graham with Chloe, who was our singer that night, but she has since moved on, with Joel Hoekstra, to the Trans Siberian Orchestra.

Danny Dastrup at Aroma Café. There was a big hole in our lives when Danny moved on, as we knew he would.

Dava’s lower half. And her upper half is even better, but we’re not going to see it today.

David Peters is in Uganda now, filming in Ginga, helping people become better, as he is wont to do.

Don’s party.

And, then, a little later in the evening…


Eartha Kitt and James Dean in a dance class. Now, you don’t see that every day.

You are what you think.

Engrid Whisenant, scholar, partisan, Renaissance woman, PhD.

Ezio Guaitamacchi, Italian talk show host, researcher, media personality.

Franco, Szilvia and Veronica.

Fred lives across the street from where I paint.

George Michalski and Chet Helms. George has the money and Chet has the time.

Szilvia when she was a beautiful baby.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound. Don Aters took this photo.

Amazing Grace, how sweet that face.

Musicians on the big island, Hawaii.

Szilvia, all grown up.

… and her beautiful friends.

Jackie and Steve.

Jane and Freddie.

Janis and James.

Joel Hoekstra.

Jennifer, the goddess, Espinoza.

She can really sing.

She’s 18 now.

Not bad looking either.

She’d be a good model for a Madonna.

Jimi in Little Richard’s band.

With Bobby Womack and Wilson Pickett.

Quanked: overpowered by fatigue. From Anglo-Saxon cwanian, to be weary or faint, and cwencan, to quench.

Chirology: the art of conversing with the hands or fingers.

Pythonic: pretending  to foretell future events; from pythoness, the female or priestess who gave oracular answers at Delphi.

Things to say while driving:

Thou damned tripe-visaged rascal. Thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson, obscene, greasy tallow-catch.

Lifelode: the leading of one’s life (Middle English). So much prettier and apt than lifestyle, isn’t it?

Gommacks: tricks, mischief, foolery, from Gaelic guaineach, giddy, sportive, frolicking.

Millefleurs: a perfume distilled from flowers of different kinds; formed on the French eau de millefleurs. The equivalent Italian millefiori is a glass sculpture.

Ensorcell: to enchant, bewitch, fascinate. Adapted from French ensorceler, from sorcier, sorcerer.

I wrote many songs with Kim Nomad. Only now are some of them being recorded. She has a beautiful way of singing.

Kristina Kopriva and Liam Hanrahan.

(Book title, 1672)

New Instructions unto Youth for Their Behavior: A Discourse upon Some Innovations of Habits and Dressing, Against Powdering of Hair, Naked Breasts, Black Spots, and Other Unseemly Customs.

Lucubrator: a person who studies by night, or by candlelight.

La Città della Pieve, Umbria, Italia.

Linda LaFlamme.

This was fun.

Snickersneeze: a term without meaning used to frighten children, “I’ll snickersneeze you, if you don’t.”

When at Niagara Falls, I was escorting a young lady with whom I was on friendly terms. She had been standing on a piece of rock, the better to view the scene, when she slipped down

and was evidently hurt. “Did you hurt your leg much?” She turned from me, evidently much shocked, “The word ‘leg’ is never mentioned before ladies. I am not so particular as some people are,

for I know those who always say ‘limb’ of a table, or ‘limb’ of a pianoforte.”   I then recalled seeing a pianoforte in a “seminary for young ladies” whose four legs had been dressed by prudish

residents in modest little trousers with frills at the bottom.”          Frederick Maryatt, English army captain, 1837.

Lunarian: an inhabitant of the moon.

“I abroad with my wife and little Betty Mitchell…to show them a play, The Chances…The whole play pleases me well, and most of all the sight of many fine ladies, among others

my Lady Castlemayne and Mrs. Middleton. The latter of the two hath also a very excellent face and body, I think. Thence by coach to the New Exchange, and there laid out money,

and I did give Betty Mitchell two pairs of gloves…I was troubled with my pain, having got a bruise on my right testicle, I know not how. But this I did make good use of to make my wife

shift sides with me, and I did come to sit avec Betty Mitchell, and there had her hand which elle did give me very frankly, and did hazer whatever I voudrais avec la, which did plaisir

me grandement, and so set home with my mind mighty glad.”                            Samuel Pepys          5 February 1667.

Navvy: a toiler, principally with a spade, short for navigator, but a navigator of the land, day laborers without benefit of bulldozers, backhoes, computers.

Chantepleure: she that sings and weeps both together.

Napiform: having the shape or appearance of a turnip (Latin napus, turnip).

Bezaubernde: German, bewitching, charming, ensorcellating.

Norton and Lisa Buffalo. Norton was a prince among men and a real musician. Lisa is a high quality person, and I wish her well.

Shana rhymes with Anna, Savannah, or, if you’re loose, with Shannon. Kat rhymes with “Who dat?”   Naturally.

A missed opportunity. To paint a portrait is a knack I possess, which many artists, far better than I, lack. I painted hers, but then was asked to do it again for a fee, and I could not.

When money is involved, I immediately lose interest, if you’ll pardon the expression.

Shrumpsed:  beaten in games.  I’m sure Rachel could shrumps me anytime in any game.

Fragor: a strong or sweet scent.

Saltation: the act of dancing or jumping.

Sasha and her beau.

Dowsabell: a common name in sixteenth-century poetry for a sweetheart, especially for an unsophisticated country girl.

The word means “sweet and beautiful,” from French douce et belle.

Today is the birthday of William Smith, an English admiral who compiled the rich and varied glossary of nautical terms Sailor’s Word Book, 1867. His famous grandson Robert Baden-Powell

founded the British Boy Scouts in 1908.

One of Admiral Smith’s words was “mallemarocking,” the visiting and carousing of seamen in the Greenland ships. This word came from the Dutch “mallemarok,” a foolish woman,

a tomboy, from “mal,” foolish and “marok,” adaptation of the French “marotte,” an object of foolish attention.

Carfuddle: to discompose, to rumple, synonymous with carfuffle, to disorder. Also spelled kerfuffle.

Susan Zelinsky and Ruby who has grown to look exactly like her mother.

Galericulate: covered, as with a hat. (Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language, 1755)

Lycanthropia: January was called wolf month because people are always wont in that month to be more in danger of being devoured by wolves than in any other.

Just last week the first wolf in a hundred years crossed into California. We welcome this creature now and wish him well. Some of us do anyway.


Drury: gallantry, courtship, love, delight (from the French drue, a mistress). I have often walked Drury Lane in London.

In the days before motels and hotels, travelers often stayed anywhere they could, and sometimes slept in the same bed as their hosts. Husbands and parents  frequently permitted these guests

to “bundle” with their wives and daughters. Prudent mothers gave daughters approaching the bundling age a “courting-stocking” completely covering the girl’s body from the waist downwards,

with room for both legs within it. Such stockings were often heirlooms.

Veronica Farnetani and Andrea Zurli. I met them in Umbria.

Vicki is from South Africa. Her accent is soft and beautiful, just as she is.

Wassail Eve, also known as Twelfth Night was the evening when the Three Wise Men came.

“Wassail” was derived from the 13th century Norse toast Waes hail. (Be thou healthy.)

Crazling: a person affected with a craze or mania.


See you next week !

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Minden, Nevada.

