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.)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Roster of Futility

The votes of my last six Senators (MD, IL, DE) in today's John G. Roberts, Jr. confirmation vote for the Chief Justiceship:

Paul Sarbanes: No
Barbara Mikulski: No
Dick Durbin: No
Barak Obama: No
Joe Biden: No
Tom Carper: Yes(!)...very surprising

One for six. That's pathetic when it is hard to imagine a better qualified, better tempered person for the job. The final tally today was 78-22 in favor of non-Chief Justice Roberts' nomination. By comparison, all of Clinton's nominees sailed through, including former ACLU head Ruth Bader Ginsburg (97-3!). How is it that I got stuck with over 20% of the dissenters as my Senators for the last 20 years?

What has happened to the Democratic party? One thing is for certain, this roster of shame shows that my states' politicians are nothing more than a bunch of classless, hyper-partisans...definitely not my representatives.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Catholic Values Return To Notre Dame

Although I'll be cheering heartily for my wife's Boilermakers at this weekend's Purdue/Notre Dame at Ross Ade Stadium in W. Lafayette, IN, I won't hate the Irish quite as much as I traditionally have since reading this story:

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Charlie Weis doesn't usually let anyone else call plays on offense. He made an exception for 10-year-old Montana Mazurkiewicz.

The Notre Dame coach met last week with Montana, who had been told by doctors weeks earlier that there was nothing more they could do to stop the spread of his inoperable brain tumor.

Weis asked Montana if there was something he could do for him. He agreed to let Montana call the first play against Washington on Saturday. He called "pass right."

Montana never got to see the play. He died Friday at his home.

Weis heard about the death and called Mazurkiewicz on Friday night to assure her he would still call Montana's play.

"He said, 'This game is for Montana, and the play still stands,'" she said.

Weis said he told the team about the visit. He said it wasn't a "Win one for the Gipper" speech, because he doesn't believe in using individuals as inspiration. He just wanted the team to know people like Montana are out there.

"That they represent a lot of people that they don't even realize they're representing," Weis said.

When the Irish started on their own 1-yard-line following a fumble recovery, Mazurkiewicz wasn't sure Notre Dame would be able to throw a pass. Weis was concerned about that, too. So was quarterback Brady Quinn.

"He said what are we going to do?" Weis said. "I said we have no choice. We're throwing it to the right."

Weis called a play where most of the Irish went left, Quinn ran right and looked for tight end Anthony Fasano on the right.

Mazurkiewicz watched with her family.

"I just closed my eyes. I thought, 'There's no way he's going to be able to make that pass. Not from where they're at. He's going to get sacked and Washington's going to get two points,'" she said.

Fasano caught the pass and leapt over a defender for a 13-yard gain.

"It's almost like Montana was willing him to beat that defender and take it to the house," Weis said.

You have to hand it to Coach Weis. That took a lot of character. He may look like Rodney Dangerfield, but he certainly earned my respect last Saturday.

It's Random Monkey Wednesday

Why, you ask? Why NOT?! Posted by Picasa

Nine Lives

They say cats have nine lives. This picture looks like our Keady is giving up one of her ghosts. Posted by Picasa

Tupac Shakur Movie

Maybe it's just me, but for a guy who has been dead since 1996, Tupac Shakur seems to be one of the most prolific artists in music these days. Seems like every year he puts out new material. And now he's making a movie. Creepy. Personally, I think he's still alive.

I'm waiting for next year's Tupac and Elvis Merry, Merry Christmas album. All new material, of course.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sweet Home Chicago

This Friday we are headed back to Chicago for the first time since early May to see my cousin get married. Granted, the wedding will actually occur in a suburb about 45 minutes from downtown, but we do have to drive right past the city on the way down to visit my wife's family in Indiana. We're just going to hate going through it as it mocks us with its memories of fun times and non-stop excitement.

Blast Wilmington, DE! Posted by Picasa

How Lame is Wilmington, DE?

Not too long after we first met, my wife took me to her tiny hometown in Indiana. At the time, we were both living in Chicago. We toured her childhood home, Purdue University, and eventually downtown Indianapolis. As we drove through Indy, she said,

"Indianapolis would be a nice to place to live, if only it wasn't so lame."

Fast forward to last week, after only 3 1/2 months in Wilmington, DE. My wife actually said this out of the blue:

"You know what would be really cool, if we moved to Indianapolis!"

