Saturday, April 30, 2005

Now that I'm settled down a bit, I've thought about adding another horse to my stable. The steel kind, that is. Most of you have heard mention of 319 JOE-- the little Subaru that could. "Joe" has been faithful to me for years and I remain equally loyal to him. However, out here on the prairie, with badlands and rattlers, a man needs a truck, too, sometimes. Two miles outside of Killdeer, on the side of the road, there's a 1981 (or so) Toyota pickup that's looking pretty good to me. She's in rough shape--blue spray paint covers the rust. But there's something gallant about her. Her license plate is GOF 753. I'd call her the Gopher. Or "Prairie Dog Blue." My guess is she's under $250.

Now, about my mom and her almost doctorate.

- Born in 1945 on my grandparents' small farm/cattle ranch in Charlo, MT. Oldest daughter in an 11-person family. Her father was 2nd-generation Croatian, her mother 2nd-generation Irish. Both Catholic. Both born and raised on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

-Graduated from Charlo High in 1963. B.A. at the University of Montana-Missoula in 1972.

-M.A. in political science at U of MT in 1979. Did thesis on Mao's "thought reform" movement during the Chinese Revolution.

-Ed.S. in counseling at U of M in 1996. Did professional paper on "Racism: Roots and Recovery."

-Next week she'll receive her Ed.D. (education doctorate) in counselor education from the U of M. Her dissertation is based on a survey she did of the full-time instructors at the seven Montana tribal colleges. She's been looking at how reports of job satisfaction differ between American Indian and Non-Indian faculty members and between male and female faculty members. She's worked for Salish Kootenai College on the Flathead Reservation (where I spent most of my childhood) for 13 years. Before that she was a drug counselor for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and then worked in the schools for Indian education. She was counselor at Salish Kootenai College for 10 years, then switched to online teaching so she and my dad could move to my dad's home state of North Dakota.

Note: Mom can't understand why I'm writing this about her in the journal. I tell her that getting a doctorate is amazing and should be celebrated. Three cheers for Mom!!!

Friday, April 29, 2005

Steak & beer. O Lord let my soul stay wild & free in this land of wheat & cattle.

My mom, age 59, finished her doctoral dissertation this morning. Holy Huxtable! Not a medical doctor, but a doctor of education! More details on that tomorrow. In celebration, Dr. Mom treated me, Dad, Margi, and Thelma to the monthly Grassy Butte steak feed.
O Lord let my soul stay wild & free.
In work related news: more dead mice, more dusty newspapers. Tomorrow I will begin nine months of hoisting and lowering Old Glory up and down the museum's rusty flag pole.

Steak & beer. O Lord let my soul stay wild & free in this land of wheat & cattle.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The drive to Dunn Center today was blustery, with small, hard snowflakes and Chinese pheasants careening across my line of vision. Highway 200 is a lonely, grey, snakey thing in the morning. In July of 1977, when I was six, I saw a tornado try to scrape the lines off her back. It was Independence Day, and Dunn Center had just wrapped up its yearly parade and barbecue. The twister touched down near Lake Ilo, headed north for a mile and then got swallowed up in sleet. My parents, my dog, and I ran back to the house and unlatched the root cellar just in case the cyclone made a sudden reappearance.

Seeing a tornado that close was terrifying. I saw another when I lived on Music Row in Music City, U.S.A. The sky turned green, purple, and brown, and cicadas stopped chirping. It tore that city a new f-hole. An old oak tree fell down in Centennial Park and crushed a Vanderbilt student. The new football stadium got hammered, as did a lot of East Nashville.

Work was more mundane today. Geri and I cleaned. Mice have been getting into the exhibits and leaving droppings and eating quilts. Tomorrow I'll deal with the log cabin and homesteader shack. Both are littered with dead flies and moths and more mice pellets. Saturday we'll open to the public.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I've struck gold! My new job is so perfect that it just may test how much of the proverbial "cowboy" I am. You know how in those stories where the cowboy (or knight, or mystic) gets so bedraggled along his odyssey that he decides to rest? Well, that's where I am! And it feels nice. I think those fairy tales were created to keep our souls eternally searching. Fine. But my body's gonna relax for awhile. The sunlight at the end of the culvert has arrived...metabolism will return to normal...muscles will regenerate...I'll remember people's names...I'll get in more fist fights with the devil and God...I'll learn to will be attracted to my allures...elderly people will trust me again, even when I cuss...debts will be paid off...rank horses will admire my staying power...I'll launch more postcards...a raised-bed garden of ideas, photographs, and songs will sprout and be published.

