Names are fascinating.  They are capsules of history and drama. Everyone has a name and every name has a meaning. Some names have many meanings. If you’re interested, you can even find your surname meaning at sites like

You will notice, in the meanings of the names below, that the phrasing sounds “Native American.”  That is because Yankees, confronted by unpronounceable Native American names,  translated almost all of them, and so the nomenclature sounds very basic, but all names sound very basic when translated.

To the Romans, this man would be Nero Falco. We don’t know how his name sounded to his own people. The settlers called him Black Hawk, which is English for Nero Falco. Hear God Man sounds Native American, doesn’t it?  It’s Sam Andrew. How about Rock River Lake Color?  That’s Ishikawa Akane, a Japanese name. Wolfway LoveGod?  Wolfgang Amadeus. Pedro Aguilar is rock eagle, and so it goes.

Lee is the most frequently heard family name (surname) on Earth, because it is very common in China (where it is the second most popular name) and also well known in the West (Robert E. Lee),  although Lee East and Lee West have different meanings.

If someone says, “It’s just a name,” meaning it’s just a sound, s/he hasn’t considered the matter enough. A name is never “just a name.”

Li (?)

The word “name” comes from Old English nama; related to Old High German and Sanskrit ????? (naamas), Latin nomen, and Greek ????? (onoma), possibly from the Proto Indo European (PIE) *nomn.

Adam       Hebrew: ?????      Arabic: ???

In the Old Testament, the names of individuals are meaningful, just as they are everywhere else.  Adam is named after the “earth” (Adamah) from which he was created, and his name has come to mean man in the Semitic languages.

Arabic: ???????   ?Ibr?h?m       Abraham  

A change of name indicates a change of status. For example, the patriarch Abram and his wife Sarai were renamed Abraham and Sarah when they were told they would be the father and mother of many nations (Genesis 17:4, 17:15). Simon was renamed Peter when he was given the Keys of Heaven (Matthew 16).  Saul became Paul on his way to lawyering for Christ.

Solomon meant peace, and the king with that name was the first whose reign was without warfare.

Jews in the Torah did not have surnames which were passed from generation to generation but instead used patronymics, that is, they were typically known as the child of their father. For example: ??? ?? ??? (David ben Yishay) meaning, David son of Jesse. Sons used their fathers’ first names as their own surnames, as is still done by most Muslims today. The “ben” in Jewish names is replaced by “bin” or “ibn” for Muslim males, “binte”, “binti” or “ibnu” for females. Sometimes names include “Al-”, “Ali-”, “-allah”, “-lah/-llah” or “-ullah” meaning “a servant to God” or “God’s servant.”

Onomastics is  the study of proper names of all kinds and the origins of names. The word is from Greek: “???????????” (onomastikos), “of or belonging to naming” from “?????,” name. Toponymy or toponomastics, the study of place names, is one of the principal branches of onomastics. Anthroponomastics is the study of personal names.

Japanese names (?????? nihonjin no shimei) consist of the surname, followed by a given name. Middle names are not generally used. The name above is Yamada Taro.  Yamada is the surname (family name) and the four characters mean mountain rice field  great son, although Japanese don’t think of the meaning of the name that way, just as we do not think of the meanings of John and Smith when we say John Smith.

Japanese names are usually written in kanji, as they are here. There are usually, but not always, two characters for the surname which comes first and two characters for the given name.

Japanese names are often written in kanji, which are characters of Chinese origin. The kanji for a name may have a variety of possible Japanese pronunciations, but parents might use one of the other writing systems such as hiragana or katakana, or even romaji, our alphabet, when giving a birth name to their newborn child.


Male names often end in -r? (? ”son”, but also ? ”clear, bright”; e.g. “Ichiro”) or -ta (? ”great, thick”; e.g. “Kenta”), or contain ichi (? ”first [son]“; e.g. “Ken’ichi”), kazu (also written with ? “first [son]“, along with several other possible characters; e.g. “Kazuhiro”), ji (? ”second [son]” or ? ”next”; e.g. “Jiro”), or dai (? ”great, large”; e.g. “Daiichi”).

The female name Akane (???, ???) is the Japanese word for madder (?, AkaneRubia cordifloria) and is associated with red (from the red dye made from its roots). I love to use this color when I paint.

Female names often end in -ko (? child “Aiko”) or -mi (? ”beauty”; e.g. “Yumi”), although many modern Japanese women no longer use -ko which they see as a diminution.


Other popular endings for female names include -ka (? ”scent, perfume” or ? ”flower”; e.g. “Reika”) and -na (?, or ?, meaning greens; e.g. “Haruna”).

Abigail’s name means  ”my father is joy”  (Hebrew)  ??????????

Adina:   ???????? (‘adina’)   slender, delicate

Aguilar:    El apellido Aguilar proviene de la palabra con que se designa al αguila. Aguilar comes from a word that means eagle.

Tiene el mismo origen que Aguiar.  Maybe Aguiar came first. At any rate, both from aquila, Latin, eagle.

Albert:    From the Germanic name Adalbert, which was composed of  adal ”noble” and beraht ”bright.” The Normans introduced it into England, where it replaced its near Anglo Saxon relative Ζπelbeorht.

Albin:  Le prιnom ancien Albinus est inspirι du terme latin albus qui signifie “blanc”.   Aubin (the same name as Albin) fut un prιnom assez rιpandu dans la France rurale d’avant la Rιvolution. Il est ensuite devenu rare mais a retrouvι vie depuis les annιes 1980. Albin comes from albus white and is also from and related to Albanus, Alban.

Alexander:  ??????????    ”defending men” from Greek ????? (alexo) ”to defend, help” and ???? (aner) ”man” (genitive ??????).

Alfred:   alf  supernatural being  elf   rad, red  wise, counsel  (Rathaus  Ratskeller).  The Rathaus is the central building in every German town and is the city hall. The Ratskeller is down in the basement (cellar) where food and drink are served. The red in Alfred is the same as rat, rad, red. Reden is speak. Kein Wort reden. Don’t say a word.

Allen:  Variants are Allen, Alain.   In Breton, Alan is a colloquial term for a fox and may originally have meant “deer”, making it cognate with Old Welsh alan.  The Irish form of the name may be a diminutive of a word meaning “rock”. For example, the modern Irish ailνn means “little rock”.  The Alans were an Indo Iranian people who lived north of the Caucasus Mountains in what is today Russia.  According to historian Bernard Bachrach, the Alans settled in parts of what is today France, including Brittany, in the early Middle Ages.

Alma:   Latin almus, which means “kind”, “fostering”, or “nourishing, most familiar from its use in the term alma mater which means “fostering mother.” Alma in Spanish is soul, and it is one of those words like programa, artista, mano, which are contrary to rules of gender.  El alma, el dia, el programa, el artista, la mano. These are tricky for the beginning Spanish learner. In French, la main. This is because manuus in Latin is a fourth declension feminine noun. It looks masculine, but it’s feminine. Also la mano in Italian.

Alvin, Alvina:   elf  friend; noble friend. From the elements ‘aelf’  meaning elf, supernatural being + ‘aethel’ meaning noble, honorable + ‘wine’ meaning friend. The first name is derived from both the old forms Aelfwine (Old English) and Aethelwine (Old English), which gave rise to the forms Alwin or Alewyn after the Norman Conquest.

Andrew:   (Greek) man   ???????, which was derived from ???? (aner) ”man” (genitive ?????? andros ”of a man”). Andrew was the first apostle mentioned in the New Testament. He was the brother of Peter. Both of these names are Greek, and Andrew’s real Aramaic name is not known.

The surname Andrew was one of the earliest settler names in America, Anthony Andrew being recorded in the first listings for the state of Virginia in 1623. The very first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere, is probably that of William Andreu, which was dated 1237, in the ancient charters of the county of Buckinghamshire, England, in the year 1237.

Anna:  Form of Channah Hannah

Anthea:   feminine form of Antaeus, son of Poseidon.   Can also be derived from the Greek for flowery blossom, as my friend Anthea wrote:  Greek literal meaning flowering.. to flower.. ?????, ?????, ???????, – ????? a goddess AnThea – flowering goddess?

Antea is the Italian version of Anthea.

Anthony:   Marcus Antonius, the general (Shakespeare’s Marc Antony), said that his name came from Anthon,  son of Hercules.

Antonia:     Derived from the Latin Antonius, an old Roman family name of unknown etymology, probably dating from the Etruscans.  origin of the name was Anthon, son of Hercules.

ossibly m

Aristotle:  ???????????   ’excellent purpose’. Derived from aristos meaning ‘best, excellent’ ; telos meaning ‘purpose’.

Arnold:   Old High German Arenwald,  ”having the strength of an eagle,” from arn ”eagle”  + wald ”power.” The phrase Oy gewald is related to this name. Hφhere gewald is Yiddish for an act of providence.

Arthur:   could be derived from the Roman nomen gentile Artorius, possibly of Etruscan origin. King Arthur’s name only appears as Arthur, or Arturus, in early Latin Arthurian texts, never as Art?rius (although Classical Latin Art?rius became Arturius in some Vulgar Latin dialects).

Arthur could also be derived from a Brittonic patronym *Arto-r?g-ios (the root of which, *arto-r?g- ”bear-king” is to be found in the Old Irish personal name Art-ri) via a Latinized form Art?rius.

Yet another possible etymology of Arthur could be from the Latin Arcturus, Greek ?????????, the brightest star in the constellation Boφtes, near Ursa Major or the Great Bear, ultimately from ?????? (arktos), “bear” + ????? (ouros), “watcher, guardian”.

Barak:      ?????? (Hebrew)    lightning

Barbara:  ????????  foreign  She is the patron of architects, geologists, stonemasons and artillerymen.  The Greeks thought that non Greeks sounded as if they were saying “bar bar” over and over, so they called them ????????.

Barry:   English form of the Irish names Bareth (short for Fionnbharrth), de Barra, Barrath, Barenth, Barold, Bearrach or Finbarr. The Irish meaning is spear. Also, a nickname for Bartholemew, Baruch.

Bartholemew:   ????????????  Greek form of an Aramaic name Talmai meaning “son of.”   In the New Testament Bartholomew is the byname of an apostle also known as Nathaniel.

Benjamin:   The Hebrew word ben (ben) son, and the Hebrew noun yamin (yamin), meaning right hand or right side, but with many connotations. The right hand was seen as the seat of one’s power. When facing east, the right hand is on the south, so Yemen means Southland.  The name Benjamin means Son Of The Right Hand (meaning, Son Of Strength; Son Of The South).

Berg:   Mountain   From Middle English bergh, berg, from Old English berg, beorg (“mountain, hill”), from Proto-Germanic *berghaz, from Proto-Indo-European *b?erg? (“height”). Cognate with Dutch berg, German Berg, Swedish berg, and Russian ????? (bιreg).

Bjorn:   Bear  From Old Norse bj?rn (“bear”), from Proto-Germanic *bernuz, northern form of Proto-Germanic *berτ, probably from Proto-Indo-European *b?er- (“brown, shining”).

Bridget:  Celtic/Irish from the noun brνgh, meaning “power, strength, vigor, virtue”. There was a tribe in England/Ireland called the Brigantes and Bridget is thought to come from this name also. The name was so popular for Irish girls that Biddy (nickname for Bridget) was used as a slang term for an Irish girl in English speaking countries. I have often heard “old biddy” but did not realize that it was Bridget or even Irish.

Bruce:    Norman surname, which originated in Britain with Robert de Bruis, a baron listed in the Domesday Book. His son, a friend of David I, king of Scotland, was granted by that king the lordship of Annandale (1124), and David’s son, Robert, founded the Scottish House of Bruce.

Bullis:     (Cambridgeshire):  Middle English bulehus ‘bull house’, from bul(l)e, bol(l)e ‘bull’ + h(o)us ‘house’.    Latvian: nickname or metonymic occupational name from bullis ‘bull’.

Burkhardt  The name is first found in Swabia  (Burkhard, Burkhart, Burckhardt, Burket and Burkett):  from an Indo European root bhergh  (high) hill and hill-fort and descendant words relating to city.  Burg (city in Old Saxon, Old High German and Old French) evolved into “borough.”  This word is present in such names as Barrow, Strasbourg, Statesboro and Freiburg. A caution here: burg is city and berg is mountain. They are easily confused.  The second Indo European element in Burkhardt is kar (hard, hardy, bold, strong).  In German, this element is often spelled hart, hard, hardt.  Thus, Burkhardt can mean a citadel on a hill, or a strong inhabitant of a hill city. Remember the Martin Luther hymn A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, which was often reworked by J.S. Bach? In German this is Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott.

Carla:  from the Old English ceorl meaning “man,” “freeman” in turn from  Hari army, warrior. The Indo European root is *karlaz meaning “free man

Carmi:   ????????   vine  (Hebrew)  This is the English form of Hebrew karmiy, a “vinedresser,” or “my vineyard.”  The word can also mean “gardener

Cayman:    1570s, from Portuguese or Spanish caiman, from a Carib word, or perhaps from a Congo African word applied to the reptiles in the new world by African slaves. The name appears to be one of those like anaconda and bom, boma, which the Portuguese or Spaniards very early caught up in one part of the world, and naturalized in another.

Chad:  modernized form of the Old English given name “Ceadda”, influenced by the Welsh word “cad” meaning “battle.”  The word “cad” in the perjorative sense comes from Italian cattivo, bad, and has nothing to do with Chad, who is one of the great guitar players.

Charles:  Germanic *karlaz meaning “free man”, which survives in English as churl (< Old English ?eorl). In the form Charles, the initial spelling ch- corresponds to the palatalization of the Latin group ca- in Central French and the final -s to the former subjective case (le cas sujet) of masculine words in Old French (< Latin -us). The root meaning of Karl is “old man”, from Indo-European *?er-, where the ? is a palatal consonant, meaning “to rub; to be old; grain.”

Cheryl:    English version of Cherie or Cher which in turn is the French form of the Latin Cara, which means ‘dear.’  ”Whore” also came from cara, which is what the Roman soldiers called prostitutes.

Chessι:     Un nom de famille qui reprιsente un nom de localitι d’origine, nom de hameau landes et a du dιsigner l’originaire de cette localitι.    Ralph Chessι, 1900-1991 (the little boy in the sailor suit on the far right), was the patriarch of a large creative family. As his son Bruce writes, Ralph was a Renaissance man in the grandest sense with diverse interests in the arts: theatre, sculpture, puppetry, painting, writing and music.

Joseph Alexander Chessι was born in 1802. He married (or lived with) a slave named Justine Olivier in 1830 and subsequently moved to New Orleans. On the census records all the Chessιs were listed as black.

A Chessι arrived with Bienville in 1698 at the mouth of the Mississippi. Bienville was the one responsible for the original survey to determine where the city of New Orleans would be located. The ship’s manifest has a Michael Chessι listed as a freebooter (pirate).

Chet:   (Latin castra) means fortress or camp. It is an uncommon name of English origin, and originated as a surname to identify people from the city of Chester, England.

Chloe:    (also ChloλCloeChlφe, ChloιClowyKloeKhloeKhloλKhloιKloι or Kloλ), a first or given name for girls, especially popular in the United Kingdom. The name comes from the Greek ????, meaning “young green shoot” and is one of the many names of the Greek goddess Demeter.

Christopher:   (sometimes Kristoffer or Kristopher) is the English version of a Europe-wide name derived from the Greek ??????????? (Christσpheros). The constituent parts are ??????? (Christσs), “Christ”, and ?????? (phιrein), “bear”: the “Christ bearer.”

Both Kris and Kristofferson are Scandinavian variants of Christopher.

Kristina can be the feminine form of ???????.

Clarke:   an English surname, ultimately derived from the Latin clericus meaning “scribe”, “secretary” or a scholar within a religious order, referring to someone who was educated. Clark, Clarke evolved from “clerk”. First records of the name are found in 12th century England. The name has many variants. Still today, clerk is pronounced clark in Britain.

Cleo:    Greek prefix often translated to mean ‘pride’, ‘fame’ or ‘glory’. Also Clio.

Conrad:         Derived from Germanic elements kuoni ”brave” and rad ”counsel”.

Cynthia:    ??????, Kynthνa, from Mount Cynthus on the island of Delos.  Cynthia was originally an epithet of the Greek goddess of the moon, Artemis, who was sometimes called “Cynthia” because, according to legend, the goddess was born on Mount Cynthus.

Dale:  Old English dζl ”dale, valley, gorge,” from Proto Germanic *dalan ”valley” (Old Saxon, Dutch, Gothic dal, Old Norse dalr, Old High German tal, German Tal ”valley”), from Indo European *dhel- ”a hollow.”  This name reflects the lasting Norse influence in north of England. A Neanderthal was someone from the Neander valley in Germany.

Daniel:    ??????????   ??????  The first part of the name Daniel comes from the Hebrew verb din (din), meaning to judge, contend, plead. The second part is el (El)the abbreviated form of Elohim God.  God is my judge.  God rules me.  Danilo is one way to say Daniel in Spanish.

Darby:  derived from Old Norse djϊr (“deer”), and the suffix bύr (“farm”/”settlement”). The oldest recorded surname dates to the period of 1160 – 1182 in Lincolnshire. The English city Derby is pronounced darby.

Dario, Darius:   Latin D?r?usD?r?us, Greek ???????, Aramaic drwšdrywš, Elamite Da-ri-ya-(h)u-(ϊ-)iš, Akkadian Da-(a-)ri-muš, Egyptian tr(w)štrjwšintr(w)šintrjwš, Lycian Ρtarijeus-, and Old Persian D?rayauš, are short forms of  D?rayavauš, composed of D?raya- [hold] + va(h)u- [good], meaning “holding firm the good”. My friend Dario is Italian from Belluno. Ciro (Cyrus) is also an often used Italian name.

Deborah:  ?????????    bee  (Hebrew)   D’vorah was a heroine and prophetess in the Book of Judges.

Diane   (pronounced with long ‘?’ and ‘?’) is an adjectival form developed from an ancient *divios, corresponding to later ‘divus’, ‘dius’, as in Dius Fidius, Dea Dia and in the neuter form dium meaning the sky. The name Diane is rooted in Indoeuropean *d(e)y(e)w, meaning bright sky or daylight, from which also derived the name of Vedic god Dyaus and the Latin deus, (god) and dies (day, daylight).

On the Tablets of Pylos a theonym ????? is supposed as referring to Diana, a deity precursor of Artemis.

The ancient Latin writers Varro and Cicero considered the etymology of D??na as allied to that of dies and connected to the shining of the Moon.

Dionysius:  ????????   ????????   ?????????      The dio- element has been associated since antiquity with Zeus (genitive Dios). The earliest attested form of the name is Mycenaean Greek di-wo-nu-so, written in Linear B syllabic script, presumably for /Diwo(h)n?sos/, found on two tablets at Mycenaean Pylos and dated to the 12th or 13th century BCE.

The second element -n?sos is associated with Mount Nysa, the birthplace of the god in Greek mythology, where he was nursed by nymphs (the Nysiads) but according to Pherecydes of Syros, n?sa was an archaic word for “tree.” Dionysus had been with the Greeks and their predecessors a long time, and yet always retained the feel of something alien. Variants include Dennis, Denis, Dion, Dionisio, Denison, Denny, Tennyson, Tyson.

Dennis:   Greek and English origin, a “follower of Dionysius.”

Django:    I awake.    (Romani language nickname of Jean Reinhardt.)  Django gave himself this name when he was quite young.

Donna:   The word donna in Italian means woman. The materfamilias, the woman who was in charge of her Roman household was called the domina. This word came down into the Romance languages. In French it is dame, in Spanish dueρa and in Italian donna. The name has the idea of house (domus) and so is familiar and eternal. Dominus, the lord of the house, is derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *dem- (house).  Dom in French, don in Spanish. In Church, we used to say Dominus vobiscum, Lord (go) with you. The response was Et cum spiritu tuo. And with thy spirit.

