Category: Stories



Ever feel like you’re tightroping that wire between getting messed with and going crazy? I recently did. Every morning for about a week, the clothes on the bottom rack of my shelf had become unfolded and formed a trail from the rack to the staircase. I figured it was Andrea — she’s certainly been schooled in the Lingle art of surprise — but I was waking up before her, and I wasn’t convinced that skulduggery would supplant sleep in her order of priorities. Then I literally captured the culprit (see picture above): Raghetti. Pirate dog. Named after the Pirates of the Caribbean character that lost his eyeball.

Raghetti is a Chihuahua rescue. I commend my in-laws’ compassion and vision when selecting him. Raghetti is not, how do I say this politely, a fetching fido. His right eye is not closed in that picture; it’s just not there. He is not licking my sweat shorts in that picture; he has lost control of his tongue and it permanently droops from his mouth. He has also lost all his teeth. What he’s lost in teeth, however, he’s gained in fleas. Lots of them. He spends most of his waking hours, which for a dog that seems more comfortable in a catatonic state is only a few hours per day, attempting to lick those fleas from his body. The fleas, based on my cursory observation, seem mostly concentrated in his nether regions.

Raghetti is also the house rooster. Every morning, at the first sniff of sunshine, he wakes the house with an onslaught of simultaneous sneezes/burps/snorts/farts. Prior to Raghetti, scientists did not know that was physically possible. It’s quite the alarming and disconcerting sound. But it does the job.

Another impressive Raghetti trait: the ratio of his daily poop weight to his actual weight. It’s gotta be darn near even. He poops at least four times per day (twice on each of his bi-daily walks). This is, from what I can tell, another scientific marvel.

Yet despite these somewhat unflattering characteristics, one cannot help but love Raghetti. He’s like Sloth from Goonies: if you can look past his face, and catch him during one of his three waking hours, you just want to hug him.

Beers in Oceanside

Beers in Oceanside

What’s this place you ask? A place where dreams and headaches are made…..

Much like its mother location, planted in a nondescript, significantly off-the-beaten-path industrial park in Escondido, this baby locale is not obvious from the street. Had not my in-laws told me about it, I would’ve missed it. Again. It was actually open earlier this year when we visited, and seeing as it’s located just a few blocks from their house on the thoroughfare to downtown Oceanside, I’d already walked by it a half dozen or so times. Likely thirsty. Certainly ignorant. Yet there it was. A beer and garden oasis hidden behind tangerine-painted cinderblocks: Stone Brewery.

Stone’s Ruination Double IPA is one of the best IPAs around — and that’s not an exaggeration; thanks to my good buddy Brad Smith, the most data-driven beer drinker I have ever met, and his two-hundred-plus IPA spreadsheet, I can conclude, both empirically and analytically, that Ruination is a top five IPA. Stone’s Arrogant Bastard Ale is also as good of a good-to beer as it gets.

Feeling festive, however, this time I ordered Dr. Frankenstone’s Monster IPA. The beer-tender told me it was a double-hopped mixture of Ruination and Stone IPA. I think I told him to shut up and then slapped him. Can’t be sure. My excitement largely overrode my head drive that night. Then I lounged in the industrially-decorated and lush garden, while attempting to ignore the two kids that faintly resembled my own kids climbing the rocks and screaming behind me, and indulged. It was, to stick with the theme, scary awesome. So I ordered another. My father-in-law, a beer snob in his own way, was equally impressed with his dark wheat beer, Witty Moron.

Stone’s Tap House is a must stop if you’re in Oceanside and can find it. And since writing this entry has worked up a thirst, I may go find it now. Tell my wife — I don’t think she actually reads this blog — where I am in case I go missing.