Here at the Clam, we like to do a little bit of good-natured ribbing around the fact that at times, Gloucester doesn’t particularly enjoy or welcome change. On the scale of how much the island accepts change, we’re somewhere between “We are a cannibal tribe who eats all who make contact with us” and “I suppose the Internet isn’t a fad after all.” It’s no surprise, then, that a simple, small modification that most of us realize is so glaringly necessary for safety can become a huge debate, steeped in local tradition and “but we’ve always done it this way!”

There are literally twenty topics that the introduction paragraph could have been written about (thanks for the constant source of content, townspeople!) but this time: parking on Prospect Street.

We covered a little bit of how abysmal the parking and driving situation is around Destino’s, Our Lady of Good Voyage, and the Portuguese Club when we ran our Tournament of Crappy Parking Lots. The Good Voyage lot is kind of a pain in the ass parking lot, and the spillover from church leads to the parking situation.

I understand that the parking situation is tough in that area. But this? The parking along Prospect? It’s dangerous, and it shouldn’t be allowed. End of story. That determination is simply based on the physical realities imposed on us by the laws of our universe that plainly state: Outside of a black hole, dimensional space is finite and therefore a given thing can only fit in a space large enough for that thing to occupy.

Pictured above: not a black hole

Pictured above: not a black hole

Look at this clusterfuck above, as captured by Prospect St resident Thomas Fernandes. Jesus Christ, what a disaster. The white Corolla with its lights on? That’s not a car traveling in the correct lane or pulled over to let an ambulance go past. Oh no, he’s parked. The cars behind him are parked as well. And that’s no ambulance with warning lights and sirens, it’s the CATA bus probably full of seniors, schoolchildren and newborn puppies from the shelter driving DIRECTLY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD in order to get down one of Gloucester’s major thoroughfares.

There is simply no way to navigate this stretch of road legally.

You are forced to break the law here by traversing over the middle line. We can get rid of the freaking wind turbines and generate more reliable electricity by just attaching the dynamos to the corpses of generations of driver’s ed teachers spinning in their graves. Look back at the photo: there is about enough room for a vegan on a Vespa. It’s about 4′ of space between the parked car and the yellow line.

Now, we know that Gloucester has some crazy streets where you have to creatively squeeze two cars into the space that usually only one can physically occupy. We’re used to it. We know where our mirrors will get knocked off. We carry around small shoehorns to parallel park on anywhere but the comfortably massive parking spaces on Main St.

But Prospect St is too busy and important for the kind of parking fuckery that we let slide everywhere else in town. I mean, if I had a dollar for every questionable parking spot I’ve seen within the city limits, I would have many sacks full of dollars. But this is the worst of it. It’s not an East Gloucester side road where the only place anyone has to get to is wherever the hell they sell ukulele strings. It’s a major road connecting downtown to the train station and Bayview.

City Councilor Melissa Cox took the initiative to face the problem head-on starting a few months ago, scheduling a site visit and getting the matter addressed at a city council meeting. She brought up salient points also known as “physical reality”: It isn’t wide enough – streets should be 11′ wide for each driving lane, and 8′ for parking, and Prospect is only 34ft wide there (where parking is legal across the street, as you can see to the very right of the above photo). Melissa also took a look into who is parking there: “most of the residents have parking. It’s mostly church and club events that use the area,” she discovered. She’s also pointed out that Gloucester’s police and fire are against having parking there for safety reasons. It should be a pretty cut and dry thing to do. Yet, the matter didn’t get voted on at the first meeting – it was moved to tonight. Because….why?

Why, you ask, would such a glaringly obvious issue that threatens not only the safety of drivers, pedestrians, and bikers in the area, but the ability for our police, fire, and ambulance services to do their jobs quickly and effectively, not be voted on immediately? So why are we delaying the vote? Why?

According to some members of the City Council, because people park there for church, which means  that the cars somehow fit. It’s a miracle, apparently.

Yep. You guessed it. One particular member of the city council thought it important that people continue to be able to park in an easy spot on a street that isn’t legally wide enough to contain said spot, so that he invoked something called “rule 2-11-c”, which postponed the vote. We don’t get the rule, but we’re wondering what the postponement could possibly change in terms of the measurements that determine what the laws should be.

Just get a fucking tape measure. It’s not wide enough. Unless this councilor is going to personally widen the road somehow using spackle over rolled up newspapers, we’re not sure what the question is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a church or a club or whatever, the road is not wide enough to accommodate cars in that section if people park there. What is there to even debate? Wormholes? Extradimensional spaces? If the particles making up the cars are vibrating strings? There is simply no discussion to have. It’s not big enough.