Dorothy:    ???????  ????? (d?ron), “gift” + ????, god.   Notice that Dorothy and Theodore are really the same name with the basic elements reversed.

Dupuis   This name can mean “from the well, at the well”  The Latin for well is “puteus.” It occurs, of course, in many languages. Names like Poggio, Dupuis, Atwell, Poηo, Inoue (Japanese), Pozzo, Pozo all connote someone who lived near a well.

Edmond:   Old English Eadmund, from ?ad (“prosperity”) + mund (“protection”).

Edward:    Old English Eadweard,  ”prosperity-guard,” from ead ”wealth, prosperity” + weard ”guardian.”

Edd:    e?d (“rich”)      He’ll think that’s rich.

Elise  ???????????  ????????  Elisheva  Russian E???a?e?a   My God is abundance.  My God is an oath.  Elizabeth, Elisabeth, Bettina, Betty, Tetty, Isabel, Isabella, Lisa, Elsie, Elsa, Liese, Lilli, Lillian, Lilliane.   Elise can be a German variant transcription of Alice, but, more often, Elise is a contraction of Elizabeth (English, Greek, and Hebrew).

Liz and Elise both have the same name etymologically speaking.

Emily is the English form of the Latin Aemilia. The name is derived from the Roman clan name Aemilius, one of the five ruling clans of Rome descended from Mamercus Aemilios. Mamercus was given the surname of Aemilios for his eloquence and refinement. Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome, named his fourth son Mamercus Aemilios and the great lineage of the Aemilios clan was from him.  In the English-speaking world Emily was not common until after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century; the princess Amelia Sophia (1711-1786) was commonly known as Emily in English, even though Amelia is an unrelated name.

Engrid or Ingrid is Old Norse. The first element ING refers to a Germanic god of fertility, who was also known as Ingui or Yngvi. The second element could be ‘fridr’ (peace, beautiful, fair) or ‘rida’ (to ride). Thus the name can mean Ing’s beauty or Ing’s ride. The name was first used in the 13th century, but English speakers took it up only from the mid 19th century.

Esther:    ?????     star  (Persian)  Ishtar    Hester

Eugene:   ??????? (eugen?s), “noble”, literally “well-born”, from ?? (eu), “well” and ????? (genos), “race, stock, kin”.   French Eugθne, from Latin Eugenius.

Eunice:   ??????     good victory

Eve   In Sanskrit the meaning of the name Eva (???) is “one who gives life”.  In Hebrew ??? (?awwah, often anglicized as Chava) means  life or living one.

Ezio:    Aetius (Latin) and Aλtios (Greek) are older forms of Ezio. The name is derived from Aλtius, a Roman family of Etruscan origin, and Aλstios, Greek name from  aietos (‘eagle’). Flavius Aλtius was a 5th-century Roman general who defeated Attila the Hun at the battle of Chalon.

Farhat:  used predominantly in the Turkish language, and it is derived from Persian and Turkish origins. From Turkish roots, its meaning is joy, bliss, happiness.

Finola:   In Gaelic  and Irish, the name Finola is a variant of Fenella: white shoulder, blonde.   

Fletcher:   ”arrow-maker,” early 14th century (as a surname attested from 1203), from Old French flechier, from fleche ”arrow,” probably from Frankish *fliugica (Old Low German fliuca, Middle Dutch vliecke). One meaning of fledger, still today in English, is someone who puts the feathers on arrows.

Fougeirol:   une commune franηaise, situιe dans le dιpartement de la Haute-Saτne et la rιgion Franche-Comptι.  Ses habitants sont appelιs les Fougerollais.  Une fougθre is French for a fern, so there may be a connection there.

Frida, Frederick:    frid  peace, beauty    ric   power, ruler, Reich

Gabriela, Gabrielle, Gabriel:   comes from the verb gabar (gabar), meaning to prevail, be mighty, have strength. The noun gabar (geber) means man. The word geber can be found in modern Israel on doors of men’s bathrooms.

The second part of the name Gabrielle is el (El), the abbreviated form of Elohim, Elohim, God.

George:    from the Greek name ???????? (Georgios) which was derived from the Greek word ??????? (georgos) meaning “farmer, earthworker”, itself derived from the elements ?? (ge) ”earth” and ????? (ergon) ”work.”  Yuri in Russian. Jordi in Catalan. Jψrgen (Danish), Jerzy, Jurek (Polish).

Gerard:    ger, gar   spear     hard   hardy, brave

German:    Spanish for Herman.   The name can also be one of relationship, and derive from the pre 8th century Old French word “germain”, meaning cousin or person of the same stock. Another possible origin is that people with the name were originally ‘spear-men’ engaged as mercenaries by different monarchs throughout Europe.  The derivation here being from the German word “geri” meaning spear plus “man(n)”, meaning one skilled in its use.

Gudrun:   run  secret   rune

Guy:   Norman French form of WIDO. (Italian Guido)  The Normans introduced the name Guy to England, where it was common until the time of Guy Fawkes (1570-1606) when it virtually disappeared and is only now returning.

Haas:   Old Dutch *haso, from Proto-Germanic *hasτ and Jewish (Ashkenazic):  Hase ‘hare’, hence a nickname for a swift runner or a timorous or confused person, but in some cases perhaps a habitational name from a house distinguished by the sign of a hare. As a Jewish name it can also be an ornamental name or one of names selected at random from vocabulary words by government officials when surnames became compulsory.

Hart:   Old English heorot ”hart, stag, male deer,” from Proto-Germanic *herut- (cf. Old Saxon hirot, Old Frisian and Dutch hert ”stag, deer,” Old High German hiruz, Old Norse hjφrtr, German Hirsch ”deer, stag, hart”), perhaps from the Proto Indo European root *ker- ”horn.”  (Cyrillic spelling ????)    Now this word hart denotes a male red deer after its fifth year. The hind is the female.   Roger Hert appears in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk in the year 1166, and Simon le Hert is noted in the tax rolls known as the ‘Feet of Fines’ for the county of Kent in 1194. One of the earliest settlers in the New World was John Hart, who embarked from the Port of London, aboard the ship “Phillip”, bound for Virginia in June 1635.  The first recorded spelling of the family name Hart is shown to be that of Aelfric Hort, which was dated circa 1060, in the “Olde English Byname Register”, Hampshire, during the reign of King Edward, known as “The Confessor”, 1040 – 1066.

Heather, Heidi is  from the English/German (die Heide) word for the variety of small shrubs with pink or white flowers which commonly grow in rocky areas. It is derived from Middle English hather. Heath is a male version.  Heather is also a color, a light purple shade with a hint of grey.

Heidi is also a German diminutive of Adelheid. Heid is a noun maker in German. For example,  Adel is noble and Adelheit is nobility.  Pagus is the Latin word for district and it refers to a non city environment, the country. So, a paganus, a rural dweller, was not civilized and was a pagan.  Similarly, with someone who lived on the heath, there was a sense of not having city ways and thus the person was a heathen. Thus, pagan is Latin and heathen is Germanic.

Herman:    her    army, warrior     Herzog      Arminius

Holly:    the name of the plant, from the Old English word holen.

 Hoekstra is a Frisian name that means “from the hook” or “from the corner”.  Frisian is the language spoken in Friesland, a province of the Netherlands.  Comprised of the northwestern portion of the Netherlands mainland, along with a major portion of the Frisian Islands (a chain which extends from the Netherlands into Germany), this province is populated by an ethnic people whose language and customs are more closely related to the English than the Dutch.  

The Hoekstras may have lived at a crossroads (corner, hook) or that their ancestors originated from the Hoek of Holland.  The suffix “-stra” is Frisian, and is used in place of the Dutch prefix “van,” meaning from or of.  ”Hookster” might be an English equivalent of Hoekstra.

Homs:   (Arabic: ????  ?im?), previously Emesa (Greek: ?????, Emesa), a city in western Syria and the capital of the Homs Governate. It is 501 metres (1,644 ft) above sea level and is located 162 kilometres (101 mi) north of Damascus. Located on the Orontes River, Homs is also the central link between the interior cities and the Mediterranean coast.

Houston:   Hugh’s town, a habitational name from a place near Glasgow, so called from the genitive case of the medieval French given name “Hugh”, from the Germanic element “hug”, meaning “heart, mind”, or “spirit.”

The second element of the name Houston comes from Middle English (1200 -1500) “tune, toun”, settlement, village, derived from the Old English pre 7th Century “tun”, enclosure, settlement. Town might be the oldest word in the English language.

Howard:  of Middle English origin, the first part of Howard can come from the same root as Houston, that is, “hug,” heart, mind, spirit,” added to hard, hardy, bold, strong.  Yet another derivation is haward, high guardian.

Huget:  from an Old High German word related to hugu “mind, soul, thought.”

Irene:   ?? ????? Irene ?????????? ??? ?? ???????? Irene, ?? ????? ???????? ????????? ??? ????????? ??????.  The name Irene is derived from the Latin Irene and was written ?????? in Greek. ?????? is the goddess of peace.  ????????? means peaceful.

Jacob:    ???????    ???????  The English names Jacob and James derive from the same source, with James coming from Latin Iacomus, a later variant of Iacobus. In England, Jacob was mainly regarded as a Jewish name during the Middle Ages, and the variant James was used among Christians. The name means”heel” (in the Genesis narrative, Jacob was born grasping Esau’s heel and later bought/stole (?) Esau’s birthright. Jacob can also therefore mean supplanter.). Jacob came into general use as a Christian name after the Protestant Reformation.  Coby, Coos, Jake, Jack, San Diego, Iago, Santiago, all are variants of Jacob. The time when James I came to the throne of England from Scotland, where he was James VI, is called the Jacobean Period to distinguish that time from the Elizabethan which came before and the Hanoverian which came after.

Janis:   Sanskrit has a word janis that means “a woman,” but Janis is usually thought to be derived from John:  Latin Iohannes, from New Testament Greek ???????, contraction from Hebrew ???????? (Johanan) J???n?n, perhaps from a former ?????????? (Yehochanan) J?hτ??n?n, meaning “God is gracious”.

Jennifer:   Welsh Gwenhwyvar (Guinevere), from gwen ”fair, white” + (g)wyf ”smooth, yielding.”  Espinosa, Espinoza, her surname, means thorny from Latin spina.

Jill:   Latin  sweetheart or youthful.

Jill was used as a short form of the female given names Jillian and Gillian, and now it is often an independent name.

Joel     jo  Yahweh, Jehovah     el   god

John:   The first element is jah, which is the abbreviated form of the appellative YHWH, which in turn is YHWH, the Name of the Lord.  The second part of the name comes from the verb hanan (hanan) meaning be gracious, pity, beseech, implore.    Yahweh Has Been Gracious.   Yahweh Is Gracious.    The Lord Graciously Gave.

Joseph:  The name can be translated from Hebrew ???? ?????? Yihoh Lhosif as signifying “YHWH (Yahweh) will increase/add”.  Biblical son of Jacob and Rachel, from Late Latin Joseph, Josephus, from Greek Ioseph, from Hebrew Yoseph (also Yehoseph, cf. Ps. lxxxi:6) “adds, increases,” causative of yasaph ”he added.”

Julie, Julia:   Latinate feminine form of the name Julius. Julius was a Roman family, derived from a founder Julus, the son of Aeneas and Creusa in Roman mythology, although the name’s etymology may possibly derive from Greek ?????? ”downy-haired, bearded” or alternatively from the name of the Roman god Jupiter, Jove (adjective Iovilios, Iovilius).

Julius:     Latin Iulius, name of a Roman gens, perhaps a contraction of *Iovilios ”pertaining to or descended from Jove.”

Karen:   medieval variant of Katharina, Catherine.   ’Katharos’ which means pure. The name evolved as a Scandinavian form of Katharina. It could also be derived from the phonetically similar Latin word ’carus’ (dear).

Kate:    short form of Katherine, from Latin, French, English, and Welsh origins. The name literally means either ‘pure’ or ‘blessed. The Greek word “Catharsis” is from the same root.

Knight:   Old English  cniht (“boy” or “servant”), cognate of the German word Knecht (“servant, bondsman”). This meaning, of unknown origin, is common among West Germanic languages (Old Frisian kniucht, Dutch knecht, Danishknζgt, Swedish knekt, Norwegian knekt, Middle High German kneht, all meaning “boy, youth, lad”, as well as German Knecht ”servant, bondsman, vassal”). Anglo-Saxon cniht had no particular connection to horsemanship, referring to any servant. A r?dcniht (meaning “riding-servant”) was a servant delivering messages or patrolling coastlines on horseback. Old English cnihth?d (“knighthood”) had the meaning of adolescence (period between childhood and maturity) by 1300.

Kurt:         Low German short form of Conrad.  Derived from the Germanic elements kuoni ”brave” and rad ”counsel”. Kurt is nominative and accusative. Kurts is genitive and Kurti is dative.  Curd, Curdt, Curt, Kunto, Kurd, Kurre, Kurth, Kurtti.   (may be from  Proto-Indo-European root *gher-)

Lange   German feminine  ”long.”  So lange wie mφglich.  As long as possible.

Laura:    Feminine form of the Late Latin name Laurus, which meant “laurel”.

In ancient Rome the leaves of laurel trees were used to create victors’ garlands.

When a woman is graduated from a university in Italy, she is said to be laureata, and instead of a cap and gown she wears laurel leaves.

Lee:    Shelter,  ”sheltered from the storm” in Old English.  The leeside of the island is the opposite side from windward.

Lee is the most common surname on Earth, but it is this woman’s middle name.

People named Lee are so great in number because the Chinese Li is often spelled Lee in English. Lee or Li is written with the characters ? ‘tree’ + ? ‘children’, and means plum tree.

A legend about the Li family is that those who are the directly descended from rebel Emperor Zhuanxu have a genetic trait noticeable in their feet. The last toe on each foot would be pointing inward a little rather than being straight like the rest of the toes. In addition, the nail on this foot has two sections, with one section appearing to override the other. According to the legend, this distinguishes the “true” Li’s from the other families with the name, who were born with perfect feet.

Leland:   Laege = fallow. Place name, which meant meadow land, fallow land, pasture ground in Old English. Leah meaning “wood,” “clearing” or “meadow” and “land.”

Lillian:   Used since the sixteenth century, possibly originally a pet form of Elizabeth, but generally accepted as a variant of Late Latin lillium ”lily”.

Linda:    the linden tree, from Germanic lind meaning “soft, tender” ultimately from a Celtic root. Linda may also come from the Latin (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese) word linda, which is the feminine form of lindo, meaning “beautiful, pretty, cute or “clean.”

There is a Japanese concept that has the same connotation of cute, small, clean that Linda does.  It is kawaii (????), which  can mean “it is clean, pretty, neat.” One hears this word a lot in Japan, the land of the cute. Kawaiiii des’ neeee!  It often seems as if teenage girls, who are very kawai themselves, use this word in every other sentence.

????  means, “lovable”, “cute”, or “adorable” and is the quality of cuteness in context of the Japanese culture.

The word “kawaii” is formed from the kanji “ka” (?), meaning “acceptable”, and “ai” (?), meaning “love”. Kawaii has taken on the secondary meanings of cool, groovy, acceptable, desirable, charming and non-threatening.  All of which describe Linda very well.  By the way, these are construction barriers at Narita airport in Tokyo. Can you imagine such a thing here in the macho USA?  A Japanese girl seeing this barrier in Tokyo would say, “Kawaiiiiiiii

Lucie   Feminine form of Lucius with the meaning light (born at dawn or daylight, maybe also shiny, or of light complexion). Luce in Italian, Luz in Spanish, Lucy in English.

Lynn:   From place names in Norfolk and Scotland, Scottish Gaelic linne (“stream, pool”) or from corresponding Old English/Celtic words.

Margaret:  (??????????)  pearl.  Margaret may be related to the Sanskrit word ?????? maρjar?. Also Margaret might be of Persian origin, derived from marvβrid (???????), a pearl or daughter of light.   Many, many variations: Maggie, Madge, Marge, Meg, Megan, Mog, Moggie, Rita, Daisy, Greta, Gretel, Gretchen, Magee, Marg, Margot, May, Molly, Margo Sanna, Margi Meggie, Peggy and Peg. Margherita (Italian). A tequila margarita looks very like a pearl.

Marc, Mark:    ??????  from Etruscan Marce of unknown meaning, Mars?

Marshall:   early 13th cenutry  surname; mid-13 century as “high officer of the royal court;” from Old French mareschal ”commanding officer of an army; officer in charge of a household” (Modern French marιchal), originally “stable officer, horse tender, groom” (Frankish Latin mariscaluis) from Frankish *marhskalk “horse-servant” (Old High German marahscalc ”groom,” Middle Dutch maerschalc), from Proto Germanic *markhaz ”horse”  + *skalkaz ”servant” ( Old English scealc ”servant, retainer, member of a crew,” Dutch schalk ”rogue, wag,” Gothic skalks ”servant”). Cognate with Old English horsώegn (horse thane). From c.1300 as “stable officer;” early 14c. as “military commander, general in the army.”

Mari, Mary, Marie, Miriam  English versions of the name Maria, which was in turn the Latin form of the Greek names ?????? and ?????, or Maria, forms of the Hebrew name ??????? or Miryam. Spice ??? m-r-r meaning “bitterness” found on the hillside in Israel (“myrrh” could be a form of this name), used, as rosemary was, to heighten the taste of food. Salsa!

Mari has hundreds of variants, among them, Molly, Meg, Peg, Margaret, the list is almost endless.  Other meanings can include “rebelliousness” (??? m-r-y), or “wished for child” or “Our Lady” (?”? ???? Sha Mrih) or “beloved lady”, referring to the Christian reverence for the Virgin Mary. Mary/Mari/Miriam could also be a name of Egyptian provenance, perhaps from the word elements mry, meaning “beloved” or mr, meaning “love”.

Matilda:   French Mathilde, of Germanic origin, literally “mighty in battle;”  Old High German Mahthilda, from mahti ”might, power” + hildi ”battle,” from Proto Germanic *hildiz ”battle,” from Indo European *kel- (1) “to strike, cut.”

Melina (bee) can be a  combination of “Mel” with the suffix “-inda”. ”Mel” can also be derived from names such as Melanie meaning “dark, black” in Greek (melanin), or from Melissa meaning “honeysuckle.”. Melina is also associated with the Greek word meli, meaning “honey”, and with linda, meaning “gentle, soft, tender” in the Germanic languages. Melina was the name of a nymph that cared for the young Zeus.

Michael   ???????? (Mikha’el) meaning “who is like God?”  The patron saint of soldiers. Common in all languages, but especially Russian ??????Romania (Mihail), Poland (Micha?), and Portugal (Miguel). In the Roman dialect Michele is often pronounced Mige‘.

Monica is an ancient name of North African origin whose etymology is unknown. The earliest reference to the name is found in ancient Numidian inscriptions. The name might include a reference to the ancient Libyan god Mon. It has also been posited that it may have been derived from the Latin monere, meaning “to advise”. Saint Augustine’s mother was named Monica, and she was born in Numidia, North Africa, although she also was a citizen of Carthage, and so her name may be of Punic origin.

Nicole  means “victorious people,” evolved from a French feminine derivative of the name Nicholas and ultimately from Nike, victory. The town of Nice in France is named for this goddess.

Niehaus:    Topographic name from Middle Low German nie ‘new’ + hus ‘house’ or a habitational name from a common North German and Westphalian farm name with the same meaning.

Nigella Sativa is an annual flowering plant, native to south and southwest Asia, but the woman’s name Nigella is most likely a diminutive of Nigel, which name is derived from the Latin Nigellus from the Latin niger, meaning “black.”  The Latin word nigellus gave birth to Old French neel (modern nielle), meaning “black enamel” (same word as niello).

