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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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 she made me watch Perry Mason with her every afternoon. My mother talked through every scene, making me wish that, when the murderer jumped up in the courtroom yelling, “I killed him! He deserved it and I’d do it again,” it would be Mom who was cuffed and hauled away. 

I never became a lawyer, but I did fall in love with Della Street. It seemed to me that Della was the perfect woman. Day or night, she was forever doing whatever Perry asked. She was always happy to pour Perry’s coffee or bring him sandwiches, and she never looked frustrated at not having the slightest idea as to who the weekly murderer was.



I’ve yet to find a lawyer like Perry Mason. The last one I visited used the word “technically” sixteen times in the hour I spent with him and charged me hundreds of dollars, thirty bucks for each “technically.” 

In 1566 the brilliant Italian painter Arcimboldo depicted a lawyer in his painting “The Jurist.” This artist excelled at creating images from random items: he painted an amazing portrait of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II from nothing but fruit. Arcimboldo clearly  shares Shakespeare’s sentiments about lawyers. Notice the details making up the lawyer’s face. I believe that’s a plucked pigeon serving as the nose.


How appropriate.  


              Arcimboldo's The Jurist, 1566



     What are your experiences with lawyers? There must be good ones out there.  




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The fish tail chin fits. Good luck finding a good one for your mother.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on April 22, 2015
Reminds me of a quote "Something's rotten in Denmark" As for lawyers I've had the unfortunate luck with one in particular who mal-practiced the law beyond belief- she "retired" before we could all have a go at her. But then there is our family lawyer who is fabulous and always gives us the "family rate"...he helped us immensely when my dad got difficult in his mean nasty old age. May I never ever do that to my children.
By: Kathe W. on April 22, 2015
scary!!! i've only used an attorney once, and frankly, he didn't earn his fees.
By: TexWisGirl on April 22, 2015
Well, as a legal assistant I work for lawyers - ha! I love my boss - & you would too. She & I are on the same socio-political wavelength :)
By: The Bug on April 22, 2015
The only good lawyers are the ones on your side.
By: cranky on April 22, 2015
I work for lawyers. There are good lawyers. But there are an awful lot of bad ones, and too many in general. I'm glad you didn't become a lawyer, and so are you, even if you don't realize it.
By: Katy Anders on April 22, 2015
Reminds me of an old (and, honestly, unfair) joke: What do you call a bus full of lawyers driving off a cliff? A good start.
By: Al Penwasser on April 22, 2015
Does the judicial system benefit the innocent and the truth?
By: Daniel LaFrance on April 22, 2015
After using three, I have nothing good to say about any of them. Charge you an arm and a leg, won't answer calls, won't return calls, good old boy network!
By: Linda on April 22, 2015
My personal lawyer is knowledgeable, caring & very good in bed--fortunately, he's also my husband!!
By: fishducky on April 22, 2015
the only experience I have had with lawyers is when I got divorced. he made sure my ex-husband got all the debt. plus he flirted with me which boosted my self esteem.
By: Ellen Abbott on April 22, 2015
I think people categorize all lawyers as shysters until they need one. My experience with them is minimal- one murder trial that I sat jury on- but it opened my eyes about how our judicial system really works behind the scenes. Just like policeman, though..there are good ones and bad ones. I would investigate thoroughly before I chose one for Mom.
By: Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines on April 22, 2015
I would be happy for most of them to die today--miserably.
By: Snowbrush on April 22, 2015
I've dated a couple and even one judge and those fellows were great for that purpose. Thankfully have never needed one for legal purposes. For your Mom, hopefully someone you know can give one a personal reference. It is hard to trust them.
By: Akansas Patti on April 22, 2015
There are good ones, usually they specialize in something other than ambulance chasing or getting guilty people off the hook.
By: mimi on April 22, 2015
I've had a variety of experiences with lawyers, mostly good, but some terrible. Let's talk divorce. Or let's not. I've probably written about the lawyers on my blog. If I haven't, I should. The first lawyer I hired never did one single thing. Never filed a document. Told me I could not have what I wanted. She ended up quitting. She was a petulant child. The second lawyer had a formula for figuring out how much money should go to the spouse who didn't have money, or had less money. I'm sure he could have gotten me even more than he did, but I was too afraid to return to Illinois and look at my soon-to-be ex-husband in court. I settled as quickly and easily as possible. My lawyer did a good job and always listened to me. Ask your friends if they've had good experiences with any lawyers. I have a friend from high school who is a lawyer, but he lives and works in L.A. I have no doubt about his brilliance as a lawyer. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on April 22, 2015
Is it safe to assume that it would not be snot running out of Arcimboldo's jurist's nose? That is, if the pigeon was still alive, of course. Since it probably isn't... Oh, never mind.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on April 22, 2015
We have a good one. He costs an arm and a leg, but he gives us his private phone number, and emails right back. I did a little work for him on the side years ago. He would have taken me away from the glamorous world of teaching if I had agreed to work in his office. I did not. He roundaboutly got me out of a couple of court cases when I was called for jury duty, because I did not think I could be impartial when he was trying a case.
By: Val on April 22, 2015
I'm really surprised how far back in history the disdain for lawyers goes - I always thought it was a fairly recent sentiment. I've only had to deal with lawyers during my divorce (he was OK), and during routine real estate transactions (brief and mostly handled by the paralegal).
By: Pixel Peeper on April 22, 2015
Stephen: I guess Della was the Sandra Bullock of her day! :)
By: Michael Manning on April 22, 2015
Outside of setting up corporations, wills, probate, etc, I've never dealt much with lawyers....never sued or been sued. I'm hoping to keep it that way until the day I die.
By: scott park on April 22, 2015
I only had one bad experience. the others I knew so that makes a difference.
By: red on April 22, 2015
Husband and I still watch Perry Mason when it comes on, and I think Husband might have a definite similar opinion to you about Della... I had a lawyer that wasn't too bad after my accident... He was able to get some funds, and helped me go through needing to speak to an Oregon Legislator to change a law that affected how I was to be paid... Or not paid. Cat
By: Cat on April 22, 2015
I hate most lawyers too. They're evil, arrogant, patronizing, and more. But I have known a few very nice and honest ones. They're the ones who are tempted to change fields.
By: Robyn Engel on April 22, 2015
What a great image and so appropriate.
By: John on April 23, 2015
Oh, there are a few decent lawyers, but the profession has its share of weasels and whores. The illustration is an effective statement. And I too had a crush on Della. What a woman!
By: Tom Cochrun on April 23, 2015
You have reminded me of the few (unhappy) times I have really needed a lawyer. Mostly we used our next door neighbors firm and were successful and reasonably charged. What I need is a reasonable tax preparer!!
By: Tabor on April 24, 2015

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