Archive for category Ordained

DAVID MIDDLEBROOK….some things never change

cactus_ladder_pool_bigAs a young aspiring clay artist David Middlebrook without much doubt was the biggest influence on me and how I wanted to be viewed.  His early ceramic sculptures blew me away.  His mastery of creating then assembling seemingly unrelated objects together to create his ensembles is genius!  Since returning to art from an extended hiatus (33 years) I once again sought to see what Mr. Middlebrook has been up to.  I was both saddened and excited to see the direction he took shortly after receiving my MFA in 1980 and subsequently crushed by the market place.  I was Saddened because he’s moved from clay as his primary medium.  Evidently he felt clay was too limiting and lost patience with its innate flaws switching to stone and other traditional mediums for his sculptures, but excited because much of his work is conceptually the same.  I took the following from his webpage bio:

“As a master of ceramics and all its applications, for years David had struggled with the instability of this material and found many of its characteristics to be limiting. In 1983 he traveled to Northern Italy and discovered stone and it changed his approach to art forever. Since that trip, he has maintained a professional relationship with a studio in Pietrasanta, Italy. The availability of virtually every stone in the world, a thousand years of experience and tradition in stone and their specialized technology to fabricate make this Italian resource an invaluable asset. In addition to the 2 trips he makes to Italy each year, David maintains his status as Associate Director of Fine Arts at SJSU, which affords him the use of the university foundry for his bronze work.”lunchbox_duckpot_big

As you can see by his new to me look, his skills are best suited to stone and has lost nothing.  One can only hope to attain the level of creativity and execution David Middlebrook brings to his work.  If you’re a young ceramist or sculptor you should spend some time on his web pages.



“I am not a crook”

With all the sports over the weekend it occurred to me that the Diatribe needs a Sports Section suitable for bathroom reading. In fact maybe what we need are all the various sections one would find in a newspaper — like sports, business, opinion, entertainment, lifestyle, etc. I have named myself the new Sports Editor and I am actively seeking candidates to head some of the other departments. I didn’t consult Zuki on this as he doesn’t like to be bothered on the weekends when he is working on his pottery.

Some of you may wonder what qualifications I have to put together this newspaper-like entity. Well I would tell you that I have read two books about famous newspaper guys. One was about this fellow who was the long time managing editor of the New York Times. I don’t remember much about the book including the fellow’s name, but I may have subliminally retained some of the content. The other book was by and about Ben Bradlee, former executive editor of the Washington Post. What I remember about that book is that Bradlee may be the most self-important person on the planet.

He derives this self-importance, at least in part, because he has spent a lifetime rubbing elbows with the famous, the rich and the powerful. But his opinion of himself goes over the top when he starts patting himself on the back for deciding to go with the Watergate story by Woodward and Bernstein. He is convinced he changed the course of history. When you boil it down, I think all he really did was give us additional evidence that Richard Nixon was dishonest. My own father was active in California politics in the 1930’s and 40’s, which is where Nixon got his start. He mentioned this whole dishonest thing to me when I was a mere lad and Nixon was running for President in 1960 — or about 11 years before Ben “broke” the story.

I would contend that Woodward and Bernstein ruined journalism the way Michael Jordan ruined the NBA. Their fame and success spawned a whole generation of “gotcha journalists” who wanted to be like Bob and Carl. Maybe they could also bring down a President, or at least a county commissioner, and then write a book about it followed by a movie where they are played by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.

Mentioning Dustin Hoffman reminds me of a story I heard about him (we’ll get back to sports in a minute). Elmore Leonard tells the story of how Dustin Hoffman was the inspiration for Leonard’s book Get Shorty which was also made into a movie. In the movie Gene Hackman and John Travolta are trying to get a successful actor (Danny Devito) to play the lead in a film they were producing. It was Leonard’s two year adventure of pursuing Hoffman to play a part that led him to create Devito’s character of Martin Weir, who Leonard portrayed as a short, pompous, little twit.

I may have gotten a little off track, but we are finally at the point where we can introduce “Sports at the Diatribe.” With me as your Sports Editor I promise this will be your new one-stop, go-to sports authority with all the latest news, scores and analysis.

