Time

April 8th, 2020 Jorma 12 comments

We were watching a movie with our daughter last night. It was an old Brad Silberling flick called City Of Angels with Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. Sort of a 90’s piece about living and dying, love and loss. I wasn’t sure whether our teenager would grok this flick but at the end I think she dug it on some level.

As the movie was winding up and coming in for a landing I heard a gasp from Vanessa on the chair next to us. ‘John Prine just died…’ And then nothing. I was and am, profoundly moved.

Of course John’s music has been a part of our lives for a half a century, more or less so in a way I felt like I knew him. In the early 90’s when the Kaukonens had just moved to Meigs County we forayed up to Columbus and saw co-bill with him and Nancy Griffith. It was delightful. I remember he was digging in on a little finger picking vignette between verses and he looked out on us in the audience with a sly smile and in a sotto voce stage whisper he confided in us all. “Pick it John!’

Good stuff, and a nice memory.

My first meeting with John was at the Love For Levon Save The Barn Benefit on October 3rd, 2012 at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. There was a massive aggregation of amazing talent there that night and I found myself sharing a dressing room with John Prine and Alain Toussaint. There I was in a room with two men whose music had helped to garnish my path in life.

It was an amazing moment. Alain was gracious but regally distant and that was more than OK. John and I started to talk and in that moment for some reason, I felt like he might have been one of my old friends from the neighborhood in D.C. where I grew up. We talked about this and that and I remember that I told him about the Fur Peace Ranch and how much I would like to see him up at our place. I think we talked about motorcycles too. Well, that’s how I remember it so I’ll just say that’s just how it was. We would see each other one more time at Merlefest down in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. I would not see him again.

Somehow, I see a point in all this. Why should the death of someone I really barely knew affect me in such a profound emotional way? Last week I got an email from a friend from the American School where I studied back in Manila in 1957. An old friend Donnie C. had just passed away. Donnie was one of the first people who befriended me when our family was posted to the Philippines in 1956. As a Foreign Service brat, those first moments in a new post always seemed life threatening. She made me feel welcome. As time passed we all went our own ways and the last time I saw her was in 1963 at Mills College in the East Bay of San Francisco. I always wondered what happened to her as we sometimes do with old friends we don’t see, but I never followed up on it and life happened between then and now.

Momentary intersections that sparkle like diamonds in the long road of an almost eighty-year-old man. As I write this I am having coffee here at the Fur Peace Ranch in the midst of trying times. We are all surrounded by a world-wide pandemic… WW C as I choose to call it. Regardless of national allegiance or any other artificial boundaries we choose to tribalize ourselves with, we might have come in on different ships, but today we are all in the same boat as they say. With death truly becoming a more than a noticeable part of our daily life how can I pick who to mourn? Well, there are plenty of candidates to pick from so maybe it’s just being touched in a random way by the hand of time… and maybe it’s just bathing in the reality that time is all we have until it’s gone.

The COVID-19 virus is taking so much from all of us, but for us older folks… it’s taking time. It’s putting a full stop to all those things we think we might get to one of these days, calling this person… writing that one… whatever, all those things that might never get done because the universe doesn’t wait for good intentions.

Well… John and Donnie are just two examples for me of this malaise… this inertia. Some things that are put off will always be left undone and that too, is just the way it is.

From Connie Kaldor’s Thin Thread

‘Life is a thin thread
It’s a thin little hand on a hospital bed
It’s all of the things that you’ve left unsaid
Life is a thin thread
Its a fine line between loving and not
Between holding it back or giving all that you’ve got
Feeling you’re free thinking you’re caught
It’s a fine line’

There is still a lot left to do!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

Sunday Morning Getting Up…

April 5th, 2020 Jorma 32 comments

With apologies to Kris Kristofferson :)

Neighbor Donnie's field...

