There But For The Grace Of G_d…

November 16th, 2017 Jorma 7 comments
Sunrise at the Ranch... sailors take warning...

Sunrise at the Ranch... sailors take warning...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

I got up yesterday morning and went out to walk Maverick The Big Dog and I was greeted by this most lovely sunrise! Back in the house I got to thinking about my dear friend Robert Lee back in Northern California. Robert is an amazing man. He has dealt with some measure of adversity in a most noble and productive way. He has always gotten things done. He and I worked together in my little wood shop some thirty years ago. We made stretching frames for a school that taught needle point work. On a much larger scale, Robert is an amazing luthier… an instrument builder to be reckoned with.

Robert Lee and his beloved hot rod.

Robert Lee and his beloved hot rod.

Foto from Robert himself

When the fires swept Northern California some weeks back, they took everything from Robert and Sue except their lives, and the clothes on their back.

After the fire...

After the fire...

Foto from Robert himself

Obviously this tragedy of unimaginable proportions touched more people than I can count, but I know Robert and Sue and so I would like to do what little i can to help them rebuild their lives. Here is a link to their You Caring Page:

The storm is passed... and yet remains

The storm is passed... and yet remains

Foto from Robert Lee himself

Their are lots of causes and humanity in need and we all do the best we can. Robert and Sue are my friends.

Just sayin’

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

2017 Ends For The Fur Peace Ranch

November 14th, 2017 Jorma 17 comments
My friend Paul lurks in the Labyrinth

My friend Paul lurks in the Labyrinth

Drone shot by Jorma Kaukonen

Before I get to my report from our final weekend of 2017, a quick sidebar on my last post. I would would never, ever advise anyone on parenting, self defense, survival skills or come to think of it… just about anything. The following is just my opinion and experience. Where we live, the nearest LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) is an hour away… if things go according to plan. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. If something horrible were to happen at our place, screaming would just tell the VCA (Violent Criminal Attacker) where my girls were. My neighbors and I may differ in some opinions, but we are united in our commitment to keeping our little street safe… an we will do so by any means necessary. It has also been noted that all of us including our children need to not put ourselves in dangerous situations and in a perfect world that would suffice. Sometimes common sense is just not enough and on any given day our children might be fed a line of BS that makes sense to them at the time. There are bad people out there and life gives us no safe spaces.

Nuff said… it’s a beautiful chill morning and at 0700 my daughter is on her way to middle school.

The last weekend at the Fur Peace Ranch was awesome by any standard! We hosted the wondrous Steve Kimock and Jack Casady. Our good friend and colleague Justin Guip drove down from Woodstock to be part of the party. Thanks justin. You’re a great addition to our world! Our plan was to involve Steve in as much of the music as possible and that’s what we did!

No Steve or Justin... but here's Jack and Jorma

No Steve or Justin... but here's Jack and Jorma

Foto by Lee Cantor

Hot Tuna 47, 2017
The Electric Trio
Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Justin Guip
And Special Guest Steve Kimock
The Fur Peace Station
Darwin, Ohio
Saturday, November 11, 2017

First Set:
1. Candy Man
2. I See The Light
3. Living Just For You
4. Ode To Billy Dean
5. Talkin’ Bout You
6. Trial By Fire
7. Wolves & Lambs
8. Hesitation Blues with Steve Kimock
9. Bowlegged Woman with Steve Kimock
Second Set:
1. Sleep Song
2. Sea Child
3. Can’t Get Satisfied with Steve Kimock
4. Rock Me Baby with Steve Kimock
5. In The Kingdom
6. Roads And Roads &
7. Come Back Baby with Steve Kimock
8. Funky # 7 with Steve Kimock
9. Encore: Water Song with Steve Kimock

Almost three hours of music… we’re not fooling around! Hot Tuna has some electric shows coming up with Steve and we’ve got some heady plans to put his august presence to good use.

It was chill here in Southeast Ohio this past weekend, but it’s halfway through November and I’d expect no less. I actually thoroughly enjoy these late Fall days although I’m sure I’ll thinking of Spring by the time New Years rolls around.

Sunday afternoon it warmed up enough to go outside for the final class picture

Sunday afternoon it warmed up enough to go outside for the final class picture

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

A hearty thanks and a shout out to Tom Feldman for his inestimable assistance as a teacher, the purity and perfection of his art which he shares so readily with us, his qualities as a man and his friendship! Thanks Tom!

Now that this weekend is over I can get back to the second rewrite of my book. Life visits many humbling situations upon us and this is yet another one. It’s all good though and I can feel that this event is giving more growth rings on my tree of life.

