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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ASS-Law College

April 8, 2016




The news can be so dreadful that it’s good to pause and laugh when you can, and something I recently read made me chuckle out loud. It involves the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who I won’t pretend to like, but this isn’t about that.


An anonymous donor (thought to be the Koch brothers) just gave twenty million dollars to George Mason University on condition that its college of law be renamed to honor Scalia. The University accepted the money and changed the name to Antonin Scalia School of Law.


Students bristled at the acronym, and expressed concern over attending an institution that would henceforth be lovingly known as ASS of L or ASSoL, forcing another name change. This time the University settled on Antonin Scalia Law School.




Lawyers have been held in low regard throughout much of human history, as is evidenced in Shakespeare’s Henry VI where one of the characters says: The first thing we do let’s kill all the lawyers! Another critic of lawyers was Renaissance painter Arcimboldo (1527-95) who famously depicted a lawyer with a plucked chicken for its nose.


Maybe George Mason University should have stuck with ASSoL to prepare law graduates for future mistreatment. If any of these students become politicians they’ll need to handle verbal abuse.




The Lawyer by Arcimboldo (1566)









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I saw that story on the news the other night and they said that the local stores have already sold a tremendous amount of Tshirts and sweatshirts with the ASSol acronym on them. They might of changed the name but they can't escape how people will refer to the school.
By: Cheryl P. on April 8, 2016
Reminds me of a sports venue here in Philly which is home to the 76ers and Flyers. Now called the Wells Fargo Center, it used to be called the "First Union Center." Yep. "Hey, you going to see that game down at the FUC?"
By: Al Penwasser on April 8, 2016
I hated Antonin Scalia, and in many ways that acronym of A.S.S. should have stuck. It was perfect (at least for me-a liberal aligned man that has struggled with republican regimes all his life). However, he was probably the most important Supreme Court justice of his era. He was brilliant and eloquent and a force of evil to be sure. He was our side's "great antogonist." His death in a presidential year is a nightmare for the republic. I just hope that whoever fills that seat does not end up alienating half the country.
By: Michael Offutt on April 8, 2016
This is priceless! I love it and I am so glad you showed a painting from one of my favourite artists-this man's imagination is genius
By: Birgit on April 8, 2016
I want a t-shirt!! My granddaughter went to Fairmont University, probably so she could wear an FU shirt!!
By: fishducky on April 8, 2016
That's so funny - I can't believe no one thought of the acronym beforehand.
By: The Bug on April 8, 2016
I hadn't heard about this. Thanks for the good laugh. They should have stuck with their first choice. Perfectly apt.
By: Mitchell Is Moving on April 8, 2016
I read about that. It was pretty funny. They could have just inserted his middle name or initial, unless that was also S.
By: PT Dilloway on April 8, 2016
This was new to me. Too funny and I only wish I had the tee shirt business there.
By: Arkansas Patti on April 8, 2016
That is a hoot, and besides, what's in a name? A law school by any other name would turn out sharks, wouldn't it?
By: messymimi on April 8, 2016
Okay, having worked for colleges and universities for about 40 years, I can absolutely picture a public relations person saying, "No, we can't name it ASSOL" and the president and top fund-raiser saying, "Don't be silly, nobody will call us that," and maybe "When he gave us the money we signed an agreement that we can't change." And guess what? They did change it, but the mistake is out there now. Bwahahaha.
By: Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma on April 8, 2016
And the Eagles also have a line in one of their songs, "let's kill all the lawyers"
By: red Kline on April 8, 2016
forewarned = forearmed. :)
By: TexWisGirl on April 8, 2016
I heard about this on Facebook. Life is just too funny. You couldn't make up stuff like that.
By: Pixel Peeper on April 8, 2016
Heh, heh! My 13-year-old self would love to have one of those shirts!
By: Val on April 8, 2016
I love it! I wish they'd left the name alone. I also wish I had gone to law school. The law fascinates me. People speak harshly about lawyers or make bad jokes about them, but when they need a lawyer, their attitudes suddenly change. Mr. Fishducky is a lawyer. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on April 8, 2016
As Dean Wermer might say, "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through ASS Law, son."
By: Mr. Shife on April 8, 2016
I love it. I hadn't heard about this.
By: Brett Minor (Transformed Nonconformist) on April 9, 2016
Hilarious! Especially your suggestion at the end about keeping the ASSoL name so law students can get used to verbal abuse! Hahaha! Have a great weekend, Stephen!
By: Lexa Cain on April 9, 2016
What do you need if you find three lawyers buried up to their necks in cement? More cement!
By: Tom Sightings on April 9, 2016
LOL! Too funny!!!
By: Daniel LaFrance on April 9, 2016
By: Catalyst on April 10, 2016
Don't get me started on lawyers. My ex husband was one, as were several ex beaus. What do you call 100 lawyers who were tossed in the ocean? A good start. Yeah, terrible joke, and a few lawyers are compassionate.
By: Robyn Engel on April 10, 2016
You gave me my second laugh today, Stephen and I must thank you! I know little about Scalia or his colleagues, as my interests reside elsewhere. But the Koch Brothers annoy me.
By: MICHAEL MANNING on April 12, 2016
I'd seen that painting, I'd never noticed the fish mouth, I guess I was too busy looking at the chickens! I think that they should have kept the name, the students could debate the rationale behind naming something without checking any acronyms or double meanings! Cat
By: Cat on April 19, 2016

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