Neighbor Donnie's field...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Indeed life has been disrupted for the world in these days of World War C, but for some life just goes on. It’s little hard to see in the picture above taken from my back porch but here’s the deal. I was pottering around the Ranch getting ready for the live stream last night and I heard this noise. ‘What the heck is that?’ I thought. I looked down over my little road to the A-Frame and there was my neighbor Donnie on his John Deere discing the field. Part of that field is ours but we don’t do anything with it so we let him farm it. Anyway, those of us who live in the country immediately recognize the sound of a full sized tractor… not one of those fancy riding mowers with a hydrostatic drive. Yep… if the cows are going to eat, silage must be planted virus or no virus. It just reminded me yet one more time how fragile our time on this planet is. Yeah, it’s all well and good for those of us who have ‘non-essential’ jobs to shelter in place while someone else does our shopping for us, keeps the power and water on and delivers stuff from Amazon Prime. As we grains of sand get shaken in the cosmic sifter, it will be interesting to see who’s left at the end of the day.

In the meantime, I’ll take the win… and for us here at the Fur Peace Ranch the win was pulling of our first live stream concert during the Pandemic. Big thanks to our videographer, Andy Walla, who left her husband and infant son at home to direct the show from the ‘flight deck’ backstage. My good friend Myron Hart who is always there for us and our daughter Izze, who ran one of the cameras. As we all know here, the real captain of this ship is Vanessa and she was and always is everywhere making sure everything works. If you’re one of her Facebook buddies, then you know about the mask projects she has been into with the help of her sister Ginger and her mother Virginia.

Anyway, here’s the set list from last night’s show:

Jorma Kaukonen 1, 2020
#1 Of The Quarantine Concert Series
Live From The Fur Peace Ranch
Fur Peace Station
Darwin, Ohio
Saturday, April 4, 2020

1. San Francisco Bay Blues
2. Heart Temporary
3. Blue Railroad Train
4. Been So Long
5. Sea Child
6. In The Kingdom
7. Good Shepherd
8. Brother Can You Spare A Dime?
9. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
10. Water Song…

oops, and Barbecue King in there somewhere… :)

Thanks for the good questions you sent me via Vanessa. Sorry we couldn’t get to them all… more next Saturday.

Big kudos to all those out there in the ‘real world’ keeping our society staggering along. Medical pros, first responders, folks on trucks, in the service sector… hey, I could go on and on. You are all appreciated.

That’s about it for now. As always…

More will be revealed!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Set Lists, Thoughts Tags:

Saturday Morning

April 4th, 2020 Jorma 49 comments
Saturday morning at our place

Saturday morning at our place

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Well here it is Saturday morning and indeed… it is a new day. Had a lovely morning walk with Percy, our manly Chihuahua and Maverick, the Big Guy, walked himself. A new day today, as it is every day. Took a few steps back before moving forward, some outstanding early morning breaths in the frosty 36 degree weather. Moving right along indeed. My David Flammang J-35 will get the call to serve tonight although I will have two old friends on stage with me for inspirations. You will see my 1958 J-35… the guitar that my musical identity sprung from and my 1936 Gibson Advanced Jumbo. (Well, this one was made in 1997) This is the guitar I cut Blue Country Heart with. Never had electronics… never will. Anyway… I’m fired up.

Morning light on the Station Stage

Morning light on the Station Stage

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

There are still many things in life to look forward to. This may be a small one, but I’ll take the win.

Have a great day all, and see you tonight on the stream.

Here’s the link again. Be there or be square.

The Fur Peace Station awaits!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75XiVQiWvlM

Ahhhh

Ahhhh

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

Yet One More County Heard From…

April 3rd, 2020 Jorma 36 comments

Hey guys and gals

Normally I’d wait to run some of my reply by Vanessa before posting, but why wait? Restraint of tongue and pen you know, but sometimes you just have to say what you feel! Ness pretty much eloquently said what I would have said, only more so. Boy you just can’t make this shit up. There is no reason for someone to really know or care anything about my life or the travails thereof. That would be truly self-centered on my part and as self-centered as I am, I’m not there yet. All that being said (and keeping in mind it’s not my business what other people think of me) humans sometimes appall me.

