Totebaggy travel

by winemama

How totebaggy are your vacations? Do you pass on the Mousetrap?

To me, teaching moments and travel go hand in hand. So our family vacations are designed to incorporate elements of enrichment: exposure to foreign culture, a brush with history, interaction with nature, discovery of new foods, engaging in activities that make us step outside our comfort zones. Sure, Disney is fun. But school breaks are few and handled with extreme care.

5 Family Vacations That Don’t Involve Disney World


155 thoughts on “Totebaggy travel

  1. Interesting that the NYTImes commenters all seem to agree that Ms. Koch is a pretentious judgmental tw-t*. That said, she does offer some very solid suggestions.

    * I assume the anti-Disney rant was out of clickbait necessity.

  2. We’ve done the whole gamut, Disney (Land and World), Major European & US cities, though not London, a lot of our western national parks including Wyoming, annually hanging at the Jersey shore for a week +. We go to sporting events, and have even built trips specifically for that purpose. “Local” exploring around here. And, yes, Ris, “around here” includes Ontario (Niagara Falls, Cambridge, Toronto). Art and history included where possible. Hawaii, including both national parks.
    (Upcoming: a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC to see the current baseball card exhibit…runs thru Oct 20, see article in the 6/4/16 WSJ if you’re interested: )

    We definitely found the Disney trips to be among the most exhausting…seems like we were always on the go. The other trips definitely had more downtime/hanging out time and so were more refreshing.

  3. I didn’t read the comments, but I was going to write the same thing Rhett did. I don’t even like Disney all that much, and I agree that it’s expensive for what you’re really getting, but it just seems so unnecessary to start an otherwise great travel article by insulting all those uneducated rubes. She just comes across as bitter, and then you have to work to overcome that.

    Having lived in Virginia Beach, I agree with all her points about vacationing there. It’s an equally great place for a family to live.

  4. Our daily lives are so busy that when we go on vacation, I mostly like to go somewhere warm and sunny and relax by the water. We’ve gone to Disneyland/World 3 times and while I wouldn’t call those trips relaxing, I definitely enjoyed them and was glad we went.

  5. We are hoping to go to either Italy or Spain next year and will need to find the right balance between seeing things/visiting places but still having time to relax and chill. The kids will be with us.

  6. ssm – we’ve done Italy & Spain with our kids…if you want to chat about those get my email from CoC.

  7. “We definitely found the Disney trips to be among the most exhausting…seems like we were always on the go.”

    Yep. Everything’s got to be so damn strategic. We have to ride Tower of Terror now so we can use that FastPass and still have enough time to get another FastPass, then we have to go to a sit-down meal when we’re not hungry because that’s the only time they had for this Character Meal, and oh, you just got your food? Tough shit, Sophia the First is just one table away, so make sure you get the cameras ready, and get the kids up and ready to take pictures, and where are the God Da*n autograph books???

    Compare that to driving a boat right up onto the beach, opening a drink and saying “Go swim, kids.”

  8. We have been to Disney with two kids, and I’m looking forward to doing it again in a year or two.

    Most of our vacations involve 4-6 museums, a zoo and an aquarium, and a historic national park. We just pick a city in driving distance and go.

    My kids do not suffer from museum deprivation because I drag them to tiny local ones even when we are not on vacation :). Time with the mouse won’t hurt.

  9. Assuming it’s not all a put-on for click bait purposes, it sure is black and white thinking. These trips aren’t mutually exclusive.

    Again assuming she’s being sincere, what are the chances her kids would’ve asked her to go to Disney, even if they were dying to go? Parental disdain telegraphs clearly.

    The Tower of London is no less educational because you happened to ride Space Mountain the year before.

  10. We are actually going to VA Beach later this year. It was chosen for us for a family gathering, and I was neutral about it, so I was glad to see both the article and Milo’s comments.

    I know I’ve said this before – I have no desire to ever visit Orlando again, and I’m not a Disney-lover. But if we make it out to SoCal sometime while DS is young, I would definitely have fun spending a day at Disneyland with the family. Disneyland is more appealing to me because there are so many other things to do/see on a vacation to the area vs. Orlando. Disney hate from certain circles gets really tired.

  11. I would love to take DS to Disney in a year or two.

    I agree that the author seems pretentious.

    Not every thing has to be a learning experience.

    I do like the trips she suggested.

  12. I love the comment from the NY Times article that said (paraphrased): Vacations are what I take to get a respite from “teaching moments”. AMEN.

    At least, we don’t gear our vacations around “teaching moments”. We just go places that we want to see & do things that we want to do without any thought towards what DS may “learn”.

  13. We take both types of vacations. The mouse, Hershey, Atlantis etc.
    We don’t love the trips, but DD still has a great time on these types of kid centric trips. We visited the Hershey museum, and it was really interesting to learn the history behind the company and school. We made some detours so she could see some of the enormous farms.

    We did visit a national park and do some hiking when we went to the beach in March. We will combine some fun and education on our next trip with DD at the end of the summer.

  14. So does she not realize that all the people at that Wyoming dude ranch look on her with precisely the same attitude that she applies to the swarming hordes at Disney? I almost did not make it past the opening paragraphs (thank you for confirming that the NYT is the bastion of judgmental, condescending coastal elites — see “shanda for the goyim”). But then she does have some good advice — her actual taste in vacations is closer to my own (which is partly why the intro is so grating).

    For me, there’s a whole big world out there, and I want to enjoy it myself and with my kids. Plus I hate amusement parks in general, and Disney just epitomizes that (loud, *expensive*, too much planning, crappy food, and not a huge fan of rides/shows). So we did Disney once for each kid with Grandma/Grandpa, we did Universal once because my inlaws chose Orlando as the location for a major birthday family vacation, but otherwise it’s just easier to get our amusement park fixes up at Hershey (which is less jammed and less crazy/loud anyway).

    We really amped up the travel a few years ago, when I did the math on how few vacations we had left before DD leaves for college, and I haven’t regretted it once. Nowadays probably 1/2-3/4 our travel is family-related (four living inlaws + 1 living Granny = pretty frequent major life events that deserve celebrating), but that doesn’t exactly suck as the grandparents usually choose a beach someplace. We also try to carve out time for one family trip abroad each summer — this summer we are combining both, as my mom and I will take DS to France/Germany, then we meet up with DH in Barolo for a few days, then we lose my mom and get DD for a few more days around Parma, and finally meet up with my dad and stepmom back at our (my) favorite place in Tuscany.

    @SSM — I will make the same offer as Fred, let me know if you want any info about Italy (Rome and points north). I am a big fan of Tuscany/Umbria for family vacations, because you can rent a house with a pool, and there are many many cute towns within an hour or so (+ awesome food and wine), so you can mix in easy day trips with leisurely days off by the pool.

  15. Forget the kids, I want to take the suggested trips! I may have to try solo traveling again.

    About half our family trips were non-totebaggy, partly because I hate amusement parks. Also I’ve become more picky about beaches, and I just couldn’t sum up the desire to follow through on our half-planned trip to the Outer Banks a few years ago. (I lean more toward Caribbean type of beaches.)

