Monday, October 31, 2005

Horse slobber jelly! Yummm.

Grandpa went bullberry picking on the mountain yesterday. This involves putting a tarp on the ground and whacking the prickly bush with a stick, so the ripe berries will drop. He had a gallon bucket nearly full and was working on one last bush, when he heard a familiar sound behind him. It was his little dun horse, Peanut, slurpin' up the precious berries from the bucket like they were oats. (Peanut's the a-hole that threw me twice last winter.) Enough were left for Grandma to make two pint jars of jelly today. She sent me home with one.

I spent 13 hours scrubbing things down at my shack yesterday. Inch by inch it's gettin' livable.

I'm planning my southern & east coast tour for January. If you want to host a show, let me know ASAP. So far I've got gigs in Columbia, MO and Shreveport, LA. I'm working on Nashville, New York, Boston, and a few points in between.

(Happy Halloween!)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Last night I died in my dream from a nuclear explosion. As the fire ball consumed me I tried to relax and embrace my next stage of existence. I got scared and I woke up, though; I think the propane heater was left on too high.

I've been staying at Watership Down for the last couple days. I fished again this morning at Lake Ilo, but still didn't get even a nibble. This bachelor life isn't so bad. My situation is enviable to most. Still though, sometimes I feel like something is missing. What is it: a girlfriend? A motorcycle? A wad of money? A physical therapist? Dental floss? A record deal, maybe?

There's always something, but I will say, for the first time in thirty years . . . I feel rich. I mean I still can barely afford to drive to another state, but I now notice how lucky I am compared to the rest of the world. I have a loving family, a good job, a car, a guitar, a house, musical merchandise, and this website to communicate my philosophies through.

I do wish I could influence our so-called leaders to be gentler and kinder to our verdant planet, though. Then maybe I'd quit having these war-time nightmares. I ask a lot, I know, but perhaps I'm not being wholly selfish.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Grandpa just kicked my butt in pool at the Ilo Bar. It's a beautiful night in western North Dakota.

Friday, October 28, 2005

This Hereford heifer is literally skin and bones.
Her hide drapes over her rib cage like a federal

Saw her on the way to Killdeer Mountain this
morning. Dad and I almost finished putting
siding on the shouse (shop/house).

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Yesterday I borrowed Margi's pole and went fishing at Lake Ilo, just outside of Dunn Center. The weather was almost balmy. I liked sitting there daydreaming, so thankfully no fish bit the gummi worm. Then I went to Watership Down and slept.

I've started a book called The Virginian, by Owen Wister. It was written in the 1800s and is considered the first "western"--a precursor to the works of Zane Grey, Will James, and Louis L'Amour.

Boring entry, I know. ; )

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

This website rocks my world. It has the potential to bring the Republicans, Democrats, and Communists together in joyful comradery. Trust me on this one.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Yesterday, after the Dunn County Historical Society Annual meeting, I hopped in a Chevy sedan with two of my Dunn Center neighbors--Vivian and Florence--and we drove eight miles on gravel roads to the very isolated and quaint Vang Lutheran Church. Both of these women have lived in Dunn County for over 80 years, but the Vang Church has been around even longer. I'm told that next year will be its hundredth anniversary. Vang is the archetypal prairie church with a congregation of less than ten (all farmers or ranchers) and a community graveyard in the field across the road. The congregation was having its yearly barbecue.

After chowing down, the three of us drove back to Dunn Center. It was an oddly euphoric experience. Hard to explain. . . . Vivian had the car's radio dialed into a classic rock/heavy metal station, the heater was cranked, the night sky was velvet black with a neon orange strip warming the western horizon. It was like we were all teenagers in a 1973 dream flashback. Florence said twice, "I wish we could drive all night." Vivian and I solemnly agreed. We decided to go cruisin' again sometime soon.


In the spirit of love, rock & roll, and drivin' all night, I present my high school graduation pic, from 1989:

Note: This particular hairstyle is dubbed the Montana Mini Mullet--aka the "Triple M." To get the full effect click on my left ear.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Below is a beautiful picture of Jesus with disciples as depicted by a Kenyan artist.

This one, by a German artist, is of Jesus is delivering the Sermon on the Mount:

Jesus said things like, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for physical justice; they shall be surrounded by what is needed to sustain their bodies." He said, "Aligned with the One are those whose lives radiate from a core of love; they shall see God everywhere." And, "Blessed are those who, from their inner wombs, birth mercy; they shall feel its warm arms embrace them."

Saturday, October 22, 2005

"There are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." Henry David Thoreau

What does the root of evil look like? Hacking at the branches has become my worst habit.
Fridays are black hole day.

Volume 1, Issue 1:

An intermediate-mass black hole feeds
from a star that has wandered too close.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Lordy, Lordy, Guess who's. . .

