Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

PHOTO: “Sand in My Shorts,” or a picnic at the beach

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Every week I write an email newsletter that goes out to roughly 9-billion people, dogs, cats, birds, and lesser dust mites. Usually, don’t have a problem coming up with a couple hundred words. (The secret of writing -- despite what you read on blogs about the creative process -- is to write.)

But when I do have a problem, I turn to the faithful LA Public Library online photo archive. I type in a random word, and am rarely disappointed.

This week, my newsletter mind was blank, so I walked out into the operations pavilion of the Mohn Broadcast Center and asked Doug Gerry for “the first word that pops into your head.”

Of course, being a funny guy, and a Canadian, he said “pop,” so that’s what I typed into the search field.

Many photos came up of pop stars getting awards. Boring. There are a number of wonderful pictures of the late lamented Pacific Ocean Park, like this one. There’s a nice shot of Sandy Koufax; one of Bernard H. Linden, whoever he was; and one that shows how to pitch a baseball so it produces a pop-fly.

But when I came to “Family at Venice Beach, view 1,” our first photo above,  I knew I’d found my photo of the week.

The caption reads: “A family of six enjoys a picnic at Venice beach. They sit on the sand and enjoy sandwiches and soda pop. The two young men sitting in the middle wear similar sweaters, shirts and bow ties, while the two little girls in the front wear matching white print dresses. A sign posted on the beach reads: "Public Beach. Keep it clean". Houses and businesses are visible in the background.”

But if you think this photo is remarkable, click through the slideshow to "Family at Venice Beach, view 2," and then thank me, even as the image is seared into your brain.

And if you'd like delightful tidbits like this delivered straight to your inbox, and the chance to win modest prizes every once in a while, plus recommendations for fun and cheap stuff to do in Southern California, sign up for the weekly Off-Ramp newsletter.

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