Here's the dirt: I'm the new curator at the Dunn County Museum in Dunn Center, ND. I work 30-40 hrs. per week at $9/hr. I have an assistant named Geri. She's around 70, a real sweetie. She'll work up to 25 hrs. per week with me, and sometimes in my place. I have a boss named Candace. Also a sweetie. There is a museum board that I'll work with, as well as the Dunn County Historical Society.

There are 3,437 people living in Dunn County--a total population loss of 99 people last year. There are around 100 people living in Dunn Center proper. It has a saloon owned by a Japanese woman named Sadie, a restaurant owned by Alice (named Alice's Restaurant), a post office, a Lutheran church, a thrift store, a tiny library, and "my" museum. The closest school, gas station, and grocery store are seven miles west in Killdeer.

You all must come visit me, now. I will begin making an underground railroad refuge for all ye weary travelers.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Before leaving the Twin Cities I stocked up on used cds. See rankings below (from most to least favorite).

1) The Best of Nina Simone / I didn't know what I'd been missing.

2) Tupac: Me Against the World / Even with the last five songs ruined from skipping problems, this cd is amazing.

3) India.Arie: Acoustic Soul / Great!

4) Musiq Soulchild: Aijuswanaseing / Musiq's debut. He's my favorite neo-soul voice outside of D'Angelo.

5) Randy Travis: Greatest Hits 1 / Grows on ya after a few listens, but kinda boring.

6) The Tony Rich Project: Words / Mid-nineties R & B. So-so.

7) Kanye West: The College Dropout / I'd heard good reviews, but I thought it was weak.
To hear a minimal, casio, peyote-inspired, Comanche song click here.

Tomorrow morning I start the curatorship.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Drove to Dickinson today for a dental exam. Mom's getting her tax return and is feeling flush. I'm an odontophobe, but the young dentist madame was soothing and kind. I also bought some Rustler jeans and a pair of curator boots. New clothes are strange--I've always done the thrift store thing. I feel good in my new duds, though, since they represent change.

Dad's left side of his body is semi-paralyzed today. Mom wondered if it's a mild stroke but Dad said no. He's got a sort of cowboy prejudice against stretching. Or rather he's just too sore to stretch. That's how I feel, too, though I know how pathetic it sounds. Yoga sensibility has yet to catch fire in rural North Dakota. It's a sort of autophobia (fear of self).

Everyone fears something. Coulrophobes fear clowns. Staurophobes fear crucifixes. Leprophobes fear leprosy. Christ was probably not one of these, but I wonder if he's a staurophobe.

Kymophobia has probably gotten a lot of play this year: fear of waves.

Here's an odd one... zemmiphobia: fear of the great mole rat. Check the dictionary! See also, Sesquipedalophobia- fear of long words.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Strange weather patterns: Yesterday was smuggy. Today there is more humility.

Peanut bucked me off again. This time I didn't land flat on my back on icy ground, though. I did the tuck-and-roll onto soft meadow grass. It felt okay. He tried to lose me again, but I clamped down and hung on. I'm a crappy horseman, definitely. Gramps, Pops, and I trimmed all the horses' hooves and then rode. Grandpa, after dismounting, declared, "I wish I could walk as good as I can ride." It's true, though. His 85-yr-old legs aren't as sturdy as they used to be. He's been on horses since before he could probably talk.

By the way, he and Grandma have officially moved back to the Killdeer Mountain cabin. All the drifts have melted and pipes are thawed.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Yes--I've turned the bend! For the first time in years I see a different horizon. It glows a hazy orange crush with mallards on a reservoir and a few thousand antelope somewhere. Reminds me of Africa, though I've never been. I'm referring to Dunn County, ND.

The train ride here was, as always, semi-painful. I'm sick of sleeping on chairs, seats, floors, other people's beds. Jack and Liz had a nice bed, though. But now I'm home and it feels great! Mom just got a Sears push-mower that I assembled. We co-mowed the front lawn. No oil. No gas. Good excercise. Afterwards, I sprawled on the lawn and made a mental list of things I want: dental work, work boots, s.a.e. socket set, fishing pole, my own push mower. A horse. X-rays to find out which broken bones I've been living with for the last year. Pants. That oughta do it.

Someday I'll want a laptop and a good clutch for Joe (my '84 Subaru).

