Where the hell do we go from here?

Hey there, it’s Josh – second-funniest male regular contributor to the Clam (and third overall, also behind KT). Then again, there’ve been only three regular posters so that should say something.

Losing Jim sucks. It sucks hard. He was the North Star that we guided the site through, and even what he didn’t write himself the rest of us wrote to try and make him proud. We’ve all in Clam Nation known this week was coming, but we all hated that reality.

I’ll share what is the ideal Dowd story – from the last time I saw him out in public. Here in Salem, Deacon Giles Distillery hosts a night of boozy three-minute PowerPoint presentations as a competition about once a quarter. In mid-February, they hosted the event. Jim decided a couple of days beforehand to enter – with his topic being “the difference between being eaten by a shark and brain cancer”.

I Googled “Sharkbite” and went with this because we’re a family-friendly blog here and JESUS THE REAL PICS WERE GROSS

To sum up, shark bite victims don’t need to deal with idiots sending you “Israeli company cures sharkbite!” emails, and the screams drown out morons on shore asking if you have tried CBD oil as shark repellent. But at the same time, there are very few hopeful clinical trials on sharkbite running currently.

I fixed my car’s radiator with CBD, too.

With facts like that, he put together a brilliant and funny presentation that, needless to say, won.

Once he knew his diagnosis last summer, he (and the rest of us) knew that we were on borrowed time, and he continued to work, make jokes about being radioactive, and do what he did best – stir shit up with brilliance and passion. Personally, for me he was the bridge that connected my world of friends in Salem with awesome people down the line on Cape Ann, expanding my universe of amazing, snarky, and sweet people that I remain connected to now. I was on my way home from a business trip to Florida when Jim passed away. That evening, some of his friends gathered to host a spur-of-the-moment memorial party that may still be going on, much like the party in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that has lasted for four generations thus far. I sent hugs from my airliner that was lurching around the sky.

Onward!

What will become of the Clam and this website? I don’t think we can answer that right now. But we will. There are still things we are outraged by, things we want to celebrate, and stupidity to highlight. Regardless of what we do here on these pages, Clam Nation persists – because Clam Nation was founded from Jim Dowd’s vision, but it’s really all of you.

Okay, we found a stonecutter.

Okay, we did it. Turns out Friend of the Clam Stephen Voltz is not just a renowned scientist, he’s also a freelance digital stonecutter. So with our modern tools (did you know weed is legal in Massachusetts now?), a party of intrepid Clamunauts went into the woods of wild Dogtown to update the Babson Boulders for modern times.

We think that his work was well worth it. The maps will be hopefully updated soon, though without Historic Register status and funding it may be a little while. Enjoy the search until then.

Babson Boulders for a new era

We’ve noticed here at the Clam a great deal of discussion about Dogtown in recent months. We think that Dogtown belongs on the Historic Register, and that will help keep it protected from development while also making it somewhat more accessible as a part of our history.

But we realized that the Babson Boulders, one of the noteworthy features of the site, seem a tad dated for today’s world. So we consulted with the Clam braintrust in our super secret Underground Lair, and came up with a few ideas that can be placed as soon as we find a stonecutter who will work cheap and can chisel in Comic Sans. But until then, we’ll share them with you.

“Get Consent”

“Vivaaaaaaaa”

“Back up your data”

“If this is the high tide line, you’re screwed”

“Vaccinate your kids”

“Carry in/Carry out”

“Take off every zig”

“Han shot first”

“I went to that old parochial school on the Rotary; what happened with that?”

“Fight the Power”

“Never vote Republican”

“Delete your browser history”

“Suck It, Ravenswood”

“Fluoridate Public Water”

”Check Snopes”

Your Helpful 2018 Ballot Question Clamsplainer: Question 3

TLDR: Vote YES because we are not monsters

In 2016, after much drama, the MA Legislature passed a law giving the same basic protections to transgender individuals that are provided to most other groups. It’s a really short law (https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/Senate/S2407/) and it basically says that if you’re a place that has segregated facilities based on sex, that people who have the appropriate gender identity can use them. Like, humans can use bathrooms and stuff. This is not hard.

That’s it. So let’s say, for argument’s sake, that you’re a transgender female (born male, but perhaps at a midway point in the transition). Let’s also say, inelegantly, but we’re trying to be as clear AF here, you still have your junk. You can still pee standing up.

This law allows said transgender person to go and use a women’s bathroom, where they can then go sit in a stall like the rest of the ladies would. Or in the case of the opposite, a person born female who is transitioning genders, they could go into a men’s bathroom (where they would also likely use a stall).

