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Go to The Master teaches Perfection-> A story of pottery making
Go to The Vendors' Christmass poem -> A poem to the Berkeley Street Vendors
Buck Otis Enterprises San Francisco Bay Area Artists Website

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The insanity of it all...

Claim Death Award Center
Claim your sentence 
of Death 
by VooDoo Today!

Cxxxxs X. Dxxxxo
P. O. BOX xxxxxx
IXXXXXX California xxxxx-xxxxx

Dear Cxxxxs X. Dxxxxo       It's really true! I1m excited to inform you that you have just been guaranteed an award of Death by VooDoo in our nationwide "National Insanity" Sweepstakes!
      Important! : Although you are guaranteed this award! It is already yours! You must claim your award by the deadline!       To prevent fraudulent or unauthorized award claims by patients of Dr. Jack Kavorkian, my office must hold your award pending receipt of your valid claim to Death by Voodoo.       We have established a security procedure to make absolutely sure that nobody but you can claim the award that is rightfully yours. Your award designation has been computer selected from the thousands ofassholes who have been sending me 900 number get rich quick scam contests.       Yes, Cxxxxx, unless you award me one million dollars in one of your phony contests, I will pray to Satan to have you drop dead and take your immortal soul immediately. I have already lit a candle and burned a piece of paper with your signed name on it. (Hell that was the easy part, you sent it to me!) Unless you respond within 14 days of recited of this letter, I am sorry, but you had better make funeral arrangements and notify your next of kin; wife, sister, mother and brother are all the same person, so that1s easy enough.       Just bend over and kiss your ass good-bye!! Maggots will eat your brains and come out of every orifice of your body as you literally disintegrate into dust.       This horrific end is all avoidable if you award all the people you have sent 900 scams the prizes that you promised them and stop harassing them with these phoney get rich quick scams and get a job.       On behalf of the Claim Death Award Center, all the best to you and your family. Enjoy your award in good health, because you earned it! Death by VooDoo.
Sinningcerely yours
Grand master of voodoo Belsabud Jones

Letter to Bureau-o-crates

      Four women and two dogs ago, I came forth upon the streets of Berkeley as to witt one street artist, dedicated to the proposition, that it is better for me to create beauty for myself working 120 hours a week for no money, then to become a wage slaving young urban professional. To that basic premise, I have dedicated my existence for some 23 years, maintaining a moderate three figure income. Indeed, some might even call this poverty and wish to relieve me of my dedication. During my tenure as a street artist, I have witnessed many great changes to the city of Berkeley.       The corner of Durante and Telegraph has changed unimaginably. There are now windows in the Bank of America.The store where little old blue haired ladies sold dresses evolved to blue haired young ladies selling weird clothes and evolved further into a store run by African Americans selling Bagels and Kosher foods!! This must be to compete with the Chinese selling Pizza, the Mexicans selling Chinese food, the Filipino selling Pretzels and the Italians selling sushi. A shoe store has become a vegetarian restaurant and Ken Serican has built a three story empire from a station wagon full of records....       Be that as it all may, we artesian developed a system to fairly and equitably divide up unimproved space and develop it for economic opportunities. Berkeley gave to us artists the greatest grant to the arts that ever existed: the right to develop unimproved sidewalk space into an economically feasible business opportunity. In exchange, we have provided the area with tourists and business greater that any where else in the city. We have created a successful market place.       Now every few years, a group of newly elected officials, hired petty burocrates, and civil service employees arrive to "help" us (I am from the government and I am here to help you!) organize our business district/ neighborhood/street vending. Each time a new group descends upon us, they have managed to screw up as best they could, double our license fees and call upon us to meet with them at their convenience for hours and hours of our time. It is not enough that these blood sucking vermin have no idea what it is like to sell upon the streets or make and create something by hand or operate any kind of business, they must occupy our time, by telling us how they are going to improve our business and want to charge us outrageous sums of money to do it.       Ladies and Gentleman. Please, Please leave us alone! Please free us of your presence and go to work in some meaningful job making millions of dollars. Invent a new computer operating system, become a cult guru, defend a famous guilty football star for murder, but don1t triple our license fees, or plant gardens in our vending spaces or bicycle racks, kiosks, trash cans, Christmas tree lights, Umbrellas, banners, cherping pedestrian signs, telephones, newspaper racks, Christians with microphones , space alien landing pods, and black ionic holes in our vending spaces. Please try and understand that we don1t want to wear no stinking badges, cause this ain't KMart. We don't want any more unenforceable regulations or fee hikes!!!! Just go in peace or leave in pieces.....

Russell Andavall
The FireGod

Tales of Telegraph Avenue

"Why are there no earthquakes in Berkeley?"
Answer: "Because there is a wingnut holding down every street corner!" Yes, I am one of the wingnuts.. If your really crazy we elect you to city council.
Russell Andavall

A series of short stories about selling pottery on Telegraph Avenue

One sunny afternoon, I am selling pottery on the corner of Durante and Telegraph and...
Two exceptionally beautiful women come up to my booth and select a few pots to purchase. They each hand me 20 one dollar bills for their purchase. I exclaim as I am wrapping up the pots, “Oh, you must be waitresses?” To which they replied “No, we’re lap dancers.” and smile at me and wink. I take the stack of 40 one dollar bills, smell them and say “Why so you are,” and put the money in my wallet. My neighbor over hearing this comes up afterwards and with her rye smile and evil wit says “My are their customers cheap tippers.” I look at her and say, “Not really, they spent the twenties over at the junk jewelry booth....”

The Drunk

Perhaps the funniest scene I’ve ever witnessed on the Avenue came on a Cal and Stanford football Big game Saturday. One of the fraternities was having a keg party up the street. Somehow, one of the local drunks had managed to get two beers and smuggle them out of the party. As he staggered down the street with a cup overflowing in each hand, his pants fell down around his knees. He now had a dilemma. What could he do? He couldn’t walk and he couldn’t pull up his pants. He decided to try and make his way to my table and put the beers down and pull up his pants. Unfortunately, he tripped on his pants and sent the beer spewing everywhere. In his excitement, he let out a huge spirit of piss that also when everywhere. My partner and I watched this drama unfold with hysterical laughter until we realized that there was a tidal wave of piss and beer running down the street aimed directly for our stack of boxes. Amid piss and beer soaked drunk we worked feverishly to move the boxes before the stream of innocuous liquid reached them. It was impossible and we ended up with several stinky and wet boxes of pottery.
New York
A loud and obnoxious older woman from New York approached the booth with her friend. She proceeds to handle several things and then asks: “Are these pots made by the natives?” To which I replied: “No the Natives are a Berkeley rock and roll band and they are playing at the Starry Plough tonight.”

"Little Potzzzzzz"
“What are those little pots for?” I am often asked. To which I reply: “They are for elves and fairies to live in. You can put hopes, wishes and dreams in them. They are a ‘Chacka’, that is something to collect dust in your grandmother’s window sills. But wait a minute, your grandmother doesn’t have dust in her window sills does she? Its a pot to piss in, although you better have careful aim, good control and a tiny bladder, You better buy one so you will always have a pot to piss in or you won't have a window to throw it out of.” (Note: Last year I sold over 1000 little pots at $2 each and 3 for 5. They paid for my kilns to be fired.....)
Russell Andavall
The FireGod