The Snitty, Skint and Sequacious Pettifogger Snaffles a Shunpike.


Well, let’s see, “snitty” is shitty, being in a bad mood, cutting and evil tempered. Cutting is probably the origin of the word “snitty.” A cut is a Schnitt in German.


This is the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, where there was some incredible dancing being done. The place wasn’t segregated. Everybody came, and everybody had a good time. (1940s, 1950s)


“Skint” is the British version of “skinned,” poor, without a sou, no money, broke. Actually, no one has a sou in France anymore. Well, maybe coin collectors. This unit of money, which probably came from Latin solidus has not existed for a long time. But… it’s still an expression. “He didn’t have a sou.”  He was, to put it bluntly and Britishly, skint.


“Sequacious” is probably the term one would like least to be applied to oneself. Sequacious is related to sequence. It means a follower, someone who has a tendency to fall in line, to follow, to be obSEQuious and without conSEQuence.


 A Pettifogger sounds like a “little fucker” to me. Petit = little and fogger = fucker, but I could be wrong.


A pettifogger is a lawyer who does things on the cheap and the low down, not high ethically, nor any other way. That’s the initial meaning. Then “pettifogger” came to mean any petty practicioner. It stands for a mildly dishonest and mild person in every other way too, who thinks she is really getting over when she cheats you for a small sum of money. God bless these people, that is, if there is a god and she’s ready to put up with this sort of thing.


Snaffle. This word has so many meanings. It’s a special bit that you put on a horse. It’s a sound you make when you have a cold. Not quite the sniffles, bigger, like the snaffles.


Highwaymen in the 18th century liked to bill themselves as “snafflers.” Fielding uses that word for them, and I don’t remember any of them objecting. So “snaffle” can mean getting it on the sly, stealing.

birth control babe

40 light years across

Shunpike is the best word here. This is where you are trying to avoid paying the toll, so you pull over onto a side road that you, as a local, know will go around the toll and take you to your goal.  You are shunning the pike.

14 Aug 93 Caspar

The term shunpike in our new California freeway life has come to mean the motorist who cuts off the freeway into a local residential area to avoid traffic in one of those horrendous commutes that we all know and love.


Never put off until tomorrow what you can forget about entirely.

ab ovo

So, then, let us parse this title once again:  ”The Snitty, Skint and Sequacious Pettifogger Snaffles a Shunpike”  =  The ill tempered, poor, and conformist petty practitioner steals a ride on the frontage road.


It’s a strange phrase, but there is a certain poetry to it.


Both sentences are more than a little idiotic, right?  But not as idiotic as James Dean punching Rock Hudson in the, if you’ll pardon the expression, balls.


Why can’t a snorer hear herself snore?


The life of a drummer:  How the bass player sees me. The singer sees me like this. The guitarist sees me like this. My sweetheart sees me like this. What I think I do. What I always do.


Hah! You think this is a joke, right?  Being in a band?  This is an understatement.


Beluga whales live in the ice, so what are they going to do? They’re going to have fun with ice, right?  Looks like a lot of fun too.

Ben Chealsea

Ben Nieves (Nieves means snows, by the way.) and Chealsea Dawn. I love this photograph.  This is when we were at The Cutting Room, New York City. It was hot that night, in more ways than one.  I almost passed out.

bonne nuit

Oh, my father was the keeper of the Eddystone light, he slept with a mermaid one fine night. From this union there came three, A porpoise, and a porgy, and the other was me.


Now I’m at the place in life where I look just as good standing on my head as I do right side up.


Laura Dern was bullied at school because her father, Bruce Dern, was the only person to “kill” John Wayne in the movies.  Janis Joplin called her publishing company Fantality, which she said meant fantasy and reality. People very easily confuse the two.


The fathers of Harry Houdini, Erich Segal, Jackie Mason, Isaac Asimov and my friend Amos who lives right here in the San Geronimo Valley were all rabbis, although Amos’ father was a rabbi in a funny  place, Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Well, it’s a funny place to me anyway

one truth

Probably not that funny to Amos.  After all, Walter White lived in Albuquerque, and I attended Holy Ghost School there for the eighth grade. Hey, it was important to me, and I won the prize there for being the “most musical boy at Holy Ghost.”  This was because I sang Palomita in Spanish. Sometimes it doesn’t take much.


Three stages in life:   youth, middle age, and “Hey, you’re looking good.”



