The OB Rag Staff Box


Current authors and contributors to the OB Rag

A few words about each of us…

Frank Gormlie

A lawyer and grassroots activist, Frank was finally convinced in the Fall of 2007 by Patty Jones to start a blog after she became tired of listening to his rants about the news. Way back during the Dinosaurs in 1970,  Gormlie founded the original Ocean Beach People’s Rag – OB’s famous underground community newspaper, and then later during the early Eighties, published The Whole Damn Pie Shop, a progressive alternative to the Reader.

Archive of Frank’s posts…

Patty Jones

Affectionately known as the “tech desk” in the virtual OB Rag office, Patty likes to tinker with things; mechanical, geekery…. anything she can hope to take apart and put back together (including this website).

Got a comment regarding the website or technical issues? Send them to Patty!

Archive of Patty’s posts…

Doug Porter

Doug was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal.  He also has contributed blogs to the Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Voice of San Diego and is involved with the organization Educate for the Future.

Doug is also the energy behind the OB Rag’s lively FaceBook page!

Archive of Doug’s posts…

Anna Daniels

I left a moribund Western Pennsylvania mill town the year that Richard M. Nixon was not impeached for crimes against the American people, and set off in search of truth, beauty, justice and a beat I could dance to.

Here I am.

Archive of Anna’s posts…

Ernie McCray

I was raised in a loving and alive home, in a black neighborhood filled with colorful characters in Tucson, Arizona. Such an environment gave me a hint that life has to be grabbed by the tail as tight as a pimple on a mosquito’s butt. With no BS and a whole lot of love. So, from those days to now I get up every morning set on making the world a better place. On my good foot*, and I hope my writing reflects that.

*an old black expression

Archive of Ernie’s posts…

Judi Curry

High school dropout who decided to show the educational community what learning is all about. If it’s the status quo something’s wrong with it and I’ll scratch the itch!

Archive of Judi’s posts…

Annie Lane

Annie Lane is a freelance writer with a passion for the environment and the separation of church and … just about everything. Annie grew up on a sailboat and was raised “throughout the world” as her family spent six and a half years circumnavigating the globe. She lives with her fiancé, their daughter and a host of wayward animals in Point Loma, and can sometimes be found scaling its hills on a long afternoon walk.

Archive of Annie’s posts…


Jim Miller

Jim Miller, a professor at San Diego City College, is the co-author of Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See and Better to Reign in Hell, and author of the novel Drift. His most recent novel on the San Diego free speech fights and the IWW, Flash, is on AK Press.

Archive of Jim’s posts…




Terrie Leigh Relf

Terrie is a free lance writer and author who writes for the OB Rag about local happenings and sustainability issues. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association and Horror Writers Association, and is also an editor and writing coach.  She has been nominated for four Rhysling Awards, the James B. Baker Award, and The Preditors and Editors Award.

Archive of Terrie’s posts…

Occasional contributors

Michael Steinberg

Michael is a long time activist and writes on many issues. In his words,

“My coming of age coincided with the revolutions of the 1960s, and all this combined to help me find my meaning as an adult through an anti-authoritarian impulse, and to seek liberation in all forms, foreign and domestic. I became an activist and took up many causes, anti-war, anti-nuke, food co-ops, music other cultural insurrections, the Irish freedom struggle, squatting in San Francisco, more recently defending my aging parents from the ravishes of age and a society that would just as soon throw them on the garbage heap.”

“I eventually found a way to express my views in activism through writing, in journalism that dug up the dirt and threw it back in the face of the dirtbags. But I needed to find ways to express more, to dig down into the emotions that in the end are all we are, even though polite society does it’s damndest to cover it all up and bury us alive from the day we’re born.”

Michael’s books are available from Black Rain Press.