So, as some of you might know I wrote a memoir, Been So Long,’ that came out in 2018. St. Martin’s Press just released the paperback edition and my publicist Cash arranged some press to go along with the release. Now all this was scheduled way before our Ostrich-In-Chief (head in the sand) decided that the Coronal Virus was actually something to worry about. Anyway, I was on the phone with my pals up there in Columbus, Ohio on radio WQFM and we shot the shit for a while, pushed the book a little and talked about life today in 2020.

I had a good time chatting and having chatted moved on. I guess Vanessa posted a link for the interview with QFM. Cool… or so we thought. Vanessa gets this email from this guy Michael R.

‘I question why jorma would release his memoirs about his “musical life” at this time, when we are at war with a virus that is killing 1000 people a day in new york city. Seems like a very selfish gesture to me. I don’t care about his musical life at this time. How about using his talent to help someone at this time of war?’

Wow Michael. Heavy. I can see you’re a deep thinker. Well, since you’re being a dick let me point out that Jorma is a proper noun and should be capitalized as should New York City. You’re no e.e.cummings of that I’m sure! You’re spending too much time in your iPad.

OK

Here’s Vanessa’s response and my opening shot is quite simply, that’s my girl!

‘Michael

Jorma wrote his book in 2018. The paperback was just recently released. This radio interview that was just released and posted was scheduled prior to our excuse for a president even acknowledging COVID-19 was an issue. If you’d done your fucking homework before you went off and made yourself look like as asshole you’d know everything that Jorma has done and continues to do for his community. Are you aware that he’s been supporting veterans for nearly two decades or that he donates his tour money and time to habitat for humanity, literacy organizations, children’s museums, teen drug and alcohol recovery, music in the schools, local food banks, equine rescue and to specific organizations that feed the hungry in our country? Shame on you! Shame on you! You know nothing about his philanthropic work. As far as this virus goes, we’ve turned our down time into making masks and hand sanitizer with the help of my sister and my 91 year old mother who has Alzheimer’s. We’ve sent masks to first responders and patients in New York, Long Island, Massachusetts, Chicago and here locally in our own community. They are free. We are not gouging anyone (like so many large corporations are doing) for our efforts.

I’m sorry your own ignorance has you so confused and clearly hateful. Next time you want to take someone to task, do your homework!

I wish you well and only hope you are stepping up in this time of crisis.’

Hey Vanessa, thanks and a big socially distant hug to you. Hey everybody, it’s nice to be liked and appreciated, but it’s not a given and it’s surely not mandated. That being said I really try to avoid caring about what other people think of me. Vanessa was way more verbal on my behalf than I would have been.

I guess I’m a little perplexed about what some people seem to think the life of a performer and an artist is like. I used to say, ‘It beats digging ditches,’ but, but these troubled times digging ditches might be a lot more productive. The talents and skills I’ve spent my life trying to improve have little survival value in a post-apocalyptic world. Yeah, I’ve put aside some food and important survival needs and yeah, I’ve got a generator, but nothing lasts forever and when they’re gone, there gone. I won’t be harvesting a deer with my guitar that’s for sure. And BTW, I’m not whining about that. If and when the time comes, I’ll figure how to survive with my family.

OK… Thanks Vanessa for being my fierce protector. Our family could not survive without you having our back. We are truly blessed. You just can’t beat a strong family in times of need.

In the words of my father, Jorma Sr.
‘Why are there so many more horses’ asses than there are horses?’

Thanks Dad!

Now a reminder to all you out there in the Peanut Gallery (Howdy Doody reference). Remember:

Saturday April 4, 2020 at eight PM that selfish, egocentric, uncaring, unfeeling and totally un-empathic guitarist, Jorma Kaukonen will be doing an online free concert from the (sad to say) empty Fur Peace Station:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75XiVQiWvlM

As for my readers here, we may not always agree, but thanks for hanging in there.

Have a great day all!

