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."

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Very well, then.

I just canceled my performance in Wells, B.C.

They said they'll try me again next year.

Now I can go to my 20th high school class reunion!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Question of the day:
A dilemma: Do I play a music festival in the middle of British Columbia this summer and earn $1000, or attend my 20th high school reunion in Montana and hang out with old friends, most of whom I haven't seen since '89?
The two events are at the same time.

This decision is tearing me up. I really need the money, and I sincerely miss my old classmates.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I just submitted my Dakota Creative Connections grant request.

Here's an excerpt:
My last CD, Rough Notes from Otter Cove, celebrated nature with Henry David Thoreau. The one before that, Good to Be Awake, swapped love poems with Emily Dickinson. This one, I imagine, will express an, at times, ominous remorse with Edgar Allen Poe over sins freshly exposed and shadows suddenly seen.
I hope they like macabre.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In a week I'll hit the road again: Minneapolis, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Los Angeles. All in three weeks.

I need some cash money. I need some shiny round Ameros to store in my floorboards.

Today I began writing a Dakota Creative Connections grant to fund my upcoming CD. I'm requesting six grand.

The CD is tentatively titled All the Things I Done Wrong.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Last night's hootenanny at the Eagles Hall in Mandan was a good time. Bismarck/Mandan is showing lots of enthusiasm for rock shows lately.

Much of this has to do with my pal Elija, who diligently organizes and promotes shows. He's a musician, too. His new band, The Vexed, played a blistering set to end the evening.

I performed just before them. Although my set was off-kilter, the youthful crowd was kind. I dressed up as a pirate for this show. Another novel twist was a toy marshmallow roaster, with two sticks and a bag of marshmallows provided for audience use.

Before me, Romanteek, a fab five-piece band from Olympia, WA, enchanted the audience with uplifting dance jams. You might like to listen to them here. I've known the members of Romanteek for years, and it was awesome to catch up.

When the show ended Greta, Matt, Heather, Ian, Ira, and I drove to Killdeer for a slumber party at my parent's house. They left this morning for Bozeman.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tonight! - Mandan, ND, @ The Eagles. With Romanteek (pictured), Zebra Corpse, and The Vexed. All-ages. 7 p.m. $5.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A mile from where I live is a small lake, Lake Ilo. Many people go there to birdwatch or fish for northern pike.

Lake Ilo was drained last September to kill off carp, white suckers, and bullhead. Many people were concerned that it might take months or years to refill, but I heard recently that water was already overflowing the spillway, thanks to all the snow this winter.

Two days ago I drove out to look around. As I approached the lake, the air began smelling like the ocean.

I soon saw why: Thousands of dead carp lined the entire perimeter of the lake.

It wasn't a pretty sight, except maybe to flies and gulls.

I was tempted to take a couple of fish home to use as fertilizer, but refrained.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Neighbors Alice Goetz and her son Loman live just across the alley. Last week Alice brought over a batch of homemade butterhorn pastries.

Today, when she heard how wracked my back was, Alice generously offered me the hour-long session she had scheduled with a core synchronism therapist. I gratefully accepted.

This evening Alice and Loman treated me to a supper of macaroni, biscuits, and pickles, then sent me home with a container full of food for tomorrow's supper.

I'm lucky to have neighbors like these.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

News from Sand Land:

1. One of Pearl Drop's balding tires blew out.
2. Herniated disc slow to recover. Need morphine.
3. While I was in bed, wanting to die, Dad planted grass.
4. Taxes.
5. Blood.
6. Pirates.
7. Kidneys.
8. Bo..............
9. Love and Happiness.
10. Spirit and recovery.
11. Thunder on the prairie.
12. Rain.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wild crocuses!

These are the first blooms of any kind I've seen this spring in NoDak.

Indeed, after an Easter dinner with Farmor and Farfar, Mom, Dad, and I drove to Killdeer Mountain, where we took the photo.

