Ab Origine, 2004.

All Souls’ Day, 2009.


Andressa, 2010.

Arianna Antinori, 2010.

Arlecchino, 2010.

Aroma Dogs.

Aroma Café   (oil on canvas)

Aroma People    (oil on canvas)

Each painting done in three hours.

The first painting I did in oil. Copied from a photograph by Keizo Yamazawa.

Crisanta   (oil on canvas)

Self Portrait    (oil on canvas)

Big Brother and the Holding Company   (oil on canvas)


Big Brother Dance

Blessed Mother (2003)

Born Of Flesh and Ghost (2010)

Caro Viaggiatore


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 as a Republican? 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 how the world is mistreating them.


“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).


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.

How Die He Do That ?       (oil on canvas)

How To Get Ahead               (oil on canvas)

La Vie En Rose                               (oil on canvas)


Light Show                      (oil on canvas)

Autoportrait                    (oil on canvas)

Lynn                                (oil on canvas)

Megan                                     (oil on canvas)


Mind/Body                                               (oil on canvas)

Minden       (oil on panel)   1 February 2012.

Mami Wata                               (oil on canvas)


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.


“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.

Salomé (oil on canvas) 2004.

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.

She Shall Have Stars (19 January 2012)

Still As Stone


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 le Monsieur Voltaire,

If lions know how to swear.

Curse and roar, and roar and curse,

So many questions on this earth.


Will The Circle Be Unbroken (oil on canvas) 31 December 2011.

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).


My friend Zwanda. She’ modeled for me for years.


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

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Pencil Me In For Sunday

18 December 2011


Elise took us out sailing on the Bay yesterday.


When I was a little boy, I knew a little bit,

That was a while ago, I don’t know much more yet,

And maybe never shall till the day that i die,

For the longer time I live, the bigger fool am I.


“Nugatory” means of little importance, ineffective, dull.


In an episode of The Simpsons, Sideshow Bob’s criminal number is 24601, the same as the criminal number of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables.



“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”     Albert Einstein

A “degringolade” is a disintegration, a falling apart.


A man can wear the same clothes for days on end without being at all depressed by their shabbiness.


An empty box makes a louder sound than a full box.


‘ey, there, matey, any signs of a Westerly?


Colds:  Adam had’em, and Eve, I believe.


We left Sausalito, sailed by The Trident, now Horizons, and on out into the Bay.


Cet animal est très méchant, Quand on l’attaque il se défend.

(This animal is very wicked. When you attack it, it defends itself.)


Das Ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan.  (The eternal feminine pulls us upward.)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.


The humminngbird’s tiny brain, 4.2 % of its body weight, is proportionately the largest in the bird kingdom.


Take it to the bridge.


According to Pope Innocent III, it was not a crime to kill someone after a game of chess.


Of the 266 men who have been pope, 33 have died violently.


“Lagan” is anything sunk in the sea, but attached to a buoy or the like so that it may be recovered. (1525-35, <MF laganum prob. <Gmc, cf. ON lagn, net laid in the sea)


Percentage of men who say they are happier after their divorce or separation: 58 percent.


Percentage of women who say they are happier after their divorce or separation: 85 percent.


Jimmy Carter was the first president to be born in a hospital.


My early and invincible love of reading, which i would not exchange for the treasures of India.              Edward Gibbon 1737-1794.


“Costive” means slow or reluctant in action, close, reticent, uncommunicative, niggardly, stingy.


Bats always turn left when they fly out of a cave.


Suicide note from the 18th century:

“All this buttoning and unbuttoning.”


Before there was jet lag there was boat lag.


“Lirks” are wrinkles or creases in the skin.


The shortest intercontinental commercial flight in the world is from Gibralter in Europe to Tangier in Africa at a distance of thirty-four miles and a flight time of twenty minutes.


Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward got married in Las Vegas. So did Elise and I. So did Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson. And a few other people too.


Diana, Princess of Wales, would be fifty this year.


I am a totally original artist and I never borrow anything from anyone. You can see that, can’t you?


A mamzer or momzer (1555-65 <Yiddish <Hebrew) is

1. a bastard child,

2. slang for rascal, or

3. a child born of a marriage forbidden in Judaism.


An adult sleeping with another adult in a a full size bed, four feet, six inches wide, and six feet, two inches long, has less personal space than a baby in a crib.


The practice of virtue is a joy and happiness in itself. It needs no religion nor philosophy to confer these benefits.


“Vagile” means free to move about. (From Latin vagus “wandering.”) “Vague” is from this same root, but I much prefer being vagile to being vague.


It was a beautiful day for sailing.


We are each here for a short trip to we know not where nor when the end. Make your map of this trip and know that it can change at any minute. Help your fellow travelers enjoy the ride.

Elise and Captain Chuck Rudy.


A “dingle” is a small wooded valley.

Trayf is the opposite of kosher.


Never give up. Hope and action are your duties when hard times come.


A viator is a traveler. (Latin via.)


The crazy passion of feelings just might, in the long run, be better than the serenity of being reasonable and not really caring one way or the other.


This is a vatic woman. (In Latin a “vates” is a seer, a prophet, an oracle.)


He continued to be a child long after he had ceased to be a prodigy.


Wall Street, meet your master:

Parker Brothers prints up about $ 50 billion worth of Monopoly money in a year.


Pecunia non olet.   (Money doesn’t smell.)

Emperor Vespasian said this answering Titus’ objection to the tax on public toilets.


Junk mail is, in a way, the happiest mail of all. it requires no action other than immediate disposal.


Sic transit gloria mundi.       (Thus passes the glory of the world.)


When I was in my 20s, I rode the bus a lot, traveling all over San Francisco to tutor my way through university. There was an advertisement on all the buses at that time which was a clever restatement of the above Latin sentence. It read “Sick transit? Gloria Monday!” and it meant that if your car was ill, you could still get to work on the first day of the week by taking the bus.


This is Haight and Scott Street at about that time.


Page and Fillmore, very near to where Peter Albin and I founded Big Brother and the Holding Company.


The Fillmore was a happening district long before the counterculture moved in. In the 30s, 40s, all the musicians played there, including Bird and Diz.


My 22 Fillmore bus, the one with the Sick Transit? Gloria Monday advert,  passed this spot every day. The Fillmore Auditorium, before it was THE FILLMORE.


A jamb is the post and lintel framework around a door where the hinges and locks attach. Believe it or not, “kick out the jambs” is an old carpenters’ phrase.


When friends gather and share their stories, the whole world becomes home.


Listen to everyone carefully and with respect, but don’t believe everything you hear. Don’t trust anything beyond your own perceptions.


There is a lady sweet and kind,

Was never face so pleased my mind,

I did but see her passing by,

And yet I love her till I die.


Leptosomes are ectomorphs, bear in mind.


Genius is deep feeling expressed vividly by a high intelligence.


An ablutomaniac is obsessed with washing, bathing.


Imagination is more important than knowledge, by far.


The narthex (Latin, Greek, giant fennel) is the enclosed passage in a church between the main entrance and the nave. You usually see reading matter and collection boxes there.


It was only after the year 440 in the Common Era that 25 December was celebrated as the birth date of Jesus Christ. Anything to liven up that Winter Solstice.


I drew these on Hawaii. It’s curious how I always remember the table, the environment, the smells, the people where I drew something. For that alone, it is worth keeping these drawings. They are more eloquent than a  word stuffed diary.


“Galeanthropy”  is the delusion of being a cat.


Where the brightest light is, right next to it is the most profound darkness. This is one of the first things the drawer learns.


All the things you put behind the doors of oblivion in daily life, come to visit you most dramatically in your dreams.


Science is an exclamation point! Philosophy is a question?


It might be best if students graduate from high school and then work in the real world for two years, and then go to university. More perspective that way.


A drawing is a philosophy expressed in images.


“Lapara” (Greek “loins”) is a combining form relating to the intestines or internal organs, as in laparoscopy.


Why do I create?

To teach myself something.


The word “samba” means to rub navels together.


The first work of fiction was done by the first person who told lies, who said something that wasn’t the way it really was.


A poem is a love letter to the world despite knowledge of all the world’s sad history.


A real work of art tells you something before you even understand what it is saying.


Makes you think, doesn’t it?


In Latin “hallex” is the big toe, so “hallucal” ia an anatomical term referring to that digit.


Television has proved that people love simple tales of conflict, cheap stories of love, gossip, and the lowest contests of physical and political prowess interlarded with the most inane sales pitches conceived by the mind of man repeated ad nauseam. There is also a dark side to it.


You are more of an étranger in France than you are in any other country.


Poets sing, painters limn and patriots waterboard.


This note is for my friend Max Clarke:

Georges Charpak, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1992, writes

“The official photographer informed me that I was the 137th Nobel laureate of whom he has had to make a portrait.

Certainly you know that 137 is a magic, quasi-mystical number in physics. It is equal to the velocity of light times the reduced Planck constant divided by the square of the electron charge! This number governs the size of all objects in the Universe. Some people claim that if this value were to be slightly different liife would not be possible.”


“Frass” is insect excrement. (German fressen, to eat.)


I did not become a vegetarian for my health, I did it for the health of the chickens.         Isaac Bashevis Singer  1978.


The word “lustral” comes from Latin “lustrare” which in turn came from “lucere” to shine. “Lustral” means purificatory.


See that blissful idiot,

He doesn’t give a damn,

I wish I were that idiot,

Uh, oh, Perhaps I am.


