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Down The Road To The Old Farm

March 17th, 2018 Jorma 44 comments

It is Saturday here at the homestead and as winter begins to wave a frigid farewell there were icy tendrils of rain clattering on the roof. We got a call from the folks who bought Hillside farm from us two years ago. They were taking out some ornamental grass we planted over ten years ago and wondered if we wanted the plants. ‘Of course,’ I said. ‘I’ll be right over.’ I fired up my pickup and headed down Rt. 33 to Kingsbury Rd. It’s been quite a while since I had driven on Kingsbury Rd. and longer still since I had been up that dirt road to the old homeplace. As I was driving on Kingsbury I crossed the little Shade River and there on my right was the Carlton Church and Cemetery. We shot the cover to my Stars In My Crown CD in 2006 up there by the cemetery. I have history on this road. When I came to Southeast Ohio almost thirty years ago I knew almost no one. Today I there are people buried in the Carlton Cemetery I knew… and that is how it goes.

Up at old Hillside Farm we loaded the root balls in the back of my truck. ‘Would you like to look around?’ I was asked. That I would, and that I did. Near the hemlock tree by the side of the old house so many of our four footed friends rest. I took the stone with me when we moved… but our friends will rest there until they are only dust.

The Hemlock
July 6, 2003

In our garden there are four dogs
How does this garden grows
There’s Marlo, Glory, Vin and Zoe
We loved them all, God knows

The hemlock branches shade their rest
For this and time to come
The Door Of Summer’s opened wide
So they can play and run

They say no heaven can heaven be
If my dog’s not there to welcome me
I know this saying makes some sense
In Heaven’s realm there’ll be no fence.

And when my life comes to an end
On the other side, I’ll be with friends

I got to thinking about when the Bull Terrier clan went to rest and I was reminded of the Derek Walcott poem a friend sent me about Oddjob, a Bull Terrier

The silence
is stronger than thunder,
we are stricken dumb and deep
as the animals who never utter love
as we do, except
it becomes unutterable
and must be said,
in a whimper,
in tears,
in the drizzle that comes to our eyes
not uttering the loved thing’s name,
the silence of the dead,
the silence of the deepest buried love is
the one silence,
and whether we bear it for beast,
for child, for woman, or friend,
it is the one love, it is the same,
and it is blest
deepest by loss
it is blest, it is blest.

As time went by we lost cats, and more dogs and if there is ever a second coming, a lot of our four footed family will rise from that yard on Kingsbury Rd.

On The Grassy Hill

On the grassy hill in my backyard
Two of my best friends lived and played… Hazel and Nana
Occasionally, Napoleon… the littlest friend from the house would join them and
They would sit together as friends are wont to do
And regard the Universe with quiet love

They filled it with that powerfully gentle compassion
That only true friends can muster
They barked at the wind in the trees as it gently came
Down off the hill to visit them in their world
Which in it’s own way was more complete
Than the world of humans could ever be

Our time moves fast enough and theirs faster still
We must chase them through the stars to try to learn
To love as magnificently as they do in their natural state of
Perfect Grace.

Hazel is her name and I say is because she will always live in my heart
And in that place is more than enough room
For them all…
Those who have gone before are as present to me today
As they were when as puppies they took their first stumbling steps before my amazed and wondering eyes

In her life she has travelled almost the full measure of two decades closing in on the last quarter of the second
G_d has indeed bestowed yet one more blessed gift of love upon us
Would that I were home join Vanessa on that last walk yet I can see it in my minds eye.
Run free pretty girl, run free
You filled our world with love
Your Door Into Summer is open
Run free!

… and now on the grassy hill there is only Nana

And then Nana was gone… and then we moved… and life will continue until it doesn’t, and that too, is as it should be. I think of a song I wrote in 2003.

Blue skies in the afternoon
Breeze it starts to still
Two dogs sleeping, in the sun
They lie upon that grassy hill
At such a time, you think you’d find
The way to show your heart
But though you’re reaching, for her hand
Still you walk apart

The dogs have passed through their Door Into Summer and the hill no longer belongs to us. As a pilgrim on the road of life I know I am not alone.