15 January 2012

We have black bamboo in our yard, and Elise took some to her friend Yukiko Neibert who specializes in ikebana. Yukiko created this beautiful work of art using our bamboo.

Yukiko’s floral design studio is in Kentfield, California.

Big Brother and the Holding Company played in Minden, Nevada, on Friday  13 January 2012.

(Minden, oil on panel, work in progress)

Minden, Nevada, is 4,721 feet high. You can always feel that elevation when you try to sing a high note. It can be difficult to get enough air.

Two thousand, eight hundred and thirty six people live in Minden, which is named after a town in North Rhine-Westphalia.

This is one of the top spots in the world for non powered flight. Buoyed by thermals, gliders have sailed here for a thousand miles. You can see why. Minden is in the Carson Valley between two rather ambitious sets of mountains.

The Minden Inn was a favored hangout for people like Jean Harlow and Clark Gable.

The best way to get to Minden is to take Highway 50, at Sacramento, around the bottom of Lake Tahoe. It is really a beaufiful way to go. Some years past, Elise and I drove to Salt Lake City using this same route. It’s the high desert and is most interesting.

This is the Carson Valley Improvement Club where we played. A very interesting place, part community center, part theatre, and all fun.

When Stefanie and I arrived in Minden, Karen Lyberger and Peter Albin were regaling the crowd with true, very detailed accountrs of the counterculture in San Francisco, 1965-1970.

So we sat down and told some lies too. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story. Somebody said that.

Then, Donna Patterson took Stefanie and me to a magic place for another interview.

Donna set up the camera and Stefanie interviewd me about Big Brother’s 1968 performance at The Carousel Ballroom, which Owlsey Stanley recorded.

In March 2012, SONY is going to release the concert that Owsley recorded, and they wanted us to talk about him and the Carousel.

Becky Soderman was there in that Douglas County Library setting, and her intelligence and forthrightness were most welcome.

We had a good gig that night. We played Down On Me, Combination of the Two, I Need A Man To Love, Save Your Love, Call On Me, Blindman, Summertime, Bo’s Bio, Turtle Blues, Bobby McGee,

It’s Cool, Hold Me, Women Is Losers, Piece of My Heart and Ball & Chain.

Or… as we put it in Big Brother shorthand:

Stefanie loaned me her Mesa amplifier (again). I love it. I have to get one. Well, I already have a (very heavy) Mesa Boogie, but it is nowhere near as good as Stefanie’s.

Stefanie could be a star.

On our last day in Minden, Stefanie needed to see some friends who had just had a baby, Ramses. She left me at a Century Mall, or something like that. There were some VERY interesting people here.

And even horses.


The Farns: John Farnsworth, always a funny, fey, fantastic, formidable personage. I wish he could have been in Minden with us.

I went to see the film Joyful Noise.

Joyful Noise was all  gospel music.

Now, you know this music is always going to open your heart and inspire your mind… and that’s putting it mildly.

Keke is such a great singer, and she is a beautiful woman.

I loved this film. The plot line is somewhat conventional, but, the music? The singing? Beyond belief. Just so good and so revealing of the divine truth of music.

This was a bit of a Juliet and Romeo story. Jeremy Jordan, who once was the understudy for Rock of Ages, a musical in which my friend Joel Hoekstra excels, is a good vocalist with a real feel.

So, now Stefanie comes to pick me up at the cinema, and we leave for home.

West on highway 80 out of Reno.

Sitting in the dark night, heading home.

Traveling can be educational.

We reach Donner Summit, a place where people truly suffered not so long ago.

I have traveled this way, a guitar and a bag, since I was eighteen.

I’m so relieved. See you next week?

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Janis Joplin, First Person, by Sam Andrew.

8 January 2012

I spent a lot of time with Janis Joplin. I played more nights with her than any other musician in her life. She had a colorful, picturesque way of expressing herself, and I have tried to remember everything that she said exactly the way she phrased it. Of course, she later delivered many of these things in interviews, but she used me as a crash test dummy to practice on, to hone her words till they were perfect. I was happy to perform this function, and, as friends do, I used her for the same purpose. I liked Janis a lot. We had fun. Here she is:



We were fifteen years old, couldn’t drink in Texas.  We always used to go across the Sabine River to Louisiana where we wanted to boogie and where they didn’t care.  All those honky-tonks, down-home juke joints, mixed drinks, smoke, French kisses and alligators.  Man.  What a stew, what a brew.  If you could reach over the bar they would serve you.

We used to go crabbing over there.  The smell of crabs and crawdads on the barbecue and cold beer to drink I’ll never forget.

We would go to Big Oaks in Vinton, Louisiana, to hear Percy Sledge way back then…

…and Jimmy Reed too.

Under those mossy magic trees we would sing everything we knew and a lot of things we didn’t.

God, it was heaven.  All those old houses crumbling apart and the stillness of the bayous.

Whole families would be in those roadhouses dancing for their lives, all the bitty children and the mama and the papa.  The little girls would slide across the floor barefoot, squeal in sheer ecstasy, and chase each other into the night.

The things I could tell you about when we drove home sometimes at a hundred miles an hour along those country roads with the bumper of the car leaning over to catch the gravel if it could, and with turning out our lights so we could see if a car was coming the other way and with getting that special kiss whenever a one-eyed vehicle approached.  Why are we alive to remember this?  It was heaven, yes, and there were angels watching over us.

I remember one night when those angels were working overtime.  We were in some clip joint just over the river and we were wet behind the ears.  Might as well have swum over.  Innocents abroad, ha, ha.

There were these guys there and I was fascinated with them.  They were tough, they didn’t give a shit.  I was dancing with them, having a good time.  Then this one guy started grabbing me, man, shoving me around like he thought he was King Kong or something.  I got mad.  I hit him with a bottle.  We were lucky to get out of there alive that night.  Alive and in one piece.


I read, I painted, I thought.  I’m still thinking. (laughs.)  And I can’t even talk about singing.  I’m inside of it and it is inside of me.  I can’t know what I’m doing.  If I know it, I lose it.  I sing and push that sound out and that’s the best feeling.  It hurts so good, like first time love.  It’s so strong and so right.  It’s goes beyond a sexual thing although that is certainly there.


I’ve got a special friend.  Really cool, good man.  He knows about  Bessie Smith.

He’s got their records.  He knows Ma Rainey’s music, Leadbelly’s too.

This kind of music is definitely not on the radio.

Ma Rainey, Victoria Spivey, Bessie, they were like a lifeline.

And then I found some books about these people, books about the blues.  They aren’t quite what you would want but I can read between the lines and it is so good just to know that anyone else knows.

I can sing just like Bessie Smith if I want to.  Well, almost anyway.  She’s so good, kind of scary.  She has this loud,  strong voice that just reaches out and grabs you whatever you’re doing.  That voice won’t let go of you.


You know it’s hard when you’re a kid to be different.  There’s no perspective.  You don’t know that there may be other people like you.  There’s a strong possibility that you’re just a loser, a freak, a dog.  The whole environment seemed weird to me when I was growing up, as if all the trees lit up and said “go home,” and I said, “Where is home?”

We just started hearing about the beat generation, the dharma bums, Kerouac, Snyder, Ginsberg.  It was exciting.  They were cool, they had something.  Hey, at least they’re trying to have something good and not common.