The beaver dams are full and running. Saw 3 porcupines, 25 deer, 50 wild turkeys, and dozens of newborn calves.

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's hard to believe that less than a month ago I was drinking avocado soup in Marfa, TX. It's a rare, beautiful thing to fall in love with a whole village.

I crushed out on Bisbee, Truth or Consequences, Terlingua, Dallas, and New Orleans, too. But Marfa was alchemy. She sparkled like gold braces.

I liked her size, her shape, her shadow, her light, her permanence.

She welcomed me home like King Tumbleweed. If I'm lucky, she might welcome me home again.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Though I blog alone on a still-frozen plain, I visualize billions of green bulbs beneath the snow. They burn like poetry.

"When I Love" by Nizar Qabbani:
When I love
I feel that I am the king of time
I possess the earth and everything on it
and ride into the sun upon my horse.

When I love
I become liquid light
invisible to the eye
and the poems in my notebooks
become fields of mimosa and poppy.

When I love
the water gushes from my fingers
grass grows on my tongue
when I love
I become time outside all time.

When I love a woman
all the trees
run barefoot toward me…
Qabbani, like Neruda and Sappho and Rumi and Tagore and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, wrote heart prayers.
Oh, my love
If you were at the level of my madness,
You would cast away your jewelry,
Sell all your bracelets,
And sleep in my eyes

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Neighbor Loman e-mailed me today:
"Hi Chris, and welcome back to the neighborhood! . . . It's nice that you painted your house red as during the winter we knew it was blizzarding out when we couldn't see it."
He added, regarding the tenacious blanket of snow:
"Your house looked like a giant strawberry sitting in cool whip all winter."
The cool whip is melting, though. Dunn County's dirt roads are muddy messes.

Spent the evening feeding old shingles to a snapping bonfire in my yard. Pleasant duty with full moon, flames, and coyote songs.

Soon grass can be planted.

Before the thaw:

The mound to the lower left is where the cedar shingles laid buried.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Artist: Bob Dylan

Title: "Woman in Red Lion Pub"

I love her. I love him.
Funny website:

Sunday, April 05, 2009

After a grueling winter, Dunn Center still has a spring in its step.

Grandma and I played cards at City Hall today, and about everyone was there. Martha, Helen, Alice, Adeline, Melody, Anne, Ione, Alan, Rodney, Willard, and 25 more friends showed up for pinochle and then stayed for dinner. Dinner consisted of roast beef sandwiches, pickles, coffee, homemade pie (rhubarb, apple, and pumpkin), and ice cream.

My body's hurting this week. I hope my herniated spinal cartilage repairs itself before long, 'cause I can barely do any kind of physical work.

Speaking of work, I won't have any trucking runs until June, so I'll mostly be working for Dad for now. I'm also setting up a couple small spring and summer music tours.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Sandman's Best Winter Tour Ever Tour: Left 12/23/08. Returned 4/4/09.


Took me an extra day to get here, 'cause I stopped in Bismarck to visit friends.

Thirty miles west of Mandan, West Dakota's arms embraced me and put me at ease.

Fifteen miles north of Dickinson, the flapping wings of Dunn County fanned me with her peaceful breeze.

When I arrived in Killdeer, Mom and Dad greeted me with a venison supper, plus apple crisp made by Farmor and Farfar from last summer's Killdeer Mountain apples.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Dale and his singing dog, Boo.

I-94 West is mostly clear and my back has mostly recovered, so I will now, after fifteen weeks of being on the road, seeing new places, meeting new people, and playing music, return to my house and family.

Danke schoen, Dale, for putting me up for the last few days. As spring's warm zephyrs melt winter's dogged ice, so may your nagging ailments disappear. As April's first tulips re-emerge and bloom, so also may your health return and flourish. Until then, I'll keep watch over your little ranch in Killdeer. Auf wiedersehen.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

"The average millionaire is only the average dishwasher dressed in a new suit."
-George Orwell
(No joke.) Happy April!