Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hana and I spent the last two days in blizzardy Killdeer town celebrating Christmas with the grand/parents. Look at these snow drifts that welcomed us back to our house in Dunn Center today!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Congratulations, Dale Bentley, on surviving double implant surgery (kidneys & liver)!

You're a soldier--the John Wayne of historical preservationists.

May the days, in your honor, begin to lengthen immediately.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I was Santa yesterday. That's me to the left.

Youngsters showed up at Dunn Center City Hall to let old Sandy Claus in on what they wanted for Christmas. I'd listen, ask a few questions, and then hand each one a brown paper bag filled with peanuts in the shell, an apple, and a candy cane.

I can't say I did the greatest job of playing Kris Kringle, but I enjoyed trying. It's possible I was the only one Mayor Brown could find who could fit into the suit!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Grandpa and Grandma invited Hana and me and the folks over for a lutefisk supper last night. Lutefisk is cod Jell-O mixed with lye. The sad part is that I'm beginning to like it. Hana about gagged.

One good thing about lutefisk is, if placed strategically, it will keep raccoons from living under your house. Come spring, though, you might find some Norwegians under there.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

My dear friend and neighbor, Vivian (Rayma Marian Morrell) Knutson, has crossed over the Great Divide. She was 84. A week ago she was as vivacious and nimble as a cat, buzzing around her house listening to Christian talk radio and taking notes. She reminded me of a pioneer woman. From my porch I would often see her hauling two sloshing five-gallon buckets of water for her tomato plants. She was a bona fide cowgirl until the end.

From her obituary:

[Vivian] thoroughly enjoyed riding her horse, Snip, to and from school and had other horses throughout her youth, including Fleet and Coalie. Part of her was a daring tomboy who was thrilled to be her dad’s farm/ranch helper. She loved trailing cattle to and from her father’s homestead in the Little Missouri Badlands. She loved to reminisce about her youth and especially enjoyed growing up with her Kling cousins.

Vivian had a heart as big as Dunn County and spent most of her life serving her family and others. She loved family trips, camping at Voigt’s Bay, her father’s cabin at Lake Ilo, family reunions, history, holidays and picnics. She pursued her passions with gusto and will be remembered for growing cherry tomatoes year-round, baking delicious buns and taking photos of everyone and everything that touched her heart. She enjoyed studying God’s word, was an avid Christian-radio listener and freely shared her faith with anyone. She loved half cups of hot, hot coffee and the challenge of serving good, hot meals to horseback riders moving cattle to or from the Badlands.
Vivian has been woven into my life since I was in first grade, when she was my first Sunday School teacher. Earlier this year I volunteered to drive her to Bismarck for some errands. When we arrived home, she handed me a check to buy two wooden rocking chairs for my front porch. When I protested, she told me to think of the chairs as a housewarming gift. She said she wanted young people stay and flourish in Dunn Center, and she hinted that a second rocking chair might help attract a partner into my life. Perhaps I have her to thank for my girlfriend!

Hana and Vivian became friends immediately when they met in June. Vivian hired Hana once a week to clean her house, organize pictures, and curl her hair. Hana and I are both very sad this week. We wish there was still a light on in the old house across the street.

The funeral will be this Wednesday. I'll be trucking and, unfortunately, will miss both the wake and funeral.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

My new CD, All the Things I Done Wrong, looks to be complete soon.
Song order:
  1. Corpse
  2. Michael Jackson
  3. Stomach's on Fire
  4. All the Things I Done Wrong
  5. Day's Wages
  6. Buddha Chant
  7. Pegasus
  8. Mister, I Can't Save Your Daughter
  9. Tsunami
  10. Your Mind is Mine
Dunn Center is looking Christmas-y today. Snow has arrived. The post office and city hall both put up their plastic trees.

Also, two Black Angus bulls broke through Vivian's fence and are roaming through town.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Bad news from the badlands:

"Pearl Drop," my white Subaru, died.

Zero trucking runs in November.

