Attorney in the Del.

Reporting on life in Wilmington, Delaware, a small city in a small state. (Note: Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this blog are Copyright 2006, Michael Collins, and cannot be used without permission.)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

An Update on New Orleans From JT

My cousin JT, a resident of New Orleans, wrote to let us know he was OK. Here he is in his own words:

The Orleans levee break is on the 17th street canal. For out of townersthis is the area behind "The Dock" bar right on the lakefront on thewesternmost edge of Orleans Parish. For Loyola people... picture drivingto the end of city park and taking a left on robert e. lee headingtoward Metairie...Bonnebel east to 17thstreet canal was dry according to [omitted] last night so i dohave hope for...old metairie. Uptown was fairly drybut had heavy tree damage, live oaks down all over according to somereports I heard from some friends who stayed around the Riverbend area.I heard the west bank is in fairly good shape.

[A friend]'s house had huge trees down...sigeps willremember the hay barn, its tin was peeled back and flew away. A pecantree fell all over the back of the house while we were in it and missedtaking out a bedroom and car by inches. The huge tree on the south sideof their property went down; the stump was the size of a big churchdoor. The 4 hours of the most intense winds and rain was easily the mostterriying experience of our lives. [Another friend's] house is badly damaged thoughfrom a tree strike, we were on his roof last yesterday tarping it andyou can see where a torando ripped right off of a hill and over hishouse. When you all see the photos you will be stunned that they lived.I spoke to [my friend] late last night and they are going to lock it down andhead to houston. [Another friend] will stay behind for now at his father in laws;they have a mobile home and enough generator gas to last for at least aweek.

DO NOT COME INTO SE LOUISIANA RIGHT NOW...I know everyone wants to helpbut the infrastructure is destroyed. I mean GONE...I saw it myself water, no power, no cell phones. EVERY power line headingtoward covington was down. It is ungodly hot and there is no way to getcool. All the schools have heavy damage. New Orleans has totallycollapsed.

You can donate to Hurricane Katrina relief here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hurricane Relief

Check here for a number of ways to contribute to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Prayers are also useful.

College Football Almost Here

Opening day is just four days away... Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 29, 2005

For All You Navy Fans Out There...

Just a friendly reminder for Saturday.

More Atrocities Committed By US Soldiers In Iraq

George W. Bush's jack-booted thugs are up to no good again. Their rape and pillage of Iraq's citizens and their communities continues apace:

The mother wanted to know if we could help her son, and as much as we wanted to help there was little that we could do. Once the interpreter conveyed the message she looked down for a long moment and then asked if we could spare any food or water. As soon as she asked two of our soldiers walked to our HMMWVs and pulled out a dozen Halal Meals and a box of bottled water. As she watched the soldiers unload the supplies she sat there in utter disbelief. For a moment I though the woman was going to collapse, she stood there like a tree swaying in the wind, her lip trembling and eyes focused on the vehicles. Then she recovered with a sudden start, and sped off towards her hovel. She moved with amazing speed, pausing only to make sure the soldiers were still following her. It was as if she thought our offering was a mirage that would fade from sight if she didn’t hurry. The soldiers followed her with the heavy boxes in tow and in the rush everyone seemed to miss the little boy dragging himself through the rubble. One of the troops heard him wail and immediately turned and walked towards the collapsed figure. When he reached the boy he bent over and gently picked up the boy, as if he were picking up an infant. Picking up that boy was one of the most compassionate acts I have seen here in Baghdad. In that instant the soldier looked past the disease, past the disfigurement, past the smell of rot and waste and noticed only what truly mattered. That the was a little boy who was scared and wanted to return to his mothers side. As he carried the boy to his home he stopped sobbing and started humming a tune. As they turned the corner to her home I could still hear him humming.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Welcome, Spongebob (And Hopefully, New Readers)!

This blog's daily readership, even in it's glory days, has never been much higher than the low double digits.

