Blog Archive

09/2012

Peculiar Picture #13

September 02, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Some of my new followers might not be familiar with a Chubby Chatterbox feature called Peculiar Pictures. I was a professional illustrator for many years and much of my work was done on spec or for my own amusement. I have a file cabinet of “peculiar pictures” that have yet to sell. Many of these images just popped out of my head, like this one showing me in an uncharacteristically surreal mood. Like you, I can only guess what it means.   I often receive comments from followers saying they don’t know much about art and they don’t want to say something foolish. Trust me; you can’t say anything foolish. There isn’t a correct answer, but you just might provide me with a way to market this image. Do yo ...

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History And Other Lies

September 03, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Last week while on vacation I managed to catch a bit of the Republican Convention. Whenever I tuned in, a speaker was describing the virtues of the greatest man in the history of our country. They weren’t talking about their nominee; they were invoking the memory of Ronald Reagan. As I listened I wondered, Who are you talking about? The Reagan being deified didn’t resemble the president I voted for back in the ‘80s. Reagan’s record was being completely distorted to make the late president more palatable to today’s über conservative Republicans. Gone were the Great Communicator’s brilliance at compromise and his pragmatic tax increases. I scarcely knew the man they were extolling. Where did the Republ ...

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Crazy Horse Update

September 05, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
For years I’ve been following the progress of the Crazy Horse Memorial, the world's largest sculpture, now in progress, located just 17 miles southwest of Mount Rushmore. I want to share a few pictures for those of you who are unfamiliar with this project or haven’t followed its progress recently. Monuments like Mount Rushmore contain images carved into a mountain, but this is the first time the dream of carving an entire mountain will become reality. The Crazy Horse Memorial, carved with dynamite, will be the largest work of art ever created by the hands of man. Not even the pharaohs of Egypt dreamt on this scale.   Korczak Ziolkowski, the sculptor responsible for the Memorial, assisted in the creation of Mount Rushmore. ...

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Burgie The Carpet King

September 07, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Regular readers of this blog are familiar with my thwarted childhood quest for a dog. As a kid I was never permitted to have pets unless they were small enough to flush down the toilet once I’d loved them to death, but I was chummy with most of the neighborhood canines.   One dog that left his mark on my childhood was Burgie the Carpet King. Burgie was a bug-eyed bulldog with a head shaped like a jack-o-lantern. He belonged to the Holloways across the street. Burgie once had a close encounter with that other self-proclaimed monarch of the neighborhood, my mother—no lover of pets. The Holloways were headed to Texas to visit relatives and I was paid a dollar a day to check on Burgie in their backyard, sweep out his dog hous ...

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Flying Without A Net

September 09, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Last night I did something in bed I haven’t done in years. I was contentedly lying there, dreaming I was King of Bloggers and had finally figured out the difference between further and farther, and a while and awhile, when it happened. Mrs. Chatterbox was on the far side of our king-size bed and in no position to monitor what was going on. That’s when it happened. I felt ashamed when it was over. I mean, I’m not a kid anymore and this sort of thing doesn’t happen to grown men, even men with bladders shrunken to the size of peanuts and requiring frequent trips to the bathroom.   Okay, I’ve let you entertain prurient thoughts long enough. I didn’t abuse myself or have a nocturnal accident last night. ...

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Giant Killer

September 10, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Several of you asked if I ever found the albino tadpole mentioned in "Burgie the Carpet King." As Paul Harvey would have said,"Here's the rest of the story." In the early 60s, I whiled away summer days under the sycamore tree in the front yard of our modest Kilarney Park home. Never far away was my best friend Ricky Delgado. One morning Ricky said, “Let’s go check out Cabrillo Creek.”   “Naw.” I was enjoying a library book about a pet turtle that solved crimes.   Ricky stretched like a bored cat. “Maybe we’ll find something interesting. My cousin lives in Sacramento and once saw an alligator sunning itself on a floating refrigerator in the Sacramento River. Maybe today we’ll f ...

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9/11 Generation

September 11, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
I wrote this post last year on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I think it's still appropriate. A few months after September 11th when the horrors of that day had receded into ache and outrage, my son came up to me and said, “You know, Grandma and Grandpa had December 7th, and you and Mom had November 22nd, but until September 11th I hadn’t experienced a defining moment in time.” It’s been ten years since 9/11 and I’m still thinking about his comment. He seemed to be saying that 9/11 was a generational event. “It’s an anchor in time,” my son said when questioned further. “I’ll always know where I was and what I was doing when the towers came down and those planes flew into the Pe ...

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Conclusion: Giant Killer

September 12, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Ricky let out a shrill whistle and waved urgently to stop me from staring at the Scottish lady on the billboard. A mistake. He drew unwanted attention before running away.   Chris Ferris and two of his henchmen, Donny Greco and Phil Jaggly, approached like jackals about to pounce on Bambi. Chris Ferris, a head and a half taller than me, had long ago assumed the task of making my life miserable. Jaggly, who had so many freckles it looked like a fountain pen had exploded in his face, spent many an afternoon in detention. Greco, like Ricky, was becoming well-known by the police. I was too fat and slow to get away, and they took their time surfing the gravel slope to the bottom of the creek.   Ferris, with his trademark toothpick ...

