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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: https://www.youcaring.com/robleesuefairstevecrotty-978238

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:

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:

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.’

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Still Flying Strong!

October 11th, 2017 Jorma 35 comments
There are many Highway 61's.  This is mine!

There are many Highway 61's. This is mine!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

San Francisco and Hardly, Strictly Bluegrass were delightful as they always are. I flew in the day before the show and out after our set on Sunday. That’s just part of the gig and it’s more than OK. Back at the Fur Peace Ranch there is always something to be done. We have a camp this weekend with Chris Smither and Doug MacLeod so there was the usual honey/do list waiting. Speaking of waiting… Bedford Township finally OK’d paving for St. Clair Rd. Our heartfelt thanks to the trustees… and the workers who did the job.

Better than Manhattan

Better than Manhattan

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

It is true that all our vehicles are four wheel drive, but it looks like we won’t need that for a while.

Now… some interesting Jefferson Airplane news. Jampol Artist Management has taken over the reins of protecting and expanding the legacy of the Airplane. For years the management we had did little or nothing creative. In the short time we have been with Jampol much has already happened. Our music has appeared in more movies in the last year or so than in more than a decade and now this!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yARn15Ks1DE

Yes folks, it’s a Cover Girl ad featuring one of Marty’s great songs, I Like it. This is a pre-Grace gem and there’s an interesting sidebar. Back in those early days, the guitar heroes were guys like Mike Bloomfield and Buddy Guy and other blues greats. I remember playing the Avalon Ballroom with the Airplane after Takes Off came out. We did ‘I Like It’ and I actually got a round of applause after my little solo. That had never happened before and I still remember that moment fondly.

Having our song featured in a Cover Girl ad with Ayesha Curry, Issa Rae, Katy Perry, and others has given me creds with our eleven year old daughter that money can’t buy. It’s the little things for sure!

Indeed…

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

Every Thought And Every Deed…

September 30th, 2017 Jorma 18 comments

With the High Holidays coming to a close, for me I tend to look back and try to see if I have made a positive impact on the world and the people around me. I’d be lying if I tried to say I have never fallen short. We all pray in our own way, we all repent in our own way, and we all try to leave our mark in our own way. That being said, my daughter Izze is involved in a middle school fundraiser and I have involved myself to help as best I can. In the past when she was involved in scouting she sold over one thousand boxes of cookies and several cases went to Afghanistan (thanks to David Crosby and so many of my friends who answered her call) to a soldier that we knew who shared them with his brothers.

At the beginning of the school year she sold some “bake your own” cookies for her volleyball team fundraiser and she asked people to consider donating their purchases so that the local homeless shelter could benefit. When she was five, she had her first real birthday party with a ton of friends out to the family farm, a lasso throwing cowboy (thanks Rob McNurlin) and more. On her invitation she asked her friends that if they were going to bring a gift, she had made a decision to donate any toys to Nationwide Children’s Hospital for the kids that were there long term…and she did just that. It was the most beautiful thing to witness. OK, to get to the point of this blog… there’s another fundraiser. Just last week her school had an assembly and talked about the annual 8th grade trip to DC and that they needed everyone’s help. So here we are. Several sheets came home with options to buy candy and “bake your own” pizza and bread. The average price of the candy is $16 a box and the pizza and bread are about 29 bucks. She has decided once again ask folks to consider making a purchase to donate. Her plan is to send as many of the candy boxes and pizza and pretzel kits to Kittery Estates Assisted & Independent Living Facility in southern Maine and shelters throughout Florida. Small acts of kindness will hopefully brighten someone’s day!

There are a lot of products but we’re just going to pick a couple to make it easy.

Cheese Pizza’s $25 (makes 3 – 13”x18” pizzas)
Pepperoni Pizza $29 (makes 3 – 13”x18” pizzas)
Soft Pretzels w/salt $18.50 (makes 10 pretzels)
Peanut Brittle $12 (8oz in a gift tin)
Mint Meltaways $13.50 (12 pieces, 5oz )

Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle

Pepperoni Pizza

Pepperoni Pizza

Pretzels

Pretzels

Mint Meltaways

Mint Meltaways

Cheese Pizza

Cheese Pizza

If this is something you want to help with this, let me know. You can email me at liffetimepicker@gmail.com. Checks can be made out AMS (Athens Middle School) and mail it to Izze K, c/o Fur Peace Ranch, 39495 St Clair Rd. Pomeroy, Ohio 45769. This is a quick fundraiser. Izze has to turn the order forms and the money in to the school on October 9th. If you want to order some items for yourself, include your address and phone number and many thanks for letting me use my blog to help Izze help her fellow students.