    Learning and exposure to other cultures is desirable, but IME sometimes a kid will just not enjoy it and that puts a damper on everyone’s enjoyment.

  16. Vacation is on my mind, but out for this year other than a weekend getaway until next summer. I used all my leave with my mom’s end of life health issues and her apartment clean out. My DD#1, just left for Spain with a group from her school today. DD#2 goes to Savannah with GS later this summer. Both DDs go with their dad to a gaming convention in August.

    We took the kids to Disney – they loved it…I was OK with it – once. Haven’t heard from them the desire to go back. Before and mostly after that, we did some extended weekend type vacations as a family due to schedule issues, parental care issues, and cost. Though all of us have been some where each summer (except for me this and last) for at least a week, just not always together. Next spring break DD#1 is going on a trip to Italy/Greece with school and right after school ends next summer DD#2 will have the option to take a band trip to NYC.

    Right now I’m planning on a Thanksgiving week trip as both kids have the whole week off. But due to school homework always assigned over the break, we likely do a partial week trip. We have no other family to spend Thanksgiving with so, I see it as a good time to get aways. Any thoughts on that?

  17. Compare that to driving a boat right up onto the beach, opening a drink and saying “Go swim, kids.

    My kids are confident non-swimmers. Which makes water parks, beaches, hotel pools, and deep puddles reallyreallyreally fun for them and exhausting for me. We’re taking swim lessons, we are making improvements, but I am years away from cracking a beer while the kids are taking a swim.

    The author never traveled with small kids, or has conveniently forgotten what that’s like. Cute beach towns are fun, but I really want a bathroom every 100 feet and a stroller full of snacks and diapers that I can leave outside next to every activity I do. The thing about Disney is that the logistics are soooo much easier than any kind of interesting travel. Tantrumming toddlers are no fun anywhere – but less fun when you are 14 miles into the lake path in Wisconsin. I’d rather have 6 Mickey-shaped ice cream treats available nearby for $7 each.

    That said, we’ve done two big Disney vacations. They were exhausting and a ton of fun. We will do a cruise next time, and may be done with the Disney phase of our travel. Our last trip was 6 people x 8 days, and I think we spent around 6k (tickets, lodging, food). So 4 people x 5 days doesn’t need to be 5k.

  18. “Learning and exposure to other cultures is desirable, but IME sometimes a kid will just not enjoy it”

    See, I think it’s all about how you approach it. We haven’t yet dragged the kids through a lot of capital-M museums. But DS dragged us into the Museum of Torture in Montepulciano (and still talks about it), and both kids loved traipsing down to the Etruscan tomb that is below one of the wine shops there.

    It’s the “trying so hard to force educational value” that irritates me. “Enrichment”-focused vacation : vacation :: worksheets : learning through play. Just go interesting places and do things that your family enjoys and can’t do on a daily basis.

  19. Virginia Beach are a terrific family true middle class destination. Lake Geneva is very nice if your family likes the recreational options in the area. I agree with LfB – a dude ranch? I like Disney well enough, but I am simply too old to try to take 2 or 3 little kids there solo, for safety reasons as much as exhaustion. If I could get one of my daughters to go with me, I’d probably consider a Disney cruise with connecting door cabins. One of our family’s greatest vacations was a cross country Amtrak trip – that is priced at comfortable middle class. We preordered a birthday cake for the first night out of chicago for the 4 year old and a day later had to ask the conductor to reassure a worried 6 year old that the tooth fairy would be able to find the train even though it was moving.

  20. I like that Geneva trip… maybe if the in-laws are still in Chicago in a couple years when the boys are older.

    I’m years away from “totebaggy” vs. “cheesy fun” vacations. Right now we travel to where we want to and pray DS isn’t an a-hole for most of the trip. We were lucky with our most recent trip – probably because we didn’t jam pack the trip.

    I may take DH to Universal in the fall to do HP land. I have friends who live down there and love Universal. We could stay with them and try to get discount tix through them. I can squeak out the time, DH and plenty, so it becomes a matter of money. After the hellish summer I have lined up for work, he may deserve it.

  21. “and a day later had to ask the conductor to reassure a worried 6 year old that the tooth fairy would be able to find the train even though it was moving.”

    That is just the sweetest thing ever. I hope the conductor played along well.

  22. We are toying with a trip to Southeast Asia next year (speaking of places without great logistics). We have two friends to visit that we would base some of our travel around. It seems like the kids might be old enough for such a trip. I’m ready to do things that are a little less easy, but only because we have graduated from diapers and naps.

    Also, I would love to do a ranch vacation, but balk at the 1-2k/per family, per night price (that was glossed over a bit in the article). Veebar ranch – 6 nights in July – $1995 for the adults, $1550 for the kids = $6640 for our family of 5. Plus, they don’t have a “Magic Express” bus to pick you up from the airport, so another $600 to rent your minivan to park at the ranch for the week.

    We’re going to DC this summer – nothing like August for crowds and good weather! I’m looking forward to going to museums until our eyes bleed.

  23. ” It seems like the kids might be old enough for such a trip.”

    If they can do that, they can wear a life vest and wade into the water with an adult watching casually from a chair or boat.

  24. I never wanted to go to Disney but my sister and her husband loved Disney, didn’t have children and took mine – had to go twice since there is seven years between the oldest and youngest. We always took the kids on beach vacations, We rented large ocean front houses and had most of my family down – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. We always took the kids to great amusement and water park areas. When we vacationed at LBI, NJ we always took them for a night on the boards at Wildwood – nothing beats the Wildwood boardwalk at night for kids (I didn’t particular like it – but you are only a kid once, When we stayed at Topsail Beach NC, we went to Myrtle Beach for a long, long day into night. With so much family around, my husband and I would travel to Charleston, SC overnight or a couple of nights.

    My husband and I love to do car trips – like national parks and battlefields. Any historical site is fine with us too. In early September if all is well with his work, we are going to Virginia Beach. We are not people who sit on a beach but love to watch the ocean, listen to the waves crashing and the salt air, We will use this as home base and do day trips – lots to do within an hour, hour and a half. While I do love ca trips, sometimes I don’t want to pack and unpack every day – just want to chill.

  25. Ada – Vietnam has fabulous beaches, rivers, bays and lots of water based activities. If those do not make you feel comfortable in the US, I wouldn’t be so quick to plan a family vacation there until your kids are older. A second issue is family size. Finding a single vehicle to transport a family of five (six if you take the au pair) during your on the ground interludes with or without a driver (I would always have a local driver) is not trivial. You would likely have to split into two smaller vehicles.

  26. We loved our Virginia beach vacation. We spend time at the beach/pool but we’ll also take in the local attractions which may range from historical homes to orchards full of cherry trees. DH can’t stand being scheduled on vacation so a vacation where you have to be somewhere at a given time doesn’t appeal to him. Right now an organized tour would not appeal to him but later when he is retired the trips like the ones Meme does would appeal to him.

