Hello out there in G-Clam World. It’s time for another edition of Fuck It Mondays, where I collect all of the best stuff I’ve seen all week so that I don’t actually have to write 2,000 words on how people in this town need to learn to drive.

And since no one’s going to do anything tomorrow because snow and anger, here. Here y’all go.

Some Guy in Fall River Starts Shooting Cars That Were Parked In Spaces Other People Shoveled. Like one does.















this headline.

this headline.

No Snark Sunday: Big Things That Can Kill You

We’re at a weird time in our species’ history but anyone with teenagers recognizes it instantly. You go from being a kid where everything is bigger and more powerful than you to having an unprecedented amount of control over the world. And it’s not until a few years later when, as an adult, you realize, “holy crap, what an illusion that was. It’s a miracle I survived.”

Really the whole early history of humans and civilization is about managing or at least coming to terms with big things that can kill you. Unlike most of our fellow mammals, our bodies are under equipped as far as animals go. Put a naked human being next to a bear or a tiger [editor’s note: don’t actually do this] or even an otter or a rabbit and you get a sense of how helpless are. No claws, no fur, not especially fast, not a particularly great sense of smell, of the entire animal kingdom our offspring are the worst helpless idiots and for years. What other species young would willingly walk off a cliff or eat a poisoned berry unless watched and cared for constantly?

I imagine a saber toothed tiger chilling with a cave bear at the base of some glacier a few hundred thousand years ago. They’re gnawing on some bones and just swapping predator talk while  watching a rag-tag band of early humans struggle by in the mud of the effluvial outwash. The tiger points with his paw and says:

Soon hipsters will be dressing like this

Soon hipsters will be dressing like this

“Will you look at those things? Hobbling around on just the two back legs, covered in preyskins  because they can’t even grow their own fur. They’re slow, they’re loud, they are clumsy as hell and it takes like 10 of them to bring down a mammoth. Pathetic, really.”

The bear nods his head and then after a second says,

“Yeah, but have you seen that fire shit they do?”

Fast forward to the present day and the only physical  memory of both of their species is a drawer in a museum and the place where they were chatting is now a moped dealership.

I firmly believe that if human beings had any decent innate tools at all to fight against our early predators besides intelligence we would never have gotten past the “sharp stick” phase of technological development. We develop tools and ideas to protect us from big things that can kill us.

But somehow, in the teen years of our species, before we really know what the hell is going on and are just reacting to the day-to-day, we’re confused about the big things that can kill us. For all our knowledge and technology, most of us are just really bad at pointing out and avoiding the most obviously dangerous things.

Usually when someone makes this point they start talking about auto crashes or heart disease, but I want to spend a minute thinking about trains. Yes, trains, our relationship to trains is more indicative of the problem at hand, I think than cars which for their danger are incredibly useful or fatty foods, which our brains are actually programmed to want.

Trains have been around for a century and a half. One can easily predict where a train won’t be, and even predicting where one will be is limited to a highly defined area called “train tracks.” If you are not on train tracks, which when you think about it are pretty small comparatively, you will not be hit by a train. It’s that simple. Yet people are killed by trains all the time and engage in all kinds of risky behaviors around them.

I commute by train when I go into Boston and have done so for years. You would not believe all the dumbassery that takes place around trains (and I’m not talking about the incredibly sad cases of folks who’ve actively chosen to end their lives this way). People step in front of them, they walk along the tracks, they drive across the tracks when the train is coming and I once even saw a dude go under the  train as it was leaving Gloucester so he could get to McDonalds that much quicker, saving him the time of having to wait for all seven cars to pass.

Essentially, trains are this

Essentially, trains are this

This woman in New York last week who caused an accident that killed five people had stopped to check her car because it had clipped one of the crossing signals. All the details are not out, but it looks like she leapt back into her car and drove even further into the path of the train, maybe with the car in the wrong gear? You’d think she wasn’t trying to gun it across, but in my time as a rail commuter I’ve been on trains that have hit cars on three separate occasions.

Even more unclear on the concept of Newtonian physics was the guy who jumped off the train in Lynn when he realized it was express to Salem and not stopping there. We were stopped for hours and hours as they investigated the scene and the poor bastard ended up losing an arm. When we finally got moving the conductor shook his head and said, “He risked his life to get INTO Lynn? I just don’t get it.”

