Saturday, December 31, 2016

Use Pot Shop Tax Money To Armor The Cops

Can this stop crook bullets?

There were three victims in the marijuana section of the War On Drugs.

One was the smoker, who has been persecuted, jailed, obliged to become immersed in the black market and sometimes killed.

Victim #2 was the taxpayer. They were pouring money into a war on a substance that wasn't doing that much harm (the prohibition of marijuana did more harm than the drug itself did), eventually realizing that they never got the marauding hordes of killers or mindless zombies that the War On Drugs propaganda promised.

Victim #3? The police! They wasted a lot of time, effort and blood chasing marijuana around. They got to lock horns with the recipients of that soon-to-be-taxed drug money, and they kind of got walloped in the long-term fracas.They now have to totally revamp their Marijuana M.O. to fit the new reality imposed upon them by the will of the voters.

Victim 1 gets his payback with legal weed. There you go, Stoney, don't drop that ball.

Victim(s) 2 get their payback when marijuana gets taxed, and the money starts flowing into the coffers. This is sort of leading in to Victim 3.

I am led to believe that the cops will get some funding from marijuana sales taxes... whenever our pols stop trying to subvert the stated will of the voters and open up the marijuana shops. That money will be fed into the bureaucracy, and little will go to the cop-on-the-street. I think those street cops are owed more, and that they should get more.

I have an odd belief about policing as a task, and I'm not even sure that it is practical. Make no mistake, this is more of a Me Floating An Idea Out There article than a This Is What Must Be Done article. A few insightful comments from some of our more Blue readers might sway me mightily on this topic. Just a short bit of research on this topic shows me that cops rightfully view a non-cop going "This is what cops should do" as a special sort of fool. I just think that the idea merits mention, and I'd hate to have this forum without beating one of my favorite drums.

Anyhow, here goes...

I think that,in 100 years and maybe much less, people will look back at today's policing and say "They sent them out there in cotton shirts???? Where's the armor? Who the f*** would take that job???" It'd be like playing NFL football without a helmet, with the added variable of people shooting guns at you.

Right about when they start saying "What brave people they must have been," someone slides a cop-casualty list from our era into the mix. Then, instead of getting amazed at the cop, a thinking man would probably start to get angry at the people who sent them out into the streets in a blouse.

I was an advocate for marijuana reform laws in this state, and based that advocacy on Getting Modern. In the interest of being Post-Modern, I am an advocate for heavily armoring police. I have trouble seeing the other side of the issue, aside from very valid "It's harder to chase people in plate mail" arguments.

I don't put a lot of stock in They'll Be Too Intimidating complaints. I got popped in Hyannis just the other day, and the cop who did it- a very nice guy, by the way- was wearing a gun, a nightstick/tonfa thingy, a can of pepper spray, prob'bly had a Tazer handy, had a shotgun in the car, had a radio that he could summon a gang o' cops with and a uniform that would establish him instantly as the good guy to any passerby who might decide to intervene if we started fighting.

I'm always polite when I get pulled over, so it never came to that. If we did fight, he's a battle-tested cop and I'm some geek journalist... and if he didn't kick my ass himself, his fellow officers would eventually have gotten the better of me.

The point I'm making here is that we're already very used to having police interacting with us who are capable of inflicting great harm upon us. Armoring cops would make them no more dangerous. The outcome of my Me Interacting With The Barnstable Police story is going to have the same Winner almost every time, and the only question is how difficult I make it.

That sword cuts both ways. If I waited until he was out of the car and came out shooting... that cop would have had nothing between him and the Great Answer except his jersey, his quick-draw skills and whatever good luck he'd accumulated during his tenure on this third stone from the sun.

As near as I can tell, the present scenario paints a bleak picture of "Well, that cop will die, but we'll catch the shooter eventually." Military historians call that strategy "attrition," and it is almost always bloody when it is put into practice.

I think that's wrong, that it's a problem, and that we should solve it immediately.