Port Arthur people thought I was a beatnik though they didn’t know what a beatnik was.  Neither did I but I was damn sure going to find out.

I started singing a lot of folk music and blues in coffeehouses and bars around Austin and I met a wonderful man, Ken Threadgill.

He had a little place that was all wood and felt good inside and he believed in what we were doing.  That place used to be a gas station.  Funky and earthy.

First time I played at Threadgill’s with Powell and Larry Wiggins I won two bottles of Lone Star and three dollars and thirty-three cents.  Now you know that’s going to turn a young girl’s mind.  I’ve never been the same since.

This is when I met Chet who was a beatnik from Texas just like me.  We headed for San Francisco.  I was at a very young and fucked-up stage along here.

I had a chance to be a real beatnik not a hippie.  You know the difference?  Hippies are technicolor, hopeful, naive, they believe the world can be a better place if we all hold hands and chant for peace and love.

Beatniks are all black, down, cynical, on the fringe, wise to the ways of the world.  They say the hell with it.  Stay stoned and don’t let the bastards get you down.


You know how some little girls want to be flight attendants?  Well, I wanted to be an artist.  Always.

That’s what I was doing in Venice and North Beach.  I was being an artist as hard as I could, hanging out, bumming around, finding out, changing.


I’m all I’ve got.  I can’t compromise that.  It’s the only unique thing that I have.  That is the real thing that I get from reading the beats, a sense that I had better develop the sincere part of myself because that is what I have to offer.  Hell, for all I know even some of the beats don’t know that.

Port Arthur is a tacky town.  I hated it.  Those square people.  Only later did I find out that everywhere is tacky.

Vancouver, Canada, for example, was not that cool and it’s a beautiful place with no excuse for being tacky.  They were not ready for Big Brother at all.  We were the first longhaired people they saw and they threw us out of a restaurant called the Jolly Roger without so much as a by your leave.  It’s funny now.  Not then.  Everywhere is tacky if you let it be.  Down On Me?  You bet.  Da-yum raght.  OK, boys, let’s go rehearse.

You just have to make your way.  I wanted those people at home to love me and they didn’t care, didn’t even know.  You have to come to terms with that.


Oh, no, I don’t play like that.  Being that chickenshit is tacky.  I told ya, I told ya.  Ya gotta take a chance, know what I mean?  Well, then, get outta the way.

(singing and talking on a beach, the Gulf of Mexico)

Lay me down, lay me down by the sweet sea.  Tell me that you care bout no one but me. You’ll do that, wontcha?  Pretend this is beautiful and that you see the moon shining between us.


I didn’t start out to be a singer.  I started out to be just a person on the street like everybody else.  But suddenly I got swept up into this singing thing.  And after I got involved in it, it got really important to me if I was good or not.

You know why I sing?  Why I started to sing?  It was to be with my friends, to be in the scene, to give something good and get something good, to hang out, to have a reason to be.  I sort of backed into it if you must know.  Course then if you sing you got to sing loud and I could do that.  It surprised me as much as anyone else.

I said, hey, I can sing, and then I could  sing.  Damndest thing ever.

I couldn’t make it in San Francisco anymore, least not the way I wanted to.  I had to go home, get a job, straighten out, go back to college, God, even maybe get married.  It was an insane time.  I was at the bottom.


A lot of young people now look at their parents’ lives and see how they gave up and compromised and wound up with so little.  I mean, if you have to sell out at least get something for it.  I’ll sell out.  Just show me where to sign and how much I’m going to get.  Now, not later when I won’t know how to use it.

Right now is where you are.  How can you wait?  Why should I hold back and sound mediocre just so I can sound mediocre twenty years from now.

That’s what I said to Travis anyway.  I’m not sure that I meant it, but he took me at my word and practically kidnapped me, abducted me, I mean, it was, well, it was good is what it was.  He was really good that night and the next thing I knew I was next to him on the shotgun side and we were headed for San Francisco again.  Chet put him up to the whole thing.

Some story about a band out there that needed a singer because some other band had one.  You should hear their names.  Grateful Dead.  Jefferson Airplane.  Quicksilver Messenger Service.  The Flaming Groovies.  Outlandish, aren’t they?

This is a brave new world.

Welcome to the Matrix and we are proud to be here.  Usually someone else does the announcing but tonight…it’s me!  Ta da. (She sticks out one foot in an exaggerated glamor pose.)  So here’s my message to you.  Get off your butt and feel things.

Hey, I’m twenty-three.  I got time to be crazy and, guess what?.  I’m going to be crazy.  Let me worry about restraint and holding back and having taste a little later.  Now I’ve got the energy.  Let me use that and stop telling me what to do.    Just relax, give it a chance.  Y’all paid a dollar to get in here so we’re going to do this song for y’all, even you, man.  Sit down, you’re not ready to leave yet.

Hey, let’s do that song by Powell Saint John.  Bye, Bye, Baby?  Powell’s creative; he’s into a lot of things.  He something?  He always writes things like that.  He’s a beautiful man, hey, don’t you think so?  I think so.  Look at this drawing he did, so delicate, refined, you know?

(after the set)

Shit, man, that was fun.  My mama used to say, “Janis, why do you scream when you have such a pretty voice?”  I can sing like Mimi Fariña if I want to or like Joan Baez but they did it first.  Why shouldn’t I do my own thing first, make sense?  I’m all I got, honey.

(Cackles maniacally and whirls around, a spinning top gone wild, the way Thelonius Monk used to do in airports.)

You know, those first times with Big Brother, that was the best time I ever had in my life, man, cause it was so new, you know?  I’d never even seen a rock concert before and now here I was in the middle of one.  Too much.  All that throbbing beat which is the main thing.

You ever notice?  When you’re two blocks from where a band is rehearsing all you hear is the bass throbbing out a steady pulse.  Get a little closer and the drums appear.  And you have to be almost there before you hear the melody instruments.  It’s the drums and bass, yes, they are the foundation.

I got so stoned just feeling all of that in our first gigs together.  After the night was over and we would be idling at a stoplight I would hear everything throbbing again.  It would all come back again in a rush and there was a visual part of it too.  I would see patterns in the night going with the sounds that would not stop. That energy field of spiralling feelings, that vortex of emotion, whew!  Beats watching TV, I’ll tell ya.

I couldn’t stay still.  Could you?  I started moving and jumping and I couldn’t hear myself the way I could in the coffeehouses so I sang louder and louder and louder and it went somewhere else, another place beyond what words could do.  When it’s the way it’s supposed to be I feel chills up my spine, ideas made physical,  and emotions slipping all over my body like scales on a butterfly’s eye.  It’s a supreme emotional and physical experience.

Taj Mahal says to me.  Come and join our cool Los Angeles band.  We are professionals.  We know what we are doing and you can come and sing back-up for us.  You’ll get a steady paycheck and a Cadillac.  What more is there for someone like you?  This is serious business.  You know you’ll have money in the bank and tell your mama too.   Well, I mean, could I turn that down?  Sounded good to me, Jack.  These guys have been around.  You know how Taj got his name?  He was in a band in LA with Ry Cooder called The Eight Wonders of the World and they each had a name after a wonder.  I wonder who was The Hanging Gardens?  Heh, heh.

(One of Big Brother lodges a protest against her leaving the band so soon right on the eve of a Chicago tour.)

