Callow and Shallow

6 February 2011

Cominciamo dal fondo e risaliamo.

Let’s begin at the beginning and reclimb from there.

Elise and Nina Simone’s daughter, Simone, in Central Park, 2003. Simone was such a great singer, calm self possessed, a good mother and a good friend.


I went to sleep this evening, with my sweet woman Elise.

I went to sleep in Marin, with my darling Elise.

She’s my Beamer woman, BMW, if you please.

Blues in Hawaii, Honolulu in old Marin,

Blue in Seattle, but beige in West Marin,

Blues at the shopping mall, the lighting there is such a sin.

We went to a gallery opening, the artist was from Yale,

She played a lot of golf, yes, she learned her craft at Yale,

She was a trust fund baby, and she had it all for sale.

Amber, Debbie, Heather, come tell me bout your blues,

Tell me bout your Facebook, is it giving you the blues?

Amber, Debbie, Heather, you NEED a few more shoes.

This is Telegraph Hill a long time ago. They called it Telegraph, because when a ship would sail through the Golden Gate (no bridge then) a powerful telescope would be trained upon her, and immediately the telegraph would be set in motion to announce her arrival to all merchants and other interested parties down in the Financial District. We are looking at Montgomery Street or Kearney Street up at the hill where the glass was.

If you can’t win, find out what the loser gets.

Joel Hoekstra and Hugh Jackman. Difficult to say which of these two is the more interesting. I have traveled many miles with Joel and found him to be an inspirational companion, very talented, funny, and, really, in his own way, a genius.

When something is too good to be true:

What’s wrong? The kalleh is tzu shayn?

Was ist los? Die Braut ist zu schön?

What is it? The bride is too beautiful?

Standing in church doesn’t make you a holy person any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

The best thing about any kind of success is that you can make others really happy if you use it correctly.

With Ilya and two of my best friends, in Moscow 1995. We had such great talks, great walks, beautiful times together.

How would you like to spend time with people who

give their genitals a name,

wear loafers without socks and have creases in their jeans,

smell like anything but themselves,

say “Knock, knock” when entering a room, and “beep, beep” when someone is in their way?

Old ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) “mnemonic” :

Your rifle’s for shootin’. Your gun’s for fun.

Men can read smaller print than women. Women can hear better than men.

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, and wisdom is having the courage and creativity to put that tomato in a fruit salad and make it work.

This is no lie: My wife Elise just brought home a Greek salad that has watermelon instead of tomatoes in it. (Cue Twilight Zone theme.)

(with Rosemary Leary and Robert Altman)

By the way, both potatoes and tomatoes have an ‘e’ in the plural (pace Dan Quayle).

Mickey Fisher with an Austrian zither made in the 1950s. It’s a wonderful instrument, much in common with the accordion.

On an American Airlines packet of nuts. Instructions: Open packet, eat nuts.

The koto, which I heard so often during the two times that I lived in Okinawa, Japan. Banjo, sammisen, National Steel Guitar, all are relatives.

In California they say “I love you,” and it means Fuck you. In New York they say “Fuck you,” and it means I love you. Whaddya want? It’s a Time Zone thing.

Albuquerque, New Mexico: Cathy Richardson, Harvey Mandel, Jeff Pekar, Linda Imperial…Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot…

In her last days Gertrude Stein began to resemble a spoiled pear, and she turned into Picasso’s portrait of her, as he predicted she would.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal ideas from many people is still plagiarism, but you have a better chance of accuracy when you “consult” many people.

John, Yoko, Sean, Kyoto. Big Brother and the Holding Company also lived in this town. I loved it here. We played on the dry river bed (Kawaramachi) for the earthquake people of Kobe. I loved being in old Japan, and loved, too, that John Lennon had been here. He had such a great voice. Every thing he sang was a hit. He deprecated his vocal talent when he was alive, but I just love what he did when he sang, always. Everything John sang was convincing, authentic, well formed and most interesting.

Quo signo nata es?

What’s your sign?

In my family the boys were named Sam, Bill, Tom, Dan and Steve. Today those names would be Sumner, Brandon, Tyler, Dakota and Skyler. Is there a moral to this? Probably not.

A holding company is where you hand someone else the merchandise while the Fed investigates you.

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. So, why do they call it a convenience station?

Abraham, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed. OK, but Joseph Smith? And an angel named Moroni? And gold plates that no one has found? I mean, how did this thing get off the ground? We won’t even mention polygamy.

Photo: Max Clarke

Politics: a way of keeping people away from what is really important to them.