You can get a DUI (DWI) when you’re riding a horse. A horse is a vehicle.


This is a new cicada. They’re green when they’re new.  Don’t it make my brown eyes blue?


This isn’t the new Christy minstrels, but it could be.  That wouldn’t be a güiro there with the tambourine, would it?


Cocaine Bill and Morphine Sue,   walking hand in hand down the avenue,   Oh, honey won’t you have a little (sniff) on me, have a (sniff) on me.


Having children is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain.


“Singapore” means City of the Lion.  Many, many people in the Punjab have the surname Singh, and I think it means “lion” there too. And let’s not forget Singha Beer from Thailand.


The Golden Hinde, Sir Francis Drake’s famous three-master, was smaller than a modern tugboat.


Buy the worst home on the best street.


Hijinks is the only word in English with three dotted letters in a row.

dale r

We’re all in this alone.


The Romans had three different types of kiss: basium, the kiss on the lips;  osculum, a friendly kiss on the cheek; and suavium, the kiss that the French say they invented.

desert doors

A philematophobe is someone who hates to be kissed. So, someone who likes to be kissed is probably a philematophile, and someone who really likes to be kissed could be a philematophiliac.

dre nis

Your left foot is probably just a tiny bit bigger than your right foot.

eagle owl

Judy Garland, Lenny Bruce and Elvis Presley died on the loo. George III died after falling off the loo.

eileen julie

“You must know that it is by the state of the lavatory that a family is judged.”   (Pope John XXIII)

eliane manu

Eat anything you want.  Just don’t swallow it.


More men feel comfortable doing “public speaking,” while more women feel comfortable doing “private speaking.”

Erika & B Haley

Why attack god?  She could be as miserable as we are.


Imagine the painting in a museum, the stupidities it hears day in and day out.


Monopoly: the person who makes the most deals wins.


For a short interval you can lift twice your weight.  For a long distance you can carry half your weight uncomfortably or one fourth your weight comfortably.


What makes me happy at this time is the affection shared with the people who fill my life.



We are an idealistic people and we’ll make any sacrifice for any cause that won’t cost us anything.

gandhi sandhi

Sandy Gandhi.


Hoc erat in votis: modus agri non ita magnus,  Hortus ubi et tecto vicinus iugis aquae fons  Et paulum silvae super his foret.


This was in my prayers:  a parcel of land not so very large, which would have a garden and ever flowing water near the house and a bit of woods added to this.  (Horace wrote this long ago. We actually have these things and you can almost see them in this photograph.)


Shoes: the earliest Anglo-Saxon term was sceo, “to cover,” which eventually became in the plural schewis, then shooys, and finally shoes.


Barley cleans cholesterol from the blood.


Open marriage is nature’s way of telling you that you need a divorce.



You get a line and I’ll get a pole, We’ll go down to the crawdad hole, Honey, sugar baby mine.


To play in New York City bars, you need 45 minutes of original music, and, please, no ballads after midnight.


Some people are like hit songs. They only last for three minutes.


Every musician, however modest, keeps a most outrageous ego chained like a monster madman in the padded cell of his/her breast.


Nothing is more remarkable about this generation than its addiction to music.


“Rosary” meaning “wreath of roses” first appeared in fifteenth century Europe, but the practice of reciting prayers on a string of knots or beads goes back to the Indic priests of the Middle East before 500 BCE.  The Sanskrit for rosary is the “remembrancer.”


A tart temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.


I don’t understand this at all.  Do you understand this?


Brutality to an animal is cruelty to us all.

Jimi Buddy

Once upon a time there were no pockets. One convenient place for a man in the 1500s to carry his personal effects was in his codpiece, which was originally a opening, or fly, to his trousers. It was the fashion that the fastened flap be stuffed (à la Spinal Tap) and so it became an ideal place to carry keys and valuables wrapped in a cloth.

jota eme

karen c

You may talk about your kings of Gideon,  You may talk about your men of Saul,  But there’s none like good old Joshua,  At the battle of Jericho.


When nosing your car to a wall, turn on your high beams and look at the reflection on the wall as you slowly move closer. When the brightest part falls out of view, you are close enough.


Deer sleep only five minutes a day.


mas bonitas

Ahhh, patriotism:   Welcome to the city of Allen Capital of the Pera and of the PRETTIEST WOMEN IN THE WORLD.