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Peeping Toms

September 14, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Writing coaches caution anyone from starting a story with: It was a dark and stormy night, but I’ve always wanted to begin a tale with these words and now you know what I think of writing coaches. Anyway, Mrs. Chatterbox and I had only been married a few years and were living in a duplex in Oxnard, California, so close to the beach that our driveway was covered in sand.        One stormy evening, Mrs. Chatterbox phoned to say she was leaving work late and was in no mood to fix dinner. “I’ll pick up something on the way home,” she said.         I  felt guilty that she was the one caught in the storm. “It’s raining pretty hard. Be careful, ...

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Don't Quit Your Day Job

September 16, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Let’s start on a high note: Did you know that in addition to being an engineer, inventor, philosopher and painter, Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) was also a comedian? In his day he was considered quite the cut-up on the comedy circuits of the Renaissance. Here’s a genuine five hundred year old Leonardo joke taken from one of his notebooks:        A wealthy patron asked a famous artist, “How is it that you create such beautiful paintings but the children you create are so ugly?” The artist replied, “It’s because I create my painting in the bright light of day but I create my children at night, in the dark.”        I know what advice you’d giv ...

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Peculiar Picture #14

September 17, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
This illustration was marketed on my Royalty-Free CD Business Fundamentals, sold on the Internet by Getty Images. Unlike some of the illustrations I’ve posted, this “peculiar picture” has sold very well outside of the United States, the last time to a company in South Korea. Since I don’t read or speak languages other than English, I have no idea what foreign companies are marketing with the help of my illustrations. Do you have any idea?

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What Do You Believe In?

September 19, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
I recently had a disturbing conversation with my eighty-seven year old mother, which isn’t unusual because so many of my conversations with Mom these days are unsettling. While it’s common for the elderly to focus on the past, claiming everything was better in the “old days,” my mother has chosen to see the world through a dark lens. For her, everything is horrible. The world is tearing apart at the seams. America is on its last legs. Our freedoms are being whittled away and all politicians should be taken out and shot.        In truth, my mother has always been as supportive of the Federal government as a bootlegger hiding a still during Prohibition. When I point this out to her she claims ...

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Multitasking

September 21, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
I’ve struggled with this idea of multitasking for a long time, wondering why my wife can keep so many plates spinning in the air while I have difficulty remembering to bring my plate to the sink after she’s prepared a delicious meal. Multitasking probably developed shortly after humans stepped out of caves. Men stomped off to acquire meat at the walk up window at Bison King while women frittered away hours fending off predatory animals, stoked fires, gathered fruits, grains and nuts, tended babies, and developed language and culture. But my wife is hardly concerned with my anthropological examination of multitasking—she just wants me to get off my ass and do more around the house.   Mrs. Chatterbox has great diffi ...

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Sex And The Senile Girl

September 23, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Conversations with my mother can be disturbing (Check out my recent post What Do You Believe In?) but she also makes me laugh. I call every morning to check on her. This morning’s conversation went like this: “Good morning, Mom. What are you doing?”      “Same as always. Surviving.”      Surviving is her favorite response when asked what she’s doing. “You sound a bit listless. You okay?”      “Just tired. Couldn’t sleep last night.”      “Anything bothering you?”      “I’m eighty-seven years old. EVERYTHING bothers me.”&nbs ...

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An Edsel and The Crown Jewels

September 24, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Our annual kick-off event for the summer of ’63 had just begun; neighborhood kids had gathered around the Zenith in our living room to watch Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. The local TV station always ran the comedy the Saturday after school let out. We watched the movie in a different house each summer. This year it was my turn.   Dad was attending big brother’s baseball game and I couldn’t wait for my mother to make herself scarce. She’d already hung around too long. I was worried when the movie started that she’d give us all a lecture on Mary Shelley and other female writers. I was relieved when she finally retreated to the room she referred to as her boudoir—to my knowledge the only boud ...

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Conclusion: An Edsel and The Crown Jewels

September 26, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
After his brush with death, Bud Holloway herded his family into Moby Dick—the enormous white Edsel that had nearly crushed him—and headed to Texas for a visit with his mama. Hollowhead later described what happened.   As Bud drove through Albuquerque, he toyed with the radio and managed to tune into a radio station somewhere in Midland, Texas, which coincidentally was close to where they were headed.   The disk jockey came on and announced a contest. “Our l’il ole’ radio station is gonna give away a check for one hundred dollars to the first ‘58 car to pull into our parking lot.” The deejay set a one hour time limit for someone to claim the prize. Hollowhead said his dad didn’t ...

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A Masterpiece of Loathing

September 28, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
The Family of Carlos IV hangs in a place of honor in Madrid’s Prado Museum. At first glance Goya’s painting doesn’t seem exceptional, just a bunch of self-satisfied people dressed in finery while having their group portrait painted. But if we look harder we can see what prompted Ernest Hemingway to call this painting a masterpiece of loathing.   Francisco Goya (1746-1828) held the position of First Painter to the King of Spain, and was his personal friend. In fact, the two liked to wrestle when prying eyes weren’t around. But Goya’s integrity as an artist compelled him to depict the king warts and all. Goya was an ill-mannered skirt chaser, a relentless social climber, and stone deaf. The artist also &n ...

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Prepare To Die

September 30, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
“I’m sorry, but I have to kill you.”   “Why? Am I bothering you?”   “No, but that isn’t the point.”   “What is the point? I have a right to know. After all, it’s my life we’re talking about.”   “Well, it’s hardly a life. After all, you’re only a spider.”   “Only a spider? How dare you! I belong to a species so perfect in design that nature hasn’t changed me in hundreds of millions of years. Do you know what humans looked like millions of years ago? Here’s a clue: check the treetops.”   “So you admit that humans are more evolved than spiders?”   “You miss th ...

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