My sweet neighbor Vivian had a stroke yesterday and is in a coma.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Spent today driving around on an ATV and clearing trails on Killdeer Mountain. With all the noise I created using the chainsaw, I still managed to see much wildlife: turkeys, deer, songbirds, and a curious ermine that reminded me of a skinny cat. I also saw what looked to be a wolf's paw print in a gopher mound. No sign of mountain lion, but they're around. A hunter saw one on our property last week.

November has been beautiful. The temperature reached 63 today. October was miserably cold and wet.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Took a leisurely drive into the countryside yesterday.

North Dakota is dotted with abandoned farm houses like this.

Hana loves to explore old houses. Gilda is afraid of ghosts, though. She tried to jump out a two-story window. When we got home, she puked on the rug.

Hamm's & Schlitz, beer buddies.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's Veterans Day again, Grandpa Sand. You've always told me war is hell. I believe you. I pray that I never get shot full of shrapnel, witness the gory deaths of friends, nor have to kill at close range, like you did as a First Lieutenant in WWII. Thank you for your service abroad.

Thank you also for being an active local citizen with a strong voice. I'm posting a short part of a letter you just submitted to The Dunn County Herald regarding national health care reform:
"What if Medicare could be raised high up in scope and national kindness and human dignity? What if it could become a comprehensive program to protect us all from sickening anxieties and the resultant deterioration of family morale due to unmanageable health care costs?"

Bob Sand, Killdeer
Gramps, I appreciate your bravery on and off the field and for always challenging your fellow Earthlings to strive for peace and justice.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Pictures of home:

The mini-barn where Hana works. Gilda is the pup.

Work-in-progress rock patio (with '78 Pace Arrow RV used for storage).

One of two front porch rockers.

Coat rack with blue front door.

Coal stove.



And Beyond.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Steady truckin'. Just returned from Vancouver, BC, this morning. 'Twas nice to breathe fresh northwest air for an hour. Upon return, Montana roads were icy and travel was slow.

Happy night-before-Halloween! I'm about to watch a scary movie with my sweetie.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Snow is blowin' and the stove is glowin'. For my Christmas truck-driving bonus, Boss Goodall gave me a load of coal today. He picked it up yesterday in Wyoming. It's hard to imagine a better present than high-grade anthracite coal this time of year.

Neighbors Barb and Ed Danks have given Hana and me much of the harvest from their big garden. They've also loaned us their food dryer. We've been dehydrating apples, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and beets.

Dad and I are building a west-facing, 9'x25' rock patio on the west side of the house. I hope the ground doesn't freeze solid before we finish.

There is a wee mouse in the house of late. Resident canine, Gilda, is consumed with catching it. She is a good dog.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Here's a vintage shirt I tagged in 2001 that I just came across on eBay. Somebody in the Philippines is selling it for $20. (After you click the link you'll have to scroll down to see the old "I Know Sandman" silk-screen.)
I'll soon be scoring a "new western" by filmmaker, Vanessa Renwick. It's to be called Land Piranhas.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

When my grandparents met in 1939, people like Tom Brokaw, Richard Pryor, and Faye Dunaway weren't born yet. None of the Beatles were, either. Not even Dick Cheney.

Congratulations, Grandpa and Grandma Sand, on your 67th wedding anniversary!

Friday, September 18, 2009

News from Sandland:

Picked two ice-cream pails of chokecherries and wild plums. Syrup soon.

Moving earth around for a patio on the east side of house.

Aunt Christi and Uncle Ken are visiting G & G. They are hosting a steak and salmon supper. Cousin Justin and his wife, Sarah, will be there, too.

The temperature has hovered around 90 F. this week.

Last week, neighbors Ed and Barb took Hana and me out for a spin around Lake Sakakawea on their pontoon boat. We indulged in much swimming and eating of snacks. In the evening, we witnessed a large harvest moon rising over Beulah.

Ed and Barb have a garden that Hana helps water and weed. We receive abundant veggies in return.

Hana and I bought two old blue one-speed bikes at a yard sale.