Time to walk my four footed friends and get my nose back to the grindstone.

Have a great day all!

It’s OK To Teach Our Daughters…

November 10th, 2017 Jorma 27 comments

So with all the current events about sexual assault and as the father of an almost 12 year old daughter, when I saw this article in the Houston Press by Jeff Rouner, I could only say, ‘Right on brother!’ I include the article for your edification here on my blog, but I suggest clicking the above link if you want to go to the source directly.

Teach Your Daughters to Hit People Who Touch Them
JEF ROUNER | NOVEMBER 2, 2017 | 5:00AM

There’s an old saying that violence never solves anything. I’m going to quote Robert A. Heinlein here; Starship Troopers, if you need to know.

‘Anyone who clings to the historically untrue and thoroughly immoral doctrine that violence never settles anything I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms.’

Robert Heinlein

The #MeToo campaign has touched me deeply in many ways. Partly because I was myself the victim of sexual assault by a male relative. Partly because covering rape culture has been a staple of my work for many years. And yes, partly because I have a daughter. No, I didn’t start caring about feminism just because she was born and I had an epiphany that women were people too. However, I do live constantly with the fear of her entering a world that treats her gender as objects and second-class citizens. If you think that’s not the case, would you kindly just call me a cuck in the comments and piss off? The adults who can read graphs are talking.

I used to tell her that when someone was being mean to her she should inform a teacher. That’s what we always tell children. Authority is the answer. It makes sense. We are authority to them. Mother (and by proxy Father) is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children, as James O’Barr once said.

Many victims of sexual assault find the justice system unhelpful at best and a type of re-victimization at worst. Lately, though, I have been wondering. Is it right to teach our daughters that authority is the answer to problems that afflict them, particularly ones that are sexual in nature? Let’s review.

A woman is currently suing the City of Houston over a rape kit that sat untested for five years. More than 6,000 women are in a position to join her suit. Meanwhile, oh, the rapin’ does a-continue. How much rape is going on in the United States? No one really knows. Our recording methods are highly flawed, and rape and sexual assault remain some of the most unreported crimes in the nation.

Why? Because many victims find the justice system unhelpful at best and a type of re-victimization at worst. Contrary to popular belief among the meatheaded part of the population, rape survivors are not automatically showered with riches and praise in this country. Mostly they’re disbelieved, ignored, scrutinized and punished. There is no magical rape fairy dropping rape points onto the women who speak out. Or the men, for that matter. If you want to start naming people who have parlayed a rape accusation into fame and fortune, and have me start naming accused rapists who suffered nothing harsher than a few angry tweets, we can play that game. I’m going to win, though.

This is why I’ve started telling my daughter that if someone touches her chest, her ass or between her legs without her permission, to punch them in the goddamn face. Aim for the nose, Sweetheart. You don’t want to catch their teeth and get a cut. That’s a good way to get an infection. You want nose or eyes, and maybe use that front choke Daddy taught you. Turn your forearms so the bone goes against their carotid and jugular. That’s what makes them pass out.

I have zero confidence in any school district or legal systems to handle sexual assault on the first try. Can she get in trouble for violence at school? Yes, she can, and should. Violence is illegal. Note: I didn’t say wrong. I said illegal. The two are not synonyms. Gays and lesbians getting married was illegal. It was never wrong.

I have zero confidence in any school district or legal systems to handle sexual assault on the first try. I have known a lot of women in my life, and nary a one of them who has been raped or sexually assaulted has ever come up to me and said, “Gee, the legal system sure did knock it out of the park the first time this happened to me.” I’ve been in the room with a freakin’ unicorn (or what the circus said was one), but I have never, ever had this scenario happen. Now, undoubtedly, her punching Handsy McGees in their stupid, rapey faces will necessitate a conference. Schools love conferences like Hollywood producers love desperate women and uncomfortable couches. That’s fine with me. I have no problem talking about the appropriateness of my girl’s kung fu, but we are going to discuss the why. If she punched someone for calling her a name, no, that’s not cool. If she punched someone for deciding her bikini areas were public grounds, then you can go to hell. Sure, put it on her permanent record. Heck, suspend her. Last time a school decided that being needlessly sexist was a good idea, I made it national news. I can always do it again. Is violence the ideal answer to sexual harassment? Of course it isn’t. The ideal answer is living in a world where this sort of thing is swiftly dealt with at all levels of authority with a zero-tolerance policy. Anytime y’all want to make that happen, you let me know. Until then, I’m teaching my daughter the proper way to throw a punch, and if you don’t like it, teach your kids the proper way to act.

