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

Prologue

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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Blog Archive

03/2013

Do Not Touch !

March 01, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
When I was in middle school my art class took a field trip to a museum in Oakland, California. Our teacher, Mr. Mestemacher, told us we’d be seeing some interesting work by world-renown British sculptor Henry Moore. I went to the school library and studied up on this Moore guy. His work was bold and only vaguely realistic, and I was intrigued by one of his quotes where he stressed the tactile qualities of his sculptures and invited viewers to fondle and caress them to receive the fullest experience possible.      I boarded a school bus for the hour-long trip to Oakland along with other future artists from Jefferson Junior High. When the bus halted in front of the museum, Mr. Mestemacher told us we were free to wa ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Blowing Smoke

March 03, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
 This past week fishducky, one of my favorite bloggers, posted an interesting picture I’d like to share. I highly recommend a visit to fishducky, finally!, where you’ll always find something to smile about. This picture from her site inspired my post. For those of you who don’t recognize the item, its purpose will be revealed at the end of my post.   ********************************************************************* I was a healthy child and not prone to accidents, a good thing because my parents relied on home remedies for various ailments, remedies passed down from generation to generation. Doctors were called only in extreme emergencies. My mother recalls an instance when her older brother fell out of a ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Countdown

March 04, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Mrs. Chatterbox and I are in countdown mode for our upcoming trip to India; we leave on Saturday. Mrs. C is a former Army brat raised on moving every few years so she knows how to pack. The suitcases are open in our guest bedroom and already starting to bulge with clothes and items we might need in India. Bugs find me particularly tasty so I’ve dosed my travel gear in DEET to prevent myself from becoming a mosquito buffet; I’d really like to avoid describing for you the discomforts of hepatitis or malaria. We’ve been cautioned not to drink tap water and to be sure seals on bottled water haven’t been broken. The doctor at the travel clinic has cautioned us against eating salads and fruit unless the fruit is washed in ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Thanks, Charlie

March 06, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
On Monday our son CJ lost Charlie, his best friend. Eight years ago CJ decided he wanted a pet. He figured a dog would require more attention than he could give so he settled on a cat. Mrs. C and I accompanied him to the animal shelter where we prowled through cages searching for the perfect pet.      Charlie came close to not being selected; had he not been it would have been my fault. I was mesmerized by another cat. Her name was Jolly Polly. She oozed personality and I campaigned for CJ to adopt her. Her purring was so loud she sounded like a Yamaha motorcycle. I swear she winked at me as she licked my fingers through the cage. And she was a big cat, as big as a medium sized dog. Unfortunately, she oozed more than p ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Namaste (Nah- mes- tay)

March 08, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
I doubt this will come as a surprise to anyone but Lady Chatterbox and I are big Amazing Race fans. We hold our breath at the beginning of each season when Phil Keoghan launches the race by saying, “The world is waiting for you. Good luck. Travel safe.”   We don’t have a dozen teams competing with us for a million dollars, which is a good thing because Mrs. C. dawdles and I have no sense of direction, but we are off on another great adventure, and we truly believe the world is out there waiting for us.   See you in a few weeks with a fresh batch of adventures to share.                         & ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Holy Cow ! - We're Home

March 27, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
     "In religion, India is the only millionaire...... the One land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for all the shows of all the rest of the globe combined."                                                    —Mark Twain—   Mrs. Chatterbox and I have returned from India after the adventure of a lifetime. Thanks to all of you who helped launch our trip with your good wishes. Our health and spi ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Lucky

March 29, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
“You ride my camel?”      That was the idea, the reason Mrs. Chatterbox and I had come to the Thar Desert. The tour brochure promised an exhilarating ride on sand dunes to watch the sunset, followed by a dinner with local tribesmen. Mrs. Chatterbox had no intention of riding a camel across the desert and had chosen to follow behind in a camel-drawn cart.      “My camel, he is a good camel,” said the young man. “Nice and strong for you.”      I studied his face to see if he was taking a jab at my weight, but all I saw was friendliness mixed with a dash of hucksterism. I can’t remember his name but he was brown as mahogany, dressed in a ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Standing on Ceremony

March 31, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
I hope you enjoy this Chubby Chatterbox Easter Rerun from last year:    Standing on Ceremony      I was so excited I felt like I was about to turn inside out.      Mrs. Chatterbox and I were going to see the Pope, not that the Pope was the main attraction that Easter Morning in 1976, not for me anyway: I was there to see Saint Peter’s Basilica—in particular Michelangelo’s breathtaking dome. As a kid I’d read The Agony and the Ecstasy four times, paying extra attention to the chapters devoted to the construction of the dome, and now I was about to see this marvel with my very own eyes.      Visiting the Basilica on Easter Sunday was a ques ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

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