Today, therefore, in a crass attempt to increase the number of hits to my site, I present a special guest visitor: SPONGEBOB! Kids, tell your friends and your parents!

I now hope to ride the wave of Spongebobmania to all new heights of popularity. Here's the part where I sit back and watch my SiteMeter rocket into the stratosphere! Posted by Picasa

When Will They Ever Learn?

Here's your latest Maryland Terrapins basketball news:

University of Maryland basketball player Chris McCray was arrested in College Park early Sunday morning after refusing to leave the scene of a fight and initially fleeing police, Prince George's County police said today.

McCray, who will be a senior this season, was charged with disturbing the peace, resisting arrest and escaping from custody, said Cpl. Diane Richardson, a police spokeswoman.

Seriously, when will these college athletes realize that behavior like this is bad not just for their own reputation, but for the university at large? If you get a free ride to play a high-profile sport, you should show your appreciation to the school by trying just a bit harder not embarass the school than the average student, whose exploits won't make it past the police blotter in the campus paper.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

More Wilmington Lameness

Last night, we tried to order a pizza from Pizza Hut, and then the local pizza delivery chain Pat's Pizza. Neither establishment, and we tried several of each, delivered to our house. And we live in DOWNTOWN Wilmington, the largest "city" in Delaware. Unbelievable and, quite frankly, pathetic.

Friday, August 26, 2005


I had forgotten until recently about one of my favorite, but most infuriating, websites called "Overlawyered." Today I read this post, one of those smack your forehead in disbelief kinds of stories:

Deep Pocket Files: Taxpayers responsible for porch collapse?

You may recall the unfortunate collapse of a Chicago porch at a party that killed thirteen and injured 57. Of course there are lawsuits against the building owners and the contractor who built a porch that couldn't support 70 people. But the plaintiffs' attorneys recognize that that insurance and the defendants' underlying assets will run out quickly. Thus, they have sought to join the city of Chicago as a defendant for allegedly failing to enforce building codes. (Because, as anyone who has lived in Chicago knows, what that town needs is more city workers.)

John Ehrlich, the city's chief assistant corporation counsel, told Cook County Judge Jeffrey Lawrence that if he didn't drop the city from the lawsuit, it could lead to suits against other cities for everything from bad restaurant food to house fires. "That makes the city of Chicago an insurer for every single bad incident that occurs on private property. And it makes every city -- every municipality in the state -- an insurer for every bad incident" that happens, Ehrlich said. ''If you allow that to happen, you will have [the] bankruptcy of every single municipality and local government in the state. That is simply untenable."

(Nathaniel Hernandez, "Porch suit threatens Illinois cities: lawyer", Chicago Sun-Times, Aug. 24).

I had a similar porch in my old Wrigleyville apartment that wouldn't have allowed 10 people on, much less 70 plus kegs. But, as they pound into your head in law school, you have to go after the deepest possible pockets. Regardless of how moronic it was for the apartment owner to allow that many people on a rickety wooden porch, they want to stick it to the city...even though regulations don't mandate that porches be safe for 70 people. Even if Chicago prevails, they'll still have to waste money defending against this frivilous claim.

Upon reading the story, my first thought was, I wonder how many extra parking tickets they're going to have to issue using guerilla tactics to pay for this one?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I Never Looked At It This Way

I'm not a big fan of SUV's for many reasons. But James Taranto identifies an interesting turn on a favorite reason why not to buy one:

Blogger Andrew Sullivan, just back from vacation, has alighted on this ancient trope:

"As far as I'm concerned, those people driving SUVs are aiding and abetting the enemy, and helping to finance the terrorists that want to kill us all. I'm well aware that the notion that the Bush administration has any interest in energy independence or taxing gas or deterring SUVs is about as likely as their demanding subsidies for sex-changes, but I might as well vent. We can always stigmatize these SUV-terror-enablers. How about bumper-stickers for non-SUVs that simply say: my car doesn't subsidize Saudi terror. Would that help?"

