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Return of friendly faces

Rebooting the horseshoe pit at Ft. Tryon happily included the reappearance of some familiar faces. And one day I was happy to see and enlist the help of an old friend to the pits, Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson

About Vinland

It may be noted that I that I suffer minor hearing loss, making it harder to hear certain consonants and understand some speakers who mumble or have a heavy accent. It is also sometimes hard for me to determine the origin of a speaker’s accent. Much the same thing happened when I first met Ron Jacobson when I mistakenly ascribed his accent and native tongue as Norwegian. As it turns out Ron is really from Vinland, (not to be confused with Finland), which is actually a country of unknown origins and no longer exists even as a land mass or sovereign body. And as it turns out Ron’s native tongue is Vinish which for many years has been a dead language forcing Ron to adopt and speak Norwegian. But make no mistake this is not to say that Ron is Norwegian as I had earlier believed. In fact Ron will insist that this is a stupid but common mistake claiming with pride that he is 100% Vinish. In Ron’s own words. “Fool, I am Vinish get it?, not Norwegian, not Swedish and not Finish, but Vinish, is that too much for your stupidhead to understand?”

“Idiot, jeg er Vinish få det?, ikke norsk, ikke svensk og ikke Ferdig, men Vinish er det for mye for din dumhet å forstå?”

“Of course, I’m Vinish,” Ron insisted. “You think I show up just for the Horseshoes, it’s the Vines stupidhead. The place is overgrown vines. And it’s in my blood to try to help.” “Vines can be very tricky,” Ron continued. “I show up here. Because I see you have a vine problem and I want to help. If managed correctly, the vines shouldn’t interfere too much with your horseshoe play.” “ But still don’t underestimate the power of the vines. According to ancient lore, regarding the story of Vinland it is said that the whole country was eventually swallowed by an overgrowth of vines. Which leads me to ask. What in the world are you thinking by trying to clear both sides of the pit? Do you think that you can play on both sides? You fool. I say,” Ron continued, “Just clear one side as you play, and tramp down any extra growth as you walk back and forth between the pits. What kind of a stupidhead are you anyway? If someone wants to clean up the other side, I say take the Capitalist way out and let them do it themselves. Maybe they will form a rival horseshoe team and soon you will be competing for big money.”

Bare rydd den ene siden mens du spiller, og tramp ned eventuell ekstra vekst når du går frem og tilbake mellom gropene.Hva slags idiot er du egentlig?

So it is almost like Ron said it and this just automatically made it so. In other words, for the foreseeable future the plan will be to clear and use just one side of the pit while making the other side at least manageable by weeding as needed while most of the work will be done by tramping the borders while walking from pit to pit. This will result in more focus on the game and less on the work of weeding, perhaps making this sport more appealing to the masses. Did I already mention that Ron is employed as an efficiency expert by NASA and has already been able to shorten the expected launch of the manned Mars mission from 2032 to only a few years from now.? Good on you Ron Jacobson!, I’ve heard a lot about Mars and I can hardly wait to go there.

To avoid confusion over dates and times. There will be regular games every Thursday starting at 7:00 from now until September. Also note that Dean Heagle will be holding general office hours on Monday evenings at Manolas Tapas bar at 177thand Broadway in Manhattan from 6:30-8:00.

AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT (letter from the former president)

Dear Unofficial Members of the Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League:

It is with a tint of sadness that I must announce that I will step down as the self-elected president of the Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League effective immediately. My reason, of course, is that I want to spend more time with my family. But seriously, I have simply gotten too busy and my life continues to become more and more complicated. So, I believe that for the good of the league, it is simply best for me to just step down.

Additionally, I am a bit ashamed that I have not been able to be a better role model for the next generation of horseshoe pitchers. This is because, even though I have shown up at nearly every game, I still really suck at horseshoes. Even with quite a bit of practice, I still cannot throw a horseshoe any better than if my score was attributable to nothing more than just dumb luck.

This failing has not been for the lack of effort. For with the intention to better myself, I have successively tried different grips and footwork. I have tried the grip from the top edge which requires the number of vertical rotations to be divisible by two. I have tried the top side grip which requires a horizontal rotation of 1-1/4 turns and the bottom side grip which requires either a -3/4   or 1-1/2 horizontal rotation. But try as I might, I have not been able to better my game. So, I think it is best to resign before the shame simply becomes too much.

Overall, I do think it was a good run. While horseshoe pitching has not yet taken upper Manhattan by storm, as I had hoped, I did essentially accomplish what I set out to do.

When I found the horseshoe pits, they were overgrown with formidable weeds and hadn’t been used for years and years.  But there, I saw a huge potential in transforming that space into a place where men could go to relax and break park rules by sneaking in a pint or two. Turns out that what I particularly liked doing was the grounds cleanup and gardening. And while I did not succeed in getting flowers to grow everywhere, I do feel that the seed has been planted for a more flowery future. The simple transformation from nothing to at least sort-of something, represents nearly everything that I had hoped to attain. And with a little effort going forward, the pits can be enjoyed by men who want another excuse to go drinking for generations to come.