So why can’t a too-large portion of the population come to grips with the fact that trains are dangerous while at the same time freaking out over things like ebola, which obviously aren’t? I think it’s familiarity. I think if things are too common we forget to be afraid of them. A friend works in an elementary school in Essex where they routinely practice lockdown drills in case of an armed intruder. This is wise and desperately sad, but the shootings are so uncommon that there is not much else you can do. Sealing the place up like Masada is going too far. At the same time, you may not know this, but Essex Massachusetts is currently under a plague of rabid skunks. Read their police notes, it’s like the frikin zombie skunk apocalypse over there. I’m an outdoorsy person, I have an overly-curious collie, I walk in Essex sometimes and the stink-monsters from Hell are far more dangerous to creatures I love and all those kids on that playground than some loon with a gun, who is indeed dangerous but just not common.

Pretty much

Pretty much

We take the common dangers in stride, push them away and habituate ourselves. We append no risk to the boring or the mundane. The snowstorm has to be sold as a howling death fury to get our attention. By March even blizzards will probably fail to get a reaction and they will start giving them dull names. Winter storm “Sheldon”, snow event “Ed.” Maybe to be scared we need a little drama and hype, maybe to take precaution we require some pizzaz. Local media does it with storms, maybe we can get Fox 25 to do a “Deathtrain Watch” or we could combine two boring things together to make them a more exciting and therefor more avoidable threat.

Strap rabid skunks to the front of the trains, is what I’m saying. It’s the obvious solution.


Mommy Blogging in Lovecraft’s Neighborhood

From our very special guest blogger, Heather N’ylahrath. 


Living in New England, it’s no surprise we get snow. I just love bundling up the kids so that all I can see are little noses and eyes peeking out of the hand knit artisanal lamb’s wool scarf and hat sets I made them last spring. No use letting the wool of that little guy we sacrificed go to waste! I like to think The Old Ones would approve of our farm to altar, head-to-tail sacrificing. Some of the other families in the congregation just let the sacrificial beast lay on the altar, but I know these little knit booties and hat would be Cthulhu approved.

All set to play in the snow!


Impending snow always presents us with the question of what to do with the kids! I’m planning on taking the twins out for a day of fun. I really want them to see the real fury of winter so they can feel the lurking presence of The Deep Ones with each howl of the wind. They so rarely get to hear from their grandparents in the deep, so it’ll be nice to chat.

When we’re done shouting lamentations into the wind damning the hotel project on Pavilion Beach, I think we’re going to head inside for some nice hot cocoa and a story. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the last pints of hand milked, organic, humanely raised, artisanal heavy cream before the storm, and it’s going to make this artisanal hand blended hot cocoa mix even better.


Our afternoon story


You know, we really are blessed to live in a place with such a history, surrounded by the dense looming fog rising from the sea. I tell the kids that it’s their grandparents and ancestors sending greetings from the Deep. Sometimes, we find special things on the beach, like little tokens with their initials and tiny carved fetishes, and I love knowing that our family is watching over us from Below. It really makes you think!




Well, I have to run. The twins are begging me to take them out to play, and I can’t wait to spend the time out with them, but first, we have to unlock the basement and throw down dinner for their father….Because Gloucester!

Counterpoint: I welcome the snowy apocalyapse

The Clam is excited to bring you differing views on topics of import. For instance, earlier this week we discussed each of our opinions on the viewership of professional football in light of the recent controversies regarding the NFL and revelations of head injury among even junior players of the sport. Yesterday, KT Toomey, tired of the recent unprecedented snowfall and the numerous difficulties in managing its myriad negative effects, opined that Gloucester would be better off in a tropical location. Jim Dowd provides a counterpoint in today’s entry.

Though my colleague may be a wise and intuitive person, in this case I must stand up and should “I disagree!” I, for one, welcome the time of The Great Wolves and the cleansing of the Earth. The old gods must die. All must perish.




With these past few snows, it has become increasingly clear that Ragnarok is upon us. Soon, we shall hear the crowing of the three roosters. We shall not bother to flee by using bandsaws to float away, for it will only prolong the inevitable death we all so richly deserve. We will turn on our fellow man, and there will be none spared, as the rivers shall run red with the blood of our brothers. Do not beg for mercy, for there will be none when Skoll and Hatt devour the sun and moon and the walls of Asgard fall. The great serpent will rise from the sea, and the sky shall split in two . You will be cold no more when the fire giant sets the world alight.