  27. We are at Lake Geneva often enough, but surprisingly we haven’t gone to the Observatory listed in the article. One more thing to look forward to. And I agree, Lake Geneva is perfect for family vacay. The little know fact is that there are several such lake towns nearby (within minutes drive) with their own flair. And great camping around. We might head north for a bit and then South Asia at the end of the year.
    I really really want to do a great train trip, the amtrak ride from Chicago to Northwest via Montana, but DH is not on board. Says we should leave it for old age.

  28. LOL. We don’t travel (as I already mentioned) but we have done Disney that one time last year. The opening of the article is SO annoying, I was ready to slap her and not read the rest!

    We don’t travel during school vacations or other than 2-3 weeks in the summer, and then we are going to my parents’ camp and up to the lake with DH’s family. I don’t get enough vacation to travel then *and* during school vacations. When do you all travel to all of these places? I would love to be able to travel for (1) *all* of July and August, (2) a week around Christmas, (3) Feb vacation, (4) April vacation, and (5) a long weekend at Columbus Day.

  29. Just for fun, I’m wondering when the people like the author say things like vacations have to be enriching for the kids, what is the reason for that? What are the specific benefits that they assume will be realized from this? Is it just one of their criteria for being “educated/well-rounded”?

  30. Ada – you are brave to be coming here in August. I have been planning my escape for that time.

    For now, I like vacations at big resorts where there is enough for everyone to do some things, but the hotel room is close to take kids back early if tired or hungry. Haven’t done Disney yet, but probably will in another year or so when the youngest can do a little more. I am not a big fan of beach vacations with kids without more to do. The days stretch on too long and it doesn’t seem like much of a vacation to me. Same routine, different location. I would rather be at home with our stuff.

  31. As I’ve mentioned before, we love our Disney Cruises. They cost as much as the park, but appear to be more relaxing. I say appear, because we have yet to do the Park. It seems like a lot of planning and then when we are there, watching the clock. We do plan on eventually doing the Park, but for only a few days, and then going to Cape Canaveral to see NASA, and the beach.

    We also love to go camping and explore the wilderness. And we love going to cities and visiting museums. The best are when we can see a factory tour. The kids seem to love going anywhere and doing anything, from the cheesy Mystery Spot, to highbrow art museums. We don’t discriminate on vacations

    I don’t think the writer of that article has any right to be so cynical about how people choose to spend their vacation time with family.

  32. @Milo: She is demonstrating that she is a good parent. It’s the totebaggian version of the humblebrag: see, I am so dedicated to the well-being of my children that I forsake all actual frivolous “fun,” because it is Best For The Children.

    The subtext, of course, is “look at what excellent taste I have that I eschew general mass-marketed propaganda in favor of ‘real’ experiences that they can learn from.” Which then circles back into “. . . and see what a wonderful mother I am, because I am ensuring my children learn that these are the ‘right’ experiences to value.”

  33. “vacations have to be enriching for the kids, what is the reason for that? What are the specific benefits that they assume will be realized from this? Is it just one of their criteria for being “educated/well-rounded”?”

    My father used to believe education was all year round (he was such a Totebag parent without the income). All of our vacations had some educational component. It wasn’t the free-wheeling “discover by doing”, it was all out education. I’m surprised he didn’t make me read a book about where we were going or some historical event that happened near our vacation spot.

    Maybe he thought I’d use the information for essays, and to impress my teachers with the “what I did over break” essay. If that was the goal, it catastrophically failed. I think I used my “education” once and that was to talk about Benedict Arnold prior to his traitorous ways. Seriously, they have a memorial to his boot at Saratoga. So props to my dad – I remember one thing about the Battle of Saratoga they didn’t teach in school.

  34. Little quirky museums are often so much better than the big famous ones.

    When I was a kid Mom regularly took me to the Stanford Museum. It has the Rodin garden, which is cool. Nowadays it’s much more artsy. In the 60s it had a big locomotive, and a display with the golden spike, and a lot of neat-o stuff about the railroads. And it had a room with Mrs. Stanford’s gorgeous dresses, and it had Leland Jr’s bike (the kind with the huge front wheel and tiny back wheel.) It had modern art, too. I remember seeing a canvas that was painted entirely gray. Just flat gray. It was titled “Greyhound”. I asked Mom about it and got a lecture about how modern art was a lot of nonsense and the artists were charlatans and the emperor’s new clothes. That has affected my view of contemporary art quite a bit.

    Santa Cruz has a surfing museum. Denver has the Molly Brown House, which is about (you guessed it) Molly Brown and the Titanic and so on.

  35. I think we’re the only family I know that hasn’t done Disney. I looked into it a couple of times but the packages were geared to a family of 4 and we’re 5. On top of that, one kid was terrified of rides, one hated getting wet and one liked everything. Whenever we did a day trip to an amusement park, DH took the one that liked everything and I was left with the other two. Not my idea of a family vacation. For our last several vacations, I made sure that everyone got to do at least one or two things at the top of their list, but we usually all did it together. For DH, that meant deep sea fishing, DS 1 & 2 wanted to hang in South Beach, DD snorkeling and for myself, the Everglades.

  36. I actively dislike Disney World but I would take my kids there (we did take DSS there, and Disneyland too) and if I had little girls I would totally get them a princess makeover, if they wanted one.

  37. @Ginger – my kid is both terrified of rides AND terrified of people in costumes/mascots
    AND doesn’t care for any of the Disney movies, so that’s a triple-whammy against us. That’s part of the reason that we haven’t gone besides that the adults aren’t that into the week-long amusement park/Orlando thing. I’m hoping he will grow into liking rides because I would like to at least go to Six Flags or Busch Gardens and enjoy it once in awhile! He does like Star Wars though, so we’ll see once they add even more SW related stuff.

  38. Can we share tips for other random vacations? I lived in Chicago for three years, but if were there as a tourist again, I’d totally do the hop-on, hop-off buses. Such a painless way to get to all the big attractions. No driving and parking.

    In Indianapolis, there’s a very good Children’s Museum.

    In Santa Cruz, do not stay at the motels near the Boardwalk except maybe the Dream Inn. Stay somewhere else and get a bus pass. Parking near the Boardwalk is a huge pain and the buses are pretty good.

  39. We happened to go to Disney (this is 10 years ago) on the one week it is almost never crowded. It’s the week after New Year’s and for some reason our kids had a weird break that year and were out of school. No lines to speak of for anything. We did Space Mountain about 5 times – just ran back in again once we were done. So, we have an abnormal view of Disney World – it was totally relaxing. We even had one day over 80 and did one of the water parks. Highly recommend going that week if you can swing it on the school front. I was told that every year, this is the sole down week at WDW.

  40. “I was told that every year, this is the sole down week at WDW.”

    I’ll keep this in mind for the adults… maybe I’ll shift the trip to Universal to that week. My friend is a teacher, though, and is highly unlikely to have it off. But maybe she can swing one day off…

  41. There are web site that show you the slowest days and times of the year at WDW – in each park. It is fascinating.

  42. The Lake Geneva vacation idea sounds good.

    This month after years of taking swim lessons most weeks my kids will be done. It was probably overkill but I thought necessary since they are around pools and beaches a lot.