Thursday, September 22, 2005

100 Years Ago...

I have been scanning some of my grandmother's old photographs recently in order to keep a digital back-up record of her era. She died at age 99 in 2001. Consequently, she witnessed nearly the entire 20th century.

This is one of my favorite photos. My grandmother and her twin sister taken sometime during the mid '00's...about a century ago. Wow. Posted by Picasa

Excitement in Wilmington

Today, the most incredible thing to happen in Wilmington, DE since I moved here occured. About 3pm in the afternoon, a colleague came into an office I was standing in and said a naked guy was parading around in circles in the square across the street. This square is usually populated by a bunch of loiterers and miscellaneous people waiting for busses. But today, some dude decided to "hang out" in the buff.

I missed the theatrics, but did look out the window in time to see that the man was surrounded by five Wilmington police officers (the most I have seen since relocating here) and talking animatedly...wearing nothing but a t-shirt that a now shirtless man had given him. As we all stood around in the office laughing, the police let the man walk away, still clad only in a t-shirt and clutching a pair of sandals.

Gosh, that was exciting!

This Week's Sights From Terpland

The Terrapins lost Saturday for the second week in a row, this time to out of conference rival West Virginia. The Mountaineers running game proved to much for a worn out Terps defense that couldn't seem to get a rest. With the Terps offense on the field for only 24 out of the game's 60 minutes, the hillbillies smashed Terp mouth after mouth in the final quarter turning a surprising early 4th quarter comeback into a 31-19 rout.

The teams battled on another beautiful Saturday afternoon in College Park. Temperatures soared into the upper 80's, however, and the heat combined with the Terrapins defeat made sitting in the bowl akin to one of Dante's circles of Hell. After spending two years in the Midwest, it seems almost sacreligeous to attend a football game in such warm weather. This definitely isn't Lambeau Field in December.

Tim Strachan finds a spot in the shade next to Testudo in the player's tunnel. Smart man. I was lucky enough to get upgraded from my seats directly in the sun, to cooler seats in the shade of the Byrd Stadium press box. Few times in my life have I been happier.

Both teams battled in the heat to a 7-6 stalemate through the third quarter, until the Mountaineers offense made like the sun and got hot. A 14-6 lead quickly became 21-6 with 10:41 left in the final quarter. The Terp defense huddled together for answers but seemed out of fresh ideas to stop the burgeoning WVU rushing attack.

Then the Terps offense briefly exploded, scoring a TD on a 73 yard pass from QB Sam Hollenbach to Man Among Boys TE Vernon Davis. The score stood at 21-13. On the ensuing kickoff, Terrapin special teams forced a fumble, and suddenly Maryland had a short field before it, down by on a TD and a two point conversion.

Unfortunately, most of the Maryland student body wasn't there to see this amazing turn of events. They had already abandoned the team at the 10:41 mark, shamefully streaming en masse out of the stadium.

A few plays later, Sam Hollenbach hit a receiver in the endzone, and the Terps needed only a two-point conversion to tie this baby up! Hollenbach, to the delight of the large and still intact WVU fan section overthrew his receiver in the back of the endzone. 21-19 WVU.

There was still work to be done on defense if the Terps were to build this comeback into an eventual victory. But the Mountaineers proved more than a match for the worn out Terps D. Coach Dave Sollazo (in black) tried again and again to rally his troops, but to no avail.

The combination of the weather and a superior WVU rushing attack proved the Terrapins ruin. The final score, 31-19 Mountaineers. We'll have to wait 'til next year, as they say EVERY year in Chicago, for that elusive championship. Time has run out on this season.

If any positive came out of this game, I hope it is that the Terp student section feels remorse for abandoning its team early in the fourth quarter, down by only two TD's. Coach Friedgen always asks the fans, "Are you in, or are you out?" The students on Saturday disrespected their football program. Until Maryland fans realize what it takes to be a big football program (ie, a big, rabid following), they won't have one. Certainly success on the field is a big factor towards attracting such a following, but the fans that are already there should know better. The large Mountaineer contingent stayed, and stayed loud, until well after the game. Terrapins fans should take some pointers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

New Terp

I think Maryland fans will enjoy this photo.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Terps vs. Mountaineers: Quick Takes

Maryland fell to 1-2 on the season with a loss to out-of-conference rival West Virginia on Saturday 31-19. The Terps made a game of it late in the second half, but it was a case of too little, too late. Below are a few observations from the stands, starting with the negative, but ending with the positives going into next week against Wake Forest.


