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Boak’s Bash In Easton, PA

January 8th, 2018 Jorma 23 comments
Frigid Friday Sunrise

Frigid Friday Sunrise

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Yet another sub freezing morning as Myron and I loaded up the Jeep to head to the State Theater in Easton, Pennsylvania to be part of Dick Boak’s retirement gala. Dick’s history with Martin Guitars is… well, legendary. Over a decade ago it was Dick who sat us down at the Pizza place across the street from the Martin factory and there on a table napkin the Jorma M-30 was born.

A star is born!

A star is born!

Foto by jorma Kaukonen

David Bromberg got me started with his fine Bromberg Model… and then it was my turn. Anyway, after who knows how many years Dick will move into Emeritus Status and on his way he put together an amazing night of music with a gaggle of his friends.

What a magnificent room!

What a magnificent room!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Hanging out in catering...

Hanging out in catering...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

With folks like NIck Forster and Lawrence Juber, Ernie Sites, Steve Miller, David Bromberg, John Mayer, Craig Thatcher and Trevor Gordon Hall it was a night filled with music and fellowship!

The old dog spins a yarn...

The old dog spins a yarn...

Foto by Phil Jacobs

I played Sleep Song and Living In The Moment and then called Craig Thatcher up for a duet on good Shepherd.

Old friends...

Old friends...

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Then David Bromberg joined me for Death Don’t Have No Mercy and Come Back Baby.

When we weren’t playing… it was a non stop hang!

Jorma, Nick and David

Jorma, Nick and David

Foto by Myron Hart

Ernie Sites, Steve Miller and Craig Thatcher

Ernie Sites, Lawrence Juber and Craig Thatcher

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

I got a chance to meet John Mayer. I felt like I knew a little about him from his reputation. Chatting with him for a while I found him to be a most genuine artist and a gentle soul!

New friends... always good.

New friends... always good.

Foto by Myron Hart

All in all… Happy retirement Dick… although the thought of you retiring from anything is utterly alien. Thanks for inviting me to your amazing party! I think you should retire every year… and always count me in!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts, Venues Tags:

2018… It’s Here At Last

January 1st, 2018 Jorma 32 comments
Every day is a gateway to tomorrow

Every day is a gateway to tomorrow

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Indeed every day is a gateway to tomorrow so why should the 31st day of the last month of one year be any more meaningful than the first day of the first month of the next year? I guess it makes it easier for us humans to make sense out of the otherwise stochastic movement of life. We could probably pick any moment for this to happen, but our long time relationship with the Gregorian Calendar gives us a sense of order we can all easily share. Every year seems tumultuous and 2017 was no more so than any other. Life, death and the passage of time are always with us.

Court Street in Athens, Ohio

Court Street in Athens, Ohio

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

The small towns in Ohio were dressed in seasonal finery. I have been home for this holiday season and this is so rare I have treasured every day. As Dorothy said in the Wizard Of Oz, there is no place like home!

The old A frame on a -2 degree day

The old A frame on a -2 degree day

Foto by Jorma & Vanessa Kaukonen

It was cold outside last night but warm in all our hearts as we visited Kevin Morgan and his wonderful family as we have for the last decade and a half. The kids are all growing up and we are all getting older and that is as it should be. Izze shamed us into staying there until the fireworks at midnight and it was more than all good. Our pal Grateful made a run to Michigan and got some industrial strength displays and the hills and hollers were bathed in sound and light. We didn’t get home until about 0100 or so which made it necessary for me to sleep in until 0700. That’s late for me when I’m home.

One of man's best friends... sleeps in too

One of man's best friends... sleeps in too

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

A fine way to start the New Year… Let’s make it a good one!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Chrismas 2017… A Little Whiteness…

December 25th, 2017 Jorma 18 comments
Not exactly a wonderland...

Not exactly a wonderland...

Foto by jorma Kaukonen

But all things considered, a bona fide winter morning!

Morning peeks through at the Ranch

Morning peeks through at the Ranch

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Time for a little minor snow removal…

The Workshop and Library by morning...

The Workshop and Library by morning...

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Very cold… but lovely!

And so came the dawn...

And so came the dawn...

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

It must be my ancestry. I love this weather!

A man and his leaf blower

A man and his leaf blower

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

The leaf blower before the shovel… makes life easier.

Some might complain about this weather, but not I. Every day is a day closer to Spring, but I’m enjoying this season as it comes!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

Looking Back… Looking Forward… 2017

December 22nd, 2017 Jorma 40 comments
Morning at the Ranch...

Morning at the Ranch...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Thoughts On Seventy Seven

Birthdays come like it or not and require some measured moments of reflection. For me they are a reminder that the present is not the end result of a life in which each day is like a drop of water… a Chinese water torture of time. As both my children have observed at some point in their young lives, the only constant is change. Nothing is ever one way, good or bad… it just is. I guess what has brought me this far has always been being able to make the most of any situation, self-inflicted or not. I don’t live in the past, but I do not run from memories. They, and the events that spawned them are what have made me… me.

Tonight Vanessa and I went to the memorial service of a friend of mine. We were really more of acquaintances but we liked each other so in the end, I guess that made us friends. I have been to a lot of memorial services here in Southeast Ohio over the last decade or so and since I live in a small, rural community I see the same faces. I see a friend who I almost only see at memorials. ‘We’ve got to stop meeting like this,’ I tell him. We both laugh and move on to extend our condolences to the family. ‘And so it goes,’ in Tralfamadore speak.

As for me, for some time my goal has been to see both my children as adults and to do this with Vanessa by my side. That is indeed the main course, and everything else is desert. I continue to be blessed and not for a moment do I take this life for granted. I am committed to making the most of each day. Whether at home or on the road, it is my duty to be always present.

Tomorrow I will go to the Lake Hope State Park and enjoy a steak dinner with friends and family overlooking the lake. Perhaps I will take my drone with me and take some aerial shots. Perhaps I will just enjoy the moment unencumbered by gadgets. In any case… so far so good. As some wag once said, ‘It will be the oldest I’ve ever been, and the youngest I’ll ever be.’

I’ll take it!

The end of the day...

The end of the day...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

It Was The Last Night Of…

December 20th, 2017 Jorma 16 comments

Hanukkah last night!

Beauty by the Shade River

Beauty by the Shade River

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

It was still in the high 40’s last night as the Kaukonen household celebrated the last night of Hanukkah. As the setting sun heralded the end of the Festival Of Lights we were able to spend a peaceful moment with the Menorah on the back porch overlooking the Shade River.

Zei gesundt… zei gesundt!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

There But For The Grace Of G_d…

November 16th, 2017 Jorma 10 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 29 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: