Tuesday, December 29, 2015

First Snow Of The Season

So it begins...

It wasn't much, but it was a start. Cramberry County got her first snow of the year.

We're from a part of Massachusetts that may actually skip December snow sometimes. We could also get anything in a range from Blizzard to Flurries.

This is one of those Al Nino years, so maybe we're not going to have much snow. Or maybe we'll get 10 yards of it, who knows?

Weather science is sorcery, and no one really knows for sure what is going to happen more than 2 or 3 days in advance, if even that. What we can tell you is what HAS happened in the past. That's actually pretty easy since they invented Google.

NOAA keeps those kind of records. For Massachusetts, they have 6 months listed for snowfall: November, December, January, February, March and April. We've had snow in October, and we've had snow in June, but they only keep averages for the months I listed.

No joke on that June snow thing... New England got June snow in 1816 (The Year Without A Summer) and 1842. Vermont got a foot of snow from the 1842 event, which also threw June snowflakes onto Boston.

Boston's measurable snowfall record for lateness is May 10th, 1977. That's the same as Burlington, Vermont. Our average final snowfall falls on March 25th. Burlington, VT and Buffalo, NY have late April as the average last snowfall. Boston has October 10th, 1979 as her earliest snowfall. 1913 holds the Boston record for snowiest October, at .4 inches.
Bourne, MA, very early this AM...

Here are a few average winter snowfall totals (1981-2010 averages, and they do not include the snowalicious winter we went through last January through March), by town:

Chatham, 28.9 inches over 11.7 days of snow... "days of snow" means "days with more than .1 inches of snow)

Edgartown, 23.6 inches over 9.7 days

Hyannis, 15.6 inches over 6.1 days

East Wareham, 43.8 inches over 22.4 days

Hingham, 47.1 inches over 25.0 days

New Bedford, 33.2 inches over 14.7 days

Taunton, 28.0 inches over 10.3 days

Plymouth, 36.2 over 13.1 days

Let's use Wareham as a base. In November, they get 1 inch of snow on average, in 1.4 days. December kicks 6.9 inches over 2.3 days. January drops 12 inches over 4.6 days. February powders us with 8.7 inches over 3.6 days. March gives 6.1 inches over 2.3 days. April finishes the show with 1.4 inches over .3 days. That's your average Wareham Winter... 36.1 inches over 14.3 days of snowfall.

Those numbers aren't always accurate. We had singular storms which have rivaled that 36.1' figure. That was a bad winter. Those sort of average out the years where we never get a bad storm. After last night's snow, Wareham has about a 7 inch snow deficit when compared to the Average year.

Cape Cod (or at least Cape Cod if you average out the numbers for Chatham and Hyannis) has an average low temperature of 29 degrees in December, 23 in January, 24 in February, 30 in March and 39 in April. They get 25 days over 80 degrees, 20 of which are in July and August. They get 28 days at 20 degrees or below , 20 of which are from January and February.

So, we have the Winter underway, and the worst is yet to come. There is nothing huge in the pipeline. The guy on Accuweather say that our snow should kick in about mid-January.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Join Us In Hyannis As We Help The Salvation Army!

We've been a bit busy lately, hence the low publishing rate. We have a good excuse, though... we're working with a charity!

The Salvation Army has been around since 1865, when it was founded in London. The "Army" part comes from the dedication of the people working there. "I'm no volunteer, I'm a regular!" This sort of led to the naming of the charity, which is broken down somewhat militarily. I answer to a captain and a lieutenant.

I don't have a rank. This is probably for the best, as I'm sort of in the grey area between Lapsed Catholic and Agnostic. I like what they do, however, and they've never asked me about my religious beliefs.

I operate out of the Hyannis corps, and Hyannis services all of Cape Cod. They do a lot of tireless Good. They feed homeless, work with the community, host Mass (they're a church), and make sure that kids get presents on Christmas.

They fund these efforts by a variety of ways, the most familiar of which is the Red Kettle. We all know the guy (or girl, Jessica works with the charity, too) ringing the bell out in the cold, standing next to the red kettle. There is no sales pitch, other than the sign and the bell.

