Archive for category Ordained

CAPTAIN JOHNNY SET SAIL……bagwan didn’t realize there was a test!

bartending-age-1The Bagwan who has set next to, broke bread with, showered with, or otherwise hung out with 48 celebrities during his career didn’t count Johnny in that group, but says he was far more interesting than Rita Moreno.  I thank the Bagged One for his contribution….enjoy

I hate summer, I really really hate it. I hate the heat, I hate watering my lawn, I hate paying a guy to cut my lawn and most of all I hate that it makes me lethargic.

Trust me; you don’t want to get a reputation for being lethargic.

Several years ago on August 15th I was having a drink at a bar here in town that was then called Legends. It has since been remodeled and changed its name but I still call it Legends — that’s the kind of thing that old people do.  Back in the old days there was a bartender there named Captain Johnny.

Let me tell you a little about the Captain before I get to the point of today’s lesson. He was born to some wealth and privilege during the 1920’s in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. His father was at the top level of the food chain at the Ford Motor Company. This afforded Johnny a life of country clubs, sail boats and dancing at debutante balls with Ford heiresses. It was apparently his skill with the boats that earned him his honorary rank.

But alas, nothing lasts forever and after enjoying the benefits of prep schools, an Ivy League education and rubbing elbows with swells Johnny was sent out to make a life of his own. He would have been an extraordinary dilettante, but that is a tough way to make a living. He bounced around Michigan quite a bit but couldn’t find his niche until he landed a job as a bartender.

In his new career Johnny met up with a fellow who was headed to Colorado with an adequate bankroll and a concept for a bar called the Colorado Mine Company. In the 1970’s we were inundated with “theme restaurants.” Off the top of my head I can remember the Cannery, Victoria Station, the Sawmill, the Lift and of course the Mormon Tabernacle Bar and Grille. The Mine Co. was a huge success in the 70’s and 80’s and Captain Johnny was the head bartender. The bar was always packed 2 or 3 deep and Johnny developed a unique way of dealing with the crowd. He would work from East to West and when he came to you and you hesitated, you lost your turn till his next cycle through.

Fast forward to the start of the new millennium and Johnny is still tending bar, but considerably slowed by the fact that he is well into his 70’s. Even though Legends isn’t nearly as busy as the Mine, he still works the bar from East to West. Now it doesn’t matter if you hesitate since Johnny moves so slowly he’ll still be there. Johnny is so slow that having him as your bartender is almost the same as joining AA.  Still the owners let him work two day shifts a week because he is considered a treasure given his rich history, sharp mind and penchant for storytelling and philosophizing.

Finally we get back to that August 15th I mentioned at the top. There were only two customers in the bar that day so I had a chance to visit with the Captain. Amongst other questions, I asked him if the 15th of August is the Ides of August same as the 15th is the Ides of March. Johnny knew for a fact that the Ides of August is the 13th. That’s the kind of conversation you had with Captain Johnny.

Suddenly it dawned on me that August 15th was available for a special designation. It was there and then that I asked Johnny if we couldn’t declare August 15 to be the last day of summer and he replied in his inimitable way, “Why not?”

Welcome to Fall everyone!!

Johnny’s gone now and I sure do miss him*

*just to be clear, the Captain is not dead, he’s just gone.



HISTORICAL UPDATE SINCE ENDING HIATUS……bagwan’s insight and perspective..oh my

The Bagwan has graciously consented to be featured on the next US First class Stamp and it is my unique honor to post this fairly reliable account of this our humble forum.  Enjoy….


mohandas_gandhiI don’t think Zuki did much to update the new developments which occurred during the hiatus of the Diatribe. I have reached the age where the past starts to blend together so I don’t really know how long we were on break. I do know that there were some significant changes for our cast of characters and fortunately I took notes.


JJ got a pedometer because he heard somewhere that 10,000 steps a day guarantees weight loss. He has kept to this regimen religiously and Zuki and I both commented that he was shrinking before our eyes. Unfortunately, this reduction in size was not weight loss. All the walking was just making him shorter.

