Tuesday, April 23, 2002

picking on delaware
One of the stories this morning about the Hewlett v Hewlett Packard case in Chancery Court was from Mercury News reporter Mike Cassidy. Mike's mission, it seems, was to educate the Bay area readers about Delaware. I've been to the Bay area, and it's a lovely place, and I guess I can understand a little why Mike would want to poke fun at the First State. His article was funny, but a little misleading. I'd like to clear up some of the points he makes:

Mike: First, Delaware is actually a state. You probably thought it was a suburb of Philadelphia, which isn't entirely incorrect.

Me: Delaware was actually part of the territory governed by William Penn, way back when. But, the legislature kept on passing laws that didn't include the "lower three counties," as we were referred to in those days. Delawareans asked for independence, and we got it too. But, we missed out on one of the most important things Philadelphia did for our nation. It's all in the cheese steaks. A Philadelphia cheese steak isn't authentic unless it is made with cheese whiz. I don't think that you can buy a cheese steak in Delaware with cheese whiz on it.

Mike: Second, forget what you learned in school about Rhode Island. No way that Delaware's larger. Take out a map and look. If you can even find Delaware. (It's over there, near Washington, D.C.) No way there's a smaller slice of America. I could walk across this state in the time it takes you to drive to work.

Me: You're sounding a little bit like a bully, Mike. The "my state is bigger than yours" line really isn't called for here. Besides, it's a lovely walk.

Mike: Fact: They call it Chancery Court because it sounds really cool.

Me: They call it Chancery Court because that's its name, and has been for a couple of hundred years. That the Court is really cool is just Delaware's good fortune.

Mike: Fact: More chickens than people live in Delaware. This I know because every article about Delaware says so.

Me: Rita Farrell, of the San Francisco Chronicle, managed to write an article this morning that didn't mention the chickens. But, then again, she's been writing about Delaware for a few years, and maybe she got tired of including them after a while. I saw her earlier today and didn't get a chance to ask. If I run into her tomorrow, I'll check and find out.

Mike: Fact: Nobody actually lives in Delaware. People just come here to sue each other.

Me: That's just blatantly untrue. There are plenty of us who live here in Delaware. Not only that, but we all know each other. A couple of times a year, we have a block party, and everyone is invited.

Mike: Fact: Delaware's state bird is the blue hen chicken, which is not the same as saying the few who live here are lacking in courage.

Me: Promise that you won't tell PETA, Mike, but the Blue Hen Chicken was a fighting game cock. It was also the nickname of a company from Delaware that fought in the revolutionary war and were renown for their courage (and their gambling). And, you might not want to repeat that implication about lacking courage on the streets of Wilmington, just in case Michael Spinks or Dave Tiberi overhears you. Most of us would understand that you just don't know what you're talking about. Those guys might take exception to your trolling.

Mike: Fact: George Washington did indeed cross the Delaware River, but he crossed from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, thereby avoiding Delaware altogether. Of course, we can't all be so lucky.

Me: I guess as Delawareans, we're a little more familiar with the adventures of George Washington than you might be. The Battle of the Brandywine did take place a long time ago, so you may not be aware of the hospitality that George Washington received on his visit to Wilmington, Delaware. He also had some of those Blue Hen Chickens fighting along side him.

Mike, if you've come here from the Bay area, I hope that you are enjoying your visit. If you want, please let me know and I'll give you the nickle tour of Delaware. Probably only take a couple of hours.

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