PS The Fur Peace Ranch is pretty much abandoned but there is always maintenance and a skeleton staff. I was just outside talking to John Hurlbut our Ranch Manager and we were appreciating the smell of the grass that was just cut this morning. I looked up at the blue sky and strange say in that moment I was briefly transported back to my old house in San Francisco on Yerba Buena Ave. The blue sky, the tiny yard and the smell of freshly cut grass… and then it was gone and I was back in our Meigs County Spring.

What a day!

Categories: Set Lists Tags:

Moving Right Along!

March 31st, 2020 Jorma 38 comments

Our daughter Izze and some friends got together in front of a friend’s house and, standing six to eight feet apart sang her Happy Birthday. That’s what I’m talking about. Now she’s hiking in the woods. Over the weekend I did some hand mowing in the yard.

Took a while to get it started, but it did start!

Took a while to get it started, but it did start!

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

It’s really early in the season, so yard work is still fun.

The forsythia edging the parking lot in full bloom!

The forsythia edging the parking lot in full bloom!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Moments like this are an opportunity to pass on things one should have passed on a long time ago.

My grandfather's chair...

My grandfather's chair...

Foto by jorma Kaukonen

My grandparent never threw anything out and never got new furniture, no matter how uncomfortable the old pieces might be. When they passed away in the early 70’s these chairs went to mom and dad and pretty much lived in the garage. When mom and dad passed away in the late 90’s they came to live in our garage. They have now gone to live with our friend Maureen and hopefully they’ll find a place in her Air B ‘n B. That’s progress.

Sunday was Vanessa’s birthday and she and Izze and I went to town an went for a socially distanced walk by the cherry blossoms by the river and then, it being such a beautiful day I came home and took a drone tour of the empty Fur Peace Ranch environs.

All we're lacking is people...

All we're lacking is people...

Drone shot by Jorma Kaukonen

The trees will green out soon

The trees will green out soon

Drone shot by Jorma Kaukonen

Today our videographer Andy Walla came by as well as my good bud Myron Hart and we set things up in the Fur Peace Station for a live streaming concert that I’m planning to give from the FPR stage this Saturday night. That would be the fourth of April. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted on this and to make sure that you have have the correct link. I’m very excited about this. Even though our theater will be empty I’ll be playing from the stage, using the PA etc. etc. I hope you will be there to hear me play and probably blather on.

Myron and I... socially distant but still friends!

Myron and I... socially distant but still friends!

Socially distant selfie by Myron Hart

That’s about if for today.

For us… so far so good…

Hope it’s that way for you too!

PS Here’s the link for Saturday’s show:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75XiVQiWvlM

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

Jorma Weighs In!

March 30th, 2020 Jorma 62 comments

Monday, March 30, 2020

Whatever time it is when you read this, I hope you’re doing OK in this time of crisis… and it is a time of crisis. I have been blogging since before the word ‘blog’ existed as we know it. Fifteen or twenty years ago when I used to design my own site I didn’t have a page for comments and I didn’t care. It was a place for me to spew and frankly, I didn’t care what anyone else thought. My notes From The Captain’s Table (as that page was called back then) were much more personal and interesting for me as a writer. When our dear friend and resident artist, Kevin Morgan, took over my site design he suggested that accepting comments would be a good idea. I was resistant to the idea but he convinced me and in the long run I believe it to have been a good move. I’ll save most of what I consider to be my incisive writing for my next book.

Over the years I have only blocked two commenters and have deleted very few posts. You all have had free run here on my property. When I was a kid in the 40’s we were one of the few Jewish families in the neighborhood we lived in back in Chevy Chase, D.C. There was absolutely no racial diversity. We Jews were the outsiders. We were not observant Jews so we did not enjoy the comfort of that community either. I never knew what was behind the doors of the B’nai B’rith Synagogue around the corner from my house until I went to my first Yom Kippur service there with Vanessa and my son Zach some fifteen or so years ago. All that being said almost every fight I got into in the neighborhood was about being Jewish. I know what Anti Semitism feels like first hand. I have a funny foreign sounding name that was not appreciated by ‘good’ Americans during WW II. I know what xenophobia is and I don’t need anyone to reference it for me by quoting the classics. I am part of a biracial family in a world where this is still not accepted by everyone.

