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.

Living with Nature: A Clam Guide to the Goddam Coyotes

By Josh Turiel and Jim Dowd – official pet lovers of the Clam…but KT has cats so her too.

The North Shore is filled with nature (and condos)…(and about a million Dunks franchises). Glorious, beautiful, majestic nature. Red in tooth and claw nature. Because where there’s nature, there’s predators. Hawks and eagles. Seals. Coyotes. Big snakes creepy dudes in Salem keep in aquariums and household kittycats that (some of) you let out of the house. Not so much bears around here, but they’ll be back too at some point.

But, you know. Like this

They all prey on other animals in nature to make a living. That sweet little pussycat (some of) you like to let outside? It’s a freaking serial killer. It kills rodents, birds, and all sorts of critters, and it does it for fun. Oh, and when sweet little kitty leaves a mouse on your steps? It’s trying to show you how to hunt, because it’s convinced you’re pathetic and weak. Also feeding time was exactly thirty six seconds ago, so get on that. 

If you drop dead tomorrow in your home, Fluffy’s gonna EAT YOUR FACE. Just saying. “Probably starved to death because such a shitty hunter. Dumbass.” is what she’ll think as she decides which of your earlobes to start with. I mean Hell, it’s 37 seconds past feeding time. 

And when kitty’s in the yard hunting, bigger, badder predators are hunting it. Like coyotes. Modern-day coyotes here are the result of cross-breeding between wolves, coyotes, and the occasional domestic stray dog. They’re smart, big, and they’re like Honey Badger – they just don’t care. They’re not afraid of people but they are going to stay away if they can help it, because they’re smart.

Image result for coyote super genius

What could go wrong?

They are kind of the punk rock of animals- the 70’s punk rock back when everyone, including the hit TV show “Quincy” was afraid of it. Before Green Day, is what we’re saying. And we’re old enough to remember real punk, so get off our goddam lawns. Also No Hope and other slogans.

Coyotes are all over Cape Ann and the North Shore, and now is the season when we have our ANNUAL COYOTE FREAK OUT because we’re spotting them more as they become more active and fatten up themselves and their new pups for the year. And because we’re all such nature lovers with our cats and small dogs that we let out in the yard, and because we’ve got so many urban farmers with our backyard chicken coops, and all our unsecured trash and bird feeders we’re providing an all-you-can-eat buffet for these beasties. Why go hunt smaller mammals in the woods when they can sneak into your backyard and have a nice chicken parm dinner, but without the sauce, cheese, and breading? And eating your Pomeranian? Well, you left it on a long harness in the yard. The coyote can floss with that, and good old Wile E. thanks you for the attention to his dental hygiene.

And we know chickens are pets, we have lots of sympathy for pets, seriously. But this is just nature. It’s how nature works. Niches: animals find and exploit them. And unless we want to go through the extra work of securing things, they’re going to find a way to exploit weaknesses. Think of them as very furry Vladimir Putins.

Image result for putin wolf

Tomorrow, we ride! Da?

Look, we’re not going to get rid of coyotes, even if we try. Poisons won’t work, shooting them won’t work (because there are too many, they’re too hidden, and we don’t want a bunch of people shooting in the heavily urbanized areas where they live). Traps won’t work, and they’re cruel as hell, anyway when they do work – most traps aren’t even legal in this state because we’re somewhat enlightened here.

And frankly, we shouldn’t try and eradicate the coyotes. Predators are healthy for an ecosystem. They might be scary, messy, and awful inconvenient, but we need them. We share this state with the big critters, so be smart. Protect your chicken run with a solid wire fence that’s well-anchored to the ground and can’t easily be dug under. Don’t leave the dog out in the yard. Fluffy may “want to be free”, but keep the damn cat inside and she’ll suck it up. Josh’s three cats (none of whom are named Fluffy, thank you very much) have no knowledge of the outside world and his family keeps it that way. They seem pretty happy anyway.

Unlike many Calm posts, this isn’t meant to call anyone out or anything, especially anyone who’s lost a pet. But for real, go the extra mile securing trash and protecting pets. We’ll all be happier that way. Except Fluffy, because now it’s 43 seconds past.