I'll certainly miss some things, though, from my past life. Like this morning, at 3:55 a.m. in Fargo where I stepped off the train and sold four cds to a guy named D, whom I hadn't met before. He paid $47. (He'd written an email a couple days before wanting to order some.) He woke my ass up at 3:40 a.m., via cellular powers, and we did the transaction in the two minutes while the train stopped.

Lifetimes to me span six to ten months. In the dead of winter I might be on the road again, touring. Maybe a migration pattern will take hold. Quiet dignity is my wished-for destiny.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Off to the train station. Back in Killdeer tomorrow.

I just played some songs with Jed on the pedal steel. Real country music is seepin' back into my consciousness. Maybe I'll have an album's worth of cowboy songs by Fall.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

I smell a rat in the Vatican. The Ratican. Damn, again. More shenanigans happenin' than I can almost stand to sing. Like my man, Zimmer, when he slammed Zanzinger, I'm a rap-singer-slash-laugh-bringer aimin' my bad finger at Ratzinger...

(I'm Catholic, so I can say this.)

Monday, April 18, 2005

Here's an email I wrote yesterday:

Dear Mr. Moore,

I just got your email askin' for ideas of what the next step should be. I think it's time for a Folk music renaissance! Not the boring singer-songwriter b.s., but the stuff with roots of some kind. Roots that wind through the golden skeletons of MLK, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Brown, Chief Joseph. Relevant roots--think the Carter Family, Leadbelly, Hank Williams, Sam Cooke, Aretha, Dylan, Lauryn Hill.

Someone with a guitar. Or piano. Or two turntables, five mics, and a tambourine. Whatever it takes.

Musicians have been known to destroy armies with a sneer and/or pelvic hip thrust.

Let me know if I can be of service.

Creatively yours, Chris

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Huge thanks to the people in Winona for your love last night, and also to those who've written me kind comments during the last week or so.

I'll work backwards. The two shows in Winona at the Green Lantern were amazing! Both sold out I think. The second one had a dozen or so folks out on the sidewalk, who couldn't get in, milling around the door and listening for the full two hours. I sold around $300 in merch which is the most that I've ever done, I think. On top of that, the door brought in a lot. Afterwards I swapped songs with the local anarchist rocker, Mike Bird, until 2:30 a.m. Then I drove back to Minneapolis and crawled into bed at 6:00 a.m. The drive back took a long time because I drove up Highway 61 which follows the Mississippi, and the fog was as thick as cat hair the whole way. In Red Wing I got Doolittle a chicken burrito. An allergic reaction followed; his eyes gooped up and he started barking like a pony.

Two nights ago I was treated to a Del McCoury Band concert by Jed Germond's family. Jed is Jack Norton's phenomenal fiddler/banjoist. Jack's new stand-up bassist, Liz Draper, was also there. To see photos of them go here. Jed wants to practice his pedal steel guitar with me sometime this week.

Three days ago I attended Jack and Liz's wedding. There were just five of us there. Jack and Liz have been together since high school and consider each other soul mates. Liz is a beautiful, light-brown skinned woman of Jamaican descent. Jack's a strapping big-hearted blond throw-back American folk treasure. In this post-post-modern era of the recovering-broken-hearted they stand tall and bright.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Egads, the rain is falling in dog-like sheets as I attempt to drive to Winona. I'm in the Rochester public library, and Doolittle the dog is in the car probably eating my cowboy hat. I'd better get back out there and drive east. The first show starts in two hours.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Howdy from the Minneapple! I have many stories to tell, but probably will get called away from this computer too soon to relay them. Three nights ago, I drove my awesome car, 319 JOE, 100 miles to Stanley, ND where I grabbed an armful of Amtrak headed east. The next morning Jack Norton picked me up and drove me straight to Normandale College where I played a lunch-time show. It was my second show there this year. The entertainment programmer apparently got a lot of calls after my first show asking when I'd be back. The Somali students, in particular, liked me. This show was not as good though because most of the Somalians weren't there. Afterwards I rented a $75 dollar car and drove three hours to Duluth where I played a 30-minute feature set at an open mic for $25. Again, people weren't feeling it or something because I couldn't sell a cd. This sent me into a depression spiral where I began to wonder if God was telling me that I was washed up and had better take my curator job and call my "senator of rock and roll" job quits. It seemed poetic that this was happening in Duluth--Bob Dylan's birth place. After all, Dylan has always represented to me the highest pinnacle of what-I-admire. He's been my "buddha in the road" and I've never been able to imagine surpassing his excellence. I'm still sort of reeling from feelings and questioning myself about EVERYTHING. To think about starting my curator job next week is frightening...and thrilling. Death spasms I guess, which means new life is pushing upwards. The future seems daunting and mysterious. A rebirth is transpiring. (To be continued)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I got the curator job! I'm off to catch my train to Minneapolis...
Hi Winona,

Please come see me play a show or two on Saturday:

April 16th, Saturday- Winona, MN @ Green Lantern Coffeehouse. Two shows: 7PM & 10PM. $5.