So the meeting was moved to tonight. Public input is helpful, so if you’re like the police and fire departments or anyone with a basic grasp of physics and think that we should do the safe thing, show your support.

Wicked Tuna North vs South: Episode 3, Bluefin or Bust

Happy Monday, Clampatriots! We’ve been so busy with all kinds of intersection fights, website changes and Jim’s ranting about weasels that I almost forgot about the next installation of KT’s Wicked Tuna Recap.

So here we are – episode 3. Sigh. I may be procrastinating on hitting the “play” button on this, because the show is that monotonous. Alright, alright, all my Candy Crush lives are gone so I’ll do it.  Thank god for wine.

We start off this episode with Dave Marciano explaining, “If the Haahd Merchandise doesn’t catch a fish this week, we’re goin’ back to Gloucester!” I mean it’s cold up here, Dave, do you really want to come back? Think this through a little bit.

One of the southern boats pulls up to Dave in a completely staged effort and starts half-heartedly talking about how they don’t like “Yankee boats invading their circle” and stuff. It’s like these guys really wanted to break for lunch – they kind of fumble awkwardly through their lines and their trash-talking retorts are said in an entirely monotone voice. Are there people who watch this and think “This is good drama”? I want to talk to them right now and make them explain some things to me.

I’ve made it 7 minutes so far without someone saying either “We need this fish!” or shooting at the water with a gun. This is actually quite remarkable. The unnatural overuse of camouflage, however, is front and center in this episode.



It looks like the sporting section of a Super Walmart threw up in there. Before and after this shot, there were two OTHER colors of camouflage being worn by these two fashionable men. Is the guy on the left hunting in a patch of green beans? What the fuck? “Because The South” probably applies here.

One of the boats from the South catches a fish, and someone yells “Get your ass over here and stick him!” And I laugh, because I am twelve. Whoever the captain of this boat is, he’s the whitest dude on earth.

Who let you wear that visor?

Who let you wear that visor?

He looks like the treasurer of the White Guy club. I assume he drives a Chevy Avalanche and golfs a lot. He’s the man version of the Basic Bitch. He has a propane grill. He has a two car garage. He watches football on Sundays. They sure do pick interesting characters to appear on this show, she said sarcastically.

Anyway back in the ocean, there’s a brief bit with Tyler and Paul on what I’ll rename “giggleboat” because all these guys do is just laugh ferociously at stuff that isn’t necessarily very funny (in retrospect, Stonerboat still works as a name). I’ll take it, though. Anything is better than camouflage.  The whole aim of this bit is that Tyler pretends to have a southern accent, but he ends up sounding exactly like Bill Clinton, especially when he utters “I just want to bend the pole.” So did Bill, my friend. So did Bill.

Over on Hard Merchandise, they decide to fish all night. I will give you ten dollars if you guess what they say twice upon getting a bite?

Of course you do.

Of course you do.


Actually, it turns out they literally *don’t* need the fish, as it’s a Hammerhead Shark. Camoboat, however, catches a fish. At least I think they did, it’s not like I can actually see anything in there. I’m going by the audio.



We dressed like twinsies! Fistbump!


Then dramatic music starts playing and Dave Marciano looks straight into the camera and says “If I don’t catch a fish TONIGHT, I’m tuckin’ tail and going back to Gloucester.” I guess this means the Hard Merchandise will catch a fish right this very second, as this is Reality TV. Spoilert alert: I was correct.



“You needa go to Harpoon school!” bellows Dave, after his first mate makes a grievous pitching error.  However, they finish the fish off, high-five, and each smoke a pack of Marlboros in celebration.

Anyway this show is finally winding down and literally nothing interesting has happened. The two boats that caught fish bring them to the Scale With The Dramatic Pause For Effect, and the guy buying the fish says “penetrating into the major lobes” about the quality of the tuna. Har-har.

The episode closes without one mention of that boat where the guy waves the gun around and shoots stuff for seemingly minor reasons. USA! USA! USA!


No Snark Sunday: I Don’t Hate You, I’m Just Introverted

[Today’s column is by guest blogger Josh Turiel, who is a city councilor in Salem, as well as being a friend of the Clam.]

Many of my closest friends are people I’ve never (at this writing) met in person. I know them through Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail. What makes this interesting is that I really do know a lot of people personally. I enjoy their company. I like to spend time with people. But mostly I like to hang out in the room and watch the fun. I’m a politician. I run a business. I have no problem addressing large rooms of people, and in a small group of people I know well I can be quite entertaining. But put me in a small room where I don’t know everyone and I clam up and stay in the corner. I usually avoid parties with lots of strangers.