Archive of Michaels’s posts…

Marc Snelling

A pro sysadmin/horticulturalist and sometimes writer/activist. Marc was a founding member of the Ocean Beach Grassroots Organization (OBGO) and was active in bringing the OB Rag into the digital realm starting in 2000. He moved west to join the OB Blackfoot tribe in 97 coming from the Ottawa Valley, eh. An avid outdoorsman and walker, he enjoyed blackening his feet with long barefoot walks around OB. He has since moved back to the Ottawa area, where they speak Franglais instead of Spanglish, but still visits OB whenever possible.

Archive of Marc’s posts…

 Dave Rice

Dave grew up in East County, where El Cajon meets La Mesa meets Spring Valley, but always had a fondness for OB, where his parents had been taking him on weekends since he was young. He bounced in and out of private, public, and home school systems before finally dropping out about halfway through his third freshman year of junior college. Politicized at an early age by his father, his interest has always been in opposition politics, though his slant toward progressive ideas developed later. At 13, he started working in a bicycle shop and had his own parts-and-repair business operating by 16. After a brief stint in banking (he was fired for performing his job too effectively), he’s returned to the family real estate brokerage with his father and sister. He currently resides in the southern portion of OB with his partner and elementary-age daughter.

Archive of Dave’s posts…

Past Contributors

Dave Gilbert

Thankful for the opportunity to cruise through this world with a purpose.

Archive of Dave’s posts…

Citizen Cane

Citizen Cane writes a column for the OB Rag called “The Hitchikers’ Guide to Ocean Beach“, where he highlights little known historical facts and other OB oddities.

Archive of Citizen Cane’s posts…

Jon Carr

Jon Carr is a San Diego native who has resided in Ocean Beach for the past decade. He enjoys Nati’s burrito special, short walks on the beach and high-fiving people as they walk past him on the street. Jon wants to focus on the people that make Ocean Beach such a great place to live. That means you!

Archive of Jon’s posts…

Andy Cohen

Andy spent 15 years working in the highest levels of the San Diego professional sports world, including both the Padres and the Chargers.  He began his foray into writing while a volunteer for Francine Busby’s 2010 Congressional campaign, eventually becoming a contributor to the now defunct SDNN.  He has reported on local and national politics for both the OB Rag and the San Diego Free Press.  When not reporting news and events, he offers political and policy commentary from a liberal perspective, occasionally turning back to his sports roots.  While he does not hide his more liberal political bent, Andy always strives for fairness in the telling of a story.

Archive of Andy’s posts…

Jack Hamlin

Scratchy curmudgeon with a reflective side, my students call me Lao Xu Long (Old Snow Dragon). Surfer, teacher, facilitator, recovering attorney (I’ve had all my shots), cook, canine steward and writer, I proudly maintain dual citizenship with the People’s Republic of O.B. and Planet Earth. Opening a can of worms is only the beginning of a good time and don’t change the subject to avoid doing so. Peace be with you and Namaste…

Archive of Jack’s posts…

Lane Tobias

Lane hopes to provide a fresh perspective on local and national issues pertaining to social and economic justice.  Having worked as a community organizer in both rural and urban communities, Lane believes that basic human rights, such as access to healthy food, shelter, and preventive health care, are the key to healthy communities.  As a writer for the OBRag, Lane hopes to bring much needed attention to important social issues and plans to offend as many people as possible.  Lane lives in OB New Jersey with his girlfriend and happily accepts personal gifts (such as bottles of Jack Daniels).

Archive of Lane’s posts…

Mary E. Mann

Mary enjoys the sound of rain and the pop when the needle hits a record.  Anything more that you need to know about her can be found on her website,

Archive of Mary’s posts…

Brenda McFarlane

Brenda moved to LA from Toronto to find work as a TV writer. There she met Kevin. He brought her to SD to show off the city and take her to a baseball game. They kept coming back, especially to OB. One day they saw the light and realized who they really wanted to be. They’ve lived in OB ever since.

Archive of Brenda’s posts…

Dan Morales

A college educated, decorated military veteran, accomplished mountaineer, defender of the working class and advocate for socialism.