Answering physical assault with physical assault is perfectly appropriate, and I have long since stopped caring about the concept of polite when it comes to those who feel boundaries are optional. It is easier to seek forgiveness than live in a world that tolerates the endless sexual assault of women. Tell your daughter it’s okay to punch people who touch her inappropriately and without her consent. It’s the lesson their own parents failed to impart. I’ll take a few bad conduct grades over living another minute with this rape culture any day.

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Excercising My Franchise

November 8th, 2017 Jorma 19 comments
Wear it proudly

Wear it proudly

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

An early morning trip to our polling place in Rock Springs Road… It doesn’t get any closer to grass roots than this. This is grass roots. Over the last quarter of a century I’ve gotten to know a number of our neighbors and they’re all great folks. Regardless of our political dispositions our common goal is to keep our county safe for our families and our kids. (That’s ‘county’ not ‘country’) Local is where it counts! Had some great conversations waiting in line. This is really good stuff.

Jack Casady just got in from L.A. and we’ll get to hang a little tomorrow before the final weekend 2017 here at the Fur Peace Ranch begins Friday morning. The leaves are mostly gone now and the temperature has already slipped into the high 30’s. I love this time of year even if it’s too chilly for a motorcycle ride.

Gotta walk the Big Dog…

PS Just back from being outside with Maverick and the two of us barking back at the coyotes. Now… the comments thing is out of control again. I am a keystroke away from shitcanning the entire comments section. I don’t want to have to get into this again!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch Tags:

The Final Weekend of 2017 Here At The Fur Peace Ranch This Way Comes

November 6th, 2017 Jorma 37 comments
Uncle Charles Pond

Uncle Charles Pond

Drone Shot By Jorma Kaukonen

It’s been almost a decade since Uncle Charles has been gone. He was a wonderful neighbor and an amazing man. It is said that when he was a kid he farmed the land where the Fur Peace Ranch is with mules. He wound up living most of his life in Florida but he always kept the hilltop property next to ours. ‘Jorma, I’ve got a ten thousand dollar house with a million dollar view,’ he used to say. We were always welcome to fish his little pond and here it is today seen from the air.

The forest always welcomes...

The forest always welcomes...

Drone shot by Jorma Kaukonen

This was a mere couple of days ago… Eastern Standard Time is here and the leaves are now mostly gone.

Lone survivor by the Beatrice Love Kitchen

Lone survivor by the Beatrice Love Kitchen

Drone shot by Jorma Kaukonen

Time is flying by these days. It seems as if yesterday was Izze’s first day at Middle School and now the Thanksgiving vacation is upon us and she is already looking forward to the Christmas Holidays. I am working on rewrites on my book and rhythm of reading through it over and over again is no longer intimidating. We are looking at mid 2018 for it’s release and the attendant book tour.

One of the last trees by our parking lot.

One of the last trees by our parking lot.

Drone shot by Jorma Kaukonen

Jack Casady
will be rolling in this week as will Steve Kimock. Justin Guip will be driving in for the Electric Tuna Show with Kimock this weekend. What a way to wrap up the 20th season at the FPR. What a way to end the 2017 Season down here in Meigs County.

Tomorrow is election day here in Miegs County and there are a number of important issues that must be voted on. I will be at the polls bright and early so that in some small way my voice can be heard. In this time of people running their mouths incessantly I have elected to stay mostly quiet. So many of today’s discussions are like trying to teach a pig to dance. It’s frustrating for you… and it pisses off the pig.

There was a major storm in Southeast Ohio last night and with secondary road flooding Athens Schools are on a two hour delay today. Poor Izze’s heart is broken… a shorter school day. Tomorrow is no school also as teachers prepare grades. We didn’t get days off when I was a kid. Of course, she’s at school at 0730 and done by 1430. We didn’t have hours like that when I was a kid either… but so it goes.

The road out of the Ranch.

The road out of the Ranch.

So it goes indeed… time to walk Maverick through last night’s mud.

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch Tags:

A Dinner At Pho Peace & A Night At The Museum!

October 28th, 2017 Jorma 40 comments
Jorma chats in the Psylodelic gallery...

Jorma chats in the Psylodelic gallery...

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Last night we hosted one of our dinners at the Pho Peace Restaurant right here in the Beatrice Love Kitchen. As always, Justin and the gang in the kitchen knocked it out of the park. I had the beef as I usually do, and as I usually do I saved the meatballs for desert. Having tasted everything here I must say the chicken and the vegetarian pho are also delicious, but I’m just a beef guy I guess. We also had Kimchi and Bánh Mì sandwiches. A true evening of yumminess!