Nina:   Brought into English in the nineteenth century, apparently from several sources. Many borrowings are of Russian ????, the name of a Georgian fourth century saint, also known as Nino, of obscure origin and meaning, possibly connected with the Assyrian king Ninus. Other sources are, for example, the Italian diminutives like Annina from Anna and Giovannina from Giovanna.

The name Noah (Noah) comes from the verb nuah (nuah) meaning rest, settle down.  Derivatives of this root are: nahat (nahat), rest, quietness; Noah (noah), the name Noah; nihoah (nihoah), quieting, soothing; hanaha (hanaha), a giving of rest; manoah (manoah), resting place; menuha (menuha), resting place, rest.

Noel:   Latin (dies) natalis, referring to the nativity of Christ, the original French spelling being Noλl and Noλlle.

Obama:    an African surname. It is a fairly common Luo name, and it is derived from Swahili referring to members of the Luo tribe who converted to Islam.

Obama is also Japanese and it means ”little beach”. The Obama family (???) were a samurai clan of feudal Japan.

The third line is written in kanji and the first character is o little. The second character is hama beach. Japanese sound laws are such that when you put o and hama together, the pronunciation is obama (little beach).

Obama-shi (Obama city) is of course right on the water. (It’s the little blue green dot.)

This is Obama written in katakana, the alphabet used for foreign names, and it specifically refers to the President and not to the town of Obama.

Oscar:    The name is derived from two elements in Irish: the first, os, means “deer”; the second element, cara, means “friend”.   It can also be Old English ?s (“god”) and g?r (“spear”). (Oswald, Osborn, Oswid, Osric, Oslak), so it depends upon whether the person is Irish or English. This Oscar is English.

Osmond:   os god divine      mond protector

Oswald:  Anglo-Saxon name meaning “divine ruler”, from “os” (god) and “weald” (rule).

Patterson:  A patronymic meaning son of Patrick, which in turn derives from patricius, nobleman, in Latin. The name is first found in Ross-shire where the Pattersons had a family seat from early times and the first mentions come from census rolls taken by the early kings of Britain to determine tax rates for their subjects. Patterson, Paterson, Pattersen, Pattison. Another possible origin: pater father in Latin and son.

Paul:     The Greek word pauros (pauros) means feeble or little, and pauo  means to pause, stop, retrain, desist.

After his humbling conversion experience, Saul of Tarsus became known as Paul, a man who wrote over half of the New Testament.

Paula:      Roman family name Paulus meant “small” or “humble” in Latin as it did in Greek. The Latin,  Paulo post means a little after. Pablo, Pavel, Palle (Danish), Paolo, Pαl (Swedish), Paulino are all variants of Paula.

Penelope:   Greek ???? (pene) ”threads, weft” and ?? (ops) ”face, eye”. In the Odyssey this is the name of the wife of Odysseus, she who was the weaver.

Perry:   English origin from either Old English pyrige (pear tree), or the Norman French perrieur (quarry), possibly referring to a quarryman. Perry was recorded as a surname from the late 16th century in villages near Colchester, Essex, East England, such as Lexden and Copford.

Pettigrew:   One theory is that this name is originally derived from the Old French words “petit,” meaning “small or little,” and “cru,” meaning “growth.”  The phrase “petit cru“, meaning in this context, small person, was introduced into Britain after the 1066 Norman invasion, when French became the official language. Originally “petit cru” was used as a nickname of endearment.   I always thought that Pettigrew had a common origin with pedigree. The word pedigree is a corruption of the French “pied de grue” or crane’s foot, because the typical lines and split lines in a family tree or pedigree resemble the thin leg and foot of a crane (grue).

Piliwale:   The Piliwale sisters were four kupua creatures with sharp teeth, stick-like arms and legs, claw-like hands, and huge, swollen bellies.  They were able to cause landslides and floods, but their greatest power, if you could call it that, was their appetite.   Pili wale means “to cling without reason or cause.”  The term is often used to describe people who live off of others without giving anything in return.  ”When you visit T?t?, don’t you dare be a Piliwale,”  means that you’d better help out.  The Piliwale stones of H?‘ena stand as a warning to people who are pili wale, and old-timers of the district like to say, “H?‘ena is not the place for a Piliwale to visit.”

This is Silver Piliwale, a direct descendant of Piliwale, who was the tenth Alii Aimoku of Oahu.  Piliwale reigned as the titluar chieftain or King of the island of Oahu and all the territories Oahu claimed at the time.  His wife was the High Chiefess Paakanilea, descent not known.  The name Silver is probably related to Silva, a Portuguese name that meant forest or wood as in SilvaSylvia, Sylvania.  This man is my wife’s grandfather. He is something of a legend in the Hawaiian Islands. Many streets, valleys and other geographical sites there are named for him.

Rachel  (Hebrew: ?????, Standard Ra?el Tiberian R???l, R???l; also spelled Rachael, meaning “sheep; one with purity.”

Raquel is Spanish for Rachel.

Rafael, Rafaela:    Hebrew ??????? (Rafa’el)  ”God has healed”.

Ralph:    Short form of Radulf, from Old Norse Raπulfr (Old English Rζdwulf),  ”wolf-counsel,” from raπ ”counsel” (read, rat, rad) + ulfr ”wolf

Reinhard:   rein pure  hard  hardy, brave

Richard:   Middle English Rycharde, from Old French Richard, from Old High German Ricohard, from Proto Germanic *rik- ”ruler” + *harthu ”hard.” One of the most popular names introduced by the Normans.

The “rich” in Richard is cognate with Reich, so meaning power, kingdom, might, and hard meaning strong, bold, hardy. Strong power, strong ruler, strong kingdom.

Robbie,  Robert:    Old North French form of High German Hrodberht “bright with glory.”

Robert or Roberta is derived from hrod- ”fame, glory” + -berht ”bright.”

Rollins:   (Rolin, Rolins, Rollin, Rollins, Rollings)   Norman French, derived from either Rolf or Rollo, popular throughout the European continent 500-1000 CE.

The Normans introduced Rolf and Roul both meaning “Fierce wolf” in 1066, and Rolin or Rollin is a diminutive “Little fierce wolf.”

I read the French national epic, La Chanson de Roland, when I was twenty-two, twenty-three, read it in the original. It’s an action story, so not that difficult. Roland held the passes in the Pyrenιes for Charlemagne. Orlando Furioso by Ariosto (XVI century) is another version of the same story. (Rolin, Roland, Rolins, Rollin, Rollins, Rollings)

Examples of Rolf or Rollo are to be found in the surviving church registers of the city of London, including Andrieu Rolin (Andrew Rollins!).

The first spelling of the family name in England is John Rolins (another version of Shane Rollins). This was dated 1327 in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Suffolk during the reign of King Edward III.

Russo:   In Italian, to say Russian, you say russo, meaning the language or the nationality, but I think that Russo may also have meant red (rosso) and even Russia itself can mean red.  ”Nella seconda metΰ del IV secolo,” says one source, “alcune fonti riferiscono della tribω dei Rosolani, che vivevano nel bacino del fiume Ros (tributario del Dnepr, vicino l’odierna Kiev), che cominciarono ad usare frequentemente la parola ‘Rus,’” referring to the origin of the word “Russia” being derived from the Ros river, a tributary of the Dnieper.  Thus, to the Italians Russo calls to mind Slavic tribes who migrated into Italy very early. However that may be, I am still holding out for Russo being at least partially related to Rosso, red. The name is very common in Italy, and it also calls to mind the French name Rousseau.

Ruth:     ??? rut, possibly from the Hebrew for “companion.” In Israel ”Ruti” is a common nickname for Rut (Ruth). Ruthie, Tootie, Tootsi, Tuti are all variants of Ruth.

Samantha might be from Samuel with the addition of anthos, Greek for flower.

Samantha:   could also be derived from an Aramaic noun ?????? (šem?anta, “listener”). This calque of the name could also relate to the story of Samuel, who “heard” God.

Samuel:  The first part of the name comes from the Hebrew word Shem(shem), meaning ‘name,’ and the second part of the name Samuel is  el (el) God. In between these two elements is the letter waw, which is a linguistic coupling, so that the name Samuel could mean Name Of God. This name could be a relative of Ishmael and, if so, would be derived from shama (shama’) to hear, listen to, obey and el el  which would fit the story of Samuel a bit more closely, since it would mean Hear God.  In Israel, Shmuel can mean Samuel and Shlomo can mean Sam.

Schuyler:    Dutch surname “scholar, student” (from Germanic schul), brought to America by seventeenth century Dutch immigrants.  The surname Schuyler was originally introduced in North America by 17th century settlers arriving in New York. It became a given name in honor of prominent members of the New York family, such as Philip Schuyler, and so became the given name of Schuyler Colfax, the 17th vice president of the United States.

Shane: Anglicised version of the Irish Seαn, which is JohnShane comes from the way the name Seαn is pronounced in the Ulster dialect, as opposed to Shaun or Shawn.

There are many, many interesting variants of Shane in many, many languages.  Gjon (Albanian), Yahya (Arabic), Ganix, Ion, Jon (Basque), Ioannes (Biblical Greek), Yann, Yannick (Breton), Ioan, Ivan (Bulgarian), Joan (Catalan), Jowan (Cornish), Ghjuvan (Corsican), Ivan, Janko (Croatian), Ivan, Jan, Janek, Honza (Czech), Jens, Jannick (Danish), Jan, Johan, Johannes, Hanne, Jo, Joop, Hans (Dutch), Jaan, Johannes, Juhan (Estonian), Jani, Janne, Hannu (Finnish), Jean, Yann, Jeannot, Yanick, Yannic, Yannick (French), Xoαn (Galician), Ivan, Jovan, Janko (Serbian), Jαn, Janko (Slovak), Juoan, Xuan, Juanito (Spanish),Jens, Hampus, Hasse, Janne (Swedish), Ivan (Ukrainian),Evan, Iefan, Ieuan, Ifan, Ioan, Iwan, SiςnIanto (Welsh).

Sidiropoulos:    ????????????  Sidiros = iron and -opoulos is a patronymic, that is, this name can mean son, daughter of iron. Iron was a precious commodity in Greece, but you could also make a case for this name meaning Smithson, since a smith is an iron worker. The daughter of a Sidiros would be a Sidiropoulou, but Greeks now keep the same surname over the generations. Papadopoulos, for example, the most common Greek surname, means son of a priest.

In Scandinavian, the name Sigourney means “conqueror.”  Sigourney can be a male or female name.

Silvia:   Feminine form of Silvius, from Latin silva (“forest”). In Roman mythology, Rhea Silvia was the mother of famous twins Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

Socrates:   ????????  derived from ??? (sos) ”whole, unwounded, safe” and ?????? (kratos) ”power”.

Sophia:   ?????, the Greek word for “Wisdom.”

???????:   of the cross, Cross   Greek ???????, from ??????? meaning cross.  This can be a given name (Stavros) or a family name. Both given name and family name are very common in Greece.

Stephen:   ????????  ”crown”  was a deacon who was stoned to death, as told in Acts in the New Testament, and he is regarded as the first Christian martyr. Esteban or Estavan in Spanish. Sometimes Steffen and Steven in English.

Suzanne:  Hebrew name ??????????? (Shoshannah). This was derived from the Hebrew word ???????? (shoshan) meaning “lily” (in modern Hebrew Shoshannah also means “rose”).

Tara:   a female Buddha and a goddess in Hinduism. “Tara” is sometimes written/translated as “Dara”,  meaning “star”.  In Irish Gaelic, the Hill of Tara, or Teamhair na Rν, was the seat of the kings of Ireland from neolithic times (c. 5000 BC) to the 6th century or later. Tara is then taken to mean “Queen.”

Tatiana:   Feminine form of the Roman name Tatianus, a derivative of the Roman name Tatius. Tatiana was the name of a 3rd-century saint who was martyred in Rome under the emperor Alexander Severus. She was especially venerated in Orthodox Christianity, and the name has been common in Russia and Eastern Europe. The name Tatiana was not regularly used in the English-speaking world until the 1980s.

Teagen comes from the Welsh word teg, which means “beautiful” or “fair.”    Teagen may be related to the Irish name Tadgh or Taidgh, which means “poet.”  Some of the variants are Teigue and Teige, which could have transformed into Tegan or Teagan.  As a surname, it most likely arose as a patronymic, McTeague or McTague, meaning “son of Teague.”  The surname is Irish in origin, specifically from the region of Connacht.

Thomas:  ?????  Greek form of the Aramaic name ????????? (Ta’oma’) which meant “twin”.  In England the name was introduced by the Normans and became very popular due to Saint Thomas ΰ Becket, 12th-century archbishop of Canterbury and martyr. Another notable saint by this name was the 13th-century Italian philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas, who is regarded as a Doctor of the Church. Tom, Tommy, Maas (Dutch), Masaccio (Italian), Tomasso are variants of Thomas.

Timothy:     ???????? meaning “honoring God”, “in God’s honor”, or “honored by God”

Thorstein:  In Norwegian, the name Thorstein means “thors rock.” The name Thorstein orginated as an Norwegian name. Thorstein is most often used as a male name.

Torsten:  Scandinavian given name:  The Old Norse name was ήσrsteinn. It is a compound of the theonym Thor and sten ”stone”.

Tristan:  originates from the Brythonic name Drust or Drustanus. It derives from a stem meaning “noise”, seen in the modern Welsh noun trwst (plural trystau) “noise” and the verb trystio ”to clatter”.   The name is perhaps also influenced by the Latin root tristis (tant triste in the medieval French version of the myth), meaning “sad” or “sorrowful”.

Veronica:   Latin form of Berenice, influenced by the Church Latin phrase vera icon ”true image” associated with the legend of Saint Veronica who wiped the face of Jesus on the way to Calvary. Or more probably from the ancient greek ???????? ”she who brings victory.”

Vesper:   ( late 14th century) “the evening star,” from Old French vespre, from Latin vesper (masc.), vespera (fem.) “evening star, evening, west,” related to Greek hesperos, and ultimately from Proto Indo European *wespero- (Old Church Slavonic ve?eru, Lithuanian vakaras, Welsh ucher, Old Irish fescor ”evening”), from root *we- ”down” (Sanskrit avah ”down, downward”). Meaning “evening” is attested from c.1600.

Vitale:   Italian and Jewish (from Italy) from the medieval personal name Vitale (Latin Vitalis, a derivative of vita ‘life’). The name was popular with Christians as a symbol of their belief in eternal life, and was borne by a dozen early saints; it became especially popular in Emilia-Romagna because of two saints, San Vitale of Bologna and Ravenna. As a Jewish personal name it represents a calque of the Hebrew personal name Chayim ‘life’. Compare Hyams.   I have explored the church of San Vitale in Ravenna, a beautiful place.

Walter:    (wald, power) Old North French Waltier (Old French Gautier), of Germanic origin; cf. Old High German Walthari, Walthere,  ”ruler of the army,” from waltan ”to rule” (wield) + hari ”host, army.”

Walton:   Prefix “wald” (a wood), or “walh“, a farm worker or “walesc” – a foreigner.  The suffix is -ton, a town.  I would have thought wall town.

This Wesley is named for John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, who was born on the same day I was.  The “wes” portion of the name refers to the Western cardinal direction, while the word “lea” refers to a field, pasture, or other clearing in a forest. Thus, the name’s origin refers to a “western lea,” or a field to the west.

Wilhelmina:   In German it was spelled Wilhelmine, resolute, will, helmet.  This is my beautiful mother and she was named for the queen of the Netherlands.

William    Willahelm, composed of the elements wil ”will, desire” and helm ”helmet, protection”.

Names are music, full of meaning, rich and potent.



Anthea Sidiropoulos was walking into a church when she saw a sign that the janitor had put up in front of an area where he was mopping:  Please Don’t Walk On The Water.

Elephant to naked man:  How do you breathe through that thing?

A good listener is usually thinking about something else… or not thinking at all.

The thing about being on time is that there’s never anyone else around to appreciate it.

When a man brings his wife flowers for no reason, there’s a reason.

We’re happily married. We wake up in the middle of the night and laugh at each other.

The degree of one’s emotion varies inversely with one’s knowledge of the facts… the less you know the hotter you get.

You’ve been married for fifty years, how do you do it?   I close my eyes and pretend it’s not happening.

I was walking down the hill the other day and saw some men roofing a house and one of the guys hammering a nail called me a big ugly ham… in Morse code.

My friend Sam, one of the best people ever.  It’s confusing when we get mail, though.

We would have broken up except for the children.  We were the children.

Democrats are better lovers than Republicans.  You never heard of a good piece of elephant, did you?

My wife’s an air sign. I’m a fire sign.  There’s a lot of hot air, that’s for sure.

New summer camp in the Adirondacks for Native American kids:     Camp Shapiro.

The only thing my wife and I have in common is that we were married on the same day.

Marrying a man is like buying something you’ve admired in the shop window. When you get it home it might not go with anything that is in the house.

In Hollywood, all marriages are happy.  Trying to live together afterwards is what causes problems.

Justin Bieber was kind enough to do a benefit  at a senior citizens’ home and, approaching one of the elderly ladies, said, “Do you know who I am?”  And she says, “No, but go to the front desk, they’ll tell you who you are.”

A man in love is incomplete until he has married.  Then he’s finished.         Zsa Zsa Gabor

The guy who said two can live as cheaply as one has a lot of explaining to do.

American, Russian, Iraqi and an Israeli walking down the street. Roving Reporter says, “Excuse me, we’re conducting a public opinion poll about the meat shortage.” Russian says, “What’s meat?”  American says, “What’s a shortage?”  Iraqi says, “What’s public opinion?”  Israeli says,  ”What’s ‘excuse me?’ ”

I’ve been in love with the same woman for forty-one years. If my wife finds out, she’ll kill me.     Henny Youngman

A person is never drunk as long as she can lie on the floor without holding on.

I said to my wife, do you feel that the sex and excitement have gone out of our marriage, and she said, let’s talk about it during the next commercial.

If god dwells within us, I hope she likes enchiladas, because that’s what she’s getting.

Married men don’t live longer than single men.  It just seems that way.

A New Age church in California has three commandments and seven suggestions.

If you were my husband, said Lady Astor, I’d put poison in your coffee.  And if I were your husband, answered Winston Churchill, I’d drink it.

Mrs. Pop to Mr. Pop:  No way we’re naming this kid Iggy.

Marry me, and I promise I’ll never bother you again.

Besides “I love you,” what three words does a woman want to hear the most. “Ill fix it.”

Marriage means commitment.  So does insanity.

It was a really big shoe.  That guy who was half Jewish and half Japanese was circumcised at Beni Hana’s.

I was engaged once to a contortionist. She broke it off.

Doctors:  they give you an appointment in a month and then ask why you took so long to see them.

She’s a lovely person. She deserves a good husband. Marry her before she finds one.              Oscar Levant to Harpo Marx.

A WASP’s idea of affirmative action.  Hiring South American jockeys.

I love these people.  Silvia and Franco.

Carrie Clores, right, is married to my old friend Rob who played keyboards in Love, Janis, NYC.

Man rules the roost. Woman rules the rooster.

Dad:   Son, if you masturbate, you’ll go blind.       Son:    I’m over here, Dad.

Patient:  Doctor, I have no memory.    Doctor:  Now, keep calm, how long have you had this problem?   Patient:  What problem?

Men are not dogs.   Dogs are loyal and faithful.

A smart husband thinks twice before not saying anything.

Where do you find a man who is truly committed?    In a mental hospital.

What is the difference between men and pigs?  Pigs don’t turn into men when they get drunk.

How does a man plan for the future?   He buys two bottles of vodka instead of just one.

