No Snark Sunday: What the Hell, Moulton?

As if you couldn’t tell by the approximately one trillion phone calls and door knocks, it’s political season. It’s probably not a surprise to hear we at The Clam tend toward the lefty side of things, especially since the “Hey guys, how about a considered approach to market-based health care?” section of the GOP all suddenly melted down into a slag pile of crazy that has come to define the once reasonable opposition. (Don’t believe me? Go to the Gloucester GOP website where they tell you Martin Luther King- who campaigned for LBJ- was a Republican).

I’m a huge fan of fantasy worlds, I just like mine to involve dragons and hot zeppelin-pirate babes in leather corsets.

Still closer to reality than Glenn Beck

Still closer to reality than Glenn Beck

Speaking of fantasy worlds what the hell is going on with Seth Moulton? I always thought he was pretty cool, but did he suddenly decide to go all crazytown? I’ve met Tierney a bunch of times and yes, he’s a pure politician but Moulton is making him out to be Stalin’s evil twin. Get a grip, Moulton.

Yeah, sorta

Yeah, sorta

Clamtributor Josh Turiel, who besides being an actual politician, is also our Salem, Wrestling and Technology correspondent wrote something pretty great on FaceBook about the Moulton/Tierney deal, so here it is:

And now, in time for the weekend, my take on the MA-6 congressional race (picking my head up from a busy morning of work, despite being home):

The TL:DR version – yes, I’m again voting for John Tierney for Congress.

Now, the reason why…

I’ve been in politics for a little over 3 years, from when I first pulled papers to run until today. I’ve had dealings with Tierney and his staff. All have been helpful, professional, and able to work to resolve problems that constituents have had. And more importantly happy to work. I know he’s been able to help many of my colleagues as well. I know that the popular yardstick that is used against him is “how many bills has he passed?” Well, that doesn’t matter too much. We don’t elect Congressmen to pass bills. We elect them to serve their district and the interests of the 600k+ people in it. I’d also like to point out that the minority doesn’t pass bills anymore. Once upon a time bills were filed and passed on a shifting coalition that had shared interests across party lines. Those days, sadly, are gone. Tierney is a partisan member of the minority party. If you want someone who will pass bills, you can either elect Republicans or you can elect more Democrats. Both options appeal to some of my friends and readers. But replacing an 18-year Congressman who remains effective on behalf of his district is not going to help our district any.

That said, let me speak to the leading opponent. When Seth Moulton first talked about running for Congress 2 years ago (as an independent) he was interesting. And when he announced that he would run this time, and run as a Democrat, I said to myself “Nice. Young guy, just came back home, and is positioning himself to be “the guy who replaces the guy”. I expected he’d run a strong, positive campaign and position himself to be the eventual replacement – whether it’s in another term or so or if Tierney loses the Tisei rematch.

That wasn’t what we got, though. Moulton went on the attack from the beginning and has been relentlessly negative throughout. He’s routinely spread BS (missing 300 votes? Sure, but that actually means that over 18 years he’s made about 98% of all possible votes – which is pretty damn good attendance). This week, finally, a Tierney mailer went on the attack back at him (and it’s also distorted, as most attacks are) and Moulton’s whine in response was just sad.

I also have vivid memories of early candidate Moulton and his appearance before the SSU Democrats this past winter. In his speech, he kept hitting on the theme that when he served in Iraq, Congress let the troops down. So one attendee (I won’t name him here even though most of you know the story and who the person was) called him out on it politely and said “How did Congressman Tierney let the troops down? It was a Republican-led Congress, Tierney personally voted against the Iraq War, and then voted in favor of every appropriation that was requested for the military.”

Moulton was visibly red-faced and angry when he engaged and got into the attendee’s face stating “they should have done more!”. It wasn’t a confrontational question, folks. You should be able to handle it better.

That all said, I’ve had non-business conversations plenty of times over the last few years with Tierney (and his wife as well). Yes, he’s a pol. He’s also a person who I’m pretty comfortable around, and I can talk to him about non-business things and not feel like I need to run for the exits. I’m not going to get into Patrice’s brothers. We all know that tale, and it’s been in courts and in the Ethics Committee already.