As if that weren’t enough we had fellowship and music too! I’ve been accompanying my dear friend John Hurlbut at sundry Pho Peace events and it is something I always look forward to. John has always had his own artful approach to the music and playing with him totally frees me from the ‘Doing My Show’ syndrome that we professional musicians cannot help but fall into. I get to explore territories that I rarely get to visit when I’m either solo or with Jack and Justin. Good times always! Here’s what John and I played:

1. Get Together
2. Maybe Baby
3. Kansas City Southern
4. House Of The Rising sun
5. Across The Borderline
6. That’s Alright Mama
7. Mystery Train
8. Blow Wind Blow
9. Chimes Of Freedom
10. I Remember You
11. Fishin’ Blues
12. Sitting Here In Limbo
13. Sugaree
14. This Land Is Your Land

What a set Johnny put together and what a delightful evening. After dinner we all adjourned to the Psylodelic Gallery and I hung out and chatted with the folks while they looked at our current show featuring paintings by Andy Tucker whose work reflects moments in time with the faces of inspiring politicians, activists, writers, poets and musicians. We’re also exhibiting a collection of photographs from my personal archives during the early years of Jefferson Airplane. Though the focus last night was on our current exhibit, our permanent collection of original concert posters, jewelry, clothing, instruments and more is always worth a drive to Darwin, Ohio and the Fur Peace Ranch.

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Venues Tags:

Always Looking Ahead…

October 19th, 2017 Jorma 10 comments
Jorma, in winter tropical mode!

Jorma, in winter tropical mode!

I know this is Hawaii earlier this year not Sanibel next year, but it’s still warm and delightful!

Sanibel Island Workshop
Feb. 5th through the 9th 2018
Jorma Kaukonen & David Wolff

For the last decade or so we’ve dedicated ourselves to finding warmer and more delightful climes to take our Fur Peace Ranch on the road. We’ve been to Desert Hot Springs in California as well as San Diego and Lahaina in Hawaii. Right around February of each year those of us who live in chillier parts of the world start thinking of ways to get away from snow and its little brother, wintry mix. This year we’re heading to the Sundial Beach Resort on Sanibel Island.

Why did we choose Sundial Resort? For those of us that think Florida is Miami or Orlando (not that there’s anything wrong with those cities) there’s so much more to discovery. Located near Fort Myers on the barrier island of Sanibel off the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast, Sundial Beach Resort & Spa is a unique tropical island destination with miles of shell-strewn beaches. It’s very quiet with a population of a little over 6,500 people. The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge is located on Sanibel and works to protect the mangrove forests and the habitat that depend on them for survival. This 6,300-acre Florida wildlife refuge is home to 238 species of birds, more than 50 types of reptiles and 32 different kinds of mammals, featuring wonderful bird watching spots, bike and walking paths, winding canoe trails, and a four-mile scenic drive.

The resort has the honor of being “ 2017 First Place Best of Southwest Florida ”, “ 2017 Certificate of Excellence for Trip Advisor ” as well as recently recognized as a lodging facility committed to conservation efforts of Florida’s natural resources. The Florida Green Lodging Program is a voluntary initiative of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that designates and recognizes lodging facilities who score high marks in the areas of waste reduction, water conservation, energy efficiency, indoor air quality and education initiatives.

Our rooms are all one bedroom Island Room Suites (upgrades are possible) with private conference rooms for teaching. The pools are beautiful, the beaches are pristine and it is a wonderful play to rest, relax and rejuvenate and reconnect with your guitar and like minded students.

As mentioned, this little gem is on the southwest gulf coast of Florida has all manner of really nifty warm water based activities for us land locked Midwesterners. It has the flavor of Key West without being so far away… and, by the Grace of G_d, this year’s hurricanes passed it by. I can hardly wait to dip my feet in the water.

Speaking of dipping, David Wolff and I are going to be dipping into some rarely, if ever taught gems by yours truly. Yes, it’s a finger style class of course, but bring your flat pick too. We’re going to kick things off with a foray into my iconic guitar intro to Grace’s White Rabbit. That’s only the beginning. We’re also going to delve into these numbers:

1. Roads And Roads &
2. Wolves And Lambs
3. Song For The High Mountain
4. Letter To The North Star aka Lord Have Mercy
5. Bar Room Crystal Ball
6. Sleep Song
7. Day To Day Out The Window Blues
8. Serpent Of Dreams
9. Follow The Drinking Gourd (I didn’t write this one)

What between gleaning some respite from the winter along with these rarely, if ever taught gems, It’s going to be a great week. Come and invite your soul with us. Bring your guitar and a smile and don’t worry about the snorkel and the fins. The resort has plenty!