Yes, cynical reader, there is a self-centered element of "Efforts to re-criminalize marijuana will take away armor funding, thus putting bullets into cops, thus making re-criminalizing it more difficult with voters" to my motivation for this article. There is also an element of "towns that refuse to have marijuana shops will have cops who are far less safer than the cops in towns with shops are." I don't feel badly about this, as I like to have my ass covered... like Napoleon once said, "Kneel before Popes, as long as their hands are tied."

The questions I have involve:

1) Can They Police Effectively When Heavily Armored?


2) How To Pay For It?

I don't know the answer to the first one, although I may rephrase it as How Heavily Armored Can They Be Without Sacrificing Effectiveness, and might even sneak "Much" in front of "Effectiveness." That's a question to be solved by cops, and I'd be wasting your time and mine if I started hacking away at it with whatever knowledge I could glean off of the Wikipedia. Feel free to use our Comments feature to weigh in on the matter.

If armored cops are too intimidating to operate effectively, make the armor pink or whatever color the shrinks say is least threatening. I wouldn't worry about a loss of respect. The line to laugh at the badass, invulnerable pink guy with all the weaponry starts at the left.... and, by Golly, it looks like you're the first guy in it!

I think that an invulnerable cop would be a friendlier cop. Imagine how much calmer Ferguson, MO would have been if Michael Brown punched a cop, broke his hand on the armor, and- instead of shooting him- the cop just laughed and said "Nice try, son.... now, weren't you 'bout to go back and pay the little Korean store owner guy for those blunt wraps?"

I have an idea for the second question. Why not use the sales tax money from the legalization of marijuana to drape cops in armor?

Sure, there will be a lot of hands reaching out for that money. Some will have good reasons of their own. Hospitals, while not exactly swarmed with weed OD cases, still had to sew up many people who got shot out in the prohibition-birthed black market. Schools had disinterested. distracted stoners long before Jeff Spicoli made an archetype out of it. Community groups might argue that a new teen center would help keep kids off the drugs.

They can all get in line. I think that we should armor cops with that money before anyone else gets a nickel of it. They earned their drug-funded armor just as much as the formerly persecuted stoner earned his legal weed.

It's funny, because I was on the other side of the drug war from the cops for most of my life. Now, with the battle won, I feel nothing but magnanimity. Much like General Grant, I have no desire to break their sword over my knee. Much like General Chamberlain, I view armoring cops with marijuana money as "honor meeting honor."

I can think of no better ending to the Marijuana part of the drug war than this scenario:

I'm walking down Main Street. My weed falls out of my pocket, and I fail to notice it. An invulnerable policeman sees it, and goes "Hey, Buddha.... you dropped your marijuana." I pick it up, pocket it, and say "Thank you, officer." The cop smiles (I don't see the smile, because he has a helmet on that could stop a carbine shot, but I sense it), pats his impregnable body armor, and just says "No... thank YOU."

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Nor'easter Not A Problem For The Coast

A rather powerful storm is taking aim at Massachusetts. It is packing high winds and heavy precipitation.

Southeastern Massachusetts gets the shaft on this one, if your definition of "the shaft" includes "we don't get any snow." Snow will be the problem of those strange inland people who don't live close to a beach. We might get a flurry or something, but it is a rain event in any town where you have Beach Stickers for sale.

Speaking of beaches, yours shouldn't get it too badly from this storm. Coastal Flooding is not expected to be a major concern. While we will have some heavy SE winds for a spell, they will occur during low tide. By the time the tide is coming in, the wind should have shifted to the west.

There is a chance that the winds are still SE when tonight's high tide comes, but SE winds are a very different animal than NE winds are, especially on the shores of Cape Cod Bay. Your worst case scenario is some minor splashover.

You might get some surge on west-facing beaches, but I wouldn't worry too much about it.

The winds will be ridiculous, topping 60 mph in some gusts. 75 mph is a hurricane, if you need something to attach those forecast wind gusts to in your imagination.

You should have a wet and sloppy commute home tonight, as heavy rains and high winds will be on the prowl. The precipitation should be over by midnight, but the winds will howl in from the west for most of Friday.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Southeastern Massachusetts Nature Blitz


We encounter a lot of nature in our travels, and that's no bull. Well, technically, that IS a bull, but you know what I mean...

