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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Requiem for a Sandwich

October 26, 2016
Sign up for my oil painting give-away. Check out the details (here).
At the beginning of this year, Mrs. Chatterbox and I decided to pay New York City a visit, but after our son suffered an aneurysm we decided we didn’t want to travel far. We hadn’t been to New York in decades and I’d wanted to see Ground ...

 + photos!,  read more

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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Rhythms of the Night

October 21, 2016
One of the big Puerto Vallarta attractions is a show called Rhythms of the Night, a production hawked on most street corners and shops. The last time we were in Puerto Vallarta, Mrs. Chatterbox and I were turned off by all the vendors and took a sunset cruise instead of Rhythms of the Night. We had a fabulous time, but afterwards fellow tourists convinced us we’d missed out on something spectacular. ...

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A Dash for Survival

October 19, 2016
Most of us have seen footage of newly hatched turtles racing into the surf while trying to navigate waves and avoid predators looking for an easy meal. I’ve always been intrigued by the sight of these little guys battling the odds as they ventured into the sea.
Early morning fisherman
I’m an early riser and a few days ...

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October 17, 2016
We’re back from Puerto Vallarta. Although it’s always good returning home from a successful vacation, it was hard leaving balmy weather and returning to a nasty storm in the Northwest that uprooted trees and caused flooding. Fortunately, our home remained dry and undamaged while patiently waiting for our return. Unfortunately, the presidential election isn’t over although we did enjoy a temporary hiatus ...

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Back Soon

October 3, 2016
Mrs. Chatterbox and I are fortunate to have new friends who have offered us their condo in Puerto Vallarta, so we’re off to Mexico to enjoy sunshine, eat fabulous food and shut out presidential politics for a while. Our son CJ will be joining us with his lady friend, who Mrs. C. and I like very much.
In the meantime, I’m thinking about having a Give-A-Way when I return. It shouldn’t come as a ...

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A Heavy Price

September 30, 2016
I’ve mentioned before that after my morning workouts at our local park district I head to the cool gym/auditorium before I hit the showers. There’s usually a toddler play session in the gym and I enjoy watching the kids stagger around like tiny drunks, having fun with a vast assortment of toys. Yesterday, a toddler around eighteen months, with what looked like a full diaper, climbed into a plastic car. I ...

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Requiem for Civility

September 28, 2016
Shootings are taking place around our country with sickening regularity, and I think I know why. Sure, the proliferation of unlimited guns on our streets is a contributing factor, as is an entrenched overseas enemy (ISIS) using the Internet to ensnare disgruntled individuals for sinister purposes. Another factor is unequal opportunities for minorities trapped in an economic system that marginalizes them, but these are ...

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Peculiar Pictures #51 & #52 & #53

September 26, 2016
We had out of town guests for the weekend and our dishwasher malfunctioned flooding our kitchen right after our guests departed. I’ve spent the last few hours emptying the water and cleaning all the traps so I hope it will work properly. As a result, I didn’t have time to write anything new so I’m turning to my Peculiar Picture File—illustrations created when I was a professional ...

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Thanking Dad

September 23, 2016
Lately, I’ve been thinking abut my dad who passed away eight years ago. This post from 2013 is a reminder of the type of man he was.
A rather large spider has erected its web above our front door and Mrs. Chatterbox has demanded I eliminate it. She refuses to exit our home through the front door until I practice spidercide. Some might ...

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Speed Racer

September 21, 2016
My dad was a professional mechanic for the City of Sunnyvale in California. His mechanical ability and interest in cars leapfrogged over me to our son CJ, who shares his late grandfather’s passion for cars.
Last Christmas, CJ treated himself to an automotive experience at Portland International Raceway. He signed up to drive half a dozen laps in ...

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Return of the Swifts

September 19, 2016
Mid September has arrived, which means the swifts are here but will soon depart.
Mrs C. and I weren’t the only ones looking for a new home in Portland Oregon in the early 1980s. Winging up from Central America for a feast of flying insects, a cigar-shaped Vaux Swift was desperately seeking a new late summer home. The hollow tree serving as a roost ...

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The Chatterbox Neighborhood

September 16, 2016
Several of my favorite bloggers have shared pictures of their homes and neighborhoods, often including local wildlife. I always enjoy these posts because it makes me feel closer to people I don’t otherwise have an opportunity to know. Here are pictures of the area in Portland, Oregon, where Mrs. Chatterbox and I live. This region was once a forest bordering Dutch farmland; our neck of the woods ...

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