Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

One Man’s Opinion

June 23rd, 2015 Jorma 70 comments

One Man’s Opinion
Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Yeah buddy… lots of commentary action since I’ve been here I Hawaii. Interesting… very interesting. When I first stared my ‘blog,’ the term ‘blog’ didn’t even exist yet. Wow… what a forward thinker I am! Anyway, in the beginning not only did I not yet have the technical capacity to allow comments, I didn’t’ want to allow them anyway. I figured, ‘Hey, it’s my space… get your own.’ Hard facts over the years have proven to me that the only constant in this life is change and I have re-evaluated my opinion on a lot of things, and this is one of them. I have a comment section and y’all can say almost anything you like. By the way, you’re welcome. Anyway, as the comments descended into politics and social commentary, I thought I’d add my two cents worth. Hey, it’s my blog. I can say anything I want… well… almost.

Yo… we got Bernie Sanders and the Pope not only in the same comment but the same sentence. You got my attention. My wife loves the Pope. She thinks he’s a Rock Star, whatever that means. On many levels he seems more enlightened than some of his predecessors. Cool, if that’s the way you roll. I can’t tolerate dogma and I have no need for anyone on this earth to intercede on my behalf If I want to have a dialogue with G_d. Then there’s the ‘rock star’ thing. I hate that nomenclature. There are no ‘Rockstars!’ I have found a more than comfortable place in this world as a musician, storyteller and sometimes commentator. I am not a ‘Rockstar,’ and neither is anyone else.

Let’s move on… Bernie Sanders is probably a really nice guy. I have family members who think he’s the second coming of sliced bread. We try to avoid talking politics. It makes dinner more enjoyable.
Bernie is a self avowed Socialist. Sorry pal. That lets him out when I go to vote. Who am I going to vote for when the time comes? That’s none of your business. My Mom and Dad didn’t discuss that and my family doesn’t either.

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on
the support of Paul.
 George Bernard Shaw

Way to go George. I hear you brother.

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep
voting on what to have for dinner.
–James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

Even though Bernie’s metaphor of the American Problem being couched in the abundant selection of hygiene products in Wal-Mart and the like may be closer to the truth than we would like, I’m sure there is more to it than that.

In general, the art of government consists of taking as much
money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to
the other.
–Voltaire (1764)

By golly, there sure is nothing new under the sun, is there.

Now I see that Andriy got all fired up by Jim’s comment. Congratulations to you both. Welcome to America Andriy… as you have noted… we get to have these discussions in this country.

I am a second generation American. My Mom’ s folks came over from what was then Russia in the late 1800’s. Hey, my grandmother was sent to a Czarist Gulag… she escaped… found her brother and most of her family trampled to death by the hooves of Cossack horses. It is said that she and some of her friends committed acts of violent civil disobedience and then left Russia for America… where she and my grandfather had long and extremely interesting lives. My Dad’s folks escaped the dearth of work in Finland and went to the copper mine country of the UP in Michigan. Now… you history buffs will know there were Red Finns, Pink Finns and White Finns. Lot of cool history here… My family was not Communist or Socialist. That’s just how it was… just another American Story.

No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the
legislature is in session.
 Mark Twain (1866)

Like I said… yeah buddy! Anyway… I’m not going to engage in a political dialogue with anyone. That’s like trying to teach a pig to dance. It’s frustrating for you and it pisses off the pig. I’m just spewing here. In my line of work I have many colleagues who have quite different opinions than I do and that’s more than OK. We get to do that here in America. Try that in Afghanistan or Syria. Have a nice day.

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the
blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing
of misery.
 Winston Churchill

Wow… good thing I’m still sort of on East Coast time… I’m up early with nothing to do except blather on the internet. I’ve got a couple more quotes I like that I’m going to lay on you and them I’m going to do some exploring on this magnificent island… Hawaii.

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is
strong enough to take everything you have.
 Thomas Jefferson

Heads up folks. We’ve got another big election coming in 2016. It’s not even close yet and I’m already sick of political posturing. We need a hero or a heroine to rise up out of the forest. It ain’t Hillary Clinton, I can tell you that! As for politics in general… do I vote in all elections. You bet I do! As a student of American history, I find there is nothing… I said nothing, new under the sun. The bloviating, mendacity and mediocrity that surrounds the politics of all parties has been with us since time immemorial.

