Behold, Supermoon! Moons Over My Clammy Edition

Cops, parents, and retail workers will tell you that human beings become even more awful and unmanageable during a full moon, something about the tides and humans being 73.8% saltwater that shakes us up and makes us pointed jerks. Well what about a Supermoon in Gloucester? Field Clam-porter Jeremy McKeen was on the scene this past weekend trying to make sense of the phenomenon known as “Supermoon” and its effect on Fishtown. The results were not typical, however.


Just like a factoid is in fact a wrong fact, not a “little fact” (as most often is reported, incorrectly), most people report the wrong definition of factoid so much that the word factoid has become the definition of itself, which is a cliched, trivial fact that has lost its meaning and is reported incorrectly over and over and is eventually accepted as whatever the meaning is that is attributed to it over and over. Whew.

The Supermoon, or “closer moon” is indeed a variety of factoid. But that doesn’t mean the myths don’t ring true.



It turns out that Gloucester parents and kids are so beach-worn that the moon has very little effect in general. The vitamin D from the sun and their slight dehydration negates the effects of the moon pushing and pulling the tides within their tanned bodies. This leads to a calming acceptance of strange occurrences and occasions when something “full moon” happens, and something is always happening in Fishtown, whether you’re listening to neighbors set off fireworks or yet another Block Party or Bazaar work full motion toward the work week.

Landlocked masses trekked to Stage Fort Park peaceably from every part of Massachusetts, despite nine festivals happening simultaneously as well as three family reunions, four church picnic gatherings, eleven independent gatherings needing grills (who all properly disposed of their coals, as the stone monuments say), a smattering of dog park people, and locals trying to avoid the beach. Representatives from all separate Blues, Reggae, Folk, Alt. Country, Bike, Shriners, Worm, Cat, and Crafting festivals said that everything was beautiful and no one got hurt. The Cat Festival almost got out of hand when the crafters misplaced a giant ball of yarn, which was later located behind the Cupboard. With or without the Supermoon, you would have been able to predict that joke. Not the Glostafarians, though. They’re surprisingly humorless.


The night of the Supermoon I was returning to the McDonald’s/7-11 parking lot in exchange for a boy’s toy for my son’s Happy Meal – he received the Barbie toy instead, and if kids know anything about a $3 meal it’s that it should come with fruit and a gender-specific toy. The usual characters in this parking lot were orderly and few, and even the Redbox customers were timely and found exactly what they wanted. No one left their car running while choosing a movie or visiting inside for discounted cigarettes. Even the customers next door at the Car Wash tipped extra well.

Still, nothing much. The moon was fuller and closer. Where were the teenage werewolves breaking in the new field or wandering coyotes slurping out of backyard pools?


– A group of teenagers was apprehended outside of a Washington Street convenience store not soliciting adults to buy alcohol or vaping units but rather looking for notebooks and writing utensils to finish their summer reading, after which they planned on flossing and brushing, and going to bed at a reasonable hour.

– Man, 62, was caught using his turn signal at the Eastern Ave. Shaw’s impossible intersection. The man, who obeyed all the rules of traffic, was neither headed to the beach nor to the supermarket. He had no trouble navigating the six directions of traffic either.

– Woman, 44, with accomplices, parked legally and carried their trash to the barrel after their time at Good Harbor Beach, and parking at Stop & Shop was plentiful.

– Man, 27, paid charges and fees for placing his 4Loko cans in a neighbor’s recycling bin. The local man said he thought the bin was his and was remorseful for littering but was even moreso remorseful for being someone who is 27 and purchases 4Loko.


– Niles Beach parking was orderly and minimal from the hours of 12 and 3PM both Saturday and Sunday. And all the ice cream man’s prices were lowered 50 cents.

– Wingaersheek Beach slushies were reported to have stayed firm between the slushie cart and townie family blanket several hundred meters away.

– The larger-than-life but not larger-than-the-Death-Star “Supermoon” caused five Tedeschi regulars to ask even more questions about the taste of Mavericks vs. Checkers cigarettes and whether or not it was smarter to save money usually spent on scratch tickets than to spend it all every day on never winning.

– Local dog owners were not cited for leaving their dog doo-doo on the sidewalk. “We’re all waiting for late fall to let the steaming piles of our dog’s dookie sit and decompose during winter. Then – you know, so it’s just the right mix of mushy and nasty, children can step on it when the snow melts,” said local dog owner.