I lay on the humid prairie tonight and watched the air.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hello from the rolling hills of Los Angeles, where the Roll Out, Cowboy producers have put me up at Days Inn for three nights. They also gave me per diem to eat three square meals a day. I dined at a spicy Korean barbecue joint tonight with my multi-talented Montana pal Marcus Herring (check out this future-funk music video he just produced: "Freak-A-Zoid Robotz").

As for viewing the feature-length (74 min.) Roll Out, Cowboy documentary yesterday, it was a mind-bender. I winced a few times, which is inevitable--it's mostly about my life and those closest to me. I also laughed a lot. It made me think. I'm proud of Elizabeth L., Elizabeth R., and Warner B. for seeing this thing through so quickly and professionally.

They will send it out to film festivals beginning next week. I hope it has a long festival run.
It's of the moment and has a generous pinch of prairie dust magic to it. It's good.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Off to Hollywood. I finally get to see the doc that's been in the works for the last two years!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

South to Missouri.
North to Calgary.
Back in North Dakota Friday.
What I like best is a book that's at least funny once in a while.... What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though. - J. D. Salinger

Thursday, September 03, 2009

August's western Montana Flathead River adventure:

Our excellent guide was one of my high school best friends--Alan Dolezal.

I'm about to jump into "Champagne Alley" (did a face flop).

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Watched Shawn's Kenworth truck roll over 777777.7 miles as we neared Medicine Hat last Friday afternoon. Tuesday we're southbound to Missouri, and then back to Calgary with buffalo carp.

Yesterday Hana and I drove to Voight's Bay on Lake Sakakawea for a swim. Lake Sakakawea is just a 15-minute drive north, but the road in has been blocked for years. Neighbor Don Hall, who fishes there for walleye and catfish, told me it was open again.

This is great news! Used to have to drive over an hour, through Mandaree, to get to the next nearest bay.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Spent today logging with Grandpa. I had chainsaw duty. He pulled the trees out with his four-wheeler.

Got word from Shawn Goodall that he's ready to hire me again. We take a load to Calgary tomorrow evening. Eighteen wheels and 10,000 pounds of live fish.

Smells good. Smells like money.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Last night my parents invited my girlfriend and me to a Killdeer Mountain feast that included roasted chicken, bison, and wild juneberry pie with ice cream. Grandpa and Grandma also joined us, as did Father James from the Assumption Abbey in Richardton.

Gramps has recently been recovering from a bout of diverticulitis. Our conversation went something like this:

Grandpa: (enthusiastically) Do you know what diverticulitis is?

Me: No.

Grandpa: It's when your diverticulosis flares up.

Me: What's diverticulosis?

Grandpa: It's when the diverticula in your entrails bulge.

Me: What are diverticula?

Grandpa: That's when you have many, many diverticulum.

Me: What's a diverticulum?

Grandpa: It's one of my bulging diverticula. That's why my diverticulosis flared up.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I'm an internet entrepreneur now.

First item up for auction is a Budweiser shirt.

Friday, August 21, 2009

After seven weeks without, I have wheels again. Pearl Drop, is up and running.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Apparently, I own a co-share of Dunn Center's mineral rights. Marathon Oil sent a representative to my house today who wrote me out a check for $100. The check number is 6669.

If they strike oil, I may receive monthly checks of $13.01 over the course of the next year.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Spent my last $2000 on this '78 Pace Arrow RV:

I call it the "Bunk House." It has a sweet 8-track player and a small microwave. It smells like the Brady Bunch and gets 5 mpg.

Friday, August 07, 2009

I arrived home yesterday--North Dakota!

Life has taken me on a pleasant roller-coaster ride during these last few weeks. I'm glad to be back on home turf for a while. Will attempt to play catch-up soon.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Three freaky, close-to-home occurrences recently happened in quick succession that make me wonder if a hellhound might not be on my trail:

1. Lightning struck a tree in the backyard of where I was staying and shredded it like raw chicken. It also traumatized two dogs and destroyed the house's wireless router.

2. While driving south from Tacoma on the I-5, a wheel off the big rig in front of me zinged off its axle and zanged downhill at 80 mph, across four lanes of traffic. It broke off a highway sign in the median as it went and barely avoided causing multiple wrecks. The last thing I saw of this satanic tire was when it hit the northbound's outside guard rail and popped fifty feet into the sky over some trees and into the void.

3. Dickinson, ND, the nearest sizable town to where I live, got hammered by a tornado on July 8th. Damage is estimated at $20 million. To see a YouTube video of the twister's aftermath (featuring an odd Michael Jackson soundtrack) click here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'm still in Washington state. I play my last gig here tomorrow night in Bremerton. Here's an article that came out today in the North Kitsap Herald to promote the show.

Next week I drive west to Ronan, MT, for my 20-year high school reunion!

Though I miss North Dakota terribly, I've been having a relaxing time here swimming, recording, visiting, and eating.

My new black hat--the one I bought in Dallas last February--was used in a photo shoot last week. See it here. I don't know who the model is. The photographer is Scott Areman. He wants to do a photo shoot with me on Saturday. I'll post a pic then.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Northwest Tour is goin' well: Portland, Seattle, and Tacoma were all fun. Here's an article:

Concrete, WA, tonight!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Today is almost over, which is good, 'cause today was gnarly.

My fully packed warrior-Subaru "Pearl Drop" could not take me the 700 miles across Montana to celebrate Independence Day with my Herak/Sullivan relatives. In fact, she barely made it the 45 miles to Dickinson to visit a mechanic. After a six-hour wait, she was diagnosed as "not worth saving." I will sadly have to skip the Montana family reunion and begin my search for a new vehicle.

At least it happened close to home and not somewhere near Terry or Rosebud.

Dad was my hero today, a common occurrence. This time he spent 10 hours chauffeuring me to car lots to look for something decent for under $1500, but no luck.

On the bright side, juneberries on the Mountain are getting fat and ripe. After 10 years of poor crops, this year looks like a winner.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Please have a listen to the title track from my very first CD (1995): "Roll Out, Cowboy."

I reference MJ, wild berries, Bob Dylan, my dad's bus, and my love of the open prairie.

My appreciations haven't changed much.

If you'd like to hear a cut from my latest CD, All the Things I Done Wrong, here's a timely one: "Michael Jackson."

"Michael Jackson" was produced in 2007, by Shawn Parke, as a demo--as were all the songs off of All the Things I Done Wrong. This CD may, now, due to lack of funds, be released in a more raw form. Shawn made the funky beats.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Death came knockin'. Sad times in Dunn County.

My upcoming CD has a song called "Michael Jackson," dedicated to him:
"Michael Jackson it's a long ride back home
Chi-town, Motown, I found your crown
In the middle of a Montana pasture
And that sound was the sound of rapture . . ."


Saturday, June 20, 2009

It's country livin' these days for old Sandman. Rhubarb's thick. Summer has arrived.

Thursday I went to the Dunn County Historical Society meeting. Helen McMahen retired as secretary. In honor of her thirty years of service, they served Koolaid and cake and gave her a plaque.

Friday I partook in a Burnin' Daylight Adventure at Ted and Dawn Kupper's ranch. After a meal of burgers and beans, Shawn Goodall, with his girlfriend Laci's help, loaded sixteen of us into a sturdy wagon hitched to his Belgian draft horses, Ram and Rod. We rode for two hours through some of western North Dakota's most breathtaking breaks and badlands. Laci got the gates. Upon return to camp, I sang songs such as "Home on the Range" and "She'll Be Comin' Around the Mountain" next to the campfire, while the little kids made s'mores. [Plug: you should join us on one of these adventures--they are very affordable. A wagon ride alone is priceless. Click on the above link for more info.]

Yesterday I performed at the annual Pit Barbeque in Manning in exchange for supper and a rugby-sized chunk of buffalo meat. The meat was wrapped in denim and bound in wire. It was dragged out of a dirt pit full of dozens of other denim-wrapped, wire-bound hunks of cooked pork, beef, and bison. A highlight of the event for me was having Grandpa join me with his harmonica on "I Ride an Old Paint."

Happy Father's Day, Dad (pictured), and Happy Solstice, everyone!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Yesterday morning Mom and I walked the Lake Ilo trail and marveled at its lushness.