Phyllis Schlafly speaks for all women who oppose equal rights for themselves.


Don’t be stupid, be a smartie, come and join the Nazi party.



The guy who said, “Two can live as cheaply as one,”  has a lot of explaining to do.


Which doesn’t fit with the rest:  AIDS, herpes, gonorrhea, condominiums.   Gonorrhea.  You can get rid of gonorrhea.



I am invariably and have been since adolescence inimical to the Republican mind which shows at the most inflated size the bad qualities of the bourgeoisie rather than the good qualities of the middle class which the Democrats call forth.     Janet Flanner.


Rosario was a name that puzzled me at first. It sounds masculine but it is a name for women in the Hispanic culture. It means “rosary,” of course.  Maybe Rocío (dew) is a woman’s name too.


If you need to locate a stud in a stick-framed wall, keep in mind that most electricians are right-handed. Find an outlet and tap the wall directly to its left to find the stud. You can measure away from it in 16-inch increments to find the others.

Nercedes Benz

Oh, Lord, won’t you buy me this Mercedes Benz.


Hey, it’s Neut Gangrich!


Alessia Cianetti.


So, here’s to a glass of whiskey,  Here’s to a good glass of beer,  They’re not half as sweet as a maiden’s kiss, But a damn sight more sincere.


Life is too short to worry about what someone else thinks or says. So have fun and give them something to talk about. Their own lives are probably too boring.

nurse violinists

Forks did not come into general use until quite recently, the eighteenth century. Up until then, the lower classes ate with five fingers and the upper classes ate with three. A little earlier than this a Venetian noblewoman had the effrontery to use a fork and she died ten days later. Some said it was because of the plague but the clergymen, holy and Christian as always, said it was because the woman used a fork.

Sandra Fabie-Gfeller

Quand vous serez bien vieille, au soir, à la chandelle,  Assise auprès du feu, dévidant et filant,  Direz, chantant mes vers, en vous émerveillant, Ronsard me célébrait du temps que j’étais belle.


When you are very old, in the evening, seated by the candle near the fire, winding and spinning, You will say, singing my  verses and marveling, Ronsard celebrated me when I was beautiful.


Let’s make peace.


Oops, clothing catastrophe, wardrobe wackiness, peenie peeking.


I’d like to be as tired at night as I am in the morning.

pile on

A silk fiber is triangular. It reflects light in the same manner as a prism. That’s why silk cloth shines.


Beauty, real beauty, is a serious matter. If there is a god, she must be beautiful.


He sank beneath the icy waves, He sank down into the sea; No living thing wept a tear for him, Save that lonely willow tree.


Hi, I’m 40 years old, a politician and an honorable and upright person.   Hi, Sweetheart. I’m a prostitute, 35 years old and still a virgin.


In the 1830s a popular patent medicine was “Dr. Miles’ Compound Extract of Tomato.”  It was ketchup.

pollyanna bush

The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) was banned in Boron, California, in 1989 because of the word goddamn. This is probably the most famous work of fiction never to have been turned into a feature film.



Pedantry:  stupidity that read a book.


Advice that is most likely rarely followed:   To protect your eyes from strain, make sure the screen is just beyond arm’s length.


Shrouds don’t have pockets.  Enjoy your money while you can.

record collection

Why are clams so secretive?     They’re shellfish.

richtigen Weg

Cemetery.      We’re headed in the right direction.

rock art

Heads or Tails Resuscitation:    If the face is red, raise the head.  If the face is pale, raise the tail.



Mount Rushless


Danish pastry, German measles, Brazil nuts, Mexican standoff, Dutch uncle, Russian roulette, Chinese fire drill, Swiss cheese, Hong Kong flu, Grecian urn, Singapore sling, Turkish baths, Indian food, French kisses, Maltese cross, Italian style, Panama hat, Spanish flu… ahhh, world music.


When I was apprenticed in London, I went to see my dear, The candles all were burning, the moon shone bright and clear, I knocked upon her window to ease her of her pain, She rose to let me in, then she barred the door again.


Selbst ?

In a world where everyone wants to make you into something else, the greatest success is to be yourself.


Oysters are supposed to enhance your sexual prowess, but they don’t do much for me.  Maybe I put them on too soon?


Come kiss me quick and make me whole, You’re good for my body, good for my soul.



Gladness, not madness.


