Blog Archive


Heat in the Bedroom

February 02, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
          Mrs. Chatterbox and I have been married a long time, and like most couples in lengthy relationships we’ve given each other many gifts. I’ve given Mrs. Chatterbox some curious items, like the time I gave her a hooded orange suede cape (saw one recently on a televised fashion show) but she’s always been masterful at selecting items for me I didn’t know I wanted until I tore off the wrapping paper. One Christmas several years back she surprised me with a new Ducane barbeque grill, a vast improvement over the dented Weber I’d been using for years. I like to BBQ, but having briquettes and starter fluid on hand is often a hassle; propane is much more convenient.   &n ...

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February 04, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
              doppelgänger |ˈdäpəlˌga ng ər| noun: an apparition or double of a living person. ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from German, literally ‘double-goer.’            When I was thirteen I went with my dad to fetch a pizza from a place up the highway. It was hot in the pizzeria because of the huge oven so I went outside to cool off. Next door was the Honky Tonk, the bar where Ricky Delgado’s dad went after work for a snootful. Ricky was my best friend, and I knew George had beaten him more than once after staggering home from the Honky Tonk. Dust from the nearby El Camino Real coated the window. I rubbed a spot clean ...

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My One and Only Time On Stage

February 06, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  First posted 3/7/12   So there I was, in a theater packed with a thousand people, all eyes riveted on me as I stepped out onto the stage. I felt weak as a blade of grass and could feel my heart beating in the middle of my forehead. My palms were wet and my shoes were filling with ass sweat. If I were wax I’d have melted away.   The stage was situated in a new multi-million dollar center being dedicated to the music director of one of the most prestigious colleges in the state. This gentleman, in addition to being responsible for his college’s musical excellence, also founded a nationally renowned jazz festival. He was being honored this evening, but he wasn’t in attendance; he’d passed away from ...

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An Unholy War

February 09, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  Last year I finished my memoir, The Kid in the Kaleidoscope. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with it, but this is one of the few stories I haven’t shared. I hope you enjoy it.   *************************************   Many families in Killarney Park were Catholic, including mine, so it might seem strange that in 1960 my mom decided to do battle with the Holy Catholic Church. My mother was a child when her father fell off a steeple he’d climbed on a dare. I sometimes wonder if her lack of piety resulted from her holding the Church responsible. Nevertheless, in 1960 my mother declared war on a local padre named Father Hinklemeyer.            & ...

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An Unholy War: Part Two

February 11, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  If you missed Part One, check it out (here).   *************************************** A Skirmish             I’d become a regular churchgoer without being pushed into it like many kids my age.             Most of the Catholic kids in Killarney Park lost interest in God after their First Communion. The exceptions were those of us who decided to become altar boys. I didn’t really want to be an altar boy, and best friend Ricky Delgado struggled in vain to talk me out of it, but Father Hinklemeyer had given a powerful fire-and-brimstone sermon that convinced me service to the Church was necessary for God to forgiv ...

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An Unholy War: The Conclusion

February 13, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  You can check out Part I (here), and Part II (here).   *********************************************   The Final Battle                    It might’ve been easier to feel sympathy for Father Hinklemeyer if he’d been a nice man, which he wasn’t. He was only friendly when he was trying to solicit money for his various projects. Otherwise, he was a humorless, self-righteous person, without any patience for kids. Not even altar boys were safe from his temper. More than one of us got a tongue lashing for not looking pious enough during the elevation of the Host, or if our postures weren’t ramrod straight as we exit ...

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Was That Love in the Air?

February 16, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
      Was that love in the air on Saturday, or something else? Even though Mrs. Chatterbox and I agreed not to exchange Valentine’s Day gifts, she presented me with one anyway. Perhaps she grew tired of me coming home from hardware stores empty handed. Now there’s a new addition to Casa Chatterbox. He doesn’t look like a Johnny; more like a Brad.   If you don’t get the humor in my wife’s puckish gesture, all will be made clear (here).           Follow my blog with Bloglovin   ...

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A Stimulating Read

February 17, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  Some of you might have noticed the saucy picture added to Chubby Chatterbox’s sidebar announcing a new anthology produced by Publishing Syndicate: On SEX: 69 Hilarious Stories About Everything SEX. I was honored when two of my stories were accepted for publication, and surprised when one, Peeping Toms, was selected to help launch the book on the publisher’s blog Laugh Until You Pee.             I hope you’ll check out this side-splitting blog, featuring humorous excerpts on a variety of subjects from the publisher’s series Not Your Mother’s Book…. The series was created by Ken and Daylynn McKowen, who for years were coauthors and consultant ...

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Edith Emerges

February 18, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  Jo Barney is a wonderful writer and one of my dearest friends. Several years ago, I hosted her to help launch “Graffiti Grandma,” which went on to earn a stellar Kirkus review. Jo is back to discuss her new novel,“Edith.”   *************************************   Hello, again. As Steve knows, I’ve been chained to my desk for the past few months, writing my fourth or fifth or sixth novel, depending on how I count.   Since July (it is November as I write this), I have been getting acquainted with the woman who has made an appearance on my computer. She’s a bit like me, only bitchier, at least at the beginning of the book. Not her fault. She’s been married to a bully of a h ...

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Bull's Eye

February 20, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
After graduating from the University of Oregon, our son CJ was eager to land a job. He couldn’t find anything in Eugene, but managed to secure a position as a financial consultant for a bank in Lebanon, Oregon. Lebanon has about 15,000 residents, and is approximately fifty miles north of Eugene—Oregon’s second largest city.             CJ described Lebanon as a rural community that had yet to catch up to the twenty-first century. Mrs. Chatterbox and I drove to Lebanon to meet our son for lunch and check out the place he described as Oregon’s version of Mayberry. CJ has inherited my propensity to embellish, but in this case he hadn’t exaggerated. I’m ...

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About Face

February 23, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
      I don’t discuss regional politics and this post is no exception, but something has come to my attention that makes me shake my head. I feel safe mentioning this because my own state is currently experiencing a gubernatorial scandal prompting our governor to resign in the face of a Federal investigation. If the issue I’m about to discuss occurred in any of the other forty-nine states I’d be just as perplexed. Having said this, I politely ask, “What the heck is going on in Louisiana?”             Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised when Louisiana elected a non-white governor, but I was. The residents of the Bayou State seem ...

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Portrait of an A*#hole

February 25, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  First posted 5/11/12             I saw someone familiar in the obituaries today. It took me a while to place the face but it finally came to me. Years ago she came regularly to the mall jewelry store I managed. She never bought anything, but she was a pleasant widow and I always offered to clean her jewelry. Being a chatty fellow, I let it slip that, in addition to managing the store, I was an artist and my work could be seen around town.             One Saturday afternoon in 1989 she came into the store and said, “I was downtown yesterday at the Oregon Biennial. I saw your work.”     &nb ...

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A Lot of Bull

February 27, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
      It’s hard to look at The Bull, painted in 1647 by twenty-one year old Dutch artist Paulus Potter (1625-1654) and understand how this painting was ever held in higher esteem than Rembrandt’s Night Watch. In fact, when this painting was exhibited in Paris during the Napoleonic Era, critics commented that there were only four canvases in the Louvre’s entire collection to equal Potter’s The Bull. This is incredible when you consider the staggering wealth of artworks in the Louvre. An obvious question: Why was this massive moo-piece held in such high regard?             There isn’t much to say about Paulus Potter, who died of tuberculos ...

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