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


Casinos

July 17, 2017

It’s summer and several fellow bloggers are grabbing their lucky talismans and heading to casinos. Our son CJ recently returned from an Indian casino in Washington State after winning a hundred and fifty dollars on a nickel machine, and he managed to leave without losing it.

 

I’ve been to Vegas and Reno a few times, and we have several Indian casinos in the Portland area, but I never win and always lose my money in record time. Two pathetic casino experiences come to mind.

 

Once while staying at The Venetian in Las Vegas, CJ and I wandered into a tawdry casino next door where I spotted a five-dollar blackjack table, a rarity in Vegas. I queued up behind one of the chairs and waited for my turn at the blackjack table. Before long, half a dozen people were standing in line behind me. I’d never played blackjack in a casino and was unfamiliar with the protocols, and I was excited when I finally slid onto the stool and slapped down my meager pile of chips.

 

The dealer dealt me two aces, and I lost my mind. I briefly forgot who I was, what I was doing, and how to play blackjack. As I stared at the two aces I overheard a fellow behind me say to someone, “Watch, he’s gonna split them!”

 

Thank God! I’d forgotten about splitting, so that’s what I did, and the dealer won both hands. Thankfully, my complimentary drink arrived just as my money ran out.

 

Another time we were walking through the Sands Casino on our way to see comedian Elayne Boosler. While crossing through the casino on our way to the theater something on the carpet caught my eye. Bending down, I saw that it was a chip—a fifty-dollar chip.

 

I picked it up and looked around to see if anyone was looking for it, and when I was satisfied no one was searching for it I stepped over to a blackjack table and placed a bet. The dealer promptly dealt himself blackjack and scooped up my fifty-dollar chip. Sadly, this was still the best I’ve done at a blackjack table.

 

It’s possible blackjack isn’t my game. What about you? Do you frequent casinos? What do you like to play? Are you lucky?

