Category Archives: Rant

Rockport Retail: It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here

by Rockport artist Stefan Mierz

Rambling in Rockport

Yesterday, a post went up on GMG written by the venerable Joey C. on his Saturday a.m. shopping experience in the equally venerable town of Rockport, Mass. The post has since been edited in response to the wail that went up from Main Street and parts of Bearskin Neck — a wail that could be heard all the way in East Gloucester, ringing through the antennae of the crustaceans piled up on the dock as Rockport shop owners rose up in protest. (The protest is mostly on Facebook if anyone wants to read along for some insight into what I’m talking about).

It seems that Joey came to Rockport on Saturday no less than twice (which is two times more than a whole lotta other locals) in an effort to procure some goods from some stores that had caught his eye on Instagram, but both times he was thwarted. Once, because he showed up with the not-unreasonable plan to eat breakfast and shop after the stores open (in theory anyway) at 10 am and the other time — after he was stymied the first time — because he couldn’t find parking. A parking pain we have all felt from the regular schmuck just trying to buy a doughnut from Brothers’ Brew to the the highest Selectperson in the land, just trying to buy a doughnut from Brothers’ Brew. In frustration Joey had no choice but to go to Bed Bath & Beyond or worse, maybe Kohl’s — I don’t know, it was some terrible place way far away with a couple of football fields of empty parking spaces — and line the pockets of our Corporate Overlords with his hard-earned dollars.

The point of the original post seemed to be twofold: 1) Talk about how genuinely great the shops in Rockport are, mention how awesome the Rockport Farmers Market is (yes it is!) and give a well-deserved shout-out to breakfast at the Blue Lobster Grille, and 2) Call out the shops for contributing to shopping difficulties by opening after 10am when securing a downtown parking space in Rockport in July is roughly worth the price of your firstborn.

A coupla things. First off, in the eyes of this very lame GMG occasional contributor, Joey stepped up by editing the post to reflect that he did not plan his shopping visit to Rockport with a strategy that included the realities of a shopping visit to Rockport. In Rockport, there’s not much about the retail scene that is like other places. The shops are independently owned, many of them run year-round by the same person (in spite of the assumption that everything is seasonal) who at some point has to see his or her family and take a shower, and then there is the consumer. Residents and tourists in Rockport follow ancient traffic patterns that involve a complex algorithm of when/if the sun is shining, vacation alcohol consumption recovery times, and preferred side of the street to walk on (I’m serious about the last one). Showing up in Rockport just minutes after the sun rises — which, on Rockport time, is more or less 10 am — is an exercise in futility, unless you are planning on going to the farmers’ market, eating a strudel, heading out in a boat, or staring at your fingernails while you sit on an empty bench. It may sound nuts from a consumer standpoint, but there is a method to the Rockport retail madness.

For most shops (multi-generational places like The Pewter Shop or John Tarr’s notwithstanding), opening at 10 am is equally an exercise in futility, with shop owners waiting in vain to make a sale to the approximately sixteen potential buyers that are out strolling Bearskin Neck and/or Main Street at that hour (a count that actually goes down to around seven people when adjusted for the ones who “forgot their wallet” — oldest excuse in the book — because they’re walking the dog or just aimlessly wandering between coffee places). Maybe the Rockport Farmers Market, which is only in its third year, will help change this, as shopping patterns shift to earlier in the day. I hope so.

Secondly, for those of you who read the Facebook thread in response to the original post, the merchants make some valid points, even if these points are cloaked in dismay, sadness, and even one or two expressions of rage.

People who come to Rockport, and maybe even more so people who live in Rockport, have no idea what running a shop in Rockport is like. It’s hard to write about this, because readers will immediately go into Mach-Defensive mode, rushing to explain to merchants everything they’re doing wrong, starting with the brilliant point that no one is forcing anyone to own a shop in Rockport (as though, because shop owners aren’t forced at gunpoint to run a business that means any point they make about the REALITIES of running that business become moot. Which is bizarre. So don’t bother with your “no one is forcing shop owners to own a shop” nonsense comments. I mean, you can bother with them, but I’ll just know you’ve got nothin if that’s your opener.)

Getting Real

Owning a small retail shop is a lot like owning a mom-and-pop restaurant in the sense that literally every single customer that walks through your door — or stands outside of it because your shop is closed — thinks, at some level, that they can do what you do. Imagine how crappy that feels for a second. Every single person thinks they are an expert on your work, when in reality they most likely know next to nothing about retail in general (let alone retail in Rockport), which demands a mix of smarts, financial wizardry, aesthetic gifts, salesmanship, and lots and lots of luck. Because weather is involved. It’s a lot like farming, actually. You have to anticipate what will sell at market six months in advance, throw everything you have ($$$) at it and pray like crazy the sun shines at the right time. Then you have to show up, pretty much all the time, but chances are (and by chances I mean literally, by chance because retail is also like gambling — you are always playing the odds), it will be still be the wrong time for someone, who will tell you how you screwed up. Which could be true, the screwing up, but if nearly every shop is closed in tandem at the hour you want to shop, then chances are there aren’t enough people shopping at that hour and the issue is with consumer patterns, not store owners.