I may be seventy-one but every morning when I get up I feel like a twenty year old.  Unfortunately there’s never one around.

Why don’t lobsters share?     Because they’re shellfish.        (I knew you would like that one.)

Did you hear about the psychic amnesiac?  She knew in advance what she was going to forget.

A WASP is a guy who gets out of the shower to take a leak.

As long as the world keeps turning and spinning, we’re gonna be dizzy and we’re gonna make mistakes.         Mel Brooks

If I had my life to live over, I’d make all the mistakes much sooner.

When you’re dead, your fingernails, toenails and hair continue to grow for three days. After that your e mails taper off.

Fabulous new diet:  you can only eat bagels and lox… and you have to live in Syria.

The new heroin diet is interesting… most of your food falls on the floor.

I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in fourteen days I lost two weeks.

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.

Behind every successful man stands a proud wife and an astonished mother-in-law.

How many musicians does it take to change a lightbulb?  One, with ten on the guest list.

Adam to Eve:  Hey, I wear the plants in this family.

How many New Yorkers does it take to screw in a light bulb?    Hey, fuck you, forget about it.

I’m now at the age where I’ve got to prove that I’m just as good as I never was.

The secret to staying young is to exercise regularly, eat sparingly and lie about your age.

My wife calls our waterbed The Dead Sea.

The optimist created the airplane.  The pessimist created the seat belts.

I’m so old, my blood type was discontinued.

Confidence:  what you start off with before you completely understand the situation.

My wife always lets me have her way.   And that’s OK.

If you don’t drink, when you wake up in the morning, that’s the best you’re going to feel all day.

I heard two guys talking in Arabic in a bar the other day. I said, “Hey, you’re in America now, speak Spanish.”

Jewish foreplay is three hours of begging. Italian foreplay is, “Honey, I’m home!”

How many Amish does it take to screw in a lightbulb?  The Amish don’t have lightbulbs.  They bake pies.

Marriage is a wonderful institution, but that’s what it is… an institution.

Joe:  You’re always wishing for something you haven’t got.    Flo:  What else is there to wish for?

My wife and I were happy for twenty years.  Then we met.           Henny Youngman

I wanted to sign up for Paranoids Anonymous but they wouldn’t tell me where they were.

A marriage license costs twenty dollars now, and everything you’ve got for the rest of your life.

The drinking age and the voting age should be the same.  Some of the people we vote for, you need a drink.

If someone says, “My kid is a conservative, how did that happen?”  remind them that when we took all those drugs in the 60s, we were told that our children would be brain damaged.

Let me get this straight.  I can’t sleep with anyone else for the rest of my life, and, if things don’t work out, you get to keep half my stuff?  What a great idea.

My doctor keeps sending me to other physicians.  I don’t know if he’s a doctor or a booking agent.

Texan:  How big is your farm?  Kibbutzer: Two hundred by three hundred feet.  How big is your ranch?  Texan:  I get in my car, drive from sunrise to sunset and never reach the end of my land.  Kibbutzer:  Yeah, I had a car like that too.

What is the difference between a dog and a fox?  About five drinks.

Frank goes to a meeting once a week to make him stop drinking, and it works.  Every Wednesday between five and six he doesn’t drink.

Patient:  How much to have this tooth pulled?  Dentist: Ninety dollars.   Patient:  Ninety dollars for just a few minutes work?   Dentist: I can extract if very slowly if you like.

I used to take two hits of acid so I could have a round trip.

Four out of three people have trouble with fractions.

Docotr:  You’ll be able to resume your love life when you can climb two flights of stairs without becoming winded.  Patient: Why don’t I look for a woman who lives on the ground floor?

When her enemies stopped booing, she knew she was slipping.

I’m so old that when I order a three-minute egg, they ask for the money up front.

She never hated a man enough to give him his jewelry back.

I was recently born again.  It was a glorious experience, but I can’t say that my mother enjoyed it a whole lot.

Chinese guy having a drink when Roy Goldberg knocks him off the stool. “Hey, what’s that for?”  ”That’s for Pearl Harbor.”  ”Yeah, but I’m Chinese,” the guy says. “All the same to me,” says Goldberg.  A little later, the Asian man walks over and slugs Goldberg. “That’s for the Titanic.”   “The Titanic,” answers Roy, “was hit by an icberg.” “Iceberg, Goldberg, they’re all the same to me.”

Tell me. darling, where have you been all my life?    Well, for the first fifty years of it I wasn’t even around.

Are you living a life of quiet desperation, or are you married?

That new synagogue in Harlem is called Beth You Is My Woman Now.

Robert Altman took this of Chet Helms.

I’ll never make the mistake of being seventy again.

I just had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me.

Bumper sticker in Canada:  I’d rather be driving.

Dad, he said, I play this guy who’s been married for twenty-five years.  That’s great, son, enthused his father, one of these days maybe you’ll work up to a speaking part.

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.        Mark Twain

I finally got it all together. Now I’m too old to pick it up.

Or, to put it another way, experience is a comb that life gives you after you’ve lost your hair.

The dread of loneliness is greater than the fear of bondage, so we get married.

Politics is the art of looking for problems, finding them everywhere, diagnosing them incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.

What’s the difference between baseball and politics?  In baseball, you’re out if you’re caught stealing.

Rick Santorum says that gay people getting married would violate the sanctity of marriage.  Are you married?  Do you feel sanctified?

Being in politics is like being a football coach.  You have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it’s important.

Marriage is grand.  Divorce is a hundred grand.

Why don’t Baptists make love standing up?   They’re afraid it might lead to dancing.

A WASP proposes marriage:  How would you like to be buried with my people?

Don’t marry for money. It’s cheaper to borrow it.

If god has anything better than sex to offer, she’s keeping it to herself.

Why is psychoanalysis quicker for men than for women?  When it’s time to regress to their childhood, most men are already there.

He doesn’t have an enemy in the world, but all of his friends hate him.

How many psychoanalysts does it take to screw in a lightbulb?  How many do you think it takes?

I had to give up masochism.  I was enjoying it too much.

The thing that takes up the least amount of time and causes the most trouble is sex.

Honey, am I your first?       Why does everyone ask me that?

No problem is too big to run away from.

The thing about being unemployed is that when you wake up, you’re on the job.

The amount of sleep required by the average person is about five minutes more.

I’ve noticed that nothing I’ve never said ever did me any harm,

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  Then quit.  No use being a damn fool about it.

We’ll see you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Bother and the Folding Company


Geology of the San Francisco Bay Area

The geology of the San Francisco Bay Area is a nightmare of jumbled, mixed, chaotic rocks. It looks in many places as if a giant had stuck a stick in the Bay and stirred wildly.

One of the most interesting such mélanges in the world.

The San Francisco Bay itself is the drowned mouth of the Sacramento River.

The sea level rose three hundred feet when the continental ice sheets melted about 10,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age, and it submerged the river entrance into the Bay Area.

Since then the river has been slowly, slowly filling the Bay with mud.

In a few thousand years, the Bay will be a flatland, grassy and beautiful.

The Sacramento is the only river that cuts through the Coast Range to the ocean, so it must have been flowing before the range emerged so that it could erode the rocks as quickly as they rose.

The San Francisco Bay is 300 feet deep in places so the Golden Gate is like a drain in a bathtub constantly scoured by a huge volume of water that flows in and out of a tiny opening as the tides change.

Without the deep sea valley known as the Golden Gate and without the Sacramento River, San Francisco would be just another stretch of the California Coast Ranges. This opening in the Coast Range is so small that Spanish explorers in the fog missed it for two hundred years, as did Sir Francis Drake. In the nineteenth century, before the Bridge, this opening was known as Chrysopylae, Greek for “golden gate.”
Gray sandstone, red chert and blue-green serpentinite at Baker Beach.
Diatomaceous chert consists of beds of diatomites which were converted into dense, hard chert, and strata several hundred meters thick have been found in sedimentary sequences such as the Miocene Monterey Formation occuring in rocks as old as the Cretaceous.
An ekphrasis on an oil painting I did called Death Shall Have No Dominion: this is a depiction of the silica skeletons of diatoms and radiolarians, microscopic animals that live in the sea. Billions of these animals live and die and form chert several hundred meters thick.
The term “flint” is reserved for varieties of chert which occur in chalk and marly limestone formations.
Serpentinite is prone to landsliding because it is slick and soft. Baker Beach is at the north end of a band of Franciscan mélange that runs to Hunters Point.

My wife Elise and I recently took a long walk to look at a Franciscan outcrop near 15th Avenue and Noriega in San Francisco.

This is in the Sunset District which was once covered with giant sand dunes, some of which remain.

Under its homes and streets, San Francisco is about one-third sand dunes, but these were tamed in the 1870s and only a few remain along Ocean Beach.
The south end of Ocean Beach has a thick section of the Merced Formation, Pleistocene river and beach sediment uplifted by more recent tectonic movement.
Volcanic ash beds like this allow dating of the rocks and help show that the Golden Gate first opened about 600,000 years ago, changing the sediment mix here.

We climbed these stairs at about 31st and Moraga. This entire hill is a sand dune overlying Franciscan rock.

A very high sand dune. When people came to San Francisco they built over the dunes, leveled them out, civilized them.

Elise, an amateur geologist, in the field taking notes and samples.

We climb higher…

… and higher.

And then trudge up the Grandview steps all the way to the top.

This ribbon chert at Grandview Park is part of the same terrane, or wide belt of bedrock, making up the Marin Headlands to the north and many hills in the city.

It’s exciting to find wild sections of the City peeking out here and there.

Telegraph Hill is a knob of graywacke of the Alcatraz terrane. Recognize the couple in this shot? William Powell and Myrna Loy.
Telegraph Hill has been extensively and clumsily quarried to help fill in the old shoreline. The old quarries are now occupied by homes and shops. Occasionally one of the rock faces deteriorates and collapses in a rockslide.
Montgomery Street was once the waterfront, and North Beach was a beach. Sailors fetched their vessels up here during the Gold Rush and simply abandoned them. The ships sank and became landfill for the area east of Montgomery Street, so, now, when crews are excavating foundations for new buildings (such as a concrete foundation for a garage, to name one example), they will sometimes find these old pioneer ships.
Alcatraz is an island consisting of graywacke that has been heavily modified during Alcatraz’ years as a lighthouse, fort and prison.
Russian Hill consists of coarse sandstone, or graywacke, of the Alcatraz terrane.

Long slices of the Coast Range have slid into the Bay Area along the San Andreas Fault and so have several fault branches such as the San Pablo and Hayward faults. This sliding of plates, their rubbing past each other, is a continuing process and is, of course, the source of earthquakes.

The rocks on the sea side of the San Andreas Fault are granite.

Montara Mountain, south of San Francisco, is a knob of bare granite.

The Coast Range granites have migrated here from the southern Sierra Nevada, sliding along the faults on their way northward.

Outcrops between the San Andreas and Hayward fault zones expose Franciscan rocks from the northern Coast Range. These Franciscan rocks underlie the hills of San Francisco and Marin County.

The Franciscan is a crazy catchall mix that consists largely of dismembered sequences of graywacke, shale, and lesser amounts of mafic (volcanic) rocks, thin-bedded chert, and rare limestone, dark colored muddy sediments, , red, green and brown cherts, and lava flows of black basalt. It’s a mishmash.

All of this Franciscan rock was once on the floor of the Pacific Ocean and then it was scraped into a trench at the edge of the ocean about a hundred million years ago.

Long strips of green serpentinite from deep in the earth’s mantle make smaller faults in this section of the Coast Range.

East of the Hayward fault, there are also Franciscan rocks, but they are submerged under thick deposits of muddy sediments, and are weak, younger rocks, which can erode to form soft, rounded hills subject to constant landsliding.

Many of these areas are becoming developed which will cause a problem later unless building code regulations are adopted and scrupulously enforced.

Cuts make hills unstable because they pull out the “foundation” of hills, and fills make hills unstable because they add weight on to the slope above. All it takes is a big rain or leakage from pipes somewhere and the ground will give way and slide.

Ground subsidence is the sinking of the land over man-made or natural underground voids, often caused by undercutting a hill, or building over what was once a body of water.

A lot of buildings in the City look like this. Those windows and that garage were once at street level. They have subsided, probably because the building is sitting on an ancient marsh, or for any of the other reasons listed above.

The San Francisco peninsula was once dotted with streams and lakes. Elk Glen Lake, in Golden Gate Park, is one of several that remain. Lake Merced is another. Building atop dried up or drained streams and lakes makes for shaky ground.
During the construction of ring-shaped Stow Lake in the 1890s, great boulders of the local chert were turned into this rustic bridge.
Strawberry Hill, inside Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park, has some beautiful chert specimens.
This is ribbon chert in the Japanese Tea Garden.
Also in the Tea Garden are local basalt and greenstone (serpentinite) of the Franciscan Complex.
Chocolate-colored ribbon chert (the same terrane as the Marin Headlands) on Bernal Hill, south of the Mission District in eastern San Francisco. Chet Helms and I once shared an apartment building in this area (Bernal Heights). The Bay Area is home to many attractive properties that frequently draw Americans to the region (like those on this site: One of the most popular is Oakland, and it’s easy to see why. With its historic neighborhoods, vibrant social life, and friendly and creative locals, luxury apartments in the city, like those of Atlas Oakland, are getting snapped up fast.
Many small San Francisco parks preserve rock outcrops. This one in Golden Gate Heights shows the typical sandstone of the San Bruno Mountain terrane.

There are many slopes in the Bay Area which are becoming landslides and can be touched off by a heavy spring rain, an earthquake or even an excavation by a construction company.

1870 oil painting of the Mission District, including the lagoon, which was a tidal inlet, but probably not a year-round lake as it appears here. In the foreground is today’s Dolores Park, then a Jewish cemetery.

Corona Heights west of the Castro district has been heavily modified by quarrying, but now its outcrops of Franciscan chert are preserved in a park.
The chert of Corona Heights displays a great deal of texture due to fracturing during deep burial and tectonic movement.
On the north side of Corona Heights is a very good example of a slickenside, or polished fault surface.
The Corona Heights look over San Francisco and the East Bay as well as the Sutro Tower and the flanks of Mount Davidson to the southwest.

We are overdue now for the Big One, which many geologists believe will happen on the Hayward Fault. The earth’s crust is not a solid shell; it is broken up into huge, thick plates that drift atop the soft, underlying mantle and the plates rub against each other.

The plates grind against each other, hitching along in sharp jerks as the edges of the slabs catch and stick together until they stretch enough to snap free.

Predicting or retrodicting earthquakes is a matter of spotting the places along a fault where the opposite sides have caught, and seeing how far and how fast the rocks are bending.

If a way could be found to free the rocks on the opposite sides of the fault, or to prevent them from sticking in the first place, then earthquakes could be prevented, or at least managed.

What we need is a brobdingnagian crowbar, say, about fifty miles long, to pry the plates apart and then pour a lubricant in between them to let them slide freely past each other.

This would be difficult for Lilliputians like us to manage, so preparing for a sudden plate sliding emergency might be the wiser course.

As long as the plates are moving relatively freely, the opposite sides glide smoothly past each other and release small earthquakes. This is the best situation to hope for, and it has been happening fairly well for a long time now. Creeping is much better than locked.

The plates are slowly moving past one another at a couple of inches a year – about the same rate that your fingernails grow. But this is not a steady motion, it is the average motion. For years the plates will be locked with no movement at all as they push against one another. Suddenly the built-up strain breaks the rocks along the fault and then the plates slip a few feet all at once. In 1906 the plates slipped twenty feet.

No one has ever been killed by an earthquake. The damage that does happen is caused by falling objects, landslides triggered by the quake, fires, and epidemics caused by contaminated water.

Driving the Coast Road (Highway 1) is a slow, meandering affair best suited to frequent stops for views and looking at pretty rocks such as chert which can be composed of diatoms and radiolarians, which, though very tiny, have skeletons of silica, and build up over millions of years.

Even the sand is beautiful if you look closely enough. This is not the golden sand of Southern Calfornia or Florida, but there is gold in this sand, real gold.

You can see ribbon chert along the Freeway on your right as you drive onto the Golden Gate Bridge from Marin County.

If you motor up Highway 1 to Bodega Bay, you will find this mighty green stone.

And some hornblende schist too.

Many of the serpentinites contain chunks of blueschist,

green eclogite, in which you can see tiny garnets,

and even jade.

The trip on Highway 1 between San Francisco and Point Arena is geologically fascinating because you observe beautiful rocks and minerals in the road cuts, and you can track the wind and wave action shaping the shoreline.

North of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Coast Road leads you to Stinson Beach which sits directly on the San Andreas Fault.

The houses in Stinson Beach are built on a sandspit, a very unstable foundation material, right on the Fault, so it would be difficult to imagine a more dangerous place to be when the ground starts moving as it definitely will one of these days.

In Bodega Bay there is a similar situation. The town is built on loose sediment deposited directly on top of the San Andreas fault zone, and thus Bodega Bay is destined to be destroyed every time the Fault releases a major earthquake.

Some of the buildings in town have lasted a while, though. This is the schoolhouse where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds. An old friend of mine, Randal Myler, was in this film, and in this building, when he was nine years old.

The Point Reyes peninsula is a well defined area, geologically separated from the rest of Marin County and almost all of the continental United States by a rift zone of the San Andreas Fault, about half of which is sunk below sea level and forms Tomales Bay.

The fact that the peninsula is on a different tectonic plate than the east shore of Tomales Bay produces a difference in soils and therefore to some extent a noticeable difference in vegetation.

Point Reyes is a stray scrap of Sierra Nevada granite which has been transported some 350 miles north by displacement along the Fault.

A little farther to the north, Jenner has serpentinites which embed large chunks of unusually beautiful blueschist.

Coast Range serpentinites often have angular fragments of this rare and beautiful rock. The blueschists are heavy, bluish-black rocks that are flecked with intensely blue crystals.

Serpentinite has all sorts of interesting properties. It is green and seamed by webs of closely spaced fractures that are often white.

Senate Bill 624 in the California legislature calls for serpentine to be removed as the state rock of California. The bill is in the Assembly, and if passed there, will move on to the Senate, where it will be voted on by August 31. Supporters of the move condemn serpentinite as somehow evil because it contains at times a form of chrysotile asbestos. This is more of a symbolic protest, with which it is easy to sympathize, than any real concern about asbestos poisoning from the rocks themselves.

Some serpentinites have a soapy feel and are indeed called “soapstone.” You can carve soapstone with a knife, and it is usually lighter in color than other serpentinites. The rock is inherently so fractured that it is difficult to find a solid piece of it as large as your fist.

I once discovered someone swimming up the creek behind our house, writhing like a salmon over the rocks. I asked him what he was doing and it turned out that he was on the prowl for soapstone (serpentinite) which he carved into interesting shapes. He gave me a piece of it from “our” creek. I was grateful.

Serpentinite has a chemical composition that suggests an origin deep in the earth’s mantle beneath the continental crust. Bodies of serpentinite intrude themselves into enclosing rocks as if they had been forced there while molten magmas, but nothing else about serpentinite suggests a molten origin.

Jade is another rock often found in serpentinites. Like blueschist, it forms under extremely high pressures and chunks of it are found in serpentinite outcrops. Jade is hard and tough, and so will outlast serpentinite in a creek, enduring as a smooth, rounded rock.

Jade can look like pebbles of green chert, but jade is heavier and not so friable. A tap with a hammer can smash chert, but jade can take a hit heavy enough to drive a nail.

North of Bodega Bay and up to Fort Ross, the San Andreas Fault is offshore.

Between Fort Ross and Point Arena, the Fault is onshore and it looks like a gentle valley.

The rocks west of the Fault at this point began life as sediments in Santa Barbara.

To the east of San Francisco, Highway 50 crosses the Sacramento Valley and enters the foothills of the Sierra Nevada between Sacramento and Placerville.