Lake Ilo--only a mile from my house--is a prehistoric paradise this month. Blue herons, like neutered pterodactyls, honk from their high perches in the cottonwoods, while looming buzzards, like teratorns, attempt to snatch fuzzy chicks from under them.

Decomposing carp, like coelacanth fossils, line the shore below. The air is humid and dank. Large white toadstools populate the forest edge. Turtles, like children of Egyptian pharaohs, sun themselves on naked logs next to half-baked frogs.

Lake Ilo is well-maintained but rarely visited. In my eyes, it's a hidden treasure as precious as Manhattan's Central Park Lake.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This is my kitchen. I eat salads with cheese here.


Monday, June 15, 2009

I don't know what to write about anymore.

I watered the grass? I ate a salad with cheese? I petted the horse?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Lots of action in Sand Land with a week of family fun. Grandpa's 90th birthday party went swimmingly. He drank a few, then sang a few, and then he danced a few, too.

The snow has melted.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

My first nonagenarian grandparent:

Happy 90th, Grandpa! I wrote you a song.
Sandy Bob

It's cloudy in the west and it's lookin' like rain
Your durned ol' slicker's in the wagon again
Sandy Bob

On a ten-dollar horse and a forty-dollar saddle
You set out punchin' them Wolf Point cattle
Sandy Bob

There's a lot of things a lot of people might not know about you
You don't like to brag, you just don't seem to need to

Sandy Bob, you're a good grandpa
Sandy Bob, you're a great grandpa, Sandy Bob
You built you a cabin with your own two hands
You found you a woman who would share your brand, Sandy Bob

There's a lot of things a lot of people might not know about you
You seek the truth and you just don't like to be lied to

Sandy Bob, you're a good grandpa
Sandy Bob, you're a great grandpa, Sandy Bob
You built you a cabin with your own two hands
You found you a woman who would share your brand, Sandy Bob

Sandy Bob, you're a good grandpa
Sandy Bob, you're a great grandpa
Cowboy, boxer, horseman, carpenter
First lieutenant and a parole officer
You're good with leather and you're good with words
You walk with God and you talk to birds, Sandy Bob
Oh Sandy, Sandy

(whistle outro)

Notes: Cousin Jenny took the above picture. Yesterday, Grandpa and Grandma were given an honorary plaque in the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. Tonight there will be a birthday bash at the Buckskin Bar in Killdeer--everyone's welcome. It's currently snowing outside and the ground is white!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My back is recovering. I think my daily exercises are starting to work. (Thanks for the drugs, Emily--I'll save 'em for an emergency.)

I've been scraping flaky lead paint off my bedroom walls the last two days. Dad helped me texture my bedroom and bathroom ceilings yesterday. Now I'm ready to prime and paint those two rooms.
A white horse and a white pony have recently appeared in the small, tree-filled pasture across from my house. They wind through the branches like phantom pegasuses. They pace through the weeds like bored unicorns.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Well, my love is a flower just beginning to bloom

Like those things from [under my parents' deck] that spring from the gloom. . ."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!!

As of May 23rd--forty years married and going strong.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

News from Sand Land:

I haven't had a trucking run since December.

My new CD, All the Things I Done Wrong, will be pressed by October, granted the grant I applied for gets granted.

Boss Goodall tells me that I might be driving again by midsummer. I can last that long by playing some shows and working for the Dunn County Historical Society.

Banjo picker Billy Faier is still in the neighborhood. He's been staying with my folks. He and I spent Memorial Day weekend performing at the 23rd Annual Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Medora. Billy fired up the audience like no one I've seen and sold twenty CDs in a matter of minutes. He backed me up on two songs, and I backed him up on "The Great Assembly." Now I can say that I've played music and traveled with someone who's played music and traveled with both Guthrie and Van Zandt! Billy quit performing with Townes after only ten shows, because Townes would get drunk and then insist on driving the van after the show.

As for me, I'm bored with being a ragged rambler. I 'm ready for a more balanced life. I want a strong body, a green garden, and a hard-headed woman. My life as a troubadour is not over, but in the future I plan to travel in style like J.D. Salinger or Harry Belafonte or John Lennon.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bought a used lawn mower yesterday for $120.