It is a good day to be with family!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Prayers For Pomeroy As Jorma Travels On

February 19th, 2018 Jorma 35 comments

I’ve been out on this road trip for a week now. A week is not so long but for some reason this one seems like a lifetime. Back home, the vicissitudes of winter have been vicious this year. Normally we’re just about mud and wintry mix. The worst that usually happens is mud in the yard and a dirty vehicle. This year, however, there’s been sub zero temperatures, lots of snow and ice and even more snow days at the Middle School than our daughter would like… and then it started to rain… and rain, and rain and rain. Anywhere one lives in the good old U. S. of A. you are burdened by some sort of local natural disaster. With the ongoing climate change we have had more tornadoes than ever before. One hit the Ranch a year ago February and did what tornadoes do… destroy lots of stuff. Over the year the natural disaster that dwells with us has always been floods. Pomeroy, this little town where our Zip Code resides is right on the Ohio River and is no stranger to floods. Pomeroy has had a love/hate relationship with the Ohio River since 1804. The river has been a commercial thoroughfare since the French and Indian Wars. I’ve heard people who live in safe havens where nothing worse happens than a missed day of trash collection look down on folks who live in disaster areas and won’t move. These are our homes, and anything worth having is work fighting for.

WSAZ Pomeroy News.

The Ranch is on the top of a hill and tornadoes hit us, but the flood does not. The fields below our property are now a sea of muddy waters. It has happened before, and it will happen again. I heard the the Ohio River will crest later today 50 above flood stage. We know when these things will happen as the Army Corps Of Engineers has to open the flood gates in the dams periodically to release some of the pressure. I am thinking of my friends and neighbors at home and pray for their safety and well being.

I was reminded by a friend who lives in Houston that after the hurricane and flooding they experienced there were email posts from mutual acquaintances in California who claimed that Houston residents deserved this because Trump got elected. As my father would say, ‘Why are there so many more horses asses than there are horses?’

Nuff said on that for now.

And so it begins with a nap

And so it begins with a nap

Foto by Myron Hart

On this trip there are only three of us on the bus. Myself, Myron my tech and Phil my tour manager. The bus company was out of band busses so I got what the call a Star Coach which has a stateroom in the back. Never had one before… kind of cool. All that being said, and mind you I’m not complaining about my gig… I’m beyond being blessed… still and all… it’s still work. At my age I am well aware that the day of the superstar is over. I used to take my physical abilities for granted… not any more. Every show requires a level of preparation that would have been unheard of in my youth. That’s just how it is, and because I can still do what I need to do to maintain the level of performance I require… it’s all good. I’m reminded of my Uncle Art, may he rest in peace. After my father passed in 1997, his cousin Art would call me once a year around Christmas because he liked calling someone named Jorma. He would speak to me in Finnish and laugh when I couldn’t understand him. He would switch to English and we would talk and talk. When I would play the Iron Horse in Northampton he would sometimes come with his kids and grand kids and we would share family. I remember one of our last phone calls. ‘Hello Jorma,’ he would say. We would exchange pleasantries and then at the end of the conversation he said, ‘One of these days these call will stop, so I will say hello and goodbye now.’ Indeed, one of those days the calls stopped and he was gone… the last goodbyes said.

So I’m working here and I love my job, of course. I missed my daughter’s first dance in middle school. I did get to see quite a few of her volley ball games, but I will miss most of her track and field. Like they say in the movies, ‘This is the life I have chosen.’ That’s the deal. It ain’t all beer and skittle, but then what is?

Space, the final frontier

Space, the final frontier

Foto by Phil Jacobs

So the first gig was at Space in Evanston, Illinois. I love this place… a sold out show and good food!

Jorma Kaukonen 1, 2018
Jorma Solo
Space
Evanston, Illinois
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

First Set:
1. Ain’t In No Hurry
2. Second Chances
3. Hesitation Blues
4. I See The Light
5. Barbeque King
6. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
7. Hear Temporary
8. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
9. Sea Child
10. Watch The North Wind Rise
11. Death Don’t have No Mercy
12. San Francisco Bay Blues
Second Set:
1. The Terrible Operation
2. How Long Blues
3. Serpent Of Dreams
4. Candy Man
5. Things That Might Have Been
6. Come Back Baby
7. Trouble In Mind
8. Living In The Moment
9. Sleep Song
10. Good Shepherd
11. I Am The Light Of This World
12. Dime For Beer
13. Keep On Trucking Mama
14. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
15. Encore: Water Song

Hanging in Space

Hanging in Space

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Space is really a delightful venue. Great folks, great food… and great sound.