I used to own a shop on Main Street in Rockport, and if I had a nickel for every soul who came in and stood at my counter and began a sentence with “I’ve always wanted to own a shop” or (the always-fantastic) “You know what you should do? You should…” well then I would still have closed my shop because I would be so incredibly rich I would have bought my own island, named it Cape Get Out of My Face I am So Very Tired and moved there.

Story time: one hot summer day years ago, I was standing in my shop in Rockport contemplating whether this was the right time to leave the store to dash to the bathroom. That’s right. Because I did not have a bathroom in my shop, even though I paid a rent that would make your ice cream melt, because several Rockport landlords have decided toilet facilities are optional. Anyway, a woman came in right at that juncture, when I was choosing between the health of my bladder and losing a potential buyer who might wander in and help pay my toilet-free rent. I looked at the woman — might this be a customer? who is always right? — as she stood blankly in the middle of the room, her mouth hanging open. I honestly thought she might need help of a non-retail variety because she she seemed so disoriented and aimless fifteen seconds into her visit. Suddenly she whipped her face toward me, a face distorted in rage and shouted “I might have BOUGHT SOMETHING if you had said hello to me!”  I was shocked. Before I could even respond she spun on her heel and stomped out the door. (Follow up: I chased her up the street and begged her forgiveness at the same scale at which she screeched at me. More confusion ensued.)

Take that scenario and multiply it by a thousand, only don’t forget to account for variations — like the strangers who come in and, when, you say hello in your best cheerily calibrated shop voice, haughtily inform you that when they need help they will ask for it, rolling their eyes at their companion at what a loser you are, accosting customers who want nothing more than to fondle your merchandise in peace — and it all adds up to a lot of stress for the small shop owner. Especially since most of their net worth — and lot of credit — is tied up in that merchandise.

Anyway, I could go on as I have stories galore, both from my store and those of friends. Like the time a customer — except he didn’t purchase anything — put a 14-inch vintage knitting needle up his nostril nearly (hopefully) into his brain in order to demonstrate his sideshow prowess to a lady friend, or that one time a customer — except she wasn’t — used the corner of another friend’s store as a bathroom. Actually, maybe I should have realized that last one, using a corner of the store as a litter box, was an option. I never would have had to leave the store then.

I should add, because I need to clarify, that having the shop was wonderful, and I loved working in Rockport and connecting with locals and visitors from all over the world. I really miss those days in so many ways. It’s just that getting advice from strangers when I was already about to pass out at the counter from working 7 days a week is not one of them.

The Takeaway (with Tissue Paper and a Gift Bag)

In short, while it’s important for shop owners to listen to consumers, especially ones who are as supportive of local businesses as Joey, it is also important for consumers to listen to shop owners, and not assume the worst — that they are willfully refusing to say hello, or that they purposefully refuse to stock whatever it is you want to buy, or that they are rolling around at home in a pile of undeclared cash that they raked in from all those suckers who came in to buy a candle or a card — or whatever it is that people assume. Buying local is a two-way street, a marriage between small business owners and their customers, and just like in any relationship, mutual respect goes a long way.

Being Offended Is Apparently All The Rage and It Sucks…

Posted by Toni Nicastro this morning and I couldn’t agree more.

A photo posted by Toni Nicastro (@toninic13) on

Yesterday I’m accused of being rude for doing my all dogs are trained assassins bit.-

So I have to go and explain the goddamn joke for those highly sensitive “I want to act offended over everything” types in a post (see post here)

I just found out that Amy Schumer who has what’s probably going to be one of the biggest movie hits of the summer coming out and is AN OVER THE TOP OUTRAGEOUS COMEDIENNE was accused of being a racist in The Washington Post. Everyone knows shes AN OVER THE TOP OUTRAGEOUS COMEDIENNE. OVER THE TOP OUTRAGEOUS COMEDIENNES say OVER THE TOP OUTRAGEOUS THINGS in their acts. It’s what every comedian has done since the beginning of comedy. Don Rickles, Joan Rivers, Eddie Murphy, George Carlin. They’ve all said inappropriate things for laughs and we’ve all laughed with them. It doesn’t mean we’re racist, it doesn’t mean Amy Schumer, Eddie Murphy, Don Rickles or Joan Rivers were or are racists. It means they are doing what comedians have been doing for centuries and what the American public has been paying to see and support forever. Until now. Until the age of twitter and social media when soundbites can be taken out of context and reported as if these are true feelings and not jokes.  And when the Washington Post says it doesn’t matter if they are meant as jokes or not I agree with Bill Burr who say bullshit it doesn’t matter if they are meant as jokes or not. That’s the whole difference and it’s A HUGE DIFFERENCE.
Read this article by Debra Kessler

Washington Post Writer Who Accused Amy Schumer Of Racism Never Saw Her Standup or TV Show
By Debra Kessler on July 10, 2015

and listen to Bill Burr’s podcast from last night where he talks about the latest “Outrage” it styarts about 5 and a half minutes into his podcast which you can listen to here-

Thursday Afternoon Monday Morning Podcast 7-9-15

I’m Offended That You’re Offended. So take that and stick it in your pipe.