Mike Love married nine times.


“All By Myself” (Eric Carmen) is based on

Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2.


Matt Groening’s son is named Homer.


The word “agog” comes from Old French “en gogues,” meaning “in jest, good humor, joyfulness,” from “gogue” fun. “Gogue” also may be the root of “go-go,” dancers.


Grau, teurer Freund, ist alle Theorie

Und grün des Lebens goldner Baum.                 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

(Gray, dear friend, is all theory,

and green the golden tree of life.)


“When theory outstrips performance, watch out.”    Leonardo da Vinci.


“Feeling is quicker than thinking.”                             Sam Andrew.


She was born Joan Molinsky but she became Joan Rivers.


You should make a point of trying everything once, except for incest and folk dancing.


The armhole in clothing is called an armsaye.


Knackered is British slang for exhausted, very tired. The word comes from Scandinavian “hnakkr,” nape of the neck, saddle.


A female ferret will die if she goes into heat and cannot find a mate.


Traveling by air is the safest means of transportation. More people are killed by donkeys annually than are killed in plane crashes.


Aztec emperor Moctezuma had a nephew, Cuitlahac, whose name meant “plenty of excrement.”


A primitive steam engine invented by Greek engineer Hero about two thousand years ago is used today as a rotating lawn sprinkler.


A cockroach’s favorite food is the glue on the back of stamps.


Charlie Chaplin once won third prize in a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest.


“Feesks” are tufts of unruly hair.


“Cop” is an acronym for Constable on Patrol.


During the American Revolution many brides used to wear the color red instead of white as a symbol of rebellion.


Note to Jim Wall:

The hundred billionth crayon made by Crayola was Periwinkle Blue.


The most common name for a goldfish is Jaws.


Our house is too small to live in and too large to hang on a keychain.


The final cover for the Big Brother and the Holding Company CD Hold Me. There is a song there called Hold Me, very good ballad sung by Sohpia Ramos.


Clans long ago who desired to be rid of their unwanted people without killing them used to burn their houses down. Hence the expression “to fire” someone.


The expression “What in tarnation?” comes from the original phrase “What in eternal damnation?”


An assistant to a magician or scholar is a “famulus.”


More than one hundred descendants of Johann Sebastian Bach have been organists. In fact, for a long time in Germany to say “a musician” you could say “ein Bach.”


We know far less than one millionth of a percent of everything. We very likely know far less than one millionth of one millionth of a percent of everything.


When your sink is full, the little slot that lets the water drain, instead of overflowing, is called a porcelator.


If you want monogamy, marry a pigeon.


The trouble with the hereafter is that it is supposed to last forever. I mean, who has that long of an attention span?


Why is there so much month left at the end of the money?


Natura il fece, e poi roppe la stampa.

(Nature made him and then broke the mould.)


It’s better to be vivid than to be accurate. Never let the facts get in the way of a good drawing.


A “barcarole” is a Venetian boat song, usually in 6/8 or 12/8 time.


Andrew Jackson was the only president to believe that the world is flat.


It is possilbe, although, thank heavens, not probable, that we will soon have a president who doesn’t believe in evolution.


Note to Pizza Man. Here is what people from Libya look like. They have a dignity that you will never possess.


A Boeing 747’s wingspan is longer than the distance of the Wright Brothers’ first flight.


A reformed rake makes the best husband.


Ringo Starr was born during a World War II air raid.


I love the beauty and order of the lines and proportions in the body. It really is a kind of magic how they all fit together.


“Exiguous” means “scanty” or “meager.” I first encountered this word in Samuel Johnson, and it always makes me think of him even though his output was rather the opposite of exiguous. It wasn’t a dearth; it was a plethora.


An iceberg contains more heat than a match.


Sardines aren’t a certain kind of fish, but a certain size of fish. They were originally caught around Sardinia and are any of several species of small food fish found in temperate waters. They are also known as pilchards, especially when adult. Sardines are shoaling fish that live near the surface and they feed on plankton.


Ave, Lucia, gratia plena, benedicta tu in mulieribus.

(Hail, Lucia, full of grace, blessed art thou among women.)


Cinzia:  Are Tories born wicked, or do they grow wicked afterwards?

Iolanda:  They are born wicked, and grow worse.



Little sister, won’t you pllay with me?


In their tomb paintings, Etruscans painted women white and men red.


An “epigone” is an undistinguished imitator, follower or successor of, for example, an important writer, painter. (1860-1865 <L epgonus < Gk epigonos born afterward, gignesthai to be born.)


In ancient Egypt, the apricot was called the egg of the sun, killing a cat was a crime punishable by death and the hieroglyph for 100,000 was a tadpole.


There’s so much good in the worst of us,

And so much bad in the best of us,

That it hardly becomes any of us,

To talk about the rest of us.


Muss es sein? Es muss sein.

(Must it be? It must be.)


Victor Hugo gave all the officers in the Confederate Army copies of Les Misérables. Robert E. Lee, among others, believed the book symbolized their cause. Both revolts were defeated.


The “chancel” is that part of the church containing the altar and seats for the clergy and choir. A “chancellor” was once a person who controlled this area. Now Angela Merkel is the Chancellor of Germany (Kanzlerin?).


Hyena clans are dominated by females. This is very unusual, if not unique, among carnivores.


I have a Greek dictionary by Liddell and Scott,

Some words are crazy, and some words are not,

Alice In Wonderland’s father was Liddell, and

He defined most of the terms in the middle.


She bore about with her, she could not help knowing it, the torch of her beauty; she carried it erect into any room that she entered; and, after all, veil it as she might, and shrink from the monotony of bearing that it imposed on her, her beauty was apparent. She had been admired. She had been loved.           Virginia Woolf      To The Lighthouse 1927.



He doesn’t know his glutei from his olecranon. (Olecranon = elbow.)


“Hispid” means rough or brisly.


To keep from being separated while sleeping, sea otters tie themselves together with kelp, often drifting miles out to sea during the night.


The Founding Fathers considered having Benjamin Franklin write  the Declaration of Independence, but they were afraid he would put a joke in there.


On a trip to the South Sea Islands, French painter Paul Gauguin stopped off briefly in Central America, where he worked as a laborer on the Panama Canal.


Sumer is icumen in,

Lhude sing cuccu!

Groweth sed, and bloweth med,

And springeth the wude nu.


A second rate streetsinger is a “cantabank.”


Two main types of dinosaurs:

Saurischia had hip and pelvic bones like lizards and were carnivorous.

Ornithischia had hip and pelvic bones like birds and were herbivorous.

Le monde est plein de fous, et qui n’en veut pas voir,

Doit se tenir tout seul, et casser son miroir.

The world is full of fools, and he who doesn’t want to see any,

Should live alone and break his mirror.


Es bildet ein Talent sich in der Stille,

Sich ein Charakter in dem Strom der Welt.              Goethe.

Talent is grown in still waters, Character in the flood of life.


Henry Ford, noted anti Semite, believed in reincarnation and flatly stated that history is bunk.


Did you see The Inside Job? The only one in that whole investor/Wall Street/selling what they really don’t have/traders traitors thing who did any jail time at all was the madam who supplied the bankers with “girls.”


The “cremaster” is the muscle that raises or lowers the testicles in response to warmth, cold or whatever other stimuli.


I know what my mother would say about this:

Clark Gable used to shower more than four times a day.


In times of extreme duress, you could always try:

Oh, god, if there be a god, save my soul, if I have a soul.



Tout passe, tout casse, tout lasse.

(Everything passes, everything breaks, everything tires.)

“Macht doch den zweiten Fensterladen auch auf,

damit mehr Licht hereinkomme.”                         Goethe’s last words.

(Open the second shutter so that more light can come in.)


Shabby barfday too few,

Sappy barfday do you?

Seventy barfday sheer jammies,

Snappy barfday to use.

And Michael Moore !


Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Making A CD.

14 December 2011

We Made A CD.


Inspiring, Interesting, enlightening, in vitro, intuitive.


Engrossing, incipient, inclusive, infatuating, impulsive.


In tempo.


On 4 December 2011, I made my way to Cleveland, Ohio.


After landing at the airport, I called Holiday Inn to send me a shuttle


They took me to Snow Road which seemed like a good song title, so Jim Wall, Ben Nieves and I later recorded a thrash/death/progressive/groove/funk metal tune called Snow Road.


In 1965, when Big Brother and the Holding Company started playing with drummer Chuck Jones, we would often go insane for fifteen minutes with no plan at all. In Cleveland just last week, Ben, Jim and I used the same approach to record Snow Road. It is as much fun now as it was then.


Snow Road is in Brook Park which is a part of the Big Creek Watershed in Cleveland.


I was given a room at the end of the hall and very happy with my roll-in shower. It all seemed so Japanese with the drain in the middle of the bathroom floor.


My plan was to walk the watershed to Jim’s house every day.


Easy, right? Educational too.


On the way to the sessions I ran into all sorts of interesting places.


This tree in front of Jim’s house sprouted from an acorn about the time the Declaration of Independence was signed.


Some town officials came out and certified the tree’s age with a plaque, but she stretched as she grew and the plaque disappeared. Maybe she ate it.


Being a rather hoary creature myself, I identified with this magnificent oak.


Hairy, hurried recording sessions.


Mary Bridget Davies showed up with this bag featuring my old pal Chet Helms and his close friend Jesus in their new identities as photo buttons.


Where the magic happened.