I’m going to try not to slip into the vitriol that our miserable President has made acceptable. President Trump is the worst president I have had the displeasure to share the world with in my lifetime. Has he accomplished anything? I don’t know. I do know he has made mendacity and lack of honor the norm. This is not a moment for ‘what aboutisms.’ I didn’t vote for Hilary either. (There is no one in the electable political spectrum who speaks for me today… which is OK. That’s life.)

We can agree to disagree, and on the subject of disagreement, I have deleted some pro-life posts. I am pro choice. No one gets to tell my wife or daughter what they can or can’t do with their body. The lieutenant governor of Texas, Dan Patrick thinks people like me should sacrifice their lives for our grandkids? I’m going to try to make sure there is a life for my grandkids. Good luck with that Dan.

Probably not last, and certainly not least. My position on religion is that it is for people that are afraid of Hell and spirituality is for those who have been there and don’t want to go back. I consider myself a spiritual person. Having graduated from a Catholic University and also having gone to a British school in Pakistan in the 50’s, I have read and studied the Bible, as I have the Old Testament. These are books written by men. Good literature it you like it and disposable if you don’t. Your choice. I don’t use my site to promulgate my personal beliefs and this is not your bandwagon either, whoever ‘you’ might be.

This is a tough conversation to have. I have friends that are pro Trump. (Again, this does not make me a Democrat either. I consider myself a true Independent.) I take issue with most of what they say on a political front. With this in mind we have agreed not to discuss our opinions for the most part. We’re never going to agree so why waste the breath which is so precious in these days of WW C.

As my Grandmother Vera used to say, ‘A word to the wise is sufficient.’ Let’s just see if we can get through this.

Nuff said…

Categories: Set Lists Tags:

A Note From The Stay At Home Diaries

March 25th, 2020 Jorma 63 comments
Ness and I take a break from yard work for a Hot Tuna pizza from Avalanche in Athens

Ness and I take a break from yard work for a Hot Tuna pizza from Avalanche in Athens

Selfie by Vanessa Kaukonen

Every day has been feeling like Sunday. Normally a weekend without a Fur Peace Ranch camp is the only time i would deign to do yard work. Well, with our world on pause down here Tuesday might as well be Sunday so out came the rakes, the leaf blower and the wheelbarrow. Before I go any further, I need to digress with a note on our very own Avalanche Pizza on East State Street in Athens, Ohio. Even before the ‘take out’ only mandate in Ohio, Avalanche Pizza has always been ‘take out’ only. If they had table service, I’d be eating there all the time. Anyway, years ago John Gutekanst the owner of said pizza joint came to us and wondered if we had a good idea for a specialty pizza. Having spent some time in Italy where their pizzas have little to do with pizza as we know it here in the States, Vanessa and I came up with this:

Hot Tuna Pizza From Avalanche:

24hr cold fermented thin crust dough, hand-tossed. Creamy béchamel sauce, aged mozzarella and provolone cheese, tuna, artichoke hearts, fresh mushrooms, Roma tomatoes, and asiago cheese. Finished with swirls of spicy ninja sauce. Best pizza joint around and the best and coolest staff. Life is good… today… well at least as far as pizza is concerned.

We all have our own worlds to contend with along with the specific demands than inhabit these worlds. I have been making time every day for at least two hours of solo guitar performance. That’s how I practice. I’m always taking notes and writing stuff down. From yesterday.

‘3/24/20 11:17 AM

I sit in the workshop with my guitar. A moment of communication between me and a dear old friend. In this time of COVID -19 virus isolation it is a moment of untethered solace. I sit near the little stage in the old workshop at the Fur Peace Ranch. Behind me is a picture of myself and Bob Weir and Ken Kesey in ’96 at the Furthur Festival in Eugene, Oregon. I am playing Too Many Years and as I roll into the IV chord through a tiny window above my head over the stage a shaft of sun enters the room and bathes my face in light and in this small moment, there is a smile in my soul!’