Everybody just needs to clean all the sand out of their parts and get on to living.

Dustin Hoffman as Lenny Bruce-

A GMG Tradition Unlike Any Other- The Annual Friends Don’t Let Friends Buy Ugly Red Mulch Post

I think we’re going on 5 or 6 years now and at some point you’d think I wouldn’t have to remind folks but at the first signs of the palletloads of brown and (icky) red mulch showing up at Shaws I’m here to save the design challenged folks of the world that just might not understand how trashy the red mulch looks.  For those of you that might need a refresher I’ll dial up the way back machine to posts from 2012 and 2013-

RED MULCH IS HIDDEOUSGET THE DARK BROWN MULCH, IT’S 1000% MORE CLASSY LOOKING

Orange Mulch Is A Fail

Posted on June 19, 2013

Someone needs to clue me in on how you could go to the landscape supply joint and make the conscious decision to buy orange mulch over the nice dark brown (almost black) compost mulch. I’ll go dark brown mulch all day long over toxic waste neon orange mulch. It’s just way more aesthetically pleasing. I don’t know a whole lot about landscape supply costs. Maybe they pay people who opt for the neon orange mulch to take it away from their landscape supply yard. I can’t think of a single other reason someone would choose it over the classy dark brown. They actually dye it that hideous orange color. You gotta be a savage to get the orange stuff, no? What am I missing here? image

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NOTHING SAYS CLASSY LIKE…

Posted on July 23, 2012

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Can We Spring Forward Just a Little Bit More?

Ok, this will be short and sweet, I promise.

But….winter has to officially end now because I.AM.DONE.

Would you like to know what just sent me over the edge?

SOCKS.

We live in flip flops for the majority of the spring…certainly the summer…and even a good part of the fall.  Which, I am sure you are all onboard enough to realize, equals little to no socks in the laundry!

I hit my threshold this morning.  An average week, thanks to normal days, six “hockeys”, a couple of runs, some changes of wardrobe due to stepping in boot puddles by the front or back door, cold feet at night, etc. can easily add up to 40 paris of socks each week.  Shoot me.

I actually look forward to the occasional lost sock…because that means I can throw the widowed match away.

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BIKINI-SPEEDO DODGEBALL 2013 – THE MOVIE #gloucesterma

For all of you folks that have never witnessed THE MOVIE for 2013, please take the time to do so. You will be entertained.

(for ease of playback on a video of this length, click the play button, then pause it for a few seconds, it speeds up the loading process)

And please come out and support this years event, it’a for the NEXT STEP, they change lives…you could, too!

I Said, “Group Text”

The other day I was complaining about group text.  The thing is that one of the people in the conversation heard me wrong.

If you know what I mean.

It was the peculiar look I got when I said, “Sometimes I just don’t care about the needs and wants of every single person in the group.  And, they’re relentless. All night the texts keeps up.  Over and over and over again” that made me think possibly we were having different conversations.

Bygones.

The dreaded group text.  Absolutely the worst thing going.

So this is totally, totally me.  Without a doubt this is how I feel when a group text comes across my phone.

Rant and Poll- Let me Set The Record Straight On Ugly Sweater Contests

Toby sent me this picture of someone who won the ugly sweater contest wherever he was at yesterday-

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Well it seems like the whole ugly sweater contest has officially jumped the shark.  You wanna know the precise moment when the formerly cool ugly sweater contest fad jumped the shark?  Well let me tell you- It’s when cottage industries all over the place started producing “Official Ugly Sweaters” for mass marketing in department stores.

The whole point of Ugly sweater contests was to find one from way back in your closet or your dad’s closet, or a thrift shop.  Anyone that goes out and buys an ugly sweater new off the rack that was actually designed as being an “Ugly Sweater” does not deserve a win.

In my opinion the all time ugliest sweaters were those Coogi sweaters worn by sportscasters in the 90s-

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Second point  of reference determining that The Whole Ugly Sweater Contest Has Lost It’s Cool Factor?

Every single sports franchise coming out with their ugly sweater jersey-

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OVER. DONE. STICK A FORK IN IT.

I’m not saying there should never be another Ugly Sweater Contest.  What I Am Saying Is That Anyone That Buys An Officially Designed And Marketed AS AN UGLY SWEATER from the Get-Go Sweater, They should Not Be allowed to win the contest.  Has to be vintage or get out of here with that new off the rack designed-as-an-ugly-sweater Ugly Sweater.

So Toby find that woman who took home whatever the prize was for winner of the Ugly sweater contest at your party and strip her of that title.  She doesn’t deserve it.  Only way she brings home the title in that contest is if no one else shows up in an ugly sweater at all.

Poll Time-

Seafood Myths That pretentious Foodies Will Try To Sell You On…

You know those pretentious “Foodies” that think they know everything there is to know about Seafood?

The next time you’re invited to a cocktail party and they start in on how “Monkfish tastes just like lobster.” You know what you tell them?

Get out my face sucka!” 

That’s got to be one of the biggest laughs know to anyone who has handled or tried monkfish.  Not even close.  But you’ll hear every foodie spout it out.  Idiots.

