Wednesday, December 31, 2014

No Fashion Guru

 A few years ago, I made a dreadful mistake, something absurd for one as cultured and capable as yours truly. Read about it (here).


Monday, December 29, 2014

A Lesson for CJ

In 1985 Mrs. Chatterbox's parents moved to Oregon to be closer to their grandson. When Grandpa decided to take little CJ to his first baseball game, our son learned more than we'd bargained for. Read about it (here).

Friday, December 26, 2014

An After Christmas Miracle

The mall was choked with shoppers returning Christmas presents and looking for end of year deals. My sister had gifted me an unsuitable sweater and I’d come to return it.I found something at the mall far more useful than a sweater. Check it out (here.)


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

This illustration was the companion piece to the Hanukkah picture I painted and posted along with the story The Deal Breaker on Being Jewish. Both were commissioned for a greeting card company, but I can’t remember which one. Check out the entire Christmas illustration (here).

Monday, December 22, 2014

Mrs. Claus in Old Town

Several days ago I was bored and struggling to generate enthusiasm for the Holidays. I found the spirit of Christmas in an unusual place. Read about it (here).


Friday, December 19, 2014

The Deal Breaker on Being Jewish

When I was a kid I considered changing religions and becoming Jewish, until I learned about the "deal breaker". Read about it (here).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Finding the Porziuncola

One of the details in St. Francis lore capturing my attention was the Porziuncola, a small chapel that had fallen into disrepair in Francis’ day. This structure was important to the saint, but you might be surprised to learn what happened to it. Read about it (here).


Monday, December 15, 2014

Free Delivery

I’ve spent years in retail and know what it means to give good service, and I treat salespeople as I wanted to be treated when I was wearing the nametag. But one fellow didn’t care much for me in spite of my attempts to thaw his icy disapproval. Read about it (here). 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Playing With Food

I was driving home from the grocery store yesterday and the deejay on the radio was spinning moldy oldies and asking trivia questions. One of the questions was: “What was the first toy or game advertised directly to children on television?” The answer is (here). 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Contest Update

On November 17th I mentioned that I was entering a travel writing contest with my entry Whirling Dervishes. My piece made it through the first round and is being considered for a prize. Help me grab the judge's attention by going (here).


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Complaining About the Weather

Mark Twain once commented that everyone complained about the weather but no one did anything about it. Now it's my turn to complain. Read about it (here). 


Monday, December 8, 2014

A Fraud at Westminster Abbey?

Most of Britain’s great writers are memorialized in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey, and quite a few are buried there, including Chaucer, Blake, Browning, Dickens, Tennyson and Kipling. Interred here is James Macpherson. Never heard of him? He pulled off the most successful literary scam in modern history. Read about it (here).

Friday, December 5, 2014

I Almost Felt Guilty

The nice folks at Retirement and Good Living have asked for another story, and I’ve shared an account of a special car I purchased to celebrate my retirement. I might have gone too far with a practical joke I pulled on my salesman—you be the judge. Read about it (here).   

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Why, God?

I’m receiving pictures from fellow bloggers showing snow-covered front lawns and backyards, reminding me of the first time I saw snow. Mrs. Chatterbox was an Army brat and grew up in Germany where snow is plentiful, but for me snow was an elusive mirage constantly out of reach. Until one day... Read about it (here).


Monday, December 1, 2014


 It’s been cold and dreary here in Portland, and I’ve been thinking about a wonderfully sunny excursion Mrs. Chatterbox and I took several years ago aboard a special ship with an interesting history. Read about it (here). 


Friday, November 28, 2014

My New Friend

 I was new to blogging when I began Chubby Chatterbox in 2011. Back then, I’d never even read a blog. I was looking for a way to find an audience for my storytelling, and starting a blog was my son CJ’s idea. I had no idea who my friends out in the Blogosphere would be. Read about it (here).


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Best Turkey Ever!

This story is the closest thing I have to a Chatterbox Classic. I don’t post on Thursdays so here it is today. I haven’t posted it in a while. If you’re reading it for the first time, I hope you enjoy it. If you remember it from the past, congratulations; your long term memory is still intact. Read about it (here).

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Harrison Stamp Company

Lawyers for the Harrison Stamp Company considered suing me when I was eleven years old, until they tangled with my mother. Read about it (here).

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bordello Chair

This is the history of a chair, nothing as important as a throne or relic, but it has been in the Chatterbox household for forty years—our so-called bordello chair. Read about it (here).

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Raft of the Medusa

What do you do if you’re athletic and good-looking, talented enough to catch the public’s attention, and you’re engaged in a scandal serious enough to get you horsewhipped and thrown in a French jail? If you’re Theodore Géricault (pronounced Gericho) and you’ve impregnated the young hottie your uncle recently married, you lock yourself away in a studio for two years, shave your head to avoid the temptation of showing your face, and paint one of the masterpieces of western civilization.Read about it (here).

Monday, November 17, 2014

Whirling Dervishes

I was in Cappadocia to see the famous Whirling Dervishes. The experience moved me more than I could have imagined. Read about it (here).

Friday, November 14, 2014

Not So Smooth Sailing

Travel can add stress to any relationship, especially new ones. Mrs. Chatterbox and I have always gotten along with remarkably little friction, but one incident when we were newlyweds comes to mind, a time when things didn’t go well. Like most marriage squabbles, I can’t recall the cause for the dust up. Read about it (here).


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tons of...Fun?

Unlike most kids on the street where I grew up, my brother and I weren’t given an allowance; our parents (my mother) didn’t believe children should be paid to do household chores.I had to find another way to earn money. Read about it (here).