The bottom line for me is that I believe that John Tierney remains effective in the job of representing us in Congress, and I think he deserves to continue doing so. Until this election began to play out I had believed that Seth Moulton might turn out to be a worthy successor down the road an election or two. I no longer believe that.

Thanks, Josh. We’re going to have more on the election once we get past the primary. Oh, and we’re disabling the comments for political stuff. I know that seems “anti freedom” or whatever, but I’ll be honest here: I really don’t want to have a discussion, I want to give a point of view. It may not be one you believe, care about or respect, but it is a point of view.

A bunch of people yelling shit at each other doesn’t help people create informed viewpoints. And I have always said that I would burn the comments section to the ground before letting it get like the fever swamps that are the other Cape Ann comment sections, save Joey C who wisely approves his comments. So, if you want to yell at people go to Cape Ann Online or something. What we have here today is a reasonable opinion from a knowledgable person and we want it to stand alone.

Suck it, Internet.

Wicked Tuna Recap: The Season Finale, Finally.

Oh, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s finally here. I have finally reached the last episode of Wicked Tuna and am here to recap it for you (my previous recaps are here). I mean, after this, I still have to do the North Vs. South which I’ve been seeing commercials for during things I actually enjoy watching, like Going Deep with David Rees. Spoiler alert: They still “really need this fish”.

We start off with a tranquil sunrise and Paul Hebert saying “It’s so free out here, living off the wilderness, you know?” No, I don’t. The wilderness? Like you can just set a rabbit trap and live off furs and shit in the winter like some Little House on the Prairie shit? I’m pretty sure you’re living off hot dogs and Budweiser.

He probably subsists mostly on folksy colloquialisms.

He probably subsists mostly on folksy colloquialisms.


The Sambvca (because why not name your boat after the grossest liquor ever) reels a fish, and they struggle with it and as the show goes to commercial, he yells “this fish will die tonight!” and then laughs in an oddly maniacal and yet manic fashion. I’m scared. Hold me, Clampadres.

So far I’ve seen like 3 slow motion seagulls this episode. They really saved up all their best slow-motion seagull footage for the finale. You can tell this is not made for an audience of seafaring folks, because most of us are not huge fans of seagulls. Listen, birds are beautiful, and I even like pigeons, but holy shit, seagulls are awful. I saw one take off with an entire bag of popcorn a few weeks ago at Plum Cove. They’ll shit on you with reckless abandon. They will congregate loudly outside your window when you’re on a fucking conference call. They’re the douchebags of the avian world.

We move on to some super contrived back and forth between Tyler from Stonerboat and TJ/TJ’s dad from Hot Tuna, where apparently Tyler had worked before. That makes sense. Anyway, it’s a magical thing. “ENJOY YA WINTAH!” “YOU’RE A LOSAH!” Pretty much everything that my neighbors yell into the street on a daily basis.

And 8:22 into it, back on the Sambvca, I hear my first “WE NEED THIS FISH!” I just chugged my beer. That’s the game. It has to be a game. Or I won’t make it through another 35 minutes. At 11:22, Paul’s long-suffering older brother says, again. “We need this fish.” About the same fish. Double chug my beer.

This fish is taking forever to catch, but they finally nail it, while poor Dave from the Hard Merchandise looks on, puffing on a cigarette and wearing the same hoodie he’s worn this entire season. This guy’s had a rough year, what with the boat sinking and me giving him a hard time for never being seen without a cigarette. I do hope ol’ smoky-lungs catches one this episode so he can snap out of his funk. Has this guy ever smiled? If I had the choice of a night out at the bar with Dave Marciano or a sack of overcooked rice pilaf, I think the rice might be a bit more lively and upbeat.

Cheer up! There's always cigarettes.

Cheer up! There’s always cigarettes.

The Sambvca gets $14k for that one fish they apparently really needed. I’m pretty sure everyone really needs that kinda money in this town, but hey, whatever.

Finally the Hard Merchandise gets a fish. One of the boat dudes is all “IT’S A WICKED SCREAMAH!” And I have to hold back from yelling “So’s your mom!” And then, two minutes later, “WE NEED THIS FISH!” I crack open another beer. This may be a long night.

And then, glory of all glories, a shirtless Paul Hebert appears in the background of a shot. Oh, my word. This is why I’m in this, folks, for gems like this.