Next up is that skatewings taste just like scallops.  Another idiotic statement.  You know back in the late 80s early 90s there were days that we’d handle over 10,000lbs of skatewings at under 20 cents a lb.  And some marketing guru at a rag like today’s “Edible Boston” probably got some idea to pitch the idea that skatewing tasted like scallops and the mindless lemmings that most Foddies are, they bought it hook, line and sinker.

You want to know the best underutilized species?  Well I’ll tell you.  Number one and my all time favorite fish fried similar to smelt is Whiting.

Another great one is ocean catfish (also called wolfish).

Idiots.

Monkfish, just like lobster. Winking smile

Skatewing, just like scallops. Winking smile

August 11, 2011 016

So next time you’re at the cocktail party with the pretentious foodie, you tell them to keep the monkfish and skatewing on their side of the table and push the lobster and scallops your way.

OK, how dense do you have to be To Go Out Of Town and Stand In Lines That Wrap Around The Store When You Could Shop Locally and get Better Deals With No Lines?

This Out Of Town-

Vs This Locally-

In and Out At Toodeloos In 15 Minutes for 30% Savings-

The begrudging Is Obviously a thing…

So the GloucesterClam – www.gloucesterclam.com went to a self hosted format and they made the unthinkable mistake of asking for what amounts to a pittance of a donation to help with costs associated with maintaining their site.

In the short time since I posted it I’ve gotten three remarks about the Clam having an ad on the site and asking for a donation as if they had just lit their children on fire and tossed them into a dumpster.

Here’s the post from the Clam-

The Clam Gets a Facelift

By KT Toomey November 10, 2014 Uncategorized

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.

and here’s the one ad displayed in the sidebar of www.gloucesterclam.com

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So for me to get three comments in such a short amount of time about a tiny ad and the audacity the Clammers had in asking for a donation on their blog, it tells me that it’s definitely a thing.   Not that I didn’t know that there are many many people out there that would begrudge them for asking.  I get it completely.  When my dad or other people couldn’t comprehend why I would do GMG without selling ad space or posting all the community announcements and not asking anything in return I felt and still feel that I got back way more in friendships and appreciation than I could ever make up for with the utter disgust that people who feel entitled to free content obviously feel every single day when you ask them for money for your hard work.

I don’t know why people are the way they are but it’s so very obvious that there is a huge contingency of people that think that content on the web should always be free and if you have the audacity to ask people to help cover the costs of maintaining the site that provides that content then you are just a greedy “out-to-make-money” son of a bitch.

I don’t begrudge the Clammers asking for money and I wouldn’t begrudge the Clammers if their site became so popular that the Huffington Post decided to buy them out and made millionaires out of them.  If you like the content and have the means, I suggest you donate to them.  if you have the means but don’t feel like donating, then don’t.  Just don’t bitch about a mere suggestion that you could donate if you’d like.

If it bothers you so much to have to scroll past an ad on their site or to have to read a post where they ask for a donation then I suggest you re-examine the work you do for a living and how you would feel if someone told you that you really ought to do it for free.

They’re not doing it “for-the-money” trust me.  No successful blog is written “for-the-money”.  You have to have major league passion about a subject because there’s only about a bazillion other blogs or sites people could visit for free written by people that are passionate about that subject matter.  No one writing for money and given assignments could ever deliver the quality of material that someone who is passionate about a subject could over time.

Anyone Wanna Explain To These Women Scrunching Their Lips Together That They Just Come Off As Try-Hards? Updated…

What is it with this new trend with women scrunching their lips up for social media photos?

Can anyone pinpoint when this all started and who made it a “thing”?

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Yo, your lips get stung by a bee or somethin?

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Weird thing is that most of these women are already attractive so I don’t get the lip move.  I get that they’re probably not desperate for a date but what it does reek of is desperate for attention.

Anyway, not that I think we necessarily have a young readership that this would apply to but just in case I can save a youngster that might be reading, not a good look.

Update:

OK,I spotted the trend but apparently I’m way behind on this-  www.antiduckface.tumblr.com/  has been on the case for a while now.

Worth a looksie.

UPDATE 2:
CHRIS DEWOLFE IS JEALOUS AS HELL AND WANTS YOU TO KNOW- NOBODY DUCKFACES LIKE CHRIS DEWOLFE DUCKFACES

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UPDATE 3 from Know Your Meme- http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/duck-face

Try To Look Worse Keene State. You Can’t.

What happened to getting going to parties and trying to hook up when you were in college?

What’s with the violence?

Doesn’t look like my idea of any kinda fun at all.  If the demographic displayed in these videos are the student population from Keene State then their PR department better have some magical wizards or something.  Right now people sending their kids off to school you gotta figure Keene State just raced to the very last pick in the US.  Like if you gotta pick between Keene State and garbage collector you almost gotta go garbage collector.  Beats getting smoked in the head with a bottle.  Not sure how you recover from this kind of bad look.

The kids in this video make the drek that hangs out in the MacDonalds /7 Eleven Parking lot look like the Debutantes and future rulers of America. Mutant City at Keene State Pumpkin Fest.  Mutant City.

