It’s important to try new things.

(Note: This is long, I know, but well-illustrated, and in my defense, I’ve written longer pieces about mass transit, tax policy and road repairs. Mea culpa.)

On the flight out to California, en route to a week at Endless Summer Surf Camp, I tried to inventory and analyze my fears. You know: Confront your monsters, call them by their names, face them down. In no special order:

** The Big P. I’m a good swimmer, and like most Midwesterners, I’ve been to Florida and the Caribbean, but apart from some dabbling in little wavelets in the Gulf of Mexico or Bahamas, I’d never been in saltwater over my head, never mind contended with riptides, sharks, stingrays or any of the other dirty tricks an ocean has up its sleeve.

** Physical limitations. I’m going to be 59 in a couple months. I’m pretty fit for my age, but my age is eligible for AARP membership and my knees are a mess. Big one, right there.

** Looking like an idiot. We all fear this one, right? The older I get, the less it bothers me. Still, it bothers me.

There were others. But those were the biggies — failing utterly, breaking something, shark attack. I could very easily see a scenario where I spent the week on the beach with an ice pack and crutches, and that was the best case, the one where I wasn’t airlifted home in medical humiliation or a body bag.

It didn’t work out that way, thankfully. For this I can only credit the good people at Endless Summer Surf Camp, which I’m mentioning by its full name again and putting in this post’s tags, because I want anyone like me who might be considering a stay there to find this post high in the Google results.

The first surprise was the camp itself, which is in the San Onofre State Park. I envisioned nights drifting off to sleep to the eternal sound of the ocean. Um, no. I was envisioning a mini-Yosemite, and was brought up short by what it was — a strip of asphalt for camper parking, a belt of chaparral, high bluffs over the Pacific and the beach itself. In fact, it was carved out of Camp Pendleton, the Marine base:

marines

The sound of their ordnance roaring in the hills was sometimes startling, but for anyone who’s camped near Grayling, Michigan? Pretty familiar.

Neither asphalt nor chaparral is welcoming to tent camping, but Jason Senn, the camp’s owner, has made it work — an RV parked at either end of a strip of spaces, grass-colored carpet laid between, and about 20 tents hard by one another, in two rows. If you brought adequate padding and a decent sleeping bag, it was no worse than sleeping on any forest floor. The surprise was the noise from the San Diego freeway, which was, no kidding, maybe 100 yards to the east. So no ocean sounds, but what Realtors call the Detroit river. What’s more, about halfway between was a rail line, and a busy one, although thankfully not near any crossings, so no horns at 2 a.m. After a day it all became white noise. Much like the ocean.

This was where we spent our days:

beachcamp

It’s probably a half mile walk down from the top. Even on Labor Day, when the parking was filled to capacity, we had the beach almost entirely to ourselves. I guess even Californians get picky about recreation when you have to walk so far, and then walk back up a steep hill.

For beginners, it’s hard to imagine a more welcoming spot — a long beach break, with waves breaking far enough out that a clumsy oaf like me has enough time to clamber to her feet before arriving back on land. For the more advanced surfers, the waves were long, many of them “a-frames,” like the ones sought by Col. Kilgore in “Apocalypse Now,” that break with symmetrical right and left shoulders. (The point of surfing is to travel parallel to the wave; perpendicular rides are for coming in or beginners like me.)

But first you have to get “outside,” beyond the breaking waves to the relatively calm ocean beyond. It’s no small thing, because the ocean really doesn’t want you there.

On day one, I and two other total newbies, Adam and Susan, were paired with Romolo, an instructor. He said he got into surfing via downhill skateboard racing, which suggested a certain X-Games fearlessness. Venezuelan, slender and fit, with a cockscomb Mohawk and rapid-fire speech, brown as a bear and so graceful on a board it looked like a part of his body, this guy was put in charge of three middle-aged adults. He gave us a lesson on the beach, and then it was time to paddle out, shuffling our feet through the shallows (stingrays) and following instructions. As we picked up our boards, he crossed himself. It was a startling gesture for someone who’s gone downhill fast on a skateboard, but who am I to argue with a man’s faith? I crossed myself, too, just in case he knew something I didn’t. (Of course he did; I’d never even been in the Pacific Ocean.)

The water was warmer than I expected, maybe 70 degrees, but I was still grateful for my wetsuit. We shuffled through a few knee-high crashers, then it was time to go belly-down on the board and paddle. Within seconds, a wall of whitewater was bearing down on us. “Turn over!” Romolo called, but I couldn’t process the command — he was calling for a turtle roll, where you roll off onto your back, holding the board over your face and letting your legs trail. The wave hit me smack in the face, a HOLY SHIT WHAT WAS THAT moment, but I stayed on the board.

