If everybody had an ocean

I lived in L.A. for a couple of wonderful, if slightly crazed, summers in the '70s. When I got homesick for New Jersey, which wasn't too often, I would go down to Venice Beach and see the closest thing around to the commercial boardwalks of the Jersey Shore towns.

A reader sent me this story yesterday, in which Venice Beach now parallels my current, adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon. They've managed to sweep a lot of tent campers off the grass along the beach down in Venice – something Portland seems utterly incapable of doing. They even got a roof over a lot of peoples' heads. But it wasn't simple, and I get the sense that the swept-ness won't last. In any event, the L.A. Times' take on the scene was an interesting read, wherever you're spending your summer.