Cush is a dedicated union member. He keeps a shrine to Jimmy Hoffa in his basement complete with a swatch from Jimmy’s underwear. During the down time Cush tried to join some more unions but he may have gone too far. One of his new unions was a civil union with a brother teamster.

Not surprising that Zuki tried multiple times to establish a meaningful relationship with members of the opposite sex. He really feels that he is destined to be in a committed relationship and I agree. The only thing holding him back is his inability to commit.

Let’s don’t forget all of Zuki’s fictional friends like fez and Gomez and Trixie. You might be happy to know that they did not cease to exist. In fact Zuki often has tea parties over at his apartment with them and their make believe cats.

I took the time to search for new, mind-expanding ideas. I read, I travelled, I sought out the intelligentsia. I think I finally found what I was looking for on ME TV — the old classic, F-Troop. I can already hear the chuckles out there from some of you wanna be sophisticates.

Combining historical accuracy with cutting edge satire, this thought provoking series delved into timeless and complex topics. The military-industrial complex is parodied with the cannon that always malfunctions. The Hekawi Indian tribe (they were originally supposed to be named the Fugawi Indians as in “we’re the Fugawi”) is clearly a metaphor for the Jewish merchant. The relationship between Wrangler Jane (played by Melody Patterson who was 16 at the time) and Captain Parmenter (played by Ken Berry who was 36) added a kinky sexual angle.

Not only were there thought provoking scripts but great acting by regulars stars such as Forrest Tucker and the Barrymore of his era, Larry Storch.  Only a show like F-Troop could have attracted guest stars like George Gobel and Zsa Zsa Gabor.

I have all 65 episodes on Betamax in case anyone is interested.

ZUKI FINDS ART AT TOAD TAVERN……unhappy owner cuts a new deal

Eureka!!__Good Morning Geriatric Meddlers,

Well another rotation has come and gone.  Given my current physical condition though, a couple of definitions for “Geriatric” come to mind.  They go a long way in describing how I feel…….and is listed below:

— adj

  1. of or relating to geriatric medicine or to older people
  2. offensive (of people or machines) old, obsolescent, worn out, or useless

With the exception of useless, and there are those who’d put me in that category out of hand, and they know who they are, but I’d like to think I’m capable of something on some level!  But as for the other definitions….I’ll let you decide.

I was graciously treated to my birthday debauchery facilitated by JJ (thanks JJ) with a visit to the ‘Toad Tavern’ aided by the hard driving blues artist Chris Duarte out of Austin, TX.  He’s produced a number of CD’s and songs so I figured it was going to be wall to wall ‘geezers’ but was pleasantly surprised to find a seat at the bar given our late arrival.

The music was good and the drinks were flowing; I even had a chance to step outside for a bit of ‘accoutrements’ suitable for the occasion!  Thankful for the self-medicated bliss I was able to ignore the arthritic knee and hip to enjoy some dancing.  I later discovered one of my partners was an owner. I guessed her to be in her early to mid ‘forties’ but dressed and wore her hair as if she was a character from “Mad Men” but seemed to be enjoying our banter.

Grabbing my hand she led me away from the bar and walked me to the very end of the pool table area facing the back wall where she had set up a gallery of drawings and prints from local artists.  She invited me to bring in a couple of my sculptures, but I explained I would need floor space which gave her pause.  But seconds later her eyes lit up and I could almost see the explanation point above her head!

Just before the corners met there was a small opening that I hadn’t noticed.  Shaped like a capital ‘L’ the hallway led to an office.  There was no door but the shape prevented anyone from seeing in until you actually entered the small office.  “We could put one of your pieces at the apex and one at the entry” she said excitedly then followed, “I’ll install just enough track lighting to illuminate them you’ll see…let’s try.”