Runs good.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A friend asked if I look more like my ma or pa.

Survey sez:

Speakin' o' the 'rents, their 40th wedding anniversary is this weekend!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New neighbor.

Roger Hall bought the empty lot north of mine.
Yesterday, he rolled his mobile home into place.
Soon he will add three-car garage.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Legendary banjo player Billy Faier, whom I met in Marathon, TX, in February and visited in Woodstock, NY, a couple weeks ago, coasted into Dunn Center, ND, today.

He's snoring soundly at the moment.

Billy's an extraordinarily talented folk singer. I mentioned in an earlier blog that he and Ramblin' Jack Elliot once traveled and performed with Woody Guthrie from New York to San Francisco. Woody was beginning to struggle with Huntington's disease at the time, but he could still rock a crowd.

Billy has a website where anyone can freely download albums he's cut over the last 52 years.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Today marks the sixth week that I've been relatively out of commission due to a herniated disc in my lower spine. I've tried core synchronism, chiropractors, arnica, ice, yoga stretches, strengthening exercises, Ibuprofen, and Vicodin, but nothing has done the trick. (I searched for an acupuncturist on the West Coast, but struck out).

Time is a great healer, I know, but sometimes time passes too slow.

My neighbor Vivian visited today while I was exercising. She promised to bring my ailment to her prayer circle.

I welcome all prayers, suggestions, and bottles of pills.

Please send to: Chris "Hank Williams" Sand / PO Box 7 / Dunn Center, ND 58626

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bulls are moaning in the pasture adjacent to my shack. I hear them in my bedroom at night.

One of them is named Terrible Master. Another is named Onan Son of Judah. The newest bull is named Humming-Towards-the-Gallows. He has a deformed neck.


Meanwhile the record player spins.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Killdeer Mountain is green, and little yellow flowers are blooming. Found a tick. Discovered a morel mushroom, too--the first I've seen on the Mountain.

Two cormorants flew overhead. I've never seen cormorants up there before.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Odysseus has returned.
"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast,
But I just rocked America, coast to coast."
I blinded the Cyclops, shunned the sirens, and chilled with Achilles in Hades.
"I flew to LA, I flew to New York,
Everybody's sick from eatin' too much pork."
I avoided supping with the Lotus-Eaters. I failed, however, from molesting the cattle of Helios.
"Skiddly bebop a we rock, scooby doo,
Guess what, North Dakota--I love you."
Happy to be home!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

To My Mother


I was your rebellious son,
do you remember? Sometimes
I wonder if you do remember,
so complete has your forgiveness been.

So complete has your forgiveness been
I wonder sometimes if it did not
precede my wrong, and I erred,
safe found, within your love,

prepared ahead of me, the way home,
or my bed at night, so that almost
I should forgive you, who perhaps
foresaw the worst that I might do,

and forgave before I could act,
causing me to smile now, looking back,
to see how paltry was my worst,
compared to your forgiveness of it

already given. And this, then,
is the vision of that Heaven of which
we have heard, where those who love
each other have forgiven each other,

where, for that, the leaves are green,
the light a music in the air,
and all is unentangled,
and all is undismayed.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Happy 89th, Farmor! You're lookin' good.

For the next month, you and Gramps will be the same age.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I'm now in L.A., surrounded by wiener dogs and palm trees, working on a movie. It's weird to think that just this morning I was wandering through the dark, wet subways of Brooklyn. 

(Left to right: Warner, McGruder, Kaledo, Jerry, Elizabeth.)

I'm staying with Director Elizabeth and her hubbie, Warner. 

Monday, May 04, 2009

There were a hundred highlights from the Pete Seeger concert last night. One of them was locking eyes ever-so-briefly with Joan Baez after the concert. Listening to her sing "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" was unforgettable, too.