Even though the end of my tenure as self-elected president is coming to an end, it also represents a beginning for me, as I have been invited by to be their guest blogger. In this role, I do hope to enlighten at least some readers about important lessons in life that can be learned from pitching horseshoes. And it’s vice versa.

And for now, even though I am no longer self-elected president, I will continue to provide horseshoes for anyone who wants to show up on Fridays starting about 6:45, at least for the rest of of September.

So this is clearly not yet adieu but au revoir.

See you in the pits.

––Dean Heagle: Former President  (self-elected),  Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League

Horseshoes on Mondays in August, except this Tuesday which is August 1st

For most of August, horseshoes will commence on Mondays at the usual place, at the usual time. It will also take place on August 1st which is this Tuesday .

When in doubt, check out our new calendar feature on our new calendar page.

THE PITS: Some might call it too wild, while others would call it rustic and extremely manageable. Still others might call it home.

























––Dean Heagle: President,  Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League


Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson located at last

We had been worried that Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson had been missing from our games for months. At last the truth of his whereabouts is known: he has been in jail.

Ron’s girlfriend Latoya stopped by the other day with the news. Ron has been in jail awaiting trial. His crime: public urination!

I found this knowledge disturbing, not just out of concern for Ron but for the fact that I too, from time to time, have been guilty of of this same crime, but almost always in one corner of the horseshoe pits and even then I only did it once or twice. OK, maybe more than two times. But exactly how many times, I won’t tell.

But public urination was not the only crime the Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson was accused of. In fact public urination by itself is usually not a jailable offense anymore, since it has been recently downgraded from being a misdemeanor to being only a violaton in NYC.

But, Ron’s real crime was not just public urination, but in resisting arrest. You see, when the cops approached him as he was still peeing andhe started speaking to them in his native Norwegian. And when the cops asked him to stop what he was doing, he got angry and started cursing them, saying.

” Jeg skal tisse hvor jeg vil forverre det!”

Which loosely translated means, ” I’ll pee wherever the heck I want to, damn it!”

But this is not what the policemen heard. What they heard instead was a language that they had not heard before and did not understand. And not being familiar with Norwegian they hypothesized that he was either speaking in a Arabic or perhaps a Slavic language. And for a moment, they even suspected him of being a terrorist. And it was this misunderstanding which prompted them to try to arrest Ron. But Ron would have none of it. When they started to arrest him he responded with

“Kom deg bort fra meg, dårer!”

Which loosely translated means, ” Get the fuck away from me, fools!”

And this resulted in the resisting arrest charges which is why Ron is still being held in jail. It’s an interesting point that more arrests for the charge of resisting arrest are leveled against people with darker skin than against people with lighter skin. And many jail sentences begin with a misdemeanor which is then elevated to a jailable offense by the resisting arrest charges.

We hope that Ron will be OK.

And in wishing him well  we have to say:

“Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson, kom tilbake, vi savner deg. Det er så mye du har igjen for å lære oss!”

Which loosely translated means, “Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson please come back, we miss you. There is so much you have left to teach us!.”

––Dean Heagle: President,  Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League

Raspberry Season

Even if you don’t like horseshoes, it’s worth stopping by the pits for the raspberries which are rather abundant at least by city standards. They are a bit tart, but if you pick a bunch they can be an interesting addition to making a wicked lemonade.

Don’t let the captions of these pictures fool you, there are more than 4 locations. Actual experience and milage may vary depending on the day.

Raspberries location 1

Raspberries location 2

Raspberries location 3

Raspberries location 4




















––Dean Heagle: President,  Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League

Yet more ways to become more manly

Increase your manliness

I just got a book about testosterone loss in men after age 50. It says right there that weeding a garden or just plain weeding is a sure way to make some gains in the testosterone department, (actually I am making this up and none of this is true). However, it is true that intensive weeding can really get your heart pumping and it’s possible that it will help you to produce magnificent muscles, helping to create taunt men all over the world. And while I have not been at it long enough to personally show any of these gains, I can personally attest to the fact that the practice does wonders for one’s focus, if not one’s overall perspective on life.

Weeding at the pits has been rather constant but not overly time consuming. A few weeks ago, there was a certain omnipresent weed which was about to go to seed. And most of them were cut down in their prime before they could do so.

This weed was omnipresent, cut down in its prime, before it could go to seed.

The vines are almost impossible to get rid of and these vine runners average over 5 feet long. This is war!

Another constant battle is undertaken with the dominant vines. They are literally everywhere and have deep roots which seem to go on forever making them hard to control. Each strand stretches about 5 feet before it becomes a runner, burrows itself into the ground and extends the root system anew. These vines are hardy and tenacious and represent one of the most difficult aspects of clearing the pits. And this battle is far from over.