God damn it, don’t bandy words with me, motherfucker, I mean, shit.  (She slaps the side of the redwood deck with her open hand.)  They’re not asking yew.  I have to think about this.  (Her face whiter and whiter, movements more agitated, she knows it’s a moral dilemma and a moment of truth at least for this time around)  What would yew do?

Well, I know what I did.  I went to Chicago with Big Brother.  It was probably the right thing for me to do but that was a grueling trip and we signed a disastrous recording contract there really just to get enough money to get out of there which they then didn’t even give us.

They hated us in Chicago.  One reviewer said we couldn’t play, we were out of tune, and we were all ugly.  And plus we smelled bad.  I’m sure we did.  You can’t have everything together at once, you know?  Yeah, and it may have been patchouli.  You haven’t smelled patchouli before?  Well, it’s like curry or like Indian music or like eating a chapati, or like having your ashes washed away in the Ganges.

(back in San Francisco at a concert in Golden Gate Park)

Now, these are our people!  Great to be back.


Why do those country club chicks in their panty girdles always have to be sitting in the front row.  They’re probably tied up so tight they couldn’t move if they wanted to.  And those gawky, geeky men they’re with, gechhhh!

You know, you can be yourself and it’s OK.  They can be really who they are, and win.  If you start thinking that  way, being that righteous with yourself, you’ve won already, babe.  No problem.  Got it made after that.

How did we get this gig anyway?  Oh, yeah, I remember.  We went on Public Television and auctioned our services to the highest bidder in a benefit for the station.  Herb Caen was at this coming out party.  I had read him for years and I thought this was my big chance to be in his column.  I talked to him all night, told him every one of my favorite stories, plied him with martinis and did he come across?  Hell, no.  There was nothing in his column the next day.  NOTHING.  I couldn’t believe it.  What was he thinking?  How could he have ignored me?  Jyanis?

Well, the Burlingame Police Department didn’t ignore us, I’ll tell you that.  They must have been watching closely.  As we were leaving town they stopped us and checked all of our identification.  Made me so mad.  Everyone else’s stuff was in order but I had a lot of parking tickets outstanding and they said pay up or go to jail.  I said I would happily go to jail if they had the nerve to arrest me and one of our equipment people did something that make me really upset with him.  He paid my tickets off!  I didn’t forgive him for a long time.  Here it was my big chance  to go to jail for three days or something trivial like that and he spoiled it for me.

Whether or not to walk through that door…

This success if it is success and not just a bunch of hype is less and less like I thought it was going to be.  It started, if it started, I mean, at the Monterey Pop Festival and it’s a gas.  I can’t believe it.  Not bad for a chick who used to hustle drinks, eh?

And how about what I’m wearing?  Gold lamé (she pronounces “lame” to rhyme with “fame.”).  You like it?  It was hard for me to buy something like this at first.  I mean, look at these shoes.  These are golden slippers, man, like in the song.

I love these golden shoes.  I went down to I. Magnin’s one day and sat in their special winners circle where only the winners go to shop.  Society women, models, the few who made it honestly in business, like me, and I bought some golden shoes.  Two pair actually and it’s a life affirming thing to do something like this.  Maybe only a woman would understand it.  It’s like shifting a gear inside.

Here’s how they would put it in a book.

(she speaks in a theatrical, Orson Welles voice.)

Aging opera star Maria Callas drags beau Aristotle Onassis backstage.  Says. (now, a Mediterranean-Dracula-like tone) You give me everything. (she rolls the ‘r’ in “everything.”)  Jewels from Tiffany.  Caviar from Maxim’s.  Well, look at this.  Dramatically with a flourish she pulls the curtain back.  There are thousands waiting for her to sing the slightest syllable.  Can you give me that, darling?

That story means something to me.  I know it’s true even if it’s not.  It sounds corny, right?  It’s true, man, believe it.  It’s true.  I know no man ever made me feel as good as an audience does.  I know  it.  I’m committed to this, this is a higher calling.  Scary, isn’t it?

(Staying in the Chelsea Hotel, waiting for the right moment to get a cab over to the Fillmore.)

What do you think I should be doing?  I mean, is there anything else to do in this town?  There’s Tubby The Tuba up in the penthouse or at least the guy who wrote the score.  There’s Salvador Dalì. There are The Ramones, for Chrissake, this little band down the hall with a lot going for them.

There are the Preludin that Marvin brought me from the West Coast.  HE was entertaining. They say you can get anything in New York so, yeah, they still bring their Left Coast things here and I take them.  That is our contract, our agreement.  They make it and I take it.

I read but don’t tell anybody.  I used to like F. Scott Fitzgerald a lot but it’s hard to separate someone from their work.  I’ve been reading a lot about Zelda Fitzgerald lately and she was fucked over by him.  I mean really.  She was as talented, did as much, wrote more, drew as much, said as much, cooked more, made up the beds more, more on top of things in general, more evolved, more this, more that, more everything, and what did she get?  Jack shit, that’s what.  Same thing they always get.  Not a goddamed nothing.  Something like that could make you mad.

I was good, right?  I mean, you know it, I was really good.  Tell me so then, don’t stand there, sit down and tell me what you thought about the set.  It sounded good, right?  Well, I think it was good.  Don’t you?  You thought it was good?  Did you?  Did you really?  It was good, I know it.

Hey, the people who make Southern Comfort ought to send me free whisky.  I’m the best advertisement they got.  I know, I’ll write them a letter saying I drink their product a lot in public.  A LOT.  And then they’ll send me a free case of booze.  Yeah, it’s a hustle, I’m still hustling free drinks, man, the way I did when I was a beatnik.  You got something better?  When I get scared and worried, I tell myself, Janis, just have a good time.


You know, it’s a good thing people like me the way I am cause I damn sure wouldn’t know how to change.

I’d rather not sing than sing quiet.  Don’t ask me to do that.  Doesn’t make sense at all.  Get somebody else.  Sure, Billie Holliday could do that.  She knew how to crawl around inside a melody just like a snake  Me, I stomp on the tune like an elephant.  It’s exciting.  I’m going for it.  Billie was subtle and refined.  I’m going to shove that power right into you, right through you and you can’t refuse it.  I’m going to give it all I got and you know what?  Why don’t you do the same?  Scream, yell, howl at the moon, man, tear it up, kick the door in, pound the walls, I’ll be there doing it with you.

The kids today want real feeling, they want something real and not just the usual TV humdrum mediocre bullshit.  They want something larger than life, the hell with facing up to things, with being “realistic.”  They are my friends.  We are in this together and they know it.

It’s funny being on the road.  You know how I can tell I’m in Cleveland?  The walls at the Holiday Inn are green.  The ones in Pocatello are gray.  That’s it.  That’s what I see.  It’s a series of one-night stands.  There’s that little period on the stage.  Then we rehearse sometimes when we’re lucky.  Then there’s television flat on our backs at the motel.  Downtown nowhere.  Checking in, checking out, lots of strange dressing rooms, too early at the airport, too late at the party.  Glamorous, isn’t it?

Guys on the road at least have girls they can pick up, but who comes to see me?  These little blonde androgynous fifteen year olds, man.  They’re so cute but, I mean, what are you going to do with that?  You got any ideas?

(Newport Folk Festival, August 68)

Eighteen thousand people, whoooowhee.  This might be the largest crowd we’ve played to, eh, boys?  Too much.