  43. “vacations have to be enriching for the kids”

    Me? I take a pretty broad view of enrichment. It’s like education in that not all of it has to be “cultural” enrichment. I think my kids’ lives were enriched when e.g. they personally learned (some) jellyfish sting. Or that the height of the top bar on a bike better be shorter than your inseam measure. Throwing rocks into the lake at Jackson Hole for an hour was great fun and definitely enriched their lives…they talked about it last weekend and the trip was in 2004!

  44. Before I retired, I was up to 5 weeks of vacation a year. Now, I am back 2, but I am also part time, so in theory, I can work ahead in a month and then take time off later. It sort of works.

    When families have 2 weeks of vacation per parent and a bajillion half days and school holidays, it is hard to have time for much family vacation.

    Around here, if a vacation can be shown to have an “enrichment” component, the child might not get counted as absent from school. This is key for some families who pull their kids out multiple times a year and may then bump up against not enough in school days to pass to the next grade. Get approval, kid turns in something – short write up, little video, etc.

  45. We are non-totebaggy vacationers. We did Disney twice, both last minute trips when I realized I could use my frequent flier miles two weeks out, when that option hadn’t been available earlier. We have also done a couple of cruises, but did not trek to any ruins for our excursions.

    The majority of our trips are to see family, and I guess we are a little educational on those. We did hit cool museums in Chicago, LA (the car museum – Petersen? Very cool) New Orleans and Philadelphia. The Spy Museum is on the list for DC trip. But those are not because we think they’ll be educational for the kids. We just like some of the museums. We go to bookstores, especially university bookstores in a lot of the places we visit. Writing this, I realize we are a little weird. We are too pale to be real beach people.

  46. One very untotebaggy trait with my kids is that they love to check out the touristy shopping traps wherever we go. I got into the habit of buying ornamenrmts from these shops so our Christmas tree is filled with memories of places we visited. Some of their favorite memories are of the shops !

  47. Louise – we buy an ornament and a magnet from every vacation. Little trips just get magnets. My fridge is filling up, and I now choose which ornaments go on the tree. Makes me feel good to know we travel as much as we can.

    My godson collects post cards. My friends now buy him postcards from their travels. He has postcards from 4 continents, 5 countries, 7-10 states (maybe more). For his birthday I’m going to buy a map of the world with pushpins. He can mark on the map the location of the postcards.

  48. The “educational” parts of trips that I try to force on my kids is a sense of family and where we come from. My husband’s father died before they met him. On a recent trip to visit his family, my husband and BIL were laughing so hard telling stories about their dad that we couldn’t understand half of what they were saying. They get a lot of funny stories on my parents’ side about life way back when. But it gives them an idea of what their grandparents went through to get our little family to where we are today. I’m unusually hung up on this lately because I’m really feeling the absence of nearby family. We are doing the tour of the homeland later this month with this in mind.

  49. “The Spy Museum is on the list for DC trip.”

    this was more relevant to me/DW than our kids…a lot of it is cold-war focused and that’s before my kids’ time.

  50. At least, we don’t gear our vacations around “teaching moments”. We just go places that we want to see & do things that we want to do without any thought towards what DS may “learn”.

    Yup. We just go places that sound like fun. Our kids hate museums, but DS agrees we have to go to the Icelandic Phallologic Museum when we are over there. DW and DD are not as excited.

  51. @Louise – We buy ornaments too!

    We are very lucky in that both DH & I have very generous time off policies. It allows us to cover school breaks without too much stress and to be able to take some vacations. I don’t know how we would get by with the standard 2-3 weeks each and only major holidays. (another reason that I am not actively looking for a new job per yesterday’s post)

  52. Ginger, our kids are all legal adults who have never been to Disney, nor did they ever ask to go. DH and I went with his extended family before we had kids, at his parents’ expense, in November so not too hot. Perfect set of circumstances and since it cost us nothing and no little kid issues it was fine. No desire to go back and DH has never been able to do roller coasters. The best part was seeing how seamlessly the whole place worked and it was fun to see other people so excited. Our home football games have a similar appeal.

    We never took the kids to amusement parks but mercifully they went on middle school band “competitions” that just happened to be near Busch Gardens so we were off the hook. They did spent countless hours at most of the DC museums which was one of the best parts of living there. The Spy Museum is great but ridiculously expensive and not good for kids too young to read. That is where I learned about Operation Mincemeat, and DS and I listened to the book during a long car trip and he loved it. Like many experiences, he had to be forced to participate but then really did enjoy it.

  53. We’ve done Disneyland, and visiting ruins, and we seem to prefer the ruins. Disney is pretty cool, and the last time we were there, we went on splash mountain again and again, checking out the hidden doors, cameras and other stuff that made the ride work. After the last Disney trip, I suggested that the next vacation be more of an adventure. The vacations after that were.

    Houston, we went to Hawaii for Thanksgiving a few years ago. It was wonderful. Thanksgiving dinner was a luau on the beach. My California kids couldn’t grasp the idea of a warm ocean, and I still smile at the memory of the youngest going down to the ocean, on the way to luau, telling his sisters that the ocean was warm, and having the imperious elder sister march down there to prove him wrong.

    Whatever vacation resurfaces with stories at the dinner table is a good on.

  54. “Learning and exposure to other cultures is desirable, but IME sometimes a kid will just not enjoy it”

    “See, I think it’s all about how you approach it.

    Nah, approaching it in a different way only goes so far. We have always given our kids some choices in travel activities, and even in types of trips. Some kids are simply resistant to certain types of activities. Perhaps it’s because they’re at a certain period in their lives, or it may never be their thing.

    Learning to give and take on family trips is an important lesson, but if most of the trip involves activities that are of no interest to you then a different approach is unlikely to make you enjoy it.

    I usually buy ornaments on trips, too. Otherwise I rarely shop for anything else. If I see something I like I usually wait to get home and then order it from Amazon. :)

    I kinda regret not taking my kids to art museums when they were younger. I don’t usually enjoy art museums, but I know they can be educational.

  55. The frustrating thing about Disney World is that, for all the fuss and production and expense, the rides aren’t really anything special. Everything is impressive for the extensive attention to detail, and there’s not a square inch in the place that isn’t considered. But with the exception of Everest in Animal Kingdom and the Rock and Roll one in Hollywood Studios (so separate parks, at that), there are no real roller coasters. This doesn’t even hold a candle to Busch Gardens, King’s Dominion, or Hershey Park. And as they continue to try to manage increasing crowds, it’s only getting worse–they just add more “rides” where you sit in some conveyor belt buggy and look at displays with loud sound effects.

  56. When DW and I were married without kids, we had this feeling that we should be the kind of people who like art museums, so we did a bunch of them. Kind of like professional sports, I just couldn’t make myself care, and not for lack of trying. She’d probably disagree with my analysis here, but we haven’t really been back, either. There are just so many more interesting things to do and see than look at old paintings.

  57. I totally get why some people aren’t into art museums, so quiet and everything is fragile. But growing up we went to the DIA (in Detroit) a lot. As a kid I loved looking the Diego Rivera mural. So many interesting parts. It is like a where’s waldo, and as I got older I would understand each section a little bit more. There is a lot of history told in that one mural. Not to mention that near the mural was the room with the various suits of armor.

    I went back to see the DIA last year, and appreciate it even more. The city had recently tried to sell off its artwork to pay off its debt. I took my then 6 year old and they had various kid friendly activities to do.

  58. DH and I went to Paris and he really enjoyed the museums there. Even though DH thought he wouldn’t like it, he did. This was pre kids, so it was very relaxed and we went off season, so less crowds everywhere. There were quite a few people at Versailles, so I can’t imagine the crowds in the summer.

  59. @CoC: I think we’re actually in agreement here. I was not trying to say you can fool kids into thinking Educational Opportunity A is fun — more the other way around, that sometimes you need to redefine what you consider “learning” and “exposure to other cultures” based on what your kids will enjoy. I mean, I do love a good museum, and there are a gazillion to choose from in Italy. But DH merely tolerates them, and the kids have zero interest whatsoever, so the only museums we have actually visited over there to date are the Museum of Torture and the Ferrari museum. And yet I still think our trips expose our kids to other cultures — it’s just not the kind of capital-C “Culture” that seems to be expected from the “everything must be a teaching moment” brigade.

    Although I am going to drag the kiddos through the Duomo with me this time. One of my favorite places I remember going (from @ 30 years ago), so they can just suck it up for me for an hour.

  60. Like many experiences, he had to be forced to participate but then really did enjoy it.

    You’re right — you and I live parallel lives.

  61. Milo, DS and I both have an art museum limit of about an hour. After that, it’s a steep curve if diminishing marginal utility and we are looking for the coffee and gift shops. Living in DC, we had the luxury of making repeated surgical strikes instead of enduring the forced march through one room after another trying to step around the legions of visitors glued to their audio devices. Last month we visited the Art Institute in Chicago for a special Van Gogh exhibit and if we hadn’t been able to zip through the member door and skip the regular line I would have skipped it. When we left, the line looked like a bad TSA day. I wanted to mutter “I’d turn back if I were you” but most of them were clearly Totebaggers intent on an Experience so no point in warning them.

  62. Hi gang!

    I didn’t think the intro was too harsh, but then again I hate Disney. I hate how crowded it is. I hate the fact that the whole place looks like a scene out of Wall E with the obese people on the scooters with their obese kids sucking down buckets of soda. I hate how fake happy it all is. I hate how everyone is there on a mission to get their HAPPY! I hate how there is a whole segment of the population who can’t afford it but thinks it is some kind of “must do” and so they practically bankrupt themselves to do it and I hate that for the same amount of money I could be in Italy looking at a real castle with awesome food and wine. My husband doesn’t work like he does to spend his money and off time marching around a concrete “kingdom” for 7 days.

    I think family vacations should be just that, “family” vacations not whatever the kids want. So we try to go places and plan things such that everyone gets a little bit of what they enjoy. That doesn’t mean it is always expensive or exotic but it does require a bit of effort. In Jackson Hole the family sat in the car for an hour while I took pictures of the bison in Antelope Flats and I sat around while they did the alpine slide and we all went to the rodeo. A little bit for everyone. I think there is no bigger shame than the family that has been to Disney a million times but never anywhere else. To spend that kind of money and never have seen another state, landscape or culture is something I cannot understand. To have virtually no curiosity about the world. For us, it is about showing them things they’ve never seen before and expanding their worldview and yes, you can have fun while doing that.

  63. I’ve never been to the Louvre and I probably never will. The idea of being herded past the Mona Lisa with all the other cattle is so unappealing. I have a friend who is a museum junkie and she says if I ever get to Paris she has a list of better (for certain values of “better”) museums for me.

  64. (Why haven’t you been to Paris, Rocky?) Well, for starters, I don’t speak French. And then DH spent his miserable first honeymoon in Paris, so it’s not like he’s dying to go back.

    I’ve been to Nice. It was pretty.

  65. Thanks Fred and Laura – I will take you up on your offer.

    If we go to Italy, we will undoubtedly have to go to the Ferrari museum (DS LOVES cars; DH is pretty fond of them too).

  66. Totally off-topic – but any suggestions for movies that both a 16 year old and an almost 11 year old might enjoy? I think we’re going to have a family movie night tonight. Finding something that both kids like is sometimes a challenge.

  67. SSM: Airplane! maybe? I forget, are you kids both girls, or boys, or one each? There are a couple scenes in Airplane! that will make you cringe with an 11-year-old, but they’re over quickly.

    A Star Wars or Star Trek or Indiana Jones?

  68. I was going to suggest Oceans Eleven, but I don’t think we had DS3 watch it until he was older than 11. He loves it at 16.

  69. Moxie — Good to hear from you! How have you been? I’ve missed your comments (and I’m sure I’m not the only one!).

    Our kids (ages 12 and 9) have never been to a Disney park. I would love to go to Disney World, but the thought horrifies DH. I’m hoping to take the family to London and Paris next year to celebrate my 50th birthday, and I’m actually kicking around the idea of taking a day trip from Paris to Euro Disney. There are probably fewer Americans there than there are at many of the other Paris-area attractions, so who knows, maybe it would qualify as an Authentic European Experience!

  70. Moxie – good to see you.

    My eldest and I are watching Back to the Future II tonight while DW is at a pool birthday party with #2.

  71. Seattlesoccermom – I second National Treasure and Night at the Museum. I always put a plug in for one of my favorite movies, The Secret of Roan Inish. Kind of a kids movie but I think people of any age would enjoy it. Do they like John Wayne – for old fashioned 60’s kitsch Hellfighters or Hatari,

    Groundhog Day (maybe too old for the 10 year old?), Airport, Wallace and Grommit, The Sandlot, Spykids, Ghostbusters, The Guns of Navaronne

  72. PSA: Barnes & Noble is having a summer reading event for kids. Free book promised.
    It’s for kids Totebaggers, don’t be rushing to get your millionth book ;-).

  73. WCE – that is the third time I have independently been notified of this – in the past 5 minutes. :)

  74. “Whatever vacation resurfaces with stories at the dinner table is a good on.”

    So right @Cordelia. And I’ve got a young kid.

    I think there is some value in visiting the same place multiple times as a family. It’s fun to see it through different eyes every year and have new experiences with the same backdrop & older kids. We’ve been going on the same winter beach trip for 8 years now and we all love it. There was an essay in the NYT that talked about it that I really related to. (And no Disney bashing!)

    Hi Moxie!

    @Scarlett – I totally agree that one of the great things about being a local member of a museum is the ability to do for a quick visit & leave with no guilt. The nice thing about DC is so much is free so you can do the same thing as a tourist without dropping $100+ for a family. The value isn’t always there. Even at the Hockey Hall of Fame, we pretty much spent $50 or so for the 3 of us to spend 2
    hours playing Playstation and SuperChex bubble hockey with DS.

  75. For the past and current New Yorkers in the group, do you have a recommendation for a fun, classy bar (with good snacks) in the general theater district? DH and I are going to see a play this summer but don’t want a big dinner – he is on a Manhattan kick these days (the drink) so we thought we might just go that route.

