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.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

See More Buttes

I have posted some new photos from Arizona at my Exposure Manager website. Coincidentally, (hint, hint) you can also purchase prints of my photos from the same site. If you see something you like, you can support this site by purchasing a picture or two.

UPDATE: I also added few pictures of DC I have taken over the years. I'll be adding more as I have time...

It's A Small World

In a world in which quality products keep coming in smaller and smaller packages. Where software engineers can fit a full set of encyclopedias on the sharp end of a pin. Where the adventurous can fly clear around a smaller and smaller planet on a single tank of gas without refueling. From the same farm that brought my household the scourge known as the Kittyoit, I give you...the Dwarf Mini-Horse! This isn't just a mini-horse. It's a dwarf mini-horse. Small hasn't been so amazing since Spudd Webb won the NBA slam dunk contest!

I don't know how to use Photoshop to manipulate images, so I swear these are authentic. Notice how this full-grown horse is smaller than a medium-sized dog!

Having once been the presence of one of these fine beasts (though only of the less impressive mere "mini" size), I can attest that these horses act more like dogs than horses. They would rather sleep on the couch, suck up to humans for a good scratching, or smell each others behinds, than run around in a mini Kentucky Derby ridden by a tiny jockey or buck dwarf cowboys off their backs.

Consequently, even after first seeing a regular sized mini-horse, I was already dreaming about walking it around my Chicago neighborhood on a leash. Oh, what the neighbors would say!

Then, uncontrollably, even better thoughts came to me...

Like maybe get a monkey and dress him up in chaps, a vest, and a ten-gallon hat to ride the horse. The shiny Sheriff's badge he'd be wearing would definitely impress the ladies. I'd be a little worried, however, that the plastic silver cap guns Sheriff Bubbles would be popping in each claw might scare a couple off.

Or what about a stagecoach drawn by mini-horses straining to draw my new wife and I away from the church after our wedding, guided by a chimpanzee in a long-tailed (pardon the pun) monkey suit cracking a whip, all the while doffing his top hat? The possibilities were endless!

My wife, a farm girl, even momentarily fell under the spell of the mini-horse when we first saw it. Perhaps her thoughts didn't reach the ridiculous heights mine did, but none-the-less, she was enthralled.

Now we have irrefutable photo proof that there are dwarf mini-horses. If you've ever seen a mini-horse up close, you might ask yourself the same question my wife asked, "Who was the person who thought, 'I don't think this mini-horse is quite small enough. Let's create a dwarf mini-horse!" OK, I may have had that thought, but what rational person would have?

My wife pointed out that although these horses are very pet-like, they aren't exactly apartment or house friendly. I mean, no litter box could contain them, and we'd probably have to put down a lot of hay on the floors. But as the good people who brought us the mini-horse keep bringing us smaller wonders, the threat of big messes consequently diminishes as well.

We now have a dwarf mini-horse. The next model might be a micro-horse. We'd be one day closer to that wonderful moment when my wife finally allows me to get one and bring it into our home.

But somehow I get the feeling that day won't come until they invent a nano-horse.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Back in Town

We're back from Phoenix. Gone is the shortsleeve warmth, while here we bundle up in sub-freezing temps again. Sigh. But we have returned to a place little greener and a little wetter, which has its advantages. We loved every second out there and really owe our relatives who were more than welcoming to us. I'll post a few pictures of the trip as time goes by. In doing so, I promise to limit the number of cacti appearing in said photos. More a little bit later...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


My atrophied, old office legs conquered Camelback Mountain yesterday. It's amazing what age and an office job can do a person's physical shape. Starting with my usual hiking pace, I only lasted about 15 minutes before I had to take my first rest. It doesn't help that Camelback is almost entirely a vertical hike, with few flat areas to regain strength. After about an hour and a half, I made it to the summit. During that time, I was passed by several women and old men who didn't seem to need even a moment to catch their breath as they navigated the red boulders impeding their path to the top.

According to my GPS, the summit stands at 2688 ft. and from this point, one has a panoramic, 360 degree view of Phoenix. If you don't have time to see all the sites, hit Camelback and take them all in while rotating in place.

