Columns

The Leadoff: No U.S.A., no problem

It is finally here, the world’s biggest and most watched sporting event. Not the Super Bowl, not the NBA finals, not the Indy 500, not the World Series, no, no, no. It’s the World Cup. When it comes to the beautiful game, America is full of uncultured swine. Americans are about as obnoxious and arrogant as they come — especially when it surrounds the world of sports.... more

You may be a dude if... | It's the Pitts

In the sorting alley it’s easy to separate the dudes from the real cowboys. You may be a dude if...... more

White truck syndrome

My wonderful wife is the picture of perfect health with only one known ailment: she suffers from what is known in the medical community as “white coat syndrome.”.At home, my wife’s blood pressure hovers right around 110/75 but when she goes in for her annual checkup and the doc takes her blood pressure it explodes to 200/95. Once outside it immediately drops back to 110/75. Our doctor explained that he often sees this “white coat syndrome” amongst his patients. They are so fearful of the doctor in the white coat that the minute they see one their blood pressure skyrockets.... more

Real fakes

I don’t know about you but I got really irritated when I learned about the legal battle in which test tubers and tofu fabricators are arguing that they should be allowed to label their product as “meat.” What’s next, are we going to see top sirloin of chickpea, roast beet or leg of lettuce?... more

The Leadoff: What the (bleep) is going on with the Sixers

Oh boy, what a week to make my return to the Leadoff. As the sports seasons wind down I generally like to fill the space my column typically occupies with an extra local sports story. However, as of Tuesday, high school sports in this area are over and did you guys hear about what is going on with the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers and Twitter?... more

Another day in the office: Reporter's Notebook

The time I visited the digital media arts middle schoolers at AMS (who were starting their own publication), they were shocked when I passed around that inky square thing once known as a “newspaper.”... more

A rare bird | It's the Pitts

The closest town to mine is a well known bird sanctuary and once a year “birders” migrate to the big bird bash where they fill up the hotels, dine in local restaurants and put a smile on the face of the fine feathered folks at the local Chamber of Commerce. Believe it or not, 20% of Americans are proud to call themselves bird watchers and they annually spend in excess of 36 BILLION dollars to add to their “Life Lists” of birds they’ve seen. ... more

The Leadoff: North County domination

What an amazing week for sports it has been. I currently live in San Luis Obispo and because of that I find myself hanging around many former south county athletes (i.e. Mission Prep, SLO High, Righetti, you get the picture) and I have been letting them have it. The North County teams are blowing the doors off South County teams in the spring and it makes me very happy. ... more

The Leadoff: Drafting Josh Allen would be the most Browns thing to do

There is so much stuff going on right now that I don’t even know where to begin. Local sports in the area are beginning to heat up, the NBA playoffs just began and the NFL Draft is just a few days away.... more

When Amazon sells bulls | It's the Pitts

High tech has destroyed businesses, turned Main Street into a ghost town, and driven your Fed Ex and UPS delivery person to sheer exhaustion. Forget the mall, Americans are shopping on their cell phones. One of the few industries high tech has not tipped over yet is the bull business, but it’s only a matter of time. Here’s how, and who, you’ll be buying your bulls from in the future.... more

The backyard conservancy | It's the Pitts

Attention wealthy widows, leftover 1960 hippies, greedy multi-national corporations with a guilt complex and other politically correct people with too much time and money on their hands... First of all a word of congratulations on helping us lock up the entire western United States. Thanks to your efforts all the forests and grasslands will now be managed by the same people who brought you the EPA, IRS, BLM and the Congress of these United States. Just because we have locked up and shut down the entire western part of our great country doesn’t mean we have put an end to the trashing of our planet. It has come to our attention that environmental destruction on a monumental scale is occurring right in our own backyards. Yes, our own backyards. We cannot continue to let this happen so we have joined together several for-profit lawyers masquerading as environmental groups to form The Backyard Conservancy. Members of this organization shall henceforth be known as NIMBY’s (Not In My BackYard) and the goal shall be to buy up all the backyards in this country that are now privately owned. After all, we can no longer permit private citizens to own their backyards. ... more

If Butt were a name | It's the Pitts

There’s a fad occurring in the western world that I’d like to encourage. Ranch people are naming their kids rodeo-inspired words. I’m not talking about names like Freckles, Ote, Tibbs Ty, Tuff, Trevor, Tomkins, Luke, Lane, Beaver, Monty, Mahan, Shoulders, Charmayne, Ace, Jake or Walt. Although all of these are excellent names. (My personal favorite is Shoulders. With a name like Shoulders the kid is already half way to winning the world in steer wrestling.)... more

The bankruptcy book | It's the Pitts

We’ve all heard of Chapter 11 and millions of folks have lived through chapters seven and 13, but where is this bankruptcy book where these chapters come from? From what I can tell, no one has ever read the entire tome. I know when I asked for it at our local library they looked at me like I was a few fries short of a Happy Meal, or one taco short of a combo plate. Here, for the first time, are some of the missing chapters from The Bankruptcy Book explaining many of the ways you too can go broke:... more