Jessica, Stacey, Cranberry Jones and myself will be working the kettles through Christmas Eve. Be careful with Cranberry Jones, who regards his role as that of Santa's 240 pound collection agent.

We'll be at the Hyannis Stop & Shop on Route 132, at least by noon or so. We'd be there earlier, except that Cranberry Jones has trouble working the CCRTA. Remember, he got his name by a college dare at Yale, where he ate nothing but cranberry sauce for 8 weeks in an attempt to turn his skin burgundy. He is one of the tree's dimmer bulbs.

His heart is in the right place, however... and we hope yours is as well. Hit us up with some Paper Love, and we'll make sure that you at least get Merry Christmas said to you.

Merry Christmas!!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Top Collision Locations On Cape Cod

Cape Cod is very traffic-driven, as most tourist places tend to be. I lived in Duxbury and Monponsett, and neither one counted traffic as a major town issue. Bourne, where I live now, is dominated by our traffic. Our traffic dictates how residents live their lives on several days of the week, especially in summer.

Our traffic is unique compared to other towns, in that we get people from other states in large volume. Pull out onto Rte. 28, and you'll be surrounded by Massholes,  smattering of New Yorkers, some Connecticuts, a few northern Yankees, and a mixed nuts ensemble of people from various other states and countries.

These people are dumped onto a variety of Suicide Alleys, make-your-own-law rotaries, narrow bridges, visibility-cluttering business districts and windy cow paths.

Of course they are going to crash into each other now and then.

The Cape Cod Commission was nice enough to post some stats on accidents that occur on Cape Cod roads. They gathered stats by Number Of Accidents, Property Damage, Crash Rate and Property Damage rate. Long story short, they tell you where you are most likely to have an accident on Cape Cod.

The info is old (2010, updated  in 2012), so take anything we say here more as a guideline than as current, absolute truth. The numbers themselves are small enough that a good multiple car crash or two could suddenly jack a middling contender up the rankings into a Trump-like leadership slot.

Rather than slogging through 100 entries with me trying to riff on particular roads, we'll just cherry-pick good stuff for you.

- Remember, the Cape and Islands lay claim to one of America's most notorious car crashes... the Chappaquidick bridge departure that essentially put a ceiling of "Senator" on post-JFK Camelot.

- I don't know which car crash would be the most notorious in American history.

James Dean's death was huge. Jayne Mansfield's scalping is why those little bars on the lower rear end of big trucks are called "Mansfield bars." Lady Diana ate some car parts as a last meal, but that was in Old England (editor's note: France), not New England.

I'm sure that some drunk smashed into a church group bus somewhere sometime, that would get up in the rankings. Tim "Crash" Murray got his nickname wrecking a car. I know what "affluenza" is because of a car crash.

Sam Kinison died in a car wreck, as did Paul Walker. Dale Earnhardt Sr. (even I, a non-NASCAR fan, refer to this man conversationally as "Dale Senior") and Kenny Irwin Jr also died in the saddle.

Any Southern snowfall threatens to add to the list.

- I also found this map with little dots representing car crashes. Just looking at that, you get the sense that the worst spot is the run of Route 28 from Falmouth through Yarmouth. Hyannis, which actually owns cluster-dots, rules the roost.

- Suicide Alley is not impressive at all on this map.

- I consider shattered brake light glass to be a viable addition to a sea-glass collection, as long as the glass somehow made it to the ocean and then the beach somehow.

- These maps need to be viewed in the Gestalt to get the true vibe. There are differences between a love tap and a crash that, say, drowns your secretary. There are also highly-used roads that have lots of accidents, but you then see side streets representing hard if they feature a tricky intersection.

- No one, to my knowledge, has managed to drive off of the Sagamore or Bourne Bridges. Some old-schooler may be able to contest this claim, however.

- Our leader for Number Of Crashes is Route 6, the Mid-Cape Highway. Various sections of this road hold #1,4,5,6 and 7 spots in the Total Crashes rankings.

