Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste


Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Manly Me!

November 7, 2014





I’ve once again drained the shampoo bottle in my gym bag, prompting this repeat from 2012.




 This morning Mrs. Chatterbox said to me, “So how’s that shampoo I bought you?”


I’d asked her to pick up some more when she went to the store because the bottle in my gym bag was empty. I looked up from my iPad and said, “It’s fine.”


She looked at me curiously. “Did you notice anything different?”


"Can’t say I did. But it was nice. Real sudsy.”


“Was it different from the shampoo you’ve been using?”


I set down my iPad. “What am I missing here.”


"The shampoo I bought was specifically designed for men.”


Feeling like I’d failed a masculinity test, not my first, I said, “It felt like a real manly shampoo.”


She smiled and went back to watching Iron Chef, where a sweaty guy in an apron was cracking open a massive ostrich egg. Later, when the program was over and she wasn’t around, I pulled out my gym bag and checked the label on my new shampoo. I half expected to see ingredients like bull sperm or yak musk, but nothing über masculine was listed as an ingredient. I remember an antiperspirant once marketed with the slogan: Strong enough for him, but made for her. This marketing pitch made it seem like women perspired differently than men, which I don’t believe.


With too much time on my hands from avoiding useful pursuits, I decided to find

out what made this shampoo male.  Differences in packaging were obvious: her bottle was soft and pink as a kitten's nose; my container was rigid, black like the Kevlar vests of swat teams and shaped like something to throw at the enemy. But these were superficial differences. I checked the ingredients on our shampoo bottles and subtracted the ingredients found in both bottles.


*Note to Homeland Security—I know you’re watching and these are ingredients
for shampoo, not a dirty bomb. If it is a bomb, it’s a squeaky clean one:

Water: Yes, we’re paying mostly for water.


Alcohol: Drink this shampoo and enjoy your shower more.


Methylchloroisothiazolinone: Wasn’t this the Babylonian bad boy who enslaved the Israelites?


Methylisothiazolinone: Or was it this guy?


Citric Acid: I think this is in Fresca and 7-Up.


EDTA: Isn’t this a department of government Romney wants to get rid of?


Distearate: Actresses use this to fake crying, right?


Sodium Laureth Sulfate: Technical term for a fart.


Sodium Citrate: I bet this is good in margaritas.


Fragrance: Female shampoos smell of flowers, male shampoo like cheerleader uniforms.


Panthenol: a shiny but endangered catlike jungle creature.


Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride: Probably the glue holding together Hydrox Cookies.


Dimethiconol: Pulverized remains of a small dinosaur thought to have pretty hair.


            These are the ingredients found in male shampoo but not in the female version:


Cocamidopropyl Betaine: The ingredient in Coca Cola that makes you cry? 


Carbomer: I once rebuilt one of these in my shop/automotive class. 


Guar: A possible sixteen points in Scrabble. 


TEA-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate: ????????????


Actually I have no idea what these last four items are, but it’s apparent the beauty care industry knows more about male and female sexuality than regular scientists. No more nonsense about “X” and “Y” chromosomes; the difference between the sexes is written on plastic bottles for all to see. If you want to know what’s manly, what prompts him to make a withdrawal from the boner bank, the answer is in these mystery ingredients.


In the spirit of scientific study, I’ve paused for a shower break. I shampooed long and hard with my Suave Shampoo for MEN. I must admit to feeling…strange. I feel like humping furniture, and I’m experiencing a sensation that’s eluded me my entire life, the desire to engage in a bar fight. But before I head over to the nearest watering hole for a drink I think I’ll shampoo my hair again.



I'll be taking the rest of the day off to celebrate my birthday. I hope everyone has a terrific weekend.