When my mom wakes up tomorrow morning,
she will be 60 years old. Right now she's
listening to trance/techno music on her laptop.
This Montana farm girl has experienced much
change since 1945; from Eleanor Roosevelt
to Laura Bush; from Frank Sinatra to Kanye West;
from milkin' cows to the cloning of cows.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I'm seriously considering dying my hair gray and changing my name to Sandy Goodnight. People will think I'm in my 70s. The story will go that I've been working as curator in a small town museum in the middle of North Dakota or Manitoba for the last 20 years. Before that I worked as a mule skinner for the U.S. Forest Service in Oregon. I've been married twice (to the same woman). Her name was Belva, and she died in 1984. I have one son--Larval--to whom I no longer speak. I live a peaceful life and fish a lot. BUT! One day I decide to record a rap album. . . . The indie rock critics love it for its novelty, but then the kids in The Bronx and Brooklyn realize that I'm the greatest old man white rapper they've ever heard and start taking pilgrimmages on Amtrak out to see me.

Then a civil war erupts for some reason, and I get my fair share of battle scars. Then I discover the cure for the Bird Flu and get married to a 44-year-old Guatemalan ex-prostitute named Marvel. I die in her arms after a painful arm wrestling match with Cowboy Troy.

Eight months later Marvel gives birth to a deformed daughter whom three U.S. Senators claim has extra-sensory powers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Queen

I have named you queen.
There are taller than you, taller.
There are purer than you, purer.
There are lovelier than you, lovelier.
But you are the queen.

When you go through the streets
No one recognizes you.
No one sees your crystal crown, no one looks
At the carpet of red gold
That you tread as you pass,
The nonexistent carpet.

And when you appear
All the rivers sound
In my body, bells
Shake the sky,
And a hymn fills the world.

Only you and I,
Only you and I, my love,
Listen to me.

Pablo Neruda

Monday, October 17, 2005


I can't get enough early '80s Prince and Bruce Springsteen these days. Who would be their equivalents in our neo-modern era? Nothing compares 2 them.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Today was the Hill Top Home of Comfort Steak Feed & Auction annual fund raiser in Killdeer. The scheduled auctioneer didn't show up in time, so I was plucked from the field of faces and deputized as the afternoon's seller. This foolishness went on for a half hour until the real peddler showed up, and I reseated myself next to Mom. I'm pretty sure I lost Hill Top Home of Comfort a lot of potential profits, because I'd start each item low and then usually give it to the first or second bidder to save time. I sold pumpkins, trikes, lotion baskets, gift certificates, a houseplant, and a lot more. They gave me a box of Mt. Dew for my efforts. Grandpa and Grandma said they think I have a future in this business, but I know that I don't.

Last night I slept at Watership Down. I took photos from my yard of Vivian's steel quonset hut--one of them before I fell asleep and the other one when I awoke.



Saturday, October 15, 2005

Four beers and two snickers bars later, and I'm soused. They say you can't go down to Ilo Bar, in Dunn Center, and only drink one beer. It's true. Everyone buys you one. Ilo Bar has the most economical juke box in the country, too--8 songs per dollar. I picked out 8 tracks that everyone liked, and so they pooled another $2 so's I'd pick 16 more. That's a lot of songs. Merle Haggard, George Strait, Toby Keith, AC/DC, Alabama, Dr. Hook, Tammy Wynette, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Shania Twain, Del Shannon, Buddy Holly, Hank Williams, OutKast.

Now I'm about to go crawl under my stove and sleep like a rat.

Friday, October 14, 2005

I now have my own post office box:

C. Sand
PO Box 7
Dunn Center, ND 58626

Judy's the postmistress. If you write to me, you might want to scrawl "Hi, Judy" somewhere on the envelope or package.

The weather's been nice lately. I've been chainsawing up fallen branches from the snow storm and putting them in piles. I'm achin' for a vacation somewhere. Maybe Mexico.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tonight was out of the routine. After work I drove to the Killdeer American Legion Hall and played a bunch of songs for the Dunn County Farm Bureau's annual banquet. I was background music while people ate. Instead of a traditional sound system they handed me a clip-on lavalier microphone which I attached to my shirt pocket. I'm not confident that anyone could actually hear me, but I had a swell time. Must've been close to 150 in attendance.

Afterwards I stopped at Margi's to watch a Jackie Chan DVD.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

my love,

*(these are cherry tomatoes. hand picked. for you.)

Monday, October 10, 2005

". . . teachers of children in the United States of America wrote this date on the blackboard again and again, and asked children to memorize it with pride and joy:


"The teachers told the children that this was when their continent was discovered by human beings. Actually, millions of human beings were already living full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492. That was simply the year in which sea pirates began to cheat and rob and kill them."