Back in Texas I was always looking for someone to hitch with me to Newport.  I could never afford it and now the first time I’m here, I’m the star.

Remember when I was telling you about Southern Comfort sending me a case of whisky for publicizing their product?  Well, they went for it.  I had the chick in my manager’s office photostat every goddam clipping that ever had me mentioning Southern Comfort and I sent them to the company, and they sent me a whole lot of money.  How could anybody in their right mind want me for their image?  Oh, man, that was the best hustle that I ever pulled.  Can you believe that shit? I got paid for passing out for two years!

We worked a lot, maybe two much.  For two years now we’ve been playing almost every night and catching a lot of planes, doing the same old material.  It gets harder to feel when it isn’t fresh anymore and there’s no time to write new stuff.  Who wants to get paid ten grand for acting like you’re having a good time?  It kind of goes against everything we set out to do in the first place.  The difference between me and them is that I saw it first.

I love those guys but if I have any real sense of myself as a musician I have to move on. They weren’t helping the words.  They were fighting them or just clamming up like cold fish.  I got out there and tried and those guys weren’t even trying.  Real feeling like Otis Redding had, like all those great soul bands.   I want a band with horns and a keyboard, higher highs, lower lows, an incredible amount of that way down deep swamp bass pounding your chest kind of thing, know what I mean?

This music writer asked me if I sang from my diaphragm.  I thought that was pretty funny since I been having a lot of trouble with one this week.  The doctor showed me how to put it in but it’s weird.  If you hold it the wrong way it’ll slip out of your fingers and sail across the room.  I don’t know where the fuck I sing from.  I sing from my mouth, I guess.  Yeah, that would be my theory on the whole matter. Anything’s better than an IUD though.  Those things hurt.  It felt like I swallowed a rusty nail when I tried one of those.  Every time I would try to shake anything on stage I could feel it stabbing me.

You ever notice?  There’s about twenty-three people wherever you go.  It’s the same people.  Los Angeles, New York, London.  I mean, here’s Seideman and Mouse, there’s Annie, there’s Eric, there’s Moskowitz, there’s that sweet pitiful mother of three on the corner, begging for mercy and a fix, looking white and like she could use a break, God.  They’re the same, the same.  It’s the same damn twenty-three people it’s always been.  Hey, honey, come over here, you need a break? I’ll break you, man.  (She cackles that special Texas laugh and stomps her foot for emphasis.)


I LOVE it when I give it a kick or shake my ass and the drummer hits a rim shot without any arranging or anything said beforehand and it’s intuitive and from the heart, man, that’s the way it should be.  I am so lucky to be with these guys.  They paid their dues.  This ain’t some hippy band.  These guys played their hearts out on Broadway where there’s no room for error, backing strippers and rehearsing once a week if they’re lucky.

I just want to say one thing on stage.  Let yourself go and you’ll be more than you ever thought of being.  You know?  You can be musical and go to Harvard and major in music but there is a special gear that all musicians must hit when it gets really good and goes beyond any kind of meaning you could put into words.  Feeling.  That’s what it is.  Do the audience like it?  Do they really like it?  If they do like me that liking comes into themselves and they become it.  It is a certain gear, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.  God and the Universe, man.

What are you doing sitting in your seats?  This is a rock and roll concert.  I was in Ballamer, Merlin once (imitating W.C. Fields) and they told me three things and only three that I couldn’t do.  No dancing.  No getting drunk.  No taking your clothes off.  Well, we’re going to have a lot of fun tonight, honey.

I was going to be on the cover of Newsweek and maybe even Time.  Did you see that?  Everything was all set.  The photo was taken and it was good too , man.  We were ready to go with it and then President Eisenhower dies.  Fourteen goddam heart attacks and he has to die in MY week.

(at rehearsal, to the bandmembers)

Hey, hey!  Listen, I’m singing here.  For Chrissake, pay attention, you’re moving around, jacking off and talking while I’m trying to do this.  It’s distracting, goddamit.  Listen, man,  I’m the one out front.  I’m the one they’re going to blame if we don’t have a decent set and look good.

Roy, I don’t need you upstaging me just because you can.  It’s my show, you got it?  I’m the one they put on the poster, dig?  I don’t want to get heavy but what have we got?  A couple of weeks till we’ve got to sound like the Second Coming and now we sound like sick and tired of being sick and tired.  We don’t even have one song really down.  I’m scared if you really must know.  Let’s get it together.


Yeah, he was a silver tongue devil, I’ll tell you that.  It was his phrase, he used it a lot, I’m talking about the phrase, and it described him perfectly, know what I mean.  He probably believed it all himself.   Kris wrote the tune but HE was the devil moonman, I mean, he was.

I try to hold back.  It’s never any fun.  It feels like cheating.  I start thinking of something else.  Even at rehearsals I still have to sing as hard as I can or it just doesn’t come through the way it should.  If you ACT like you’re having a good time, everything gets weird.  It’s such a turn-on to go for it in a real way.  It’s another level.

Everybody’s got pain and joy.  Even housewives in Podunk, Texas.  Especially housewives in Podunk, Texas.  Everybody’s got soul if they give into it.  It’s hard, it’s scary, and it ain’t all pretty when you let it out.

There was a time when I wanted to know everything.  I read Time Magazine cover to cover every week, I really did.  I guess you could say I was an intellectual.  Your head can be filled with ideas and your soul can be running on empty.  At least, that’s what I saw.  Maybe I’ll change as I grow older.  When it’s late at night and nobody else is there, then what do you do?  Sometimes ideas aren’t enough when there is all of that power and feeling inside that must be handled somehow.

You should see what Bobby did in Stockholm.  He and Sam went out, got drunk with the mayor and then wandered all over town.  They came back to the hotel and Bobby made it all right with me about that horrible Rolling Stone article.  It sucked but not enough to get me off.  Ralph Gleeson said I should go back to Big Brother if they would have me.  He hated my new band (pronounced ba-yund).  I was crushed. CRUSHED.  (She mocks herself for feeling so deeply but feels deeply anyway.) It was so mean and heartless, I mean, he could’ve given us a chance.

When Cheap Thrills came out Rolling Stone devoted eighteen pages to killing me, you know, in public.  They’ve always dealt with me very tacky for some reason.  They’ve always dealt with me and Big Brother very shabbily, I don’t know why.  They’ve never liked us.  They’ve always treated us bad.  And now they’ve done it again.  They didn’t like me with Big Brother and now they’re saying I should go back with them.  And every now and then some writer from Rolling Stone has the nerve to call me and ask for an interview.  Can you believe that?

But anyway Bobby came back, put in a call to Jann Wenner at Rolling Stone and just consoled me in a really good way.  He’s a good dude, good dude.  Crazy though.  I saw him shoot up once right through his clothes.  Unbelievable.  He had the works loaded and he just jammed it into his thigh, right through his pants and everything.  Later Andy Wahrhol told me that some of his people did that and I would have thought it was just talk if I hadn’t seen it.  I mean what is the point of that?  If you’ll pardon the expression, heh, heh.

Hey, I went to Rio.  It was a throbbing, pulsing good time, let me tell you.  We did the city thing and the in the jungle thing.  Hitchiking and riding on the back of motorcycles just like in the beatnik days.  Good for the soul, you know?

I got a couple of tatoos, see?  I drew this one myself.