  76. ssk — I like Thalia’s mainly for their oysters which used to be $1 each during certain hours. They have a happy hour with other delicious snacks.

    Museums: In Paris and other cities I like the museum pass card that allows you to make multiple visits for the same price. Visiting the Louvre for two hours each on separate days was better than one longer visit. In NYC, I take the “suggested” entry fee literally. I only pay the full fee occasionally since I may only want to pop in for an hour at a time when I go. Generally when visiting museums, I like spending more time at fewer exhibits rather than rushing through the whole thing. When visiting a museum with a group, I generally prefer to be anti-social and split up once inside. But it depends.

  77. From Ivy’s post…

    What does your family do together every year, and what does it mean to you?
    This is about my family vacations growing up. We went to the same “hill station” every year. A drive up steep mountain roads, through long dark tunnels until we were finally up on the mountain plateau leaving the sweltering city behind. The drive was an adventure as we had to stop to let the car cool down and make sure that all our suitcases on the carrier were in tact.
    We stayed in what must have been the last strong hold of a British style hotel. Breakfast was 7.00 am to 9 am only. Tea, toast, butter, home made jam. Eggs whichever way you wanted them. Lunch was at 12 noon. No entry into the dining room till the head waiter came out and rang the gong. As soon as the gong went off, adults and kids rushed to their seats. Tea time was tea, biscuits and scones (home made) served on the tea table in front of our rooms. A family holidaying with us noticed that the family in the room next to ours was served a better high tea than us. Complaints to the management ensued, a storm in a teacup. As a child, I was told that I climbed out of the large open windows onto the roof of the hotel, all the hotel guests rushed to their windows but I was safely retrieved from the sloping roof.
    There were lakes – for boating and fishing only, not swimming (it was a water source), horse back riding, small businesses that produced the jams and honey. Artisans who produced leather, knitted goods, block printed sheets and fruit and flower sellers. Strawberries were available only on the farms in high country – so dessert was freshly churned strawberry ice cream or that British staple strawberries and cream. I can go on…I think the closest I have come to this is the Berkshires in terms of landscape.

  78. I can relate to Ivy’s article. We’ve returned to the same beach, same sea for all of our kids’ lives. Sometimes I’ve wondered if we cheated them by not “expanding their horizons” and yes, “educating” them via our vacation choices. They’ve never been to Disney or expressed any interest in going there. In recent years, our family rituals of what we do, see, eat, etc. at this location seem to have taken on even more importance to them. I’m glad to know that Italian saying now.

  79. Aside from our one big trip to Disneyland in 1965, my family went to…Santa Cruz. I always anticipated which rides I would go on first, how much time I would spend in the fun house (sadly no longer there), and so on. And so many little things are awesome for a kid. The family-style Italian restaurant we used to go to had paper-wrapped sugar cubes. I’d peel them open and eat them til my mom stopped me. The motel beds had those “magic fingers” vibrating things — remember those? Sis and I would pump quarters into that thing to make the beds shake. The very basic motel pool was totally fun too. We’d blow up air mattresses and paddle around. We usually went with another family with kids our age so there was always someone to play with.

    Not nearly as elegant as Louise’s family vacations! But one similarity was having to stop when the car overheated on Hwy 17. Lots of cars would be overheated and pulled over onto the shoulder. At some level I’m still surprised every time I drive “over the hill” to the beach and the car is completely fine.

  80. Hi Moxie!

    CoC – The family of a friend of ours from college owns that Wizard of Oz theme park in North Carolina!

    I went to North Carolina and back yesterday to pick up DD from camp. In dropping her off we did Asheville or a day which was fun (and we had never been in the 13 years we’ve lived down here).

    We did Disney once but plan on taking the younger two in the next few years and then that’s it. I don’t enjoy it but will go for my kids. We favor low key beach vacations where we rent a house. I would like to do a European vacation in a year or two. I spent my summers as a kid visiting DC/Virginia Beach for two weeks every year. I had cousins who lived in DC so we did that for a few days and then would head to the Virginia Beach area to visit my aunt/uncle and cousins who lived around there. It was the best.

    DH is turning 40 this fall and so we’re thinking about doing a trip then (probably somewhere within driving distance) but can’t decide where to go. I’m going to Savannah with the GS this year and I’m excited because I’ve not been yet. We really have not taken advantage of our location.

  81. I hate that for the same amount of money I could be in Italy looking at a real castle with awesome food and wine.

    I guess that depends where you are flying from. Airfaire to Italy from her for four is about $2,500 – $3,000 more than to Orlando. Adding in park passes, and then comparing lodging and other expenses, Italy is still significantly more expensive than Disney.

  82. I love taking my kids to art museums. I could write a whole post on it. Maybe I will? Off to search for an appropriately snarky, totebaggy article as a launching point….

  83. Denver Dad, I had the same thought about her comparisons. I can do a western camping/ranching/whitewater experience for far less than she can because of where I live. Europe would cost far more. And our day at Disneyland, while expensive, falls at least in part into the category of “experiences I want my kids to have so they can relate to peers.” Lots of families here have grandparents in southern California and a trip to Disneyland is de rigueur but not a Disney vacation.

    Like Milo, I’m underwhelmed by Disney for the price and the bulk of our amusement park experiences will be $8 Saturday evenings in Portland, where the little kid rides have minimal lines. Volatile twin rode the Frog Hopper twenty-two consecutive times as a preschooler. Looking back, the process of learning to manage his fear so he could eventually enjoy the frog hopper was valuable.

  84. Ada, I would love such a post. I enjoyed our trip to the Getty Villa but I’m not sure the boys got much out of it except to learn that Art Museums Exist.

  85. I didn’t enjoy art museums until I took an art class as an elective class in college. I like history, and I liked discovering the stories and history behind the artists. I find it so much easier to understand and enjoy the museums since taking a few classes. I just went to a Degas exhibit at MOMA, and my friend insisted that we listen to the self guided tour on the free headphones or cell phones. I don’t know why I just started to do this in last few years because I like that part of the experience too.

    I have to admit that I’ve used the museums in NY for many years for bathroom and A/C breaks. I was so spoiled because every US bank that I ever worked for was a big donor to the museums and employees could get in for free.

    RMS, I agree with you about the Mona Lisa, but there are so many less crowded wings in the Louvre. I went to Paris several times before I met DH and I spent a lot of time in large and small art museums in Paris.

    London is suddenly looking cheaper due to the drop in the pound. If they vote to exit next week, the pound will really plunge and it will be a “bargain” until the exchange rates stabilize.

  86. WCE, every time people here talk about the deals to Europe, they are all from the east coast, especially the NE. It’s significantly more expensive from the western half of the U.S. (and I can’t imagine what it is for Finn and HM). For our Iceland trip, I started looking at airfares about 6 months out and even then, it was still a lot of work to find dates that had fares at $1,000. Obviously in this case lack of competition was the big issue because I only looked at the one airline with a non-stop flight.

    Now we’re looking for flights to Ft. Meyers over Labor Day for my in-laws 50th anniversary and holy crap are those fares ridiculous. Even flying into Tampa isn’t much better unless we want to take a redeye there and a 10 p.m. flight back.