1) Mother Nature. Maybe it's because I just turned 30, or maybe it's because I just returned to the East Coast from chilly Chicago, but I can't handle these early season football games with game-time temperatures in the upper 80's. Unless you sit below the Byrd Stadium press box, there is no relief from the sun in the seating bowl. These last two weekends have been brutal. Perhaps if we had won either of our first two home games, I wouldn't make this observation. But baking in the sun and watching the Terps fall flat week in and week out has to be similar to one of the rings of hell. More water, please!
2) The Running Game. Sorry, Terps fans, but Maryland is toast. We cannot run the ball, period. Forget the Navy game. Your 2005 Maryland running game is good for 50-75 yards of offense a game. And guess what that means? We are not going to win many games this season. The last two weeks the Terps have posted 56 and 50 net rushing yards (translating into 1.5 and 1.7 yards per carry). With no running game, get ready to stick that fork in the Terps. Sadly, I think the Terps are good for only three more wins this season (Wake, Temple, UNC), if we're lucky. We're not beating anyone else. Why? Read on...
3) The Fourth Quarter Defense. This is not a knock on the Terrapins defense in any way. Really, it's a knock on the Terps offense. At the end of three quarters on Saturday, the score was 7-6 in favor of WVU. At the end of three quarters a week ago, Maryland led 24-14. Terps ACC opponents over the last two weeks have gone on to score 38 fourth quarter points! Why? See #2 above. A friend of mine I took to game asked me before it started what I predicted. I stated that we had three quarters of defense, courtesy of our missing running game. WVU held the ball for 36 minutes to the Terps' 24. The Terrapin D was constantly on the field from the first quarter on, and the Mountaineers pounded away at the Terps with 301 net yards rushing. That's killer. Further, Maryland managed only two drives that lasted more than five plays. Don't fault the defense here, this is an offensive problem. Unfortunately, with the running game sputtering and no relief in sight, expect this phenomenon to continue to haunt our boys.

1) TE Vernon Davis. This is a man among boys. When the ball is in his hands, expect excitement. 5 catches, 158 yards, 1 TD on a 73 yard reception, about 55 yards of which were after the catch. Davis makes Hollenbach a better QB. Don't expect the junior to be around next year, however.
2) The Terrapin Defense, Quarters 1-3. Maryland's defense continued to impress early in the game. Late, however, is another story. But you cannot expect a squad to remain fresh when they spend the majority of the game on the field, and take a relentless pounding by a running team. WVU had two long runs in the fourth quarter by its FB that highlighted the fatigue. For three quarters, however, the Terps D held firm and kept the Terps in the game.
3) QB Sam Hollenbach. With the exception of a couple ill-advised runs, that led to fumbles, Hollenbach looked good for the third consecutive week. Sam went 20-31-291-2-0 for the game, stats that, in a vacuum, look like the stats of a winning QB. The lack of support from the running game has Hollenbach 1-2 as a starter this year. His season stats, however, are more indicative of a QB who could be 3-0.

And finally, a SPECIAL CON goes out to the Maryland student section. Maryland will never have a big-time football program until its students learn how to be big time football program fans. I took the picture below at the 10:41 mark in the fourth quarter, with the Terps down only two TD's at 21-6. Two minutes and 17 seconds later, the Hollenbach overthrew a receiver in the back of the endzone on a two point conversion attempt that would have tied the game. Pathetically, half the Maryland student never saw that furious comeback. Contrast that with the Notre Dame student section on Saturday. At the 5:37 mark of the 3rd quarter, MSU punted with a 21 point lead. The students were still there. At the 13:46 mark, MSU missed a FG with a two TD lead. The students were still there. The Terps student section bailed out after WVU scored its second TD of the 4th quarter, with nearly 11 minutes to go. That's only a two TD lead, but the fans abandoned the team. In the blink of an eye, the score was nearly tied. The students were not there. Pathetic.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Looking For Time

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting as much as I may have in the past. I haven't been hiding. Truth is, it's getting tougher to find the time to do so. I will continue to post when I can, but there may be lulls here and there. Regardless, I hope you keep stopping by! Posted by Picasa

It's Sunday

Perfect day to just monkey around! Posted by Picasa

Signs of Life

Wilmington, DE, may as well be the Sahara desert this summer, as the unrelenting heat has overmatched the other elements of the weather. But there are signs of life, as this just bloomed rose in my backyard attests. The grass in my front yard long ago gave up the fight and now is little more than dry, brown chaff protruding from a hard, dusty earth. Hopefully the low precip will end this winter. I am all for a good snow at this point.