Monday, November 10, 2014


This was one of those rare moments during any of our travels when I felt our lives were in danger. Years later while watching a Harry Potter movie, I’d be reminded of this icy moment of terror when Harry and company, while traveling on the Hogwarts Express, were stopped by Dementors trying to search the train. Read about it (here).   

Friday, November 7, 2014

Manly Me!

When my wife bought me shampoo designed for men, I performed a bit of research to see what the difference was between shampoo for men and shampoo for women. Check out the results (here).

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

An Old Radio

The old radio in my grandfather's basement spoke to me. Find our what it said (here).

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Panama Canal

Yes, but only if we can cross from one ocean into another,” I answered when Mrs. Chatterbox asked if I was interested in seeing the Panama Canal. Most cruises only take you to Lake Gatun at the halfway point, where you reverse direction and return to your port of origin. For me, crossing the entire Isthmus of Panama was the whole point of any Panama Canal adventure. Read about our adventure (here).

Friday, October 31, 2014

How to Ruin a Ruin

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. On one such trip, I discovered something spectacular. Read about it (here).


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hung in Fussen

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, but our attention was unexpectedly diverted. Read about it (here).


Monday, October 27, 2014

Danish Traffic Jams...and Jellies

Denmark is fastidiously 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 when a severe traffic jam taught me a lesson about the Danes. Read about it (here).


Friday, October 24, 2014

Would You Eat This Stuff?

Ever since I was a little kid, I've been fascinated with the Ancient Romans, and the secret fish sauce that drove them nuts. Read about it (here).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Bifurcate is one of my favorite words, even though it sounds like something you might do after eating bad sushi. When I was a college student, I struggled with writing the essays and English papers professors often assigned, until I learned the secret of this magic word. Read about it (here).


Monday, October 20, 2014

Subject Matter

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.” Read about it (here).

Friday, October 17, 2014

Viral Couch

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. Read about it (here).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Leopard Changes Its Spots: Conclusion

By the spring of my junior year of high school, 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. Read about it (here).

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Leopard Changes Its Spots

Phys. Ed. was my least favorite class in high school thanks to Coach Jenkins, who seemed determined to make my life miserable. I might have hated Jenkins if circumstances hadn't permitted me to even the score. Read about it (here).


Friday, October 10, 2014

Confession Time...Again

I watch a lot of television, and  I’m always suspicious when people tell me they don’t watch any TV at all. Read about it (here). 


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Taft's Tub

Some stories are stuck in the public’s consciousness and can’t be dislodged by logic or evidence to the contrary, like the story about President Taft's bathtub. Read the truth (here).


Monday, October 6, 2014

Doing the Right Thing

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. Read about it (here.)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Small World

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 impressed with Tahiti, but many of the surrounding islands were unpopulated and beautiful, giving us the “Gauguin” experience we were looking for. Read about it (here).

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Yes, I Have a Drinking Problem

 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. Read about it (here).


Monday, September 29, 2014

You Never Know

Recently while shopping at our local grocery store, I was reminded of someone I hadn’t thought of in years, someone who’d inadvertently changed my outlook on life. It happened shortly after I got married and moved to Oxnard, California. Read about it (here).

Friday, September 26, 2014

Really, I'm Not a Terrorist!

Three days ago I received an e-mail from one of my favorite bloggers, Catalyst/Taylor at Oddball Observations. His e-mail was succinct: Say it isn’t so!!! A link was attached. When I clicked on it, I was connected to a news story about a journalist who’d discovered he was on Homeland Security’s Terrorist Watchlist. The journalist’s name was Stephen F. Hayes. Read about it (here).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Late Night Intruder

Mrs. Chatterbox and I enjoy watching HGTV, especially programs where designers compete to remodel older properties. Lately I’ve noticed that wallpaper, which had all but disappeared as a home fashion statement, is making a comeback. I'm not happy. Read about it (here).


Monday, September 22, 2014


Do you have special words in your family that aren’t found in the dictionary, words only those who share DNA with you can understand? In our family we have a special word that's quite useful. Read about it (here).

Friday, September 19, 2014

Picture of the Week #5

Years ago I was challenged by a famous artist to create "ugly" art. The challenge was harder than I thought. Read about it (here).

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bugs and Bistros

In 1976 while backpacking through Europe, Mrs. C. and I stopped for dinner at a bistro in Athens. We were enjoying our wine and waiting for our meal when something caught my eye on the wall behind my wife. Inching down from behind a picture on the wall behind Mrs. C. was a cockroach. Read about it (here).


Monday, September 15, 2014

The Night Watch

I enjoy sharing my love of art history and recently asked for suggestions for topics readers might want discussed. This post was prompted by someone suggesting Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. Essays on art can be rather dry but consider yourself warned; you’re about to see a man having his brains blown out. Check it out (here).


Friday, September 12, 2014

The Mrs. Urbanick Experience

I’d had a crush on Helen Delgado ever since I was five years old, but in grade school someone briefly eclipsed her--Mrs. Urbanick, my sixth grade teacher. Back then, I had no idea how quickly, or tragically, my new infatuation would end. Read about it (here).

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I'm being Published!

I know many of you have been published, but I’ve been writing nonstop for a decade without seeing a single word in print outside the Blogosphere. I recently learned that a California publisher has accepted my work for an upcoming collection of true stories titled Working for a Living. The collection is being published by Not Your Mother’s Books and is tentatively scheduled to come out in November. Read about it (here).