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

Murder in the Afternoon

December 5, 2016
When I was a kid growing up in the Bay Area in the 50s and 60s, most of our television programming came out of San Francisco. The three big channels were KRON, KPIX and KTVU. After school I tuned in to KRON to watch The Mayor Art Show, which ran from 1959-1966. The mayor was played by Art Finley, who dressed up like a nineteenth century mayor in a morning coat and top hat while telling jokes, running Popeye ...

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What's Between Your Nose and Chin?

December 2, 2016
While reflecting on our recent presidential election, I was reminded of this post from 2012, and how countries often have their moment in the sun before slipping from the world stage. Sometimes it can happen over something as important as an election, or as insignificant as— tulips.
 
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A fiercely independent people once ...

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Fanning the Flames

November 30, 2016
Eight years ago Mrs. Chatterbox and I decided to downsize. We gave up our big hundred year old home and purchased a townhouse. It’s a nice townhouse, and one of the features I admired about it was its large stone fireplace. I’ve always felt a home should have a fireplace and this one was particularly attractive.
 
I consider myself a fairly intelligent person, and as an artist my eyes usually ferret ...

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Peculiar Pictures #54 & #55 & #56

November 28, 2016
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
My mother, known to followers of this blog as Grandma Chatterbox, is having health issues that will require a move to a facility where she can receive better care. I’ve been too busy to write anything for today’s post, but here are a few more Peculiar Pictures from my illustration files.  
 
 
 
...

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Toilet Rage!

November 25, 2016
Mrs. Chatterbox was upset when she returned from shopping at a Christmas bazaar. She explained that the bazaar had unisex restrooms, and when a man exited he’d left the seat up. She was enraged that this fellow had been so impolite as to not lower the seat himself, leaving it for her to do.
 
We’ve explored this topic before. It’s always bothered me that at public venues women are forced to wait ...

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Moosh-vega and Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2016
Thanksgiving is upon us and it’s at this time of year that we focus most on family traditions.
 
In my family, we have special words that aren’t found in the dictionary, words only those who share DNA with us can understand? A few weeks ago CJ was visiting and Mrs. C. fried up some chicken. After eating his fill, our son pushed away his plate and announced he’d had enough. I wasn’t finished ...

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In or Out of the Box?

November 21, 2016
People often comment on how in sync Mrs. Chatterbox and I are, and it’s true that after being together for nearly fifty years we’re capable of finishing each other’s sentences, but in one regard we’re remarkably different.
 
It’s become a cliché, but for years people have been encouraged to “think outside the box,” to step outside your comfort zone to expose ...

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Vanity Plates

November 18, 2016
It wasn’t my smartest decision, slightly better than using a kitchen strainer for an unintended purpose, but Mrs. Chatterbox and I had come into some unexpected money and we thought…why not?
 
Mrs. C’s dad had recently passed, leaving her a fairly new, Titanic-size baby blue Cadillac. Mrs. C. was too young to be tooling around in her father’s caddy so I suggested she trade it in for something ...

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Framed

November 16, 2016
If record-breaking auction sales are any indication, Impressionist paintings are more popular than ever, yet we might never have heard of the Impressionists were it not for one individual, someone who wasn’t even an artist. His name was Paul Durand-Ruel, the son of a picture-seller who became Paris’ premier art dealer.
 
During the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) Durand-Ruel left Paris and escaped to London ...

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Straining a Relationship

November 14, 2016
Caution: If you have a delicate constitution you might not want to read this.
 
Last week not only brought disappointing election results, but I lost one of my dental veneers. Fifteen years ago I decided it was time to fix my teeth, particularly the gap that made me speak with a sloppy sibilant “s”. Over the years, a few of my veneers have come off but I’ve always found them and my dentist ...

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Giveaway Update

November 7, 2016
We’ve reached the halfway point for my giveaway; time for an update. Below is a list of those who’ve indicated an interest in owning this painting. Some of you have offered encouragement without directly stating an interest in participating so I might not have entered you. If you don’t see your name and want to be included, please let me know and I’ll add you to the list.
 
My goal for this ...

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Announcing the Start of the Chubby Chatterbox Give-away

October 24, 2016
Today I’m announcing the beginning of my give-away. Since my goal is to increase readership, I’ll briefly mention what my regular followers already know. I was a professional illustrator for many years as well as a college art professor. The prize for this give-away is a painting I executed of a Victorian lady playing with her cat.
 
A few words about the prize: Several years ago I did a class demonstration ...

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