All your cares of snowbanks, walkways, plowed-in cars and jackholes parking in the Market Basket fire lane because they don’t want to tread through the slushy lot shall seem as nothing when the sky goes black and the shards of the firmament itself fall onto the earth, piercing all living things like spears. The wailing and gnashing of teeth is far better than Costa Rica’s rampant socialism and impressive literacy rate.

From this day forward, nothing but pain shall fall from the skies above. First a torrent of snow, then a hail of ice, then stones, fire and finally water shall cover all. All of your kitschy hipster wall art will be gone, along with everything and everyone you’ve ever known or loved. Even Mick Jagger. There will be a thousand years of stillness. However there will be no giant spiders.

But new gods rise. They shall bring forth life from seed, and the world shall again know green. Two survivors, who survive by consuming the morning dew, shall bear forth many generations and again repopulate our world. We will have a new, beautiful sun that shall shine down on our fresh green and blue world.

But we shall know none of this future, for we are doomed. Our fate has already been decided. There is no hope.

Jim Dowd is a motivational speaker who lives in Gloucester. His first book, “The Thundering Cataclysm: Let Me Explain How We’re All Gonna Die” is in stores now. 



In Which I Propose We Somehow Float Gloucester Slowly Towards Costa Rica

Okay, this snow is officially bullshit.

It was kind of a little fun and quaint last week for like ten minutes before the snow got in our preschooler’s mittens and he started wailing and then his snot froze to his cheek and then it was not fun anymore for anyone.

But then it happened again with the damn snow. Before we really even got a chance to deal with it. And now it’s like seven billion tons of snow and we definitely can’t deal with it now. And now we’re due to get even MORE snow? Are you SHITTING me? It already looked like my street had a terrible cocaine problem, now it’s just ludicrous.

Oh look, how cute and Rockwellian!

Oh look, how cute and Rockwellian!


Oh hell to the NO.











I can’t deal with this cold white scourge. I bet you can’t, either. Remember the summer? Man the summer was rad as heck. Sure it gets a little hot once in awhile, but that’s when we jump in the ocean.

Anyway Gloucester’s a total mess now, despite the herculean effort our DPW has been making to clean up. I have officially abandoned 2 of our 3 vehicles now, and our neighbors are sharing our tiny driveway because they’ve got nowhere to go, all the street parking is gone. I’m literally running the whole family around in a 2WD, 13 year old Nissan XTerra with 205k miles on it, all-season tires (damnit) and an alternator that I can best describe as “sketchy.” My 6′ fence that keeps my annoyingly barky hound dog firmly in my yard is starting to disappear – the snow was plowed right up and over and apparently now he can waltz right over the fence and run around barking which I learned the hard way this afternoon.

I cannot deal with more snow days, either. My kids have been home for 4 days. We have played all the Mario Kart we can play (even Rainbow Road ugh), and we have LEGO’d for too hard and too long. We have nerf gun bruises and our DVR has nothing new on it. Every single glove, hat, and scarf is sopping. We can’t take much more.

I have our only solution:

We hack the island off from the mainland with a bunch of band saws and slowly row our way south.

I know, that probably sounds like crazy talk. But I talked to a guy who says his brother’s girlfriend is like totally a geologist and he told me that this plan is totes foolproof. Couple dozen band saws and a weekend’s worth of work and we’re floating down the coast. Then we just gotta get some people to row, maybe use my neighbor’s 20HP Evinrude to save some time.  We tie the greasy pole behind us with a heavy rope, wave goodbye to West Gloucester and everything up the line and motor southward.




– Uh, it’s warmer and we won’t have snow, duh.

– Still have tourism economy and probably fishing but more the kind with long boats and spears of some type.

– We can teach the locals onshore how to make seven different kinds of greasy pizza.

– Health care!

– A 95.1% literacy rate.


Giant Motherfucking Spiders

– It becomes really expensive to call people you still kinda have to care about but I mean there’s Skype.

– A lot of people’s bosses really mad about the increased commute time to Danvers.

As you can see, CLEARLY the benefits outweigh the downsides of such a move. So join me, Gloucester, and we shall demand this plan be set forth posthaste.

Before the next frickin’ storm. Please.