I'll have pillow cases, sleep masks, western button snap long sleeved fancy shirts, and lots of cds. Let's haggle over the prices and turn the Green Lantern into a thrift store galore. Bring lots of money.

$and Pan
Yes, $and Pan is preparing his emergence. $and Pan may prove even more controversial than Slippery Goodstuff. He's just as harmless, though. I'm testing a theory that most people are more freaked out by money (or at least the threat of losing it) than sex. $and Pan represents capitalism unmasked, which, in my opinion acts as an antidote for its harmful side effects. Hair of the dog that bit you, etc.

I'm looking forward to my eventual 3rd and 4th characters to explore--Reno Lonegambler and Frank Folkenstein, neither whom is very controversial. Especially Frank who's nothing but sweet.

Monday, April 11, 2005

To Whom it May Concern,

My name is Chris Sand aka "Sandman the Rappin' Cowboy." That title might sound a bit buffoonish, but my songs tend to be as serious as they are funny. I'm writing to offer my entertainment services tonight--before, during, or after the George McGovern talk at Dickinson State University. I have two songs in particular that might be appropriate for an event like this:

1) "Scapegoat Song" ( - it's the first song on the list)

2) "Suspicious" ( - under "Featured Song")

Sorry for my last minute timing--just found out about it today. Either way I look forward to hearing Senator McGovern speak tonight. I'd also be available to help support future events, or perform a full concert if you're interested. Let me know where to send a press kit.

Sincerely, Chris
"I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in."
George McGovern
For a brief McGovern bio see: boo-YAAHH. Dude was a fighter pilot in WWII--back when casualties were more proportianate, maybe. Like one U.S. soldier to every 1.5 Nazis, rather than one U.S. soldier to every 20 Iraqis. These are just crude guesses, though. Does anyone know the real stats? If so, do you know the age of the average Iraqi casualty? I'm curious.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Unbelievably, the biscuits have yet to break free of this gravy train. My quixotic folk/rap (faux crap? sorry) wagon rolls east in two days for at least four more shows: Minneapolis, Winona, Duluth, and Fargo. During that time I'll be house sitting for Jack Norton and Liz Brooks, who by that time'll be married. In fact, I'll be a witness at their wedding. They'll honeymoon and I'll take care of the animals and house for eight days. Jack just sent the "schedule" for their dog Doolittle:

AM - feed and water
1 hour later - piss
1 hour later - piss
every 4 or 5 hours after that - piss
just before bed - piss

Do little, indeed. I can't be taking any spontaneous road trips to Chicago...that's cool. Liz has a good r & b collection I'll listen to. Check the home page tour date schedule for show dates.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Greetings from Killdeer. Man, I'm tired. Last night I rode Greyhound across Montana and didn't sleep a wink. I was wrapped up in Greil Marcus' new book Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads that my aunt Theresa bought for me in Missoula yesterday. The book analyzes every friggin' aspect of Dylan's song "Like a Rolling Stone" to support Marcus' theory that it's the greatest rock and roll song of all time. Fair might as well be. If anyone would like to give their opinion of the greatest rock song of all time, please do so under "comments." I'm curious. Myself, I might be tempted to vote for a few early Prince songs. Or a couple from Michael Jackson's Off the Wall sessions. Or "Radio" or "Mama Said Knock You Out" by LL Cool J. Or Grandmaster Flash/Melle Mel's "The Message." Or "Hard Times" by Run-DMC. Or "Chaka Khan." Or Dylan's own "Visions of Johanna" or "Ballad of a Thin Man." Someone stop me before I dip into Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin, James Brown, Patti Smith, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Jeff Buckley, Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen, Smokey Robinson, Ani DiFranco, Elvis, Lauryn Hill, Beat Happening, Mos Def, Fleetwood Mac, Chuck Berry, Eminem, and on 'n' on. I am a junkie for this isht. It's all so goooood. Does Hank Williams count? Dolly Parton? Louis Jordan? Shakespeare? Shiva?