- Exit 6 on Route 6 (sorry, I don't know which direction) had 128 crashes in this period of measurement. The next highest, Exit 9, only had 99. You're dropping into the 50s and 40s before you leave the top fifteen.

- Bourne, which is the feeder tube for Cape Cod, represents hard. This is even more of a truth when you start getting into Rates rather than Totals. Bourne has the #3, 8, 9 and 13 spots in Number Of Crashes rankings. Her spot with the most crashes is the Otis Rotary.

- I could be wrong, but the rotary Most Crash rankings go the Otis Rotary, the Bourne Bridge Rotary, the Belmont Circle Rotary (Bourne owns the top 3 most dangerous rotaries on Cabo Coddo), the Airport Rotary and the Eastham Rotary.

- Sandwich Road is a dangerous place, even after I realize that there's one in Falmouth, too.

- Yarmouth moves up in the rankings once you factor in property damage costs. Hyannis and Bourne wreck ore cars, but the outer Cape wrecks nicer cars.

- Property damage costs also may be where Suicide Alley asserts herself. They only had 36 deaths there in 10 years or so, but they were head-on, total-the-car sort of deaths. I don't have a Fatality list for all of Cape Cod, which is where Sue might also assert herself.

-  Crash Rate is where the rankings get shook up. It is my opinion- and remember, I just started studying this stuff aa few hours ago- that Crash Rate is the best indicator of a dangerous road. Busier roads have more accidents, but they might not be as dangerous. Many more people watched this video than this video, and the size of the pool for Video One may mean that more people were offended by Miley's work than were offended by the Paris video... even though the Paris video is far more offensive. The same goes with roads and inherent danger.

- The Otis Rotary seizes the top spot for Crash Rate, knocking Exit/Route 6 down to 3rd place. Little-used (17 accidents) Route 39 is second. Route 124 is 5th.

- The exit in Sandwich at Chase Road, #9 in property damage totals, is just #47 in crash rate.

- The worst crash I ever saw ws that fuel truck that flipped over into the Bourne Rotary last winter. It had the huge-truck-crashing props, as well as the spilled-fuel aspect. I only moved down here in 2005, though.

- Feel free to tell us about the worst accident you have ever seen on Cape Cod in the comments below.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Yes, Virginia... Santa Claus Vacations On Cape Cod

The staff of Cranberry County Magazine likes to give back to the community that we serve. We do so every year, by putting in work for the Salvation Army. We'll have an article about that coming up this week, but we have some important stuff that we need to handle first.

We were moved to several different sites (we used to just work the Sagamore Christmas Tree Shop, but that got submarined... an article on that is also coming up later), before they settled on having us at the Hyannis Super Stop & Shop. Once we were there, we started to get acquainted with the regulars.

One regular stood out.

Perhaps it was his stoutness of the tummy, maybe it was the white beard, maybe it was the red felt hat/vest combo... but something looked familiar about the man. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I figured I'd go right to the source.

"Excuse me, Sir... do I know you from somewhere?"

He just laughed... a jolly-sounding "HO! HO! HO!"

Now, I've never been that quick on the uptake. I can give you a lengthy list of people who will tell you that I'm as stupid as a fork jammed into a toaster. But there must have been some magic in that old Bridgewater State College hat I was wearing, because something clicked.

After our friend got into the store, the investigative reporter in me decided to do some legwork. I noticed where he had parked, and decided that I should go have a look at things.

Sho' 'nuff...

It would be Naughty of me to post pictures of the inside of his (Japanese) car, but I can assure you that it was all Reindeer Food, Candy Canes, Tinsel, Elf Meal, Egg Nog, Hot Cocoa... and, I'm sorry to say, Coal.

There was no doubt.

When he came out, I went to say something... but he put his finger to his lips, and I somehow knew that he knew that I knew. I never said a word, I just kept ringing my Christmas bell.

He drove away like a normal human being, but I knew better.