A side benefit of weeding the vines is that the roots may perhaps (although still completely unknown) just might be of some medicinal value. They also might be poison, so it’s strongly suggested that you don’t try to consume them at home until the safety aspect can be verified. That aside, from their appearance, the roots bear a strong resemblance to ginseng root which has been used for centuries for it’s medicinal properties. They also strongly resemble mandrake which is often associated with the occult and is known to have hallucinogenic properties.

Highly valued on the black market?

How manly can you get?

If this won’t make a man outa ya, then nothing will!










It is possible that the eating of these vine roots or drinking them as tea, may in fact cause an increase in your manhood. Or else this theory should be simply disregarded as a foolish rumor which you should not follow, because in addition to the possibility of these roots increasing your manhood, they may also cause you to hallucinate and die or even worse, just die without the hallucinations.

So proceed with caution. The exact species of this vine is not even currently known. It may be that even touching it may cause one to be delusional. It is possible that this is what’s happening as I write this post. At the very least, more information on this matter is highly desirable before actual benefits or side effects can be know.


––Dean Heagle: President,  Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League

Other ways to be a man

Increase your manliness

If you can’t muster carrying big bags of sand, there are many other ways to increase your manliness. I’ve discovered that an effective method is by planting flowers which inevitably necessitates some type of eco-terrorism.

These are not the actual Dahlias at the horseshoe pit but instead represent wishful thinking.

This year it was decided to plant Dahlias mostly because the bulbs were half price when I was arranging the purchase of sand at the home center in the Bronx. Going to the home center is also a good way to increase your manliness. And going to the home center in the Bronx, has been shown to be even more effective.

The cheap price of the Dahlia bulbs was the plus side, but the down side, that I only learned later, was that Dahlias are a bit fussy and will likely not get sufficient attention at the horseshoe pits. Also, they should have been planted 2 months earlier, hence I suppose, the half off sale. So, fingers crossed about the Dahlias.

At the home center, I was also able to acquire a 40lb. bag of potting soil and a really huge bag of wildflower seeds, enough to plant a large field. Last week, all of the above were planted, sown and/or scattered. The planting area was dug up, aerated and weeded. Even with the additional quality soil I brought in, the overall solid quality is quite poor. And I also imagine that no one will be showing up to water anything which is a problem since NYC summers can be very hot and not very wet. So let’s see what happens.

Eco-terrorism? Adding new soil and plants may be good, but inevitably the immediate existing ecosystem suffers.

I have done so much weeding in the horseshoe pits that I’m considering updating my resume to include a section on “eco-terrorism.” We still somewhat practice the “live and let live policy”, but really every week, just in the interests of keeping the playing field clear, we have been responsible for the death of dozens, if not hundreds of plants. And getting ready for planting has certainly wiped out whole eco-systems. And yet I don’t really feel that guilty about any of this. I am not killing or weeding without purpose. After all, I am a man. And every time I cut something down it’s just a re-affirmation of my manhood. So, you could argue that I just can’t help it. Or alternatively, that the Dahlias and wildflowers will be worth it and preferable to what was already there. Even if the former explanation tends to hold true, I still prefer the latter explanation.


––Dean Heagle: President,  Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League

Be a man, carry sand

Carry sand. It will make you a man.

Increase your manliness

Nothing makes you feel more like a man than carrying 50lb bags of sand down some steps, then down a hill, and then dumping them into horseshoe pits. NOTHING! Actually I can think of a few things that might be better, but still the feeling that you get from this is pretty sweet.

More sand is inevitable. You have not missed your chance.


Where have you gone Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson?

We are concerned about one of our recent members who we haven’t seen for a few weeks.

We met Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson when he showed up at our own second round of horseshoe play. And from the start, it was clear how much he loved to play horseshoes. But we haven’t seen him lately. And frankly we are a bit worried about him.

Ron is of mixed Dutch/German/Norwegian descent but most recently hails from Mississippi where horse shoes are king. He speaks in a southern drawl and it’s fun to hear him swear in all four languages. Ron has lived in the NYC area for over seven years and has had the same girl friend from the day he arrived.

Last week, LaToya, Ron’s girlfriend of many years showed up at the horseshoe pits wondering if we’d seen him. LaToya was born in Turks and Caicos but was raised in Denmark, so like Ron, she can also swear in several languages. She moved to New York on the day before Ron did. And on the very next day she met Ron and they’ve been together every since.

We’re concerned because last week LaToya showed up and said she hadn’t seen Ron for at least a couple of weeks. She has no idea what could have happened to him or where he could be. And that’s why we’re a bit worried.

So where are you, Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson? The horseshoe people miss you and LaToya sends her love.


––Dean Heagle: President,  Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League