Then having invited my soul thusly I return to the house to see how our teenage daughter is faring in moderate confinement. She always puts on a brave face but I can see the weight behind her eyes. I tell her things will probably be all right but that in reality there are no guarantees in life and as she has noted herself on more than one occasion, the only constant is change. I hope that the change will be for the better. Some wag noted on the internet today that in their time of crisis our parents went to war while in our time we are relegated to watching Netflix on the couch. That helps to put it in perspective for me. We are able to keep food on the table, the septic works and Rumke just emptied the FPR dumpster. Life is still decent enough I guess.

I just a note in the comments section about me and my ’stuff.’ I’m just going to ruminate a little here because I’m too lazy to sign into the comments page. Hey, I know to my family I’m just dad, but some folks find aspects of my life interesting… like guitars I might own. Many have heard me talk about this before but i don’t mind doing it again. I’m not a collector and I have no interest in becoming one. Almost a decade ago I looked around my guitar room and saw that in spite of myself I wound up with more guitars than I would ever play and some were quite valuable. I sold everything that I didn’t use and put the money in the kid’s college fund. acoustic and electric… gone, and I don’t miss any of them. It is true that I have a small, but significant number of vintage amps on the stage of the Fur Peace Ranch, but that’s a little different. They all get used either by me, or by visiting musicians that come to play our room. I guess the most interesting guitar in my possession is my 1958 J-50 Gibson. It’s the Embryonic Journey guitar, it’s the Live At New Orleans House guitar. Anytime I played an acoustic guitar on an Airplane or Hot Tuna session, it was that guitar. It’s the guitar on the typewriter tapes with Janis. Yeah, It’s a cool guitar and still a great one! I am now playing a David Flammang J-35 as most of you know. It feels like going back to the old J-50. Anyway, the point is there’s not much to see you won’t see on stage when I’m gigging on the road. Yeah, gigging on the road… I have a vague recollection about that.

Anyway, all of us who can afford to do so have earned the right to gratify our acquisitional whims. I am not judging. As a guitar player and teacher I sometimes feel like reminding my friends to learn to play the guitars they have. Just saying in a non-judgemental way.

That’s it for now… stay healthy out there.

Categories: Set Lists Tags:

Walk In The Woods

March 22nd, 2020 Jorma 26 comments
Wayne National Forest Between Chauncey And Millfield

Wayne National Forest Between Chauncey And Millfield

Map screenshot by Jorma Kaukonen

We are so fortunate for many reasons to live where we do. Our proximity to the Wayne National Forest is one of the many, Out Rt. 13 towards Millfield and Buchtel is the entrance to what is going to be one of the most extensive mountain bike trails this side of the Rockies.

You have to know where to look...

You have to know where to look...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

When you take a look at some of these photos taken in what look like overgrown meadows, what you see is reclaimed strip mines. Up here on Rt. 13 and Rt. 278 there are countless abandoned deep pit mines as well as reclaimed strips. The hills, of course, are ancient… the remnants of some of the oldest mountains in the world. Now they are the Appalachian Foothills.

Our pal Guy, Vanessa and our collective daughters.

Our pal Guy, Vanessa and our collective daughters.

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

You will notice how the teenage girls are doing their best to put as much distance between them and their parents as possible. I’m not a mountain biker… I prefer my Greg LeMond Zurich on our nicely maintained Adena-Hockhocking rails to trails bike path. That said, if I didn’t mind falling off occasionally I think I could navigate this part of the trail. As a hiking trail (It’s not open for bikes yet) it’s awesome!

Come back girls!

Come back girls!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Since it’s still so early in the year the multifloral rose is still nascent and nothing else has greened out yet. We’re way into the woods and the only sound we hear is the running water of Bailey’s Run. The wildlife quieted down when we entered the woods, but now as it gets used to us, the forest springs to life again.