  87. I can’t imagine what it is for Finn and HM

    Fricking ridiculous is what it is. Last time I looked to get a sense of prices, maybe March? it was running around $1700/person. Looking right now, if we were to try to get flights in a few weeks’ time we’d be starting at $2428/person and going sharply upward from there.

  88. Our vacations have a lot of totebaggy element — day spent digging for dinosaur bones in WY, I’m looking at you — but we do some cheesy fun stuff too. We all like amusement parks, although my husband hates crowds which makes that more challenging. We haven’t done a family Disney trip but two of the kids did go as an add-on to an extracurric-related trip.

  89. Helluva thing to wake up on a Sunday morning — 20 people killed in Orlando. What a horror.

  90. We have way too many Disney trips under our belt to be considered totebaggy travelers. However, on the Las Vegas idea, we did Hoover Dam (awesome) in addition to the requisite hotel attractions – lions, tigers, aquariums, all free – and cirque de soleil shows. However, the highlight of the trip is now one of our best family memories ever. My DH has lupus and often we can’t do anything too adventurous as a family. We made a day trip to the Grand Canyon, whichever rim it is you reach by a longish drive through the Joshua Tree national forest and has the glass sky bridge over the canyon. We made a spur of the moment decision to do the helicopter ride down to the base of the canyon and took a pontoon boat down the Colorado River. It was breathtaking and something none of us will forget.

    Disney is an attractive option if someone in your group has accessibility issues. Those scooters are the bane of most people’s trips, but many vacation destinations are a lot of work to navigate if you’re not completely able-bodied.

  91. Hate to have missed this topic but we were…traveling.

    I don’t know why the author felt she had to bash Disney in order to set up her other trips – her tone of superiority is so off-putting, it’s hard to read her recommendations. We have relatives in Orlando, so we did Disney a bunch – probably 8 times total, along with all the other parks (I especially would recommend LegoLand). It’s a great family vacation, easy for us to do in a long weekend hitting 2-3 parks over 3-4 days, and everyone enjoys it. What’s to hate on?

    Hi Moxie!

  92. Here’s a “what would you do?” question. There’s a girl on DD’s softball team who is new this season. She was telling DD at practice today that she doesn’t want to pitch, but her dad is paying for pitching lessons, so she’s afraid to tell him. I don’t know the dad very well at all – I’ve talked to him a few times at games but that’s it. Should I say something to him? I don’t want to overstep because it really isn’t any of my business, and my daughter pitches so it might look like I’m trying to get rid of the competition (this is rec so I don’t think he would take it that way but you never know). On the other hand, if I was spending money on lessons for my daughter for something she didn’t want to do, I’d like to know so I wasn’t wasting the money.

    What would you do?

  93. “Hate to have missed this topic but we were…traveling.”


    “really good deals to Asia”

    Sometimes, but getting to Asia generally is less expensive for us than Europe.

  94. DD – encourage the girl to talk to her father directly…is there any other position she would like to play ? If yes, then she can talk about what she likes and how she can get better in that position.
    Sometimes, kids may mention how they want to do something or get better etc. Parents sign them up for lessons but it does take work and the work becomes a drag. So, it could well be that at some point parent and kid agreed that it was a good idea, but now it is not.

  95. Hi, Moxie!

    Ssk – second vote for Thalia. DH and I were there in the past several weeks for pre-theater drinks and light dinner. Convenient location and good service, food, etc.

    Also, go to Cecil for dinner while you’re there. It’s in Harlem. Terrific.

  96. DD – I would not say anything. The girl may truly hate pitching lessons, or she may be trying to make it seem to your daughter like she is not competing with her (yeah, I’m taking pitching lessons but it’s because my dad is making me.) If her relationship with her parents is one where she can’t even say she doesn’t want to take private lessons in something anymore, then I’m not sure they would appreciate it hearing it from someone outside the family.

  97. I second MBT’s advice. Also, maybe you can suggest your DD to encourage her friend to tell her dad.

    I’m sure my kids have felt reluctant to tell me some things that they freely share with their friends. Unless it’s a serious matter, I don’t think either my kid or I would like to hear it from another parent, especially one who’s a casual acquaintance.

  98. I had the same thought as MBT: a lot of girls learn to play down their skills so people will like them — especially when you’re the new kid, and especially with your direct competition. So I’d take it with a grain of salt and just sort of watch and learn for a while.

  99. All good advice. I would add only that this girl may be like some of my kids — not wanting to try things (especially pitching, where you are totally exposed in every single at-bat) unless she can be sure that she will be really good.

  100. +1 to Scarlett.

    I sometimes just have to force my oldest to try things because she is a perfectionist. I’m sure I’m going to have the same battle w/her about pitching when she moves up a league (although I probably wouldn’t spring for lessons).

  101. I’m in the don’t say anything camp. I think it is just the best policy to stay out of other people’s family matters (if nobody is getting hurt) unless I’m a good friend AND am asked. It is too hard to get the dynamics right without knowing the entire situation.

  102. Someone from Norman has posted here before. If you are lurking, do you know anything about the boathouse area in OKC? We want to try the white water rafting and tubing, but before I spend the money wanted to know if it’s any fun.

  103. I just gotta say this…I’m pretty distraught re the two events in Orlando. To the point of when we (DW, DS2 & 3) were discussing the state of the world generally and terrorism specifically yesterday, I said given the recent events I was much happier knowing each of them was going to Europe this week (different trips) vs e.g. Orlando.

  104. PTM – #1 reason to come visit my way. Your favorite brewery now (well, for about 4 years now, but we’ve gone a couple of times in the past few months) has a restaurant in their brew house with their version of the garbage plate, good wings and actual other real food. Oh, and $3 pints on draught of everything they make. Good fun!

  105. Fred, given the state of the world, I don’t feel completely “safe” to travel any where, of course some places are more dangerous than others

  106. @Fred — I’m with you. We were traveling this weekend, and so I have just this morning been catching up on the news. I think ISIS has a specific strategy that is designed for maximum terror. They appear to be very big on inciting individual of very small-cell attacks, which are almost impossible to prevent — the FBI looked at this guy twice and couldn’t come up with anything? And the targets seem to be becoming less “international symbols” and more “not the kinds of things you’d think of as targets for international terrorism” — clubs and places that normal people go. That makes it harder for the average citizen to figure out a “rule” to follow to be safe.

    I was in Europe decades ago when people were bombing American Express offices and hijacking/crashing airplanes. Not a happy time — I remember flying into the Frankfurt airport and seeing military people with machine guns, which was a first for me. But, ok, you cross your fingers when you fly, and then you just avoid the damn American Express office. There was stuff you could do to feel safe. I think the specific strategy here is to take away that ability to compartmentalize/plan, to make you feel vulnerable anywhere you go.

  107. I just feel completely helpless re: the Orlando shooting. The ISIS connection aside, I do not understand why these types of guns are legal.

    We own guns ourselves – 5 or 6 – and I firmly support the right of individuals to own guns and use them for recreational shooting, hunting, and self defense. But I don’t support these military grade guns, and I don’t support general weapon concealment except in certain limited circumstances.