There are a few things to note about this development:

- Santa isn't that fat. My sources tell me that the plump elf you are used to seeing actually rolls around 200 pounds until he finishes his Cape Cod vacation (see below). About 5 days before Christmas, he straps on the feedbag to get himself to the weight people expect to see him at. You know how Santa is nice with the toy-making skills? Mrs. Claus is nice like that in the kitchen. If Santa ate all year like he does the week before Christmas, he could be a yokozuna-level sumo wrestler.

- Santa likes to give out the total assignment, and then let the Elves handle things in the workshop. They are about a thousand years old or so, so it's pretty much a self-cleaning oven by this point. He then gets a little Him time, and he uses it for a tropical vacation to psyche himself up for the 24th.

- Santa, who lives at the North Pole, has a different definition of "tropical" than you and I. Let me explain. Hyannis has an average mid-December high temperature of 42 degrees. Miami has an average December high temperature of 73 degrees. The North Pole has an average September/October/November temperature range of 0-20 degrees.

Therefore, the temperature variance enjoyed by a Cape Cod-to-Miami snowbird would be about going from a 42 degree day to a 72 degree day, a difference of about 30 degrees or so. Santa, who lords over the Pole in the autumn months, gains about the same amount of extra warmth by going to Cape Cod. Everything's relative. If Santa went to Miami, it'd be the equivalent of you or I hanging around near a blast furnace.

- Santa, like any other old person, knows that Cape Cod is often best enjoyed in the off-season. The next time that Santa waits to get a table on Cape Cod will be the first time.

- My sources tell me that Santa shops heavily at the Christmas Tree Shops, even after they dissed the Salvation Army. Santa sub-contracts a lot of his work out, just in case you think that the elves are making Playstations up there or something.

- Santa, a thousand year North Pole resident, can happily swim in New England waters during December. Our local Great White Shark population, who like presents just as much as any other sentient creatures, don't even think about biting him.

- We can neither confirm nor deny rumors that Santa has rented the Kennedy Compound for the rest of this week. The same goes for that Mashpee Ballet sighting.

- Cape Cod is actually a buffer zone in the never-ending Heat Miser and Cold Miser dispute. Neither of the elemental demons claim Cape Cod. The resultant peace and quiet is why Santa likes it here.

- Reindeer tend to prefer Lapland's climate, but I did get this picture from Woodchuck Industries Incorporated in Duxbury last night.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Local Town Nicknames

Most of the town names around here are easy enough to figure out. Duxbury was the name of the Standish family estate back in the E. Plymouth was named after an English port city. Hull was named after an English river, Marshfield was named for her meadows, Kingston was named for Rodney King, and so forth.

But locals have their own language, and these towns around here often get a second name, and sometimes several of them.

I'll lead off here by stating that I know where none or almost none of these nicknames come from... especially the fun ones like Marsh Vegas or Deluxebury. I'll be guessing, mostly to entertain you good people. If you disagree, don't get all mad at me... you'll find me amenable to opposing views, because I realize even before I start writing that your guess is as good as- and possibly better than- mine. I just happen to be the one at the keyboard.

Let's check some nicknames... and folks, if you get offended, remember that I'm not the Chamber of Commerce. Your town earned these nicknames.


We may as well start at the top. Marsh Vegas is the Grandaddy Caddy of local town nicknames.

A lot of people hate this nickname, but I think that they're being a bit sensitive. Marsh Vegas- big, bold, bawdy- rules!

It almost doesn't matter, because Marshfield people tend to identify their homes by villages. They are more likely to say "Brant Rock" or "Green Harbor" than to answer "Marshfield." No one from Duxbury does that, other than perhaps the people on really rich streets saying something along the lines of "Washington Street."

Las Vegas was founded in 1905, and gambling was legalized there in 1931. After Dubya Dubya Deuce, casinos began to spring up. It was famous after that,

But where does Marsh Vegas come from?

There are several prominent theories.

1) Mark Parentau made it up.

MP, the kid-diddling former WBCN DJ, was a Green Harbor resident once. If you waste a morning looking for Marsh Vegas origin stories, you see ol' Mark Parentage coming up a lot.