Later he relays a reader's tasteful slogan suggestion: "How many soldiers-per-gallon does your SUV get?"

Meanwhile, al-Jazeera reports that "speculation over the actual size of Saudi Arabia's oil reserves is reaching fever pitch as a major bank says the kingdom's--and the world's--biggest field, Gharwar, is in irreversible decline." If this turns out to be true, then SUV drivers should be regarded as heroes, not goats, for they are helping hasten the day when the Saudis run out of oil.

You Must... this now. All of it.

Rising Gas Prices...Not So Bad?

I hate paying $3.00/gallon as much as the next guy. But if this chart is correct, then we're really not paying so much more. I just find it hard to believe that inflation has taken off enough in the last four years to make such a difference.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

There's Something Missing Here

A Delawarean now for almost four months, I'm feeling a little low. There's something missing here. During a daydream a couple days ago, I think I figured out what has been bothering me about Wilmington, Delaware. It's a city entirely without character. It is a city in which to work on weekdays, and to absolutely abandon on weekends. There just isn't anything here to excite a person.

My wife went to Philadelphia today and was in seventh heaven. Why? There was a Cosi. That's it! No kidding, we are that deprived here in north Delaware. Lunch at Cosi is exotic.

Recently, ESPN stopped here on its 50-in-50 tour (50 states in 50 days). The premise is that an ESPN anchor broadcasts Sportscenter each night in a different state from some sporting event or sports-related event that says "this is [X] state." On Friday they broadcast their Delaware segment from a Wilmington Blue Rocks (Red Sox Single A baseball affiliate) game. On Monday my old neighborhood, Wrigleyville, served as the backdrop as the anchor set up shop across the street from the Wrigley Field marquee. The contrast in excitement and character couldn't have been more stark. Illinois (and in particular, Chicago) had Bartman, the Billy Goat Curse, the first-place White Sox, Ditka, the Fridge, and the '85 Bears, Jordan and six NBA titles, Bobby Hull and the Blackhawks, Illinois basketball (this year's NCAA runner-up), Abraham Lincoln, etc., etc. Delaware had a kid handing out bubble gum at Blue Rocks games, a blue moose and an overgrown piece of celery, the Monster Mile (NASCAR), and WR John Taylor of the late '80's/early '90's 49ers NFL championship teams.

Yep. Celery vs. MJ. That's what we're comparing.

Certainly, there is more to life than sports. Honestly. But you're not going to find it in Wilmington, Delaware. I realized a couple days ago that maybe this malaise I am feeling stems from the situation where, for the first time in six years, I don't live within walking distance or at the very worst, a cab ride, of a major sports franchise's stadium. If I wasn't a five minute walk from Camden Yards or Ravens Stadium in Baltimore, I was a 30 second walk from Wrigley Field. Now, just to add insult to injury, I am a 30 minute drive from nearest major sports franchise...which happens to be any one of the annoying Filthadelphia teams. All we have here are the Rocks. And I don't know anyone who gives a dang whether or not that team wins or loses. Nobody.

There is no vibe here. Ever go to New York, DC, Chicago, Las Vegas? Feel that something that made you think, yeah, I'm somewhere. You won't find it here. This is a city that sits on the banks of the Delaware river, but decided to put a couple of factories and a landfill on what could be prime riverfront real estate. And it just gets blander from there.

And get this: there is no Starbucks in Wilmington! I'm not a huge advocate of Starbucks, but it does act as an economic indicator. In Chicago, DC, NewYork, it seems there's a Starbucks on every corner. Most cities probably have a Starbucks-to-corner ration in the 1:1-1:2 range. And believe me, there are a lot of corners in Chicago. Wilmington, nada. No Starbucks. This country is as sick of the Starbucks plague as they are of McDonald's, WalMarts and Home Depots. Not here. We don't even have one. Perhaps most shocking...sit down for this one...there isn't even a McDonald's downtown. And yes, I proofread that sentence several times. No typos. No McDonald's. Seriously, how poor of a mayor do you have to be to not have a downtown McDonald's?