RANT: Too many non-profits have an unfair advantage over small family businesses

Before you read this rant … vote for our grant.  It’s free & easy.  Just go here.

People who know us have seen how much Vickie and I support non-profits.  We volunteer our time.  We produce concerts & festivals that raise money for them.  And we donate money when we can.  Gloucester is blessed to have several excellent non-profits with dedicated staff, supporters and volunteers who serve our community well.  You know who they are.

Lately, it feels like some organizations with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status are gaining an unfair advantage in the marketplace.  And last week, several events conspired to drive this point home to us.

It began last Wednesday when an MCC delegation came to Beverly for a proposed Cultural District site visit. The proposed Beverly Arts District (BAD for short) includes The Larcom Theatre, where we present concerts, so we arranged for the MCC delegation to tour the theatre and I participated in a round table dialogue afterwards.  The Larcom Theatre is clearly the largest arts organization in the district in terms of the number of people we connect with annually (over 30K people come to shows at the Larcom from over 320 towns in 30+ states).

But The Larcom is not eligible for an MCC Cultural Facilities Fund Grant because it’s not a 501(c)(3).  Neither is gimmeLIVE.  Currently, the Larcom has no air conditioning, so we don’t have concerts in the summer; and no sound system, so we rent one (an excellent one, BTW) for the season.  If we were a 501(c)(3) we could apply for a grant and use the money for those and other improvements.  But we can’t.  Nor can we hang posters in lots of locations (including Market Basket) that only allow posters for non-profits.

However, the group that hopes to purchase the Cabot Theatre (just up the street from the Larcom) is rumored to be a non-profit.  They won’t pay taxes.  They could get a Cultural Facilities Grant.  They could hang posters where we can’t.  So… our tax dollars are funding our competition, whose 501(c)(3) status gives them lots of other advantages over us too.

Does this seem fair to you?

When I mention this disparity to various people, their answer is usually, “Well, why don’t you become a non-profit?  It’s really not that hard.”  In fact, that’s what Biotech investor Greg Verdine is doing for his new Gloucester venture according to this Boston Business Journal article that I read on Thursday.

Is this really what we want?  Smart business people starting non-profits to gain an advantage in the marketplace?

We’re not talking about poor starving aid workers here.  People who run non-profits in the Northeast make over $148K on average and as much as $3.7 million a year in salary according to this report.

Recently we applied for a Mission Main Streets Grant from Chase Bank.  Getting this grant would allow us to hire people, buy sound equipment, take bigger risks on more expensive artists and maybe even help get air conditioning in the Larcom Theatre (it’s not enough for that, but it could help).  Refreshingly, these grants are only available to for-profit small businesses.  That’s us — a small, family business trying to make a living for ourselves, our crew and our artists by bringing the best live music to your backyard at reasonable prices.  Non-profits have a huge advantage.  Please help level the playing field by voting for us.  It’s easy and free.  Just go here.

Thanks.

Twinge Worthy

As a continued tribute to Back-to-School Week, I have found some inspiring examples of why we all need school in the first place.

While some of these messages are funny, and some are mildly inappropriate (I apologize), some just flat out make me twitch!

Yikes.

Colton High School takes the cake though with its expensive and permanent misspelled signage.  Congratulations to you all (not, for the record, congradulations).

Does anyone double check their spelling (or, even more embarrassing, their phrasing) anymore? Sign all of the responsible parties up for a lesson on homophones immediately!  It isn’t hard, people!  To, too, two.   There, their, they’re.  It is truly more than I can handle.

 

 

City Mouse, Country Mouse

Other than four years of college in Virginia, I’ve lived on Cape Ann for my entire life….however, I’m also fairly well-traveled.  I’ve traveled in Africa, I’ve been to Central America, I’ve been all over Mexico, to the Caribbean, the West Indies, and throughout the United States and into Canada.  And, for what it’s worth, I’m pretty city savvy.  I spent a lot of time playing in the city in my teens, 20s, and 30s….and photographed inside Fenway Park for several years in a row…heading in and out of Boston each night during home stands. 

So, while I call this post “City Mouse, Country Mouse”…I’m not necessarily either.  However, I sure as all hell played the role of Country Mouse the other night in Boston…and I am NOT happy about it.

I am truly, truly an idiot. 

This is how it went down.

I was meeting a friend in the city…just outside of Faneuil Hall.  I know the area well, but was heading to a particular parking garage that I had never been to.  I took a left onto Broad Street and saw the 75 State Street Garage in the Financial District ahead…a bit ahead, on my right.  The traffic was total clusterf___.  Horns were honking.  Almost in front of the entrance to the lot, a white taxi was stopped, coming from the opposite direction, blocking a good part of my lane so that I couldn’t go forward.  A nice man, on a cell phone, with a pile of money in his hand, appeared in front of my car and helped me navigate my kind of large SUV around the taxi and towards the garage entrance.  He asked if I was parking, asked how long, and asked me for $10.  As I didn’t have a ten….I handed him a $20…with a smile.  He flipped through his pile of cash….as if looking for change….and then said, “just pull on down there (pointing to the garage) for a second and I’ll catch you.”   “No problem,” I said.