    I feel so middle of the road on gun control – WHY am I so much in the minority? Why can’t reason prevail?

  108. Also of course for livestock management, etc. as others have pointed out. There are a lot of good reasons to own a gun. But not this type of gun.

  109. LfB – Did ISIS have anything to do with planning this specific attack? I thought they just kind of heard about it like everyone else, and since the shooter was a pledged adherent, they said “Sure, we’ll take credit.”

    Lark – I generally agree.

  110. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that a person like me needs a gun. Nothing good could come of it.

    Of course, I am the only person (probably including Junior) in the state of Florida who does not own a gun.

  111. PTM, why didn’t one of those people with a gun shoot the shooter? Are concealed weapons extremely restricted in Florida?

  112. ISIS doesn’t have to plan these kind of attacks. There are enough disaffected Muslims attracted to Islamic jihad to attack soft targets and give ISIS the credit. It’s unfortunate but completely on-script that Obama and Clinton are talking about gay solidarity and gun control instead of radical Islamic jihad. We can’t defeat this enemy if our leaders are not even willing to name it.

    Frankly, I’m surprised that this sort of attack doesn’t happen more often.

  113. Well, in response to Trump’s criticisms, Clinton has agreed to say the words “radical Islam.”

  114. Lark, I’m with you on gun control. I feel like most people are very extreme on this issue to one side or the other, and I don’t really fit in on either side.

  115. The shooter was still in the peak age group for male psychotic episodes. How come this mass murder is about “radical Islam” and the Aurora Theater Shooting was just a red-headed crazy guy?

  116. WCE, our concealed carry laws down here are pretty permissive. Open carry laws are now the rage with our legislature (republican), as well as allowing folks to carry guns on college campuses. (Good idea! Great addition to a frat party.)

    Of course, this is all under the guise of self defense. In theory, if you are in a gay bar on Latino Night in Orlando, say, you should be allowed (encouraged) to have a gun so that if somebody, say, comes in with an AK 15 and shoots up the place, you can shoot him first.

    It’s funny how it doesn’t seem to work that way. I can’t think (offhand) of any of the recent mass murders in our country in which somebody carrying a gun actually shot the mass shooter. And that includes Ft. Dix!

    I think the problem is that the gun is your purse, or you left it in the glove department, or you didn’t want a second bulge in your pants so you left your gun in the nursery this morning.

    I wish I knew the answer to all of this. I have no problem with people who actually need them (not me) having appropriate (i.e. non military-grade) guns, but I do have a problem with people having 20 of them and buying extended clips of ammunition.

  117. Can you imagine being in a loud, crowded disco and trying to accurately shoot a shooter? With everyone screaming and running everywhere?

  118. “The shooter was still in the peak age group for male psychotic episodes.”

    That’d be true of just about all of ISIS’s soldiers.

    “How come this mass murder is about “radical Islam” and the Aurora Theater Shooting was just a red-headed crazy guy?”

    Because radical Islam represents a much greater threat worldwide than redheads.

  119. I’m the same about guns. If you live in a remote area, hunt, or need a gun for certain things. Fine. There’s is a reason.

    There is no reason why anyone that isn’t in law enforcement or the military needs access to the weapons that were used by individuals in Orlando, San Bernadino, Newtown etc.

  120. RMS, although I agree with your sentiment, it’s because this guy publicly stated he was doing it I behalf of Isis. What I’ve read indicates he was not acting in any sort of coordinated plot for them, more that he did it himself and then claimed an allegiance. I agree that crazy played as big a role as religion. If the Autora shooter had claimed he was killing people on behalf of Westboro, I believe it would have been labeled radical Christian terrorism.

  121. You got to be logically fair to both sides, PTM:

    “I can’t think (offhand) of any of the recent mass murders in our country in which somebody carrying a gun actually shot the mass shooter. And that includes Ft. Dix!”

    That’s because they stopped it before it became a mass murder:

    And it was Fort Hood, not Dix. But it’s not a great example, because except for the on-base, on-duty police force, military personnel on U.S. installations are not going to be carrying weapons.

  122. He said at that minute that he was doing it for ISIS. What did he say when he was beating the crap out of his ex-wife and her family had to secretly hustle her out of state? He was a violent nutbar and he picked Islamic extremism that morning.

  123. I don’t know the answer either. It convinces me that all of my kids should have gun safety training which includes understanding of whether to hide or to run depending on the type of gun the shooter has and his apparent competence.

    I remember a case here in Oregon over a decade ago where two wrestler brothers stopped a guy with a gun. I think he was threatening to shoot but hadn’t started yet, so it may or may not fit your criteria. The WaPo has an article on it.

  124. @Milo — Right. I was thinking more what Scarlett said: it’s not that ISIS itself is planning a variety of attacks; more that their game plan seems to be to encourage individual psychos to go do their thing in the name of Allah, and then they will take credit for it. I think that is a much, much more difficult kind of terrorism to stop, which I think is precisely the point and precisely why it is their game plan.

  125. It is a problem on two fronts now. It is relatively easy for people to acquire weapons that enable mass shootings. Added to that is the terrorist threat which adds more people to the already long list of potential shooters. I read about Columbine extensively – that was the first of its type and this year there was some disturbing behavior at kid’s school; we haven’t seriously tackled the problem.

  126. “more that their game plan seems to be to encourage individual psychos to go do their thing in the name of Allah, and then they will take credit for it”

    That’s true. They have been saying that’s their plan for a while now (years?). In that sense, I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner.

  127. Milo. Sorry, not having lived or work on a military base, I had no idea of their gun policies. I should have known that, and I should have gotten the military base right. I am more up to date than that.

    As for your main point, however, I think I am abundantly fair. I think people who live out West in non-populated areas who are hunting, or those who live miles from others who need a gun for legitimate self defense, can have guns. Not me, though. Probably not residents of suburban DC, either. I only need one for road rage or if Junior pisses me off– the only two reasons the gun would likely be used. And it doesn’t need to be a military-grade gun. But, I can legally have a gun. Lots of them. Big, fast ones, too. I can stockpile huge clips of ammunition. After all, that is my right as a member of a well-regulated militia. Of course, I do not consider myself part of a well-regulated militia. Heck, I live in Coral Gables! The only thing that is well-regulated around here are laws against pick-up trucks in driveways or parking meter violations or house colors.

    For the record, Milo, Junior has all sorts of merit badges in rifles and shooting and archery and knifing and thus and such from Boy Scouts. I don’t impose my political views on my kid, but he damn well knows what they are! After all, he may live in Florida all his life or until it sinks and will probably need a gun to protect his spot in a line at Disney or in case his girlfriend gets out of line or he sees somebody dark-skinned in a hoodie.

  128. PTM – As I told the NRA representative who called my house the other night, I’m not a big Second Amendment defender. I don’t own any guns, which might put me in the minority in my neighborhood.

  129. Good for you, Milo! If you and ever get into a real fight (drunken of otherwise) both of us are likely to survive!

  130. “If you and I ever get into a fight…” Sorry, Milo. I am really running on empty today!

Comments are closed.