“Celia! You have to roll over!” I heard Romolo calling. (Adam’s name he mastered, but Susan and I became Sonya and Celia.) I knew he was talking to me, but rolling over just wasn’t in my skill set yet. The next wave was bearing down. I hung on tight. SMASH. Honestly, it wasn’t too bad; later in the week I learned a different strategy for getting through, but for my first trip out, I committed to punishment, even as I gave Romolo every reason to be grateful for his religion. Finally, after a few more direct hits, we were there, outside, and we sat up on our boards. Romolo scolded me; you can’t just power through like that, you can get hurt, if the waves were bigger, etc. I was honestly just letting it all pour over me, like the waves; I felt a fugue-like disassociation. Where the hell was I, and what was I doing out here? Is this the ocean? Are those bombs? And more to the point, how the hell was I going to get back to the beach?

I’ll spare you the details of every ride. Romolo spotted the waves for us, and gave us the push we needed to get up to speed, because none of us had any idea how fast you have to paddle to catch them. For the first, I couldn’t rise from my stomach, again because it was just so strange and disorienting. The second, I got to one foot and knee. There were wipeouts galore along the way, and those taught me as much as the fleeting successes — that the ocean might throw me around like a rag doll, but I wouldn’t drown or lose my board (thanks, leash), that each one would pass, that I could still swim, and that this rolling and tumbling was useful. Stressful, too, with a whirl of unfamiliar feelings and emotions, including fear but also the dawning exhilaration of what we were all working toward. When I think of that first day, I don’t remember moments so much as a slide show of images and sounds — white water overhead, smashing down; Romolo’s face, worried under his wet Mohawk, lips white with zinc oxide; the blue ocean beyond; the way the waves outside lifted and lowered us as we sat our our boards; “Celia! Paddle-paddle-paddle! Faster-faster-faster!”

I was grateful to walk back up the hill at the end of the day. But inside, I was also itching to get out again.

Day two brought a new instructor. I figured I had ai-yi-yi’d Romolo into enough of a tizzy that when an amiable Brazilian ambled up to me on the beach and introduced himself as Rafael, my first thought was: I see I’ve been bounced to the special class. But Adam and Susan were still in the group, so maybe it was just the rotation or something. In any event, either Rafael was a much better fit or it was one of those when-the-student-is-ready-the-teacher-will-appear things. His accent was drawling, his mood chill, his encouragement gentle. He had a “two-step pop-up” that seemed made for less-nimble people. And I knew what to expect now.

I also had a bigger board, a foot longer and noticeably wider. This may be what made the difference when I finally wobbled to my feet and stood, more or less upright, and stayed up, almost all the way to the beach. It was different from my first belly ride in many ways, but mainly the illusion of being just a tad more in control and the pressure on the bottoms of my feet, all of which said: So this is what a flying carpet feels like.

For the record, this is what a flying carpet feels like. And I couldn’t even steer it yet:

flyingcarpet

So. Thus reassured that I could, and would, eventually be able to do this thing, it was possible to relax a little and pay more attention to my fellow surf campers. Besides Susan (who is from Grosse Pointe, and traveled with me) and Adam, there was Rusty, an instructor, seen here making breakfast:

rusty

When I met him I said, “You look like you were sent here from central casting.” He laughed, because he’s Australian and everything amuses him. He introduced me to the Cosmic Psychos, an Aussie punk band responsible for this song, which tells you a great deal about Aussie punk bands. When I was showing my pictures around the office last week, one of my colleagues took a look at Rusty and said, “He looks like he was sent from central casting.”

There was also Margery and Tony, Canadians, who come all the way in from Whitehorse, in the Yukon, to surf at Endless Summer every year. They’re both in their 70s, and meet up with their son and his partner. And they get in the water, yes. Paul was a childhood friend of Jason’s, a quasi instructor, quasi because he was rehabbing from a terrifying motorcycle crash a year ago that sounds like it could easily have cost him a leg. Here’s Paul and Susan, Paul elevating his leg because it was swelling. But yeah, he surfed, too:

paulandsusan

Irish Mike came all the way from Dublin:

