One of Life's Great Mysteries

December 8, 2017
There are many mysteries in the world: what happened to Amelia Earhart: how has the Loch Ness Monster remained hidden for so long; did D.B. Cooper survive jumping out of that plane? But I have a contender for the biggest mystery of all—women’s purses.
Reaching into them makes me quiver, like plunging my hand into a pumpkin. Mrs. Chatterbox will infrequently ask me to pluck something from her purse, ...

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Power of Music

December 6, 2017
Regular readers know that my grandfather played a significant role in my life, but until now I haven’t mentioned that Grandpa and his two older brothers were orphaned when Grandpa was five years old. They’d been living on Terceira, a poverty-stricken island in the Azores and no relatives had the resources to take in three hungry mouths.
One ...

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A Complicated Question

December 4, 2017
This week the Supreme Court is going to hear a case I have mixed feelings about. A gay couple is suing a baker for refusing to make a wedding cake. The baker claims he can refuse this couple on religious grounds because he and his church don’t support same-sex marriages.
It seems to me that baking, especially something as elaborate as a wedding cake, is an art. As an artist myself, I can’t imagine ...

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Peculiarities #8

December 1, 2017
My mother passed away on Christmas Eve last year and I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately.
Over the years, Mrs. Chatterbox and I struggled to find suitable gifts for my parents. Dad liked everything and was easy to please, but Mom was a challenge.
Forty years ago, Mrs. C. and I purchased an antique spinet desk and we needed a lamp to set on it. After a long search, we spotted a desk lamp in an ...

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Adding Insult to Injury

November 29, 2017
Many of us are aware of the significant role Navajo Americans played during World War II. U.S. forces were unable to create a code the Japanese couldn’t break, until someone had a brilliant idea— use Navajo, an oral language indecipherable by the Japanese, as a code.
This week, Donald Trump once again proved himself unfit for the presidency when he denigrated a U.S. senator with a racial slur during ...

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A Perfect Day

November 27, 2017
The Declaration of Independence codifies “the pursuit of happiness” as a right of all Americans, yet many of us don’t even know if we’re happy. Can we be happy and not know it? Is happiness something we have or lack? Does it drop on us like Newton’s apple or is it something that must be worked at, achieved?
There are many reasons we struggle with happiness. I think people are much ...

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Happy Thanksgiving

November 22, 2017
This was one of my first illustrations after opening my illustration business. I was happy to comply with the client’s desire for a Norman Rockwell “Thanksgiving” scene but I was disappointed when the clients (who I can’t remember) informed me they only had enough money to publish it in black and white. This is painted in acrylic on canvas. I really should colorize it, if ...

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November 20, 2017
Now that the temperature has dropped in Portland, I’m unable to paint in the garage. I could use a portable heater, but the light just isn’t good enough to paint by. When I was a kid I tried to paint indoors and when I took my work outside my colors were terrible, jaundiced and pasty. Besides, I don’t like leaving my RAV out in the snow and ice. I was feeling antsy ...

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Four Hundred Million and Change

November 17, 2017
By now most people have heard about the record breaking sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting Salvator Mundi (Latin for Savior of the World), which was recently hammered down at auction for $450,312,500, making it the most expensive work of art ever offered for sale. The previous record was held by Picasso, whose Women of Algiers smashed auction records a few years ago, selling ...

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Night Shift

November 15, 2017
Since returning from his honeymoon, our son CJ has been working the night shift at a nearby police department where, as a mechanic, he services police vehicles. This got me thinking about the only time I worked graveyard, back in the early 70s during a break from college. My mother worked at the Almaden bottling plant in Los Gatos, California, and she pulled a few strings to get me a job, just as she had for my older ...

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Sexual Tsunami

November 13, 2017
Because of all the salacious stories hitting the media, one might think humans discovered sex about a week and a half ago and it’s still something mysterious and uncontrollable. Many actors and politicians have been caught in scandals threatening to end their careers or worse—prompt criminal charges. It’s difficult to separate who’s actually been victimized from who’s seeking their fifteen ...

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