Monday, December 30, 2013

A Magic Fish

This short piece of fiction was inspired by a post Christmas trip to the mall, where I learned magic can occur in unexpected ways. Read about it (here).

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Did I Have A Stroke?

Sure, it’s funny now, but when it happened I was in a panic and wondering how I was going to deal with such a dramatic change in my life, a change that would undoubtedly effect everything I cared about. I also had to think about my wife and how this dreadful turn of events might affect our marriage. Check it out (here).


Friday, December 27, 2013

Brontosaurus Ribs

Years ago shortly after we were married Mrs. Chatterbox decided to roast our first prime rib for Christmas. A few days before the holiday we drove to the grocery store and studied the meat behind the counter while waiting for the butcher to call our number. I'll never forget what happened next. Check it out (here).

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Seasons Greetings. Check out Maxfield Parrish's wonderful painting (here).

Monday, December 23, 2013

Waiting For Santa

 This illustration was the companion piece to the Hanukkah picture I painted and posted the day after Thanksgiving. Both were commissioned for a greeting card company, but I can’t remember which one. Click (here) to see the entire illustration.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Santa Face-Off

Santa Claus is an integral part of our Holiday festivities but he has certainly changed over the years. The historical Saint Nicholas was a Greek bishop living in what is today Turkey. He loved children and often put coins in shoes left on stoops, and an interesting miracle is associated with him. Read about it (here).

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Well-Written Police Report

 I don’t normally post newspaper clippings but this one made me laugh out loud and I couldn’t resist sharing it. Check it out (here).


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Live Christmas Tree

Like many folks I’ve tangoed with the notion of buying a live tree for Christmas. Why kill a tree just to have it in your living room for a few weeks? In 1985 I decided it was time for a live tree, one I could plant in the backyard after the Holidays as a fond reminder of our boy’s fifth Christmas. The living tree I selected did serve as a reminder of that festive day, but not in the way I planned.Check it out (here).

Monday, December 16, 2013

Old Friends

I was hunting for an interesting illustration to post for Peculiar Pictures when these two paintings fell out of an old portfolio. They aren’t much, but they do bring back memories. These little pictures were painted in oil on scraps of canvas. They are small enough for me to place in my scanner without resorting to photography. Both are dated on the reverse—1966—back when I was fourteen years old. For better or worse, they are my oldest surviving paintings. Check them out (here).


Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Grand Tour

As many of you know, Mrs. Chatterbox works for the local police department. One of her tasks is to give tours of city hall, where our police department is housed. On Friday she hosted a Cub Scout tour of forty-eight second graders. These tours are extremely popular with youngsters. Check (here) for  some of the interesting questions asked by these kids. 


Friday, December 13, 2013

Goosie and Bonkers

 When CJ was five, I took him with me to pick up our dry cleaning. He asked if we could check out the pet store next door. He enjoyed being licked by puppies and kittens when he poked his little fingers into their cages, but the goldfish captured his attention most. Read (here) what happened when two unfortunate goldfish lived with us.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Panic

I prefer art that asks more questions than it answers. It’s unlikely this painting by Goya was intended for a client. It isn’t dated (most likely painted around 1809-12) and the title The Panic was ascribed long after the artist’s death. Goya left no notes or letters enlightening us as to the meaning of this painting, but check (here) to find an interesting clue as to what this painting means.


Monday, December 9, 2013

A Favorite Christmas Ornament

This is the time of year when boxes of Christmas tree trim are plucked from the garage, dusted off and brought inside. If you’re like me and have been married a long time, those boxes are sure to contain an interesting ornament or two, particularly if you have children or grandchildren. My favorite Christmas decoration was made by our son CJ when he was seven or eight. It wasn’t intended as a Christmas ornament. Check it out (here).

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Garbage Disaster

Friday we woke to snow here in Portland. The garbage can Mrs. C. had dragged down our long driveway to the curb the night before was shrouded beneath a layer of snow. Around eight a.m. I was enjoying a hot cup of coffee and admiring our partially decorated artificial tree when I heard the grinding gears of the garbage truck growing louder as it headed our way. I had an important item to add to the garbage can, but could I reach it in time? Check (here).


Friday, December 6, 2013

Holier Than Thou

My mother went to work in the Almadén bottling plant in Los Gatos, California, when I was eleven. This occurred at a time when my grandmother’s life was slowing down and she had little to do. I don’t know all the details, but Mom and Grandma made an arrangement for Grandma to do our laundry. I doubt Mom paid for this service; Grandma probably did it out of love and was happy to have something to keep her busy. But then one day Grandma did something that made Mom cry. Read about it (here).


Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Dave was the jeweler in the store I managed for six years. I spent hours watching him at his workbench as he set stones and made molds for custom rings and pendants. Dave didn’t talk much although he had a wicked sense of humor and a sideways glance that made it seem like he was privy to your darkest secrets. Check (here) to see my entire portrait of Dave. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Asking a Favor

 I don’t normally post on Tuesdays but I’m here to ask a favor. I’m trying to solidify my relationship with a site called Retirement and Good Living, a wonderful resource I hope you’ll check out. They just posted a piece of mine you might remember called, “What to Give an Eighty Year Old Man.” Few contributors receive comments and I’m trying to stack the deck in my favor. I’d appreciate it if you’d follow the link and leave a comment. Thanks for the help. Here's the link:

Chubby Chatterbox

Monday, December 2, 2013

Returning Freedom

 As most of you know, I was pet deprived as a child, only allowed small pets that could be flushed down the toilet when they died. As a married couple, Mrs. Chatterbox and I have owned several dogs over the years and I’ve noticed an interesting dynamic—the dogs Mrs. C. picks live with us for many years while the dogs I pick don’t seem to work out. The reason for this is obvious; as an artist I tend to rescue beautiful dogs while Mrs. C. looks for animals with wonderful personalities. She couldn’t care less what the dog looks like. But ten years ago when we were between dogs I foolishly inserted myself into the process by selecting an Australian shepherd named Freedom from our local animal shelter. He was the most beautiful dog I’d ever seen. Check (here) to find out what happened when we brought him home. 


Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Shallow End of the Pool

Around the time our son headed off to college I returned to something I was good at—overeating. I’d managed to keep the weight off most of my adult life, but now I returned to those bad eating habits that had made me such a porker as a kid. I was approaching fifty and my illustration career seemed to be winding down. I was extremely depressed. I could have turned to alcohol or drugs, but I’d lost the taste for booze and I didn’t know where to go for drugs. Mrs. Chatterbox had suffered from kidney stones in recent years and usually had a few Demerol tablets stashed away in case of an attack. I once took a few and hallucinated all night that I was on a roller-coaster with Oprah Winfrey. Following that night of horror I returned to what I knew best—drowning my sorrows in food.

Read (here) what happened next.