Meanwhile in the other Wilmington a family member lives in, Wilmington, NC, this past week my older brother had to contend with the unrelenting rain and wind of Hurricane Ophelia. Definitely a tale of two Wilmingtons...Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

And In Local News...

Personally, I think this guy had a legitimate reason to be carrying a shotgun.

Man arrested while fleeing Bear home

BY MIKE CHALMERS / Staff reporter

New Castle County police arrested a man carrying a shotgun this morning as he tried to flee a Bear home, then used tear gas to storm the residence because they believed more people were inside.

Hopefully everyone inside made it out safe and the bears were captured. I just wonder what those people were doing in there in the first place.

This Week's Sights From Terpland: Clemson Edition

As most of you know, Saturday's 28-24 loss to Clemson was not a banner day for the Terps. That being the case, I remind all the Tigers fans of this before we go on:

After tailgating for a while near Comcast Center, home of our Terrapin men's and women's basketball teams, the wife and I took the long, uphill stroll to Byrd Stadium. Anyone who has attended the University of Maryland knows what I'm talking about. On the sprawling campus of countless buildings, quads, parks, and parking lots, there is nothing but long, uphill walks.

Inevitably, when parking in the northeast lots, one has to walk past Ellicott Hall, the dorm across the street from first dorm at the University. Goodness, I hated that place. With no A/C and mental ward-like dorm rooms, and a dumpster just under my window, the place was the definition of "first-year dorm." Only two things about Ellicott made it interesting: 1) it was interesting to see what new and smashed object lay outside the front doors every morning (a tradition was started where drunk residents would toss something out the windows of the top floors to see it smash into a million awesome pieces on the front thing I saw: the common room rumored victim: an entire soda machine), and 2) its proximity to live college football.

A cloudy start to the day quickly gave way to intense heat and an unrelenting sun. I promise I won't complain about this when we play BC in November.

Unlike when I was a student at the university between 1995 and 1997, the Maryland student body now comes out to games in force and in red.

Early on, the Terps controlled the game, pulling ahead of Cats 24-14 heading into the fourth quarter. The cheerleaders couldn't get ahold of themselves and flipped out at the possibility of a Terps victory against 25th ranked Clemson.

Unfortunately, five personal fouls called against the Terps defense proved their undoing, as Clemson took advantage of each. The Terp was none too happy with the referees' liberal use of the yellow flag against Maryland.

Clemson took the win, 28-24 and left the Terrapins stunned and demoralized. This coming Saturday promises another tough home game against the Mountaineers of West Virginia. Expect the Terps D to be better disciplined this time around. What could prove Maryland's undoing this coming weekend is not overzealousness on the defensive side of the ball, but the lack of a running game on the other. Until then, the coaches have time work on their game plans, and you have time relax...the season is still young and there is plenty more football to be played. The Terps are not out of it yet.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Terps Lose To Clemson

The Terps couldn't quite pull it out this weekend, as 75 yards worth of personal fouls helped Maryland snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

I won't get into my feelings about the majority of the referee's personal foul calls. Let's just say that I don't think a little bit of celebration, or a little bit of hard nosed football should be held against a team, nor especially should it determine the outcome of a game. But I digress.

Let's just take a quick look at the pros and cons from the weekend's loss. Let's start with the...


1. LACK OF SMARTS. In big games against ranked opponents, you have to be smart to win. Maryland's defense was called for 75 yards worth of personal fouls...that's FIVE of them. Four of these calls added yardage to stalled drives or extricated the Tigers from abysmal field position and eventually led to Clemson TD's. The Terps were on notice early that the refs were flag-happy. In fact, they were called for excessive celebration on the THIRD PLAY OF THE GAME after stopping Clemson on a long thrid down. The Tigers were given the first down by virtue of the penalty, and later on the drive tasted the end zone. You have to know your officiating crew. Maryland also faced a fourth and 30 on its final drive, effectively killing its chances to win, after a series of offensive penalties and a sack. You can't win if you don't play smart.

2. RUNNING BACKS. After running up the yardage against a smaller Navy team in week one, the Terrapins were riding high and thinking maybe their preseason doubts about their running game were unfounded. Clemson held Maryland to 57 yards rushing, including an atrocious 21 yards on 15 carries by RB Mario Merrills, who blasted the Mids for 159 yards a week before. Football fans don't need to be told that you can't win without a running game. You're in deeper water if your QB is just cutting his teeth behind center in the college game. Yikes.