The magic happened, folks.

The magic happened.

The Hard Merchandise explains that they “really need” the fish they end up catching. Twice. I am inebriated at this point.

There’s this super fast “who’s gonna catch the fish!” thing where the camera cuts between 4 boats in like 6 seconds. Some people catch the fish. They needed the fish!

But not the Pinwheel, they haven’t caught a fish. Tyler is sad. Here is Tyler. I like beer.

This is the face of a man out of snacks.

This is the face of a man out of snacks.

Of course, they catch a fish. So does The I swear, after this is over, I will hear “SANDRO! SANDRO NEUTRAAL!” in my nightmares for months.

I actually feel really bad for the Pinwheel at this point. Their line snaps, they are out of luck, and then everybody like calls them up and makes fun of them.

The show ends with some melodramatic TALKING FROM CAPTAINS about what this year meant to them, and then Tyler steams off down to the south to segue to the spinoff I now have to watch.

It’s been real this season. They’re filming the next season as we speak (literally, I can hear the helicopters ugh).

Tune in sometime soon for WICKED TUNA: NORTH VS SOUTH VS KT.





East Gloucester School Supply List

This year’s back to school season is remarkable for my family because it’s the first year our kids enter the Gloucester Public School system – our older son, Nathan, is entering Kindergarten over at East Gloucester Elementary. We “choiced in”, which basically means we “bring down the per-capita income of families in the school by several thousand dollars a year”. We’re downtown people, used to downtown things like “empty nip bottles thrown where your kids play” and “getting everything that isn’t lashed down stolen by a bearded man pushing a baby carriage with no baby in it.” East Gloucester is a weird but awesome hippie/hipster/edgy utopia where people watch each other’s kids and walk into each other’s sheds to borrow and return tools. Return tools they borrowed. Can you imagine? The decadence.

This isn't even out of place here. At all.

This isn’t even out of place here. At all.

Therefore, the 2014 school supply list was a bit of a shock to our system. We expected glue sticks, crayons, and washable markers. But this is what we got:

1. A Kayak

2. Kale Chips

3. Pencils hand-hewn by local underemployed woodcrafters

4.  Organic, free-range backpack

5. Macbook Pro (New or under 6 months old)

6.  Chuck Taylor Hi-Tops in a color besides black

7. A feather and dipping ink

8. Homemade recycled paper notebooks tied with ukelele strings.

9. Non-GMO Paint Pens

10. Lunches prepared entirely from a CSA or farm share.

There were other parameters as well. All mothers must volunteer in either long flowy skirts with clogs or ripped denim and Vans. Dads must wear horn-rimmed glasses and be well-versed in how to refinish a hardwood floor. Younger siblings must be in cloth diapers.

I can’t wait.

(I shouldn’t have to point out that this is satire. But, here we are, where I point out that no, this is not the real school supply list. God, some of you people.)

ClamHouse Rocks! A Back To School Primer

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YOU CAN TELL IT’S THE END OF SUMMER because since July 4th the CVS and Walgreens have been pushing their Halloween goods, teachers have been quitting their side jobs, and seasonal workers have been trying to figure out how to correctly collect unemployment until April.

That means it’s back to school time in the city, that magical time of year where students who are done harvesting on the family farm return to the schoolhouse equipped with new chalk and writing boards, eager to complete the three Rs.

Teachers are relieved to get a steady paycheck once again, and parents are excited to have something to busy their kids with for six-to-eight hours aside from Camp, the beach, wandering the town’s streets and parks, the beach, a neighbor’s pool, summer job, hanging out with cell phone in the house, the beach, protesting outside Market Basket, the river, or the beach.

Lesson: to every thing there is a season, and purpose, except in summer. During summer we’re just waiting until the kids can be busy again. Countdown to Columbus Day: six weeks.

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YOUR, YOU’RE, YORE & THEY’RE, THEIR, THERE – Gone are the lazy, hazy, crazy, Swayze days of summer – it’s now officially sweatshirt weather at nights, and probably a strange heat wave for the first few days of school. If you have kids ages zero to seven, this might mean you still stop by the beach after school or the weekend. Otherwise, the rest of us  are now slaves to anything school-related and weekends full of non-stop sports games and birthday parties at the bowling alley. Always the bowling alley, always.