mikesrobe

That robe he’s wearing is in every surf shop. I thought it was maybe some sort of cult garment until I figured it out — it’s a modesty coverup so you can change into your wetsuit commando, which I guess a lot of people, especially guys, prefer. The driftwood stuck in the sand behind him was the wicket he and Rusty set up for a cricket pitch they made. He surfs year-round in Ireland, in frigid water, requiring dry suits with hoods, gloves and booties. I’d say he earned this kelly-green tattoo:

mikestattoo

There was Daria from Montreal, Cara from New Jersey, Preston the Navy dentist on leave, Ron and Marisol from L.A. and Cristophe, French by way of San Diego. Many others. We socialized on the beach and in the camp, watching surf movies on TV — there was a lounge, with couches, a nice perk for asphalt campers — and sitting around the fire, where we talked about Donald Trump and Detroit and all the places they were from.

And day by day, I got just a little better. I started to recognize the tides, asked Preston about the Marine watercraft sitting far offshore, watched a school of baitfish fling themselves out of the water a little farther outside. (I tucked my arms and legs onto the board, unsure what, exactly, might be chasing them.) Three pelicans flew by in formation 20 feet from my face. The waves rolled by in moving pyramids, the wind whipping their tops into spray, a beautiful sight. And this happened:

dophins

Dolphins, not sharks.

And then it was over. Susan and I made our way back to Los Angeles, via the same rail line that ran through the camp. (It kills me that LA, a city perhaps more associated with cars than even Detroit, is so far ahead of us on mass transit by rail.) I was working my way through a burger as big as my head in Marina del Rey on Friday night — and please, feel free to file that under “sentence fragments you hoped you’d never read here” — when it struck me why I was feeling so buzzed by the week just concluded: It was all so very unfamiliar.

My vacations have always fallen into one of two categories. There’s the kind where all you want is total sloth and torpor — lead me to a beach/pool chair, put a drink in my hand, refill it at regular intervals and point me to bed hours later. And there’s the kind where you embark on an adventure, a dive into a new culture, a strange place, and go-go-go until it’s time to board the plane home.

Some people are partisans of one or the other. A true moderate, I enjoy both. This summer, I took two vacations, at the beginning and end of the season, and both were the latter kind. Iceland was a world away, San Clemente on the other side of the country, but both are places so different from my usual routine that they left me feeling …bigger, somehow. Expanded. More open. Wider, maybe, although that may be all the granola bars I ate on the beach. But different somehow, a little wiser about things I thought I was smart about but it turned out I was dumb about. And isn’t that the point of this journey? To enlarge ourselves, to encompass more, to get out of our ruts and see the world? We’re all just visitors here, so we might as well try new things once in a while.

So until next year, Adam, Romolo, Susan and Rafael:

onthebeach

I leave you with a bookend to the other pictures I shot all summer — sunrise in Grosse Pointe. Here was the first-day sunset over the Big P, with the tiny crescent moon coming down on its own journey:

sunset

This is the new lock-screen photo on my phone. Reminding me it’s out there, waiting for me next summer.

Some photography by me, most by A.J. Mcclintick.

Posted at 5:50 pm in Same ol' same ol' | Tagged , , |
 

36 responses to “It’s important to try new things.”

  1. Ruthie said on September 18, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    I’ve never commented here before, but have enjoyed your blog for a few years now. San Clemente and San Onofre are in my backyard (raised in Orange County, now live a few minutes from the beach in San Diego, was a reporter in Oceanside for a few years in my 20s) so it’s fun to see it from another perspective. My husband surfs and helps my kids go out on a big foam board when we go to the beach, but I’ve never tried it and always felt like I was a little too late. Maybe I’ll go here to get up to speed one summer!

  2. adrianne said on September 18, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    I want to marry Irish Mike.

  3. Joe Kobiela said on September 18, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Best post of the year, I used to see guys surfing in Cleveland while I was inbound to Lake Front airport, and read story’s about them surfing on the East side of Lake Michigan in the fall, all I could think of was how cold it must be,
    Looks like a lot of fun.
    60 is the new 40, piss on aarp.
    Pilot Joe

  4. Sherri said on September 18, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Great post. Talking myself off the ledge of my fear is the challenge to anything outside my comfort zone, but it’s almost always worth it. Even if I go splat occasionally.

  5. basset said on September 18, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    Where’s Alan going/where did he go on his solo vacation?

  6. Sherri said on September 18, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    This poor man is just sad.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/guns-and-sodas/2016/09/17/805e0db4-79e9-11e6-bd86-b7bbd53d2b5d_story.html?tid=sm_tw

  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 18, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    Thank you, Nancy. Much appreciated!