The eastern half of the route between Sacramento and where the road enters the Sierra foothills crosses old placer mine tailings.

I have often said that “placer” comes from Spanish placer, meaning “to please,” (pleasure) and, indeed it does, but the true origin of the word here is actually from placer meaning shoal or alluvial sand deposit (Catalan placer, sandbank, shoal), from plassa, (place) which comes in turn from medieval Latin placea (place) the origin word for place and plaza in English. The word in Spanish/Catalan is thus ultimately derived from placea and refers directly to an alluvial or glacial deposit of sand or gravel.

Placer mining refers to mining gold and gemstones found in alluvial areas-sand and gravel in modern or ancient stream beds, or occasionally glacial leavings. Since gems and heavy metals like gold are considerably more dense than sand, they tend to accumulate at the base of placer deposits. Mining of course, was very important back in the day, in fact it still is now. We can obtain energy sources from reactions within metal ores. For example, Uranium Production, which is a type of emission free energy.

Placers supplied most of the gold for a large part of the ancient world. Hydraulic mining methods such as hushing were used widely by the Romans across their empire, but especially in the gold fields of northern Spain after its conquest by Augustus, 25 BCE.

One of the largest sites was at Las Médulas, where seven 30 mile long aqueducts were used to work the alluvial gold deposits through the first century CE.

Placer mining was one of the earliest methods used by the ’49ers. This type of mining used manual techniques and tools such as sluice boxes, pans, and rockers located near rivers and streams.

In the early mining history of California, after the rapid working out of’the shallow placers of the high bars, attention was turned to the river channels as the next most certain source for a large gold yield, and in 1852, 1853, and 1854, a very large amount of this river mining was done, and most of the gold yield of the State at that time came from this placer mining in streams.

Placerville is but one more of the many settlements that had its beginning when James Marshall discovered gold in nearby Coloma in January, 1848. Jack Perry lived for a while in Placerville, and he’s still looking for gold.

She could be called ????? ???? (Athena Earth), but Anthea Sidiropoulos, is her real name, and we are going to play some musical events with her in Australia so we are all excited about that.

Goodbye till next week.

Keep on rocking.




Cher’s real name is Cherilyn la Pierre.

Sophia Loren’s sister was once married to the jazz piano playing son of Benito Mussolini.

Life in the Ivy League:  Tommy Lee Jones and Al Gore were roommates at Harvard, and George W. Bush and Oliver Stone were in the same class at Yale.

Spuere is Latin for “spit.” Spew and sputum come from this word. Conspuere is to spit with a lot of other people and this is the origin of the word “cuspidor.”

Jack Nicholson appeared on The Andy Griffith Show… twice.

Two of the Beatles were left-handed, Paul and Ringo. Easier to tell with Paul.

Carnegie-Mellon University offers a major in bagpiping.  Bagpipes were once made from the skin of a sheep, presumably after the haggis had been taken out.

When Mozart was born, they wrote Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart in the church record. Theophilus means “love god” and so does Amadeus. One is Greek, the other Latin. Gottlieb is the German way of saying Theophilus.

At age fifty-three, Rolling Stones’ bassist Bill Wyman married Mandy Smith, nineteen, but the marriage only lasted a year. A little later Bill’s thirty year old son Stephen married Mandy’s mother, age forty-six. That made Stephen a step father to his former step mother. If Bill and Mandy had remained married, Stephen would have been his father’s father-in-law and his own grandfather.   Mick Jagger should have written a song about THAT. They could have done the tune on the Grand Ole Opry.

Real band name:      A Life-Threatening Buttocks Condition

One in every four Americans has appeared on television.  I first appeared on television in Japan when I was sixteen with my band The Cool Notes.

Kermit the Frog has eleven points on the collar around his neck, and he is left-handed.

Yasser Arafat was addicted to watching television cartoons.

Matt Groening, creator of  The Simpsons, put his intials into his drawing of Homer. M is Homer’s hair, and G is Homer’s ear.

Tweety used to be a baby bird without feathers until the censors decided he looked naked.  Can’t have Tweety corrupting the morals of America, now can we?

Walt Disney named Mickey Mouse for Mickey Rooney, whose mother he had dated for some time. Mickey Mouse’s original voice was Walt’s.

Mickey Mouse won an Oscar. In Italia Mickey si chiama “Topolino.”  In Italy Mickey is called “Topolino.”

Can’t have Donald corrupting the morals of Finland, now can we?  Donald Duck comics were banned in Finland because he doesn’t wear pants.

One day Margaret Herrick, librarian for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, remarked that the statue looked like her uncle Oscar, and the name stuck.

Alfred Hitchcock never won an Academy Award for directing.

King Kong was Adolf Hitler’s favorite movie.

Debra Winger was the voice of E.T.

In Italy, James Bond is known as Mr. Kiss-Kiss-Bang-Bang.

There was not a single Civil War battle scene in Gone With The Wind.

There is not a single mention of the mafia in the Godfather.

When The Wizard of Oz came out, critics said it was stupid and uncreative.

Real title of a how-to book:   Keeping Warm With an Axe

Mary Shelley was nineteen when she wrote Frankenstein.

Virginia Woolf wrote all of her books standing up.  Smart woman.

Ernest Vincent Wright wrote the fifty-thousand word novel Gatsby without any word containing ‘e.’  This is vEry difficult for mE to bEliEvE.

Chicken or Egg?  In Genesis 1:20-22, the chicken came before the egg.

Papaphobia is the fear of popes.


The sixth sick Sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.     Easy for you to say.

Tonsurphobia is the fear of haircuts.

Mattresses used to be set upon ropes woven through the bed frame. To keep the ropes taut, one would use a bed key to take up the slack. This is the origin of the phrase “sleep tight.”

Before 1776, Americans used all kinds of coins and demoninations. The British pound, the German Thaler, and the Spanish real were a few. The real could actually be cut into eight pieces and they were called pieces of eight, as in the old pirate chantey. Two of these pieces equaled one quarter dollar and this is the origin of the phrase “two bits.”

In the 1940s, the Bich pen, originating in France, was changed to Bic for fear that Americans would pronounce it “bitch.”  Biche means a creature or a deer in French, and “bitch” does indeed come from this same word root.

When the first regular phone service was established in 1878, people picked up the phone and said “Ahoy.”  In Italian, they say “pronto,” ready.

“Hocus pocus,” the magician’s phrase, is a corruption of “Hoc est enim corpus meum,” a sentence in the Roman mass, This is my body. Once, when I was learning to serve mass in the third grade, I said this phrase in imitation of the priest, and was reproved by a nun for getting above myself.

The Boogey people live in an area of Indonesia and they are pirates,  Watch out, “the boogeyman will get you” refers to these reprobates.

It can get very cold in the Australian outback, and when it is so chilly that three dogs are needed to keep an aborigine warm, then it’s called a “three dog night.”

Assassination and bump were invented by Shakespeare. He coined many, many other words as well

The U in U-boat stands for unterwasser, underwater.

The word constipation comes from a Latin word that means “to crowd together.” Diarrhea is Greek for “flowing through.”

Accordion comes from the German word Akkord, which can mean agreement, harmony, but if you say Akkord to a German musician, it will always mean “chord.”  My grandfather, Albert Mann, who came from Alsatian people, played the accordion so well. He did all those tunes from the old country and it was an extreme pleasure to hear him.

These guys know about Mexican, German, Czech and Polish musicians in Texas. I see Sir Doug, Martin Fierro, and, is that Dr. John?

Disease was the evil influence of the stars, believed many people, and perhaps many people even believe it now. Influence in Italian is “influenza.”

Truth and Falsehood went swimming. Falsehood came out of the water first and dressed herself in Truth’s garments.  Truth, unwilling to assume those of Falsehood, went naked. The women here above, Betz and Linda, are truthful to a fault.  It is an honor to know both of them, and that’s the Truth.

A deltiologist collects postcards.  I would have thought records by Bukka White, Howlin’ Wolf, Kid Bailey, Muddy Waters, Junior Parker.

She so fine. She so fine. Linda LaFlamme.

I’m a klazomaniac.  Hey, that sounds like a line from I’m A Caterpillar by Peter Albin.   Klazomania is an urge to shout.  Yes, hallelujah!

And talking of Peter, he made this Christmas tree ornament, which looks more like a Horus tree ornament.

libricubicularist is someone who reads in bed.

Anthropophagist, cannibal, they are pretty much the same thing.

German is called a sister language of English. Other sisters are Frisian, Flemish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian.

A fox’s tail is called a brush.

The ball on top of a flagpole is called a truck.  If you devoted yourself to the study of vexillology, this would be one of the first things you would learn.

Diastima is a gap between your teeth.

Oh, god, do I love this woman.  Lisa Mills, folks, from Birmingham, Alabama.  She paints, she sings, she raises a family and hell at the same time.

Lethologica is the state of not remembering the word you want to say. Retrieval becomes so much harder as we get older. I used to say all the answers (or questions, rather) on Jeopardy before Alex had even finished formulating them.   Not any more.

Nictitating is winking. Cats have a nictitating membrane that we don’t. A woman who winks at men is called a nictitating woman. Interesting that there is no mention of the male in this, because I wink at women all the time. It’s a deplorable nervous tic.

A poem composed for a wedding is called an epithalamium. I have written some epithalamia and maybe you have too?

Says here, alma mater means “bountiful mother.” I always thought alma mater meant “soul mother.”  I’m sure both meanings are good. (The meaning is closer to “nourishing” mother.)

Dégringoler is French for “rouler précipitamment du haut en bas.”  The figurative meaning is “déchoir rapidement,” to fall, fail rapidly.”  Degringolade in English means to fall and disintegrate.

Dibble means to “drink like a duck.”  When I was fourteen I sang a song with the line “if the ocean were whisky, and I was a diving duck, I would dive to the bottom, and never come up.” An old blues tune. I think I learned it from Joe Turner.

Groaking is watching people eat in the hope that they will offer you some.

Hara kiri is the vulgar term. It means “belly cut.”  Americans often say “harry carry.”  Seppuku is the correct and more elegant term.

Karaoke means empty orchestra, just as karate means empty hand. I seem to remember on my Scholastic Apptitude Test such questions as if karaoke means empty orchestra, and karate means empty hand, which part of the word means “empty.”  Even then I thought these were really stupid questions.

Marcia Ball, oh, my god of music, what a wonderful woman she is

Kemosabe means “soggy shrub” in Navajo.

Koala is Aboriginal for “no drink.”  I have to remember this the next time I sidle up to the bar.

Scatologists are scientists who study feces, and presumably coproliths, or maybe not.

The “You Are Here” indicator on a map is called the IDEO locator.

Uh, oh, the third year of marriage is called the Leather Anniversary.

Japanese for switch is suitchi and for sex is sekkusu. Japanese are like Italians in that they want a vowel in between every consonant.

The Sanskrit word for war means “desire for more cows.”

A coward was originally a boy who took care of cows.  A ward of the cows.

This symbol # is called the pound key, yes, but the two dollar word for it is anoctothorpe.

The word set has more definitions in the dictionary than any other English word.

Rhythm and syzygy are the longest English words without vowels.  They are both good words too.

Skepticisms is the longest typed word that alternates hands.

The letter J does not appear anywhere on the periodic table of elements, probably because J did not exist in Latin or Greek. Julius Caesar was Iulius Caesar in his langauge.

A left-handed guy kissing his wife.

I loved this band, the Sons of Champlin.  Still do.

Lynn Asher and her very beautiful feet.

The letter W in our alphabet is the only one that doesn’t have one syllable; it has three.  (It’s really just a “double U.”)

The longest one syllable word in English is screeched. In Middle English, Chaucer would have pronounced this word screech ed (screetch Ed), because they pronounced the past participle ending in those days.

Is there Hope for Lynn?  Oh, yes, definitely.

Most used letter in English, E.  Least, Q.

Oldest word in English, town. Youngest, Samified. Means you have undergone the Sam experience.

Lachanophobia is the fear of vegetables.

Hey, how did Kurt Huget get in here?  Good looks? Charm? Positive attitude? Plays well with others?  Being with Terry Haggerty?

Fifteen letter word that can be written without repeating a letter:  uncopyrightable.

Racecar and kayak are palindromes.

Muumuu, vacuum, continuum, duumvirate, duumvir, and residuum.  That’s it. The six words in English that use uu.

Eye, ear, leg, arm, jaw, gum, toe, lip, rib, hip.   Three letter words.

There was no punctuation until the fifteenth century. Reading Latin in inscriptions is a nightmare because it’s all caps and it’s all run together. It’s like reading Russian.

A portmanteau word is one combined of two formerly separate words, such as, motel or brunch.

Just exactly what are you boys planning here?  Well, madam, we are preparing to, er, ambulate across this ‘ere Abbey Road, that’s if it’s awl right with you, of course.

Bookkeeper is the only English word with three consecutive double letters.

Cleveland spelled backward is DNA level C.

Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in the correct order, as does arsenious, meaning “containing arsenic.”  So, does Arsenio Hall mean a corridor with white powder in it?

There are only twelve letters in the Hawaiian alphabet, and, as in Japanese and Italian, every consonant must have a vowel before and after it,  so Kahlúa is not a Hawaiian word, but Kahului is.

In England in the 1880s, pants was a dirty word. Of course in the 1880s, everything was dirty. Pianos didn’t have legs. They had limbs.

Four is the only English number that has the same amount of letters as its value.

Stewardesses is the longest English word that is typed with one hand.

Words that are very difficult to use in a rhyming song:  month, orange, silver, purple. You can rhyme them, but only if you are a sloppy rhymer.

Quisling is the only English word that starts with quis. It’s not really an English word, that’s why. It’s a Scandinavian person’s name. Quis means who in Latin.

Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.

1961 is the same right side up and upside down. The next number that will be that talented is 6009.

There are five thousand (and probably more) languages spoken on this planet.  I can read about ten of them, but some days I wake up and can’t speak even one. The Mexicans in the kitchen at Aroma Café all routinely speak three or four languages. Spanish is not their first tongue. Mayan is.  There are something like twenty-six completely different languages in the area of Oaxaca alone. The tragedy is that these languages are disappearing rapidly. Knowing this can make a linguist slightly crazy. It’s like watching a beautiful painting slowly disappear before your eyes.

Maybe the plot comes at the end… in the cemetery.

Sam Andrew      Vinnie Martel         Tom Doyle   (I’m telling you, this Manny’s Car Wash green room is like a coffin. Maybe that’s the plot.)

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Italians In Britain

In just seven short years (circa 78-85 CE), Gnaeus Iulius Agricola advanced the military occupation of Britain from his initial campaigns against the Ordovices in North Wales, through the territories of the powerful Brigantes of northern England, and the tribes of lowland Scotland and the eastern Highlands, possibly as far north as Inverness on the Moray Firth. Agricola more than doubled the area of the Roman province of Brittania which, up until then, had taken his ten predecessors a period of thirty-five years to conquer and control.

GNAEUS IULIUS AGRICOLA    DUX   (the DUX was the leader, the general, the commander in a campaign. The word survives in “duke,” “il Duce,” and “Doge,” the leader in Venice)

Under the DUX was the LEGIO (legion) a group of about five thousand men.  A DUX could command several legions, with a legate actually in charge of each legion. The words “legion” and “legate” come from LEGERE, to choose, to levy.

The usual legion commander was the LEGATUS LEGIONIS, the legate.

A COHORS  (cohort)  was about five hundred men.  A legion had ten cohorts.

A VEXILLATIO (vexillation) was a group of soldiers under one standard or flag (the study of flags is called vexillology). This plaque was found in Hadrian’s Wall and it says, “Vexillatio Legionis II Augustus et XX Valeria Victrix Fecerunt. (Vexillations from Legion II Augustus and Legion XX Valeria Victrix made this.)

VEXILLATIO LEG XX V V FECIT      [The vexillation of Legion 20 Valeria Victrix made (this).]  Referring to a part of a wall or building.

The CONTUBERNIUM (tent group) was eight men who shared a tent.

TRIBUNI   (military tribunes) were interns, aristrocratic young men who needed a little military time before beginning their civil careers. Agricola began as a tribune. Tribunes were like young second lieutenants gathered around a senior officer.

CENTURIONES (centurions) were the sergeants/captains, the backbone of the Roman army. A centurion commanded about eighty men. Notice how his head ornament is lateral instead of axial, as all other helmet decorations were. This was a distinguishing characteristic, easily seen in battle.

PRAEFECTI (prefects) were third in command of a legion, although a prefect could command an entire legion at times.  Later we will meet a praefectus (prefect) who commanded a wing of the cavalry.

I am reading a book that Cornelius Tacitus wrote about his father in law, Gnaeus Julius Agricola.  Tacitus was born in 55 CE, probably in southern Gaul, which the Romans called Provincia and the French today call Provence. Tacitus’ father was a wealthy man who belonged to the second tier of the Roman élite, the Equestres (knights).

Tacitus was sent to Rome to study rhetoric, which at that time meant of course public speaking, but “rhetoric” also connoted a general cultural education that included everything that a magistrate needed to know.

“… this book,” writes Tacitus,  ”intended to do honor to Agricola, my father-in-law, will, as an expression of filial regard, be commended, or at least excused.”  (“Agricola” means “farmer.”    Iulius Agricola in English would be Julius Farmer.)

Agricola served his military apprenticeship in Britain to the satisfaction of Suetonius Paulinus, who was governor from 58–61CE, a painstaking and judicious officer, who, to test Agricola’s merits, selected him to join his staff as one of his military tribunes.

Gnaeus Julius Agricola was born on 13 July 40 CE in Fréjus, France (Forum Iulii, Gallia Narbonensis), then Roman Provincia.

“Fréjus” is actually a corruption of “Forum Iulii.”

In the year 60, when King Prasutagus of the Iceni died. Governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus was campaigning on the island of Mona (Anglesey, Wales), a stronghold of British resistance to Rome.

The Icenian king Prasutagus, celebrated for his long prosperity, had named the emperor his heir, together with his two daughters; an act of deference which he thought would place his kingdom and household beyond the risk of injury. The result was contrary – so much so that his kingdom was pillaged by centurions, his household by slaves, as though they had been prizes of war.

This was an intolerable situation and Prasutagus rebelled against Roman rule.

His atque talibus in vicem instincti, Boudicca generis regii femina duce (neque enim sexum in imperiis discernunt) sumpsere universi bellum, ac sparsos per castella milites consectati, expugnatis praesidiis ipsam coloniam invasere ut sedem servitutis, nec ullum in barbaris ingeniis saevitiae genus omisit ira et victoria.  (Tacitus, beginning of chapter 16, Agricola)

Urged on by such matters, under the command of the royal Boudica (and sex didn’t matter in choosing leaders), there was universal war, hunting down of Romans in outposts, storming the forts, and even an attack on the whole colony itself, with no omitting of the savagery characteristic of barbarians.

When the Romans executed her husband, Boudica assumed command of the Iceni. She proved a strong and sagacious leader.

Boudica led a revolt which lasted for several months in 60-61 CE. The Boudican forces burned and destoyed three major towns:  Londinium (London), Verulamium (St. Albans), and Camulodunum (Colchester).

Femina duce”   Women were held in high respect by the Celts, but the Romans came, whipped Boudica, and raped her daughters.

colonia” refers to Camulodunum (Colchester) where the Roman veterans had been harrassing the native population.

“Camulodunum” always sounded a lot like “Camelot” to me.

Colchester/Camulodunum is reputed to be the oldest town in Britain and could be seen as the capital city before the Romans came.

in barbaris ingeniis”:  an attributive phrase, meaning  (the savagery) “with which barbarians are familiar.”

“ira et victoria” :  Fury and the consciousness of victory.