In the adult world we operate on the notion that life is fifty-two weeks at a time, and you’re always working unless you take a vacation (who does that?). In school we think of life a grade at a time, or a semester or quarter at a time. Learning is somehow confined to 180 days, six and a half hours each, only from September to June. Fight the power! Learn alongside your kids if you can – have them teach you what they learned that day. Have them show you some new way of learning math or remembering history facts. Before long (you have until they’re like fourteen, right? Maybe twelve?), your children won’t want to tell you anything, so enjoy them while they’re young enough to talk about their day. You can always follow your kids’ lives on Twitter or Instagram because Facebook is now only for old people, and by old people we’re talking like the 24-64 demographic).

Lesson: Trick yourself into learning things by tricking your kids into doing homework with them. Doubleplusgood! Countdown to Thanksgiving: twelve weeks.

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Y=MX + B – It’s important to remember that you (and your children) have and will forget most of what you learn in school. Adults have forgotten about 70% of what they learned since three years old, even counting college and grad school and the years of television shows and movies they’ve consumed. And if they were paying attention? Still 70%. That’s right – educated humans will forget most of what they learn in 14+ years of school (that’s counting pre-school). Adult humans always forget how to be kind and not beat each other up, and rarely know how to share, and those were some of the basics.

Lesson: I totally forget. I knew it at one point, but maybe I have it written down somewhere in a notebook in the attic? Countdown to Christmas Break: sixteen weeks.

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FAILURE IS AN OPTION – That’s right. Any teacher, coach, or principal who says otherwise is totally wrong. Whether you’re a teacher, parent, student, or all three, don’t be afraid to fail. Fail big, fail often, but only after you’ve tried your bestest and then learned something. If you fail as a parent, you have time to make it right, even if your kids are grown. If you’ve failed as a student, there is always a chance or teacher or test you can do to regain your place in the world (or another road to travel to get to where you want to be). If you’ve failed as a teacher, start over. September is a good time for this.

Lesson: Life is very long, so you’ve got time to become the person you’ve always wanted to be, whether you’re a freshman in high school or a rookie parent. Countdown to February Break: twenty-four weeks.

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THE GOOD WILL HUNTING ANOMALY – Only 20% of you are going to run the world. Well, probably like 1% of 20% of 20% of you. That means the rest of us get to party and protest and out-learn each other, which is what we call society. HOWEVER there is this place that has ALL the knowledge in the world (aside from the library): this place of magic and wonder is called the Google.

On the Google you can literally learn everything ever taught or learned in the history of ever. From Plato to plate tectonics, from embryos to empires, it’s all there. ‘Ol good Will Hunting from Cambridge once said something like, “you could get a $100K education from a $1.50 in late fees to the library,” and he was right except that most people don’t read and most people don’t even know where the library is. But you – yes, you! have the entire knowledge of the world in your pocket! It’s that rectangle thing with the broken face that you just can’t seem to fix. Install the Wikipedia or TED Talks or NPR app and learn something new every day. In fact, you could spend a whole year just learning from the Google and you would probably know more than most people on the planet right now.

Lesson: Use technology to supplement your learning, not just for pixelated adventures and Twitter. Countdown to Spring Break: thirty-three weeks.

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TIME IS RELATIVE – If you are living in Massachusetts, and reading this, and own a computer, and have finished at least eighth grade, and you and your children are relatively healthy, then, in the year 2014, you’re doing better than 98% of the world over all of time and memorial. Really. You’re better off than every empire and state that ever existed. That’s how awful the world is and history has been for regular people. And just think, Massachusetts is the best place in America (and most of the world) for education. THE BEST. AND Gloucester schools are amazing, as are their teachers and students. So there are no limits for any of us – those returning to school, taking time off of it, avoiding it, or starting it up for the first time.

Lesson: We’re too advantaged to waste one day. Well, maybe one. Well, maybe we can waste a few days, but only a few. Countdown to Memorial Day: thirty-eight weeks; Countdown to Graduation: forty weeks or so; Countdown to next year’s Back to School Special Primer: fifty-one weeks.

See you at the bowling alley.