Archive of Dan’s posts…


Rocky Neptun

Rocky Neptun passed away in 2013. He had been a director of the San Diego Renters Union. He calls himself an “aging peacenik” and was imprisoned for his human rights work, ferrying young Portuguese soldiers and sailors opposed to the colonial wars in Africa out of the country, in 1971 by the fascist dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar.

Archive of Rocky’s posts…


OB Convert

It is said that converts to a religion can be more zealous than those born into a religion. Perhaps the same applies to people who did not get to grow up in Ocean Beach but have moved here and won’t go away. I may not be a native OBecian but I sure think OB is fantastic and it isn’t just the ocean, good bars and dog beach. It’s the OB attitude that makes everything else so good.

Archive of OB Convert’s posts…

Dixon Guizot

HOBBIES: writing and body surfing
FAVORITE BURRITO: Nico’s bean/cheese/potatoes

Archive of Dixon’s posts..

Christine Schanes

Christine Schanes, J.D., Ph.D., is a consultant and public educator in the area of homelessness. Christine is director of two departments within Nos Amis/Our Friends, Inc.: (1) the new Center for Justice and Social Compassion  and (2) Children Helping Poor and Homeless People , co-founded by Christine and her two children, Chrissy, age 8, and Patrick, age 6 over twenty years ago. Today, CHPHP is a nationally recognized educational outreach program conducted by children and teens with adult advisors that encourages direct service.

Archive of Christine’s posts…

Matthew Wood

Matthew Wood moved to Ocean Beach from Chicago, where he lived for 13 years while working at the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, AOL CityGuide and The Heckler. He covers the Padres for NBC7 San Diego and has a personal blog detailing his adventures from the Midwest to this crazy beach community. He has assimilated to the OB lifestyle by eating a lot of fish tacos and walking around barefoot. An avid sports fan originally from Ann Arbor, Mich., he is a huge supporter of University of Michigan athletics and Detroit sports teams. He personally apologizes for the Tigers beating the Padres in the ’84 World Series, but not too much.

Archive of Matt’s posts…




{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

michael realpeople November 13, 2013 at 11:33 am

Would be interested in contributing as a fellow OB local in regards to B/W photo’s..

I have been active with the Reader, CNN, ABC, PBS and FOX News, as well as sharing my work with the respective Instagram and Facebook pages. Also integrated with Surfrider, Belly-up, 4th and B and the House of Blues

Feel free to ask for samples of my OB work and Google me..

Michael Realpeople



michael realpeople November 13, 2013 at 11:42 am

I am glad… I would contribute for free to help out!


claudia jack December 21, 2014 at 9:49 am

Frank, look on my home page about OB Cool Tree vs Rockfellor Tree and all the comments & questions OB Cool Tree WON>> Amazing OB Tree Rocks>> Just though you might like to post it~~ Claudia I can sent it e-mail if you want, just need your e-mail>> claudia


Nancy Casady April 20, 2015 at 9:38 am

Nice article, Frank. Thanks for the coverage and helping get the facts in the matter out. We’ll keep you posted as to progress on the project. Nancy


Sam Scampone May 9, 2017 at 8:06 pm

Thank you


Jay Cowan November 13, 2018 at 11:35 am

What are your submission guidelines?
I’ve written an irreverent, sarcastic opinion piece regarding the reelection of Duncan Hunter Jr despite his 60-count indictment, entitled ” Hunter Shoots Self in Crotch….Survives?”. Timely, informative & hilarious it chronicles his indictment from the perspective of one (me) who suffers the indignity of residing under the Hunter reign since 1980.


Frank Gormlie November 13, 2018 at 11:53 am

Let’s check it out, Jay. Send it to


Rose Davis August 18, 2019 at 3:04 am

Hello, INDIAN VOICES would like to share an article by one of our writers regarding the recent mass shootings.

