Blog Archive


Yes, I Have a Drinking Problem

October 01, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
I will readily admit that I have a compulsive personality, but the time has come for me to admit I’m struggling with an addiction. There was a time when I’d come home from work and down several martinis before dinner. Mrs. Chatterbox told me she thought I was developing a problem, but that ended when we agreed she should stop mixing martinis and handing me one when I arrived home from work. These days I rarely drink liquor, maybe a margarita when we dine out at a Mexican restaurant. No, my addiction isn’t alcohol related.      Likewise, I’m not addicted to any particular food. There was a time when I was a meat-o-holic and could down animal flesh like a Tyrannosaurus Rex, but those days went the ...

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Small World

October 03, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
About fifteen years ago, Mrs. Chatterbox and I flew to Tahiti where we boarded a ship for a cruise through French Polynesia. We weren’t particularly thrilled with Tahiti and its dirty congested capital, Papeete. And the famous black beaches were beautiful, but the sand heated up to nearly two hundred degrees, making it impossible to walk barefoot into the surf. But many of the surrounding islands were unpopulated and beautiful, giving us the “Gauguin” experience we were looking for.      Our most eastern destination was Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, the farthest destination from home we’d achieved at that time. A typhoon had preceded us to the island and the locals weren’t expecting us as ...

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Doing the Right Thing

October 06, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
When I mentioned it to Mrs. Chatterbox she looked alarmed, like I’d lost my mind. When I stopped speaking she said, “You did the right thing.”      When I mentioned it to our son CJ, he cocked his head like I was stupid for even considering such a thing. Finally, relief flooded his face and he said. “You did the right thing.”      But I still feel badly about it.      I was coming home from my morning swim at the public pool, half a mile from where we live. Now that summer was over and schools were back in session, the roads were choked with morning school buses. One of them had stopped to pick up kids on a corner several blocks from our townho ...

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Taft's Tub

October 08, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Recently, while watching Ken Burns’ documentary on the Roosevelts, I saw pictures of the president following Teddy into the White House. I was reminded of this post, written in the early months of Chubby Chatterbox.   *************************************         Some stories are stuck in the public’s consciousness and can’t be dislodged by logic or evidence to the contrary, such as the story of how Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, died. It has been rumored for centuries that she perished in an equestrian accident, a polite way of saying that this regal nymphomaniac died while trying to copulate with a stallion suspended above her bed from a crane. According to legend, the ...

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Confession Time...Again

October 10, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
I watch too much TV.      With my propensity to chatter, it’s no surprise that I strike up conversations with anyone, including the cute 35ish lifeguard at the pool where I swim. I asked her if she was a fan of Downton Abbey, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones or any of the über-hyped programs about to return to the Fall lineup.      She said, “Oh, I don’t watch TV, don’t even own one.”      I’m always suspicious when people tell me they don’t watch any television. Then this lifeguard admitted, “But I did just finish the Ken Burns series The Roosevelts. I caught a live stream of it on my computer.”    & ...

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The Leopard Changes Its Spots

October 13, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
         Phys. Ed. was my least favorite class at Wilcox High School. I’d managed to lose most of my excess weight, but I had yet to develop muscle tone. Mr. Jenkins, the P.E. teacher/football coach, was making my life miserable. He wanted my All-Star brother David for the football team, but David didn’t have time and constantly turned him down. Coach Jenkins took it out on me. Several times each month he’d march us out to the athletic field where the chin-up bar stood like a lynching tree. He’d make us do chin-ups. I didn’t have the strength for even one. I’d hang from the bar while Jenkins barked insults at me, his crew cut bristling above his angry red face. I wanted Jenk ...

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The Leopard Changes Its Spots: Conclusion

October 15, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
This tale is from “The Kid in the Kaleidoscope.” If you missed Part One catch it (here)    *********************************************   By the spring of my junior year, it was time to do something about the abuse heaped on me by Coach Jenkins. The time for revenge had arrived, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Ricky Delgado had spent nearly as much time at Juvy as he had at Wilcox but he was curtailing his criminal behavior so he could try out for the swim team. He was available and eager to assist me.       Over the summer, my art teacher Miss Veasie and Coach Jenkins, both single, had connected. Throughout my junior year, Jenkins was hanging around the art classes wh ...