3. FOURTH QUARTER DEFENSE. It all came apart in the fourth quarter. Clemson easily scored the two TD's that put them ahead of the Terps on big plays of 30+ yards on consecutive drives. That tells me the guys were tired. To win in the big games, you have to bear down in the tough situations. Maryland's players were playing on fumes.


1. VERNON DAVIS. Wow. This guy put on the most impressive receiving performance I have seen in person on Saturday. The big TE caught six balls for 140 yards and a TD. It wasn't the yardage that was impressive. Davis would not go down after the catch until five Clemson players gang tackled him...and he would still fight on. Most receivers these days fall like a sack of potatoes to avoid getting hit. Davis hit back. Highly impressive. I can't wait to watch him play more this season.

2. SAM HOLLENBACH. The junior QB continues to impress. He made only one major mistake all day by a throwing an ill-advised interception in the first half. But the third down pass gave Clemson little better field position than they would've had with a punt. Hollenbach continues to look poised in the pocket. He finished 18-28-288-2-1 on the day.

3. THE DEFENSE...QUARTERS 1-3. Maryland shut down Charlie Whitehurst and the Clemson RB's for three quarters before falling apart. Into the third quarter Maryland had outgained the Tigers by twice the yardage before Clemson pulled nearly even late. For three quarters, however, the Terps looked as impressive as any D in the league. Without the stupid penalties, Maryland would have cruised to victory.

More later!Posted by Picasa

Dinner Time

Sheep head. It's what's for dinner.

[T]he cook wheeled out an enormous steaming pot – his sweaty face beaming with the singular pride of a father bringing a Thanksgiving turkey to the table. He wheeled the pot over to CPT Mac and carefully placed the main course in the middle of the bowl. The cooks obvious pride in his culinary masterpiece did little to assuage CPT Mac’s shock when he realized his meal was staring back at him. To his credit CPT Mac didn’t let the Iraqi’s see his sudden wave of nausea, but in that instant all the Americans suddenly regretted asking their hosts for an authentic Iraqi dinner.

Read the whole thing...but not while eating.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

This Is Baltimore, Hon

One of the many distinctive brick buildings in downtown Baltimore. September 3, 2005. Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 05, 2005

This Week's Sights From Terpland

As part of my coverage of the Terps this football season, I will be bringing along my camera to the games I attend to add a little bit of photography to the mix. This is the first installment of the season from the Navy game on September 3. Hopefully my eye and the photography improve as the season goes on.

M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore served as the location for the Maryland's season opener in 2005.

Bmore, my former home during law school, put on its late summer best and tantalized the fans with perfect weather for the first meeting of the Terps and the Mids since 1965.

With weather like this, how could one pass up the chance to tailgate? Maryland fans didn't, regardless of what Mayor Martin O'Malley thought about it.

We spent the majority of the afternoon prior to the game at our favorite Baltimore bar, Ropewalk. In the shadow of Ronald Reagan's bust, we enjoyed a couple local brews. Four beers and $9.50 later (gotta love Bmore, hon!), and we were ready to head over to the stadium.

Midshipmen and women took positions outside Camden Yards before the start of the game, looking good in their dress whites.

Midshipman fans showed their support.

As a prelude to the start of the season, the Naval Academy student body filed into the stadium as only they can.

Once the Middies took the field and the national anthem was played, the always classy Academy turned towards the Maryland section, and let out a hearty, "M-A-R-Y-L-A-N-D, goooooooooo Terps!" before doffing their caps to Terrapin fans' side of the stadium.

One by one, each company fell out and took the stands. The game began only after the confusion of thousands of hyped-up Mids trying to get the best seats sorted itself out.

But no game against a military academy would be complete without the customary flyover.

Festivities completed, and all the patrons seated, it was time for some football.

Navy fans:

Terps fans:

The sun eventually set on the Mids chances for victory as Maryland scored an improbable TD late in the 4th quarter to snatch the win from the Naval Academy.

Next game: Clemson at Byrd Stadium, Noon ET, Saturday September 10, 2005.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Tailgate Time

The tailgating scene in front of Baltimore's Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium prior to the Maryland/Navy game on September 3, 2005, hon! Mids rubbed elbows with their intrastate Terp neighbors. Over 67,000 people attended the neutral site game on Saturday evening in downtown Bmore. Couldn't ask for a finer day.

(Click on photo to enlarge.) Posted by Picasa