Blog Archive


The Avengers

October 01, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts

Mrs. Chatterbox and I just finished watching The Avengers and I have two questions:


#1 Why is it that if I eat one taco too many the button on my waistband shoots from my pants with enough velocity to put out an eye, yet the Hulk can expand ten times his normal size without his pants ripping to shreds?


#2 Where can I buy these pants?

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You Be The Judge

October 03, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
A Virginia woman bought a box of junk for seven dollars at a local flea market. When she got home she found a small painting in the box, a nicely framed landscape. The painting didn’t interest her but she felt the frame had value. A gold tag fixed to the frame identified the artist. She didn’t recognize the name: Renoir.   The woman’s mother stopped her from ripping the painting from the frame and convinced her to have it appraised. Experts at an auction house identified the canvas as a modest but authentic Pierre-Auguste Renoir and suggested an opening bid in the neighborhood of a hundred thousand dollars. Then the FBI got involved.   Renoir is extremely famous and his paintings can fetch millions of dollars ...

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Never Look Back

October 05, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
A friend of mine named Jim recently had an interesting experience while vacationing at the Oregon Coast. Debris from the Japanese tsunami continues to make its way across the ocean and all sorts of items float ashore. Jim tells me he’s seen plastic bottles with Japanese labels, tires and sports equipment. But early one morning on an isolated beach he recently spotted something else on the sand, something struggling.   Jim approached and saw a large dolphin, its tail tangled in a heavy nylon fishing net. Jim pulled out his pocket knife and cut away the net, but when finished the tide was out, leaving the dolphin stranded on the beach. No one else was around to help but an undeterred Jim grabbed the dolphin by the tail and dragge ...

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Pure Love

October 07, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
In the United States September 9th was Grandparents Day. The event passed without fanfare; I wasn’t aware of it until today. Mrs. Chatterbox and I aren’t grandparents yet but we haven’t given up hope. In the meantime, I’d like to share an interesting painting with you.   A few years ago Mrs. C. and I were in Paris.While walking through the endless galleries of the Louvre, Mrs. C. felt the call of nature and headed off to find the ladies’ room. I waited for her in a nearby gallery where I noticed this painting by Ghirlandaio (Gear-land-eye-o). Like so many of the paintings in the Louvre, I’d seen this one reproduced in art books. Quite frankly, I never thought much of it, but I was stuck waiting for ...

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Forgiving Michael Jackson

October 08, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
In 1984 Michael Jackson was flying high with Thriller, voted the most influential pop music video ever. I was managing a jewelry store in Oregon at the time and Jackie, one of my employees, approached to ask for a few days off.   “Why?” I asked.   Jackie was one of my best salespeople when she wasn’t attending classes at the local college. She seldom asked for time off. “I want to buy tickets for the Michael Jackson Concert at the Tacoma Dome up near Seattle. The concert is in a few months and tickets go on sale in two days. I plan to camp on the sidewalk in front of Ticketmaster to have a crack at choice seats.”   Here was the solution to a problem I’d been struggling with; what to g ...

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New And Improved

October 15, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Do you hate this slogan as much as I do: New & Improved? These words are little more than corporate graffiti, a reason to place a hand over your wallet. If it wasn’t already good as can be, why were you selling an inferior product? And how long have you known it wasn’t up to snuff? Also, new & improved is usually the manufacturer’s way of coercing you into paying more for less, chicanery that includes keeping the box or bottle the same size so you won’t notice you’re being robbed. On this curiously inappropriate note I take great pleasure in announcing the new & improved Chubby Chatterbox.      Some readers have asked why I’m tinkering with my blog; many of you love Chu ...

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Manly Me!

October 17, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
This morning Mrs. Chatterbox said to me,” So how’s that shampoo I bought for you?”   I’d asked her to pick up some more when she went to the store because the bottle in my gym bag was empty. I looked up from my iPad and said, “It’s fine.”      “She looked at me curiously. “Did you notice anything different?”      “Can’t say I did. But it was nice. Real sudsy.”      “Was it different from the shampoo you’ve been using?”      I set down my iPad. “What am I missing here.”      “The shampoo I bought was specifically ...