I wrote a song called Rock a Bye, Baby when my daughter was born, and then later recorded it with Kathi MacDonald. We decided to try it again here.


Jim’s shirt.


I wrote a couple of ballads that seem straight out of the 1940s, and Ben got into the spirit of it. His solos are so beautiful.


Ben played everything with this thumb. That face is a blister.


Mary Bridget Davies.


We recorded a tune called Dogs In The Rain. I wrote it with Wendy Rich, but we couldn’t hear all the words, so Teressa Wilcox supplied some, and Ben Nieves, always a volunteer, added a few more.


Trying to look like my dad.


We did You’ve Been On My Mind Lately, a positive version of a tune that Big Brother did long ago.


Ben Nieves does Coast To Coast On A Piece Of Toast.


Mary Bridget sang Shining Glory. I wrote this song in the 1990s and it sounds better than ever now.


With Jim Wall.


Beneath that quiet, civilized exterior lies the heart of a savage.




We did a song called Now. Chris Hanna is going to play piano, and Teressa Wilcox will write the words. This is a tune that I played on the piano long ago and I want Jim Wall to compose an interlude for it, some kind of bridge to another section of the tune. Not absolutely necessary, but it would be fun.


I stayed in the Big Creek watershed area of Cleveland and walked four miles every day from Brook Park to Jim Wall’s house in Parma Heights. I took Snow Road for two and a half miles and then turned right on Stumpf Avenue for a mile and a half.


As I walked to Jim’s house every day, I thought about people who traveled through these woods before me. The Erie and the Shawnee tribes were here, and the Seneca and Iroquois nations came later.


When the Iroquois arrived, they called this land Ohiyo (it is beautiful). One of the songs we recorded is called Beautiful. I wrote it a long time ago with Kim Nomad. Jim Wall helped Mary Bridget Davies decipher and complete the words to this lovely tune, which is, after all, the literal translation of “Ohio.”


Leaf Shake Blues was fun, our only blues. I didn’t write this one. I made it up. Yes, I stole that line from Janis Joplin.


Ben Nieves and I played a song called Anxious Heart. Teressa Wilcox wrote the very beautiful words and Ben came up with a line or two. We had fun playing this one.


What Anxious Heart orignially looked like.


Jim Wall produced this whole session and we valued his intelligence, tact, talent. Very creative and helpful all the way.


There was a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect during this recording process.


I was ecstatic most of the time.


How Ben got that sweet sound on Whispers In My Mind.


And on Fairy Tales, a tune that Wendy Rich and I wrote in Florida.


Alex Call and I wrote a song called All Things Are Equal In The Eyes of the Lord. Jim Wall supplied some words for this tune. So did Mary Bridget.


You know a tune is good when everyone wants to contribute.


Some days were cold.


Some days were strange.


All the days were beautiful.


Mary worked hard on these sessions and helped pull everything together.


Coast To Coast On A Piece Of Toast. I wrote the title and, dammit, I’m proud of it. We all wrote the song.


We did a song in 3/4 called All The Love You Need. I wrote this one with Gary Albright who used to play drums in The Sam Andrew Band.


My guitar.


Ben’s bass (which he played very well indeed).


Jim Wall, Ben, Mary Bridget and I did a song called The Clap, but we’re hoping that that is not the final title. Silver Bullet might be better.


Doing a solo on The Clap.


And watching the ribbons of sound.


“Play it my way… or else!”


After my four mile walk to Jim’s neighborhood, I would often stop for something to eat at the Udupi Café.


Whoops, a little late for the one o’clock band.


Paul Mondavi, thank you.


This is a season to remember that things are not always what they seem.


Sunrise in Cleveland and I am about to get on the airplane.


Almost home. There’s the Airporter.


Home to Elise, and her dear reign, or her reindeer, or something like that.


See you next week!


Big Brother and the Holding Company


The Sheik of Araby

30 November 2011



Ted Snyder composed this music in 1921. Harry B. Smith and Francis Wheeler wrote the words in response to the Rudolph Valentino film The Sheik. This song was a Tin Pan Alley hit and everyone played it. The Sheik of Araby is mentioned in The Great Gatsby. Fats Waller and Fats Domino both performed interesting versions of the tune. So did The Preservation Hall Jazz Band  and Louis Prima. Sidney Bechet recorded it the year I was born and Harry Connick, Jr. did it later. Oscar Peterson also.


Wilhelmina & Sam Andrew, Las Vegas, 1945)


A baby caribou is so swift it can easily outrun its mother when it is only three days old.


German, Dutch and English are sisters. Frisian is a fraternal (sororal?) twin to English. Entire sentences in both languages are identical.


In Bladworth, Saskatchewan, it is illegal to frown at cows.


Jim Wall et une Française in Saint Die, France. This is Alsace home of my mother’s people.


Sandy and Ken Scarborough kindly sent me these beautiful photographs of Packards. Earlier, they sent some great images of Wright Brothers planes.


Elise Piliwale.


“The Wizard Faithless Güero. Killing Güeros. Killing Güeros. Killing Güeros.”

“Güero” means “pale.” It is a slang word for “American,” “paleface.”


We know that Iran has weapons of mass destruction. We have the receipts. By the way, we the American people paid for those weapons. They are ours.

I don’t remember being consulted about selling them to Iran and I know the money didn’t come back here. It went to South America.


Mary Bridget Davies and Sam Andrew, Dornbirn, Austria, 2009.


One of the stupidest sentences I have ever read about language:

“Mothers were originally named Mama or Mommy because they have mammary glands.”

Mothers were called mama because mama is a sound that babies naturally make. Same for Papa or Dada. “Mammary” came from “mama,” not the other way round. The babies didn’t think,”Oh, she has a mammary gland, so I’ll call her “mama” for short. Academics can be so thick sometimes.


Sherida Andrew, my brother Bill’s wife. The Andrew boys love dark haired women, probably because our mother was a brunette.


René Descartes saw a fly walk across a tiled ceiling and, in a flash of insight, he formulated the theory of coordinate geometry.


Tree frogs can climb window panes. What if Descartes had seen that? What kind of geometry would that be? Window panes are transparent, so several dimensions beyond three may be involved. What if the pane were curved as in a bay window or an automobile’s windshield? A tree frog climbing on a curved car window  could involve some very interesting mathematics to say the least.


Descartes made a connection between algebra and geometry sometime in the 1600s. Not until the 1900s would these insights make their way into ordinary textbooks.


Three hundred years. That’s quite a bit of lag time.


What if René Descartes had heard a particularly good solo by, say, Django Reinhardt, and truly had understood its implications? What kind of geometry would he have evolved then, and where are the mathematicians today who will attempt to map such a set of variables? A kind of geometry of sound?


During World War II, because metal was scarce, the Academy Awards were made of wood.


A normal raindrop falls at about seven miles per hour.


Jen Sterling is back from a month in India. See her glow?


Ten percent of frequent flyers say they never check their luggage when flying. I am one of those. It’s hell in the overheads, though.


A violin is made of seventy separate pieces of wood.


Gramophones or phonographs or Victrolas amplified their sound through large horns. To cut down on the noise, people would often stuff a woolen sock in the horn, hence the phrase “put a sock in it.”


Arr, belay there, mates, avast, it be Mary Bridget Davies with the old grog.


Reindeer have scent glands between their hind toes. The glands help them leave scent trails for the herd. Researchers say the odor smells cheesy.


What the researchers ignore is that all body odors of all animals smell cheesy. All of mine do anyway, and to me the skunk odor definitely has cheesy overtones.


In fact, just a whisper of skunk odor is quite pleasurable, and many parfumiers (is this a word?) use the odor of a civet, close relative of the skunk, as a medium or binder for their fragrances.


Lanolin, an essential ingredient of many expensive cosmetics, is, in its native form, a foul cheese smelling, waxy tar-like substance extracted from the fleece of sheep.


Remember Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask?) by Woody Allen? Gene Wilder, a psychiatrist, fell in love with his patient, a sheep, and when she finally cut him off, he would buy bottles of Woolite (which contained lanolin) just so he could remember her? So sad.


One of the first lightbulbs was a thread of sheep’s wool coated with carbon.


There is a young trio of Manouche gypsies, the Gebo-swing, who do a good version of The Sheik of Araby. The bass player is left handed and he has strung the bass appropriately which is very unusual. These are the inheritors of the Django Reinhardt/Stochelo Rosenberg tradition.


My brother Lee on the left. France, 1965.


The giant squid is the largest creaure without a backbone. It weighs up to two and a half tons and grows up to fifty-five feet long. Each eye is a foot or more in diameter.


One of the first portraits I did of Elise Piliwale.


My friend Clark Walker’s image of Marilyn.


Whales, mice, elephants, humans and giraffes all have seven neck vertebrae.


Is that bump you feel on your back between your shoulders… is that bump called the seventh cervical vertebra? Medical people often calll it c7.


This vertebra is an important drawing landmark on the body, especially in profile.


Ben and I in Dubrovnik, Dalmatian coast, 2011.


The shrimp’s heart is in its head.


Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel in 1952. He declined. So, who said he wasn’t smart?


Elise Piliwale, charcoal. This is before I knew how to paint, so it has to be some time in the 1990s.


Rocky Racoon lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota.


Sam Houston Andrew, Jr. 1953.


The Wrights flew this plane lying down. This is the actual aircraft. Can you believe how new it looks? My father was born not too long after the brothers flew this plane, and, in his lifetime, was responsible for the radar and electronics in B52s. From the Wright plane to the Boeing 52 is an impressive rate of evolution by any measure, and it happened in one lifetime.