PS We realize that with all the disasters plaguing our hemisphere right now that this fundraiser is low on the totem pole but if it matters we have donated to all of the areas affected by the recent storms and earthquakes. Just sayin’

Thanks!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Another Day Closer To Spring

September 25th, 2017 Jorma 17 comments

Fall is upon us and as my world here in Southeast Ohio begins to think thoughts of seasonal sleep I cannot help but indulge in thoughts of death and rebirth. Tragedy comes to all our lives at some point, but still if we’re lucky life goes on. A couple of weeks ago we had our Pick And Putt (motorcycles, not golf) weekend and here are some fotos.

The last hand operated lock system in the state of Ohio

The last hand operated lock system in the state of Ohio

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

It’s been a while since I rode this route, but it never gets old.

Old technology that still works

Old technology that still works

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

The stuff of Tom Sawyer

The stuff of Tom Sawyer

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

A shade tree by a river bank… It reminds me of being a kid and hiking the towpath by the Potomac River with my Mom when I was a kid!

This is how you cycle the locks... by hand

This is how you cycle the locks... by hand

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

The lock keeper was a big man. You have to be to move these gears. His name was actually Jeremiah Johnson. You can’t make this stuff up.

Ready for the boats to enter

Ready for the boats to enter

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

This is sort of an out of time experience you can share in season down here where we live. America is a beautiful country and there are a lot of beautiful places… but this is as good as any!

Last weekend was the Pomeroy Sternwheel Riverfest and I got on my bike and rode down to see what the shouting was all about.

Not as large as some years, but cool nonetheless!

Not as large as some years, but cool nonetheless!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

There was no town budget for this event this year so the Fraternal Order or Eagles sponsored it and yes… they had a Hula Hoop contest. Later that night we had the amazing A.J.Croce play a concert at the Fur Peace Station and it was more than amazing.

Sun setting over the trees

Sun setting over the trees

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

It was another sold out show and no one left disappointed!

A.J. at the 1903 Chickering.

A.J. at the 1903 Chickering.

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

A.J. is one of the finest pianists I have ever heard, and I’ve heard lots, but it’s more than than. His spirit and sensibilities are pure and powerful!

One of the things I truly enjoy about being home after family, is walking with our dog, Maverick and being wrapped in the seasonal change first thing in the morning.

The fall sky just after first light

The fall sky just after first light

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

It’s been warm so these last few mornings have been gentle rather than crisp. That will come!

Trees die gently as new growth springs

Trees die gently as new growth springs

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

I know this land well, but there is always something new to see in each glance.

The remains of the old barn

The remains of the old barn

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

When we first moved here 26 years ago, this barn was more than dilapidated but it was still standing. Now it approaches the ages.

Come take a walk with me on my road...

Come take a walk with me on my road...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

You just can’t beat morning country air!

Magnificent!

Magnificent!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Indeed, life is more than existence… and life prevails. More shall be revealed!

Technology that still works!

Technology that still works!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

Rest In Peace

September 22nd, 2017 Jorma 10 comments
A gentle place outside Hampton, South Carolina

A gentle place outside Hampton, South Carolina

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Tuesday I drove 580 miles from the Fur Peace Ranch to Hampton, South Carolina where Zach’s mom, Stephanie was to b interred. Zach has grown into quite the young man… he is carrying the weight well!

Nearby cotton fields

Nearby cotton fields

Foto by jorma Kaukonen

She will sleep in peace here…

In the shade of the old live oak...

In the shade of the old live oak...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Fair wind and following seas sister…

Categories: Friends, Thoughts Tags:

A Pause In The River

September 18th, 2017 Jorma 27 comments

In the last week we had two fine shows. Last Saturday night was Denny Laine with Joe Orlando on bass, Belle Liao on keys, Jeff Otis Brown on guitar an Owen Goldman on drums. Thanks so much Denny for great classes and a fine show. This weekend we had Matt Schofield and his trio with another awesome show. The weather for our Pick And Putt ride was awesome and all the positive energy here at the Fur Peace Ranch helped lift our spirits a little from the news the Stephanie, my son Zach’s mom, passed a two PM on Friday.

She had fought a hard battle against the cancer, but in the end, the day was not hers to win. She was a fearless advocate for Zach all his life and the qualities of manhood he shows today are certainly at least in a great part, the result of her stewardship. Her pain is over and that at least has to be a blessing. I will be leaving for the funeral in South Carolina tomorrow.

Prayers and thoughts are always appreciated.

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