Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I Didn't Relish This One

I was excited when my agent informed me she’d landed us a plum assignment with Steinfeld’s Products. Steinfeld’s had been manufacturing pickles, sauerkrauts and relishes for over a century, and I was eager to work with them. Of course things seldom go as we might hope. Read about my assignment (here).

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Hoax

This might be the most self-serving post I’ve written. First a confession: I’m really stupid when it comes to math. Back in grade school I was already having trouble when the government forced “New Math” on us so we could compete with the Russians who’d just launched Sputnik, as if Russian children had anything to do with hurling a satellite into space. Check out my philosophy of Math (here).

Friday, July 25, 2014

Land of the Unknown

I’ve stopped watching the news at dinnertime because it’s too disturbing. Mrs. Chatterbox and I have been watching—please don’t judge us too harshly— Family Feud. A recent question asked was : Aside from their cars, what do men value most? The #1 answer was…their tools. Tools aren't my thing, but read what happened when I ventured into a hardware store (here).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Picture of the Week #2

Actually, it’s more like the picture of the month since it took that long to complete this painting. Hopefully, you’ve read my previous post so this picture, which I call The Little Sultan, will make sense. Check out the entire painting (here).

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sultan for a Day

     I wrote this post several years ago, shortly after Mrs. Chatterbox and I returned from Turkey. I’ve spent the last four weeks working on a painting based on this post. I’ll reveal my finished canvas on Wednesday. Read about the inspiration for this painting (here).

Friday, July 18, 2014


Clever was once used to describe someone who was brilliant, sharp and possessing quick intelligence, but lately it’s come to imply shallowness and superficiality. It is a mystery how “clever” managed to attain positive status in the first place, considering all Aesop did to disparage the idea.Read about it (here).


Wednesday, July 16, 2014


 Life had not treated Raju kindly. He’d been sold as a baby fifty years ago and since then his life had been a living hell. He’d been taunted, beaten, starved, forced to perform tricks and had been reduced to eating scraps thrown at him by tourists. You might have read about Raju recently. He’s become famous for doing something remarkable, something extremely common in humans but never before witnessed in an elephant. Read about it (here).


Monday, July 14, 2014

Cue the Cello Music

I was terrified long before the theater lights dimmed. It was July of 1975 and Mrs. Chatterbox and I, living in West Los Angeles, had come to see the movie Jaws. The theater was packed with enthusiastic movie-goers, here for 124 minutes of terror and gore. Read what happened (here).

Friday, July 11, 2014

Holier Than Thou

When traditional medicine didn't help with my pain I turned to an ancient form of healing. Check it out (here).

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I'm Not Proud of It

My streak of bad luck at winning contests started with, surprisingly, a win. It happened in the fourth grade when my entire grade school was herded into the all-purpose room for the annual end-of-the-year assembly. Read about it (here).


Monday, July 7, 2014

Ken Orrett's Magic Carpet Ride

When Ken Orrett entered our college classroom that first time I thought he looked like Santa Claus with a Bahamian tan. Jovial and bursting with knowledge, he was here to teach art history, a subject I knew very little about. He explained that, while he loved teaching art history, he was primarily an artist and had been painting for nearly forty years. But he had a secret. Read about it (here).

Friday, July 4, 2014

Eulogy for Pizza Oasis

I might not have survived owning a crumbling old house if it hadn't been for a special place with a magical hold over me. Read about it (here).

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

John Doe

It looks conventional enough, a wealthy older man in a posh setting, an expensive Japanese screen in the background and an antique leather chair beneath him. He is easy in his own skin as he faces the sunset of his life, a scarf around his throat and a jaunty handkerchief in the pocket of his coat. He isn’t one to suffer fools easily but he appears friendly and probably has a good sense of humor. Or does he? Check it out (here).