Friday, May 30, 2014

Four Corners and a Void

Expatriate American painter John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) is best known for his flattering portraits of aristocrats, heiresses and well-heeled businessmen. He is famous for virtuoso brushwork and his ability to capture a moment or gesture. Yet his name doesn’t spring to mind when one thinks of portraits that dig beneath the surface to reveal the complexities of human nature. He answered his critics with one painting. Check it out (here).


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tina's Garden

Mrs. Chatterbox and I were invited to a Memorial Day barbeque at the home of our good friends and travel companions Bruce and Tina. In addition to the warmth and hospitality, I always enjoy spending time with them because Tina is an avid gardener and her backyard is brighter than the palettes of most artists. Check out Tina's garden (here). 


Monday, May 26, 2014

In Memory of...

A Memorial Day Tribute

I was not particularly familiar with the Battle of Monte Cassino when I spotted the buildings high on the mountaintop as our bus rolled into the parking lot of a well-tended cemetery. Yet fellow travelers on our bus were pulling out handkerchiefs and wiping their eyes even before the bus braked to a stop. Read about our visit to a Monte Cassino cemetery (here).


Friday, May 23, 2014

Wandering Buddha

 Not long ago Mrs. C. and I decided to visit The Portland Japanese Garden. Portland’s climate is similar to Japan’s and our garden is considered one of the best in the country. We visit every few years and try to time our trips when the cherry trees are blossoming.This time we discovered something unexpected in the garden. Read about it (here).


Wednesday, May 21, 2014


We recently passed the sixth anniversary of my dad’s passing, although it seems like only yesterday when I received a call from Mom telling me Dad was gone. His death was totally unexpected and much that happened during that time is a blur. One incident does stand out clearly. It had to do with a painting. Read about it (here).

Monday, May 19, 2014

Conclusion: My Second Favorite Organ

The oral surgeon scheduled the removal of the growth resembling a sea bass’s eyeball on the underside of my tongue. During surgery, several muscles were cut that made speech difficult for the next few months. Fortunately, a biopsy revealed that the growth was a harmless calcium deposit, and not cancerous. But my problem wasn't over. Read about it (here).

Friday, May 16, 2014

My Second Favorite Organ

 It happened just before our son CJ was born. I was brushing my teeth. After rinsing my mouth I looked in the mirror and lifted my tongue. I don’t know why I chose this moment to do so, and I was confronted by an unusual growth on the underside of my tongue that looked like the eyeball of a sea bass. I was horrified. Read about it (here).

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Peculiar Picture #33

After a long hiatus from painting I’m back at my easel. I was recently cleaning our garage and trying to carve a workspace from the clutter when I stumbled across this acrylic painting. It was intended to be thought provoking, although you need to look closely to understand why. Check out the entire illustration (here). 


Monday, May 12, 2014

Foxy Lady

I’ve written several posts describing my childhood passion for pets and how my mother’s philosophy was such that I was denied any animal too big to flush in the toilet when it inevitably died. But there was another family member whose lust for animals overshadowed mine.Read about her (here).


Friday, May 9, 2014

Washing and Waxing Mother

These days it takes a shoehorn to get my mother out of her apartment. At eighty-nine, she’s becoming a recluse. Mrs. Chatterbox and I constantly invite her to spend time with us. Mrs. C. tries to coax her by offering to prepare her favorite dishes, and I offer to pick her up at her front door, drive her to our place, hold her arm firmly while escorting her up the six steps to our front door and set her favorite mixed drink in her hand before feeding and returning her home. But nothing ever goes as planned. Read about it (here). 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Taking the Plunge

Unlike today, when I was in high school physical education was mandatory. I attended Wilcox High in Santa Clara, California. Santa Clara was also home to the famous Santa Clara Swim Center, where Don Schollander trained for the Olympics, winning a combined five gold medals in Tokyo ’64, and Mexico City ‘68. It’s no exaggeration to say our small city took swimming very seriously. Unfortunately, I was not part of that fine swimming tradition. Read about it (here).

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Glories of the City Dump

When I was a kid there was a place that affected me like metal drawn to a magnet, our town’s very own Disneyland—the City Dump.
Like many boys, I looked forward to our annual trip to this place of riches and enchantment. The visit was preceded by Mom telling Dad it was time to clean out the garage because it was getting difficult to squeeze the car inside. It was a mystery to me how she knew this since she didn’t drive, but before long Dad would be cleaning out the garage and borrowing grandpa’s old pickup for the journey to junk nirvana. Read about it (here).

Friday, May 2, 2014

Night Shift

Not long ago our son CJ was scheduled for a graveyard shift at our local police department where he’s a records specialist. This got me thinking about the only time I worked graveyard, back in the early 70s during a break from college. My mother worked at the Almaden bottling plant in Los Gatos, California, and she pulled a few strings to get me a job, just as she had for my older brother a few years earlier. The job didn't go well. Read about it (here).