In awe of a conductor who chose Atascadero as home

Truth be told, I find it really amazing that such an accomplished conductor chose Atascadero as a place to live. I had to ask him why.... more

A penny for your thoughts

If you have been watching the NCAA tournament this past week (honestly, I don’t blame you either way. I’m not the hugest fan of college basketball but buzzer beaters are more addictive than heroin and once I get a taste, I’m stuck), you may have noticed a familiar face on the most exciting team’s bench, the Nevada Wildcats. Former Greyhound Elijah Cooks has been on my TV about 20 times. They cut to him a bunch, after big shots and once the Wildcats completed EITHER of their huge comebacks.... more

The war on drugs is the war on our children: Reporter's Notebook

How many parents and teachers have ever thought, ‘oh my God, this kid is going to be the next school shooter.’ Yet Everyone’s too busy to fix the problem child. They blame guns. ... more

The Leadoff: The NFL has a personality problem

They say there are only two seasons in America — Football season and waiting for football season. Seeing as the NFL literally ended this month and the combine is still dominating Sportscenter and media coverage, I think it has been proven true. So if football is unquestionably America’s No. 1 sport — which it is — then why aren’t its players more popular? According to “TV by the Numbers,” in 2017, football games accounted for five of the top ten watched programs (all of the top ten were sporting events of some sort except the Oscars) with the Superbowl more than doubling the second most-watched program (another football game).... more

The Leadoff: Baseball needs more drama

It happens every year right around this time. Football is over and done with and we’ve all been forced to endure a Sunday without our fix. Basketball is temporarily suspended while in the middle of the All-Star break and without the Olympics this past week we would have been essentially sports-less.... more

The Leadoff: Multi sport athletes

As I was laying on my couch with my feet elevated onto a pedestal of pillows, halfway through my sixth episode of Ozark for the day, I received an invitation to a couple meetings about the beginning of the spring sports season. ... more

LaVar and the G-League

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year you know the name LaVar Ball. If that name doesn’t quite jog your memory, he is the father of the Lakers’ first-round draft pick, Lonzo Ball. Instead of signing a contract with one of the normal shoe companies like Adidas or Nike, the family started an apparel company called Big Baller Brand. LaVar has three sons, Lonzo being the oldest. The middle son is Liangelo and the youngest is Lamello. ... more

The Leadoff: Basketball analytics semi-explained

Much like everyone else, I have spent the last two weeks or so wandering the Earth not knowing what day of the week it is, and at times, what year it is. The week between Christmas and New Years wreaks havoc on me. I’ll eat anything you put near me (and by anything, I mean anything that is either chocolate or salty or covered in sugar), I’ll watch anything on TV (by anything I mean anything that requires a ball), and, like many I presume, I spent most of that time contemplating on if I’m ever actually going to return that sweater my grandma bought me or if I should just tell her it looks great anyways before I’ve put it on. ... more

The Leadoff: Basketball analytics semi-explained

Much like everyone else, I have spent the last two weeks or so wandering the Earth not knowing what day of the week it is, and at times, what year it is. The week between Christmas and New Years wreaks havoc on me. I’ll eat anything you put near me (and by anything, I mean anything that is either chocolate or salty or covered in sugar), I’ll watch anything on TV (by anything I mean anything that requires a ball), and, like many I presume, I spent most of that time contemplating on if I’m ever actually going to return that sweater my grandma bought me or if I should just tell her it looks great anyways before I’ve put it on. ... more

How do we fix the broken replay system in the NFL?

I want to make it clear that, first off, I'm here for all the tomfoolery going on in the NFL. I am pro-anarchy and chaos. I tend to find the humor in just about everything. I mean, I'm getting back surgery on Thursday and have been making paralysis jokes all week so you know I'm not overly serious about many things. However, I’ve had it with the NFL and the referees and the slow-motion replays. ... more

The Leadoff: Thanksgiving is the Christmas of holidays

Thanksgiving is finally here and I think it's time we recognize the greatness of the holiday. Of all the holidays, Thanksgiving is treated the worst. It is the red-headed stepchild of the holidays. Thanksgiving is that cousin that comes to dinner at the holidays that is super cool but is constantly overshadowed by his older sister that is the golden child in the family because she won a spelling bee in fourth grade. ... more

The Leadoff: Times are changing

Somehow, someway, I found myself bellying up to an empty Elk’s Lodge bar last Tuesday night from around 7 p.m. till about 8:30 p.m. If you’ve ever been in an Elk’s Lodge you can picture it. Two lonely, spider web-draped, televisions hung in the corners with one set to Fox News while the other was covering some midweek MACtion.... more