In this time of babbling politicians I'd rather listen to Baileys Run.

In this time of babbling politicians I'd rather listen to Baileys Run.

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

This would be a glorious moment for me at any time but in this moment COVID-19 seems far away. I’ll take the win!

Sure beats waiting in line at the filling station!

Sure beats waiting in line at the filling station!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

The world hasn’t stopped or gone away, but in this moment and in this place, it’s on hold!

That's my girl!

That's my girl!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Nice to see Nessa smile like this! She is indeed… my girl.

A culvert from another time

A culvert from another time

Foto by jorma Kaukonen

Stuff lays around for a long time out her in the country. It’s been a while since they made culverts out of ceramics.

This little pod of outdoor lovers had an awesome three and a half mile hike.

Back to where we started

Back to where we started

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Thank goodness Tess’ Dad, Guy, is an experienced woodsman. When we came back to the road, I would have bet the farm on going a different direction… and I would have been wrong. Good thing someone knew what they were doing!

Our mighty Jeep awaits paitently

Our mighty Jeep awaits paitently

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

The Jeep was right where we left it… although in a different direction than I would have thought.

What a great interlude!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts, trips and journeys Tags:

The New Normal Is Well… Normal

March 19th, 2020 Jorma 34 comments

Happy first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere!

As Rev. Davis might say, ‘There’s a bright side, somewhere.’ I’m going to start with my bright side. Aside from the fact that my family is still healthy and we have food on the table, I’ve really been enjoying my Flammang J-35’s. There’s a lot of great builders out there right now and indeed, it’s acquirer’s heaven for guitar players. Great thanks to our friend Jason up in Canada for turning me onto David Flammang’s superb J-35 guitars, Tom Feldman up there in Minnesota for the personal introduction to David and David himself for his artistic vision and fine craftsmanship in building truly great guitars.

One Flammang

One Flammang

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Another Flammang

Another Flammang

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Does this mean I’m divesting myself of my beautiful Martins? (And yes, I have four and my daughter has one of the two short scale Jorma M-30’s made) Of course not. Long scale Martins and short scale Gibson style guitars are apples and oranges. For example. It is difficult for me to execute Mann’s Fate on my Martin. For that reason, it has been out of the rotation in performance. It was written on my old 1958 Gibson J-50 and the song’s evolution is predicated on that guitar’s physical properties. My new Flammang is that guitar only in the present and without dings. I see this tune coming back and more.

Now, on the subject of ‘coming back,’ that may or may not be another story altogether. First of all my heroes today are the health care workers who put their lives on the line every time they interface with a patient whether there is confirmed COVID-19 present or not. Bless these brave souls! Not far behind are everyone else who is still able to go to work to keep this country and our world running. If I am still able to go to a filling station and buy gas or fuel this means that somewhere workers have extracted the petroleum, refined it and trucked it to its destination. You get the picture. That’s just an example.

To take the long and somewhat dour view of all this there are many possibilities for the new reality as it evolves, and one of them is that people like me will be superfluous for a while. Yeah, I live in a rural invoronment pretty much in a world that is somewhat easy to control… to some extent. At some point as social gangrene eats away at our extremities survival will make as adhere to some cold equations.

(As I’m writing this, our daughter, Izze, is cooking her breakfast and the first tragedy of the day is that the bakery in Athens is closed.)

The Cold Equations… a short story by Tom Godwin that I read in 1954 in Astounding, a science fiction mag. Astounding would become Analog in time but back then it was Astounding and I bought it every single month. This short story has engaged, and enraged readers for over sixty years but that’s a discussion for another time.