OK, enough ranting. Let me leave you with this. I live a ten minute walk from my place of employment. My office overlooks the main square in downtown Wilmington. From my back porch, I can look into the windows of several major office buildings and see the worker bees inside. And we grilled out on an absolutely amazing evening earlier tonight, I turned to my wife and said, "You know, even though we are downtown and have office buildings as a backdrop to our porch, don't you get the feeling we're living in the boring suburbs?"

She looked up for a second, and said, "You know, you're right. This is like the suburbs."


Answer To: "What Is This?"

A few days ago I posted part of a picture and asked you to guess what it was. Here's the answer: it's not a leaf, but a grasshopper. I nearly stepped on this guy while walking up some stairs Saturday. If he hadn't fallen over and started flailing on the ground, I don't think I ever would have seen him. His markings so well concealed him that at first glance, I couldn't quite catch what I was looking at. Pretty cool.

(Just a reminder, by clicking on any photo on this site, you can enlarge the image.) Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 22, 2005

Buy My Photos

I posted some more of my photographs at my Exposure Manager site, where you can purchase these fine products and put a dollar or two in my pocket (probably not much more). I added some photos of Europe I took on recent trips to France, Belgium and Germany.

The site is still a work in progress, so please pardon the lack of photos and overall lameness of the presentation. But regardless of how you think the site looks, the picture are worth considering a purchase. It would be helpful to me, and beneficial to your drab office or household walls if you buy a picture or two! Don't be shy!

Old Glory Over the Severn

As you might notice over the course of reading this blog, I really enjoy taking pictures with the American flag somewhere in the photo. For my money, it's the most beautiful flag out there. Here is a photo I took a couple of years ago from the marina on the grounds of the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Between work and cleaning up around the house, I may have to dip into the archives a few times this week. But I don't think you'll be too disappointed.

Old Glory Over the Severn. Annapolis, MD. March 8, 2004. Posted by Picasa

This Old Shack

As a homeowner, my weekends are not long enough. Sometimes I get the feeling that the bird living in this house and me are on the same level as far as home improvement and upkeep goes. Evenings this week will be dedicated to turning my own personal slum into something to be at least slightly proud of.

Avian Slum. Elkton, MD. August 20, 2005. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 20, 2005

What Is This?

Quick, what are you looking at? I'll post the answer later. Posted by Picasa

Today's Flower From Elkton

Stamen. Elkton, MD. August 20, 2005. Posted by Picasa

Gone Fishin'

This afternoon I will head to the Big Elk Creek in Elkton, MD to do a little fishing with my dad. Hopefully, I will have a fish tale or two to tell when I return.

Last night, I stopped in North East, MD to get some seafood at the always excellent Woody's Crab House. Nothing like letting off a little steam after a stressful week at work by putting mallot to crab claw. The office is definitely an artificial human construct, and hours of our lives are spent wasting away within its walls. Smashing crab claws, on the other hand, is the closest I can get these days to getting back to my caveman roots. There is something primeval about cracking into a steamed crustacean and picking out the meat with one's fingers. Love it.

It's great to be back on the East Coast for that reason alone. I sure missed a good crab bake while in Chicago!

Welcome to My New Blog Home!

Well, here we are at the new blog. With the exception of a new name, web address and layout, you should find that my new site will fit like an old pair of shoes. Once I figure out some rudimentary HTML coding, I might even be able to improve this site over the old. For now, welcome to the new digs.

Moving is nothing new for me. In fact, if you include this new blog address, this will be my fourth move of 2005: Chicago to Elkton to Wilmington to Attorney in the Del. Hope you stick around and enjoy the new site!

Old Glory in the Blizzard. Federal Hill, Baltimore, MD. February 2003. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Coming Soon!