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of
Congress. But then I repeat myself.
 Mark Twain

OK… enough windbaggery from the old guitar picker. Well, almost enough…

Like I sort of said, I’ve had my chance to re-evaluate my opinion on a lot of things… and I’m not done yet. A quick revisiting of the Rock star thing. I know when the Jefferson Airplane hit it big I become a legend in my own mind and happily assumed the mantle of the Rock Star… which is why I know what a pile of poop it is. Sure, I know… when we’re selling merch we invoke the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee stuff… and that’s OK from my point of view. We’re working here. On the street, it’s ‘How’re you doing and how is the family?’

We’re all just folks here.

Wait a minute… another couple of good quotes popped up.

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor
people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
 Douglas Case, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University.

As you may have guessed, I’m really having a lot of fun with a really serious subject. I think that’s about it… It’s a beautiful day here on the big Island of Hawaii… I’m going to have some breakfast and hit the beach.

To my brothers and sister who read my stuff… enjoy this great day wherever you are.

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

80th Founders’ Day… Akron, Ohio… Wrap Up

June 14th, 2015 Jorma 10 comments

Alcoholism, takes no prisoners… destroys all in its path…

Well… I just spent a wonderful weekend in Akron, Ohio. Founders’ Day Weekend it was… the 80th Anniversary of AA. Jerry and Mutt and myself rode up from Southeast Ohio through the back country to Akron… Rubber City. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I had a flat in my front tire… had the bike trailered to Rubber City Harley Davidson where they fixed my bike on the spot. Nice customer service folks.

I missed the Men’s Meeting at St. Martha’s, but got out of the shop in time to meet the guys at Louie’s Bar And Grill for a delicious burger and some great fellowship!

Best burger in town... no kidding!

Best burger in town... no kidding!

After dinner, I got the guys to pose for a quick shot.

Hillbilly, Ross, Jerry, Mutt and Jim

Hillbilly, Ross, Jerry, Mutt and Jim

The weather this weekend could have been better, but that’s life on life’s terms. So be it… it was great to be there surrounded by like minded spirits on this contemplative weekend. We took some time to visit the Mt. Peace Cemetery and pay our respects at Dr. Bob’s grave. As always, I am reminded about the Four Absolutes:


Resting in simple peace... May their memory be a blessing!

Resting in simple peace... May their memory be a blessing!

Sunday our friend Maria met us at the hotel to ride with us in the motorcade to Dr. Bob’s grave. Not too long ago, one of Vanessa’s dear friends (like a brother) passed away suddenly. Steve Maskell… well, he was important to Nessa and her kin. He visited us here at Hillside Farm about a decade ago. He rode down from New England on his trusty Harley… stayed with us and rode in one of our Pick And Putt runs. He gave me this great Harley shirt that I’ve been wearing ever since.

Maria holds Steve's shirt

Maria holds Steve's shirt

Steve was in the program too and I wanted to wear the shirt in the Motorcade Run in his honor but it was just too rainy, hot and humid.

Here in spirit

Here in spirit

Foto by Maria

I thought about you brother Steve. You may be gone, but you are not forgotten. Fair winds and following seas!

Start your engines

Start your engines

“We are all travelers in this world. From the sweet grass to the packing house, birth till death, we travel between the eternities.”

I swim in memories… yet I do not live there. Life goes on, and I am grateful to be a part of it!

Jerry, Mutt and Jorma... the old boys!

Jerry, Mutt and Jorma... the old boys!

There were a lot of bikes there this morning. I have no actual count but I’m reckoning about several thousand. at the Mt. Peace Cemetery there was a wonderful communing… and a sense of serenity I cannot adequately describe. At the end of the service, Joey played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes.

Get your hanky

Get your hanky

After the run Jerry and I packed up and Maria made a delicious breakfast for the boys before we headed home.

This is what I'm talking about!

This is what I'm talking about!

Thanks Maria… Vanessa and Izze and I will feed you the next time you’re down our way!

There was rain as we headed out so I suited up. As we got further south, the weather cleared and it was back to jeans and a T-shirt. At home, everyone was in the pool so I parked my bike, got my bathing suit and jumped in.