I’m not sure why I wasn’t on my A Game during that exact moment in time….but, it only took about 6 seconds for me to realize that effer was off with my $$$ and that I’d clearly not be seeing him or my “change” anytime soon.  I literally sat on the entrance ramp to the garage for probably a minute contemplating how I could have been such an idiot.  Large parking lots never ask for money outside upon arrival. I know that. Everyone knows that. I also replayed my short conversation with the “kind and helpful” gentleman….and couldn’t help but think what a tremendous actor he was.  While I was mad as all heck….I also couldn’t help but give him kudos for standing right there…in the middle of a super crowded busy city street…stealing money in broad daylight.  And doing so with such manners and such a calm demeanor.

Shame on him….shame on me.

You may be happy to know that dinner at Strega in the North End was excellent, drinks at the Sail Loft were just like old times,  and the company of an amazing friend more than made up for the $20 that I was scammed.  My ego, however, is still bruised.

Consider yourselves warned my friends.

To the people who begrudge EJ From Pimping Her Book Here…

Please unsubscribe.

I’ve read your nasty comments.  Her Kickstarter has something like 11 more days for her to potentially be able to get her book financed.

If you can’t see how much she gives back to the community by posting artists openings, volunteering for the Rocky Neck Art Colony, hosting  Mug-Ups, ect, ect, ect then you’re just not paying enough attention.

She hits her daily time slot here on GMG 99 out of a 100 days and 95% of the posts she composes are to help promote other community organizations or bring some interesting bit of information to our readership that they might not already have known.

So if you are not interested in the Kickstarter campaign for her new book and simply can’t bring yourself to scroll past her post during the next 10 days of her Kickstarter Campaign without writing a nasty comment then lets just do everyone a favor and please unsubscribe yourself.

For all the labor of love energy we put into this thing called GMG we don’t need your negative energy mucking up the works.

Unbelievable. 

This goes for Kim Smith’s movie night promotions, Felicia’s cookbooks and anything else that our contributors who strive to bring you great stuff every single day occasionally will pimp here on these pages.   335 posts a year trying to help others throughout the community, 30 posts trying to get her book financed and some people are that ignorant that they have to spew vitriol because they begrudge her of promoting her art.

Again, Unbelievable.

This is what makes me laugh about the Anti Flouride People

So the rhetoric from the anti-flouride people is that all the dentists in the US and our health officials have something to gain by towing the “Flouride is good” line.

They won’t listen to a dentist with over 30 years of experience who says publicly that he has seen first hand that communities with Flouride in their water makes a difference.

They won’t listen to all the national studies, the Center For Disease Control, American Dental Association, and when our own local Chairman of the Board of Health Rich Sagall comes out and says that the benefits of Flouride are clear and there are a ton of studies that support this it falls on deaf ears.  But still the Anti-flouride crusaders beat the drum that ALLLLLL these people who are paid to look out for us: our dentists, our Health departments, the National Center for Disease Control are in cahoots to hoodwink us and mess us up because everyone is getting paid off to keep up the lie about Flouride.

So the theory by the anti flouride folks is that all the pro-flouride people can’t be trusted because they are being paid off and that is the reason why we should throw everything they have to say that is positive about using flouride out the window and yet the person they want us to listen to is getting paid and is going around the country getting paid to give the anti flouride speech (so he has nothing to gain right by towing his stance, right?).  Not only that, he has a book out that I’m sure he’d love to sell you for the low low price of $18.36 on Amazon with the Title “The Case Against Flouride”-  Nothing to gain financially at all.  So a guy pimping a book we should listen to but everybody disregard your dentist and your health departments, local and national.  Clear the decks because none of those people can be trusted, we gotta put all our stock into a guy that’s pimping a book-

Here’s the cover of the book, and whattaya know it’s the same image they are using for their press release-

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SPONSORED BY…

Here’s the press release-

Do you have questions about fluoride in our drinking water?  You have 2 opportunities this weekend to learn more. Sponsored by The Cape Ann Fluoride Action Network, Dr. Paul Connett, Author of The Case Against Fluoride (and most recently, The Zero Waste Solution) will be giving a lecture on Saturday, August 2nd at the Rockport High School Auditorium at 7 PM. Also on Sunday, August 3rd, same time and place, Dr. Connett will hold an open forum discussion.

All are cordially invited for both evenings.

Rockport High School is located at 24 Jerdens Lane with plenty of parking.

The Case Against Fluoride

 

Now the key I see here is the Sponsored by  part of the press release.

The whole anti Flouride case is based on that we shouldn’t listen to our own local and national health officials or our own dentists because somehow or other they have something to gain financially by promoting the use of flouride.  But the same people who say that we shouldn’t listen to people that have something to gain financially say we SHOULD listen to some dude that is going around the country on a lecture circuit pimping his book on an anti flouride campaign that is being sponsored.  I do believe sponsored by means getting paid or hosted by them to speak.

It baffles me why they all push aside anything trusted local dentists or our own health officials have to say but they are more than willing to give all the credence to some guy going around riding a crest of fame on a new fad of anti-flouride and pimping a book on a lecture circuit.