“Listen to the wind; it talks. Listen to the silence; it speaks; listen to the heart; it knows”
-Native American Proverb

The Social Temperature of Mass Shootings
By Julian Ezekiel Alejandro
From 1966 to 2019 1,196 people have been murdered in the fashion of mass shootings in the United States. One-hundred and sixty-five separate incidents to date. The El Paso, Texas massacre is presently acutely disturbing as we know details of a young mother who was killed along with her husband while shielding their infant son. The Dayton, Ohio massacre happened just one day after. Its shooter’s motives appear an almost random amalgam of violent ideation, a massacre in want of a motive. The Las Vegas shooting was a chaotic hell on earth with no known motive. The only thing its 58 victims held in common was a love for country music. Sandy Hook’s victims were mainly children 7 and younger. Daniel Barden was one of them. He would have been 14 today. His parents started a foundation in his name to encourage others to small acts of kindness. Cultivation of peace and light in the face of violence and darkness. There is no better or more heroic response.
These mass shootings, these random public executions are as dark, and as horrifying, and as sad as our shared human existence can possibly get. Unless we make substantive efforts on all fronts relevant to mass shootings, we must bow our heads and accept this as the new norm. Or have we already? Can we still reasonably call ourselves a society if this is the accepted norm?
Gun control and mental health are part of the equation to be sure, but even these in concert cannot, and will not, make big enough of a difference.
Daunting as the task may be, if we are to prevail at all, we must prevent more people from ever arriving at the conclusion that the merciless, violent destruction of human life is the dark path they must take. Whatever the circumstances, motives, reasons given for each event, there is the purely spiritual or raw psychological event that is happening underneath, the outcome of which is mass murder, and death and a blip of infamous significance for the murderer. Preventing that mental event from happening in increasing frequency is not beyond our collective abilities. Afterall, we created the psychological environments in which these tragedies are now commonplace. A habitat which we designed for our own species inspires a not insignificant number of us to commit mass murder and suicide. Perhaps what, as a matter of happenstance, we organically engineered into our societies, we may intentionally engineer out.
Mass shootings are a reality we must resolve to never quietly accept. They are a phenomena I fervently urge us all to examine with our greatest powers of ratiocination, as well as our deepest psychological, emotional, and spiritual intuitions.
What exactly are these horrific events? Is each one an entirely different phenomenon with different factors? Or are they simply variations and iterations of a single condemnatory declaration made by a human soul before it reaches into oblivion and brings it back to share with others?
If there is a mass shooting contagion as some scholars have noted; is there any way to prevent its spread?
Is there a social ecosystem, a fecund psychological substrate of fear, pathos, animosity behind each of these outbursts of catastrophic fatal rage?
Is there any describable course of action we can take to decrease the number of mass shootings? If there is, it is a moral imperative we take that course of action in earnest, and with all deliberate speed.
I am well convinced we mainly know the answers to these terrible questions. Moreover, there is a roadmap to the hell of mass shootings, and out of necessity, I have an unction to describe it to anyone willing to look upon its obvious, insidious precision. It may appear differently to you and I, and to each of its followers at the beginning of their journey, but the map eventually brings all who succumb, to the same exact horrible place. Or state of mind. Or spiritual condition. Whichever you prefer.
What terrible chain of events has to happen in a human mind before it assents to the imperative of coldblooded mass murder? At what point does a sentient, living soul decide it will murder loved ones and strangers, slaughter children in front of their parents and parents in front of their children?
What perspective might it be that one comes to believe, and share with all other mass shooters, before they voluntarily and irrevocably plunge into this hell dimension themselves?
A mass shooting occurs when the Social Temperature—the amount of ambient fear, animosity, hatred— reaches a flashpoint in an individual. It happens when memory, intuition, intellect and emotion refuse to resist anymore, what is asked of them. What is asked of them is what many of us ask of one another in one way or another: Will you fear the people whom I fear? Will you hate the people whom I hate? Will you take this opportunity to be offended? Will you refuse others mercy? Will you believe there is no other way out of this for anyone, least of all you?