Here’s our signup link:

Hope to see you there…

Categories: Set Lists Tags:

Highway To The Stars

October 18th, 2017 Jorma 7 comments

We finally were blessed to have St. Clair Rd. paved… really paved!

Vanessa, on the new road

Vanessa, on the new road

Drone shot by Jorma Kaukonen

Vanessa and I waited down by Rock Springs Rd. to remind people to drive slowly and watch for he children.

Rock Springs and St. Clair

Rock Springs and St. Clair

Drone Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

It was a beginning of a beautiful evening when Doug MacLeod and Chris Smither would each hold forth in the Fur Peace Station.

Jorma, Doug and Chris backstage...

Jorma, Doug and Chris backstage...

Monday came, and the students and teachers scattered to the four winds. It’s been brisk here in Southeast Ohio and we had our first hard frost the other night. During the day it’s been warm enough for a daily motorcycle ride. Not cold enough for electric gear but certainly an all leather moment. I feel unbelievably grateful that so far I can pilot a 750 pound machine with relative ease… it is truly all good! I have the mandible on my modular helmet up so I can enjoy the cold splash of the afternoon air. As I move through the gears the wind in my face almost takes my breath away. I have been looking forward to this all day. The bike and I are one as we transit country roads that dance through the trees like a ribbon in the wind. This is a sanctified place to be! None of the nonsense that plagues our wired lives is even in the same universe with me in these moments.

I have been able to do this for three days in a row and it certainly helps my perspective on things. Back at the as as the sun was setting, Vanessa roasted fresh vegetables and I cooked local beef burgers on the grill on the back porch.

The sun begins its downward path from my back porch.

The sun begins its downward path from my back porch.

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

I don’t know why, but I was reminded today of Andrei Konchalovsky’s great movie Siberiade. Perhaps like Afonya we should all be building a highway to the stars.

Perhaps we are already on the way…

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

Serenity Grove Barn Bash

October 13th, 2017 Jorma 28 comments

Tonight I was honored to be a part of the Barn Bash Fundraiser for Serenity Grove, a residential recovery house for women in the Athens, Ohio area. We men have had the John Clem House for the last decade or so… it’s about time the ladies got one too.

There was a dinner, an auction… and I got to play a little set:

Jorma Kaukonen 9, 2017
Serenity Grove Barn Bash
A Benefit For Serenity Grove
A Recovery House For Women
The Dairy Barn
Athens, Ohio
Thursday, October 12, 2017

1. True Religion
2. Barbeque King
3. Ain’t In No Hurry
4. Sleep Song
5. Watch The North Wind Rise
6. Death Don’t have No Mercy
7. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
8. Heart Temporary
9. San Francisco Bay Blues
10. How Long Blues
11. In My Dreams
12. Water Song
After Auction Encore:
1. That’ll Never Happen No More
2. Keep On Truckin Mama
3. Come Back Baby
4. I Know You Rider

The recovery community in the Athens, Ohio area was been such an important part of my life over the past two decades, it was nice in some small way to give back!

Categories: Diary Tags:

Another County Heard From Again

October 12th, 2017 Jorma 23 comments

Everyone who has honored me by reading my little blog knows that I rarely get involved with the crosstalk found therein. People’s opinions are their own and and that’s that. All this being said, the vitriolic banter has really gotten over the top. Because of the way the Wordpress program works every comment appears in my email inbox. Having to cull through these negative entries over my morning coffee is not the way I like to start my day. I have never editorialized about off topic entries. I really don’t care about that. What I do care about is name calling and character assassination. I don’t care whose fault it is or who starts these vitriolic threads. It is true the G_d didn’t put any of us here to be a doormat. That said, This has really gotten totally ridiculous. I first started writing my online journal almost twenty years ago. The term ‘blog’ wasn’t even a word yet. I never allowed comments back then because my writing space was for me, not you. When we moved over to the Cracks In The Finish site I decided to have a comments section to see what would happen. For many years whether or not I agreed with poster’s opinions, it was all entertaining. It is not entertaining any more. I do not want to and will not discuss this. We live in a mannerless society these days. If any of you want to indulge in name calling and general nastiness take it to the media or some political discussion site. Share your opinions, agree or disagree with me and others as you see fit but try to do it with some class. If someone’s presence offends you, you don’t have to respond to them. The kids in my daughter’s middle school would not be allowed to act like this. As I’m sure you know, having a hosted site is not free. I’m paying to sift through these diatribes…

Remember, it’s not whose right… it’s who’s left.

As my Mom used to say, ‘A word to the wise is sufficient.’

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