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

08/2015

In the Dog House

August 03, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Dear readers, I’m in the dog house at Casa Chatterbox, and I know you’ll tell me if this is where I belong. I made the mistake of laughing at my wife, but before you judge me too harshly, hear me out.             On Friday we invited our son CJ to dinner. It’s been pushing a hundred degrees in Portland, and aside from a home cooked meal we figured he’d enjoy an evening in air-conditioning. While we ate ( Mrs. Chatterbox made wedge salads and a delicious beef Stroganoff) the subject of CJ’s new job came up. CJ has moved from Police Records to the Shop, where he fulfils his automotive passion by working on squad cars, motorcycles and countless other city ve ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Update on Protest II

August 05, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
            I’ve been working on Protest II most days this summer. (The original can be found by going to the Chubby Chatterbox Menu Bar and clicking on Fine Art Paintings.) The last time I posted an update was on June 19th when the canvas was toned and the figures only sketched in. Back then, the painting looked like this:     I’ve made great progress, although at times it feels like I’m working at a snail’s pace. The microphone, columns, stairs and wheels of the shopping cart still need definition, but here’s what the painting looks like today:     I painted the central figure in color directly on the canvas instead of using an underpainting me ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Dad's Last Flight: Almost

August 07, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  I’ve been thinking about my dad a lot lately. I find it hard to believe he’s been gone seven years. It’s summer and he loved baseball, but the last time I spoke with him was during a football game. We were enjoying the Super Bowl together. I’m not much of a sports fan, but seven years ago Mrs. Chatterbox and I had a little Super Bowl party. We like to scarf down a few munchies, watch the commercials and wonder what the game is all about. My parents had recently moved to the area and we included them. We had the best time ever. I can’t remember Dad enjoying himself so much. The game was exciting, and after driving home Dad called to tell me what a great time he’d had. I never spoke to him again. Th ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Taking a Stand

August 10, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  Not long ago I finished eating and reached for a fortune cookie at my favorite Chinese restaurant. The message inside informed me that if I wanted to improve my life it was time to be decisive and more vocal with my opinions. Many of you might smirk at the notion that I’m not vocal enough with my opinions; I’ve been referred to as a bleeding heart liberal on more than one occasion, but since I’m always striving to improve my life, and since I can’t afford a qualified therapist, I’ve decided to take my fortune cookie’s advice.             Here at Chubby Chatterbox I try to entertain and inform; I rarely go out on a limb discussing topics like ... read more

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A Special Day

August 12, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  It seems that each day on the calendar has a special designation: Roller Coaster Day, Bad Poetry Day, Skyscraper Appreciation Day, National Donut Day, Hug Your Cat Day, Ship in a Bottle Day, Drinking Straw Day, Satisfied Staying Single Day. These are not made up and quite real. Not wanting tomorrow to go unnoticed among all these important holidays, I’d like to bring to your attention the fact that tomorrow has been set aside to honor those of us once considered deviants, poor wretches with an evil stigma—August 13th is the twenty-fourth annual Left Handers Day.             Here and now I’ll admit to being a “lefty.” Western Culture hasn’t t ... read more

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Attack of the Spam

August 14, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  It’s bad enough that I constantly receive spam indicating that my manhood isn’t all that it could or should be, or that it isn’t working properly and the fix is only a mouse-click away, but now I’m being hounded to purchase a new product. Every day for the past three weeks I’ve sat down at my computer and faced an ad telling me that for a few bucks a month I can have a brand new, state of the art walk-in bathtub.             First off, I’m a shower guy. We have a big tub in our master bathroom but in the seven years we’ve lived here, I have yet to take a bath. Why do these people think I need a walk-in tub? Who’s talking about me ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

The Pits

August 17, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  If you’re a wife, please accept my apology in advance for this post; if you’re a husband, sit back and prepare to be avenged. I admit the victory I’m about to reveal is insignificant, petty, shows my narrow-mindedness, but when victories are so few its size doesn’t matter.             This has been a great summer for fruit, especially nectarines. As a rule, I haven’t enjoyed nectarines because when we buy them in the store they’re hard enough to kill if thrown at someone. I set them aside and by the time they spring to mind they’ve rotted in a bottom drawer of the fridge. But if you put them in a paper bag, the gas they emit is collect ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Honk If You Love Whales

August 19, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  First posted 12/16/11   I’m really tired of being burned when it comes to bumper stickers and artwork on other people’s cars. Responding to these attention grabbers over the years hasn’t always yielded positive results. I’m fed up with the angry looks I get for flashing a thumbs up for chrome fish proclaiming the driver to be a follower of Jesus. I’m bored with political causes and advertisements for overpriced alma maters, license plate frames celebrating private pilots and llama farmers, and stickers announcing the driver would rather be skiing.                  Years ago during my morning walk to the bus stop, a van w ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Heating Up With Mother

August 21, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  It’s been unusually hot here in Portland, a city better known for rain. My mother complains about the heat every day. Of course she also complains about the rain, along with most everything else. She lives in an air-conditioned retirement facility. Unfortunately, my mother, who at ninety is a sharp cookie when it comes to most things, can’t manage the dynamics of AC. And she never could.             Years ago we were visiting my folks in Grass Valley, California, and the temperature was consistently over 105 degrees. My mother confiscated the only fan in the house, lugged it to her bedroom and refused to turn on the air-conditioning. When she fell asleep after dinn ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

The Cranky Club

August 24, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  I recently received a shout-out from one of my favorite bloggers, Cranky at Cranky Old Man. He said some nice things about me, but commented that my recent rant about nectarine pits all but qualified me for status in the Cranky Old Man Club. He asked if I’d reached the point where I was yelling at kids crossing my lawn. I can report it hasn’t come to that—yet. But there was a time when I became crankier than Mr. Wilson pestered by Dennis the Menace.             We’d just bought a big old house in downtown Portland, where off-street parking was at a premium. We wouldn’t have purchased this property except that a previous owner had renovated it, cre ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Requiem for a Plant

August 28, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  It's good being back after resolving my computer woes, I hope.   Today I’m committing planticide. The victim of my crime might want to die, so it might be an assisted suicide, making me a plant killing Dr. Kevorkian. After keeping our only houseplant alive for fifteen years, today I’m sending it to that Chlorophyll Bridge in the Sky.             When my beloved mother-in-law passed away in 2000, my wife’s employer expressed sympathy by sending her a large plant arrangement. All but one of the plants soon died. Mrs. Chatterbox and I have “black thumbs” and have never been able to keep plants alive. Mrs. C. grew up with nothing but artificial ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

The Scam Artist

August 31, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
        I consider myself an astute fellow, someone not likely to buy swampland or send money to Nigerian princes, but there was a time when my resolve not to be victimized by my own ego was put to the test.             I’d flown to London without Mrs. Chatterbox in 1985, who’d chosen instead to vacation in Hawaii with her parents and our little boy. The day dawned bright and clear, not that whiteout sky London is famous for. I’d decided to walk to Number One, London, the former address of the Duke of Wellington, now a museum housing several famous paintings by Velazquez and Goya. I’d arrived an hour before the museum opened, and while k ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

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