Breakfast of Champions, 1973, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

'Twas cozy in my death shack last night. No ghosts visited me. Yesterday in Dickinson I purchased one of those colorful Mexican glass candles. This one had a picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe. I burned it ceremoniously to aid in my nocturnal protection. I fear the grim reaper is looking for his hell hounds, who have been creeping 'round my porch.

I need curtains!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Tonight will be a good night to sleep in my new house. It will be the first time.

Friday, October 07, 2005

India.Arie's first album, Acoustic Soul, is great. I'm listening to it now.

I visited Watership Down this afternoon. The chinese elm is in bad shape--lots of broken limbs. The coyotes and deer have been sleeping in my yard. The deer are eating the leaves off the downed branches, and the coyotes are eating the rabbits and cats. Both must be eating well, though, 'cause they're depositing their handiwork across the snow drifts.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The last forty hours have been a cold and blizzardy odyssey. Power went out yesterday morning and just came back on a half-hour ago. Western North Dakota got hit with more snow, two nights ago, than it's ever received in recorded October history. My grandparents were stranded in Dunn Center without water, telephone, heat, power, or much food. They had to melt snow for drinking water. I hiked/hitch-hiked there this morning and assisted in digging them out. Now they're relaxing out in my folks' living room watching the news.

I've never realized how much I rely on utilities. It gave me a tiny, tiny glimpse into what folks in New Orleans must have gone through and continue to be going through. Less than a week ago the temperature was 90 F. Yesterday it dipped almost to 5 F. Freaky weather patterns going down.

Damage has definitely been done here. Trees, all over the county, have snapped; carports have collapsed; the majority of pheasants have likely been buried alive; hay is ruined. One local guy got lost on his snowmobile and had to take refuge in an abandoned granary last night. "Uffda!" is one of the words I can see between the lines on everyone's furrowed brows.

I visited my 92-yr-old great aunt Olga this morning and played rummy with her while dad shoveled her sidewalk. She says she's never seen anything like it this early in the year.

I submit the evidence:

My silver Subaru. You can see his brand new license plate: HIY 918 (formerly 319 JOE).

Bender's Ford dealership, in downtown Killdeer.

My parents' front porch. In the distance, in an orange letterman's jacket, you can see our 17-yr-old neighbor, Logan. Last Friday he broke his neck in a high school football game. He now has to wear one of those halo things.

Here's a tree that survived.

I wish I would have taken the camera with me when I went to Dunn Center. It was surreal. It took me almost twenty minutes to dig my way into the museum. The snow drifts went above the door knob.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

It's snowing. I don't mind though. I have a warm house with electricity, propane, candles, and a kerosene lamp. Is this what it means to become wealthy? My life has hit its Elizabethan Age, perhaps. The Normans and Saxons have been fought off. The Puritans and Cavaliers have yet to become extremists. I, Shakespeare Sand, alone in my tiny hamlet, from the County of Dunn, write these words.

But, aye, there's the rub! For I, in fact, had to leave my fair cottage to fill up on Mum's pot roast, and use Pater's iMac. . . (beth).

Doubly lucky, then.
If only I had a lady by my side each night back in the wasp den. Or two?
Were I and my soft pale-breasted love
and none in Crioch Fail awake
men and women all sound asleep
and I and my love at play!
White limb of joy, my fairest girl
my knowledge-star ascending
no priest or friar will I believe
that it's sin to couple in love.

-- Anonymous Irish
fl. 17th century

Monday, October 03, 2005

Great Aunt Emmabell sent this photo. It reminds me that spring is just around the corner. . . . the long corner.

Today feels like the first day of winter, but that's not for another two-and-a-half months. Now is the time to create our own sun.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

As of today, thanks to Dad's handiness, all three of my house's outlets are electrified. I lit the pilot light on the gas stove and cranked that up, too, at which point about 22 wasps woke up and started swarming about. I didn't have the heart to kill any of 'em--except for one that landed on my neck. They all seem so languid and wise. I'm what you would maybe call a bleeding heart conservative.

Here's another photo from yesterday's hootenanny:

The legendary Bill Lowman, cowboy humorist from Medora.
This, from the Brussels Journal:

“'I love both Bianca and Mirjam, so I am marrying them both,' Victor said. He had previously been married to Bianca. Two and a half years ago they met Mirjam Geven through an internet chatbox. Eight weeks later Mirjam deserted her husband and came to live with Victor and Bianca. After Mirjam’s divorce the threesome decided to marry."
Who knew that polygamy was legal in the Netherlands?

I don't know about you all, but I think Victor looks a little blanched. I get nervous imagining just one wife!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The fourth and final Dunn County Museum summer event is over! About 100 folks showed up to Dunn County Museum's 1st Annual Country Music & Cowboy Poetry Gathering, which I organized. It was a big success. I'll write more about it later.

Can you see my pin head in the distance? I'm strumming a guitar.