Clams of Gratitude

You people are the best.

We started this thing six months ago on a bar bet against better judgment and even basic standards of decency and somehow, it took off. We weren’t sure we would even have enough ideas/content to run into the summer but Gloucester turned out to be a perpetual motion machine of insanity and we tried to follow along (Thank you, Demoulas family!). Other Clamtributors have stepped up and brought even more and better awesome to the table. And along the way we’ve managed to make some people laugh, piss off some folks, make a few cry and of course awoken the deep, deep crazy lurking in some highly unstable individuals who regularly send us expletive-laden emails referencing the Nazis and/or Gaza because crazy. Wow, is there a lot of crazy.



there’s synthetic alien chemicals in the groundwater!


All along it’s been amazing for us. The number of people who’ve said, “You guys are awesome!” has been astounding. People have yelled “We love The Clam” out of passing cars at us (they yell other things as well, but they’re unrepeatable). The support from surprising (and far-flung) places has been heartening. But, as we said, hosting costs money. Boosting posts so more of our facebook fans can see what we post costs money.  And there is a ton of time involved, time which our spouses have graciously awarded us for some reason (insanity probably). So we thought, “maybe we could defray that with a donation button. A few of our close friends might pitch in $10, tops, and we’ll cover the rest.”

And people donated. Do you believe that?

I mean, of course also some people emailed Joey C over at Good Morning Gloucester to complain about us asking for donations and putting up a small ad on our sidebar that was in blank space, because that is just what you do. Complain to Joey about us. He’s in charge of all blogging in the world, you know. He’ll be sure to hold a meeting about it and give us a verbal warning.

But also there were a lot of donations.

You have no idea how good that makes us feel. What’s the word? Valued. We feel valued. You might be surprised to find how seriously we and the other Clamtributors take this blog. There are long email chains, endless revisions, occasional disputes and mostly it’s people just trying to do good work. You’d love to hear some of our discussions, “Is ‘Wombat sex’ funnier than ‘duck fucking,’ what do you think?” This is not followed by peals of laughter. It’s followed by 20 minutes of serious consideration and threats against another’s person.

So we’re going to do more of that for as long as we can. More stupid, more silly, and more serious posts as well. Sometimes I think we came into being to serve as the snarky id for a whole city, saying the things that cannot be said. Poking fun but with love and dedication. Family. It sort of feels like family. Insane, infuriating, but wholly fulfilling. The Clam isn’t just a blog, it’s kind of a close-knit community now.

So, again, thanks and we look forward to living up to the faith you folks have placed in us for whatever reason.

And wombat sex is way funnier. [ed: no it is not.]

– Jim, KT, Brooke, and all the Clamtributors.

The Clam Gets a Facelift

You will notice that the website has totally changed over the weekend. If you didn’t notice, you should probably feel shame in many places around your body.

We decided to do this for a bunch of reasons – better content options, better layout, plugins that can help us track you to the nearest streetcorner, the ability to add a store to sell you stickers and shirts – stuff like that. Our free options were totally limiting us, maaan. We needed freedom, baby, and we had to go get it.

So because that migration and subsequent dozen small frustrating issues took up the majority of my weekend (also I had to make several trips to Dogtown to dump leaves and brush just like everyone else in town), I have no real content to post today. But look, our site is pretty! And it’ll continue to look even better in the next few weeks as we make a few more little changes. Make sure you let us know if you have problems commenting or viewing anything. Unless your comment is terrible, in which case don’t. And be sure to let us know if you like it, or if there’s something else you want to see.

We just added a new feature- you can subscribe to our email list on our sidebar, so you know when we’re doing Clam nights or other events, and you can keep up with the latest in ClamLand. We aren’t going to sell your email to the Russians. Probably.

And now I’m going to make today’s content-less post EVEN WORSE for you. Here we go: the Clam is a labor of love for us, but it does cost us some money for upkeep. We bring you original, sometimes funny content on a daily basis – sometimes we stay up way past our bedtimes to figure out what will make you laugh tomorrow.

It’s been almost 6 months of hard, but fun, work on this blog, and we hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have. If you love us, and want to keep us going as long as possible, donate to us using the Paypal button on the left. Even $5 is a huge help to offset stuff like hosting, Clam nights, the gas we use driving around to take pictures that barely relate to our posts, beer to get through Wicked Tuna recaps, and the hush money we paid Marty after he accidentally droned over KT’s top-secret sexy ladyrobot lab.

We're getting close with this latest model.

