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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Peculiar Travel pictures

February 22, 2016





As regular followers of this blog know, I’m a retired illustrator and from time to time I post peculiar pictures I created for clients, pictures that for one reason or another were never published. This time I’m posting a few peculiar pictures I snapped while on vacation with Mrs. Chatterbox. There’s no rhyme nor reason to these pictures; they just made me smile.




This picture was snapped in the lobby of a hotel in Izmir, Turkey. If they didn’t want people smoking, why place ashtrays on every table? Note: I emptied the ashes before taking this picture.




Hong Kong has many islands and on one of them I spotted this statue in a four- hundred-year-old temple. I have no idea what deity this statue represents, but I was intrigued by his uncooperative finger gesture.





The proprietor of this Chinese market couldn’t explain what these items were, but at $68,000 dollars each they were too rich for my blood.





It’s really sad when you can’t outrun a lumbering Komodo dragon, but this one slithered into a nearby pond when I raced to photograph it on the grounds of a Thai royal palace. Good thing it didn’t turn around and chase me.





These guys seemed to be waiting outside the Jain Temple in Ranakpur for close-up shots, but at seventy-five pounds each and sporting two inch fangs, they can go on waiting….




At every stop in India we encountered signs offering genuine “fake” watches. I guess you could sue if they misrepresented these watches by intentionally selling one that was authentic instead of fake.





At a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai, I was surprised to see this demon on the steps of a temple. Thailand’s MOM is almost as scary as my mom.



I hope everyone has a terrific week.




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"Genuine Fake Watches." That's awesome. Tells you exactly what you're getting. As for Komodo dragons? You are brave to chase after that one. I hear they are fast and deadly and will turn and bite you and then wait for the poison to slowly kill you before eating.
By: Michael Offutt on February 22, 2016
When I lived on Java they had those monitor lizards which can bite if cornered...but mostly avoid you. The big iguanas are now moving into Florida and can be found everywhere! I think you expensive item comes from the lower areas of elephants...?? maybe?
By: Tabor on February 22, 2016
You have a good eye for interesting and or unusual stuff. I'm going to guess Rhino ears.
By: cranky on February 22, 2016
Not necessarily peculiar. Although the elephant parts would be upsetting... if accurate. Hope you picked up a few genuine Rolex fakes. They make wonderful gifts. :)
By: Daniel LaFrance on February 22, 2016
Conquered a little much needed "nesting" this weekend, still a long long ways to go... But the bed is up and I've moved... a few things. I love the photos of the monkeys, my favs. :)
By: Hey Monkey Butt on February 22, 2016
Very funny!! The genuine fake watches really is a good example of truth in advertising. The finger pointing statue is certainly interesting. I might want one of those for my front porch.
By: Cheryl P. on February 22, 2016
fun pictures.
By: ellen abbott on February 22, 2016
Yeah, you don't want that Komodo catching and biting you! Their saliva can be deadly. That thing hanging in the market is scary. You were probably better off not knowing what it was. Great shots!
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on February 22, 2016
These are great, Stephen!!
By: fishducky on February 22, 2016
Great shots!
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on February 22, 2016
I know a guy who would shop at that Genuine Fake Watch store.
By: Catalyst on February 22, 2016
Great pictures, Steve! Besides the genuine fake watches, my favorite is the monkey taking pictures...of tourists?
By: Linda on February 22, 2016
If those are the genuine fake watches, how bad must the fake fake watches be? That demon would definitely not make for a very good mother's day card.
By: PT Dilloway on February 22, 2016
These are some interesting photos. The picture of the monkey looking through the camera is classic :)
By: Rick Watson on February 22, 2016
It takes a sharp eye to see these situations.
By: red on February 22, 2016
thanks for the laughs!
By: TexWisGirl on February 22, 2016
Love these, especially the two statues of the mean deity and "Mom." Those $68k things look like chicken or duck skins. Weird. Have a great week! :)
By: Lexa Cain on February 22, 2016
It really is fun to travel and see what we consider unusual, isn't it?
By: messymimi on February 22, 2016
Thanks for sharing. Wonderful postcards by a guy who has a well used passport and a keen eye.
By: Tom Cochrun on February 22, 2016
OMG...I want the statue of the deity! Wouldn't it be great at my front door?
By: Pixel Peeper on February 22, 2016
Looks like Thailand's "MOM" scared a couple of folks right out of their shoes!
By: Val on February 22, 2016
68000 is in HKD, it's around 7K US dollars
By: Should Fish More on February 22, 2016
What a great, hilarious collection! I always loved the ads in the States for genuine "faux" watches. I always wondered how many people thought that meant the real thing.
By: Mitchell Is Moving on February 23, 2016
I love your eye for the humorous and ridiculous!
By: Tom Sightings on February 23, 2016
hah! Great pics! I once saw wallets in Mexico that were said to be made of "Genuine Imitation Leather" Cheers!
By: Kathe W. on February 23, 2016
A "Mom" joke. ALWAYS a crowd-pleaser!
By: Al Penwasser on February 23, 2016
tried to send email to answer yours, it was rejected for some reason. you asked about my blog...it's memoirsofacardiopulmonaryguy.blogspot.com
By: mike on February 23, 2016
Hmm, I don't think I would have chased the komodo dragon, he resembles our alligators and I am petrified of them. You and the Mrs. have sure traveled the world. Lucky you! I hope it is nice where you are now...it is raining buckets and buckets here.
By: Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines on February 23, 2016
I'm laughing my head off here. Thanks. Greetings from London.
By: A Cuban In London on February 23, 2016
Great pics. A couple of good oxymorons there I'd say!
By: Bouncin Barb on February 23, 2016
Great pictures!
By: jenny_o on February 23, 2016
Oh my, I'm laughing. "Genuine Fake..." That's actually a great accurate description for many American items and people too. Thanks for the fun photos.
By: Robyn Engel on February 23, 2016
Ha - love these!
By: The Bug on February 24, 2016
Ha....a few of those pics deserve a Bill Envgall's Here's your sign
By: Beckie Evans on February 24, 2016

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