There were so many musical masters on the stage: Springsteen, DiFranco, Cockburn, Havens, Kristofferson, Mellencamp, Paxton, Emmylou, Arlo, Ramblin' Jack, Roger McGuinn, Billy Bragg, Ben Harper, Steve Earle, Taj Mahal, Bela Fleck, Rufus Wainwright, Toshi Reagon, The McGarrigle Sisters. The luminary of luminaries, though, was Pete, who at age 90 seemed youngest and wildest of all. He still crushes it on banjo. Ten years from now I'll be back for his 100th (on stage with him, I hope).

New York gave me the attitude adjustment I needed. I'm glad I went.

Thanks to all of you who let me stay in your flats and eat your cereal: Kirk, Van Song, Nikki, Sally, Chris, Damian, and Ai Le (who, by the way, was due to give birth to her and Damian's first child yesterday). Big thanks, also, to Andy and Alissa Hedges for talking me into flying to New York in the first place. It was awesome hanging out with y'all and driving to Woodstock to visit Billy Faier and Betty Ballantine!!! Thanks, Harreld, for your friendship, and good luck gettin' the girl.

Goodbye, NY. Hello, LA.

Post Script (May 7th): After a thirty-hour labor, Ai Le gave birth to a boy!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Happy 90th Pete!

After a final humbling show last night, New York, as of this morning (even though it's raining buckets), is suddenly looking brighter. Off to Madison Square Gardens for the concert of a lifetime.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Didn't Zimmerman have a line something like, "I'm goin' back to North Dakota, man I do believe I've had enough . . ."

(My gravity has failed and negativity isn't pulling me through.)

Friday, May 01, 2009

May Day! My ship is goin' down . . .

This morning I unstuffed the shirts, shorts, and socks from inside my bloated guitar and moaned the pig-belly blues.

New York can be a meat grinder. I'm glad to be here, but then again I'd be more glad to be somewhere else.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hello from New York City.  My rhythm is not up to speed quite yet.  Need to get my game on.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Early tomorrow I fly to NYC for four full days of rock and roll.

Please tell your friends in the Big Apple to come see a show (see home page for details)!

And if you live in L.A. I need a house concert for next weekend.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Farewell, me hearties.

By the great, grand powers of seven sick swine, 'tis time to apply me sweet swashbucklin' trade once again.

I go thar wi' a wild and wick'd wannion to pillage pig villages and eat their scurvy brains like cancer'd bacon.

('Tis the nature of a buccanneer.)

If squiffy or sprog should ask who keelhaul'd the privateers, tell them 'tis I, the vicious Cap'n Red Eye!

Me furner's furnace be burnin'. Aye, until the black spot withers . . . to the New World we go!

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Dunn Center neighbor, Reuben Benz, died two days ago at age 82. He was a master mechanic and gardener, and one of the nicest guys around.

I once wrote a song called "Reuben Benz," in which I fantasized about stealing carrots and onions from his garden late at night. The song was a playful tribute to a man who represented all that's good and generous about rural North Dakota.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Grandma invited me to join her and Grandpa for supper this evening.

After dessert, Grandpa and I retired to the living room. We had a short conversation that went something like this:

Grandpa: "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." Do you know who said that?

Me: Um, Churchill?

G: Shakespeare! Can you imagine that someone that many, many, many years ago said something like that? "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." That's great!

Me: Yep, I know. Sometimes I think that Jesus and Shakespeare are the two smartest guys I've ever met.

G: (with glee) Right-O! You are correct. Jesus and Shakespeare are the two smartest guys I've ever met.

Me: I guess Abe Lincoln was pretty smart, too.

G: You know who else I think is pretty damned smart?

Me: Who?

G: Obama!

Me: I'm surprised you think that. (Guiltily) A lot of people are losing faith in him. Well . . . time will tell.

G: I mean it. Obama is the first president since Eisenhower whom I feel I could truly love. You know what I mean? He's so damned smart!

Me: (Unsure) I guess so. He's definitely smart. (Long pause) Well, I'd better go. I need to work on the Museum newsletter. (Putting on shoes, kissing Grandma.) Bye, Grandma. Bye, Gramps. Thanks for supper. You guys sure take of me. I love you.


First used by Alexander Pope (1688 - 1744) in An Essay on Criticism, 1709:

"A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again."