The one on my heart is for the boys.  We had a party at my house in Larkspur and I invited Lyle Tuttle king of the tatoo artists to come and decorate everyone.  He tatooed eighteen people.  That was one party it would be hard for some people to forget.

Playing for the Angels is crazy, man.  On one level they’re a class act.  The money is always straight, the sound system is good and if they like you you are family.  But if something goes wrong they will express themselves physically.  I’ve had to fight them for a bottle of whisky more than once and they are touchy, whew!

We were playing in this place in San Rafael out by the freeway and it was a scene.  It was my new band on the same bill with my old band Big Brother so everyone was on edge anyway.  We were all getting stoned to beat the band you might say.  Nitrous oxide, pot, lots of smack, crank all washed down with more alcohol than was strictly sane.  It was like battle of the bands.  How is Big Brother going to look compared to my new band?  And we’re even doing some of the same songs.  There was more tension than there should have been in a love crowd.

One of those Angels up and punched me, man, can you believe that?  I hit him with a bottle and then everybody jumped in.  It was a little Altamont.  The times were turning ugly.  Onstage I was drunk and punchy and I felt like a parody of myself that day.  It was sloppy.  Oh, well, that’s over and gone now.

I don’t want to have to sing Down On Me when I’m eighty years old.  It might be fun every now and then.  People say I’m singing great.  San Francisco, which was a little miffed at me at first for breaking up their happy home, has come around now.   And anyway with Full Tilt now it’s more of a family thing than it was with the Kozmic Blues Band.

Ooooh, I was feeling so good last night with this gorgeous dude.  Now, that was a party…best one in my life, no shit.  So, we’re going to do this number we just got together and we hope you like it cause we worked really hard on this, I mean, you’ll like it, won’t you?

Don’t mess with me now.  I was once the eight-ball champion of Sixth Street and Avenue A in Manhattan and I can beat you too if it comes down to it.

I’m not losing my voice.  It’s actually better than it’s ever been.  If I don’t have to sing seven nights a week I can last forever.  Hey, nothing’s going to happen to me.  I’ve got good genes, man.  My people were pioneer stock, good, solid, strong people.  It may get other people.  It’s not going to get me.  I’ll be around.

Note from Sam:

I want to thank all of the photographers here, friends of mine for years now:

Don Aters

Richard Avedon

Jay Blakesberg

Bill Brock

Dale Burkhardt

Max Clarke

Linda Eastman

Herb Green

Lisa Law

Jim Marshall

Irving Penn

Bob Seidemann…

OK?   See you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


The End Is Near.

1 January 2012


Behind every successful woman there is a man staring at her ass.

Graceful Janis.

Elise and Dario Darold.

How odd that Mitt Romney should compare President Obama to Marie-Antoinette, who, by the way, said something like, “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.”

Is this the same Mitt Romney who said to a group of unemployed persons in Tampa, “Hey, I am unemployed too.”   Monumental insensitivity. Jobless Mitt.


From the church bulletin:

We are starting a New young Mothers’ Group. Anyone desiring to be a new young mother is to meet with the pastor in his office.


Elise Piliwale, Boxing Day, 26 December 2011.


Actual courtroom dialogue:

Is that the same nose you broke as a child?


Now, doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, in most cases he just passes quietly away and doesn’t know anything about it until the next morning?


Q:  What happened then?

A:  He told me, he says, “I have to kill you because you can identify me.

Q:  Did he kill you?


Ask for what you want. Let us be clear. No subtle hints.  No strong, blunt hints. No overly obvious hints. Just say it.


In the courtroom again:

Were you alone or by yourself?


Do you have any children or anything of that kind?


Q:  I show you exhibit 3 and ask you if you recognize that picture?

A:  That’s me.

Q:  Were you present when that picture was taken?


Donna DiBasilio.


Were you present in court this morning when you were sworn in?


Susan Zelinsky, singer, actor, woman extraordinaire, is one of the organizers for this breast cancer benefit every year.


Mary and Frank Bertolli.


Q:  Do you know how far pregnant you are now?

A:  I’ll be three months on November 8.

Q:  Apparently, then, the date of conception was August 8?

A:  Yes.

Q:  What were you doing at that time?


Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Athena who?

Athena flying saucer.


Sex is not the answer. Sex is the question. Yes is the answer.


Woman to naked man:

Are you cold?


I want to achieve immortality, not through my art, but by not dying. So far, so good.


Sam Andrew, Shiho, Woodstock)


How many Episcopalians does it take to change a light bulb?

One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks and one to talk about how much better the old one was.


It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.


Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good is like expecting a bull not to charge you because you are a vegetarian.


Samantha took us all to Paris.


Being American is about driving a German car to a Palestinian liquor store to buy Russian vodka and then stopping by a Thai restaurant before going home to watch a British comedy on a Japanese television.


Talent hits the target which no one else can hit. Genius hits the target which no one else can see.


Spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.

Always remember that you are unique… just like everyone else.


Utility is when you have one telephone,

luxury is when you have two, and

paradise is when you have none.


Keep in mind that if the world didn’t suck, we would all fall off.


Monti singing us a song at Dario’s party.


A conservative is a worshipper of (long) dead radicals.


How do you expect me to remember your birthday when you never look any older?


My dog went to a flea circus and stole the show.


A lot of my misspent youth was spent here.


A adult is a person who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing in the middle.


Father to son:  Lot was warned to take his wife and flee, but his wife looked back and was turned to salt.

Son:  What happened to the flea?


Elise Piliwale and Sam Andrew.


Tom Jones and Janis Joplin.


Darian Gray and Nathalie Delahousse.



Moby Grape with Sam Andrew, Santa Rosa, California.


A fine is a tax for behaving badly.

A tax is a fine for doing well.


Alton Kelley, one of the good people.


Teacher:  How many animals went into the Ark.

Student:  One mail and one e-mail.


French Canadian visiting Edmonton, Alberta, calls the hotel desk:

I need some pepper.

Black pepper or white pepper?

Toilette pepper.


Susan Royce and Shahram Ghodsian.


Alessandro il Stitico.


Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.


Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don’t have batteries.


24 hours in a day. 24 beers in a case. Coincidence?


What’s the speed of dark?


I played with many of these people in New York: Pepe Aparicio, Pepi Gennerelli, Bob Steeler. I love them all.


Forget shampoo! Get the real poo.

Forget champagne! Get the real… oh, never mind.


Something vaguely familiar about these peter peppers. Jessie, thank you.


I had amnesia once… or was it twice?


When I read about the evils of drinking, I quit reading.


Gene DiBasilio was our milkman when we lived in Lagunitas, probably the last milkman in the western world. Gene has had a misspent adulthood. He quit delivering milk and founded a company which he later sold for several million dollars, poor guy.


World’s shortest book:

My Christian Accomplishments And How I Helped After Katrina               by George W. Bush.


You know you’re a nurse if…

You’ve seen more penises than any prostitute.


Peter Albin and Arianna Antinori.


Christianity? You mean the religion of the Prince of Peace?


The easiest way to find something you have lost around the house is to buy a replacement.


When you have paint or gesso all over your hands, either your nose will immeidately begin to itch, or you will have to pee.


Ben Nieves, Stephen Long, Sam Andrew. Mostar, Bosnia, 2011.


Only an artist would look at this and think of Matisse.


Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says, “Dam!”