Wikipedia Summary:

‘The story takes place entirely aboard an Emergency Dispatch Ship (EDS) headed for the frontier planet Woden with a load of desperately-needed medical supplies. The pilot, Barton, discovers a stowaway: an eighteen-year-old girl. By law, all EDS stowaways are to be jettisoned because EDS vessels carry no more fuel than is absolutely necessary to land safely at their destination. The girl, Marilyn, merely wants to see her brother Gerry, and was not aware of the law. When boarding the EDS, Marilyn saw the “UNAUTHORIZED PERSONNEL KEEP OUT!” sign, but thought she would at most have to pay a fine if she were caught. Barton explains that her presence dooms the mission by exceeding the weight limit, and the subsequent crash would kill both of them and doom the colonists awaiting the medical supplies. After contacting her brother for the last moments of her life, Marilyn willingly walks into the airlock and is ejected into space.’

Cool… a little time travel for me here. Anyway, there may be some ‘cold equations’ in our future. Who knows. Looking at the news this morning and listening to the drunken babble from spring breaker twenty somethings on the beach in Clearwater, Florida… it gives one pause for thought. What a time indeed and what a bunch of dumb asses.

OK… moving right along here. Check out a 2015 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie with Abigail Breslin called ‘Maggie.’ This is a really cool little post-apocalyptic movie where Arnold has a great dramatic role. In this little movie compassion triumphs.

For us here in the time of World War C… what next. Hard to say.

At some point, those of us not working and ‘sheltering in place’ will no longer be able to afford that. What then? As I’ve been fond of saying with a wry smile on my face, I (and folks like me) am like a court jesters and without a court and a king… we’re out of work. I’m not a farmer or a survivalist so I don’t have a lot of the skills that might become necessary. I’d probably have to be a taker to survive unless the future offers something else. Predictions of the future whether from you, me, the government or anyone else are gratuitous. Reality will tell us what’s real.

With that in mind my post World War C reality is still kicking in while the pre-C world hangs on. I have an interview at 1300 about the Fur Peace Ranch and while I’m waiting for that I think I’ll pick up my David Flammang J-35 with a torrified top and work on a cool little ending I’m adding to Blue Railroad Train.

My thought for today…

So far, so good.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst, and keep smiling.

Creative suggestions:

Waste not, want not

Waste not, want not

From Jack Casady

Olé

Olé

From Zach Kearse

Enjoy!

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TEOTWAWKI

March 15th, 2020 Jorma 43 comments

Indeed… no matter how you look at it, it is the end of the world as we know it, and hey… perhaps we should have all had a wider world view in the past but like it or not, it’s here now. At my age, I’m a bulls eye for COVID 19. There are more cases that have yet to be diagnosed than we can imagine. That’s just the way it is. Will, we get through it as a global population? Of course we will but right now I don’t think it’s going to be easy and it’s not going to be quick. Well, I’m sure we’ve all been watching the news so you don’t need me to tell you what you already know. For me, kudos to our Governor Mike DeWine… right now Ohio is one of the states leading the way. Most of us are doing our best. Some are still whistling in the grave yard. We’ll see who fares better as things evolve.

Now, life doesn’t grind to a halt just because stuff is happening we don’t like. Living in a sparsely populated area as we do we figured what better time to take a scenic walk while one still can. Time for a trip to Cedar Falls.

Nature... still beautiful!

Nature... still beautiful!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

I’ve lived here for almost thirty years and I’d never been to Cedar Falls before.

Nessa, Izze and a pal at the Falls

Nessa, Izze and a pal at the Falls

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Very few people here on this day… the nature… awesome!

Prehistoric!

Prehistoric!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

To just get away from the relentless news for a moment!

Priceless!

Moments of peace!

Moments of peace!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Toilet paper? Dog food? What next?

More time hiking on the trail!

Ohio rocks

Ohio rocks

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Now this was a couple of days ago and much has happened since then… I’ m these relatively peaceful moments!

Go placidly among the noise and the haste...

Go placidly among the noise and the haste...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

The Desiderata just never seems to go out of fashion!

I could have done this all day...

I could have done this all day...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Wait a minute… I did do it all day!

Well, I’m guessing none of this is going to go away quickly no matter how much I would like it to. In the meantime love your neighbor, albeit from a distance if necessary, hold your family close and keep your powder dry!

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