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

24 Comments
I'm not much of a gambler and would've kept the chip. I've played some five card poker slots and always break even. Plus free drinks, so I guess that's coming out ahead.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on July 17, 2017
When I was 5 years old, we drove through LV on the way from Ca to NY. We stopped to see a casino, and I found a five dollar bill on the ground...I have not left a casino on the plus side since!
By: cranky on July 17, 2017
I've been to casino or two and observed... how quickly people lose their money.
By: Daniel LaFrance on July 17, 2017
I normally lose about that quickly also, the best luck we have ever had was once while traveling we checked into the hotel attached to a casino, spent the night gambling, had breakfast the next morning and ended up with 26 bucks more than we started with.
By: Jimmy on July 17, 2017
For years, my husband and I went to Vegas every summer. We seldom go anymore, but it's still our kids' favorite family vacation spot. I use to like Black Jack, but it's hard to find cheap tables with live dealers anymore. Slots are fun, but the odds are totally against you. My husband plays horses (year round at home) and does very well. We joke that his occupation is "paramutual investing". For real gambling, he likes craps. Aces and Eights. I always split them. ;)
By: Kelly on July 17, 2017
I've been to Vegas once and bet a whole dollar on a slot machine--and lost. There are 3 casinos in Detroit and 1 in Canada on the other side of the river but it always seems like too much of a hassle to go and if I'm going to lose money it might as well be on something tangible.
By: PT Dilloway on July 17, 2017
Eh...talisman or no...the casino will always take my money. But I sure as heck have fun losing it.
By: Michael Offutt on July 17, 2017
I'm not much of a casino gambler, and if I gamble at all, it's on the horses, where I usually win a few bucks. I'm not brave enough to gamble big, therefore I'll never WIN big.
By: scott park on July 17, 2017
First time I went to a casino in the Bahamas I learned just how quickly your money can leave you. Next time I went, I hit the penny slots. Had just as much fun and left $1.35 to the good. That is where I head these days.;
By: Arkansas Patti on July 17, 2017
I've only been in a casino once. I didn't like the odor of stale cigarette smoke and the zombies staring at the slot machines. My friend tried to teach me how to play a card game. I was hopeless at it. She had paid for the chips, and fortunately we left with about as much money as she had in the beginning. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on July 17, 2017
Most of my trips to Vegas have been work related-trade shows. Have spent limited time playing0-but love to people watch. Being such a Scotsman and a bit frugal, I've only allowed myself to play the nickel or quarter slots! When Lana and I were at the Grand Casino in Monte Carlo we limited ourselves--believe it or not, to only 5 bucks US. Guess you can tell we are not "high rollers!"
By: Tom Cochrun on July 17, 2017
Since i'm a sore loser, at least of money that i didn't need to lose, i do not place bets at casinos. The one time Sweetie and i went, we left with $5 more than we went in, and the next evening we broke even. That was more than enough for me.
By: messymimi on July 17, 2017
I went to the casino in Connecticut a few years back with my brothers and sister. While there, I remarked that I knew how to play blackjack. They handed me over $100 and told me to win them a fortune. I lost it all. I never said I was GOOD at it. They still don't return my calls.
By: Al Penwasser on July 17, 2017
I spend five days in Vegas once, in the early '90s. Was at a convention. Didn't gamble b/c I didn't like the odds. I do play poker with some buddies every once in a while ... so I lose some money that way.
By: tom sightings on July 17, 2017
I may be the only pe. rson who lived in Nevada for a year and never dropped money in a slot machine. I have done it since, but it never is something I enjoy
By: Sage on July 17, 2017
We have a system here whee charities put volunteer time working at a casino.It's interesting to watch the games but I wouldn't play as I work with redeeming chips. Very few people redeem chips. we also count the dealer's chips . It all has to balance.
By: red Kline on July 17, 2017
neither one of us gamble- I would have kept the $50 chip! However- I bet you had a lovely time with CJ!
By: Kathe W. on July 17, 2017
I love Blackjack but hate the pressure so I just stick to mindless slots.
By: Mitchell is Moving on July 18, 2017
I'm not a gambler. my meager income has always been too hard to come by to throw it away on gambling. once when we were taking a family car vacation we passed through Las Vegas and we stopped at one of the casinos, parked the kids at the play center, we each got $10 worth of nickels ($20 was all we were willing to throw away), played the slots til we lost it all, then got back in the car and continued on.
By: Ellen Abbott on July 18, 2017
In 20+ years I have lost $17.00 and it still pisses me off. I am not a gambler although I do like playing blackjack but maybe for peanuts..literally, peanuts. I live 10 minutes from the Falls where there is a casino and I have been there more than once but the last few times was just to watch the people. I have had clients who have lost big time. One lady, usually women get hooked on the slots, came in with her husband of 34 years. He just found out the night before that the 3 mortgages on their home was mainly for gambling and that they owed over $133,000 in credit card debt. Gamblers are great in hiding and the partner trusts. She was so ashamed and I felt bad for her and her husband because the debts were in both their names. Another man came into my office with debt that his wife incurred. He worked the night shift and was never sick, and would be home by 7am. One night, being so ill, his boss sent him home around 5am only to find his wife was not at home. He found out that when he kissed her goodnight at 11pm and went to work. As soon as he was gone, she checked in on her. 2 and 4 year old(!) and then left to the casino. He owed over $100,000 not including the 2 mortgages. In both cases they had to go bankrupt and lost the house as well.
By: Birgit on July 18, 2017
I've never gambled and never will. It's like throwing money in a garbage can! My dad used to buy lottery tickets and I bought some for him as presents, but I could never understand the allure. And most people who win big spend it all and end up where they were - or worse. It doesn't make sense to me.
By: jenny_o on July 18, 2017
I like blackjack too. It's the only game I'll play at a casino. I once won $40 (after spending $20), and since then I've lost well more than that many times. I'd say it's a wash, provided they had a good buffet. =)
By: Robyn Engel on July 18, 2017
After I graduated from high school my parents & I went on a trip to visit my aunt & uncle in Pennsylvania. While we were there we took a bus tour to Atlantic City - they handed us all $20 worth of quarters & we checked out the casinos. I played slots all day & finally lost my last quarter when it was time to leave. I had a great time!
By: The Bug on July 19, 2017
I don't gamble at all, but my partner does and always wins, not just a little either.
By: LL Cool Joe on July 20, 2017

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