“It is not as a noble, but as one of the people that I am avenging lost freedom,” cried Boudica.                          Tacitus

The massacre of the Ninth Legion refers to Boudica’s defeat of a large vexillation (soldiers under one flag) of the Legio IX Hispana during the revolt against Roman rule in Britain launched by this queen of the Iceni of Norfolk. Attempting to relieve the besieged colonia of Camulodunum (Colchester, Essex), legionaries of the Legio IX Hispana led by Quintus Petillius Cerealis, were attacked by a horde of British tribes, led by the Iceni. Approximately eighty percent of the Roman soldiers were killed in this battle.

After the final suppression of the revolt of the Iceni, and his apprenticeship with Suetonius Paulinus, Agricola left Britain and was made governor of the province of Aquitania in Gallia (Gaul).

Agricola was consul, and Tacitus but a youth, when Agricola betrothed to the historian his daughter, “a maiden even then of noble promise.” After Agricola’s consulate he gave her to Tacitus in marriage. This estimable and beloved woman is not named in any source, which is typical of the Romans who named their women from clans. Julia was from the clan of the Iulii, Claudia from that of the Claudii, and so on.

Agricola returned to Britain after the Roman civil war of 69 CE among Vitellius, Otho and Vespasian. Agricola was appointed legatus, commander, of the 20th Legion (Legio XX Valeria Victrix).  The boar was the symbol of Quirinus, who was seen as the personification of the deified Romulus.

Later Agricola also assumed command of Legio IX in the east of Britain, quartered in Eburacum (York).

Legio XX was stationed for much of its 300 year existence in the west at Chester.

Agricola arrived in Britain, and surprised his soldiers and the Britons as well by fighting the Ordovices when summer, the fighting season, was almost over.

News of Boudica’s Rebellion in 60 forced Suetonius Paulinus to abandon his conquest of Mona (Anglesey). Presumably Agricola had participated in that action, and was now, twenty years later, intent on finishing the job. His decision to attack Mona was swiftly made. There was no naval support because Agricola’s men were excellent swimmers and they also knew the shallows and waded over to Mona. The enemy, who had been looking for a fleet, were completely surprised.

Thus, in his first, short, campaigning season in Britain, Agricola had, in effect, conquered Wales.

“A liking sprang up for our style of dress, and the toga became fashionable. Step by step they (the Britons) were led to things which dispose to vice, the lounge, the bath, the elegant banquet. All this in their ignorance they called civilisation, when it was but a part of their servitude.”         (Tacitus, always conscious of the double edged sword that was Roman culture.)

In his second summer (79 CE), Agricola advanced his Legio XX up from Gloucester by the western route, and the Ninth legion from York (Eburacum) in the east.

He conquered the Brigantes in Northern England.

Cartimandua was Queen of the Brigantia, the largest of the Celtic tribes in Britannia. (The name “Bridget” comes from these people.)

Cartimandua’s kingdom was a vast tribal federation located in the neck of Britannia and its seat was at the massive fortification of Stanwick. (Stanwick is the red dot near Wellingborough.)

Cartimandua reigned between 43 – 70 CE. She made peace with the conquering Romans and was allowed to rule as a client-queen.

Because of her friendship with the Romans, Cartimandua refused to join the rebellion of Queen Boudica in 61 CE.

Later, bound by her client-queen relationship with Agricola, she refused aid to Caractacus, king of the Catuvellaunii, and instead surrendered him to the Romans.

Although she was married to Venutius, Cartimandua was a Celtic queen and wielded power in her own right.

A struggle for power broke out between Cartimandua and Venutius and became a civil war among the Brigantes.

Cartimandua asked for and received aid from the Romans to restore peace among her people.

In 79 CE, Agricola marched into Scotland on the eastern side.

The third year of his campaigns (79 CE) opened up new tribes as far perhaps as the Tay estuary.

The enemy did not dare to attack the invaders, harassed though the Romans were by violent storms. There was even time for the erection of forts.

Not a single fort established by Agricola was either stormed by the enemy or abandoned by capitulation or flight. Sorties were continually being made, since these positions were secured from protracted siege by a year’s supply of food and weapons.

Winter brought with it no dangers, and each garrison could hold its own, as the enemy, who had been accustomed often to repair summer losses by winter successes, found himself repelled alike both in summer and winter.

Nec Agricola umquam per alios gesta avidus intercepit: seu centurio seu praefectus incorruptum facti testem habebat.

(Aricola allowed his men to shine.  The centurion and the prefect both found in him an impartial witness of their every action.)  The prefect here was probably the commander of a wing (ala) of cavalry.

In the fourth summer (80 CE) of his time as Dux Brittaniae,  Agricola secured the peoples and land that he had conquered.

Agricola stopped at this point because the Clota (Clyde) and Bodotria (Forth) nearly cut the land in two (81 CE). Much later, the Romans built Antonine’s Wall which was merely a joining of the garrisons that Agricola had first put here to join the two rivers in cutting the land.

This is as far as the Romans went into Scotland and even today there is a big difference between the people who live between Hadrian’s and Antonine’s walls and the people who live north of Antonine’s wall. They are two Scotlands. The people in the north remained Catholic and Celtic. In the south of Scotland (south of the Antonine Wall) people spoke English and were Protestant.

“In that part of Britain which looks toward Ireland, Agricola posted some troops, hoping for fresh conquests rather than fearing attack, inasmuch as Ireland, being between Britain and Spain and conveniently situated for the seas round Gaul, might have been the means of connecting with great mutual benefit the most powerful parts of the empire.” The knowledge of geography, even at this date, was shaky. It was thought at first that Britain might be a peninsula.

In chapter 24, Tacitus writes that Ireland’s extent is small when compared with Britain, but exceeds the islands of “our” seas (Sardinia, Sicily). Notice that the Brigantes have territory in Ireland also.

“In soil and climate, in the disposition, temper, and habits of its population, Ireland differs but little from Britain.”

“I have often heard Agricola say that a single legion with a few auxiliaries could conquer and occupy Ireland, and that it would have a salutary effect on Britain for the Roman arms to be seen everywhere, and for freedom, so to speak, to be banished from its sight.”

Meanwhile, Agricola was campaigning in the north when the Caledonii took the opportunity to attack the forts to the rear of Agricola’s campaigning column.

Seeking to confront the Caledonii, and without knowing from which glens they would emerge, Agricola split his forces into three separate battlegroups.

The Caledonians, correctly identifying the weakest, most exposed Roman battlegroup gathered their forces together and attacked and almost conquered Legio IX, the Ninth legion. This attack was fought off only with difficulty and reliance on a relief column led by Agricola.

Sometime after 108 CE, Legio IX disappeared from the records. The popular version of events is that the Ninth ~ numbering about 5,000 men ~ was sent to vanquish the Picts in Caledonia and mysteriously never returned. The real reason that the Ninth “disappeared” is probably much more mundane in that they were likely disbanded, but who knows? At any rate, a popular film The Eagle has been made about this question, with the usual Hollywood distortions.

Legio IX was called “Hispana” because Julius Caesar founded it in Spain in 65 BCE.

And now in his work, Tacitus introduces a little diversion because of its inherent interest. On the west coast of Scotland, at Vindogara, probably modern Irvine in Ayrshire, in 82 CE,  a cohort of Usipi, that had been recruited in Germania and transferred to Brittania, murdered their centurion and the Roman soldiers who had joined them to teach them discipline.

The Usipi deserted, sailed around the coast of Britain, and escaped to the Continent. This tribe lived in Germania where the Lippe and the Rhine flow together. The Usipi’s voyage in three liburnians around the south of Britain finally demonstrated to Agrigcola that Britain was indeed an island.

The liburnia, so called because the Romans copied the ship design from the pirates of Liburnia, had only two rows of oars, and the Romans came to prefer it because of its great speed and maneuverability.

The Usipi mutineers lost their ships through bad seamanship. The Suebi and the Frisii, taking them for pirates, attacked them  and sold them into slavery. So ends this digression in Tacitus’ history.

The battle of Mons Graupius was a Roman military victory in 83 CE. The exact location of the battle remains a matter of debate.

Agricola had sent his fleet ahead to panic the Caledonians, and, with light infantry reinforced with British and German auxiliaries, he reached the site, which he found occupied by the enemy.

Even though the Romans were outnumbered in their campaign against the tribes of Britain, they often had difficulties in getting their foes to face them in open battle. The Caledonians were the last to be subdued. After many years of avoiding the fight, the Caledonians were forced to join battle when the Romans marched on the main granaries of the Caledonians, just as they had been filled from the harvest. The Caledonians had no choice but to fight, or starve over the next winter.

Non Romans did much or most of the fighting on the Roman side. The legions were held back, and it was considered a better victory if they didn’t have to enter combat at all. The allied auxiliary infantry (meaning Britons and Germans who sided with Agricola) numbered 8,000 and was in the center of the battle line.

Three thousand cavalry were on the flanks and the legionaries were in front of their camp as a reserve. The Roman army was 17,000 – 30,000 strong, and the Caledonians, stationed on higher ground up the slope of the hill in horseshoe formation, were about 30,000.

After an exchange of missiles, Agricola ordered the auxiliaries to close with the enemy. The Caledonians were cut down and trampled on the lower slopes of the hill. Those at the top attempted an outflanking movement, but were themselves outflanked by Roman cavalry. The Caledonians were then routed and they fled for the shelter of nearby woodland, but were relentlessly pursued by well-organized Roman units.

According to Tacitus, 10,000 Caledonian lives were lost at a cost of only 360 auxiliary troops. This is most likely an exaggeration. Roman accounts of enemy dead were often suspect, especially with such a huge difference in numbers. Twenty thousand Caledonians retreated into the woods, where they fared considerably better against pursuing forces. Roman scouts were unable to locate the remaining Caledonian forces the next morning.

After the battle of Mons Graupius in the north of Scotland, it was proclaimed that Agricola had finally conquered all the tribes of Britain, which is not strictly true, as the Caledonians and their allies remained a threat.

Tacitus’ statement Perdomita Britannia et statim missa (Britain was completely conquered and immediately let go) reflects his bitter disapproval of Emperor Domitian’s failure to unify the whole island under Roman rule after Agricola’s successful campaign.

In the absence of any archaeological evidence and with the very low estimate of Roman casualties, the decisive victory reported by Tacitus may be an invention, either by Tacitus himself, or by Agricola.

Agricola had been governor for an unusually long period and his recall to Rome was overdue, thus he was not recalled on account of his fabricating battle statistics. G. Iulius Agricola  was awarded triumphal honors on his return to Rome and was offered another governorship in Syria, so it would seem unlikely that Emperor Domitian was trying to hold him back.

Contrary to Tacitus’ account, archaeological evidence indicates that Domitian did not immediately abandon all efforts to subjugate the remainder of Britain. The construction of a series of forts beyond the Forth,

and in particular the legionary fortress of Inchtuthil were intended to control the territory over which Agricola had advanced.

Over the next few decades, however, the Romans conducted a staged withdrawal towards the eventual frontier demarcated by Hadrian’s Wall.

The actual location of the battle of Mons Graupius has caused a lot of healthy debate.

Most of the proposed sites span Perthshire to north of the River Dee, probably near to where Big Brother and the Holding Company played in Glenfarg (2006), about three quarters of the way from Edinburgh to Perth.

A number of authors speculate that the battle occurred in the Grampian Mounth within sight of the North Sea.

In particular, some believe that the high ground of the battle may have been Kempstone Hill, Megray Hill or other knolls near the Raedykes Roman camp.

These sites in Kincardineshire fit the historical descriptions of Tacitus and have also yielded Roman archaelogical finds.

In addition these points of high ground are near the Elsick Mounth, an ancient trackway used by Romans and Caledonians for military maneuvers.

“Agricola was born on the Ides of June in the third consulship of Gaius Caesar; he died in his fifty-fourth year on the tenth day before the Kalends of September in the consulship of Collega and Priscinus.”     (13 June 40  to  23 August 93)

“You were fortunate, indeed, Agricola, in your glorious life, but no less so in your timely death. Those who were present at your final words attest that you met your death with a cheerful courage, as though doing your best to absolve the emperor (Domitian) of guilt.”

Thus Tacitus (with a final dig at Domitian) on his father-in-law’s life and death.  The entire book Agricola can be seen as a funeral oration to his wife’s father.

Tacitus was a man who wanted to get it right. He was ernest, sincere, very intelligent, and he sought to write his story sine ira et studio, without anger and without zeal (partisanship).

It is through Tacitus’ eyes that we see the first century of the Empire.

When he failed, as he sometimes did,  to live up to his promise to preach “the gospel of things as they were,”  it was never from a desire to bear false witness.

His view of life was pessimistic and he always knew that the Roman conquest of the world was perhaps not so beneficial for the conquered.

We Americans, of all people, should recognize the desire in the Romans to conquer the world, because of an innate feeling that their/our way of life should be shared among all the nations, that we somehow have found the key to a higher, more organized, “better” life path, that, if only they, the barbarians, would accept it, it would help all peoples to live better lives.

Tacitus was the first person to examine closely this naïve assumption.  Sometimes he bought it, sometimes he didn’t, but it makes him an interesting historian to read, two thousand years down the road. I would like to hear what Tacitus would say about such institutions as, for example, the Peace Corps, Starbucks, the Mormon effort and missionaries in general.

Romans were a proselytizing people and so are we, who feel that if we are not converting people to our view of life, that we are somehow failing, or, worse, that our view of life may not be the correct one.

I was raised in the Catholic Church, which is of course, very Roman. The Church inherited the Roman urge toward domination, conquest, triumph, seeking converts, martyrdom, self sacrifice in pursuit of a worthy goal, study, organization, hierarchy, militarism, and a whole (pardon the expression) host of other good and not so good life orientations.

Even though today I am an agnostic, I look at this Church with great interest, just as Tacitus would have, because she is a living, breathing continuation of the Roman Empire.

Tacitus towers above the historians of Rome as Thucydides towered above those of Greece.

Tacitus used the Latin language more creatively and more freely than any author before him. He never indulged in simple minded nostalgia. He knew he had to live his life well in the time that it was given to him, and that there was no going back.

Ab actu ad posse valet illatio.             Study of the past will shed light on the future.

Sam Andrew



Two people who always made me feel glad to be alive.

You give people what they want, they’ll turn out.     (A rival producer observing the crowd at Louis B. Mayer’s funeral.)

I willed my body to science and now science is contesting the will.

If there was no action around, he would play solitaire… and bet against himself.

How are you planning for your retirement?    Powerball.

Gambling is a sure way of getting nothing for something.

“Unbelievable,” exclaimed Jimmy, “I’ve played plenty of poker in my day, but I never imagined I would see a dog win at poker.”   “Ah, we usually wipe him out,” said an old geezer at the table, “Every time he gets a good hand, he wags his tail.”

Las Vegas is the only town in the country where you can have a good time without enjoying yourself.

Hypochondria is the only disease I haven’t got.

There are people who deprive themselves of every eatable, drinkable and smokable that has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health, and health is all they get for it.         Mark Twain

They just tested the tap water in my town and found traces of estrogen and anti-depressants, so I’m going to be more feminine and happier about it.

if exercise is so good for you, why do athletes have to retire by age thirty-five?

What’s the definition of minor surgery?      An operation performed on someone else.

Dentist:  Jesus, what happened to your teeth? They’re all gone and your gums are in terrible shape.  Patient:  If that’s such a big problem, then get your face out of my lap.

What’s the good part about Alzheimer’s?     You keep meeting new friends.

Tell me, doctor, how much longer am I going to live?    That’s always difficult to say, she replied brightly, but let’s just say that if I were you, I wouldn’t start watching a new miniseries on TV.

I used up all my sick days, so I’m calling in dead.

Thanksgiving is an emotional time. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.

The Supreme Court ruled against having a Nativity scene in Washington, D.C.  This wasn’t for religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin.

Santa’s very jolly because he knows where all the bad girls live.

We’re buying a home. When you buy a home, you deal with Realtors. Realtors are people who didn’t make it as lawyers or politicians.

I have a special Italian lamp with a three way switch… dim, flicker and out.

Some men think that they can convert gay women, make them straight.  I can’t do that. I can make a straight woman gay, though.

Take boxing.  Two topless men?  In silk shorts?  Fighting over a belt and a purse?

A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running.

I had general anesthesia. That’s so weird. You go to sleep in one room and you wake up four hours later in a totally different room.  Just like college.

I had a hotel room so small that if I would have died in it they could have put handles on the room and used it for a coffin.

Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam… and I’ll show you a house full of chips and dirt.

I haven’t cleaned up my house in a while. There’s a milk carton in there with a photo of Jimmy Hoffa on it.

I got rid of those stinking odors in my kitchen. I stopped cooking.

Why don’t you keep watch and see how long the meek keep the earth after they’ve inherited it?

Beaver talking to a rabbit while they’re looking at Hoover Dam:  No, I didn’t actually build it, but it’s based on an idea of mine.

I used to worry about what people would think of me, until I realized they rarely do.

It’s easy to turn the other cheek when your tongue is in it.

I don’t make jokes. I just look at congress and describe what I see.

Witty replies are something we think of on the stairway after the party.  The French call this “l’esprit de l’escalier.”

Laughter is god’s gift to mankind and mankind is proof that god has a sense of humor.

Whatever you read that I said isn’t true, unless it was funny. Then I definitely said it.

Everything is funny as long as it is happening to someone else, or a long time ago.

My wife thinks that I am too nosy. At least that’s what she keeps writing in her diary.

You can do anything with a bayonet except sit on it.       Napoleon Bonaparte

One good thing about getting old.  No more calls from insurance people.

She was interested in her husband’s activities, so she hired a detective.

Two old ladies were having coffee at Grossinger’s when  a flasher darted over to their table and threw open his coat. “Hmmmph,” snorted Sadie, you call that a lining?”

A Jewish mother’s dilemma: Having a gay son who’s dating a doctor.

Dyslexic Rabbi after a rough day:  ”Yo!”

His idea of oral sex is talking about himself.

A blind guy goes to a seder and the hostess hands him a piece of matzoh. “Hey,” he says, “who wrote this shit?”

She belongs to a reform congregation. It’s called Jews R Us.

Would you want to put your life in the hands of twelve people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty?

All US presidents have worn glasses.

A client calls his lawyer and asks, “How much would you charge me to answer three questions?”  Lawyer: “Four hundred dollars.”  Client:  ”That’s a lot of money, isn’t it?”  Lawyer: “I suppose so, what’s your third question?”

Ulysses S. Grant had a boyhood nickname “Useless.”

John Quincy Adams owned a pet alligator, which he kept in the East Room of the White House.

“You seem to have more than  the average share of intelligence for a woman of your background,” sneered the lawyer at a witness on the stand.  ”If I weren’t under oath,” answered the witness, “I’d return the compliment.”

Abraham Lincoln died in the same bed that had been occupied by his assassin, John Wilkes Booth.

Tom: It was so cold this morning.  Dick: How cold was it?  Tom: I don’t know the exact temperature, but I saw a lawyer with his hands in his own pockets.

President James A. Garfield could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other… simultaneously.

Two lawyers are walking down the street and they see a beautiful woman walking toward them. “Boy, would I like to screw her,” says the first lawyer. “I know,” says the second, “but out of what?”

The best male voice in rock and roll… ever.

Guy receives a bill from his lawyer:  ”For crossing the street to speak to you and discovering it was not you:  $ 50.”

We have thirty five million laws to enforce ten commandments.

In 1912, after being shot in the chest, Theodore Roosevelt finished a speech he was delivering before he accepted any medical help.

“How much is two plus two?” the client asked his lawyer. She drew all the shades in the room, looked outside to see if anyone was there, checked the phone for listening devices, and finally whispered, “How much do you want it to be?”

Life is not for everyone.

The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination, but the combination is locked in the safe.