Today we are headed to Sedona. More later...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Remote Blogging

I feel like a real blogger now. This is my first post from the road: Phoenix, AZ. We are staying at a relative's house for the duration of what promises to be a warm, sunny week. I brought along my laptop and a wireless receiver to see if I could accomplish a little remote reporting if time and circumstance permitted. Luckily, I am within range of some poor soul's WiFi transmitter and have caught a slight signal. Pretty cool.

AZ, as you might expect, is a warm refuge from the cold blast that has hit most of the country the last few days. Even here, the temps are in the chilly upper 60's. A cousin of my wife's complained today that it was too cold...but she was still walking around in shorts and shortsleeves. Contrast that to Chicago where we spent our layover yesterday. When we arrived at the airport, the temps had yet to hit double digits for the day. As we disembarked, each breath we exhaled on the jetway was quite noticeable.

Today was a low key day. We toured the incredible Phoenix St. Vincent De Paul Society operation run by the family we are staying with. The charitable operation feeds, clothes, nurtures, and counsels thousands of poor Arizonans every single day. Great stuff.

Tomorrow I am going to hike up nearby Camelback Mountain, and if I'm lucky, post a picture or two later. Stick around!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Life in a Cube

Amongst the worker bees in the cubes, if you substituted "sick day" for "corporate jet," I think you'd find the same correlation.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Next week I am going on vacation to Phoenix, so I may not find time to post. Since I'm planning to bring my computer, however, a post or two may find their ways to this site. Stay tuned!

Help for the Homeless

Yesterday, I served lunch at a homeless shelter here in Wilmington. It was my first time at this particular kitchen, so I was excited to participate. We handed out plates of ziti, green beans, peaches, and cake for about an hour. Never one to miss a chance to observe some the social and political aspects of a situation, I made a few observations during that hour:

1) Out of over 100 people who took advantage of a hot meal on a chilly afternoon, only 15-20% looked like they really had no other option than to come to this kitchen for sustenance (one girl actually arrived snacking out of an extra-large McDonald's fries carton).

2) Regardless of race or nationality, everyone sat together, talked and there were no incidents. At one table, a group of hard luck white people sat with a number of blacks and chatted it up. You may not find this significant, but add the detail that one of the most verbose of the white guys was covered in Nazi tatoos and wore a Confederate flag t-shirt, and this makes for a more surprising situation.

3) A couple years ago after spending two weeks amongst the shocking poverty of the Philippines (Manila in particular), I remember walking down the street in Chicago behind two women who were making the observation that (exact quote), "It's worse for poor people in this country than anywhere in the world." Yesterday, without exception, every attendee was amply dressed for the cold, including coveralls, large down jackets, hats, sweaters, blue jeans, etc. A number of the patrons had cell phones. One even described in great detail having attended the Sixers/Spurs game the night before in Philly. In terms of squalor, the poor people of the Philippines have nothing on these guys!

4) The majority of those eating at the shelter who looked like needed the service appeared to have substance abuse problems.

I will be back to this shelter several more times this year to serve the needy. Helping those who have little or no other recourse is a great joy. I have no sympathy for the shameless people who are there gaming the system, however, and getting a hearty, free lunch at the expense of donors of food, time, and money earmarked for the genuinely poor.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Stupid Things Politicians Say

Thus says former Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer:

Responding to Schaefer's request for tea, the woman, an executive assistant in Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s front office, set down a thermal mug in front of the comptroller. Schaefer, 84, watched her walk away, then beckoned for her to return. When she obliged, he told her, "Walk again," staring after her as she left a ceremonial conference room at the State House.

Schaefer defended the comment in a profanity-laced rant at reporters after the meeting."That's so goddamn dumb, I can't believe it," Schaefer said when asked about the appropriateness of his remark. "She's a pretty little girl."

She "ought to be damn happy that I observed her going out the door," Schaefer said. "The day I don't look at pretty women is the day I die."

The comptroller briefly broke away from reporters to talk to the woman in private, but returned to say he had not apologized.

"The one who's offended is me," he said, for being subjected to questions about the encounter.

We feel for you, buddy.