Here we go with the first installment:



The Broncos lost to the Texans




This makes me feel sad. I guess that is really more like psycho-analysis, but I wanted to share my feelings.


We’ll try to flesh this out a little more in the future once I get my staff in place.


BAGWAN EXPLORES BEING ‘OLDER’….zuki invests in catheters

Morning Constitution

In marketing, demographics are used to target people based on things like age, gender, income level, race and ethnicity. As we get older we get targeted less and less. In fact when you look up target markets for TV advertisers the last age mentioned is 55. After that everything is lumped into the catch- all phrase “and older.” Well that’s what it has come to; JJ, Zuki and I are simply known as “and older.”

Now we haven’t been completely eliminated as targets. For example there are some TV stations I watch which show reruns of the original Perry Mason, The Untouchables, Mission Impossible and my favorite Highway Patrol starring Broderick Crawford. Based on at least some of the commercials, I can tell that I am part of their target audience.

These stations have lots of ads for reverse mortgages. You have to be at least 62 to do a reverse mortgage, so I’m in. You also get a clue who they are targeting by the actors they picked to be spokesmen. One is Henry Winkler who has traded in the size 30 blue jeans he wore as the Fonz for what appear to be a pair of size 40 Sansabelt gabardines. The other one is Robert Wagner who has now reached that age where he looks like a Wax Museum version of himself.

Golf hasn’t given up on us old guys either. You can’t watch a golf tournament without catching a least a half-dozen Cialis commercials. They have these older attractive couples who somehow in the course of a normal day suddenly get the urge to … well you know. The truth is that if they really were long-married couples then their sex lives would probably have been reduced to hallway sex. For those of you who don’t know, that is where they pass each other in the hallway on their way to their separate bedrooms and the husband says “fuck you” and the wife replies, “No fuck YOU!!”

There are also a few ads which are aimed at people even older then JJ (the oldest living member of our group, assuming Jerry has passed). The Hoveround and the Acorn Stair lift are two pieces of equipment which are still in our future. Or how about Alex Trebek pitching life insurance available to those up to the age of 85 — what does that actuarial table look like?

Another group of advertisers I see frequently are those ambulance chasing lawyers.  That makes sense, since they don’t care about your age, just your affliction. There is one personal injury lawyer who has caught my attention by claiming his major qualification is the fact that he was injured in a car accident too. If you follow that logic just imagine who you would hire to defend you in a murder or rape case?

A lot of the lawyer ads are for lawsuits about medication and medical procedures. The one that has me the most confused is the one about trans-vaginal mesh. I am familiar with the vagina, but not so much with the mesh. I keep getting this image of when we hung mesh from the ceiling of the gym at the high school to create indoor batting cages, but this can’t be the same thing. I don’t think vaginas even have ceilings, do they? Well in any case, based on how often these ads run, I think it is safe to say we have a major trans-vaginal mesh mess out there.

This talk about aging plus the recent passing of Zuki’s dad got me to thinking about death. I remember 8 years ago when my parents died just 90 days apart, one of my thoughts was that I had moved to the head of the line. I was fortunate enough to have known my great-grandparents and my grandparents. Then with the passage of time each generation ahead of me was gone. Just like that line at the DMV which seems endless when you get there, eventually you do get to the counter.

I guess my only wish would be that I would like to die peacefully in my sleep just like my grandfather and not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.



Art and Zuki

When in the scheme of “Life’s rich pageant” sometimes it’s difficult to understand why things happen and what we’re supposed to take from it.  Some would say, “Don’t worry about it—“what’s to be will be.”  Others would seek to find deep meaningful signs, while still others pass it off as indigestion!  With my father passing this week I’ve been trying to make sense of it, but have only managed to pose more questions.

I’ve decided to let sleeping dogs lie as it were and revel in the many pleasant memories of Ol’ Dad.  They far outweigh the few negative memories I seemed to focus on not taking into consideration he was also a human being subject to the same frailties we all are.  Few if any, leave this world unscarred. I thought about doing a fully detailed posting of my family’s collective memories, but thought better of it as death is and should remain a very personal “passage” into the next phase of L.R.P. whatever it may be. Having said this though, I don’t know if it’s possible to be completely unaffected by these things.  Somewhere along the way the emotional drama followed by inner peace and calm runs the gambit of multiple actualizations; not all of them good.