Imagine this is your first time

I came home on Wednesday night around 7 p.m., maybe 7:30ish from watching my sister’s middle school volleyball game. Yes, even after I spent my entire day watching and reporting on sports I attended yet another sporting event. I have a problem, I know this, I am working on it (no I’m not). ... more

Now for the games that really matter

As the fall season starts to draw to a close, we finally start playing meaningful games. I'm talking league games. Games that decide who goes to the playoffs, games that decide bragging rights for the next 50 years, games against opposing players that kids grew up playing with as teammates on various club teams and want to decide once and for all who is more valuable. These games are so much more fun to watch and they have an added emphasis that you don't get everywhere else.... more

The agony and the ecstasy

I wish artists were on the city payroll. Or a rich patron would be assigned to support each and every brave artist who chooses such a path. I can’t imagine how much truth and authenticity would come from today’s artists if they didn’t have to actually market their ideas and sell their expressions. –Beth Giuffre... more

Calling all sports parents

Do high school kids care about being featured in the newspaper anymore? I think absolutism in anything is horrible (like you definitely shouldn't eat only OREOs, but you also shouldn't not eat OREOs) so I wont say no or yes, but that’s exactly what I’m doing actually, I’m saying no. I don’t know if it has to do with the fact that younger generations are reading less and less and aren't interested in anything that doesn't show up on their 2”x4” mini computer they have attached to their hand, or that fact that we all constantly receive our information instantaneously and don't necessarily need to wait until the morning, but one thing I do know is that moms, dads, grandpas, grandmas, aunts, uncles and that weird family friend that you refer to as your cousin (even though there is absolutely no relation) do still love seeing familiar faces in the newspaper.... more

Reporter's Notebook

When will there be an item on the agenda that covers the topic of all the kids nowadays with learning disabilities, serious illnesses, and autism? Why isn’t this the top of the list? ... more

Playing ball like a girl

I don't know if I have ever been more inspired than I have been in the past couple months. In just my few months a sports reporter here at the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press, I have covered multiple stories of brave, beautiful, bold young women venturing out into typically male-dominated sports and have not just competed, but have outshined many of their male counterparts. That doesn't even take into account different things that I have heard throughout the community and even things happening on a national stage. It finally seems that women are getting their chances and they are absolutely killing it and I couldn't be happier.... more

How would I 'fix' baseball?

As I walked into my office on Friday morning our receptionist Cami alerted me that someone had dropped off some paperwork for me. I found this odd because I wasn’t expecting anything and had no idea where it could have came from. Upon opening the envelope that had been placed on my desk, I immediately began beaming with pride. I began running around the office showing everyone that would make eye contact with me the letter I received while simultaneously reading it aloud for all to hear. It was my first, lets say “critical” piece of mail that I’ve received from someone disagreeing with my opinion in a column. I would like to say that a good portion of what I’ve written in my columns is “tongue in cheek” — they are jokes. I aim to entertain and provoke thought, not lay down the law, but alas, I guess this is lost on some people. My favorite part of the letter was when this disgruntled reader mentioned that my ignorance even exceeds my young age, while his age didn’t allow him to understand my gentle ribbing (that NASCAR isn’t a sport). However, with that being said, I loved the response and encourage them, and I hope some of you are prepared to be angry because I’m at it again and this time I am serious!... more

A little whimsy in Atascadero

Something magical happened at Atascadero Lake this week. Through Facebook groups and friends, I learned about a project that some creative and thoughtful person or persons created that brightened the lives of local residents out for a stroll around the lake. Walkers with sharp eyes spotted at least a dozen (probably more) colorful, painted stones dotting the landscape around the lake’s walking path bearing friendly and inspirational phrases. I love that somebody took the time to do this, not for any type of personal gain, but just to put smiles on faces. I’ve always been a proponent of public art. Not only does it provide visual appeal to our surroundings, it also gives a sense of wonder, whimsy and inspiration. Public art demonstrations and installations can make us feel like kids again and it can also show actual children that the world can be a fun and beautiful place.... more

Commercial pot ban a bad idea

The Atascadero City Council, along with the Planning Commission hosted a joint meeting this week to discuss the future of legal marijuana in Atascadero. While nothing firm was 100 percent decided, the meeting provided the opportunity for those in attendace and those listening on the radio to get a feel for how city officials and local citizens are thinking about the issue.... more

How much is too much?

As we progress further into the fall, as teams start to realize who has a shot at playoffs and who doesn’t, practices undoubtedly start becoming harder and start lasting longer. I am here to ask, does that really work? I understand the conventional wisdom and tradition that comes with practicing out in the hot sun, or in a hot gym, for hours because it builds character, makes kids tougher, teaches resilience, etc. However, coming from the standpoint of a former athlete, I question its legitimacy, and if it is rooted in any sort of fact and not just speculation. I want to take a slightly different, slightly scientific approach to this piece because I believe I can introduce things people haven’t considered.... more