However, it seems as though he may have just popularized the term by dropping it on WBCN broadcasts when he could. Mark started at BCN in the late 1970s, and the term was already in wide use for decades by then.

2) Marshfield Fair horse racing

You can bet on horses, and that goes a long way in a place founded by Puritans so stuffy that they even banned Christmas.

The Marshfield Fair, and several other agricultural fairs, were allowed to solicit betting on horse racing. Race Fixing was widespread.

However, this is more likely a part of the whole than the whole itself. If it were the whole, Marshfield would have a horse-racing styled nickname, aka Marshfield Downs or something.

3) Gambling, Ballrooms, Eating Establishments

We live in  a modernized South Shore, with malls every 1000 yards and a Dunkin' on every block. It used to be a lot quieter in these parts.

But not Marshfield. As soon as ocean recreation became popular in 'Murica, Marshfield was a favorite spot. Marshfield began to cater to out-of-towners, and was soon the Fun Mecca of the region. Compared to, say, a sleepy Kingston side street, Marshfield would look like the friggin' City Of Light.

The Gestalt of it would be a mix of all of those attractions, viewed from an unsophisticated Swamp Yankee eye, resulting in a cool nickname.

4) "The Meadows"

"Las Vegas" or "Los Vegas" (I took French in high school, which got me laid a couple of times but is of no use in this particular discussion) is Spanish for "the meadows." Marshfield is literally covered in meadows, to the extent that there really was no second choice for a town name.

5) Route 139

Marshfield was never shy about their commercial district. Route 139 is almost a complete run of business signage from the highway to the beaches. It may not look like much if you drive by it every day, but you need to remember that neighboring Duxbury wouldn't even let Dunkin' put a sign up.

Most people in these parts live in quiet little cul de sacs, so Route 139 is as much advertising they'll see unless they drive up to Boston or turn on the infomercial channel.

Anyhow, your guess is as good as mine.

If Marshfield dropped the "field" and added "Vegas" to the town name, they'd probably be everyone's second favorite town.

Long shot/you heard it here first bet? If "Vegas" can be hung off of whatever Massachusetts town gets a casino, look for some variation of the Vegas name to be formed from their name. "Taunt Vegas" or "Midd Vegas" or whoever...

Let's hop a town line or two, shall we?


Pembroke has 2 nicknames, neither one in wide usage. "Pimp Broke" is mostly used by hip-hop fan kids, and may never have been uttered by anyone over 17 years old who isn't writing this article.

"Pemby" is useful only to people who have to write "Pembroke" a lot. It's kind of cute and peppy, but is also not in wide use.

Pembroke's nearest flirtation with an alternate name was in colonial times. They were very nearly called "Brookfield," as the town is covered with both brooks and fields. "Mattakeesett," which means "place of many fish," was also pretty catchy.

They ended up naming it after a Welsh castle, river, battle and village. Massachusetts got the far more peaceful Pembroke.

There is a small section of Pembroke named Bryantville, but it was never really a contender for the whole town's name. .


Some nicknames take care of themselves. Hanover is named after a German city, sort of as a tribute to King George, a Hanoverian head of state in England who was perishing at the time of Hanover's 1727 incorporation.

Hanover (formerly a part of Scituate, another hard-drinking town) people are the veterans of many a hard-fought bottle, and they don't need a second nickname.



Scituate is a pretty cool name, made cooler by the fact that only locals can pronounce it.

You will hear this pronounced with a misleading "Skit" prefix now and then, perhaps springing from the Cape Cod habit of teasing the tourists (for instance, there is no Cape Cod Tunnel) now and then.

We may as well knock off another Heavyweight next...


Duxbury is a rather posh locale, and shoulders a lot of hate from the more blue collar towns. Naturally, there will be some good-natured ribbing involved.

Unknown to history, some South Shore genius hung "Deluxebury" on to someone who most likely deserved it. "Bucksbury" was passed over.