We all laugh in the same language.


The animal that lives the longest, the giant turtle, eats no meat.


Cleveland was originally spelled Cleaveland, but a headline writer needed to cram the word in a one-column width, so that’s all she wrote.


She didn’t write against the piano, but she didn’t write for it either.


This is an interesting book. I’m not sure if it’s available in English. I did an interview in French for it at the Café des Deux Magots, once the trysting tipple for Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.

tara tom

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita.   Dante.   In the middle of the road of  our life.


Little Boy Blue, Come blow your horn, The sheep’s in the meadow, The cow’s in the corn…  The boy blue was Cardinal Wolsey (Wolsey may have been originally woolsey) who, after a meteoric rise to power and wealth, was dashed down by Henry VIII after he failed to persuade Pope Clement VII to grant Henry an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Wolsey, as a boy in Ipswich, tended to his father’s sheep.



El Caballero de la Triste Figura.    The Knight of the Doleful Countenance.


“Who Ate Napoleons with Josephine When Bonaparte Was Away?”  Ahh, they just don’t write song titles like that anymore.


A finger ring was used for weddings in the Third Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, around 2800 BCE. To the Egyptians, a circle, having no beginning and no end, signified eternity.

tirer la langue

Why are they sticking out their tongues? Am I making them drool? My Wolves, how I love them… live!


I’ll sing you a song, a good song of the sea, To me way, aye, blow the man down; And trust that you’ll join in the chorus with me, Give me some time to blow the man down.


Half of the amount of laundry detergent recommended by the manufacturer is plenty. This rule also applies to toothpaste.



Ich kenne mich auch nicht und Gott soll mich auch davor behüten.  Goethe.


I do not know myself and god forbid that I should.


Canada’s east coast is closer to London than to Victoria, British Columbia.



Home is the place where my books are.

w güiro

The bayonet was invented in Bayonne, France, early in the 17th century.  Napoleon said you could do anything with a bayonet but sit on it.



Je veux qu’il n’y ait si pauvre paysan en mon royaume qu’il n’ait tous les dimanches sa poule au pot.   Henri IV (1553-1610)


I want there to be no peasant in my kingdom so poor that he is unable to have a chicken in his pot every Sunday.


The world belongs to the passionate person who can keep calm.


If today were a fish, I’d throw it back in.


I know a woman who plays an excellent piano.  It’s a Steinway.


Guns are not the real problem.  The real problem is bullets.


Never let a computer know you’re in a hurry.


People become conservative when they lose their hair, their juice and make a little money. They’re tired and rich and they don’t want to take any more chances.

z güiro

In an average lifetime one expands one’s vocabulary to 50,000 words, it says here.  I say I have expanded mine far more than that, and so have many people I know. And that’s just in English. I have often wondered whether learning other languages counts as adding to one’s vocabulary. If it does, then that would change everything, because, my vocabulary in French is almost as large as it is in English. Of course this is considerably helped by the fact that many words in French and English are the same… particularly the long and “difficult” or scientific words.

z samantha leoni

Take gynécologie, for example.  It wouldn’t take a genius to see what that means in English. But, if you take a small “practical,” common word like “wrench” (clef) or “tack” (semence), these are more difficult to learn, even if they are related somehow poetically to the English word.

Sam Jimmy

What is important in learning languages is to see the relationship among words in every language. That relationship is almost always there waiting to be discovered. Zahn is “tooth” in German. It is the same word from the same parent as the DEN in dental. That’s the relationship. It takes a bit of study and thought to see that relationship, and many others like it, but the time spent is well worth it. Zahn = dent = diente = dónti (Greek). All these words come from the same Sanskrit mother.


Many complain of their looks, but few of their brains.


I’m going down the road feeling bad, I’m going down the road feeling bad, I’m going down the road feeling bad, Lord, Lord, And I ain’t gonna be treated this away.


Effortless prose takes about three or four rewrites. For me, more.

1 german articles

1 Lindsay Casanova Nathalie Delahousse

The British dramatist Richard Brinsley Sheridan told his son that he was cutting him out of his will and leaving him just a shilling. His son’s reaction was, “I’m sorry to hear that, sir. You don’t happen to have the shilling about you now, do you?”