I oversimplify, of course, because we are the Clam, and we like to break things down this basically, and often we’ve had a couple of beers when we’re writing these things. Gender is, we now know, far more fluid that this simple example, and trans people are on a continuum. It’s about far, far more than where your junk is.

Well, there’s a certain ultra conservative minority out there who thinks that being transgender is an abomination unto the Flying Spaghetti Monster or something. And they are seizing on the natural fear and squickishness most of us feel about bodily issues and sexuality to raise FUD on this. They call it “the bathroom bill” to minimalize it, and they try and raise the specter of hairy, bearded, clearly male people wearing dresses so they can hang out in women’s bathrooms and commit unspeakable violations.

Image result for worst website in the world

You can go through the actual Bible to see how wrong these people are or, you know, take your cues from their website design skills. Heck, it may not even be up at any given time.

I’m a politician, so I’m not going to say what I want to about that premise, but it’s total B*$%&@#(!!. Period. Men are not going to use this to make criminal behavior legal. It’s also not going to affect very many people at all – but those it affects gain a massively positive benefit. It basically legalizes them in public.

On a personal side, I know a number of people who are transgender. On both sides. You wouldn’t know it looking at most of them. Heck, you probably wouldn’t know it about any of them unless they told you. One of my friends was born female and began to transition a couple of years ago. He now looks more badass than I do, and has a better beard. I may be a bit jealous. His wife is someone he met and married when he was physically female, and she is a wonderful person who has stood with her wife (and now husband) throughout – because sexual orientation may be one thing, but plumbing is just plumbing. Love is bigger than that.

This message of tolerance brought to you by the good people at Love Plumbing & HVAC, LLC

So in other words, I’m proudly voting “yes” on Question 3 in order to preserve the protections that a small class of people in this Commonwealth need in order for them to safely survive in our increasingly crazy-ass society. If you are so heartless as to want people who look like women but don’t yet have 100% of the plumbing (or, conversely, people who look like badass men but need to pee sitting down – and forcing them into the ladies’ room) hooked up to have to use a men’s bathroom, well, first of all you’re not someone I want to know. Secondly, take a good look in the mirror. And then vote “yes”. Because the only way this ballot question could be clearer is if there was a checkbox for “Duh”.

Your Helpful Ballot Question Clamsplainer: Question 2

Written by Friend of the Clam Larry Oaks or “Lawrence Okenclam,” as he is now known across the lands.

Question 2: This is an easy one:

Vote Yes if you know the Gorton’s fisherman isn’t a real life fisherman with the same inalienable rights as you and me.

Image result for gortons fisherman

He is hipster AF though

Read more if you’re bored or whatever:

It wasn’t so long ago in this country that corporations had to navigate a set of rules put in place to promote fair elections. Of course companies went ahead anyway and funneled obscene amounts of money into the coffers of the candidate of their choice – after all the rules didn’t go anywhere near far enough toward limiting the influence of private wealth on our elections – but at least there were rules! Remember those days? Good times!

And what might you ask does any of this have to do with the Gortons fisherman?

Eight years ago the already weak campaign finance rules in place all changed. And not for the better.

In the now infamous 2010 Supreme Court case Citizens V. United Election Commission the Court through a narrow 5-4 decision (thanks Antonin Scalia) struck down any remaining limits on corporate political spending and in the process placed the rights of corporations and special interests on equal footing with those of actual human beings.

In effect, the court decided that corporations are people. Not pretend people, drinking in Williamsburgh with dudes named “Tigh” but real, actual people.

Corporations are people? As if!

Image result for corporate personhood

Meet 2020 Presidential Candidate Rod McBuildingface

Look, we all know corporations aren’t anything like actual people, right people? After all you can’t grab a brew with Archer, Daniels and Midland – you wouldn’t spill your secrets to Johnson & Johnson and who the hell would wanna spend an afternoon at Good Harbor Beach with Proctor and Gamble?

Listen, those may sound like real people but they’re definitely not.

A “yes” vote on Question 2 means you’ll be joining us over at the Clam in supporting the creation of a Citizens Commission to investigate and report on the effects that Citizens United and similar court cases have had on our political discourse.

We Clammers see this one as a no-brainer. It doesn’t matter (or at least it shouldn’t) what political view you happen to hold. Who isn’t for fair elections? Who doesn’t believe in equal representation? Who doesn’t think campaign finance reform is needed?

Who thinks corporations are people?

Oh, right. A lot of greedy politicians, that’s who!

So be sure to vote “Yes” on question 2. Let’s form a group of real life people and have them report back to ‘we the people’ on how to begin getting the money out of politics.

And in the meantime remember people, Stanley Morgan is your friend, your neighbor and a real life person. Morgan Stanley is a bank. And the Gorton’s fisherman? He isn’t a real fisherman.