Plastic surgeon’s sign:  Hello, can we pick your nose?


Why do we press harder on the remote control when we know that the batteries are going dead?


Lawyer:  Are you sexually active?

Witness: No, I just lie there.


Chris Madding and his daughter Amélie.


Flight attendant:  Would you like dinner?

Passenger:           What are my choices?

Flight attendant:  Yes or no.

You’re never too old to learn something stupid.


Black eyed peas loom large in the legend of the South. In Civil War days, some planters had nothing to eat but black eyed peas at a certain New Year’s dinner. They were lucky enough later that year

to regain their fortunes, and they somehow connected their New Year’s dinner menu with their new success. Thus, in many places, black eyed peas are a good luck meal on New Year’s day.


Silence is often the best answer.


Change is inevitable except from a vending machine.

(Woman on the métro)

My husband and I divorced over religious differences.

He thought he was a god, and I’m an agnostic.


Happy New Year to you, and I’ll see you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


When I Paint My Masterpiece.

25 December 2011



American Airlines saved $ 40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first class.


Mohandas Gandhi married at the age of thirteen.


On the Steely Dan song Reelin’ In The Years, Jeff Baxter plays the rippling two part harmony lines in the instrumental bridge, and Elliott Randall contributes the fuzzed out responses to Donald Fagen’s vocals in the chorus. Elliott is playing a 1963 Stratocaster sraight into an Ampeg SVT bass amp.


Properly dried peas and corn should shatter when hit with a hammer.


Dr. John plays The Mess Around in Ab. Ray Charles does it in Eb, and he plays Swanee River Rock in Ab. Piano players like the flat keys.


“I then called for my Lord at a Mrs. Carwardine’s, where he was sitting for his picture in miniature. She is a very good-looking, agreeable woman; unmarried, but I imagine virtuous. I was again in pleasant spirits. The fine arts enliven me exceedingly. I never went into a good painter’s but I became happy. There is a sweetness and gentleness in this art which most of all soothes the mind to peaceful tranquility.”

James Boswell     15 March 1763


Inu ga arimasuka? (Japanese) Do you have a dog?


Zeyer ongenehm. Tsi hot ir den azoy fil arbet? (Yiddish)

Pleased to meet you. Do you have that much work?


So, is Australia an island or a continent? It’s as wide as the USA and about twenty million people live there.


Latin vanity plate:  Litoralis  (Beach Bum)


Everything is natural… in its own way, even polyester and oil slicks. Still, it might be good to search continually for a way to live that conforms more closely to a more basic and fundamental mode of living.


“I think one could say that a certain modesty toward understanding nature  is a precondition to the continued pursuit of science.”

Subramanyan Chandrasekbar    Nobel laureate, Physics, 1983.


The Japanese, in their time measuring and earth measuring, go from big to small. Begin with the year, the month, the day. Begin with the country, the region, the city, the block. It’s like watching a GPS map, and far more logical than our own system, which begins with the smallest and procceds to the largest. Number, Street, City, Country.


Japanese and Chinese begin with their surname (largest group) and go on to their first name (smaller group). Ozawa Seiji. Andrew Sam.


Togae atrae lepidae sunt. (Latin)

Black togas are cool.


When your toilet won’t stop running, and you put your hand in the tank to fix the drain, do you every wonder where that water has been?


“Now I am again in such a period of patience and impatience. Mauve himself says that I shall at least spoil about ten drawings before I shall know how to handle the brush well. But back of it is a better future, so I work with as much composure as I can collect, and am not disheartened even by my mistakes.”

Vincent van Gogh   letter to his brother Theo     The Hague  December 1881.


In German “dur” (hard) is a major key and “moll” (soft) is minor. This is how one culture looks at the qualities of a key.


“Major” and “minor,” our terms for the same phenomena, mean larger and smaller. Also informative. French, Spanish and Italian terms are similar to English. Majeur, mineur, Mayor, menor, maggiore, minore.


Da terra si può vedere la Stazione spaziale?

La Stazione spaziale internazionale appare come un puntino piuttosto luminoso che, nel volgere di qualche minuto, attraversa la volta celeste.

(Can you see the space station from earth? The international space station appears as a small shiny point, in the flight of several minutes, across the arch of the skies.)


Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy. All who draw and paint know that the darkest dark sits next to the lightest light.


Can you imagine Jesus at the debates in Iowa? Or Grover Cleveland wh0 said this:

“He mocks the public who proposes that the government shall protect the rich and that they in turn will care for the laboring poor.”


i love heavy metal. A lot of white suburban kids telling us how pissed off they are about everything.


“Sell our country! Why not sell the air, the clouds, and the great sea? Did not the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?”

Tecumseh (Shawnee chief) speaking to General William Henry Harrison, 1810)


El Jarabe Tapatío (the Mexican hat dance) is often played in C.


A sempiterno merito di mio padre, bisogna dire che lui non pensò  mai seriamente, nemmeno per un momento, di vendere i figli e di scappare.

(To the eternal credit of my father, be it said that never did he think even for a moment of selling his children and escaping.)


Yesterday was originally called Scrambled Eggs.


If you can be enthusiastic, warm, generous and can keep your sense of cool and proportion at the same time, you can do great things.


If you would thrive,

Get up at five.


Kurt Cobain was cremated. His ashes were scattered passim, as the scholars say, here and there and everywhere.


Noodles, pasta, dough wrapped around a vegetable or beef ingredient are staples all around the world. Tamale, ravioli, a garden burger, pirogi, wonton, enchilada, spring rolls crêpes, piroshki, pork rolls, hot dogs, sandwiches of all kinds.


Tea is made from the young leaves and the leaf buds of the tea plant, a species of evergreen (Camellia sinensis) . Ancient Chinese and Japanese legends refer to a beverage made from the infusion of dried tea leaves, the introduction of tea being sometimes attributed to the emperor Shen Nung (2737 before the common era).


The term “rosary,” meaning “wreath of roses” first appeared in fifteenth century Europe. But the practice of reciting prayers on a string of knots or beads goes back to the Indic priests of the Middle East prior to 500 years before the common era.


Togo, a West African republic, has a 32-mile coast and extends northward for about 320 miles between Ghana to the west and Dahomey to the east.


Alexis de Toqueville wrote the classic De la démocratie en Amérique (Democracy in America) 1840, a close and often prophetic observation of American culture in the early 19th century.


Tocharian is an Indo-European language that was spoken in northern Chinese Turkistan (Tarim Basin) during the latter half of the first millennium of the common era. The language is fascinating, since it shows more affinity with western branches of Indo-European than with Iranian or indo-Aryan.


Torts is a legal term used in both common- and civil- law systems to describe various wrongs that may give rise to civil proceedings, mainly in the form of an action for damages.


Italian: Ho torto   I am wrong.

Forse Lei pensa che ho torto.       Perhaps you think that I am wrong.


Henri-Marie-Raymoond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa was born 24 November 1864. His family lineage extended without interruption back to the time of Charlemagne.


Toulouse-Lautrec could capture the likeness of a person with fewer lines than many, many other artists before or since.


When Ben Nieves and I were last in Paris, we went to the Musée d’Orsay across the Seine from the Louvre where there were many works by Toulouse-Lautrec. Very beautiful and accomplished, his drawings and paintings were often done on cardboard and the most ephemeral of materials, but were all the more interesting for that.