The Wright Brothers’ first plane was called The Bird of Prey.


“I then called at Drury Lane for Mr. Garrick. He was vastly good to me. ‘Sir,’ said he, ‘you will be a very great man. And when you are so, remember the year 1763. I want to contribute my part towards saving you. And pray, will you fix a day when I shall have the pleasure of treating you with tea?’ I fixed next day. ‘Then, Sir,’ said he, ‘the cups shall dance and the saucers skip.’ “

James Boswell 20 January 1763.


Women used to be allowed to live on navy ships. When they gave birth, the event often happened behind a canvas screen near the midship gun. If the paternity was uncertain, the child was entered in the log as “son of a gun,” the origin of this common phrase.


Alexander the Great lived in Macedonia, which not long ago was part of Yugoslavia. He was an epileptic and he was tutored by Aristotle. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Alexander. That’s a kind of family tree of… wisdom?


My father loved these beautiful cars. This Packard might very well live in Edd Hart’s hometown in Ohio.


My brother Bill about 1981.


The best woman I have ever known. Elise Piliwale.


A hamlet is a village without a church, and a town is not a city until it has a cathedral.


Butterflies taste with their hind feet.


Warren, Ohio.


Oh, Puissant Potentate, Please hear my Prayer. Prohibit Pestilence.


It takes eight and a half minutes for light to get from the sun to earth. All totaled, the sunlight that strikes the earth at any given moment weighs as much as an ocean liner.


The billionth digit of pi is nine.


A blind chameleon still changes color to match its environment.


“Satellite” in German is “Trabant.”


From a painting that no longer exists.


I once had a friend who seriously argued this.


I’m surprised there have been that many.

It has been calculated that in the last 3,500 years, there have been only 230 years of peace throughout what we laughingly call the “civilized world.”


In the 1700s in London, you could purchase insurance against going to hell.

That‘s the Protestant, Episcopalian, Presbyterian version. In the Middle Ages, you could buy your way out of Purgatory by obtaining “indulgences,” papal or otherwise. They were for sale… anywhere.


Pilgrims ate popcorn at the first Thanksgiving dinner.


Elise Piliwale sings Gospel.


Dominique et le frimeur in Paris at La Boule Noire.


There has never been a president from the Air Force or Marine Corps, although Ronald Reagan was in the Army Air Corps, and so was my father.


Two of dad’s men working with typical Signal Corps equipment of the time.


Peter Albin, serious.


Teressa in her limousine.


Ben Nieves, always willing to lend a hand.


Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum do their genius versions of this tune. I love how everyone treats the introduction. That is the place for exotic scales and harmonies, since the tune itself is so foursquare and traditional.


People don’t always say “hello” when they answer the phone. When the first regular phone service was established in 1878, people said

”ahoy.”  In Italy they say “pronto,” ready. I say “This is Sam.” In Japan they say “moshi, moshi,” and in China they say “wei, wei.”


One of the reasons that marijuana is illegal today is because cotton growers in the 1930s lobbied against hemp farmers. They saw hemp as competition. Everyone probably knows that both Washington and Jefferson grew hemp on their property, yes? I mean, just for the rope, you understand.


One hundred sixty cars can drive side by side on the Monumental Axis in Brazil, the world’s widest road.


The abbreviation ORD for Chicago’s O’Hare Airport comes from the old name Orchard Field.


James Gurley, the Pontiff.


Someone should tell Rick Perry this:

The slogan on New Hampshire license plates is “Live Free or Die.” These license plates are made by inmates at the state prison in Concord.


Not sure if Rick Perry has been here:

There is an airport in Kolkata (Calcutta) named Dum Dum Airport.


“Vatos.” Mexican slang. “Guys.”




Mrs. Grundy and Lipstick at The New Yorker offices.


My brother Bill’s 1949 Simca 8 in France, the land of Jeanne d’Arc.


There are more statues of Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc) than anyone else in the world. In France alone there are 40,000 of them.


The Babylonian bride’s parents were required to keep the groom supplied with mead, a honey flavored wine, for a month following the wedding. This is the origin of the word “honeymoon.”


Methane gas can often be seen bubbling up from the bottom of ponds. It is produced by the decomposition of dead plants and animals in the mud.


The tip of a bullwhip moves so fast that it breaks the sound barrier. The crack of the whip is actually a tiny sonic boom.


Ben and I on the bridge. Mostar, Bosnia, 2011.


The Netherlands and the United States both have anthems that do not mention their countries’ names.


After the Popeye comic strip started in 1931, spinach consumption went up by 33 % in the United States.


Romans only numbered the daylight hours. They began at six in the morning which was the first hour. So, three in the afternoon was the ninth hour (in Latin “nona”).


There was a monastic order so devout that they declared that they would not eat their first meal until “nona,”” three in the afternoon. They rang a bell to announce that hour.


Monks are humans too, though, and as they became hungrier “nona” came earlier. That bell was heard sooner and sooner until it rang around midday.


The villagers mocked the hungry monks and declared that midday was “nona,” noon. This is the origin of the word.


Peter proposed to Cheyenne on his knees at The Spanish Steps in Rome a month ago. Talk about romantic. Mary Bridget Davies, Ben Nieves and I visted the Spanish Steps last August and the scene was so chaotic that you could do just about anything there, including asking your very beautiful girlfriend to marry you. Congratulations, Peter. Love to you, Cheyenne.


The words “racecar” and “kayak” are palindromes. So is “eve.”

So is “tattarrattat,” a word invented by James Joyce in Ulysses (1921) for a knock on the door. If you roll the R in tattarrattat and say the T the way the Irish do, you will get a sound very close to the sound of a knocking on a door.

Tattarrattat may be the longest palindrome in English.


Harvard uses Yale brand locks on her university buildings. Yale uses Best brand on hers.


I’ve been obsessing about this tune and Up A Lazy River. Hoagy Carmichael’s tune, like him, is rangy and craggy. This one The Sheik of Araby is the opposite, stepwise, much narrower in scope. Everyone played this song. Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian and let’s not forget Spike Jones. THE BEATLES. The Beatles did this tune. John sang it. I’ve often thought the Beatles were such great songwriters because they really knew everyone else’s work so well. They knew popular music because they performed more songs from more eras than anyone. Just a theory, but it seems reasonable.


I’m going to Cleveland to make a CD. See you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Moe’s, Santa Cruz, and Georges, San Rafael.

27 November 2011




Playing at The Monterey Jazz Festival a little while ago.


Stefanie and I drove down to Santa Cruz. We went by Half Moon Bay and took Highway 1 on into Santa Cruz. What a beautiful trip.


We played at Moe’s, a great little place.


We did two sets, and shook some cobwebs out.



It was great to be playing again.


Stefanie loaned me her Mesa amplifier. It’s that little thing sitting there by Tom Finch. It had such a great sound.


A town called Davenport, population 375. The land here is so beautiful.


Some of the people at Moe’s, including Peggy Pettigrew Stewart.


Last night we played at Georges in San Rafael, California.


Lynn Asher came down to sing Bye, Bye, Baby with us. It was so good to see her.


What a fun gig this was. All of our old friends. Everything worked, what a wonderful night.


With Chloé Price, talented singer, sweet woman.


Albert Ellis and Bernie down the street from Georges.




Peter Albin right before the first set.


Tom Finch in character.


I asked Tal Morris to sit in. I have known him and Tom since they were boys, and they’ve always been talented and interesting people.


I want to apologize right here to all the people in these photographs. I shot them with an iPhone in very low light and a chaotic atmosphere, so the snaps are terrible but I wanted to get some kind of record of who they are and of this special night. Kristin, for example, is very beautiful, but I moved in so close to her trying to get enough light.


Brad Jenkins’ friend Veda.


Brad played well tonight, especially on Shaky Ground.


Peter’s daughter Jennifer and her friend. I promise to hold the camera a little farther away in future.


This couple knows where Minden, Naveda, is, the only people I’ve met so far who do.


Old friend Paul Price who brought Chloé and Kevin to see us.


Shannon Cinnamon McCloud who is much more beautiful than this.


Peggy, Rosie and Shannon. Ditto.


Catalina Hansen and her very intelligent friend.


Enticing Cat.


Kurt Huget played well tonight on Shaky Ground and Down On Me.


Lizzie Getz whom I have known all her life. She brought her friend. I like Lizzie’s hat.


Alan Weiss who used to live with Chet Helms and me in Bernal Heights, San Francisco.


James Pell and his sweet girlfriend.


Lovely woman.


Many people who came to see us were born long after we recorded Piece of My Heart.


My grandfather Albert Mann.


I have been obsessed with this tune lately. I don’t know why.  Also The Sheik of Araby from about the same period.


They don’t make Republicans like this any more. Dwight Eisenhower was a real soldier and not a chicken hawk.


Heading on down the tracks. See you soon.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


A Prayer of Thanksgiving.

24 November 2011


There are so many things to be thankful for today.


Audrey’s special blend of beauty, quality and charm.


The sanctuary of sleep.


People who give themselves in performance.


The grace and mystery of life.




Classic automobile design and license plates from Portugal.


The flavor and variety all over the world.


The whimsical, fey beauty of some women.


Ideograms and how they give us complete meaning in one character.


A good five cent cigar.


Thankful for the beauty that is in abstract design.


So lucky to be alive and to be here.


