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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Blog Archive


It's the Principle!

August 02, 2017
When people squabble over small amounts of money they often claim it isn’t about the money; it’s the principle. Money has never been my life’s focus and I’ve dismissed these people as being foolish. Well, here’s yet another example of my hypocrisy.             Last May my mother cancelled her cable service, but accidentally overpaid on her Direct TV bill. She received a statement claiming she had a credit of $32.40. Mom’s retirement complex covered the cable for the television in her living room and she’d only been paying for the cable in her bedroom. Since she no longer had a TV in her bedroom and wouldn’t be incurring any more expense ... read more

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August 04, 2017
I’ve seen it many times over the years, a bronze buffalo on a credenza in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Lately, I’ve chuckled when I’ve seen it behind Trump in pictures taken during cabinet meetings. Strange that Trump, who prides himself on his ability to stage photo ops, hasn’t realized the odd visual presented by this sculpture.             I’d thought the work was done by Frederick Remington, who created the bronze Bronco Buster in the Oval Office, but it’s actually the work of American sculptor Alexander Pope, Jr. (1849-1924). It shows an American bison (there are no actual buffalo in America) about to be pulled down by a pack of snarl ... read more

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Twenty-One Years

August 07, 2017
  Last week was National Night Out, a time for the community to come together and enjoy free pizza and ice cream on a summer night while mingling with the police in an effort to build bridges between citizens and our municipal government. Readers of this blog know that Mrs. Chatterbox works for our local police department. In addition to managing over a hundred volunteers who save our taxpayers more than a hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year, she’s been responsible for planning our National Night Out event.             Mrs. C. will be retiring at the end of September so this was her last National Night Out. CJ and I had come to surprise her, even though it was hard f ... read more

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America's Great Pastime

August 09, 2017
Summer is the time for reruns, which this is, and sports. Many bloggers have great tales to tell about their athletic prowess. I’m not one of them. But there was a time when I was coerced into participating in a baseball game. Those of you who know me are right to assume it didn’t go well.             Mrs. C. and I were attending one of CJ’s Junior League baseball games, minding our own business and enjoying the fresh air when I was tapped on the shoulder by a coach who’d wandered over from a distant ball field. He asked me, “Your boy playing in this game?”             “I nodded and poin ... read more

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America's Great Pastime: Conclusion

August 11, 2017
Check out Part One (Here).   **********************************   My difficulties as an umpire fell into two categories: first was a lack of familiarity with the rules of the game, conveyed to players and spectators by the erratic methods I used to communicate my decisions; second, my co-umpire (Mrs. C.) found it all but impossible to remain impartial and not show favoritism to the hardworking smallest kid in the game.             I learned the hard way that it’s prudent to step back when base runners charge the plate, especially if you’ve just lost a contact lens and can no longer see very well. In my case, when spectators griped that I must be half blind, t ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

The Guitar Player

August 14, 2017
Last week I finished my painting of a guitar player, based on a photograph a fellow blogger was kind enough to give me permission to use as a photo reference. I’m not familiar with the person in the photograph (country blues singer/songwriter Charlie Parr from Minnesota) and was more interested in creating a genre piece rather than a portrait. I was captivated by the golden Rembrandt quality of the image.               My original sketch changed while working on the painting.         I hadn’t noticed, but in the photograph there were two large blurry images of people in the foreground that didn’t work well in my painting. (They can be ... read more

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Flying Without a Net

August 16, 2017
      Last night I did something in bed I haven’t done in years. I was contentedly lying there, dreaming I was King of Bloggers and had finally figured out the difference between further and farther, and a while and awhile, when it happened. Mrs. Chatterbox was on the far side of our king-size bed and in no position to monitor what was going on. That’s when it happened. I felt ashamed when it was over. I mean, I’m not a kid anymore and this sort of thing doesn’t happen to grown men, even men with bladders shrunken to the size of peanuts and requiring frequent trips to the bathroom.   Okay, I’ve let you wallow in prurient thoughts long enough. I didn’t abuse myself or have a noctur ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

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