Lovely… just lovely.

Nice way to end a perfect weekend.

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Second Day In Akron

June 13th, 2015 Jorma 2 comments

Just a short note and update… When I get home tomorrow I will write some more and post some pictures. Anyhoo… life is a serenity check at all times… Caught two great meetings earlier in the with high hopes for the Big Meeting in the Infocision Stadium at Akron University. Weather intervened and lightning cleared the stands. I waited for forty minutes or so and headed back to the hotel. I heard they finally let people back in the stands, but by that time I was back in the hotel. Oh me of little faith.

Tomorrow morning at 0600 we’ll be staging the motorcycles for the run to Dr. Bob’s Grave…

More on theat tomorrow. In the mean time, bonne nuit.


Categories: Diary, Thoughts, trips and journeys Tags:

80th Founders Day In Akron

June 12th, 2015 Jorma 4 comments

Founders Day… 2015
80th Anniversary

Friday, June 12, 2015

Well, if my Mom were still alive today… she would have been one hundred and five years old… may her memory be a blessing. As for me, I rode up from Pomeroy yesterday on my trusty Ultra Classic. We took almost seven hours to ride two hundred miles… back roads all the way, no interstates. Beautiful. Up in Akron we checked into the hotel and I took a short nap… wakening to a flat front tire on the scoot. Serenity check for sure. I called HOG roadside assistance and they sent a trailer for the bike and we drove over to Rubber City Harley over in Cuyahoga Falls. They checked things out and found a leaky valve stem. Nice.

I missed the men’s meeting at St. Martha’s, but I was out of the shop in time for a delicious hamburger with the boys at Louie’s Bar And Grill.

This morning we got some breakfast and rode over to Dr. Bob’s House. Ardmore St. is ancient brick and I hit a pothole that sheared of my jiffy stand spring. Miraculously, my pal Hillbilly was right there when it happened and he reached into his tool bag and lo and behold, he had a spare spring. Thanks brother.

It poured rain… we got wet… it stopped, we got dry… at and made it to the JAR at Akron University for the evening meeting. Good stuff… problems posed… problems surmounted… a good lead and now to bed.

I’m doing this on an iPad so pictures will have to wait until we get home.


Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

The Raccoon Lodge Hosts Us At Our Lady Of Perpetual Help

June 9th, 2015 Jorma 16 comments
Getting ready to ride out...

Getting ready to ride out...

Kind friends all gathered ’round, there’s something I would say:
That what brings us together here has blessed us all today.
Love has made a circle that holds us all inside;
Where strangers are as family, loneliness can’t hide.
You must give yourself to love if love is what you’re after;
Open up your heart to the tears and laughter,
And give yourself to love, give yourself to love.

Kate Wolf… Give Yourself To Love

Jerry, Izze, Dad and John get ready to leave the Ranch for Brooklyn

Jerry, Izze, Dad and John get ready to leave the Ranch for Brooklyn

Foto by Brett Thompson

Life is a funny old dog… and sometimes a busy one. Friday of last week, Vanessa, Izze, John Hurlbut, Jerry Sullivan, Myron Hart and I hopped into our rented van and set of for New York.

The girls en route...

The girls en route...

We had planned a surgical strike into the heart of Brooklyn where Barry Mitterhoff, Michael Falzarano and I were going to play a Marjorie Thompson fundraiser hosted by the Raccoon Lodge at Our Lady Of Perpetual Help. We were joined by some of Marjorie’s (and our) dear friends, Bob Doherty, Paul Karp and Greg Franklin who played a beautiful gaggle of songs to kick off the evening’s festivities.

Setting Bob, Paul, Greg and Barry up...

Setting Bob, Paul, Greg and Barry up...

We were all here to not only honor Marjorie’s lasting memory, but to also raise money and help publicize The Rapunzel Project. Check this out… We got a chance to meet the amazing women behind this great project and, thanks to our brothers and sister of the Raccoon Lodge, raise a nice sum of money for the cause.

Follow the yellow brick road... either way...

Follow the yellow brick road... either way...

My family rarely goes with me on the road, so to spend three days with friends and family in my world was a rare treat! Our hotel was right by the Brooklyn Bridge so I got a chance to walk across it for the first time. Imagine that… all the years coming to New York and I had never walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. Nice… very nice!