All the fire that is in life.


And the ability to quench that fire when need be.


Thank you for rhythm and time throughout the universe.


For the birds of the air with their style in flight.


The natural patterns that are everywhere.


When I first lived in France, the franc was worth about twenty cents. That was something to be thankful for. Five to the dollar about 1962.


The woody sound of the Gibson jazz guitars.


Las cubanas, hay algo mas que decir?


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who said and wrote such wonderful things.


I was thankful in the eighth grade when a priest gave me a beautiful harmonica because I was “the most musical boy in the room.” Not true, actually, but I took the harmonica anyway and played Christmas songs on it for years.


Thankful for hats which I never could wear. My wife Elise Piliwale can wear any hat and make it look beautiful. If the manufacturer of that hat saw Elise in it, s/he would offer her money right away just to go around wearing that hat.


We give thanks today for designs that can be new and beautiful too.


Thank you whoever is responsible for the irrepressible Jerry Lee Lewis, his genius and the fire in his soul.


And for the machines.


Who seem to take on a life of their own.


Thanksgiving for all the hunting horns, their sounds, their whole family of overtones and overtures.


For the forefathers and foremothers who show us the way.


I am giving thanks for all the modes of beauty, all the flowers in the garden.


And, yes, for pasta in its myriad and delicious diversity.


Thank you, all you painters who have gone before and showed the way.


Especially to Rembrandt who persisted through some very rough times and reached a higher plateau toward the end of his life.


To Rossini who wrote all those singable melodies and fit them to stories glorious and giddy.


We in Big Brother and the Holding Company give thanks that we were allowed to go to Russia in 1995 and see that the Russians were still as alive and spirit seeking as they were in novels of Dostoyefsky and Tolstoy.


Very thankful for dizzy distractions in the middle of momentous undertakings.


Today we will be thankful too for the aimless silliness of life.


And we will remember the serious, solemn Schopenhauers among us too.


Freedom, too, is so easy to overlook, and, every moment that we are free is a glorious moment, and we should be mindful of that always.


Thank you whoever invented the shoe, thank you very much. How clever.


We are grateful for order and well proportioned elegance everywhere.


Manmade and inherited.


For that deep toned sound of the Swiss bell, full and truly musical.


For the whistle of the teakettle on the hob.


Oh, and by all means, let’s not forget Tina Fey.


Mostly I am thankful for Elise Piliwale, her warmth, her intelligence, her generosity and kindness every day.


Thank you always for being there.

Sam Andrew.

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Cioppino or Champuru?

20 November 2011



I did an interview with Engrid Whisenant today. She is a PhD candidate in Music Geography at the University of Nevada, Reno. Thirty years ago Peter Hugh Nash of the University of Waterloo wrote “Music Regions and Regional Music,” the first scholarly article on music authored by a professional geographer, and the field has grown since then. Engrid is researching Virginia City, and specifically the Red Dog Saloon, as a nexus for music and other bohemian activity.


Ladies and Gentlemen, Stefanie Keys who will be our fabulous chanteuse this weekend at Moe’s in Santa Cruz and Georges in San Rafael, California.


This is Ochi Shiho-san. She is quite talented and very well known in Japan where she lives. Shiho-san came to record with us in Sausalito, and then, a little later, she sang a couple of songs with us at a very important event in Woodstock, New York. Our usual singer Sophia Ramos had the courage and the bigness of heart to give Shiho-san a lot of space on the Woodstock stage. This is when Sophia proved herself to me as a lionness of kindness and generosity of spirit. You will see a lot of photographs of Shiho-san below.


The first second I saw Shiho-san.


Lynn Asher says she will sing a song with us at Geroge’s, 26 November.

Can’t wait. What song should it be, Lynn? Bye, Bye, Baby?


Any fool can make some rules,

But someone wise will know they’re lies.


We have three hundred different hamburgers here at every fast food joint in the country, and yet we are supposed to get along with only two political parties? Long ago we gave up recording on two track machines.


“Washington Irving.”

Answer to the question “Who was the first president, Max?”


With Superfly (Shiho-san) and Tom Finch.

Ed Earley. He’s played with everyone. James Brown, Albert King, even me. Unfailing good cheer and positive thoughts, he always wants to help and he keeps the ball rolling in the good direction. Ed Earley is a National Treasure. Beyond measure.


Telly Savalas was Jennifer Anniston’s godfather.


In a hotel lobby in São Paulo with Natalie.


You want to try to win a war?

Win an earthquake?

Why? What for?


Other than the Book of Leviticus, you won’t find many jokes in the Bible.


Steve Martin was born on the day that Japan surrendered, WWII.

Examples of cliché over use and brain under use:

People who

call themselves “yours truly.”

speak of themselves in the third person.

say “we” when they mean “I.”

say that something they did is “life affirming.”

say “ongoing,” “early on,” “on the ground” and “as we speak.”


Chloe Lowery and Eliise Piliwale, Hawaii.


Is Sade a sadist?

Beats me.


With Nikita Germaine.


No, i haven’t read the New Testament, but I read the Old Testament, and  I liked it very, very much, he said sheepishly.


“Henry Kissinger may have wished I had presented him as a combination of Charles DeGaulle and Disraeli, but I didn’t… out of respect for DeGaulle and Disraeli. I described him as a cowboy because that is how he described himself. If I were a cowboy I would be offended.”    (Oriana Fallaci)


I wonder who’s Kissinger now?


The first kiss was delivered by god when she breathed life into Adam.


The Romans had three different types of kiss: basium (the kiss on the lips); osculum (a friendly kiss on the cheek) and suavium, the soul kiss.


Those who couldn’t write made their mark with an X. The demonstrative ones would then kiss the X to show love, sincerity, deep feeling. The Romans sealed their contracts with a kiss. XXX.


Polar bears kiss. So do kangaroos. Chimpanzees French-kiss. Sea lions rub mouths. A male mouse licks the mouth of a female mouse. An elephant sometimes brushes his trunk against the female’s lips.


Lord Nelson said “Kiss me, Hardy,” as he was dying in the Battle of Trafalgar. Manly historians, ignorant of historical context, have claimed that what the Admiral really said was “Kismet, Hardy.” Hardy, little dreaming that he would be the ancestor of Stan Laurel’s partner, Oliver Hardy, heard Nelson’s request and kissed him. “Now I am satisfied,” quoth the Admiral and promptly expired.


The film with the most kisses is the 1926 Don Juan in which John Barrymore performed 191 kisses with different women.


The first genuine French kiss in a Hollywood film was between Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty in the 1961 Splendor In The Grass.


Eskimos rub noses. Polynesians like rubbing noses, but also enjoy the mitakuku, which involves biting hairs from eyebrows. Chinese touch each other’s cheeks and then sniff. Pacific Islanders inhale each other’s breath. In Gambia a man holds the back of a lover’s hand against his nose.


Kissing a frog doesn’t necessarily get you a prince, but it might get rid of your cold sore, thanks to a chemical secreted from frog skins.


The first kiss in an Indian film didn’t take place until 1978’s Love Sublime, when Shashi Kapoor and Zeenat Aman embraced. An Indian minister described the kissing scenes as “an insult” and called for a mass protest.


Every musician, however modest, keeps a montrous ego chained like a wild beast in the isolation chamber of his soul.


Ben Stiller was taught how to swim by the Pips. Not Gladys Knight, but the Pips.


When you reach a certain age, you get better and better at recognizing a mistake you make again and again.


Sakai, such a wonderful singer.


Turn off the TV, don’t read the news. Why listen to yesterday’s blues?


This is Mari Mack. She sang with us once in Woodacre, California. She and I have been trying to plan a duo gig for sometime now, and I hope it happens soon. i am trying to get her to come down and sing a song with us at Georges in San Rafael this Saturday.


Singers aren’t exactly people. They’re a whole lot of people trying to be one person.


Opera in English is like the NFL in italian.


No sane man will dance.     Cicero (106-43  B.C.)


If you don’t take good care of your body, where are you going to live?



Wilhelmina Mann Andrew, 1939.


Note to Pizza Man: Thou shalt not admit adultery.


I never really trust a man until I know I have his pecker in my pocket.

(Lyndon Baines Johnson)


James Gandolfini and Samuel L. Jacson play the trumpet.


What to do in case of emergency:

1.     Grab your coat,

2.     Get your hat,

3.     Leave your worries on the doorstep.

4.     Just direct your feet,

5.     To the sunny side of the street.


Elise Piliwale, San Geronimo, California.


Everything weighs one percent less at the equator.


Alfred Hitchcock refused to learn to drive for fear of being stopped by a policeman.


William Shatner has a Doberman pinscher named Kirk.


The most impossible item to flush is a Ping-Pong ball.



How many roads must a man travel down before he admits he is lost?


Help! I’m a prisoner of nature and nurture.


Elise’s spiritual photograph of a lonely chair.


Because of the rotation of the earth, an object can be thrown farther if it is thrown west.


Tasmania has the cleanest air in the inhabited world.


Months that begin on a Sunday will always have a Friday the 13th.


The saltwater crocodile kills 2,000 people a year because it is fast in and out of the water. It can outrun a galloping horse and kills in seconds.


Predigital observation:

Fear is that little darkroom of the soul where negatives are developed.


Diane Lotny, Kate Pierson and Elise Piliwale.


Kirsten Dunst turned down Mena Suvari’s role in American Beauty.


“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.