We’re getting close with this latest model.

Donate today! Don’t be so shellfish. We promise we won’t carp about it if you don’t. It’s our sole method of income for the Clam. We get crabby about it sometimes.

So help me god I’ll continue to filter through bad puns if you don’t give up the clams.


No Snark Sunday: Get a Clue, Get a Plate

So this week’s no snark is a pair of important announcements brought to you by two people who are prominent among the reasons we have nice things:

Number one, brought to our attention by community improvement powerhouse Maggie Rosa is that David Weinberger, one of the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto, is speaking Monday, November 17 at the Cruiseport on how libraries should remake themselves for the digital age.

What, you’re not falling over yourself to go to this because you have important ear-hair grooming to conduct that evening? You are a FOOL my friend! Cluetrain broke open the way we use the Internet. It was the piece of writing that showed the conversation we’re having here, here at our beloved Clam and millions of other places, is where real decisions get made instead of through paid advertising. Back in the day if you wanted to tell people something you just tossed some dough at a bunch of flacks and they got told. Now you need to have a conversation. The unintended consequences have been bullshit like the anti-vaccine people, climate deniers and 9/11 truthers, but overall the level of connectedness has given us, the average persons, immense power that we’re just learning how to wield. Think of how Good Morning Gloucester took away the conversation from the sad, misspelled, thrift-store-puzzle-missing-several-dozen-pieces of information that is the GDT. That’s happening everywhere.

Cluetrain also pioneered a lot of tone you read here: simple, short, not afraid to be crude or hyperbolic. Like we’re talking in a lively bar after a couple of drinks, rather than the stilted parlor-speak of old media.

I’m really curious to hear what he’s going to say about libraries, I’m sure it will be awesome and it benefits the Gloucester Education Foundation who are also responsible for so much awesome. In short: will be awesome.

Screen shot 2014-11-09 at 9.36.17 AMOk, Next. License Plates.

Brought to us by Ruth Pino another person who’s hand is behind so much good that happens around this little berg.

This is about the special Cape Ann license plate you can get.

Right about now you are thinking, “Holy Shit Jim, you’re talking about vanity plates? On The Clam? Aren’t you about angry challenges to “The Man”? This should be more about how to make your own illegal license plate out of tin foil, hot glue, spray paint and Sharpie-brand markers. You suck now, The Clam!”

Shut the fuck up.

This is important because we get screwed. Cape Ann generates tons of money for the Commonwealth and we get shit back. We generate huge tax revenues out of E. Point and other places and we get screwed in our education funding. We play the lottery at rates orders of magnitude higher than other parts of the state and Gloucester and Wellesley get the same percentage of distribution. We’re got all kinds of salty authenticity and all the Beacon Hill attention is directed toward that other cape where they happen to have cottages. The same with tourist promotion dollars. More gets spent trying to bring people to Lowell than here (remember the coin fiasco?). Fucking Lowell. Tourist Mecca (though they have great Pho there, just sayin).

This is a way for us to directly spend on something that comes back to support our community. So if you’re getting a plate, get a Cape Ann Plate, here is the link:

Fill it out online here (scroll down slightly)


link to the paper form you can just drop by the chamber



That’s all this week peeps, I have a more challenging couple of pieces coming up in the days/weeks to come and stay tuned for The Clam’s War on Christmas, or at least the shitty parts of it.


Gloucester Clam’s Tournament of Crappy Intersections: Semifinals!

Today we’ll be finishing up our Tournament of Shitty Intersections’ semifinal round. If you haven’t been paying attention, we took 16 of the most irritating intersections in all of Gloucester and matched them up. Only one will be crowned the victor. Moving on to the final four are the next two contestants.


Maplewood/Railroad/Prospect vs. Sayward/Bass Ave/Brightside 


Maplewood/Railroad/Prospect, a.k.a. The triangle of doom, reined supreme over its competitor, Pond/Witham/Eastern. Pond/Eastern had the velocity factor going for it – one wrong move and you’re plastered by a plumbing truck hauling ass from Rockport – but couldn’t pull off victory.

The Maplewood/Railroad/Prospect intersection is amazing not only for its sheer level of terrifying confusion, but that it’s how a lot of folks coming in from out of town get downtown. We have tourists walking off the train and the first glimpse of Gloucester they have is a man in a 1989 Buick Lesabre with a duct-taped bumper giving the finger to a school bus while everyone in the intersection honks simulataneously and someone is parked on the sidewalk. Awesome. It also has the distinction of being one of those intersections where one person can fuck it up for everybody else by blocking the entire goddamn intersection so no one can move until some idiot realizes he’s holding up traffic trying to turn left into a space his car can’t physically occupy and remembers the Pauli exclusion principal that states what he wants to do is impossible because electrons or whatever, so he continues straight until finally everyone can go again.


