yes, of course I check that the file existed. Ok, breifly looking at the script '/sbin/grub-install' shows that it creates a log, then greps the log for errors. So I looked that the log. The error it is getting, is the same one I am getting, when I do "root (hd0,0)" --> "The selected disk does not exist". So once I fix this error, grub-install should work. (not that much of a suprise really). But atleast I know that the problem really isn't with /boot/grub/stage1, but with not being able to see /dev/hda, and that I should be googling for "The selected disk does not exist", instead of "stage1 not read properly." Talk about shoddy error reporting...
It is interesting to note that running grub from knoppix (outside my chroot), the root (hd0,0) command does not fail, and gives this:
Filesystem type is ext2fs, partition type 0x83
can I use my /boot/grub/menu.lst outside of my chroot? outside of my chroot, "grub-install --root-directory=/mnt/hda1 /dev/hda" seems to work. Booting now does bring up the grub menu. But I am unable to boot back into (k)ubuntu. But it seems that this may be the topic for another thread.