1 paula baldassarri

Friday is named for Frigga, the free-spirited goddess of love and fertility, Teutonic counterpart of the Latin goddess Venus or Greek Aphrodite. When the Norse and Germanic tribes converted to Christianity, Frigga was banished in shame to a mountaintop and labeled a witch. It was believed that every Friday the spiteful goddess convened a meeting with eleven other witches, plus the Devil, a gathering of thirteen, and plotted evil turns of fate for the coming week. For many centuries in Scandinavia, Friday was called the “Witches Sabbath.”

barbara holden

Never wear a hat that has more character than you do.

kathryn grayson

Kathryn Grayson.


victoria smith

You ought to see my Cindy, She lives way down south; She’s so sweet the honey bees Swarm around her mouth. Get along home, Cindy, Cindy, Get along home, Cindy, Cindy, Get along home, Cindy, Cindy, I’ll marry you some day.

write on

leslie feffer

A titillomaniac is a person who is obsessed with scratching.

Kevin Dillon

Ira furor brevis est.  (Horace)  Anger is a short madness.


If you are happy, you will be good.


An Arab is one who speaks Arabic, that’s all. Arabs are of numerous races, religions and nations.

oceana rain stuart

Much surviving prehistoric art consists of small portable sculptures.

VenusWillendorf 24 k bce

Take, for example, the group of female Venus figurines (Venus of Willendorf 24,000–22,000 BCE) found across central Europe.

Lion_man 30 k bce

The 30 centimeter tall Lion man of the Hohlenstein Stadel of about 30,000 BCE seems to be unique.

Sam Andrew sculpture Two heads Sunnyvale

I made these heads in the Silicon Valley in the 1980s.

Magdalenian_horse 15 k bce

The Magdalenian horse head of about 15,000 BCE is one of the carvings of animals from the Upper Paleolithic.  It’s beautiful, isn’t it?


I have salmon in my creek too.

shark building

But not sharks.


Christians have burnt each other, killed each other, cheated each other, lied to each other, thrown each other out of homes, out of marriages, out of families, quite convinced that Jesus would have done as they did.  After they do these things, they like to lecture people about how to live their lives.


The world is a madhouse, so it’s only fitting that it is patrolled by armed imbeciles and governed by unprincipled administrators.


Flying?  I’ve been to almost as many places as my guitar.


People didn’t really wear underwear until around the 1830s. They began wearing underwear in the way we think of underwear due to a. Victorian prudishness, b. the introduction of finer, lighter dress fabrics, and c. the medical profession’s growing awareness of germs.

prima laurea

When Italians graduate from, say, university, they don’t wear the cap and mortarboard as we do. They wear the laurel leaves (bay leaves), a plant sacred to Apollo, the god of learning. That’s why we say “She earned her laurels that day.”  This is my friend Antea Salmaso. She has just earned her Laurea triennale (BA). Now she is studying for the Laurea magistrale (MA). After that, she will be an interpreter/translator, or she could choose to go for the PhD (Dottorato di Ricerca).



The first motion picture theatre, The Electric Theatre, which opened 2 April 1902 on Main Street in Los Angeles, charged a dime for admission.


Ecuador is Hummingbird Heaven.  There are 163 species of hummingbird there.


Donald Duck had a middle name.  It was Fauntleroy.

a great broads

Elise Piliwale & Lynn Asher

Lynn Asher and Elise Piliwale


Michel Bastian and James Gurley

Lisa Battle

Lisa Battle

Francesca Capasso

Francesca Capasso

Kacee Clanton

Kacee Clanton

Mary Bridget Davies, le due Marie, Brendola

Mary Bridget Davies

Tom Finch, Houston Person, Sam Andrew, Halley DeVestern

Halley DeVestern (with Tom Finch and Bernard Purdie)


Melissa Etheridge


Darby Gould and Cathy Richardson


Valerie Johnson

Sam Janis never seen

Janis Joplin



Nina McCollum

Nina McCollum


Kathi McDonald

Lisa Mills

Lisa Mills

Jane Myrenget

Jane Myrenget

Kristina Kopriva-Rehling

Kristina Kopriva Rehling


Wendy Rich

Ben Nieves, Sophia Ramos, Whippany

Sophia Ramos and Ben Nieves

Kate Russo

Kate Russo

Lana Spence

Lana Spence

Maria Stanford

Maria Stanford

Geri Verdi

Geri Verdi

new wave divas



elise tiburon

Thank you for being here.

baby # 5

Sam Andrew  (baby # 5)