Duxbury embraced the term, and using it on them is ineffective, much like when black people call white people "honky."

There is a Deluxebury Wheels in Los Angeles, which could just be one of my people moving out west. I wish they made rims, but I don't think that they have a website.


Halifax is the opposite of Deluxebury and Marsh Vegas. They chose their own nickname, knocking a syllable off the total cost.

They call the town Hally, pronounced like the first name of Miss Berry from Monsters Inc.


Shortened to Mopo, which is probably a syllable too many for the area. Wampanoag for "island between the seas."


Any of the Bridgewaters- East, West or Regular- is known as Bilgewater here and there. I'm not sure if there is a sewage treatment plant in town.


Plymouth's America's Hometown nickname is so prominent that it almost needs a nickname for itself. It also isn't casual, like most nicknames. I doubt that Madonna's friends call her "Madonna," and no one says "I'm headed down to America's Hometown today" to other locals.

However, this was the big one I forgot to add. See? I do take (useful) advice from commenters.


It's never a wise policy to make fun of Brockton where she can hear you, but it is known as Brocky, B-Rock, 30 Brock and a dozen other minor epithets.

The high school used to be known as Club Homeboy, but that may have played itself out.

New Bedford

New Bedford is sort of lame anyhow... "We couldn't think of an original name, so we stole an old one." Would you pay money to see "New Led Zeppelin" and such?

No worries... New Bedford is also known as New Betty, New Beddy, New Beffuh and both Beige and New Beige. I'm pretty sure that New Beffuh is white trash articulation, while various forms of Beige are pure Portuguese patois. After a while, it just sort of became one of the names.

Each of these names are used extensively, especially by me.


Facebook people are telling me ex post publisho that Middleboro, which we sometimes refer to as Middle Bro, is actually called Diddleboro.


How you pronounce this word is not important, because if you get it wrong, by the time they go through the word's spelling, you'll have had enough time pass where you can say "Yeah, that's how I pronounced it."

Alternately Nattypoisett, Nastypoisett, Nasty P, Matty and Master P, most people just pretend they live in Marion.

The South Coast in itself is a nickname, coined by a weatherman. It used to be the Greater New Bedford area.

I don't know who invented The South Shore.


Not many one-syllable towns out there, other than Bourne and all the ones I can't think of right now.

One-syllable-named people rarely get nicknames, unless they earn them. "Def Jeff" is a good example. I used to know a Cool Roy, he was also a good example.

Bourne is very parochial, as everyone there self-identifies by villages. The only ones I know who get nicknames are the mainland ones, Bee Bay and Snagawhore. They are generally used derisively, usually by the residents of said villages.

Buzzards Bay House Of Pizza is in my phone as BBHOP, pronounced Bee Bop. The second syllable almost looks Egyptian.

Bournedale is also known as "Shortcut."


Everyone knows this one, even heterosexuals and people from the Berkshires.


There is no second contender for the title, look.


For some reason that I never identified during my near decade as a Bourne town reporter, a sizable % of the locals refer to this town as "Sammich." This is not at all done in a derogatory manner.

Hyannis and Wareham

Cape Cod is a nice little place, and generally is the sandy tourist trap that you think it is. However, there are some shifty parts, where folks are sketchy like Captain Bob.

I list these two as a pair, because they share the same modus operandi as far as nickname assumption goes.

For one, both are known as "Brockton-by-the-sea," sort of like "Manchester-by-the-sea" but 100% opposite. Wareham, a genuinely dangerous small town, probably deserves it more than a town that has the Kennedy Compound in it, but Hyannis had it first for their Wedge neighborhood.

Wareham sort of dines on the leftovers.... "Baby Fall River," "Coastal Lynn," or "Sea Lowell," which doesn't really fit but sounds sort of like Sea Level.

We love "Shangri-La," but that's just a part of town.

Wareham also most likely would lose out on ?ham, as the town of Ware sort of deserves that.

I do wish to one day write a cop show called "The 'Ham." We'll leave that discussion for a future article.

If we left something out, hit us up in the comments!