  8. Deborah said on September 18, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Lovely post. The only thing I can compare it to was my experience at Beaver Brook a few years back when 10 of us amateurs built most of a sauna/bath house in upstate NY, in 10 days. Lots of exhausting physical labor and I was twice as old as everyone else. But it was an experience I’ll never forget. Your time surfing sounds fantastic. What is your plan for next year?

  9. Dave said on September 18, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    Sheri, I read that story today, I marveled at how paranoid one has to be to get to that point and when I read what they were buying at the local Walmart, I thought that their diet would kill them both soon, anyway.

    I’ll be back to read the surfing story, just scanned through the first time around.

  10. susan said on September 19, 2016 at 12:01 am

    Thank you for this post. Lovely and enchanting. And it’s something I’ll never do!

  11. Jolene said on September 19, 2016 at 12:17 am

    ” . . . , a little wiser about things I thought I was smart about but it turned out I was dumb about.”

    I want to hear more about this. Otherwise, great post. I admire you for taking the risk.

  12. Dexter said on September 19, 2016 at 2:00 am

    Last year I re-read Kerouac’s “Big Sur”. In the text, the ocean slowly then explosively drives our hero quite mad. I am glad you fared better, leaving with the desire to return. Of course the camp name rang a bell instantly, as a couple years ago I and some friends watched all the surfer movies over the summer. Endless Summer is high on the list of surfer flicks.
    The Amtrak and Coaster lines are side-by-side but the Coaster only goes as far as Oceanside (and south to San Diego). Being a train-nut, I really enjoyed riding up and down on the Coaster, which was very cheap.
    Our hotel in Encinitas was probably closer to the San Diego Freeway than your tent, just up a bank from the roadway, and also just east of the road, but we had an excellent view of the ocean, being up so high, and perfect vista for sunsets.
    We saw endless dolphins on our two-hour cruise, perhaps even your two buddy-dolphins pictured. Camp Pendleton is monstrously big. Our son-in-law Aaron pointed out some of the huge hill he trained on as a Marine, which are easily seen from the freeway.
    Jellyfish…I remember my only trip to Santa Monica years ago when I went swimming near the pier. There were flags posted but I didn’t know they meant jellyfish warning. Somehow I avoided getting stung or injured by them, but the people we visited later laughed at my naivete…I guess some folks are very sensitive to the damn things.
    The water was also very warm at Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, but I just didn’t have any urge to swim, just wade the shoreline. Oceans are temperamental…at Carmel Beach I recall frigid waters and only wet-suited divers went in, while north at the main Santa Cruz beaches, all sorts of people swam in the ocean. I always heard it was because of the extremely deep waters in Monterey Bay.Rip currents were also horrid around Monterey.
    Next summer for the family vacation we have three possibilities we are kicking around. One, rent a house again around Nag’s Head on the NC Outer Banks, two, fly to Miami, FL , to check out #2 daughter’s new house ( her husband just was hired by an Miami executive jet outfit to fly their airplanes) or MY choice, fly to San Francisco, meet #1 daughter and whoever at SF Int’l, rent a vehicle and tour San Francisco and the Monterey Peninsula like we originally were going to do this year, before the multiple giant Cal fires became a real damn buzzkill.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DmbkXTwbXc

  13. Heather said on September 19, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Sounds amazing. The only comparison I have is to my experience last year in a pretty intense sea kayaking course on Lake Michigan. I had to learn how to do a “wet exit,” i.e., capsize the kayak and get out of it while hanging upside down. Over and over again. Ugh. I never quite got over the anxiety during the course, but I’m a pretty confident kayaker now. Just went out on the lake yesterday for a quick paddle.

  14. Hank Stuever said on September 19, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Lovely recap — inspiring, too. A lesson on taking the plunge. I do love to look at the Pacific but I haven’t set foot in it since a stingray got me good in 2003. I should try again.