“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”

Harry Warner of Warner Brothers, 1927.


“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”

Western Union internal memo, 1876.


Elise Piliwale and Stephanie Valenti.


Tabo Koichi-san and Ochi Shiho-san.


Prince William is a bungee jumper.


With Narada Michael Walden and Mario Cipollina.


Judy Garland tried hypnosis for her stage fright but found that Irish whiskey worked better.


Elise Piliwale and Donnie Baldwin.


Banjo players a little better known for some other activity:

Steve Martin, George Segal, EwanMcGregor.


Susan Zelinsky was going to sing Down On Me and Hold Me with us this Saturday at George’s in San Rafael. She called today with an obvious case of laryngitis, so we are going to miss her this time.


“There is no sweeter sound than the crumbling of one’s fellow man.”

Groucho Marx (1890-1977)

And doesn’t “Groucho” seem rather too innocent a name for such a man?


Formula for success: Rise early, Work hard, Win the lottery.


The trouble with first thing in the morning is that it comes too early in the day.


With Buddha, bassist beyond bad.


If you have a job without difficulties, frustrations, annoyances, and a boss who is stupider than you, then you don’t have a job.


On Hallowe’en, some people broke into my house and replaced everything with identical copies. When I pointed this out to my wife, she said, “Do I know you?”

Gravity can be slow, heavy, awkward and ponderous, but it’s the law.


Capital punishment is our society’s recognition of the sanctity of human life.

(Orrin Hatch, Utah)


So, I am just left with this one existential question…


Was it a cioppino or a champuru?

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Occupy San Francisco.

13 November 2011



I’ve occupied Aroma Café for years now. It’s a wonderful place.

Photo: Shelley Champine.


Today we’re going to occupy San Francisco.


My wife Elise Piliwale is a nurse and she volunteered to Occupy San Francisco, or, actually, the front steps of the Wells Fargo Bank at California and Montgomery, so of course I had to go out of curiosity and, I suppose, empathy.


Elise spends many hours of the week at Saint Francis Hospital, 900 Hyde Street, San Francisco. This is one of the Catholic Health Care West hospitals.


She parks across the street at this garage and then she goes to the tenth floor in the hospital, where she is an oncology nurse.


Saint Francis Hospital has a widely varying set of guests. Some of Elise’s people are from here.


And others, mainly plastic surgery candidates, are from here, Nob Hill, but all have in common that they are very demanding people. Not shy at all about what they want.


On Thursday 3 November, Elise and I drove to where Market Street meets the Ferry Building and I dropped her off to go and join her fellow protestors at Justin Herman Plaza. I went to park the car, walk down Market Street, and join her. I’m related to Vitales, so of course this hotel caught my eye.


On that walk to meet Elise at the Federal Reserve Bank,101 Market, I thought about a lot of old friends, like Jay Blakesberg and Karen Lyberger.


And other old friends too, some of them inanimate but still dear.

This is the Hobart Building, designed by Willis Polk. I used to play guitar on the top floors of this place when I was 18.


Another old friend, the Mechanics Monument, Market and Battery. Douglas Tilden made this sculpture, commissioned by James Mervyn Donahue in honor of his father Peter Donahue, who created the city’s first iron foundry. Oh, if this iron could speak.


Douglas Tilden, sculptor of this monument, had scarlet fever when he was four. So did I, but I got off easier. Tilden was rendered a deaf mute by the disease. He made many beautiful sculptures all over the City, lovely work, energetic, well done.


When this Mechanics Monument was installed, all of the narrow minded people of the day decided that the mechanics needed trousers. Ahhh, Republicans. They are so interesting, aren’t they? More corrupt than anyone else, yet always demanding a puritanical double standard in public life. Saner forces soon prevailed and the monument exists today as Tilden made it.


I remember this building from walking by her when I was 20, and she is a real survivor. One of her walls was built when the 1906 earthquake happened, and it survived the shake. Then, the engineers dynamited that wall to try to create a fire barrier to save the Palace Hotel. Uh, uh, she wasn’t going. The wall withstood the explosives. So, they built the rest of the Monadnock around that wall and here she is today, watching Occupy San Francisco. She will probably survive that too.


I walked past the Matson Building at 245 Market Street. Clad in glazed tan terra cotta with green accents, she is a beauty. There are a lot of nautical images that relate to the Matson Steamship lines, seashells, fish, anchors and steamships. Ionic capitals outlined by ropes. This is another old lady from San Francisco.


I finally reach the trysting place with Elise, and everyone is here… everyone but Elise.


“Where are the nurses?” I asked someone at The Federal Reserve Bank. “Oh, they marched up California Street,” she said. “I think they’re at Wells Fargo.”


I crossed Market and started walking west up the California Street hill.


It seems as if every block in San Francisco tells me something about my life in this City. One of my attorneys once had an office on California. i used to come and ask him if I could just look at my money for a second. He usually let me.


I pass Leidesdorff Alley and think of William Leidesdorff (1810-1848) San Francisco’s most prominent early Black citizen. He built a warehouse here at California and Leidesdorff, which was once, hard to believe now, the waterfront. William Leidesdorff was flamboyant, alive, he was only 38. He crowded a lot into that short life. Imagine all the sounds and sights that he experienced in that early San Francisco in this very alley.


William Leidesdorff served as U.S. Vice Consul during the Mexican rule of San Francisco, and also as city treasurer, councilman and member of the school committee. He is buried at Mission Dolores.


I walked half a block farther west up California Street and there was a crowd of nurses and Elise’s bright shining face in the center of them.


I walk around the crowd to find her and there is Bob King old friend from Aroma Café there with her. Hey, it’s a party.


Elise and Bob and a lot of other people are yelling things like this.


There are speakers at this rally, some quite good, all interesting.


Everyone says, “What do they want, what do they want?” Well, here are a few things they want… some trivial, some essential, some silly, some long, long overdue.


This is Jon Mill who organized the protest, Saint Francis Hospital division.


The weather cooperated. In fact, very soon after this was over, the heavens opened and poured down a gentle rain to remind us that god had blessed our cause… or something like that anyway.

Lots of nurses.



Elise and Bob returning to the starting place, 101 Market Street.


If people are pushed much further, they are going to start voting with their money.


There’s the Ferry Building 1896-1898. When I was six, I walked down Market Street, this street, with my parents and I remember this building from then.


Back at the starting point, Elise sees some old friends and colleagues.


There are many curious similarities to the Tea Party movement, both grass roots, both leaderless, but the adherents of each don’t resemble each other at all, in education, dress, anything.


After the party was over, we drove to the Embarcadero and waved goodbye to the Bay Bridge, who is having her 75th birthday this week.


Around the top of San Francisco to get on The Golden Gate Bridge.


Through the rainbow and into Marin County.


There’s Sausalito. Yes, we’re on our way home.


We leave Highway 101 at San Rafael, and get on Third Street which will change into Sir Francis Drake and take us the ten miles to our house.


After we pass Fairfax, we get into San Geronimo Valley and see Flanders Farm off to the right.


Now we’re home.


That was an interesting day.


I’ll see you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company



6 November 2011

You set your clocks back an hour, right?

The sun is shining down today,

What a lovely time to play.

A painting flows with life and change,

Good thing too, ‘cause this one’s strange.

The atria are the upper chambers of the heart. They receive blood from the body and lungs, and fill the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart).

The atrium in a Roman house was the central space around which the other rooms were organized. “Ater” is one of the Latin words for “black,” and the atrium originally was where the hearth was located, so the ceiling over the fire would be blackened with smoke since there was a hole to let the smoke out as in a teepee. (There is an old English word “atrabilious” which means black bile.) Later, the atrium became a clear, open space, often with a pool and the ceiling still open to the sky.

The Vindolanda tablets named after the Roman Fort Vindolanda in Britain are the oldest surviving handwritten documents and the first letters written in ink during the Roman period. A scribe wrote the main body of this letter and then Claudia Severa added in her own hand a brief personal message to her friend Sulpicia Lepidina.

“Claudia Severa to her Lepidina greetings. On 11 September, sister, for the day of the celebration of my birthday, I give you a warm invitation to make sure that you come to us, to make the day more enjoyable for me by your arrival.” (Then Claudia writes this in her own hand) “Give my greetings to your Cerialis. My Aelius and my little son send him their greetings.”

This is the oldest document we have in a woman’s handwriting.

Romana est.

Bris is the Yiddish for the Hebrew brit milah, meaning covenant of the circumcision, and represents the Jewish covenant with God. If the baby boy is the first child in the family, there is a redemption of the first born, or pidyon ha-ben, commonly pronounced pidna ben in Yiddish. The child must be redeemed from a Kohen (member of the priestly tribe) with five silver coins.

(Dale Burkhardt’s drawing of Bill Graham and Janis Joplin.)

Euphemisms are curious. White meat and dark meat for breast and thigh now sound more politically and socially incorrect than the terms they were meant to soften.

Big Brother and the Holding Company played some of our first gigs at The Matrix in Cow Hollow, San Francisco. Marty Balin and his father Joe Buchwald opened the place August 1965. The Matrix was on Fillmore Street at Pixley Alley near Lombard. Before we played, I used to love to walk in this area and see the beautiful, individual, sometimes eccentric buildings that abound here. The Matrix itself was a renovated pizza shop, so nothing special, but we liked playing there and so did a lot of other people.

Bareilles Farm House, 2940 Octavia Street, 1870, one of the last dairy farm houses standing in Cow Hollow, San Francisco.