Outside of Margo, death still remains a mystery to a great many of us.  This is no doubt why there’s a zillion belief systems floating around adding hundreds more with each passing generation.  I really don’t know how it all works after the last breath is taken, and have come to the point in my remaining days on this rock where I envy those that are convinced they’ve solved the mystery.  You can spin it any way you like, but it’s “one less thing.”

Dad’s funeral will be this coming Thursday.  I plan to return to Denver on Friday.  From that point forward there’ll be a small void in my life to compensate for. I know I’m not the first person to lose a parent and now share that experience with countless others.  I think the difference is what one takes from it.  Some become forever embittered, some don’t care, while others never get over it; depressed beyond help.

The crucible of this experience burns away the bullshit, leaving one’s perceptions naked, exposed for all to see. My Father was a good and decent man, and don’t remember a single act of hypocrisy from him.  He has set the bar for me and my family pretty damn high. I’d consider my life a success if I got close enough to touch it.


MY FATHER IS LEAVING THIS ROCK….zuki sings “ol man river”

Good Morning Replicants,

I don’t remember much of my early childhood.  Most of it is filled with snippets and images of events or activities mostly managed by my parents.  This posting is mostly about my Father who as of this writing is on his deathbed.  No need for comments, remarks, or even well wishing as it’s all part of life’s rich pageant.  I’ll be leaving this afternoon on a Frontier flight for Salt Lake City in hopes of saying goodbye before my old man sheds his mortal coil and leaps from this rock.

I forget the proper medical term, but essentially fluids are building up around his heart exacerbating his already severe case of Pneumonia!  I spoke with my Brother and he was emotionally spent.  It’s clear the old man is cognizant of his surroundings and anxious to speak, but it’s so hard to breathe he labors to the point of exhaustion!  I have a zillion things to say, but it would probably kill him!

To be brutally honest, I had a difficult time putting an arm around my father to tell him I loved him.  It just wasn’t in me.  It’s only been in the last 20 years we’ve been able to exchange pleasantries like the weather, golf, or the Utah Jazz.  We’ve never spoken to each other beyond that until a few years ago when he expressed his concern for my inevitable trip to hell.  I know he meant well.

After his time in Italy while serving in WWII, he returned home a bit of a hellion and secured an “Indian Blackhawk.”   Much to the chagrin of my grandparents, he was never around; always tinkering or riding his beloved Blackhawk.   On a clear but at dusk evening some asshole veered into my father’s lane causing  him to lay his bike down entangling himself in a barbed wire fence parallel to the road.  He lost the sight in one eye and was in critical condition.   He survived this trauma and regained consciousness feeling God had intervened to save his life.  He gave up what vices I’m aware of and clasped to the “Iron Rod.”

Like me, he was raised in a strict Mormon environment.  I have to think this is a unique enough religion that most folks are unable to digest it objectively.  But the infusion of this dogma 24/7 manifests itself in odd ways.  One of my favorite memories was of him in full mock sincerity singing “Ol Man River” from the musical Show Boat.  Annually we give tribute to him by making him suffer through our (siblings) rendition.

Art would easily revel in his WWII experiences proudly accepting praise for keeping B-17’s belly gun turrets combat worthy; spinning and in fabulous working order, never disappointing ‘Flight Command’   I’m almost certain Joseph Heller’s Catch 22’s Captain Yossarian would have hated my ole’ man.  His loss!!

I never knew we were poor.  I was aware of dad working full time during the day but remember being perplexed by his absence at night.  I vaguely remember my mother making soap in the kitchen.  He eventually bagged a college degree as a Manufacturing Engineer but never understood until years later how it benefited me.  A couple years ago the family chipped in to convert old 8 MM film of family events into DVD’s.  Pictures of my sisters in an old bathtub; 40% of the tiles missing revealed their struggle with money.  That said it had nary an effect on our collective bliss!  We were loved!