Here’s some local and national folks that the anti-flouride folks don’t seem to want to listen to:

Leif Bakland
HarborCoveDental.com

Submitted on 2014/07/21 at 10:43 pm
Hi Joey, evidently, fluoride is a hot topic. I will say that I am definitely for fluoridated water supply. It’s safe and effective. I’ve been in practice for over 30 years and have treated families from fluoridated and non fluoridated communities, there Is a difference!

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July 23, 2014

City health chiefs back continuing fluoride use

By James Niedzinski Staff Writer

Dr. Richard Sagall, who chairs the city’s Board of Health and Noreen Burke, Gloucester’s public health director say the benefits of fluoride are clear.

Burke said records show that Gloucester began adding fluoride to the water in 1981. She said the city also created an ad hoc committee with the Board of Health, a dentist and others last month.

“We support fluoridation of the water,” Sagall said.

He said fluoride indeed makes a difference in fighting tooth decay, but added that “there are many other things to support fluoride use.”

Sagall and Burke noted the amount of fluoride currently added to Gloucester’s water is low — about 0.3 or 0.4 parts per million compared to the federal and state recommended level of about 1.0 parts per million.

The push to get fluoride out of water is not local, Burke noted. “This is a national movement,” she said.

Sagall said that the use of anything in excess can cause problems, but the state Department of Public Health, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control all recommend fluoride use in drinking water.

Sagall recognized the sheer amount of data on the issue, from seemingly endless amounts of government agencies, experts, institutions and dentists.

“You have to look at the preponderance of evidence,” he said.

I’m sure this guy is gonna give a hell of a speech and leave everyone in the room convinced that they’re gonna die within minutes if they ever brush their teeth using local flouride water.  He will say that flouride is poison and scare the shit out of everyone.

Guess what else is poison?  Just about everything if you take a bajillion parts per million of it.  The amount of parts per million of flouride they are putting in our water is miniscule but the way it will be presented I’m sure will be that death is knocking on our doorstep with the very next sip we take.

I trust Rich Sagall and our Board of Health, I trust my dentist more than I trust some guy who is on a lecture circuit pushing a book.  That’s what I’m going with.

Daily Discussion- What Is Proper Etiquette When It Comes To Dogs Barking In Your Neighborhood Throughout The Evening/Night?

I wonder how the thought process goes for dog owners whose dogs are outside and bark throughout the evening and into the night (like non-stop barking).

Do they much like the dog lovers whose dogs jump up on you and get your clothes all filthy think it’s cute when they bark all night outside as well?

You think those dog owners are saying to themselves “Ahhh, that sweet melody of my dog barking away at bunny rabbits in the yard all night, I bet all our neighbors love listening to our dog just as much as we do.  Isn’t it just music to your ears and oh so soothing when you’re trying to go to bed.  puts me to sleep every time”

I’m not the kind of guy that ever wants to call the po po or animal control on their neighbors.  I’d really just like them to realize that there are neighbors out there that just might not appreciate their dog barking all night the way they do.

What are your thoughts on the subject?  Have you ever encountered this and how did you handle it? Leave a comment on this post and explain what course of action or non-action you would take.

Way to be, Jack Ass!

I guess for someone, stealing is easier than working for it.  And from kids nonetheless. Allow me to explain.

If you’ve browsed any of my previous posts here on GMG, you’ve probably come to know a few things about me.  You probably know that I’m long winded (does that actually apply to writing?) and you’ve probably gotten to “know” my two young boys….and maybe you’ve learned that they love the ocean.  More than loving it, they work hard at being budding little lobstermen, and they’re pretty passionate about it.

If you haven’t seen it yet, maybe this will help paint the picture

Young and Salty

My boys, along with their three great friends…on our friends’ boat, go lobstering typically twice per week all summer long.  With only ten traps, they certainly don’t do it to make money….they do it because they love it.  And, they do it for Lobsterfest!  Once each summer (maybe twice if we’re lucky)… we gather our families and some of our local friends, and we have a feast to end all feasts. More importantly, we have laugh after laugh, in one of the most picturesque towns I know.  It is, without a doubt, one of our favorite evenings of the entire summer.

We check the tide chart….we check our busy summer schedules…and we pick a day.  This summer…that day was Saturday.

The kids feel tremendous pride that their hard work supplies the Stars of the Show:  The Rockport Harbor Lobsters!  They feel tremendous pride that our guests….friends who have watched them grow, learn, laugh, and cry…gather to enjoy a quintessential summer evening and “oooh and ahhhh” over their bounty! They feel tremendous pride in being such a huge part of such a special tradition.

So, maybe you can imagine our shock and dismay to discover that THE lobsters had been stolen from the water on Friday night.  Holding tank and all.  Gone.  As a friend put it, “It’s like losing your uniform the night before the Big Game.”  The night before Lobsterfest.

I get that maybe the thief wasn’t aware that those lobsters had been slowly gathered by a group of dedicated children…and their two amazing dads.  Two dads who take the time to show those kids how to haul and set their gear.  Two dads who, while they love lobstering with the kids, may actually prefer to cast a few rods, set an anchor at the beach, or play a round of golf on a few more occasions, rather than continuously tend to the traps.  Or maybe they wouldn’t rather do those things, either way, that isn’t the point.