The ambient animosity, fear, and anger our species collectively puts out daily, finds its home in the minds and hearts of suffering humans. The stronger and more proliferate the general messages of disunity and discord are, the higher the Social Temperature. The higher the Social Temperature, the greater the number of those who succumb, and follow the map’s course to its tragic end. The event more likely when the tone of the high Social Temperature is markedly accusatory, insular, and solipsistic.
A cacophony of accusing, condemning voices starts the droning drum beat. A lifetime of rejection, exclusion, insult, pain. Eventually an acceptance sets in that one must judge and be judged, and that mercy is not an option for anyone. A mass shooting at ground zero, is a public accusation, condemnation, and execution of our very species.
Regrettably the deceptive kind of rhetoric which urges one to such thinking and action is ubiquitous. If you say any one population of humans is intrinsically worse than any other you will always be wrong — as well as a bigot. If you say the tribe that is not yours does bad things, you will always be right. If you say your tribe would never abuse its power you will always be wrong. Such is the reality of being human. Only mercy and longsuffering allow a path forward out of this ideological quagmire in which competing theses and antitheses result in a syntheses that pronounces humanity worthless.
We are fallible. We fail. It’s what our species does. Every tribe. Every individual. But the high Social Temperature — the proliferation of hatred, cruel, pitiless, doctrinaire tribalism, and its flashpoints, the mass murders which presently occur anywhere, anytime, causing unimaginable suffering? Surely we can do better than all that bloody noise.
But are we willing?
Enmity and disdain, expressed as snarky contempt are exquisitely gratifying. As such these are hard to relinquish. Especially when they gain one likes and follows. Hatred of the Other on social media is a bustling economy. There are seminars, symposiums, workshops, websites, each devoted to teaching a school of thought which posits vilification of the Other as a force for positive social change. How could blaming entire groups of people for the most pronounced of society’s ills possibly go wrong?
It’s unlikely that any tribe has an exclusive on truth or on the most accurate perspective. And that everyone else outside that tribe is not only wrong but evil. Religious cults make such claims; rational people really shouldn’t. Believing we need to vilify the Other in order to make progress is a wrongheaded mistake too many of us are falling for.
Confess that you are a witch, communist, fascist, racist, sexist, and we’ll let you be. Yet wherever the princes of oppression operate they are satisfied if we refuse to acknowledge they exist, well-pleased if we see them everywhere, especially where they are not. These princes are content so long as our eyes seek out the evil in the hearts of others and refuse to see the darkness in our own.
If only an omniscient narrator would interject from time to time when we forget: “Hey folks you’re doing it again. It’s the species, you fools, not any group of you.”
A recent exchange on twitter went like this: “Black American culture produces blacks who kill blacks in huge numbers;” response: “White American culture produces white mass shooters.” It’s an argument nobody wins and humanity loses. And a few more steps are taken toward a destination of annihilation in the mind of someone somewhere.
Everyday rhetoric used across all forms of media are not merely the mean spirited fun we think they are but also iterations of the spiritual dictums: You should hate Them and here’s why. I have suffered; I will cause others to suffer. Your kind are worthless and evil. Their kind are worthless and evil. You and I are better than everyone else.
The laws of Social Thermodynamics say all this negativity has to go somewhere.
But there are things we can do; And there are things we can refuse to do, to bring down the Social Temperature, and decrease the number of mass shootings. It begins with an understanding and acceptance of what it means to be human. It continues with a willingness to look at this wonderful and loathsome species for what it truly is, and resolve to love it anyway. Ferociously. As a species. With mercy. Without that we will remain lost in our desolation. Without taking in all that we know, owning it, and acting on it, we are stating in agreement with the mass shooters, that our species indeed is not fit for existence.


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