The Freedom Tower

The Freedom Tower

The girls discuss the cuisine...

The girls discuss the cuisine...

Two old birds waiting for the next big thing!

Two old birds waiting for the next big thing!

Foto by Izze Kaukonen

I have known the guys and gals of the Raccoon Lodge for quite a while… they love having a good time… and they love doing good works. People came from all over the United States for this show… bless them… but the sense I community I have always felt in Brooklyn was palpable. Saturday night we were all one.

The people came from all around... just to hear that crazy sound!

The people came from all around... just to hear that crazy sound!

Like a high school dance...

Like a high school dance...

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Here is our set list:

Jorma Kaukonen & Michael Falzarano
Featuring Barry Mitterhoff
Marjorie Thompson Memorial Fundraiser
The Rapunzel Project
Our Lady Of Perpetual Help
Brooklyn, New York
With Thanks To The Raccoon Lodge
June 6, 2015

First Set:
1. I See The Light
2. Hesitation Blues
3. Ain’t In No Hurry
4. The Other Side Of The Mountain
5. Walkin’ Blues
6. Where There’s Two There’s Trouble
7. In My Dreams
8. Candy Man
9. Barbeque King
10. I Know You Rider
Second Set:
1. Been So Long
2. Keep On Trucking Mama
3. Come Back Baby
4. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
5. Whining Boy Blues
6. How Long Blue
7. That’ll Never Happen No More
8. Good Shepherd
9. Bar Room Crystal Ball
10. Water Song
11. Encore 1: Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
12. Encore 2: Genesis

At this point in my life, people are passing at an ever increasing rate… and that’s just how it is. We hold them in our hearts and delight in the waves that they have made in the pond of life. Perhaps the ripples will subside in time… perhaps not. We shall see. As for Marjorie, her trials are over… but her memory will abide in my heart and in the hearts of her family and all who knew her. She would have loved the fundraiser, and she would have hated being lionized. That was her!

Our deepest collective gratitude to all those who made this event possible, including you all who came to Brooklyn from the corners of the earth.

Thanks all… deepest and profoundest thanks!

Love is born in fire; it’s planted like a seed.
Love can’t give you everything, but it gives you what you need.
And love comes when you’re ready, love comes when you’re afraid;
It’ll be your greatest teacher, the best friend you have made.
So give yourself to if love is what you’re after;
Open up your hearts to the tears and laughter,
And give yourself to love, give yourself to love.
Give Yourself To Love By Kate Wolf

The road home at Sideling Hill...

The road home at Sideling Hill...

Now That’s A Sunday!

May 31st, 2015 Jorma 6 comments
The Kaukonens get ready to head on out...

The Kaukonens get ready to head on out...

Foto by Selfie

Would it rain? Wouldn’t it rain? Hard to say. The chances were in our favor according to the weather… but the sky looked debatable. Heck with it. Let’s ride. Vanessa’s new bike has been waiting patiently for her since she bought it towards the end of last year.

Loafing at the old Cool Spot!

Loafing at the old Cool Spot!

Izze suited up, got her helmet on and climbed up on the old man’s bike.

Come on Dad, let's ride!

Come on Dad, let's ride!

What started out as a little get acquainted ride wound up with over fifty miles on the odometer. Beautiful.

Mother and daughter... happy!

Mother and daughter... happy!

After the ride, when we got back to Hillside Farm, hunger was striking… where to eat. We had just heard about The Wounded Goose in Bidwell, Ohio… about 17 miles away. Off we went and had a great ‘home cooked meal, away from home.

Some of the bill of fare...

Some of the bill of fare...

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

We then took the back roads home… taking note of the cool route so we might use it for Pick And Putt this year.

Even though it was pushing five when we got back, it was still warm and the swimming pool called our name.

Dad and Izze catch some air!

Dad and Izze catch some air!

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

A perfect Sunday for sure. Now for a relaxing evening so when I got to the dentist at 0815 tomorrow morning I’ll be strong and rested…

Good times…

What a great day!


Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

The Ongoing Aftermath Of Life

May 28th, 2015 Jorma 10 comments
Dawn Marie Reynolds

Dawn Marie Reynolds

This past Sunday, Memorial Day Weekend, my friend’s sister Dawn Marie Mingus-Reynolds was enjoying the day with family and friends. She went for a motorcycle ride as we all love to do down here in Southeast Ohio… and something terrible happened. There was an accident that no one has yet been able to explain and Dawn was killed. Vanessa and Izze and I went to her memorial yesterday in the little church in The Plains, Ohio and paid our respects to her memory and were able to give our condolences to her family.

We live in small town America, and whether or not we hang out together, we all know each other from somewhere. We are a community of family.

At my age it is easy to become reflective… sometimes more often than I would like. Life is so ephemeral… each day must be savored, each moment treasured. Even though I didn’t know her well, it would seem that Dawn lived this way. It is a good way.

She was an R.N. at the Athens Surgical Center. A scholarship for nurses is going to be set up and I will be talking about this as time goes on.

Rest in peace sister!

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Honor Memorial Day

May 25th, 2015 Jorma 1 comment
The honor is ever present!

The honor is ever present!

Nuff Said!

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A Remembrance And A Benefit For Marjorie Thompson’s Causes

May 20th, 2015 Jorma 9 comments

Saturday, June 6
Notre Dame Hall, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 529 60th Street, Brooklyn, NY
6:30 p.m. doors / 8:00 p.m. show
Marjorie Thompson leaves legacy of kindness and accomplishment. Join Jorma Kaukonen and Michael Falzarano as they perform under the moniker, Kaukarano with multi-instrumentalist Barry Mitterhoff in tribute to Marjorie. Proceeds from this benefit concert will be donated to two worthy cold cap organizations: The Rapunzel Project and Cold Caps Assistance Projects.

Take note folks… our dear friend Marjorie Thompson has been gone nigh unto eight months now… may her memory be a blessing! I could go on and on about Marjorie… she was a friend, a mentor to many, a sharing artist… music being her medium… a mensch to say the least! She faced her trials in life head on and on her own terms. She enjoyed life to the fullest and as much as she loved her music, her family was always the wind beneath her wings. The last thing she said to me was, ‘Jorma, I’ve had a good year!’

We would like to take an evening to celebrate her life and raise some money for the aforementioned projects that were dear to her heart.

Michael Falzarano and I have been friends both on and off stage since the 70’s. We have driven many a van together on the road… checked into many hotel rooms and played on many stages. Our duo incarnation took on a life of its own and became Kaukarano… We’re putting the band back together for this momentous gig at Our Lady Of Perpetual Help… to raise some money for the aforementioned good works. Michael takes a break from the New Riders Of The Purple Sage for this gig.

Barry Mitterhoff and I have been musical buds for thirteen years… He came on board after Blue Country Heart… and here he is again with us… pickin’ for Marjorie and her cause.

Opening the show with four songs will be a great bunch of guys I met at the Fur Peace Ranch with Marjorie over a decade and a half ago. Bob Doherty, Pete Stern, Paul Karp and Greg Franklin have been making music together since we all discovered each other at the Ranch. There will be a lot of love at this show… and a lot of great music.

Now her friends and family join together in song and music to carry on in her spirit. Through her example of generosity and hard work we can indeed help those suffering and improve their lives.
Thank you for your support…and for helping us keep this important mission alive in Marjorie’s honor.

Here are a couple of places tickets can be obtained:

This is going to be a lot of fun for a great cause in remembrance of a great lady and an outstanding human being.

By the bye… major kudos to the Raccoon Lodge for promoting this show. I have known you all for decades… you are always doing great things for your community. Thanks so much for spearheading this night for Marjorie’s causes. You’re the best!

Folks, we sure hope to see you all there on June 6, 2015!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts, Venues Tags:

Happiest Of Mother’s Day This May 10, 2015!

May 10th, 2015 Jorma 7 comments
Mother and daughter...

Mother and daughter...

Just a short note on this Mother’s day… There are a lot of Moms out there and we would all be nowhere without them. Vanessa, you rule! Izze and I honor you. For all the other Moms out there, this day (and all days) is for you. Enjoy what here in Southeast Ohio, is a beautiful… beautiful day!

Dads… pay attention!

Onward with love!

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