In the opposite corner, we have Sayward/Bass/Brightside, which beat the heck out of Poplar and Washington last round. As well it should have. I have to turn left at the end of Sayward twice a day on weekdays, and somehow I’ve never been in an accident. We’re all on borrowed time in this shitshow of an intersection. Not only do people coming from the Thatcher/Good Harbor area fly by at about 80 knots, but the blind curve that gives you 30 feet of visibility in the other direction is fun as well. It’s like Mario Kart, except I don’t even have a blue shell I can throw.

I think the thing that annoys me the most about it isn’t waiting for a break in traffic to turn left, but that sometimes people coming from Brightside will stop and then go, even though you were at the intersection first. What are the laws supposed to technically be? Isn’t it treated like a 3 or 4 way stop where the person who stopped first goes, and tie goes to the car on the right? Otherwise it’s just freakin’ mayhem. More mayhem, anyway. Fuck this entire intersection, honestly.

Won’t Somebody Think of the Chickens?

So here’s the deal, Clamdirectioners: tonight at 6:15, there will be a Board of Health meeting in the CATA Training Room in the City Hall Annex at 3 Pond Rd. Up for discussion (Taking up the #5 spot on the agenda, no less) is the future of chicken ownership in Gloucester.



We need to keep chickens here. Chickens make Gloucester awesome. Hear me out.

A few years ago I was talking to a neighbor of mine and I asked him how he and his wife and their families ended up deciding to put down roots in Gloucester after graduating from Gordon college. “It’s like the wild west here! A frontier land. We wanted to be a part of that.” He’s right: we have this pioneer town vibe that no city or town (nearby, anyway) has been able to pull off like Gloucester can. And that’s part of why Gloucester’s great. We have this mishmash of people who are all different, but laid back about it. We have artists next to plumbers, teachers next to rock stars, millionaires next to the rest of us, and no one bats an eye. It’s how we roll.

One of the things we do best is letting people do their thing. Gloucester is pretty much the polar opposite to one of those suburbs that is overrun with HOAs and every house is exactly the same and you get fined if your lawn turns brown. You wanna paint your driveway rainbow colors? Sure! You wanna park six windowless cargo vans in your yard? Creepy, but sure, that’s your deal, whatevs.

The chicken owners of Gloucester are woven into that pioneer vibe. Gloucesterites are self-sufficient folks because it’s in our history. Not because it’s the sudden cool thing to do, but because in Gloucester, frontier life never stopped being cool in the first place. And backyard chickens are an awesome example of self-sufficient living in a city.

For 3 or 4 years recently, we were chicken owners downtown. It was the coolest feeling ever to collect eggs in the morning. Our kids got to learn about animals. We got to learn about how cold it is at 6 AM in February when you have to go shovel out the chicken’s run and make sure their water isn’t frozen. And we had so many eggs! We loved sharing with friends and family. Between that and a garden, our food bills went down, and our number of healthy meals went up. And when I was researching the house that used to stand on our property but burned in the ’50s, I found a picture from 1905. There was a chicken coop behind the house, naturally.


We named them Patty, Selma, and Marge naturally.

We named them Patty, Selma, and Marge, naturally.


There’s not much detail I could get about what exactly is going to go on in this meeting – as far as I can tell, there was a constituent complaint about a neighbor. Obviously that’s concerning, but if this is the first actual complaint about chickens in however many years with the pretty decent amount of chicken owners we have, that’s not bad at all. There are cranks in every neighborhood that complain about every minor thing (a strange van parked in front of your house on a public street at 8 AM? Probably robbers and not KT’s desperately needed plumber, better call the cops). Complaining to the authorities is what satisfies their blood lust, and no one’s ever called about chickens?

So it doesn’t make too much sense to have a knee-jerk reaction quite yet, and punish the folks who have been responsible chicken owners for years or even decades. The chickens and their owners have existed peacefully so far with their fishermen, lawyer, or burnout hippie neighbors. It’s worked well so far the way it is, why do we need to change it?

If you’re a chicken owner, or think chicken owners are just awesome, you should go to the Board of Health meeting tonight in support.

Event info.