Cow Hollow was named for the dairy farms and gardens that populated the area in the 1800s. Fishermen lived here too, since the northern shore of San Francisco was much closer than it is now. When settlers first visited Spring Valley, as it was known in the mid-1800s, the area around what is now Union Street was predominantly sand hills and grassy meadows with a large lagoon fed by freshwater springs. Cow Hollow is very roughly between The Marina District on the north and Pacific Heights to the south, and Russian Hill and The Presidio, east and west.

Illa potio maxima esta me visa. (Latin)

That is the largest drink I have ever seen. (John Till)

The custom of a host drinking to a friend’s health originated with the Greeks (6th century BC) to assure guests that the wine had not been poisoned. The Roman custom of droppiing a burnt piece of toast into a cup of wine is the origin of the verbal usage. Charcoal can reduce a liquid’s acidity, and a blackened piece of bread added to an inferior, slightly vinegary wine can render it more mellow and palatable. Our word “toast” comes from the Latin tostus, meaning parched or roasted.

Here’s a toast with a moral:

“Oh, to be seventy again.”

(Oliver Wendell Holmes, sitting across from a pretty woman when he was 85.)

Japanese/Chinese kanji for “heart.” Notice that this is a drawing of the heart. This character by itself is pronounced “kokoro” or, in combination with other words, “SHIN.”

Shinzo no kodo. (Japanese)

The beating of the heart.

Here’s a man after my own heart:

“Why, that’s a hundred miles away. That’s a long way to go just to eat.”

(William Faulkner explaining why he declined President Kennedy’s invitation to dine with forty-nine Nobel laureates.)

“Some good pictures come out of Hollywood. God knows how, but they do.” (Faulkner)

No one is a fool all the time, but everyone is a fool sometime.

A stela is a slab or tablet, usually stone, engraved with an inscription and/or a decorative relief. Egyptians made stelae to celebrate historical events, to declare the examption of certain groups from taxation or mandatory labor, and, most commonly, to commemorate the dead.

And then there’s Stela Mandel.

The Coxhead House, 2421 Green Street, San Francisco, designed by Ernest Coxhead, built 1891. This was the architect’s own house.

Architects at this time were piling English motifs on top of Spanish, with some Colonial and Egyptian ideas thrown in, Coxhead was ahead of his time, influenced by the Arts and Crafts architecture in England, where he was born and trained. There are other Coxheads to be found throughout Pacific Heights and down the Peninsula.

You mean it’s not that way already?

“I’d like to see the government get out of war altogether and leave the whole field to private industry.” Joseph Heller (1923-1999)

Still, to this day, when I get on an elevator in Austria or Germany, I see this sign on the doorpost: Thyssen Krupp.

Krupp made this.

The businessmen survive. They always do. They give nothing. They get everything.

That’s the way it is. That’s they way it will always be. They rule the earth.

The Metropolitan Opera House opened, with a performance of Charles Gounod’s Faust at Broadway and 39th Street, New York City, 22 October 1883.

William H. Vanderbilt, smarting from snubs by society (Beekmans, Bayards, Schuylers) at the Academy of Music on 14th Street, built an opera house as grand as any in Vienna, and created a veritable palace in what is today the Garment District. The “Met” was moved in 1966 to its present location at Lincoln Center.

Yiddish: Fun vanen shtamstu? Where are you from?

Invasion of the Body Snatchers. When you say, “I’m going to sleep now,” do you ever think of this film? Now I am going to become unconscious, and will have no command over anything I know and understand until the earth rolls into the sun again.

The 1950s version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers was filmed in Mill Valley, California.

Fifty percent of the amount of laundry detergent recommended by the manufacturer is plenty. This rule also applies to toothpaste and many other products as well. Especially toothpaste.

Ma ora la coscienza la tormentava.

(But now her conscience tormented her.)

In the early 1800s France and Britain were at war and had no hesitation in boarding American vessels and impressing seamen into service. Given this and other violations of the rights of neutrals during the Napoleonic Wars, the American congress passed the Embargo of 1807 which forbade all exports. Needless to say, manufacturers in New England were not happy with this and they opposed the Embargo Act, taking the clever name O Grab Me, which is embargo spelled backwards. Eventually even supporters of the embargo began to use the term.

Ansel Adams was a concert pianist before he was a photographer.

“Either through figures or through landscapes I wish to express, not sentimental melancholy, but serious sorrow. In short, I want to reach so far that people will say of my work: He feels deeply, he feels tenderly – notwithstanding my so-called roughness, perhaps even because of it.”

Vincent van Gogh in a letter to his brother Theo.

If you laid all the lawyers end to end at the Equator, it might be a good idea just to leave them there.

Zigzag to outrun a crocodile.

If a state constitution does not permit its citizens to obtain divorces, that state must nonetheless recognize divorces granted in other states. Article IV, Section I posits that each state must respect and honor the state laws and court orders of the other states, even when its own laws would not have permitted it. This is called the “full faith and credit” provision of the Constitution.

Lincoln was succeeded by his vice president, Andrew Johnson, who was born in 1808. Kennedy was succeeded by his vice president, Lyndon Johnson, who was born in 1908.

The Bible is the most shoplifted book in the United States.

Will making love cure a headache?

In general, sex alleviates pain. But there is always the orgasm migraine.

Having a headache is an excuse for avoiding sexual relations, even though they can stop the headache. Sometimes, we’re really just not in the mood to get frisky with a partner and you may want to watch men wanking instead. But if men wanking gets you going, then that could clear your migraine too! Any orgasm will do the trick. Sex, in fact, raises the level of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that give a sensation of well being. It then kind of makes more sense as to why those that have more sex tend to be a little happier, then think about those that could feature on or somewhere alike, by logic they’d be extremely happy and healthy!

There exists, though, a kind of headache that breaks out during the sexual act. Physicians call this the orgasm migraine and it afflicts 1.1 % of the population. It can present itself at the beginning of the act and intensify until the culmination, or the migraine can suddenly explode after the orgasm. This migraine is three times more frequent in men than in women, but the causes aren’t clear. It could be the internal pressure in the skull (which we see in physical activity of any kind) and the altered respiration during the sex act.

A blue whale’s tongue weighs more than an elephant.

“Wen you’re a married man, Samivel, you’ll understand a great many things as you don’t understand now; but vether it’s worth while goin’ through so much to learn so little, as the charity-boy said ven he got to the end of the alphabet, is a matter o’ taste.” Mr. Weller, The Pickwick Papers, Dickens.

Champuru is an Okinawan word that means “harmonious mixture,” and it describes well the mélange of religions, including Shintoism, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Christianity, animism and ancestor worship that have all played a part in Okinawan history. The red letters say “Champuru market,” or “chanpuru ichiba,” if you prefer.

Champuru can be translated as a “mix.” Thus, champuru foods are a mixture of various ingredients that are thrown together in a frying pan or wok and fried. A specific champuru is usually named for its main ingredient, although there are many other elements. The most common champuru found in restaurants on Okinawa is goya (bittermelon) champuru, good in summer months.

Champuru has become a name. This photographer Champuru captured this image in Harajuku, Japan.

When Barry Gordy heard Tracks of My Tears, he declared it a masterpiece. Smokey Robinson sang the song in performance and audiences would actually break into tears. The Who’s 1966 hit “Substitute” began when Pete Townshend heard the line “Although she may be cute/She’s just a substitute,” and became obsessed with that one word.

Adult humans have 206 bones. I have drawn every single one of them… many times.

The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue at West 42nd, Manhattan. Designed by William Van Allen, 1928-1930.

Commissioned by Walter P. Chrysler, the Chrysler building held the title of the World’s Tallest Building prior to the 1931 completion of the Empire State Building. The Chrysler Building tower is replete with automotive imagery and symbolism as shown in this photograph by Margaret Bourke White.

Because of its iconic and beautiful design, the height of the building never really mattered.

One of the engineers at Olympic Studios in London built a miniature rotating eight-inch speaker that went in circles like a Leslie. Jimi Hendrix played the tune Little Wing through this speaker and got a beautiful floating, watery effect.

The Japanese/Chinese write the character for “eat” by drawing a big bowl of rice and then a sign over it to tell how it is pronounced:

The Chinese can simply write

and it will mean “eat.”

The Japanese have a highly inflected language, quite similar to Latin, actually, and so they must add native elements to the basic character, the basic word root,

depending on how it is used in a sentence. This is the way the infinitive “to eat” is written.

In Japanese, this character

is pronounced taberu or kuu when it is by itself. In combination with other characters, however, it is pronounced SHOKU or JIKI.

I like this one. Gesshoku

means “lunar eclipse” because the moon is “eaten” by the earth’s shadow.



TAKU (table)

means “dining table.”

Note to vegetarians:

Colonel Saunders made his fortune by fowl means.

OK, I’ll say goodbye now.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


No Left Turn Unstoned

30 October 2011


Janis Joplin with two left handed people.


Ken Kesey had a place in La Honda, California, where there was a sign with this message. The world’s first Acid Tests were performed there.


The main thing about left handed people is that they are adaptable. They have to be, being born into a right handed world. So, left handers are ambidextrous, shifty, labile, flexible and often sly and slinky. From an early age they learned that there is more than one way to do something. Nicole Kidman had to learn that.


There are scholarships for left handed people, because, well, we’re rather backward.


I often paint with both hands when i’m in a hurry, or when the background is very simple. I paint the background and foreground at the same time.