– A local gathering on the Annisquam River was dispersed after authorities mistook 30-something parents imitating hipsters. They were enjoying ‘smores un-ironically, drinking IPA in cans not Mason jars (mistaken for Pabst Blue Ribbon), and wearing regular glasses, not oversized novelty glasses. Their children, however, were cited for similar offenses.

– Local astronomers gathered to look at the “Supermoon” noting that a “Supermoon” is just a regular moon appearing eight percent bigger than normally, and up to thirty percent brighter than a normal full moon. “It’s like “Polar Vortex” or “Electoral College Super Voters” in terms of new made-up media phrases that sound official,” said group spokesman.

– Local supermarket employees returned to work after striking for several weeks. CEOs applauded their collective effort and offered them real pensions, health coverage, and a living wage. CEOs also contemplated splitting up their large, mainly carb-only product-carrying supermarkets into smaller farmers markets and craft food shops. “With all these millions of dollars it’s like I have the power to do good and not ill,” said local CEO millionaire.

– Local man, 35, writes “KEEP GLOUCESTER WEIRD” on local Gloucester Facebook page to the chagrin of real locals and confused transplants and then quickly deletes it.

– Local Shark enthusiast and expert, 55, told authorities that despite the “Shark Week” phenomenon in America, sharks are no more a threat than they ever were to Gloucester locals, and despite 300 million years of evolution, sharks are mostly cartilage and have not changed much over time.

A blessed Supermoon to you all, and beware the horizon.


No Snark Sunday Independence Weekend Double Bonus: Drone Fiesta and Farmers Market

First off, this:


To all the folks who approached us worried that the drone could be used to “carry bombs” or “steal privacy information from teenage girls cell phones” – um, yeah. I guess that’s technically feasible, though sort of a long-way around to achieve those goals. Really what this drone is best at is catching amazing shots like you see above. It’s a drone of love, people. Not one of hate.

Longform Shoutout of Awesome: The Farmers’ Market

The other day we realized we’d been to Farmer’s Markets in over a dozen places. This is weird because we’re not over-fond of vegetables ourselves, but we eat them because Mrs. Clam has strongly inferred that if we die an untimely death she will take the insurance money and use it to woo ponytailed yoga-men who wear bike shorts in public, so pass us some delicious salad thank you very much.

We found this scarier than the 'shower scene' in Psycho

We found this scarier than the ‘shower scene’ in Psycho

We just seem to wind up at them. In Brooklyn there is one where you can buy all kinds of weird foodie ingredients from a guy no doubt named “Kyle” and the whole thing radiates hipster rays visible to the naked eye. Troy New York has one in an abandoned parking lot next to an abandoned factory across the street from a typewriter and adding machine repair shop. In Eugene Oregon we once tried to buy lunch at a farmer’s market, but the proprietor of the stand was in a meditative trance and unable to serve us. San Francisco has several, both Portlands have them, Ithaca has a permanent setup for theirs, and we’ve been to similar concepts outdoors in the snow in northern Europe where they served hot spiced wine and comically enormous pretzels. In Asia and the Middle East outdoor markets are just called “shopping”.

Just look at these crazy hippies in Napoli selling produce on the street like...Italians have for thousands of years

Just look at these crazy hippies in Napoli selling produce on the street like…Italians have for thousands of years

Here in the States it’s no longer just a hippie thing, either. They are all over the place now, mostly clustered in cities and towns with large numbers of technology, education, science/medical and creative class workers (see The Clam’s previous essay on maintaining an essential hipfrastructure here).

The fact that we have one in Gloucester (June 12-Oct 9, Stage Fort Park) shows what we frequently talk about on No Snark Sundays and many other days, that the incredible quality of life we enjoy in Gloucester rests on the back of the many dedicated people who make cool shit happen. Here’s some fun facts about our Farmer’s Market that show we roll with the heavies when it comes to being a cool place to live:

Over 75 entirely local vendors (full list) Look, we go to the Basket, we like the Basket even. But anytime we can give money to our neighbors over the Demoulases who I’m sure are very nice but whom we have never met personally, we’re going to go ahead and do that.

