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

Chubby Gets Cheated

January 28, 2015

I learned at a tender age that life isn’t fair, some things don’t live up to their hype while others seemed designed to fool you.
I can’t recall how or when I became addicted to chocolate. Like George Costanza, I’d long worshipped the “dark” master. There was something about the stuff that attracted me; chocolate was a magnet and I had a load of pig iron in my pockets. My parents ...

 + photos!,  read more

A Sucky Situation

January 26, 2015
This is either another skirmish in the war between men and women, or another example of what a bad person I am. You decide.
           
Books have been written about the differences between men and women, such as Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. A recent occurrence in the Chatterbox household illustrates this difference perfectly. Without getting ...

 + photos!,  read more

The Facile Fasces

January 23, 2015
 
 
 
 
While watching President Obama’s recent State of the Union Address, I spotted something on TV that reminded me of my interest in symbols and customs. For me, it isn’t enough that something exists; I want to know why. Have you ever noticed the large wall decorations flanking the podium in the US House of Representatives? They’re called fasces; the word derives from the Latin ...

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Bragging on the Bolshoi

January 21, 2015
The Fantasy
           
Cultured and sophisticated people are a different breed from Joe Six Pack and the other plebeians on the street. The world is their playground and they cast a larger shadow than average people. They donate money to museums and universities and have their names engraved on libraries, hospital wings and research centers. They donate to ...

 + photos!,  read more

Logos on Treadmills

January 19, 2015
When I was a chubby kid, I wished everyone was overweight so I wouldn’t stand out so much. An old Chinese saying cautions: Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. Recently, it seems I’ve gotten my way. America is fattening up with obesity becoming an epidemic, and in spite of my youthful wish I’m not happy about my fellow citizens experiencing high blood pressure, clogged arteries, ...

 + photos!,  read more

Chocolate Diamonds

January 16, 2015
I realize that a recent post admitting my fashion limitations (check it out here) might compromise what I’m about to say, but I’m here to offer a different fashion tip concerning something I know about—diamonds. There was a time when I made a lot of money selling diamonds, and while I purposely never became a certified gemologist from fear it would compromise my ability to sell them, I nevertheless ...

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Mrs. Chatterbox's Rainbow

January 14, 2015
First posted Feb, 2012
 
Mrs. Chatterbox and I married shortly after graduating from college, she with an English degree from Santa Clara University and me with an art degree from UCLA. We settled in a 1930s duplex in West LA. I continued to hang out with my artsy college friends and tried to break into the Los Angeles art scene. Mrs. C. and I frequented numerous parties and artistic events, referred to ...

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Three Wishes

January 12, 2015
I was an unusually deep thinker as a child, a kid who contemplated philosophy and religion, a chubby little Stephen Hawking contemplating the nature of the universe. But mostly I was consumed by something that trumped these notable concerns. I was worried about genies.
           
“Genies?” you might say.
           
Yes...

 + photos!,  read more

Now & Then

January 9, 2015
If you missed Part One of my trip to a legal marijuana shop, check it out (here).
 
 
1972
My college roommate Mel and I drive to West Covina, wherever the hell that is, to procure some weed. Mel has the address; our dealer, Eli, lived in our dorm last year but has since moved off campus. Mel has kept in touch. We pull up to a ‘30s bungalow. A drooling mastiff, later to be identified as ...

 + photos!,  read more

New Vansterdam

January 7, 2015

 
A few days after Christmas, I decided to make an overdue visit to a friend in Vancouver, Washington. For those of you unfamiliar with the Pacific Northwest, Vancouver is across the Columbia River, and only a few miles from Portland, Oregon. When I arrived, my friend, who I’ll call Sam, had a few errands to run so I accompanied him. Sam, who’d been my assistant when I managed a jewelry store years ...

 + photos!,  read more

Online Security

January 5, 2015
It seems like every day I receive a warning reminding me to protect myself from hackers and scammers by changing my passwords as regularly as I change my underwear. I probably shouldn’t announce this, but I only have one password and I use it for everything, and have done so for a long time. I accept this risk because my memory isn’t what it should be, and I know I’d forget new passwords before the ...

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Radio Gibberish

January 2, 2015
I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year Holiday. Yesterday, I partied too hard to write anything new, but here’s a post from 2012 I hope will bring you to a happy place.
 
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I love it when bloggers post music videos. I don’t make enough time in my life for music and one of my New Year’s resolutions is to add more music to my life. ...

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No Fashion Guru

December 31, 2014
A few years ago I made a dreadful mistake, something absurd for one as cultured and capable as yours truly. Even before revealing what I did, I can imagine you ladies— and some of you guys—tsk..tsk…tsking me for my stupidity. I can almost hear you turning to loved ones and speaking of me as if I’d been picked up on the street in my underwear, not knowing who I was. “He seemed so smart,” ...

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