  15. Dexter said on September 19, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Joe…I never landed at Burke Lakefront Airport but in the 80s and 90s I would always see surfers out on Erie if the conditions were right. It seems they have always surfed in Lake Michigan as well. Talk about killer waves, every now and again someone will bring up the killer seiche of 1954 that ruined lives in Chicago and other communities. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1994-06-19/news/9406190133_1_lake-michigan-breakwater-chicago-river

  16. Sherri said on September 19, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    This is…audacious: http://www.seattletimes.com/business/tech-experts-propose-reserving-seattle-bc-stretch-of-i-5-for-driverless-cars-only/

    Seems like something only people who don’t actually have to commute along I-5 to Everett to work at Boeing, or live in Marysville, or go to school in Bellingham, would come up with. I would think that dedicating a part of Seattle to self-driving cars would make more sense, or even better, Portland, someplace where there is already alternative mass transit for getting around. But I hear a lot of different use cases for self-driving cars, many of them contradictory, and most of them proclaiming that the era of the self-driving car is upon us in 5 years, which I simply don’t believe. There are still substantial tech problems to solve, and even bigger social and infrastructure problems to solve.

  17. brian stouder said on September 19, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Marvelous stuff, indeed! I’m thinking that surfing is something I shall probably never, ever do, despite that if a tsunami ever swept you away, you might land on a deserted island, where the women dress like it’s 1967.

    Anyway – in today’s mail I got a Red Bull magazine. It’s a glossy thing – not sure how we got it, but it’s free, and I suspect my fine young son dropped an application in one of their booths, when we were at Indianapolis for time trials, or when he was at the race. Anyway – the big cover story was all about a beautiful young woman who was a professional surfer*, up ‘til she lost her automatic qualification for the finals – whereupon she became a broadcaster for the sport. So the net effect is that I went from almost total ignorance of surfers/surfing culture/San Clemente surfing (she lives near there) to a total, gnarly WIPEOUT!!

    *who knew there was such a thing as a professional surfer?

  18. Scout said on September 19, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    I loved this whole post! Thanks for sharing. It reminds me I am overdue for a trip to Encinitas, another very cool surf town. I don’t surf, but I love the vibe, and Encinitas has the added zen of the SRF center there. I especially appreciated your summary of how your summer experiences expanded you, made you more open, wider and wiser.

  19. Sherri said on September 19, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Trump is the symptom; he was just the best positioned to take advantage of the Republican’s increasing white nationalism: http://www.vox.com/2016/9/19/12933072/far-right-white-riot-trump-brexit

  20. Heather said on September 19, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Sherri, I read that open-carry article the other day. It illustrates why we need more mental health programs and access to them in this country, seriously. That guy is paranoid beyond acceptable levels.

  21. nancy said on September 19, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Yes, the open-carry story was incredibly disturbing, but I’ve heard versions of that story many times. I had a colleague whose brother started carrying after the Luby’s cafeteria massacre in the, what? ’80s? At the time, he tut-tutted and shook his head about it. Today, I’m 70 percent sure he’s considering doing the same thing.

  22. brian stouder said on September 19, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Oxy-Rush was ejaculating his specially-distilled brand of acidic hatred all over the place, during the 5 minutes I could stand, at lunchtime today.

    ‘Islamofascist’/’drive-by-media’/week-kneed apologists (like the president), etc etc

    OK – so this rube in NJ scored zero kills, had several duds, got himself shot, and will never be outside a prison again…. and he was darker skinned and one of them-there Afghani guys.

    Hmmmmmm. What about the buzz-haircut son of a bitch white guy who scored several hundred dead when he and his white-guy partner executed their truck-bomb attack on a Federal building in Oklahoma City? Or the white-kid who took mom’s guns, killed mom, and then mowed down dozens of children in an elementary school? Or the two white teenagers who conducted a slaughter at Columbine high school?

    Or for that metter, slow-acting serial killers like that Son of Sam bastard from not-so-long-ago; or the Zodiac guy; or the Boston strangler; or Ted Bundy?

    Were any of those bastards Muslim?

    Human zeros who decide that the one way the world will take notice of them – which is the way it oughta be, in their opinion – is for them to rack up a body-count.

    And with today’s mass media/instant updates/cell-phone cameras in every car/pocket/purse – these human zeros (whether they’re caucasion/middle eastern/black/Asian or whatever else) know that they’re always just twenty minutes away from getting the red “BREAKING NEWS” banner all across the cable/satellite news channels.

    This is not to pin blame on ‘the 24-hour news cycle’; hell, John Brown was a zealous murderer when all there was were ink-stained wretches who might or might not ever run the story of his attacks.

    But if you’re a nihilistic loser (regardless what color your skin is, or whatever your religion) – you know you’re gonna get live TV/internet coverage, when you go over the cliff

  23. LAMary said on September 19, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    I have a family member who posted a long screed on his facebook page about how lucky everyone is because he is always armed and ready to take down crazies who start shooting up the supermarket/movie theater/school. He’ll even protect people who want to take everyone’s guns away. He’s that nice a guy.