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Killed By The Cure

October 19, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Last night while watching TV a commercial appeared that went something like this. (Note: imagine this being voiced over by a minor celebrity from the Seventies whose career stalled after several DUIs.)      “Is your life so empty that you don’t care your kids are now covered in tattoos heralding a Zombie Apocalypse, or that your spouse has a house account at the Embassy Suites and a credit card receipt for a strip pole in his hotel room?  Or that you’ve broken the tail-wagging mechanism on the formerly exuberant golden retriever that now whimpers and drags his butt across the carpet when you walk into the room?”      The TV screen showed a dreary montage of average ...

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Expiration dates

October 22, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
“Haven’t I told you to stop doing that?” my wife growled while scowling at me from a barstool on the far side of the kitchen counter.      “Yes, you’ve told me to stop doing it.”      “How long would you say I’ve been asking you not to do it?”      I gave it some thought. “About forty years.”      Her lips tightened into a line. “You really are a slow learner.”      Mrs. Chatterbox and I are usually sympatico—Tweedledee and Tweedledum joined together at the hip—but on this we’re worlds apart, hostiles on opposite sides of the Neutral Zo ...

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Cheaters Never Prosper?

October 24, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
We say it to kids all the time, but it isn’t true: cheaters very often do prosper. Case point, Venice in 1564. Back then, rich dudes would donate money to build social clubs dedicated to popular saints, which in Venice meant a saint whose body had been stolen and brought to Venice. (Check out my post Conspiracy, Theft and Sin for the outrageous manner in which St. Mark’s body was smuggled into Venice.) These clubs were places where rich folks could pretend to be pious while patting themselves on the back for arranging to have been born into rich families.       The Scuolo Grande di San Rocco (The Confraternity of Saint Roch) was one of these clubs. In 1564 artwork was needed to cover the interior of ...

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Death In The Family

October 26, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Everyone I might have offended with this post is dead, except my mother who doesn’t have a computer, and there’s something I’d like to get off my chest. I’ve always been suspicious of the manner in which my uncle died.      This happened when I was two years old so I’ve had to piece together a picture of the event from various relatives, mostly my mother who was not actually there when the tragedy took place.      My mother’s boisterous Portuguese family had gathered at Anderson Reservoir, a recently opened man-made lake along Coyote Creek in California’s Santa Clara County.  As the story goes, five or six family members, including my Uncle Laddie, ...

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Ghost of Kilarney Park

October 28, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
In keeping with the season I’m reposting a true Halloween story from my memoir The Kid in the Kaleidoscope. I hope you enjoy it:   Haunted houses belong in the realm of goose bumps, foggy nights and old neighborhoods, not pristine suburbs with freshly asphalted streets, unblemished sidewalks and immature trees. But a ghost lingered across the street, in a house where a man died.      I was only two when our neighborhood suffered its first fatality. Kilarney Park (later to be swallowed up by the Silicon Valley) had just opened for occupancy and neighbors had yet to come together with barbeques and meet-and-greets. It didn’t help that none of the parents on our street seemed to know the dead man&rsqu ...

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Conclusion: Ghost of Kilarney Park

October 29, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Check out Part One here.   Haunted houses and Halloween go together like dots on dice, but the haunted house on our street never did anything to attract trick-or-treaters. So why was there a light burning on Verna’s porch?      My feet began pulling me to the light. My head swirled with thoughts of murder: rat poison, asphyxiation, throat slashing, but I was more interested in candy than my safety.      I inched up the front steps to her porch and peered into Verna’s kitchen window. She was seated at her kitchen table, her head resting in her hands. Her back was to me and I couldn’t see her face, but I could hear her crying, a raspy soul rending sound, not the depraved ran ...

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Out of Hell

October 31, 2012 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Fiction to celebrate Halloween:   A shiver runs through me when I think back to the time when Tammy, my wife of five years, came to the conclusion that the gray tabby who’d lived contentedly with us since we bought her on our honeymoon, was lonely. Tammy convinced me that Sausalito, “Saucy” needed another feline to keep her company. On Halloween of ’79 we decided to purchase a kitten.      We soon discovered it wasn’t the right season for kittens. We were about to give up our search when we spotted a Siamese kitten for sale in the classifieds. We called the number and were invited over.      The breeder’s residence was a normal looking house, at least I r ...

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