VP Hunting Accident

Sounds suspiciously like it was two beers, doesn't it?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

No Cat Left Behind

We often make the point that our cat is an idiot because, let's be honest, she's excessively stupid. But as you can see, at least she's trying to do something about it.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Snow Day

A few pictures of yesterday's 11 inches of snow in Wilmington, DE.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Winter Returns

Winter returned at last and we finally had a significant snow last night. From appearances so far, it looks like we have about a foot in grassy areas, and about 4-5 inches on the pavement. After a winter in which thunderstorms occurred several times more often than frozen precipitation, this storm is well appreciated.

Last weekend, my wife and I enjoyed some lake effect snows in Chicago and figured that would probably be our last real taste of winter. Instead, it's a winter wonderland out here. The news coverage was a breathless as ever. On location reporters appeared at the salt depositories and wondered whether we were "ready" for the big storm. Others filed reports from the grocery stores where milk, eggs and bread were flying off the shelves. Would the shoppers be prepared for the weeks they'd be cut off from society after the first flakes fell? Story at 11!

Anyone who reads this blog knows we have an exceptionally stupid indoor cat. Never missing a chance to experiement with animal behavior, I wanted to know how the cat would react to snow. This morning, I woke up and decided to give the cat its first taste of cold winter fun.

My wife grabbed the camera, and I grabbed the cat. With a "one...two...three!" I tossed the cat into a snow drift in the backyard about five feet from our back door. As expected, the cat hated it. Stunned momentarily, it then quickly bolted back into the house, shaking off snow with every step. And for some reason, thereafter it wouldn't let us anywhere near it.

If National Geographic wants further information on this experiment, I'm willing to share data.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

My Kind of Town

View down Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL. February 5, 2006.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Jewelers' Row

Jeweler's Row. Chicago, IL. February 5, 2006.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Formula For Success

No truer words were ever said:

1. The fabulous monkeys-in-suits ad for, whatever that is. It's simply impossible to resist dressed-up monkeys, especially when they're using burning $20 bills to light cigars to celebrate what they erroneously think was a record profit year. You give me some monkeys, I'll give you a great ad. Monkeys are gold .


Still Marshall Fields...for now.

Marshall Fields. Chicago, IL. February 4, 2006.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Stupid Championship Headlines

Time for another installment of stupid championship headlines. The Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl last night. Naturally, all of the media's best paid punsters were let loose this morning with absurdly ridiculous headlines celebrating the Steel Town champions. Here's a sampler:

Steel-related puns:

Steel Will - Baltimore Sun
Steel The One - Indy Star
Steel of the Century - Chicago Sun-Times
Steel Curtain Call - LA Times
Men of Steel - Harford Courant
Steeling the Show - Miami Herald
Pittsburgh Steels a Title -

Rolling Stones-related puns:

Paint It Black, and Gold - Washington Post
Satisfaction - USA Today
Steelers get one for the thumb -

Horse-racing-related puns:

Seattle Stew -

Super Bowl "XL"-related puns:

XL-LENT - Washington Times
XL fits Steelers fine - Boston Globe

Misc. pun headlines:

Hour of Cowher - Denver Post
Steelers Take the 5th - Boston Herald
The Bus Earns His Ring on Final Stop -
The Pits - CNN/SI

Surprise Chicago Birthday

Took my wife to Chicago this weekend for a suprise birthday party with all of her friends. Now 6 1/2 months with child, this was one of our last opportunities to escape the clutches of Delaware before the baby arrives. My wife, who does not love to be surprised, definitely enjoyed finding out she was headed to "sweet home, Chicago" rather than the (falsely) advertised Maryland beaches for her birthday weekend. We left the 60+ degree temps in Wilmington, DE for snowy Chicago and enjoyed every second of it. Hitting all of our favorite restaurants, checking out our old neighborhoods, and seeing an old friend or two...couldn't have been a better weekend.

I'll post a few more pictures of Chicago as the week goes on.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Save This One

Keep this video in a safe place for the next twenty or so election cycles. Whenever you are on the fence whether to vote for the Democrat or the Republican on the ticket, cue this baby up. Would you prefer to vote for the side trying save future generations from the anchor of entitlement spending? Or would you prefer to vote for the party of the clowns who cheered like a bunch of teenage school girls in recognition of their efforts to do nothing?

Easy choice.

(PS: And for the next presidential election cycle, pay close attention to the first close-up of the wannabe ring leader of this comedy troupe. Cue it up in '08.)