Because, despite all the trappings I give off, despite the witty comments you see me write, despite the speeches I give on TV, I’m an introvert. That basically means that when I’m in the midst of a group of people, particularly strangers, I’m really freaking uncomfortable. In fact, for the most part deep down in my lizard brain I’d probably rather be undergoing dental surgery. I’m terrible at names, I have a tough time remembering new faces. There are people I know well whose names I have no idea of. I recognize them, though. It can take me years sometimes to remember a name.

None of it is personal. I like most people once I get to know them. It takes me longer, but it’s worth it. And, like many of us, I recognize it. In fact, I’ve deliberately tried to compensate for it as best as I can almost since the day I arrived within shouting distance of adulthood. I took theatre classes and learned to act. I did a Dale Carnegie course at an old job of mine. I taught myself public speaking – and in fact I’ve become pretty good at it (it’s far easier to speak to a group of strangers than it is to speak to an individual stranger). I ran for office a few years ago, knocked on nearly 800 doors, and won the race (I still have the job, even). It’s very possible to function well when you’re fundamentally introverted. I’m fortunate, especially knowing people with much more burdensome physical and mental issues than this. Being introverted isn’t a disorder. It’s just who I am.

There are some skills you develop as a defense mechanism. You become really sensitive (maybe even over-sensitive) to people’s reactions to you. You can really focus on an individual person in conversation. Reading is a pleasure, and it’s pretty easy to find things to entertain yourself rather than rely on other folks to do it. All pretty cool.

The tough part is when you need to crack that shell open and acknowledge the strangers in the room. Painful, but it’s the only way you can grow as a person, and I can tell you from experience that it’s totally worth it, even if I haven’t always been able to pull it off. Small talk is a struggle for us. If we do engage with you, we can have amazingly deep conversations about nearly anything that interests us mutually. And we’re interested in what you have to say – even when we don’t know it. Depth appeals to introverts. We’re the life of the party online, where we can pick and choose our interactions, engage people at an arm’s length, and we can think through what we say more carefully. All my funniest friends online pretty much fit into this category. Most of the Clamtributors are among them as well.

In musing upon this as I write, it’s probably not as surprising that introverts like me wind up going into electoral politics, or that a lot of us wind up in theatre, or performance-based pastimes of any sort. If we can perform for a lot of people, it’s in a small way easier and less painful than performing for just one person. It also can make for difficult childhoods for many of us in the social jungle that is elementary and secondary education. We tend to be the geeks in school – not so impressed by the mundane things that happen, not comfortable around groups of people, and usually interested in the esoteric and obscure. Extroverted people are the ones who project confidence in school. That’s a system made for them to live in their glory. It’s only after that high school diploma that the world really makes room adequately for both. I’m blessed to have had a relatively normal, well-adjusted childhood going to a school where the people like me were able to find each other and create a peer group. Not all kids are that lucky.

The biggest thing for you all to remember from this, though, is that when you see one of us at a social event, a meeting, or even just if you run into us at Market Basket, when we barely blurt out a “hi” when we see you and then don’t start chatting about the weather? We’re really not trying to be rude. Sorry about that. This is what life is like to an introvert.

Ask A Cod

Welcome back to our “ask” series, in which a local resident of the past or present answers questions from this week’s mailbag. This week’s column features a North Atlantic Cod.




Dear Cod:

My girlfriend is really jealous. Every time I get a text from another girl, she demands to see it. It’s irritating, because I have a few female friends that I talk to once in awhile. I mean, it’s 2014, right? She even questioned a conversation I had when I said “I love you” – to my cousin, after a death in our family! I have never given her reason to be jealous, and my texts are always totally normal – same stuff I text my male friends. I love my girlfriend and I want to marry her someday, but not if she’s going to be like this forever. Do I confront her, or do we go to therapy, or do I just move on now before I live with this the rest of my life? Help!

Got a Green Eyed Girlfriend in Rockport.

Dear Green Eyed:

One time I had a girlfriend like that, but then she got caught in a gillnet, so the problem solved itself. It’s actually kind of hard to be jealous because there’s pretty much no other cod left for me to talk to, so I don’t know how to answer your question accurately. I would say that you should maybe keep looking. There are other fish in the sea. I mean that’s just a saying, in reality there are not a lot of fish in the sea. I wish there were more fish in the sea, actually. I miss my family.


Dear Cod:

 I recently lost my job, and my mother in law has been talking behind my back, saying I was fired and that I’m not a hard worker. She has never liked me, but now it’s completely obvious. I was let go because the company went bankrupt, and I was the sales leader! Her awful gossip could cost me a new job in our small city, and I have her daughter and our three kids to support. My wife is horrified, but doesn’t know what to do – her mom is is an important player in town politics. This is a nightmare for us! How can I get a new job now?