RJ Franco took this photograph:


The left hand is governed by the right brain, seat of intuitive, non linear thinking, so left handed people are overrepresented in art, music, drama and other creative endeavors.


The Italian word for left handed “mancino” means crooked or maimed. “To the left” in Italian is alla sinistra which has sinister connotations. Leonardo was left handed.


Manu sinistra pro destra utitur (Latin). She uses the left hand for the right.

But when she plays the piano Aretha Franklin uses both hands. There are no left handed pianos.


The rudder on a seagoing vessel was attached on the right side, the steerboard side, the starboard. So docking was done on the left, the port side. Cole Porter often sailed Port Out Starboard Home (POSH).


In ancient Hebrew, left handers were called “eetair yad y’mini,” a constricted right hand. Ruth Bader Ginsburg writes opinions with her left hand.


Dutch “linker” left handed came from Old High German “slinc,” related to Old English “slincan” crawl, slink. In Swedish linka equals “limp, dangling.” M. C. Escher did all of those amazing drawings with his left hand.


In Bulgarian, there are three words for a left handed person. Levichar, levoger and levak. Levak is considered very offensive. There is a term lefteren (from English “left”) which describes something that’s not working properly or isn’t strong enough. Angeliina is as beautiful as her name suggests, and she is gauchée as the French call a left handed woman.


In Chinese, the word left is sometimes associated with the “dark side.”

Albrecht Dürer, a left handed person, very successful in his own time, had his own dark side.


In Danish, Venstre-håndet means using the left hand. Note the similarity to “sinister” (Latin) Kejthåndet, another word for left handed, has the word “kejthet” in it which means clumsy, awkward. This is a Danish leftist.


The origin of left and right as applied to politics goes back to the seating in the Chambre des Deputés, which our own congressional seating imitates.


When Democrats enter the House they file to their left, and when the President addresses the chamber, s/he sees the Democrats on her/his right.


The Republicans sit on the “right.” That is, on the right as they enter the Chamber, the House. When the President addresses the Republicans, he sees them as being on his left, but they see themselves as being on the right.


Barbara Dennerlein is a left handed German woman, worshipper at the Hammond B3 altar, as am I. They didn’t make any left handed Hammond B3s either. You have to play them with everything you’ve got. Both hands and both feet. You could use your nose too, and, god knows, no one would complain. Barbara is such a great B3 player, cool, hot, collected, happening.


In Dutch, the word for left handed is Linkshandig. In the Brabants dialect, Links means “inside out,” especially for clothing. The Great Dictator was left handed too, just as Adolf Hitler was. Tellingly, though, Hitler signed autographs with his right hand.


Charles Chaplin played the violin left handed. This is very rare. Most violinists, left or right handed, will play the instrument with the bow in their right hand.


Elizabeth Cotten was our hero when we were 18,19, and still today. She had a beautiful fingerpicking style that we all tried to emulate. Maybe her special sound had something to do with the fact that she simply turned a right handed guitar upside down, so that the treble strings were on top.


In German, Links and linkisch (left) mean awkward. Einstein was a linkshänder, although I see him write at the blackboard with his right hand. He and Picasso used either hand.


The Hindi phrase “ulta haanth” means the left hand, and it has the literal meaning “opposite, wrong.” Eudora Welty never married and lived in the same house where she was born in Jackson, Mississippi, all her life. She wrote beautiful, unsentimental stories for The New Yorker with her left hand.


The Hungarian language has the word “bal” for left. “Balszerencse,” left luck, means disaster. “Baleset,” left event, is an accident.


Gaelic “ciotóg” left, means “the strange one.” “Citog” means left or stupid.

Fiona Sit likes to draw with her left hand. She speaks Cantonese, English, French and Mandarin.


Romanian “stangaci” means left hander as well as unskillful.

Paul Klee is left handed and his birthday is 18 December. We have a lot in common.


Australian slang has the phrase “Mollie Dooker,” for a left handed person, meaning something to do with having fists like a girl.

If you’re going to be a feminist, and who in their right mind wouldn’t be?, you could always look like Germaine Greer, noted left hander. Germaine lived at The Chelsea Hotel when we did, and she was always cheerful, kind and smart.


Polish people say “leworeczcy” or “mankut” for left handed, terms that also mean illegal. Goldie is using both hands to assume the position here.


“Canhoto” (Portuguese) is left handed. Canhoto also means lacking ability or physical coordination, clumsy. In Portugal, the Devil is canhoto. A common saying is “Diabo sejas cego, surdo e mudo! Lagarto, lagarto, lagarto sejas canhoto!” (Devil be blind, deaf and mute. Lizard, lizard, lizard be left handed!”) Michelangelo, definitely left handed. My “Leftar” would have told me that even had I not known. I mean, any artist who would argue with a pope must be more than a little obstinate and gauche.


Remember the Eugene Levy character in Best In Show? He had two left feet.

When Tamra Engle is sailing down the Seine towards the Atlantic Ocean and she passes through Paris, la rive gauche, the Left Bank will be on her left, the south side.


Tamra Engle with Steve Martin. No… just kidding, it’s the equally estimable Willy Porter.


Tamra in front, the farthest from the left.


In Mexico, “chueco” means “bent.” It also means left handed. There are other words for someone like Jessica Alba, zurda, manca, siniestra, all meaning left handed.


I’m going to pay him a left handed compliment and say that I will vote for him, but I’m not going to be totally thrilled about it. I’m hoping that when he gets in there for his last term, he will really step on it and deliver all of the beautiful promises he made the first time.


Filipinos say “kaliwete” for left handed. When someone is called a “kaliwete,” it can mean that the person is unfaithful, a two timer. Lady Gaga is left handed.


In Russian, left handed is “levsha,” meaning not trustworthy. In the Orthodox church, the women sit on the left side. Paul is a lefty, but he plays drums right handed.


Scottish people can be corrie-fisted which comes from the Gaelic “cearr” which means left or wrong hand. My Leftar (like Gaydar, only for left handers) would have told me that Marilyn Monroe was left handed even had I not known that.


“Zurdo” in Spanish is left handed. “No eres zurdo.” (You’re not lefthanded) means “you are clever.” Right handed people are “diestro” (able, dextrous) and left handers are “siniestro” (creepy, freakish). In Spanish there is also a very proper word “manco” (cognate with Italian mancino) that means left handed. Picasso era manco, zurdo, chueco y siniestro. He’s painting Guernica with his left hand.

And he’s painting this plate with his right.


In Swahili left is kushoto, or weak. Weak would hardly describe Oprah Winfrey, though, and she’s left handed.


Ahhh, here we go. In Swedish, vänsterhänt is left handed. “Vänster” left originally meant “the favorable side,” and is related to vän (friend). Rafaello Sanzio (Raphael) drew and painted like an angel and he did it with his left hand.


Turkish solak (left handed) also means obstinate, clumsy, out of balance, not functional. Pink, who uses her left hand for most things. She was once going to play Janis Joplin in a film.


Lifshá (Ukrainian) for left handed means sneaky or mistrustful also. Benjamin Franklin was sly, inventive, a typical left hander.


Chwith in Welsh is left handed. O’i chwith means something is wrong or out of place.


Baseball diamonds were often made with home plate in the western corner of the field so that the sun would not be in the batsman’s eyes. Thus, when a left handed pitcher faced the batter, the pitcher’s throwing arm was on the south side. He was a southpaw. Lenny Bruce was definitely out in left field somewhere.


In Belarus (White Russia) there is a word “liewsha.” It means left handed, and it also means sneaky or mistrustful. Shirley MacLaine is left handed.


Dave Barry, one of the many people who is left handed, but who plays guitar right handed. Duane Allman and Gregg Allman are two others. I’m another.


A left handed snowboarder is called “Goofy,” and a left oriented board is called a “Goofy Board,” because the board is designed to slant in the opposite direction of the right handed boards. Tina Fey is goofy in her own goody, goody style.


Cack handed to mean left handed is term I have never heard, but it is apparently quite common in the UK. It is related to Old English cack, excrement or dung. Cachus was Old English for a privy. These words come from Latin cacare, to defecate. Matt Groening celebrates left handedness in his own left handed way.


Left handed people are also over represented in the gay community.


A left handed person photographs left handed people. Cecil Beaton.


In Thailand, there is a phrase “e sai pai kee,” which means people who use the left hand to touch excrement.


Tippi Hedren, left handed mother of Melanie Griffith.


You don’t want to be left handed in the Arab world. These people lived in the desert where there was little water, so the left hand is used for all unclean purposes and the right hand is used for taking food out of the communal bowl.


Albert King not only played the guitar left handed, but he also strung and tuned his guitar differently so it was often impossible to tell what he was playing. Those beautiful string bends that he used resulted from his being able to pull the strings down instead of having to push them up as right handers do.


In Japanese and Chinese, “left” is written like this:


The above is basically a drawing that represents the left hand in this position:


The left hand was considered a helper for the right hand, so the original meaning of this character was “to help.” Now it means “left” and in Japanese can be pronounced SA or hidari. When the character is used in combination with other characters, it is pronounced SA. When it is used alone it is usually pronounced hidari.


In ancient times, the right side was considered to be better. Left meant inferior, low status, contrary, evil.


Hidari kiki (left handed in Japanese)


The characters for left and right written together have several meanings:


“I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”     Mark Twain. (left handed)


We’ve left.

(Taking the kindergarten diploma in my left hand.)

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company