Toulouse-Lautrec’s own father took slight interest in his son after his disabling injuries and regarded his son’s work as only “rough sketches.”


“Tragedy” came from the words “goat” and “song.” The word could have referred either to the prize, a goat that was awarded to the best dramatists whose plays won the earliest competitions in Greece, or to the dress, goat skins of the performers, or to the goat which was sacrificed in the primitive rituals from which tragedy developed.


Trajan (Marcus Ulpius Traianus) was the first Roman emperor not born in Italy, but in the provinces, near Sevilla, Spain.


A group of finches is called a charm.


James Cagney never said “You dirty rat,” and Captain Kirk never said “Beam me up, Scottie.”


The Sitka spruce is Britain’s most commonly planted tree.


“I am sorry I have not learned to play at cards. It is very useful in life: it generates kindness and consolidates society.”      Samuel Johnson.


Tweety used to be a baby bird without feathers until the censoras decided he looked naked.


The 1997 Doublespeak Award went to President Bill Clinton, Trent Lott and Newt Gingrich for obfuscating language in the balanced budget agreement.


Pound for pound hamburgers cost more than new cars.


Names considered before settling on Monty Python’s Flying Circus:


A Toad-Elevating Moment

A Horse, A Bucket and a Spoon

Bun, Whackett, Buzzard, Stubble and Boot

Owl-Stretching Time

The Venus de Milo Panic Show


Gold was the first metal to be discovered.


John Malkovich plays the tuba.


A jumbo jet uses four thousand gallons of fuel to take off.


When CBS broadcast the first television show in color, no one other than CBS owned a color television set.


Documentary film makers should plan on shooting ten times the footage that will end up in the finished film.


Onaji kokoro desu. (Japanese)  We are of the same mind (heart).


Incipe, parve puer, risu cognoscere matrem.                       Virgil.

Begin, baby boy, to recognize your mother with a smile.


From The Life of Johnson:      James Boswell.

Johnson:   Well, we had a good talk.

Boswell:     Yes, Sir; you tossed and gored several persons.


The only mother and daughter to be nominated for Oscars in the same year: Diane Ladd and her daughter Laura Dern for Rambling Rose (1991).


“On n’est jamais si malheuruex qu’on croit, ni si heureux qu’on espère.”

Duc de la Rochefoucauld 1613-1680

One is never as unhappy as one thinks, nor as happy as one hopes.


It’s called a capo in English and a capo d’astro in Italian. Germans call it ein Kapotaster and in Spain it’s known as una cejilla or un cejuelo.


This only happened to me once but it was enough:

“The American girl makes a servant of her husband and then finds him contemptible for being a servant.”          John Steinbeck.


“At all costs try to avoid granting yourself the status of the victim… No matter how abominable your condition may be, try not to blame anything or anybody.”         Joseph Brodsky.


Or, as Jimmy Buffet might say, “Some people say there’s a woman to blame, but I know… it’s my own damn fault.”


Ikh heys Freyde.   (Yiddish)    My name is Freyde.


“To be the father of a nation is a great honor, but to be the father of a family is a greater joy.”          Nelson Mandela.


Southerners speak very differently from Northerners all over the world. If a European were to fetch up on our Gulf shore, she might be charmed to hear, “Honey, sweet darlin’, y’all want some pah with yo grits.” Charmed, but perhaps puzzled.


In Italy, the southern speech is quite different from the northern. The person in Milano who says “Il mio compadre” might be surprised to hear the person from Naples say, “Mi gumba.” “Pasta e fagioli” in a northerner’s mouth might be “past’e fagiol’ “ in the southern tongue. Pasta and beans.


In Germany, which became a nation very late, as Italy did, there are many interesting dialects, and the Southern German is quite interesting, especially die Münchner, the way of speaking in Munich. Here are a few examples.


Munich dialect   English                            standard German:

A Mo                     a person                           Ein Mann

Wos is a?             What does he do?         Was hat er für einen Beruf?

Kummt a aa?       Is he coming too?         Wird er auch kommen?

Ami                        American                        Amerikaner

Augnglasl             eyeglasses                      Brille

Bams                       child                                Kind


“People at that time lived like there was no tomorrow,” says JJ, lead singer of Murasaki, a band that played the Okinawa Koza rock scene in the 1970s, a time when Okinawa was a launch pad for the Vietnam war. Rock and Roll nights in Koza were a celebration, a farewell party, but for JJ there must have been complicated emotions. JJ stood between two very different worlds, and yet he managed to build a bridge between them with charm, talent and intelligence.


There was always a public face and a private face in Okinawan lives.


Ten is a satisfying number, probably because we have ten fingers. Twenty was used in the numbering system of the Celts. Fingers and toes. In fact, still in French today, you don’t say “octante” for eighty, you say “quatre vingt,” four twentys. It’s a Celtic remnant in modern French.


For the same reason, “seventy” isn’t “septante,” but “soixante-dix,” sixty (three  twentys) plus ten. it’s unwieldy, especially, say, 77, which is soixante-dix-sept, sixty seventeen. This in the language of a people who pride themselves on their clarity and reason. I love the French language, though, and the French people.


People never liked stinky underarms. The early Egyptians recommended following a scented bath with an underarm application of perfumed oils. They developed special citrus and cinnamon preparations that could withstand the semitropical climate.


Bacteria thrive in secretions of the apocrine glands. Deprived of moisture by an “antiperspirant,” bacteria cannot multiply.


L’amore non è mai stato troppo facile per l’uomo preistorico. E non lo è nemmeno adesso.

Love was never too easy for prehistoric man. And it isn’t even now.


Sammy Davis began in show business at age three as Silent Sam, the Dancing Midget, alongside his father and uncle in vaudeville. He had no formal education whatsoever. In 1946, at 21, he recorded “The Way You Look Tonight,” which was named Record of the Year.


A wise person’s country is the world.


Ideograms looked like this near the beginning of their development. This one means bad, incorrect, and by itself is pronounced HI (hee) in Japanese.


HI is based on the image of flapping wings. Still, to this day, when a Japanese does not want to relate to something, she will wave her hand in front of her face in rapid motion… like the flapping of wings.


When used with other characters, as here, this ideogram is pronounced arazu.


Freedom is all, to heed every call. Freedom to do wrong, to make a bad song.

Freedom to err, to be a cur. Freedom to soar… or else, what for?


“The uneven division of power and wealth, the wide differences of health and comfort among the nations of mankind, are the sources of discord in the modern world, its major challenge and, unrelieved, its moral doom.”

Patrick Blackett    Nobel laureate, physics,1948.


My first job was delivering newspapers by bicycle. I had to collect from all the customers at the end of the month. All of the poor people paid on time, in cash. The more well off paid with a check, often very late, with many sweet excuses, and promises for next time, a check that was sometimes irredeemable. This was my introduction to the American “classless” society.


I would never ask Jean Jacques Rousseau,

Whether animals can talk or no,

Nor ask Monsieur Voltaire,

If lions know how to swear.

Curse and roar, and roar and curse,

So many questions on this earth.


Hannah Adams (1755-1831) was the first American woman to make a living by writing. She published a number of books on religious subjects and A Summary History of New-England (1799).


The biggest-selling restaurant food is french fries, which were invented in Louisiana in 1853.


Well, as they say in grade school, I’ll see you next year!

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company