Harry Truman’s middle name was just S and not short for anything. His parents couldn’t decide between two different names beginning with S.

If you can’t find a lawyer who knows the law, find a lawyer who knows the judge.

Laboratories have switched from rats to lawyers for their experiments because, a. there is no shortage of lawyers, b. you don’t get so attached to them, and c. after all, there are some things you can’t get rats to do.

A lonely stranger went into a deserted restaurant and ordered the breakfast special. When his order arrived, he looked up at the waitress and said, “How about a kind word?” She leaned over and whispered, “Don’t eat the meat.”

Lyndon B. Johnson was the first president to wear contact lenses.

I once hit it big In Las Vegas. I drove there in an $8,000 car, and returned home on a $40,000 bus.

If love is the answer, could you rephrase the question?         Lily Tomlin

Love is like an hourglass:  the heart fills up and the brain empties.

Love is an ocean of emotion surrounded by a fence of expense.

Ronald Reagan was the only divorced president and the only president to be head of a labor union.

Love is staying awake all night with a sick child… or a very healthy adult.

Love is like the measles… the later in life it comes, the worse it is.

Millard Fillmore’s mother feared he may have been mentally retarded,

Make love, not war. Hey, you can do both… get married.

Lovely, shapely legs. Beautiful, luminous eyes. Deep, sexy voice. Large hands and a protruding Adam’s apple… hey! Wait a minute.

Bill Clinton was the first left-handed president to serve two terms.

A better understanding of the universe has enabled us to retrodict such phenomena as the passing of Halley’s Comet.

Love is what happens to a man and a woman who don’t know each other.           Somerset Maugham

David Rice Atchinson was president of the United States for exactly one day.

It’s bad luck to believe in superstition.

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

Every horseshoe that someone uses for good luck? That horseshoe was once on a horse that didn’t have such good luck.

Ronald Reagan married his first wife Jane Wyman at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Al Capone’s business card said he was a used furniture dealer.  His brother was a town sheriff.  His other brother was a priest. (No, I just made that last part up.)

Why are builders afraid to have a thirteenth floor, but book publishers aren’t afraid to have a Chapter Eleven.

You don’t lose your interest in sex as you grow older. You’re attracted as strongly as you ever were to eighteen year olds. It’s just that everyone your own age seems repulsive.

Hitler planned to change the name of Berlin to Germania.

Louis XIV of France had a stomach the size of two stomachs.

The shortest British monarch was Charles I. He was four feet, nine inches.  He would become even shorter later.

No president has been an only child.

Hitler was a claustrophobe. The elevator leading to his eagles’ nest in the Austrian Alps was mirrored so it would appear larger and more open.

Peter the Great executed his wife’s lover and forced her to keep the lover’s head in a jar of alcohol in her bedroom.

Queen Berengaria (1191 CE) of England never lived in nor even visited England.

Leonardo da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time, so take that President Garner.

Why do men have more brains than dogs do?  So they won’t hump women’s legs at cocktail parties.

Vincent Van Gogh sold one painting, Red Vineyard at Arles.

Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Monroe all died on July 4. Jefferson and Adams, bitter enemies, died on almost the same minute of the same day.

Of all his talents, Leonardo was most proud that he could bend iron with his bare hands.

Isaac Newton invented the cat door.

The most popular guy at my nudist camp could carry two cups of coffee and a dozen doughnuts at the same time.

Narada Michael Walden, Clarence Clemmons, Todd Rundgren, Bobby Weir and Huey Lewis

Every time a woman leaves something off, she looks better and every time a man leaves something off, he looks worse.       Will Rogers

Nobody knows where Voltaire’s body is. It was stolen in the nineteenth century and has never been recovered. The theft was discovered in 1864, when the tomb was opened and found empty. It would not surprise me at all to learn that Voltaire paid someone in advance to steal his body. Seems like something he would do.

Sigmund Freud had a morbid fear of ferns.     Paging Doctor… oh, never mind.

Einstein’s last words were in German. The attending nurse knew no German, so his last words will never be known.  (Hey, maybe he was speaking Yiddish?)

Hitler and Napoleon each had only one testicle.

Napoleon liked mathematicians and physicists but he banned humanists from his circle because he thought they were troublemakers, which they are.

Christopher Columbus was a blonde.

I went to the doctor and told her, “My penis is burning,” and she said, “That means somebody is talking about it”

Well, hasta la pasta, happy trails to you.

Chet Helms       Sam Andrew


Big Brother and the Holding Company, part sixteen. 2004


2 January 2004    The Docksider    Erie   Pennsylvania

See how Pennsylvania made that little portal out to Lake Erie ?   Croatia has outlets to the Adriatic Sea much narrower than this, maybe a mile in length.

The Erie Canal, dug in the early 1800s, and connecting the Hudson River to Lake Erie, is what made New York New York. Many other ports, Savannah, Boston, were more important at the time, but with a way to get goods over the Appalachians (Alleghenies) and to Ohio and points farther west, New York City became the dominant Eastern doorway to and from the rest of the country.

Even today transport by barge on the Erie Canal uses a tenth of the fuel of a truck.

I used to sing this song in my folk music days. This printed music, however, is very odd, with B# going into C. Both are the same notes. I’ve never seen anything like this. Anyway, I loved this haunting melody and the history embodied in the song. This song is rather like what The Volga Boatman must have been to the Russians. Minor key, strongly pentatonic, a chant, really, primitive, strong, good for keeping time while rowing.

This version makes a lot more sense. This one’s in E minor. I think I used to sing it in D minor. There is a lot of history in songs, all songs.

Caro Viaggiatore.   The title means “Dear Traveler.” It’s a kind of a pun on Caravaggio because this is a copy of his painting. I put Elise and me in there. I learned how to paint by copying painters before me.

Rodney Albin            Ellen Cavanaugh       Peter Albin

3 January 2004        Sellersville Theatre         Sellersville    Pennsylvania

Self portraits are invariably serious because the artist is looking so intensely into the mirror.

I bet Ant Knee took this photograph.

Liverpool lad pours a Bud in the Sausalito harbor.

Sharrie Gomez and I in San Francisco.

21 April 2004          Kellogg Foundation   Lake Tahoe  California      At this event, I met Don Graham the neurosurgeon who since has gone from this…

… to this.             He and Sarah made Adyson Graham who is impossibly beautiful.

24 April 2004  Wild Hog Festival  Helena   Arkansas         It rained so hard at this event that she could have almost gone swimming in the audience.

We really thought we might be electrocuted. Everything was soaking wet.

Peggy Pettigrew Stewart created this image.

25 April 2004      Rosy’s Jazz Hall       New Orleans

Cool New Orleans dudes backstage.

Meanwhile, farther upstream, the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers are flowing together at Cairo, Illinois.   “We pronounce it Karo, like the syrup.”

And I am swearing that I will learn how to draw a hand in any position, any lighting.

When I think of Florida, I think of the coasts. Sarasota where Elise used to live and Melbourne, home of my brother Stephen and his family.

Orlando, where the Carol guitar was stored in a vault for a while, is an inland place.

13 May 2004   The Vault  Orlando Florida           The Carol guitar travels around the country and is in San Francisco now, I believe.

When we played there in Orlando, I took the guitar out of The Vault and put it on stage.


The Musical Instrument Museum near Phoenix.

Mujeres floridas.          Flowered women.

The Vault in Orlando.

Elise and I moved into this house where we live now in 2004. It’s a small house on two and one half acres, a hectare.

All of Us      (oil on canvas)

I drew these profiles in Pahala, Hawaii.

The Hawaiian archipelago is actually much longer than this, extending some 1,200 miles over the Pacific.

Midway Island, that small two mile long dot there on the globe, is at the northwestern end of the Hawaiian archipelago. It is one third of the way to Tokyo from Honolulu. My family traveled once in a propeller plane that actually refueled at Midway en route to Okinawa. We refueled again at Wake Island too, if I’m not mistaken.

Chad Quist, guitar    Kacee Clanton, singer     Todd Zimberg, drums

Sam Andrew                              Elise Piliwale

11 June 2004        Kona Brew Pub      Kona    Hawaii


Kona Brew Pub

Colin and Wayne and Wayne’s lovely wife.       Erstwhile equipment managers for Big Brother, now far richer than we are, PLUS, they get to live in Hawaii.   Así es la vida.

James Gurley and I lived on the beach at Makena off and on for a couple of years. I wrote the song Maui there.

Every autumn, humpback whales swim 3,500 miles from Alaska to Maui for their winter vacation in the Au’au Channel between the islands of Maui County. Summer in Alaska, Winter in Maui, not a bad life.

Double Happiness.

Regina and Kacee were with us.

Regina is Austrian. Her name means Queen.  Vivat Regina !

Alexandria               Virginia

19 June 2004  Red Cross Waterfront Festival Alexandria  Virginia         Judy and Todd Bolton, so good to see them again.

Tristan Avakian played guitar with us and Todd Zimberg was on drums.   Tristan is now with Jennifer Espinoza in some incredible Queen scene.

Jefferson Starship:   Slick Aguilar   Diana Mangano   Paul Kantner   Marty Balin   Tim Gorman   Prairie Prince   Jack Casady          Photo:   Tim Sylvan

30 June 2004     Stop 345      Memphis     Tennessee

Right on the mighty Mississippi.

31 July 2004   Magic Springs Theme Park   Hot Springs    Arkansas

Sam Andrew              Elise Piliwale

6 August 2004   Sellersville Theatre      Sellersville    Pennsylvania

Sellersville is a borough in Bucks County in the Philadelphia-Camden metro area.

7 August 2004   South Park Concert Site    South Park   Pennsylvania

Eve and Adam     (oil on canvas)

13 August 2004   Gray’s Harbor Fair        Elma      Washington

I always wanted to open for a parrot.

A beautiful place.  Actually, when you think about it, the whole world is a beautiful place.

Kate Russo and I passed this one with ease.

14 August 2004   Berbatti’s Pan     Portland     Oregon

You can see why I decided to learn how to draw hands.

18 September 2004    Tree Frog Music Festival     Fairibault    Minnesota

Primavera Elisiana.

24-25  September 2004     El Dorado Hotel & Casino      Reno


Na’alehu Theatre

Kainani    Kahaunaele

2 October 2004

Jessica’s crown.

Chad Quist goes Hawaiian.

Peter Albin                    Karen Lyberger

2 October 2004    Hamakua Music Festival      Honoka’a       Hawaii

Chloe Lowery  and Elise

The banyan tree downtown Lahaina, Maui. This tree just keeps on going and growing. It’s all one tree and it covers this entire very large block.

4 October 2004       The Landmark Hotel       Los Angeles                      Photo:  Howard Sounes

16 October 2004    Largo Cultural Center   Largo  Florida       Wendy Rich

This was a local gig for Wendy. She lives nearby in St. Petersburg.

Peter Albin                Photo:   Jan Jenson


19 October 2004  The year I set out to learn how to draw hands. I filled notebooks with them.

21 october 2003    The main thing is to draw each joint, each bone in the hand. You can’t slur over it or it’s not going to look right.

24 October 2004

November 2004          Four More Years      (oil on canvas)

20 November 2004

31 December 2004    Coco’s in Ko Samui, Thailand.      set list      This was a happy period of  musical adventure for the band.

Señor Blues      (oil on canvas)

Sam  (I’m so excited I can barely breathe)  Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Big Brother and the Holding Company, part fifteen. 2003



18 January 2003      Porterville Auditorium           Porterville         California

Back to the Beans and Bangers circuit.

13 March 2003   The Brook   Southampton   UK


Peter Albin        Victoria Sidley         Sam Andrew

14 March 2003    The Rayners    London Harrows  UK       I asked Kacee Clanton to sing with us on this trip, and she did a good job. I said, “Only thing is, don’t bring anyone with you, and pack extremely light. We only have a small van to travel in. Also, where we will be staying, there are often no elevators and many flights of stairs,” so Kacee showed up with her girlfriend and the largest suitcase I have ever seen. She’s been to Europe many times since then. I bet her luggage was lighter each time.

Once a year we go to Europe. Sometimes twice.

The band this time:  Sam Andrew, Chad Quist, Glenn Halvarsson, Kacee Clanton and Peter Albin.

The band with the van.

15 March 2003  Borderline   London

16 March 2003    Borderline   Diest   Belgium         Quite a coincidence to play two clubs with the same name in two different countries on two consecutive nights.

17 March 2003  Club Banana Peel  Ruiselede   Belgium            This was a tent in an open field. A happening place, though.


It was fun and educational to be in the Netherlands.

One of the best men who ever lived: Vincent Van Gogh.  I read his letters to his brother Theo, and, even allowing for the fact that he is putting on his best face for a dear relative who is going to send him money, comfort and love, still, the piety, honesty, penetration, sheer energy and deep feeling of Vincent are amazing and very affecting.  If he had never painted a stroke, he would still be a very remarkable person.

Van Gogh’s birthplace.

He was born in Zundert, in the far south of the Netherlands.

18 March 2003   Stairway To Heaven   Utrecht   Netherlands

19 March 2003   Rijksmuseum   Amsterdam     I went to this museum long ago when I was in the Kozmic Blues Band, and back now.

20 March 2003   Wilhelmina          Eindhoven                Netherlands

My mother’s name was Wilhelmina.

She was named for this queen of the Netherlands.

21 March 2003   Patronaat  Haarlem  Netherlands       This is the hometown of Frans Hals, an extraordinary painter.

Franz Hals visited this home for retired men and painted the inhabitants in the very room where I saw his work. One of the quickest artists ever, he handled all that 17th century lace with verve and accuracy, alla prima, very few corrections. It was a privilege to be in the same room where he did that.

Hals did this painting in this building in about three hours. If you look closely at the original, you can see the almost incredible rapidity of the brushstrokes.

22 March 2003   Iduna   Drachten   Netherlands

Some of these towns were so destroyed in World War Two that they are brand new and even strip mallish today.

Hengelo is almost due east of Amsterdam, close to Enschede.

23 March 2003    Kleine Kunst    Hengelo        Netherlands     “Kleine Kunst” means “little art.”

Janis Joplin

Now we drive far south to Velden am Wörthersee, Austria.

Gúðrun Kofler (center above) has brought us here to her place many times now.

25 March 2003   Bluesiana Rock Café        Velden am Wörthersee  Austria

Velden is way down in the south of Austria between Villach and Klagenfurt, very close to Italy and Slovenia.

This marquee greeted us on entering Velden which has aspects of Tahoe and Santa Barbara.

In old Germany the catchphrase was Kinder Küche Kirche (Children Kitchen Church).  Here it’s Konzert Keller Kofler, something like that:  Concert  Cellar Kofler, Gudrun’s surname.

Chad can not only bowl, he can also rock and roll.

We had fun. I apologized for George W. Bush, but otherwise we had a wonderful night.

Monika Pabst !    ”Papst,” exactly the same pronunciation, means “pope,” and I think she would make a great pope.   Papst Monika Pabst.

Glenn Halvarsson, sommelier for the Swedish tap water tour.

Chad giving his Victory salute.

One of the all time great guitar players. Clean, intelligent and always interesting.

Die Freundlichkeit. Austrians are light, witty, schpritzy like Mozart’s music.

An example of this is down the street at the Stehbar (the stand bar).  You think a US bar would advertise this way ?

26 March 2003         Planet Music             Vienna

28 March 2003   Colos-saal    Aschaffenburg Germany   The name of the club is a Wortspiel, a pun. Koloss (Colossus) is a giant, and Saal is an auditorium (like French Salle).

29 March 2003    Alter Gasometer    Zwickau  Germany    The old gasmeter or the old gas company. I like the reuse of these buildings. This one is a beauty.

“East” Germany was under Soviet domination for a long time and there was not a lot of money under Communist rule, so, paradoxically, many places were left “unimproved” and as they were in the 1930s. Indeed, Prague in many places looks much as it did in Mozart’s time, which is why they filmed extended portions of Amadeus there instead of in Vienna. Communism had the inadvertent virtue of preserving an older way of life.

When I stay in an old hotel room in eastern Germany, I think a lot about the lives lived there under Communism. The faded walls, ancient appliances and creaky floors speak to me of all the people who simply tried to make it through those parlous times.

The “cookwash.”  Laundromats are great places for guitar playing. Somehow they filter out the mistakes.

The Sword of the East.   Don’t get me wrong. There were a lot of beautiful ideas in Communism. The rights of women, for example, were recognized under that system, and in old Soviet films you see women engineers on locomotives, women doctors, a real gender equality only beginning to be seen in the West.

Communism, though, had the misfortune to be directed by human beings and we all know how selfish and venal they can be, and how even a little power can pervert the finest ideals.

So, in the former East Germany, I see much evidence of the wreckage of hope and ambition and comfort.  This can be dispiriting.

The times, though, as someone once noted, are a changin’.  All of these old buildings and old lives have a new lease now. Suddenly former East Germany is hip.  The people in the DDR were “hillbillies” not so long ago. Now they are “authentic” and preserved from the olden times. This is a familiar scenario. Social regentrification, I suppose you could call it, and it’s worth a lot more than nothing.


It’s just that, when I am in those old hotel rooms late at night, I think of the ones who didn’t make it, the ones who died shortly before the Wall came down and thus lived their entire lives in desperate hope, cramped conformity and, sommetimes, in terror.

We are the people.

Vacation in the DDR, the Orwellian named Deutsche Demokratische Republik.  Now that it’s over, everyone wants to reëxperience life under Communism.  The “Ford” in the East Germany of that time was called the Trabant (the Trabi) and now everyone wants to have one and especially that little tent that was erected on top of the car. It’s so chic, don’t you know ?

How quickly we forget and how easy to remember the “good old days,” which, of course, never were.  Nostalgia for neuralgia.

Brezhnev and Honneker, the East German leader,  certainly seemed to be feeling the love, but there wasn’t a lot of trickle down.  There never is. There never will be.

31 March 2003    Objekt 5    Halle          Germany

1 April 2003   Musiktheater Rex  Lorsch  Germany

Albert Ellis made this button.

2 April 2003     Rockfabrik    Ludwigsburg             Germany

It’s funny to me, because “Rock” in German means “skirt,” and fabrik could be cloth, but it really means Rock Factory.  Rock und Blouse could be a skirt and blouse, or it could be Rock and Blues.  Depends on how good your spelling is.

4 April 2003  Fismo   Einsiedeln    Switzerland           My room was right across from this monastery.

Fismo is an acronym:   Fédération Internationale des Sports Mécaniques Originaux.

The CH = Confoederatio Helvetica    The Helvetic Confederation.  In his book The Gallic War, Julius Caesar used the word “Helvetica” for what is now Switzerland.

6 April 2003            Albani Music Club         Winterthur           Switzerland

My niece Emily Bullis Rollins came to see me in Winterthur. We had such a good time. I wish I would have had her sing a jazz standard or two.

From Winterthur to Dallas… culture shock.

Cathy Richardson sang with us  and Joel Hoekstra played guitar, two hot Chicagoans.

9 May 2003     Wildflower Arts & Music Festival   Richardson  Texas

28 June 2003            Jenner By The Sea       California

17 July 2003           Point Breeze           Webster             Massachusetts

18 July 2003    Ocean Beach Park       New London      Connecticu

19 July 2003       Vetrock     Mason Field    North Attleboro          Massachusetts

Elise Piliwale             midtown Manhattan.

27 July 2003   Central Park Summer Stage  New York City          Simone and Elise.

Diane Lotny and the fabulous Rob Clores.

Ashley Kahn and friends.

This is where we met the beautiful and talented Sophia Ramos. Sophia sang Ball & Chain and she stopped the show.

Couple Number One :    Carrie and Rob Clores.