Must try some! :)
By: John on November 7, 2014
OMG, this is too funny!
By: Bren Lee on November 7, 2014
well, a happy, manly birthday to you, then!
By: TexWisGirl on November 7, 2014
I don't know how I missed this first time around, I know I would have remembered it. I Googled the last four ingredients. Carbomer is a muslim with a bad additude, guar is bull sperm, and TEA-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate is yak musk. Cocamidopropyl Betaine does not exist, they are just fing with you! Kudos on a funny post worth the re-run.
By: cranky on November 7, 2014
Happy birthday--I'm sure your hair looks lovely!!
By: fishducky on November 7, 2014
Finally I now understand what all those chemical words mean:)) Thanks. Now that you are all manlied up, have a wonderful Birthday. You might want to stay away from the furniture though.
By: Akansas Patti on November 7, 2014
I love your definitions for each ingredient. Way too funny. Hope you have a wonderful birthday and the furniture shines in the afterglow!! LOL.
By: Bouncin Barb on November 7, 2014
"I remember an antiperspirant once marketed with the slogan: Strong enough for him, but made for her. This marketing pitch made it seem like women perspired differently than men, which I donât believe." Well, is it that you are not very smart or really brave? Fresca? Just how old are you? Speaking of such, just in case Mrs. C actually reads what you implied about her sweating and you don't make it until tomorrow, I would like to wish you an early very HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on November 7, 2014
You made me laugh out loud! Happy birthday to you!
By: Pixel Peeper on November 7, 2014
Only you could take the ingredients of a shampoo bottle and turn it into something as funny as this post. Freaking HILARIOUSâ¦..now I'm off to go check out my own shampoo bottleâ¦.
By: Marcia @ Menopausal Mother on November 7, 2014
Hmm...I remember those Irish Spring commercials with the dude in the fisherman's sweater carving off a slice of soap with a pocketknife, and a gal saying, "Manly, yes, but I like it too!" I guess you guys are such stinkers you need your own specially-formulated products!
By: Val on November 7, 2014
Well birthday boy, I mean stud-muffin. Here's wishing you a manly day in your man cave. :)
By: Daniel LaFrance on November 7, 2014
Belated Happy Returns of the Day...yesterday. Now I need to go read my shampoo bottles.
By: Tabor on November 8, 2014
Well! Scorpio men do NOT need manly shampoos- they are manly men already! Happy Happy Birthday!
By: Kathe W. on November 8, 2014
Many happy returns of the day, and before you head out and get into trouble at a bar, i recommend a cold shower and no shampoo! Heeheehee!
By: messymimi on November 8, 2014
Happy birthday, you manly man. By the way, I think it's the Guar that does it.
By: Catalyst on November 8, 2014
A shampoo for men which doesn't have beer as an ingredient? That's odd. On a related note, I take Centrum Silver For Men Over 50. I think it has an ingredient to help make sure my weiner doesn't fall off. Or to prevent prostate cancer. Neither of which sounds pleasant, so I'll keep taking them. But, at least they're better than what Mrs. Penwasser has. Her vitamins make me grow boobs, I'm told.
By: Al Penwasser on November 8, 2014
Oh Yes I remember this one, I think the last four ingredients are there to keep us from smelling pretty. Happy Birthday!
By: Jimmy on November 8, 2014
You possess a wonderfully inquisitive mind, And, from your reaction - humping furniture and the like - I suspect that your shampoo contains hefty doses of testosterone. And happy virthday - I hope it's a good one.
By: Bryan Jones on November 9, 2014
Happy birthday to you and your hair. :)
By: Hilary on November 9, 2014
Only you could build a whole post around the contents of your shampoo! I hope your birthday was good, and be careful not to get shampoo on your ipad.
By: LL Cool Joe on November 10, 2014
Happy Birthday, Stephen. I enjoy stopping here always and enjoy this blog! :)
By: Michael Manning on November 10, 2014
That is a brilliant post. Except you may need to check out the use of the word 'humping' for the British market. Or maybe you don't... And belated Happy Birthday!
By: Mike@A Bit About Britain on November 12, 2014
TEA-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate is delicious...
By: Mitchell is Moving on November 24, 2014

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