If one sells their displayed work, the Toad will keep 30% which is what most galleries take, but I still think that’s gouging so we began to negotiate.  I immediately knew I had no chance as soon as she began to rub up against me pulling me in by my butt cheeks….Her tongue launched down my throat and things quickly became urgent.  Pushed against the modest desk I began to release her tits from their confines…. when right on cue both legs cramped straightening me up in pain.  She must have mistaken my screams of pain as pleasure as she intensified her efforts…because while tonging my ear she whispered “I’ll finish you of off for 40%”—then continued her ministrations with me hobbled in pain!

I admire those patrons supporting local artists and an extra 10% for art lovers is a small price to pay.



ZUKI GETS HARASSED BY JEWS…..where is mel brooks when you need him?

censorGood Morning Anti-Semites,

A few of you already knew this, but a year ago I was given the opportunity to have an exhibit of my art after a 34 year hiatus.  My eldest son Neil rekindled my interest in clay by giving me a Christmas present of a semester long beginning ‘Pottery’ class at our local community college.  I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed ceramic sculpture and at the end of the class rented a studio in the Denver Art District and have been active three years this past May.

During the month-long exhibition the gallery was contacted by the Center for Judaic Studies to complain about my show’s title.  This may be the finest strongly worded letter I’ve ever written:

Dear Center for Judaic Studies,

I have been a life time supporter of Israel.  The ongoing travails of defending its autonomy and right to exist is a compelling story particularly since Israel is surrounded by countries hell bent on their destruction.  Like most civilized people I too am confounded as to how the systematic murder of 6 million Jews could have been tolerated by the German people…but it was.

After a 34 year hiatus from art/sculpture my son Neil was able to persuade me to explore the idea of returning to it.  My children are grown and I now have more time to spend on my passion so I began again in earnest.  After two years of hard work and focus, I was invited to exhibit my work to which I excitedly agreed.  Last Friday I was in heaven…surrounded by my work talking about my imagery as well as its message.  Most audible comments were flattering or otherwise supportive.  That said I’m not naïve enough to believe everyone liked my efforts because that’s not how it works.

Earlier this week the gallery received a letter from one of your own, a Ms. Pessin.  In a letter I considered laden with mock sincerity, Pessin was troubled by my use of the word ‘Holocaust’ and wanted to have a dialog (mentioning it three or four times I might add) assuring us it was not to confront.  The censored title in question was “The Cactus Hill Holocaust…..Antiquity meets Monty Python.”  What a sinister title eh? Pessin and the cacophony of clucks that make up the center can stuff it in a sock!

I’m sure Pessin believed anti-Semitism was present.  According to Pessin by using the word ‘Holocaust’ I offended and sent Survivors of the Holocaust into a rage simply for my exhibit title.  In a knee jerk reaction (God forbid I offend the Jewish Community) I changed the title and removed Holocaust from it.  Having said this, I now regret that decision.

How does the mention of a single word evoke sleepless nights, depression, outrage, or fear?  I get pretty nervous by the word ‘Taxes’ but has yet to send me over the edge.  What puzzles me is Pessin felt compelled to contact the gallery and explain they’ve unwittingly supported an artist in offending ‘Survivors’ living in the Denver area, many of which are also patrons.  A thinly disguised threat to be sure.  She condescendingly offered to ‘educate’ me so this egregious act of insensitivity never happens again.  She got what she wanted for now, but because of her self-absorbed letter I’m now predisposed to do it again….but on a much grander scale.  For the two or three of you still following along here’s why…

Mel Brooks’ Opus “The Producers”……“Springtime for Hitler” one of the longest running Broadway plays ever–opened to mixed reviews by critics who mind you are paid to critique, but don’t remember hearing anything about the Survivors being traumatized by the mention of Hitler, author of The Holocaust.  Yet my use of the word offended the ‘Survivors?’ Your organization and Pessin in particular would censor my title choice without so much as viewing the work?  This is pure and simple demagoguery!  Does CJS honestly believe the Survivors OWN the word?  They must think so…but the English root for the word was established mid-13th century!  Throughout recorded history genocide of peoples of many races has been documented. I don’t need the ‘Survivors’ permission to use the word Holocaust!