There was an embarrassment of riches that day: Annisette, Baby Jane Dexter, Chan Marshall, Christine Ohlman, Caron Wheeler, Diane Lotny, Genya Ravan, Judith Owen, Kate Pierson, Lene Lovich, Little Queenie, Milini Khan, N’Dea Davenport, Phoebe Snow and Simone.

Judith Owen.

Kate Pierson was her usual charming self.

Miz Happiness and Joy, Milini Khan.

Brad Campbell and Snooky Flowers came, and we pretended we were the Kozmic Blues Band with Rob Clores and Maury Baker, the original drummer.

Milini Khan belongs to Chaka, and Simone belongs to Nina, so we had some royalty there.

Liz Getz and Elise Piliwale.

Phoebe Snow came by and sang Piece of My Heart.  It was so good to see her… and hear her.

Diane Lotny, Kate Pierson and Elise Piliwale.

Chan Marshall.

Chan sang Down On Me.

Cat Power.

Ry Cooder came to Central Park because he was playing with some Okinawan musicians.

My first oil painting, 2003.

18 September 2003      Sky Church    Experimental Music Project         Seattle

19 September 2003   The Kenworthy Performing Arts Center    Moscow   Idaho

20 September 2003  First Orcas Island Music Festival     Orcas Island     Washington

I did these paintings in three hours… and they rather look it.

25 September 2003        Justin Herman Plaza          San Francisco

4 October 2003        The Landmark  Hotel    bathroom sink, room 105     Los Angeles            Photo:  Howard Sounes

Yes. We still think of her all the time.                 Photo: Didier Richard

12 October 2003     Avalon Ballroom              San Francisco

Wendy Rich sleep learning.

6 November 2003     Skihuette    Oberwangen    Switzerland

Oberwangen is very close to Bern.  We often play also in Rubigen (in the l0wer righthand corner of this map).

7 November 2003         The Krone Bar          Einsiedeln        Switzerland

8 November 2003      Baden Halle 36     Baden Baden was a famous spa. Dostoyefsky set a novel there, Der Spieler, The Gambler.   This word “Messe” can mean “a mass” or a “tradefair.” You see it a lot with city names.  ”Messe” can merely mean “town center” or something to that effect, since the fair, and the mass, were usually held in the center of town.

9 November 2003   Albani Music Club   Winterthur   Switzerland       Lovely people here.

Wendy Rich              Glenn Halvarsson     Glenn is Swedish, don’t  you know.  In fact, he’s a big Swedish meatball.

Sound checks. I love them so much. (That is an example of irony.)   During this one, which was actually pleasant, we performed Blue Bossa and Cry Me A River, which Wendy Rich sang to perfection. The jazz ballad is really her strong point.

Wendy with that dazzling smile.

Wiedersehen !

11 November 2003    Hirsch    Nürnberg   Germany   To some, this town connotes trials of World War Two gangsters.     To me, it is the home of Albrecht Dürer.

Typically restrained crowd at one of our, pardon the expression, concerts.

I visited Dürers house in Nürnberg, and pulled this print on his own press upstairs. Big thrill for an artist.

Dürer was a very successful artist.   He was the Norman Rockwell of his time, in that his art was instantly understood and very popular.

I love his work too, and have made many copies of it.

13 November 2003    Das Movie    Bielefeld           Germany

Bielefeld doesn’t exist! For some reason, internet users in Germany write this a lot. I know it exists. I’ve played there a couple of times.

Michael Spörke is writing a very interesting book about Willie Big Mama Mae Thornton and I am helping him with translation and editing. Maddie Fields wrote Ball & Chain and Big Mama sang it so memorably. Big Mama was big, in every way. She looked like a truck driver. When she and Nick Gravenites were together, it was like two truck drivers. The rest of us would cower in the corner when they were holding forth backstage.

Michael published the German edition of his book Big Brother and the Holding Company, Die Band, die Janis Joplin berühmt machte, in 2003 or so. This title in German has a double meaning that is impossible to translate into English. It can mean either “the band that made Janis Joplin famous,” or “the band that Janis Joplin made famous.” Rather a neat ambiguity there.

Elaine Mayes took this interesting photograph.

14 November 2003   Alte Mälzerei  Regensburg      Malz = malt, so this could mean The Old Maltery, a brewery.

Da läuft was.    Something’s going on (t)here.

The Cotton Club       Zug       Switzerland

Zug is a little south of Zürich.   “Zug” means a train or a column (of, say, marching soldiers) or a procession, so it’s an odd name for a town.

Katy Did Did and Peter Bilt.  Peter, good guitar player, used to play with Pearl Harbor and the Explosions about the same time that I played with Pearl Heart.

Ellen Janet Deible-Stachurski            Dan Andrew

30 December 2003         Sudsy Malone’s          Cincinnati          Ohio

31 December 2003          The Rose         Medina    Ohio

See you next week !

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company

Hey !     Little Richard !


Big Brother and the Holding Company, part fourteen. 2002


19 January 2002           Turlock           California


28 January 2002          Chanhassen   Minnesota

31 January 2002               Area 22            Newport        Rhode Island

1 February 2002    Bank Street Café    New London     Connecticut

Every time I play at the Bank Street Café, someone asks me about my brother Dan who went to the Coast Guard Academy in New London.

Study for a painting.

2 February 2002          The Company Theatre       Norwell      Massachusetts

After playing in Norwell, we fly over the amazing Atlantic Ocean to England.

13 February 2002   The Astor Theatre         Deal     UK       I feel as if Charles Dickens may have written about this place.

Right on the English Channel. Dover is a bit farther south down the coast and Southampton more so.

14 February              The Brook         Southampton        UK

Beth Hart played many of these same places just before us. We once followed Yngvie Malmsteen all over Europe in a similar fashion.

I suppose you could call it the Beans and Bangers Circuit.

15 February 2002   The Point  Cardiff   Wales   As we were entering Wales, our driver said, “Do you have your passports?” I started and replied, “No, no one told us to… ” He smiled. We fell for it. I fell for it… and her.

The French call Wales the pays de Galles. It’s a land of singers, poets, actors.


People of the voice.

Charlotte Church

The Point used to be St. Stephen’s Church and it still felt like it.


16 February 2001        The Flowerpot       Derby

Derby is in the north and center of England.

It’s pronounced “darby,” as in Darby Slick.

I asked a Black Country man how he pronounced the name of this big city and he said, “BUH min ghum.” Rather different from “Birming hayam,” as they say in Alabama.

17 February 2002  The Stables  Milton Keynes  UK      Cleo Laine, the American singer, lives here and she and her husband built this place.

Chad Quist   Sam Andrew   Lisa Mills   Todd Vinciguerra   Peter Albin

20 February 2002    The Limelight  Crewe        UK

Crewe is in the northwest of England, in Cheshire, where the cat lives. Crewe is the home of the Bentley automobile.

And the Limelight.

21 February 2002      Picture House        Beverley       UK        This is such a beautiful place.

Beverley is near Hull on the Humber river.

Brierley Hill is in the West Midlands, the Black Country.

Brierley Hill is in Dudley. Samuel Johnson grew up in the town of Lichfield on the east side of Birmingham, the other side.

22 February 2002   Robin Hood    Brierley Hill   UK        This is where Robert Plant came and stole Lisa Mills away from us.     Hood Robin.

Oh, well, I have stolen and I have been stolen from, and so it goes. Paul Kantner paid me the compliment of stealing Cathy Richardson from me.

And then once or twice they took Sophia Ramos also.

I’ll just take it as a salute to my good taste in singers.

Just call me the unpaid talent scout for the Jefferson Starship. But I have stolen many a musician from them, and Jimmy Page saved my life once, so, eh?, we’re even.

23 February 2002        The Boardwalk       Sheffield       UK

24 February 2002       The Mean Fiddler         London

27 February 2002   Piesel    Fulda    Germany

28 February 2002         Theater Rex      Lorsch      Germany

We took this photo in Liverpool, but I’m using it for Lorsch.

Laura Albergante Visconti took this photograph.

Then we went to Schwerin, Germany, way up north. It felt like going to the end of the world.

1 March 2002           Speicher        Schwerin         Germany

2 March 2002          Blues Garage        Hannover       Germany

This is where we met Michael Spörke who wrote a book about our band called: Big Brother and the Holding Company, Die Band, die Janis Joplin berühmt machte. I translated this book and in English it is now called: Living With the Myth of Janis Joplin.  Michael is writing a new book about Willie Mae Big Mama Thornton and I am doing some light translating and editing on that one too. It’s an interesting story. We played many times with Big Mama and she was a fascinating character, so Michael’s book is well worth reading.

“Alte Weberei” could mean “the old weavery.”

3 March 2002           Alte Weberei         Cottbus      Germany

Cottbus is very far east, almost in Poland, and it feels like it.

4 March 2002     Hahn (which means “hen”) is the other airport near Frankfurt, smaller, a lille easier to negotiate. It’s like La Guardia compared to JFK.

Our friend Elena Lichtenberger  (upper left)  is from Kaiserslautern.

Saint Anthony (San Antonio) praying over my head.

Muddy Waters and his wife. She’s playing an A and he’s making it play.

I stole the Muddy image from Jessie Brawer.  Jessie, thank you.

23 March 2002     The Powerhouse Pub    Folsom   California

6 April 2002     Center for the Arts    Grass Valley     California      Drew (great name for an artist, right?) Friedman did this drawing.

20 April 2002          The Majestic Theatre       Streator        Illinois

Alex Call and I wrote a couple of songs together. I recorded one of them with Mary Bridget Davies, Ben Nieves and Jim Wall just last December.

At that same recording session, we did a couple of songs that Wendy Rich and I wrote  just about the time this photograph was taken.

3 May 2002    Avalon Ballroom     San Francisco

23 May 2002           Melba Theatre           Batesville          Arkansas

Beverly Ambort

Thank you, Rona Walstra.

Beverly Ambort         Chad Quist         Help !   Chad has a giant Bud growing out of his head.   No, not that kind of Bud.

An illustration from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam, artist Edmund J. Sullivan.

Some singers sound like they have a microphone in their throat. She sounds as if she has the whole PA in there.

24 May 2002   Pop’s     Sauget  Illinois

26 May 2002    The Waterfront    Covington  Kentucky

From my fingerpainting period.

“Tatemae honne,” the title of this painting, is Japanese for the public face and the private self.

Sam Andrew                     Lisa Mills

1 June 2002    The Thirsty Ear    Columbus   Ohio

One of my first sculptures.

2 June 2002    Motown Harley Davidson    Taylor      Michigan

14 June 2002  Constable Jack’s   Newcastle  California

Two good friends of the band:   Judy and Todd Bolton.

15 June 2002    Lake County Fairgrounds   Lakeport  California      On the west shore of Clearlake.

Sam Andrew          senior year       Kubasaki High School    Okinawa     Japan

29 June 2002       Tussey Mountain Amphitheatre      Boalsburg       Pennsylvania

7 July 2002

Musicians for Love, Janis in San Diego.

12 July 2002   Festival Grounds At The Pier     Buffalo     New York

27 July 2002    Kronberg    Germany       In a gemütliches Gasthaus.  Very typical post gig scene.

31 July 2002    Woodstock Swiss style

8 August 2002        Point Breeze          Webster         Massachusetts

9 August 2002       Fall River Celebrates         Fall River       Massachusetts

10 August 2002      Ocean Beach Park         New London      Connecticut

15 August 2002       Coeur d’Alene Casino       Worley      Idaho

16 August 2002      Whitehorse Mountain Amphitheatre      Darrington    Washington

17 August 2002        Grant County Fair       Moses Lake         Washington

4 October 2002        The Landmark Hotel, room 105         Los Angeles

12 October 2002     Avalon Ballroom      San Francisco      I was watching Manhattan (Woody Allen) in this cinema when Alan Weiss approached. “Recognize the place ?” I looked around and it slowly dawned on me that this was the Avalon, a place where I had been caught in the broom closet with Dany and a joint. I swallowed the joint and tried to swallow Dany too.

Sign for our road when we lived in Lagunitas, California.

19 October 2002       Center For The Fine Arts          Grass Valley        California

20 October 2002        Spirit of Peace                San Francisco Civic Center

26 October 2002        The Brookdale Lodge          Brookdale         California

Marie-Hélène Castelain

Françoise Hardy      When I lived in Paris, Françoise Hardy and Johnny Hallyday were the king and queen of the scene.

I was barely aware of them, but in restaurants I would see them on Scopitone, a kind of proto MTV, video jukeboxes that would play a song for a franc.

27 November 2002       When musicians play snatches of other melodies during a solo, they are said to be “quoting.” These are some of the quotes I use when s0loing on Blindman.

Next week, part fifteen. Thank you for being here.


Big Brother history, part fourteen – 2002


Come on in, people, and be happy.

janis jersey

We’ve got good things to tell you.

Jimi filming Janis not THAT one

Excuse me while I kiss this guy.

19 January 2002           Turlock           California



chan girls

28 January 2002          Chanhassen   Minnesota



Rhode Island

31 January 2002               Area 22            Newport        Rhode Island



new lowdown

1 February 2002    Bank Street Café    New London     Connecticut

Every time I play at the Bank Street Café, someone asks me about my brother Dan who attended the Coast Guard Academy in New London.

new london


norwell ma


2 February 2002          The Company Theatre       Norwell      Massachusetts      After playing in Norwell, we fly over the amazing Atlantic Ocean to England.



13 February 2002   The Astor Theatre         Deal     UK       I feel as if Charles Dickens may have written about Deal. Dover is a bit farther south down the coast and Southampton more so.




14 February              The Brook         Southampton        UK        We are on the Beans and Bangers Circuit.



15 February 2002   The Point  Cardiff   Wales   As we were entering Wales, our driver said, “Do you have your passports?” I started and replied, “No, no one told us to…”  He smiled. I fell for it.



The French call Wales le pays de Galles. It’s a Gaelic land of singers, poets, actors.

The Point used to be St. Stephen’s Church and it still feels like it.


flower pot derbu


16 February 2001        The Flowerpot       Derby in the north and center of England.

Derby is pronounced darby, as in Darby Slick.

bham hd



I asked a Black Country man how he pronounced the name of this big city and he said, “BUH min ghum.” Rather different from “Birming hayam,” as they say in Alabama.

bham art

alte photgraphie

17 February 2002  The Stables  Milton Keynes  UK   Milton Keynes is about halfway between Birmingham and London.

National Portrait Gallery, London

Cleo Laine, the American singer, lives here and she and her husband created The Stables.

I was here at The Limelight in Crewe with Chad Quist, Lisa Mills, Todd Vinciguerra and Peter Albin.

limelight crewe

20 February 2002    The Limelight  Crewe        UK


Crewe is in the northwest of England, in Cheshire, where the cat lives. Crewe is the home of the Bentley automobile.



21 February 2002      Picture House        Beverley       UK       Beverley is near Hull on the Humber river, but Hull is industrial and Beverley is leafy and rural.


Brierley Hill is in Dudley.


lichfield johnson's

Staffordshire, Lichfield, Conduit Street and the Corn Exchange

Samuel Johnson grew up in the town of Lichfield, Staffordshire, on the east side of Birmingham.

22 February 2002   Brierley Hill   UK        This is where Robert Plant came and stole Lisa Mills away from us.  Hood Robin.


Oh, well, I have stolen and I have been stolen from, and so it goes. Paul Kantner paid me the compliment of stealing Cathy Richardson from me.

And then once or twice the Starship took Sophia Ramos also, but only because they had to. They always have to.

I’ll just take it as a salute to my good taste in singers.

Just call me the unpaid talent scout for the Jefferson Starship. But I have stolen many a musician from them, and Jimmy Page saved my life once, so, eh?, we’re even.


Almost even.


boardwalk sheffield

23 February 2002        The Boardwalk       Sheffield       UK


24 February 2002       The Mean Fiddler         London

mean fiddler



27 February 2002   Piesel    Fulda    Germany


alte piesel

Wendy Davis

With Tom Finch, Peter Albin, Anthony Edman and Lisa Mills in Liverpool.


28 February 2002         Theater Rex      Lorsch      Germany



Der Speicher can mean a warehouse, a storage place.

Speicher = warehouse


1 March 2002     Speicher        Schwerin     Then we went to Schwerin, Germany, way up north. It felt like going to the end of the world.

blues garage hannover

2 March 2002          Blues Garage        Hannover       Germany

BG Frau

This is where we met Michael Spörke who wrote a book about our band called: Big Brother and the Holding Company, Die Band, die Janis Joplin berühmt machte. I translated this book into English. It is now called: Living With the Myth of Janis Joplin.



Michael has written a new book about Willie Mae Big Mama Thornton and I helped him with that one too. It’s an interesting story. We played many times with Big Mama and she was a fascinating character. Michael’s book is well worth reading.

alte webschule

alte foto

3 March 2002           Alte Weberei         Cottbus      Germany     Alte Weberei could mean the old weavery.

Cottbus is very far east, almost in Poland, and it feels like it.


Kundinnen vor einem Tante-Emma-Laden vor 1933


Back Camera

4 March 2002     Hahn (which means hen) is the other airport near Frankfurt, smaller, a little easier to negotiate. It’s like La Guardia compared to JFK.



powerhouse pub

23 March 2002     The Powerhouse Pub    Folsom   California



kate m


6 April 2002     Center for the Arts    Grass Valley     California

Jacqui Dankworth



20 April 2002          The Majestic Theatre       Streator        Illinois



We are open to all families.


cliff house and seal rocks SF


3 May 2002    Avalon Ballroom     San Francisco

War Memorial Opera House- 301 Van Ness Ave - and Grove, San Francisco, CA COMBO1930s-Today




23 May 2002           Melba Theatre           Batesville          Arkansas




24 May 2002   Pop’s     Sauget  Illinois

union drummer

sandra s

26 May 2002    The Waterfront    Covington  Kentucky

waterfront clay wade bailey bridge

The Waterfront is essentially a barge and it broke away from its moorings this year 2014 and crashed into the Clay Wade Bailey bridge.


1 June 2002    The Thirsty Ear    Columbus   Ohio

number one

thirsty ear columbus


2 June 2002    Motown Harley Davidson    Taylor      Michigan

HD Taylor mich

a drum


14 June 2002  Constable Jack’s   Newcastle  California



lily langtry lakeport


lakeport 1920

15 June 2002    Lake County Fairgrounds   Lakeport  California      On the west shore of Clearlake.




29 June 2002       Tussey Mountain Amphitheatre      Boalsburg       Pennsylvania


Beth Hart

7 July 2002

Musicians for Love, Janis in San Diego.




12 July 2002   Festival Grounds At The Pier     Buffalo     New York








27 July 2002    Kronberg    Germany

31 July 2002    Woodstock Swiss style


point breeze


8 August 2002        Point Breeze          Webster         Massachusetts


9 August 2002       Fall River Celebrates         Fall River       Massachusetts


10 August 2002      Ocean Beach Park         New London      Connecticut

Bimbo's floor-show



15 August 2002       Coeur d’Alene Casino       Worley      Idaho

darr map


16 August 2002      Whitehorse Mountain Amphitheatre      Darrington    Washington

hollow weenie


17 August 2002        Grant County Fair       Moses Lake         Washington

Back Camera

4 October 2002        The Landmark Hotel, room 105         Los Angeles

pac expo



Dolores Park  1935

12 October 2002     Avalon Ballroom      San Francisco


Cathy Rachel

fifth string

I like to party

19 October 2002       Center For The Fine Arts          Grass Valley        California


20 October 2002        Spirit of Peace                San Francisco Civic Center


james gurley good one

James Gurley

26 October 2002        The Brookdale Lodge          Brookdale         California


27 November 2002       When musicians play snatches of other melodies during a solo, they are said to be “quoting.”

These are some of the quotes I use when s0loing on Blindman.

alan merrill

Alan Merrill and friends

Jennifer with a Z

Jennifer Espinoza

Sam Andrew