Jobless in Salem

Dear Jobless:

I don’t really know how jobs work. I mean I hear gossip through the seaweed (get it – because we don’t have grapevines underwater?), but mostly it’s about how fisherman are losing them because there’s not enough of me around. Is that the kind of problem you are having as well? Is sales the same thing as fishing? Because let me level with you: I am trying so desperately to repopulate the cod population, but Sheila doesn’t want a boyfriend and Leslie is already dating Tom and I’m getting too old to be spreading my cod sperm willy nilly like when I was younger. And really, who wants their kids eaten by pasty tourists? I can only do so much for you folks. But as for your mother in law, have you tried some kind of flash-frozen patty technique for her? Ask around, I know a guy.


Dear Cod:

I am sixteen years old, and I don’t know what the meaning of life is. All you do is go to school or work until you retire, and most people can’t even do that, and then you just die. I can’t really have fun in my life anymore because all I think about is how futile it really is. Am I depressed, or is everyone around me just too busy to have an existential crisis?

– Melancholy in Magnolia

Dear Melancholy:

Listen, I’m a cod. All I do is swim around all day until something big eats me, or I get caught in a net by some guy in Grundens listening to Tom Petty. You think I haven’t been awake at night, listening to the tide, wondering if the unending blackness of night is how life after death feels? I have deep thoughts too. But the thing is, you can’t get so caught up in how life is meaningless that you forget to live! There’s stuff worth living for. Like eating. Do you know how good mussels and crabs taste? You probably do, since you people eat them by the wharfload so I have to really hunt for them. But it’s worth it for that moment. Life is a series of moments you enjoy, mixed in with moments you don’t enjoy. Embrace your friends, you never know when you’ll suddenly be flopping on the deck of a ship, gasping for breath, wondering if you’ll ever see Sheila again. Fuck. Life sucks.



For other articles from our “ask” series, click here.




It’s Present Season, Yo!

Over the weekend a yearly cool hipsterish Gloucester occurance took place: the season opening of Present.

If you get your news from dumpster graffiti or the back of a Keno card and haven’t heard, Present is a pop-up holiday season retail shop featuring a ton of local artists and great stuff to buy. It embodies the whole “shop local” movement but with the added bonus of buying handcrafted items from your friends and neighbors. Last year I pretty much gave everyone in my family stuff from Present. This year it’s at 269 Main, between Alexandra’s Bread and Leonardo’s.

fish with tiny santa hats. WITH TINY SANTA HATS!

This place has fish with tiny santa hats. WITH TINY SANTA HATS!


As a matter of fact, as far as friends and neighbors go, several of our own Clamtributors are involved with Present on a yearly basis. The hipster creative artist community and people who read and contribute to this blog had somewhat of an overlap, who knew? Both Staff Photographer Stevens Brosnihan and Poet Laureate Amanda Cook have stuff they’ve made here for sale. I’m sure someone in the comment section will accuse us of being shills or whatever, but bite my ass, this place rules.



Stevens Brosnihan’s RTFM patch. Jeez, google it, if you’re not a nerd.

Sunday was their opening reception, which Marty DelV took a time-lapse video of. You can watch me eat artichoke dip and rice krispie treats in time-lapse! If you’re into that kinda thing. It was an awesome time, and it was great to see the place packed like it was.



One of the most awesomely hipster things I found in there that I hope someone buys for me (not like this is a hint for my mom or anything) were these awesome fabric record-shaped placemats.


The handmade Christmas decorations kick ass. Want a tiny fox? Yeah you fucking do, because it’s cute as hell. You put that shit on your tree, and all the hipsters will come out of your bushes and be like “whoa, that’s twee.”

oh my god it's so freakin' adorable

oh my god it’s so freakin’ adorable

Present is not only awesome because it contains many cool gifts, but also because it represents the Clam’s vision of what Gloucester is growing towards: a hip, artsy community of makers. We don’t need to import cheap plastic gifts – we can make our own right here in town from old sweaters and they are way more awesome! It’s ingenuity at its finest. And when we have homegrown stuff like Present and the Farmer’s Market and the other craft fairs that happen here, it grows our hipfrastructure, as well.

Heck, we’re so good at making stuff right here in town, maybe next year we can get locally 3D printed stuff at Present (Stevens I’m looking at you – make it happen).

Anyway, TLDR: Present is what makes Gloucester hip, and you can pick up locally-crafted stuff there for reasonable prices.


like a disco jellyfish.