Green room sights...

Green room sights...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Then after show an overnight drive to Minneapolis and the Cedar Cultural Center

Where the Patriots ate bitter rice...

Where the Patriots ate bitter rice...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Our hotel was right by the stadium which was kind of cool since I just watched the game.

Cedar Marquee

Cedar Marquee

Foto by Phil Jacobs

I’ve been coming to the Cedar Cultural Center for a long time… and I’m very fond of it and the folks who run it… Before the show we had some of the tastiest and different Indian food I’d ever had.

Malabari... don't miss it.

Malabari... don't miss it.

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Jorma Kaukonen 2, 2018
Jorma Solo
The Cedar Cultural Center
Minneapolis, Minnesota
February 14, 2018

First Set:
1. Dime For Beer
2. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
3. I See The Light
4. There’s A Bright Side Somewhere
5. Waiting For A Train
6. Barbeque King
7. How Long Blues
8. Sleep Song
9. Watch The North Wind Rise
10. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
11. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
12. San Francisco Bay Blues

Second Set:
1. Ain’t In No Hurry
2. Hesitation Blues
3. Too Many Years
4. Serpent Of Dreams
5. Been So Long
6. Re-Enlistment Blues
7. Come Back Baby
8. Sea Child
9. Trial by Fire
10. Good Shepherd
11. Bar Room Crystal Ball
12. I Know You Rider
13. Encore: Water Song

The next day we drove on down to Stoughton, Wisconsin and the Opera House. This is another of those truly great venues and the folks in Stoughton are so lucky to have it!

Nice Marquee Poster

Nice Marquee Poster

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Another great vintage ceiling

Another great vintage ceiling

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Jorma Kaukonen 3, 2018
Jorma Solo
The Stoughton Opera House
Stoughton, Wisconsin
February 15, 2018

First Set:
1. Ain’t In No Hurry
2. Second Chances
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Been So Long
5. Barbeque King
6. River Of Time
7. I Am The Light Of This World
8. Sea Child
9. Trial By Fire
10. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
11. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
12. Trouble In Mind
Second Set:
1. Candy Man
2. Serpent Of Dreams
3. Things That Might Have Been
4. Nobody Knows You when You’re Down & Out
5. How Long Blues
6. Mama Let Me Lay It On You
7. Whining Boy Blues
8. Come Back Baby
9. Sleep Song
10. Watch The North Wind Rise
11. Good Shepherd
12. The Terrible Operation
13. Bar Room Crystal Ball
14. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
15. Encore: Water Song

Go towards the light

Go towards the light

Foto by Phil Jacobs

It’s nights like this that make it all worthwhile.

One great room!

One great room!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Then is was an early call and off to Kansas City, Missouri to the Folk Alliance International. I had a short showcase on Saturday night, but there was lots of press, hanging and lip flapping.

Taking the shine off the forehead

Taking the shine off the forehead

I ran into some of my favorite people.

Me and Mary Gauthier

Me and Mary Gauthier

Foto by Phil Jacobs

I got to hang with Dar Williams, Gretchen Peters, Barry Walsh, Hans Theessnik and lots more. It was great!

Late night short program

Late night short program

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Jorma Kaukonen 4, 2018
Folk Alliance International
Kansas City, Mo.
February 17, 2018

1. Ain’t In No Hurry
2. That’ll Never Happen No More
3. Barbeque King
4. Sleep Song
5. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
6. San Francisco Bay Blues

After my little gig, I got to hear Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley. Good stuff… very good!

Me, Trey and Rob

Me, Trey and Rob

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Then the magic of the International was over and we began our drive to Denver.

The Colonial on I-70 in Oakley, Kansas

The Colonial on I-70 in Oakley, Kansas

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

We stopped in Oakley for lunch. Oakley used to be the home of the World’s Largest Prairie Dog and the Rattlesnake Farm with the giant rabbits and the six legged cow. These tidbits of Roadside Americana were gone, sad to say.

The only snakes here are now living free.

The only snakes here are now living free.

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

I love Roadside Americana… progress is a two edged sword.

This evening here in Denver I’ll be playing a sold out show at the L-2 church and then on to Santa Fe.

I’ve gone on long enough here… Onward.

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 33 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 17 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.

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