Assuming Ms. Pessin’s is Jewish her intolerance toward free expression is sadly hypocritical.  The fact she’s an educator makes it even more disturbing.  Enlightened teachers understand the value of unencumbered expression and should cherish as well as promote it.  Stay tuned…..Holocaust III is coming to a gallery near you!



GRIZ FINALLY GOT WHAT HE WANTED…..twas folly but who knew?

john-lennon-nyc“They hurt you at home and they hit you at school,

They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool,

Till you’re so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules,

A working class hero is something to be…” John Lennon


Good Morning Strawberry Fields,

I’m convinced John Lennon was the target of bullies and much maligned by his mates during his formative years. Wikipedia says his mother and his Aunt Mimi raised him, while his father worked on a ship, leaving Julia (his mother) and little John alone for months at a time.  Between 1942 and 1944, John lived with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George, but continued to see his mother on a regular basis. Not much is known about what Julia was doing during that time, but in July of 1946, John’s father returned home and intended to take John to New Zealand to live with him. Julia was adamant that John was to stay in England so he was given the option of whom he wanted to stay with, and chose to stay with his mother (much like our associate).  John continued to live with his Aunt Mimi, without seeing his father the next 20 years. The rest of course is history.

Based on the lyrics, a “Working Class Hero” is not something I’d be interested in. That being said, it’s clear paying dues to be such is running rampant; particularly at Blondie’s.  This dubious title no doubt means something different to each person you ask. However, looking back at my association with this well intentioned man he actively sought as if running for office to be recognized as the local hero or ‘go-to guy.’

If you accepted his drink he’d sit at your table and regale you with his many experiences. Most of his stories were unfathomable to the morons spending half their paycheck at the bar, the other half in the casinos as they hung on his every word. His need for approval was constant so he lit from table to table offering his boundless knowledge to any poor schmuck willing to listen. Of course they listened…he bought them a round.

“Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV

And you think you’re so clever and classless and free

But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see

A working class hero is something to be”

Well it finally happened. I’ve predicted this for years but get no pleasure from reporting this sad series of events. Our associate finally advised the wrong person. The story was in last weekend’s Post!  This young man didn’t realize our associate was full of shit and only interested in being revered and not remotely concerned with his problems.  Evidently our associate advised this goober to quit his job. Changing tires according to our guru was beneath this young man’s dignity!  HE COULD DO MUCH BETTER!!  Our misguided friend told the young man to seek out a better opportunity because he was under achieving.  If only he applied himself there was nothing he couldn’t accomplish!  “Seize this opportunity and take the young family to higher ground” he screamed pounding his fist on the table.

The young man was so excited and motivated that without so much as an interview this schlemiel quit the next day.  He’d been working at what used to be Performance Tire for five years and received $15 an hour. With no other real skills he couldn’t find anyone that would start him out at that rate let alone more and within two weeks exhausted all his resources. Reluctantly he became the fries guy at McDonald’s.

Frustrated, his live-in girlfriend called him a loser and returned home to live with her parents; their small child in tow. This young man was not happy.

“When they’ve tortured and scared you for twenty odd years

Then they expect you to pick a career

When you can’t really function you’re so full of fear

A working class hero is something to be”

With his life in shambles the young man became desperate and bitter. Our boy convinced him he could do better, yet he found his experience to be hardly that.  Still dressed in his McDonald’s uniform he sat in his car waiting for our good friend to leave Blondie’s. The fifth of Jack Daniels nearly empty he followed our associate home and parked a few houses down to execute his plan. The revolver felt good in his hand as he checked the loaded clip for the fourth time.

“There’s room at the top they are telling you still

But first you must learn how to smile as you kill

If you want to be like the folks on the hill

A working class hero is something to be”

I’m writing this accounting having just returned from our associates closed casket funeral. It was all very sad. His wife of 30 years was inconsolable and had to be lead away by her son as they traveled to the cemetery. I decided I’d seen enough and headed for home. Our good friend always meant well, and ironically he finally attained the status he sought; he truly was the working class’s hero.