I got off track. So to catch you up--I left Olympia two days ago. My friend Teresa (not to be confused with my Aunt Theresa in Missoula) drove me to Bellevue where I caught a ride with a woman named Casey. We left Seattle at 5:00 p.m. in her black SUV and arrived in Missoula a little past midnight where I unloaded all my boxes into my aunt and uncle's garage. The next day I opted to take the bus east rather than hitch-hike, due to, amongst other things, rain. Fourteen hours later (at 6:30 this morning) my dad picked me up in Dickinson and drove me home. I ate, showered, shaved and drove to Dunn Center for my 10:00 a.m. interview at the Dunn County Historical Museum. Though delirious I survived and it seems likely that the job will be mine if I can accept the sorta low pay--$8/hour. Fortunately, health insurance will be added on to that figure. If I get the job I want to see if they'll let me sleep in the old one room log cabin my grandpa built on the property. It has a stove and a straw mattress bed. But no electricity! I'll cook all my food in the same pot, on the stove, in the candle light, by myself, naked and stark raving mad! With mice and spiders.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Here's a photo by Chris "Goose" Kirk from a couple years ago of a show in Hot Springs, MT w/ Jen.
My last day in Olympia... for a while. It looks like I found myself a last minute ride via the internet samaritan known as At 4:00 pm tomorrow, a person named Casey will be driving me and my stuff to Missoula where I will then either hitch-hike or bus the rest of the way to Killdeer.

Now I shall commence last-minute duties: hair-cut, bank stuff, packing, goodbyes.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Today was spent recording (with Shawn "Nerviz" Parke as producer) a few more songs for Love's Hangover Sale II. Jen and I redid "Johnson," "Ol' Highway 90," and finally got a decent take of "Ballad of a Salad" and "It's Good to be Awake When She Arrives." With Chad on drums I also redid "Storage Unit 209," and while we were at it we recorded "This Time," and "Death of a Red Mare." Trisha plays guitar and sings on "Death of a Red Mare." She also co-wrote it. In an hour I'll try to re-record a few more.

(Three hours later...) I just redid "Jack Potter's Courtin'," and "Friendster Testimonial." Then for the heck of it I took a shot at documenting "Addie Paul." Tomorrow we'll do the mixing.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The pope was alright. Here's an email from my mom:
As much as I disagreed with some of what John Paul II taught, I think he deserves respect for what he did well. I loved that he challenged both right and left to put love first, to make love the basis of decisions.

It's a strange and constricting world these men of power inhabit, whether in Rome or in Washington, but this man made a real effort to reach beyond the narrow confines of Vatican world with his message of Christian love. May Karol Wojtyla now rest in peace. And may the next pope see the situation of women even more clearly.
When I saw his Polish birth name--Karol Wojtyla--I understood what she meant. He was human after all. Here are a couple links if you want to read more about his papal legacy. 1) economics, 2) his intellect. Also, he was an enemy of the death penalty which is AWESOME!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Yesterday's letter from Dad:

Hi Son,

I look forward to hearing how you are and what you have been up to. I was at the mountain today. Trees are budding and cotton is formed on aspen. Well water is up high in our well and Uncle Chris' has water. I picked up a load of juniper posts that Jack Kukla gave me.

Love, Dad
North Dakota beckons, and it's looking very good that I'll get that museum curator job. What a life change this might be. I'll be near my parents and grandparents on a daily basis, ride horses regularly, and build my own little cabin. Then again, I might freak out and move straight back to Oly, or St. Paul, or Brooklyn, or L.A. Wish me luck, either way.
Last night I hitched up to Seattle to hang with my friend Heidi Love. I stayed over so as to spend today with her and my other friends, Kerry and Reva. Reva now has a four-month-old daughter named Shalom. All five of us spent the day at the Woodland Park Zoo. I haven't been to a zoo in fifteen years and was astonished at the heighth of giraffes, the bulbousness of the male orangutan face, the vivid coloring of certain birds, the echo-chamber growl of lions. Even though I've seen plenty of pictures and films of all of these animals, to see them eye-to-eye is revelatory. Heidi got us in for free since she works there. She's a primatologist and it was wild to witness apes communicating with her through the glass.

Friday, April 01, 2005

I'm back from my mini vaction. I visited Teresa in Astoria--what a town it is. I saw big assed sea lions and relaxed. Ate plants and read Yates, cummings, and Coleridge. This morning I hitch-hiked back to Olympia. It only took three rides: the first by a professional sturgeon fisher, the second by a retired pot smokin' elk hunter, and the final by a young Red Robin cook whose true passion lay in drift racing. Hitch-hiking always reminds me how good people are. Good people with good souls. The USA is a good country with good people. It's true.