June 16, 2010

    As I awoke this morning to my daughter's siren's serenade of "dadaaaa", my tired smile turned to horror as I caught a whiff of what I thought had been month old roadkill. 
Alas, it was not. 

    With my daughter Samantha turning two recently, I thought I might share small bits of wisdom that I've gleaned over the years that might help her out in her young little life. 
    Or she'll most likely read this in ten years and tell me I'm lame and should get a life. Yes, I'm sure of the latter...and I'm not sure I disagree. 

    Do...as I say, not as I do. 
    Do not...eat M&M's with beef jerky with hot sauce for breakfast. 

    Do...eat those disgusting Pop Tarts I put on your plate. Or jam them in your ear. I'm sure they have the same nutritional content either way. 

    Do...continue to use the cute words that make me want to squish you into a pile of lavender smelling blond curls. And eat those Pop Tarts...they're not cheap. 

    Do not...mimic the words that Dad uses when he's fixing just about anything around the house. Its bad enough when you say the word "truck" in public and people glare at me like I'm the devil, let's not hone your ability to enunciate. 

    Do...read every single book you can get your hands on. This includes the Bible because it's funny, sad, and scary at the same time. 

    Do not...read tabloids. Fake boobs, money, and shiny cars seem to be the sum total of what they're pushing. It's like Del Mar. Except in Del Mar, you don't have to be literate to be sucessful. 

    Do...watch as much Fox News as possible.

    Do not...stop laughing as you watch those silly sycophants try to make their silly doctrine make sense to anyone who's under the age of 60. 

    Do...pretend that children's statue across from Leucadia Pizza isn't frighteningly creepy. 

    Do not...GO NEAR IT. Ever. If you are the lunatic that designed that bronze monstrosity.. go away. It's awful and passersby cringe and wonder why you hate kids. 

    Do...remember that going to college is an important right of passage and a logical step upon high school graduation. 

    Do not...think that every person with a college degree is intelligent. It only means they stayed within a certain discipline and finished what they started. They are by no means smarter than anyone else. 

    Do...go to bars and restaurants. Enjoy yourself and don't forget that waiters, waitresses, servers, bartenders, and hosts aren't slaves to cater to your every whim. If you think that, you're most likely brain dead and beyond help. 

    Do not...forget that the waitstaff will kill you where you stand. Seriously, we will kill you. Know the rules and don't be rude or your service will be non-existent. 

    Do...remember that your Dad is and always will be vehemently overprotective. 

    Do not...take everything he says as gospel. He's scared and cautious when it comes to his daughter and just wants you to avoid all the problems he had to deal with. 

    Fine...you can have beef jerky for breakfast. Just don't tell Mom.

June 8, 2010


    As June peeks its gloomy head around the clouds and begins the blistering pace towards the August finale, I wanted to discuss a sport that is severely lacking national attention. 

    Or any attention for that matter. 

    Throwing horseshoes, or "pitching" to those privy to the appropriate lexicon, has been a Waterhouse extravaganza dating back to the days of pretending that El Cajon was a viable real estate choice. 

    My Dad and uncles would gather most of their truck-driving brethren and do their best to not crush knees, smash shins, or crank ankles of those involved in the backyard shenanigans. This was a big event around the neighborhood, and nary a chucker of bended steel missed one of these events. 

    Though Coors Original did not help the festivities, I'm sure that the participating athletes in the East County Horseshoe Olympics felt that those golden circles of hopped delight were indeed a performance-enhancing substance. 

    Children were strictly forbidden to play horseshoes and yet played a role in every tournament. We were usually relegated to gofers and neophyte bartenders yet we eagerly grabbed those mangled steel shoes at any given chance always wondering what type of mammoth horse these shoes actually fit. 

    A quick note to purists: my brother Chris throws left-handed and pitches his horseshoes overhand. Is he the devil? I wanted to run it by my fellow pitchers. He is, isn't he? I knew it. 
    Over the years, my love for the game never wavered but finding appropriate venues and viable opponents seemed to cleave away my time in the pits. I'd get a beach game here, or the occasional family tournament there, but they never really reached within and grabbed a hold of me like it had in my youth. 

    This lull lasted until a breezy conversation with my fellow co-worker Kenny Buckner. Though his last name brings dread among  Red Sox faithful, he's excellent behind the bar and a person I've found has a keen respect for the fine art of the ringer.  

    KB and I thought it appropriate to test each other's clanging skills at Glen Park on a blindingly bright day where the sun sears your eyelids shut when you don't bring sunglasses or a low brimmed hat. Which I did. 

    Though I was victorious that day (YES!), I felt a certain camaraderie and kinship with my fellow employee. We chatted as we finished our requisite innings and concocted a plan to continue practicing until we elevated our game with a very specific goal in mind. 

    We were going to barnstorm the NHPA (National Horseshoe Pitching Association) and make our way to fame and glory as the oh-so-inventively nicknamed "Dead Ringers". Don't worry, the t-shirts will be available for sale on our website. When we get a website. 

    So the next time you hear the clang of metal on metal or a flurry of foul language by men trying not to curse in a public park, take heed: We've thrown the gauntlet. You know where to find us and we're taking on all challengers. 

    Dead Ringers...coming to a pit near you.