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Viral Couch

October 17, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
 If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a psychiatrist, here’s your chance. Grab a notepad and prepare to diagnose. I lie before you on an imaginary couch, in need of a psychiatric evaluation. I’m being haunted by a recurring dream.      We dream every night, but until recently I seldom remembered mine, aside from occasional “water” dreams when I drink too many liquids late at night. Now, one dream returns constantly and is easy to recognize, in spite of slight variations.      For eight years I worked as a salesman in a mall jewelry store, and it would be false modesty to claim I wasn’t good at my job, so good that I was promoted to manager in ...

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Subject Matter

October 20, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
I couldn’t see the owner of the voice saying “Hi” to me in our pool locker room because a curtain of clothes hangers blocked my view. I parted the hangers but still couldn’t identify the person. I said, “Who is it? Without my glasses everything looks like a Monet painting.”                  The person said, “Who is Monet, and what does he paint?”             I mumbled something about Claude Monet being an Impressionist who took canvas and paints outdoors to capture gardens, the Parisian countryside, rivers, haystacks and poppy fields, but I wasn’t satisf ...

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October 22, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  I’ve recently received word that two more of my stories have been accepted by Publishing Syndicate, this time for inclusion in their upcoming book On Sex, 69 hilarious stories about everything SEX. This publisher is also interested in completed manuscripts so I’ve been bifurcating my time between writing and painting. It’s been hard putting down my brushes after setting them aside for so long, but this publisher has shown interest in my work, prompting me to strike while the iron is hot by getting my memoir, The Kid in the Kaleidoscope, in the mail.   **********************   Bifurcate is one of my favorite words, even though it sounds like something you might do after eating bad sushi. When I was a c ...

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Would You Eat This Stuff?

October 24, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated with Ancient Rome. Had I been that kid in the movie Airport I’d have answered yes when Peter Graves asked, “Do you like gladiator movies?” Sure, the Romans had their problems, mostly a societal thirst for blood and a system of governance that makes our politics look like kindergarten squabbles, but Rome still managed to effectively rule a land area that today is poorly governed by no fewer than forty governments. And they did so with one law and one currency. But I want to discuss something more important than Rome’s lasting cultural legacy. I want to discuss fish sauce called garum.                &nbs ...

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Danish Traffic Jams...and Jellies

October 27, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Denmark is amazingly clean, beautiful, and extremely well organized, unless you’re on a bus in Copenhagen on a Sunday. Mrs. C. and I were headed to see the world famous statue of the Little Mermaid, donated by Carl Jacobsen of Carlsberg Breweries and placed at the harbor’s edge in 1913, now arguably the most visited site in Denmark.             We sat in a crowded outdoor amphitheater and stared at her for a few minutes before heading back to our bus. The location was jammed with dozens of tour buses and our driver had difficulty steering us away from the congested tourist area. No police were on hand to control traffic. Our driver decided to try a small alley between ware ...

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Hung in Fussen

October 29, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
While traveling through Germany in the seventies, Mrs. C. and I took a train from Bitburg to Füssen in southern Bavaria to visit Ludwig II’s iconic Neuschwanstein, the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Night had fallen by the time we stepped away from the train station to look for a hotel, my backpack heavy with souvenirs and a tattered copy of Frommer’s Europe on Ten Dollars a Day clenched in my hand.             In the center of town stood a four story hotel that screamed Bavaria. Woodcarvings of animals decorated the exterior creating the sensation of a giant cuckoo clock, and light poured through open shutters framing flowerboxes heavy wit ...

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How to Ruin a Ruin

October 31, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Gas was cheap when I was a child, and like many Americans my parents would pack up the kids for Sunday road trips. Sometimes we’d drive our Packard up the Old Bayshore Highway to San Francisco. For a kid caught in the colorless existence of the suburbs, The City (as residents of San Francisco refer to their home) was a marvelous place filled with culture, history and excitement. Most of my trips to The City involved Dad taking us to Giants baseball games at Candlestick Park, but there were other attractions, like the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park where I saw my first Rembrandt, Lombard Street with its Byzantine curves, cable cars climbing to the sky, and Ghirardelli Square where my addiction to chocolate began.   &nbs ...

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