  24. brian stouder said on September 19, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Pammy and Shelby and I went to see Bridget Jones’ Baby yesterday – which was (I confess) quite good.

    Pam was especially motivated because it was in the theater with the recliner seats – which she dearly loves! (it also had a talky person or two in the audience, which distracted her, and even evoked a loud “SHHHHHH” – but we digress)

    Anyway – if some maroon begins shooting in the theater, the LAST THING ON EARTH that I’d want, is for some would-be good-guy to EXCHANGE fire with him – and with my family and I in the cross-fire!

  25. Suzanne said on September 19, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    It always amazes me how almost every open carry person I meet assumes he or she will be the good guy with the gun, never the bad guy. Right. Like that mother this summer who shot her two beautiful daughters to death because she was ticked about something.

  26. Joe Kobiela said on September 19, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Brian the difference is, except for probably Mcvay, and that could be argued, those you mentioned were mentally deranged, the terrorist are specifically targeting people like your family and mine in the name of a religion, These people are not mentally sick, they believe they are doing this in the name of their God.
    Pilot Joe

  27. Jolene said on September 19, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    I’m not so sure, Joe. People say they are doing things in the name of God all the time. A lot of it is pretty unpleasant.

    I’ve only picked up fragments about the latest misfit, but, so far, he sounds a lot like Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter–a loser, a failure with women, somebody who was never going to get the kind of attention he thought he deserved. I don’t think he’s disturbed in the same way that the Sandy Hook shooter was disturbed, but I don’t think he’s too different from Dylan Roof–another idiot who attached his isolation and social failure to a hateful ideology, causing enormous and lasting pain.

  28. Sherri said on September 19, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    I’m not sure why commiting murder because of your religion is somehow worse than commiting murder because of some other reason you hate people who are different than you. We just seem to treat it differently when it’s brown people murdering white people. After all we don’t talk about restrictions on Christians or pro-lifers when somebody decides to kill a doctor who performs abortions, and that’s based on their religion.

    It’s possible to be both mentally ill and Islamic, BTW, just like it’s possible to be both Chrisitan and mentally ill.

  29. Sherri said on September 19, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    What is the point of Morning Joe, anyway? http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/19/media/donald-trump-joe-scarborough-mika-brzezinski-peace-talks/index.html

  30. Deggjr said on September 19, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Living near Chicago and visiting occasionally, I think the Hobos (“the earth is our turf”) are a greater threat than ISIS. I haven’t seen a death count comparison between ISIS and Chicago gangs but my sense is Chicago gangs are ahead.

    With all the discussion on Colin Kaepernick and the National Anthem I’d like to see just one reference to the fact that the last six words of the anthem are “and the home of the brave.”

  31. David C. said on September 19, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    I’m way more frightened of a gun-totin’, constitution-lovin’ (one tiny part of it anyway), paranoid, hopped-up on AM radio yokel than I am Islamic terrorism. If all they have are knives and pipe bombs, they’ve got essentially nothing. They can scare the shit out of the hicks in towns so small no terrorist, or anyone else for that matter, will bother with. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass, but it isn’t going to lead to Sharia law or make the US part of the Caliphate, or any of the other BS they’re fed. I know statistics are hard, but more die from falls in their bathroom than by terrorism.

  32. Deborah said on September 19, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    My right wing sister now lives in the small Minnesota city where the knife wielding terrorist slashed people in a mall and was finally subdued (killed) by an off duty cop. My niece (her daughter) made a comment on FB that Obama probably wouldn’t invite the “hero” to the whitehouse because he (Obama) was too busy feeling sorry for the slasher instead of the victims. How do you even respond to such a claim?

  33. alex said on September 19, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    First, you unfriend them on Facebook.

  34. Sherri said on September 19, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    What Alex said. It’s so much easier to maintain relationships with nutty family members when you don’t see every thought that emerges. That’s one of the problems with Facebook. I know there are members of my family who are probably voting for Trump, but since I don’t do Facebook, I don’t have to be reminded of it regularly, and we can live with the polite fiction that they aren’t racist nut jobs.

  35. Sherri said on September 19, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    BTW, there is some justice in the universe. Tatiana Maslany won an Emmy last night! She’s been incredible as the star of Orphan Black, in which she plays multiple clones. If you’ve never seen it, check it out just to see what an amazing job she does.

  36. Hattie said on September 22, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    I love your spirit, Nancy!

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