Blog Archive


Peculiarities #8

December 01, 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 antique store that suited the desk nicely. On our way out the door I noticed a small green bronze statuette on a shelf, and remembering Mom’s birthday was just around the corner I jokingly asked the store owner to throw in the statuette for good measure. To my shock, he did!   When I gave it to my mother, I re ...

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A Complicated Question

December 04, 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 the government telling me I must use my talent to create something against my will. In fact, I’ve turned down creative projects for a variety of reasons. Fortunately, I’ve never been sued.   Sexual orientation is big news these days, but what if a skinhead walked into this bakery and requested a cake in the ...

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Power of Music

December 06, 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 brother was sent to live with distant relatives in Lisbon, another was shipped off to São Paulo, Brazil, and my grandfather came to America and settled in California’s Santa Clara Valley. The three boys had been very close and once they learned how to write they communicated with each other regularly. One of the ...

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One of Life's Great Mysteries

December 08, 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, which usually hangs on the back of a barstool in our kitchen. I hate reaching inside, even on those rare occasions when I’m asked to do so. I fear the unknown lurking inside. When I reach within I’m confronted with a surreal feminine vortex, a denial of the science explaining our universe and everything in it. Spa ...

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