There are bad governments and worse governments. There’s never been a good government. Government is those people in high school who ran for student body president. Remember them?

Are the people who run for president really the best in a country of 300 million? Wow, who’s the lifeguard in charge of THAT gene pool?

Why do we nominate two people to be president, but fifty people to be Miss America? I can think of more than two presidents who missed America completely.

If Roosevelt were alive today, he’d turn over in his grave. (Samuel Goldwyn)

Self control, dignity,  integrity, truth telling, compassion, wise use of one’s time, wisdom, resolution, discipline, accuracy, responsibility, love. Oh, man, just give me one of these.

Visne saltare? Viam Latam Fungosam scio.

Do you want to dance? I know The Funky Broadway.

A shtreimel is that big wide hat that Jews from Galicia or Poland wear. It is one thing to see a bearded man with long payess, a caftan robe and a shtreimel on the subway, but when you meet one in an airport in, say, Dallas, then you really sit up and take notice.

I stole this one from Wesley Freeman:

I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did. (Joe McCarthy)

Ogni mattina quando mi alzavo andavo pieno di speranza a cercare nello specchio la mia svanita giovinezza.

Every morning when I got up, I went to the mirror hoping to find there my faded youth.

Vedevo molte cose in quello specchio.

I saw many things in that mirror.

One never knows, do one? (Fats Waller)

A bank is a place where they will lend you money, if you can prove that you are greedier and richer than the banker.

Whoever said money can’t buy happpiness didn’t know where to shop.

Credit cards are gnawers with almost invisible teeth. Pay them off if you can. That would be your best investment. It would take you a long time to find a stock that would pay you 18 % interest.

When I think of Nürnberg, the absolute first thing that comes to mind is Albrecht Dürer. I visited his house last time I was there, and actually pulled a print on a press upstairs. This here is a different Nürnberg, where criminals from the 1940s were tried. An excellent film, mostly suppressed when it was made because England, France, USA, Russia wanted to support The New Germany and not make waves. Elise and I saw The King’s Speech recently and were reminded that Wallis Simpson actually consorted with General von Ribbentrop, one of the leading characters here. Puta americana.

Want to start exercising again? Miss a couple of car payments.

What does he do? He sits around all day looking at his pupik.

There is a guy in San Rafael, California, who sells cars. His name is Mike Hunt. The very excellent musician who scores many Woody Allen films is Dick Hyman. These are very courageous people. Imagine a woman asking for one of them on the phone? “Hello, I’d like to talk to Mike Hunt, please?”

In Ireland a writer is looked upon as a failed conversationalist.

Why does someone believe you when you say that there are four billion stars, when it has been recently reported by scientists that there are really six billion, and when any rational person would conclude that the number is far greater than that?

I can sign autographs faster than Kris Kristofferson.

Playing at the Last Day Saloon with John Wedemeyer and Jo Baker, not pictured here. This was probably Jo’s last gig. We had a lot of fun on this one.

There are a lot of people named Rice. There’s even a university named Rice. I was in an actors’ group with author Anne Rice when we were eighteen. Why is no one named Corn?

The only thing you get from rubbing elbows with the rich is a hole in your sleeve.

Anyone who says “the good old days” doesn’t have a good memory.

Have I said this before?

This is the scene of my very first television appearance as a musician. AFRTS Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, Okinawa, Japan. We were the house band here.

I don’t have a tattoo for the same reason that I don’t have a bumper sticker.

I have traveled all my life. Most places, when you get to them, are different from what you imagined. Not Vermont. Vermont was exactly as I imagined it would be.

Talking of traveling, here we are backstage in Ko Samui, Thailand: Sophia, Alan, Sam, Elise, Eugene. Good times.

Why do people complain about how much athletes earn? If there were two Barry Bonds each of them would make one half what Barry Bonds makes, but there aren’t two. On the other hand, I can’t believe how much time people waste on sports. I apologize to posterity for living in an age where football, for example, is considered a worthwhile pursuit.

Baseball is what we were. Football is what we have become. (Mary Mcgrory)

When was the last time someone called you “Bub?” How about “Mac?”

What rhymes with orange? What rhymes with nostril?

Pennsylvania Dutch aren’t Dutch, they’re Deutsch. German.

NASCAR: the slow watching the fast.

Wouldn’t it be funny if you went to group therapy and Big Brother and the Holding Company were there? Trying to imitate Mettalica?

Et nunc abeo. Die dulci fruere.

Hello, I must be going.

¡ Que tengas un buen día !

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


One thought on “Callow and Shallow

  1. Golly, what did I do with the letters he wrote? So damn funny this week need to share.

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