No condos Local agriculture means open land. What would you rather have on that bit of open land nearby, some locally grown crops and livestock or some swell condos and McMansions? Hey man, up to you, it’s cool. Whatever you want. But just remember that every bushel of local corn equals a square meter of productive farmland somewhere nearby. You would rather that it be in Iowa? Up to you.

A bumper crop of enblandedness

A bumper crop of enblandedness

A check on the ‘Great Places to Live’ algorithm When people look at where to buy houses and locate business operations they add up things like schools, public transportation, crime rates, numbers of restaurants and other services AND farmers’ markets. Seriously, it’s on the spreadsheet. This affects things like property values and Gloucester’s perception as a dynamic or stagnant city. Having an active farmers market is a positive indicator the same way having healthy buds and leaves on a plant shows it’s thriving.

Healthier people The farmers market takes SNAP, WIC and Senior Market Coupons. The Open Door, Pathways and AGH have partnered with them to get better food into the pantries of the people who need it most (let’s remember that nearly 1/3 of our population here is on some kind of assistance, a fact-checked number that never ceases to make us shudder in disbelief). So now not only does that federal assistance stay in the local economy rather than going to the Shaws corp or 7/11, instead it goes to food that actually nourishes our people rather than crank them full of empty calories. The trickle-down effect reaches to kids in school who know what a vegetable looks like and elderly folks staying healthier. Add to it the partnerships with Backyard Growers and the school garden programs and suddenly you have made a real difference in the overall health of the city.

Chemical free We hate to mention this, but has anyone noticed how some events devolve into drunkfests? We at the Clam are certainly not ones to chide, but it did seem a little over the top at the Horribles parade when the dudes next to us had to drink a couple of 12 paks of Heineken Light and get into slurry arguments with ex-wives, girlfriends and presumably dealers as they passed by.  We’re not opposed to people having fun by any stretch, but one of the great things about the market is that it’s blissfully free of the kind of curse-filled drunken shouting that can be something of a downer at other public events. I’m guessing that the number of arrests at the farmers market is low and will likely stay that way until someone passes a law against snazzy, hand-stitched waistcoats.

Put down the pipe, you're coming with us, Baggins

Put down the pipe, you’re coming with us, Baggins

Hello, I’ll be your farmer today One of the many things to love about Gloucester is knowing everybody. It creates a sense of accountability and “we’re all in this together-itveness” You know your plumber, your mechanic, the folks who own the shops and restaurants (although some of our lady-friends tell us this is exactly why they choose a gynecologist from out of town). The same should be true of the people who grow your food. They are actual people with families and, lets face it, in many cases just simply breathtaking facial hair. Everyone should be able to admire the epic beard on the person who grows their food, that’s like a fundamental right.

It's a start, guys. It's a start.

It’s a start, guys. It’s a start.

As we said, we’ve been to these things all over the country and in different parts of the world. None, not one of them in any place we have traveled is in an off-the-hook freaktabular location as ours. Even when we went to one in Norway it was in a somewhat ratty church parking lot for some reason, not over next to the Fjord. To be fair, though, it was also the only one we’ve been to where there was a booth selling whale sausage.

Ours is so well attended (1,500 people/week) and flat-out gorgeous I hear the Governor and some heavy hitters are coming to our market sometime this summer to talk about how farmers markets are a ven-diagram of pure win that weave small business, local agriculture and healthy eating initiatives into a productive enterprise and largely free-market solution to a ton of difficult problems, all with a minimum of support. For example, if the farmers market prevents just one heart attack by helping a family eat better (remember what your doctor always says: “you gotta eat better and exercise more”), if it helps one kid focus better in school because they ate a salad an not a donut or if it is part of the equation that gets just one business to locate here providing jobs and income for the town, then it’s worth every penny of the bare-bones support it needs to run.

Also there is frequently pie. And local musicians playing free family-friendly stuff. And a different kid’s activity every week. Look, we just can’t list it all, just freaking go, OK? Remember, there is pie. Everything else is just bonus.

In short, farmer’s market = everybody wins. The city, the people, the vendors, everybody. So a bellowing Clam-Goat “Bleat of Victory” to the Gloucester Farmers Market. Huzzah folks, you know who you are but Niki Bogin especially.


Oh, and Correction: Everybody wins but people who sell razors. Epic beards on some of those dudes. Just epic.


[image below just to give us a better reference image on facebook]