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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Away We Go!

May 15, 2015
Away we go!  
It’s been a while since Mrs. Chatterbox and I packed our suitcases and hit the road. On previous trips we’ve explored Turkey, Scandinavia, India, Thailand and Cambodia. On the eighteenth of this month we’re heading for the part of the world once referred to as the Romantic Road—Germany (Bavaria) Austria and Switzerland. Mrs. Chatterbox, an Army brat who grew ...

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May 13, 2015
I’ve made some changes to Chubby Chatterbox you might not have noticed. The Newsletter feature, which I never developed, has been eliminated from the above menu bar and replaced by two new pages, one for Illustrations and the other for Fine Art Paintings. Someone recently asked where on the Web they could find my work, and I realized there wasn’t a place. Now there’s a ...

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May 11, 2015
Saturday was my mother’s ninetieth birthday, and while she struggled to place a positive spin on the event, I was left feeling pensive. Mrs. Chatterbox and our son CJ joined me in attempting to create a festive occasion, but I’m not sure we succeeded. I’d have preferred treating her to a nice dinner in a restaurant, or bringing her to our home so Mrs. Chatterbox could cook some Portuguese favorites, ...

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Pink House

May 8, 2015
First posted 3/28/13
I was in a really rotten mood that day back in 1983. I was unemployed, tired of job hunting and feeling depressed. To improve my spirits I decided to do something I practically never did—Plein Air painting. I packed my art supplies and hit the road. I was a studio painter, but I’d long fantasized about the Impressionists and what it would be like to plant an easel ...

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Prom Night

May 6, 2015
It’s that time of year again when Mrs. Chatterbox and I reflect on a rite of spring, the gathering of high school students in a ritual known as Senior Prom.
The best sightings are in downtown Portland at the marina on the Willamette River. An esplanade bordering the waterfront is crowded with restaurants popular on prom night. For years, ...

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The Smell of Cut Grass

May 4, 2015
On Friday morning I took a moment to enjoy the Spring weather while waiting for the pool to open where I swim laps. The light glistened like an Impressionist painting, and the air was heavy with the scent of grass being mowed at the adjacent high school. Few things trigger memories better than smells, and the pungent scent of cut grass reminded me of all the lawns I’d mowed over the years.

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Remembering Truckzilla

May 1, 2015
First Posted 10/9/13
I thought Mrs. C. had lost her mind when she came home from work, excited at having won two tickets in an office pool for an event so outside my field of interest as to be laughable. “You won tickets to what?” I asked.
She beamed. “Tickets to a truck and tractor pull.”
“What the hell is that?” I asked, hoping the name was a misnomer ...

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Peculiar Picture #36

April 29, 2015
When time hangs heavy and assignments are scarce, a professional illustrator creates “spec” art, pieces painted on the speculation that someone might buy them in the future. The trick is to anticipate what art directors or graphic designers might need. This can be a hit and miss process, but I was fortunate to be able to sell many of my spec pieces.
This ...

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My Favorite Wiener

April 27, 2015
My best friend Ricky Delgado was our lookout halfway down the street.
“Do you see anything?” I bellowed, using my cupped hand to amplify my voice.
Ricky shook his head.           

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God, Is That You?

April 24, 2015
“I’m not going!” I said.
“Yes you are. I’m not leaving you home so you can squeal on me to Mom and Dad. You’re coming, and if you tell, you’ll catch hell with us.”
Rarely did my older brother David include me on his adventures, ...

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Kill All the Lawyers!

April 22, 2015
Shakespeare said it best in Henry VI (Part 2): “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” He may have had the right idea. Still, I need to find a lawyer for my ninety year old mom so she can get her affairs in order. The other day she reminded me that she was always interested in the law and tried to push me in that direction when I was a kid. By this she means ...

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Remembering Why We're Great

April 20, 2015
Saturday began National Park Week, prompting this post.
Everyone should know about this unassuming stone gate because it represents something remarkable, something never before seen in the history of mankind. Few people pass through this portal anymore because it is no longer the quickest way to enter Yellowstone National Park, but if you do, take a moment to look closely at the words ...

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What Were We Thinking?

April 17, 2015
I post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays so I miss out on Throwback Thursdays. Many of you post vintage pictures, and I’m amazed at how good-looking everyone was back in the day. Sure, the fashions and hairstyles are a bit peculiar by modern standards, but that’s to be expected.
I recently came across a picture that pushes ...

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Stephen Hayes
(a.k.a. Chubby Chatterbox)
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