The point is, Stealing is wrong…and I’m pissed.

“The children must be crushed!” you may be thinking.  Well, actually, the children don’t know.  Luckily, those two amazing dads also had the wherewithal to not let the children know that someone had stolen their lobsters.  They would have been beyond devastated.  They would have been hurt.  They probably would have been confused.

Those two amazing dads also didn’t want our guests to know that they had to scramble and buy lobsters in the eleventh hour.  They certainly didn’t want any guests to run out and purchase lobsters themselves….not that any of those guests would have minded!  Lucky also is that Cape Ann is the type of community where friends rally for each other.  Lucky also is that, having lived here forever, those two amazing dads have people who were happy to help them and that getting enough lobsters to feed our friends was possible.

So, Lobsterfest was a giant success.  Those little “lobsterkids” are none the wiser and, while we’re still mad, it would take more than a small time thief (Jack Ass) to ruin a wonderful summer evening with such amazing friends.  Still, shame on them.

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With Blog-Colored Glasses

 

A few people have asked me lately how I like contributing to the blog and while I’ve answered in better detail, the answer that is actually screaming inside my head is, “Cigarette Butt at Panera!”

“What in all holy heck?” you may ask.  Well, allow me to explain.

Since I started contributing to GMG, I have discovered that intentionally or not, I look at things differently. Things that I may not have thought twice about, or even noticed, are now potential blog posts.  I rate funny things I hear in everyday conversation as “blog worthy…or not so blog worthy.”  Friends are beginning to learn that they can’t have a bite of their food or a sip of their drink before I photograph it.  Even my own children ask, “are you going to put that on the blog?” when something makes me chuckle.  I have found myself parked on the side of the road on Nugent Stretch at 7:25 a.m. because we know that there will be a train barreling alongside of us at 7:26.  While I thought that video would be “blog worthy” it wasn’t as cool as it is in real life.  I’ve found myself turning the car around to go back and try to capture a particular shot…and I’ve found myself photographing porta potties because I thought they’d make somebody laugh.  I’m self diagnosed as “apostrophe intolerant” in that I feel mildly queasy when apostrophe’s are misused.  See what I did there?  If I ever send out a Christmas card that says, “Love the Schrafft’s” shoot me.  So, I have found myself noticing grammatical errors on menus, store signs, and even on a window of a local restaurant and thinking, “does that make a decent blog post?”  I told someone that I find myself looking at things through “blog-colored glasses.”

I digress.  Back to the cigarette butt at Panera.  With my older son off on a play date and the little guy in dire need of new baseball card holders for his big binder of cards, we headed out to Staples.  After waiting in line for an eternity behind a woman with what felt like hundreds of questions (and pondering, “is this the makings of a blog post?”) we felt we had earned a Panera Mango Smoothie and Frozen Lemonade.  I distracted Finn as we walked past the minefield of baked goodies in the display case in hopes of keeping his eyes on the prize.  Five minutes later we were headed back into the sunshine and I was enjoying some long overdue one one one time with my boy.  As I watched him hold the door for a lovely older woman, with a smoothie the size of his head in his mitts, and was in the midst of a “what a good boy he is moment” I looked down and saw a cigarette butt at his feet.  Finn’s keen little eyes spied it at the same time.  Not uncommon you may think, right? 

Allow me explain this a bit better, so you can maybe understand why I found it offensive.   When you enter Panera, you go through two doors.  You’re on the sidewalk…you open a door…you take 3 steps… and you enter another door…this time leading into the actual restaurant.  Someone had taken it upon themselves to chuck their cigarette butt down, right there on the carpet for the love of fire hazards, between the two doors.  I mean, if you have to chuck your cigarette butt on the ground with the wildly inaccurate assumption that it isn’t actual garbage, then at least do it outside!  Why in hell would someone chuck a cigarette down on a carpet….1/2 way inside a restaurant.  I have an issue with cigarette butts being discarded anywhere other than an ash tray anyway.  I have nothing against cigarette smokers, just their assumption that it isn’t trash. I am equally addicted to my cup of morning coffee…but, I’d never throw the cup on the ground.  Likewise, on a similar scale, I might not say “no” to a Hershey’s Kiss…but I wouldn’t throw the little silver wrapper on the ground when I was done.  Little or not…it’s still trash.

So I looked at the cigarette butt, Finn looked at the cigarette butt, and then a man began to enter and we stepped out of his way.  In my head I was thinking, “go back…take a photo…blog post in the making”…but I was carrying a smoothie, holding my little bag and my car keys, and enjoying a moment with Finn in which he deserved my full attention.  But, wouldn’t you know that as soon as he was buckled in and I had started my car, the little guy said, “Mama, you should have taken a picture of that cigarette trash and put it on the blog so more people would know not to do that.”  Cigarette Butt at Panera.  Enough said.

And….since I didn’t photograph the cigarette butt…here’s a photo of some serious porta pottage.  Caption it if you’d like!!

 

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