All of the livestock in this article came from some farm on Old Sandwich Road in Plymouth.

"Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves."

That is either a buffalo, a bison or a shaggy cow... Old McDonald, I am not.

If you catch the cow as it walks in front of the bull, the cow looks like it has a big curved Unicorn horn on her snout.

Alpacas are pretty friendly, as it turns out. I swear that the alpaca in the top shot of this article was way across the field from me, beyond the range of my shoddy phone. I simply had to go "Hey, you, a little closer, please," and he came running over just like this and posed for the top shot.

"You don't work here, and I'm going to greatly resent it if you grab my udders."

Hey! Back in the turkey article with you!

There are several foxes in my neighborhood, to the point where I have named them. This is Samantha Fox, her sisters and brothers are named Alicia, Vivica, Meghan, 20th Century and Redd. Redd is the patriarch, his wife Elizabeth has passed on.

Every coyote in my neighborhood, regardless of gender, is named "Wild E."

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas From Cranberry County Magazine

We're just stopping in to wish you and your family the happiest of holiday seasons.

Doing a lonely 12 hour shift Christmas at the hotel, but I have my tree for company. 

No, I don't know why we have both a star and an angel. My guess is that we had not one but two tree topping ornaments, we let them fight it out, and the angel won. The angel's victory may have involved Divine Might, but it also my have been influenced by how much cord we had for the star.

I seem to recall the angel standing alone, perhaps on my desk, last year. It just goes to show you that, even if you ride the bench or sing in the chorus, circumstances might put you up on top of the tree someday. I'd say that it's sort of like A Star Is Born, but that might offend the actual star in the photo. It's also sort of like Rudolph's story, but Rudolph doesn't fare too well in today's column (see below), so we'll just move on to the next tangent.

The housekeepers (from India) sense that I may be a bit sad about spending Christmas alone in an empty hotel like Jack Torrance, so they have been trying to cheer me up without speaking English by showing me pictures of the mango farm they own back home. 

 While we don't like to throw our weight around, we do feel an obligation to let you know that Santa saw fit to give drone strike capacity to Cranberry County Magazine. It's, like, in the back of the bag.

Belmont Circle rotary, Buzzards Bay.... Bourne likes blue nights at night, I like blue lights at night, but my camera has no love at all for blue lights at night.

Somebody in Marsh Vegas is getting coal in their stocking this year.

When you hang Rudolph in effigy, especially when you do so after slitting Rudolph's throat so that the blood doesn't spoil the meat, it moves you right up the Naughty List in Spring-Heel Jack style leapfrog bounds.. This dude is getting nothing for Christmas this year, but that matters little to a well-motivated man with a rifle and 250 pounds of fresh, infmaous venison. 

Is he vomiting up Hot Tamales? That's kind of cool, actually.

Still, ain't no one tryin' to see that on Christmas...

OK, almost no one... 

Bumbles went out like a sucker in his only TV appearance, and isn't above holding a grudge. There may be blood on those paws for all we know, and a stench that all of the perfumes of Arabia couldn't, uhm, de-stench. 

This is a personal grudge of mine, and I may be on an island here.... but does anyone merit his own spinoff Christmas special more than Bumbles does? The friggin' Little Drummer Boy has a special, as does Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey. Bumbles is suffering mad holiday disrespeck!

I could write a Bumbles holiday special in 45 minutes if there was a check waiting and I had access to high-grade marijuana. I'd have him rampaging through the Yukon, swallowing Eskimo children whole, before getting the Christmas spirit and switching teams at the coda. It'd be like A Christmas Carol , but with major plot elements lifted from both War Of The Gargantuas and 30 Days Of Night.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Last Days Of The Salvation Army's Kettle Campaign

We're just sending out a quick reminder that the Salvation Army is out in your town, collecting money to help less fortunate souls during the holiday season.

You can help out by pitching in to their kettles, which are located all over the area. You'll have trouble getting into a supermarket without crossing one of our people. The kettles will be out until early afternoon, Christmas Eve.

The Salvation Army was founded in London's East End in 1865 by former Methodist minister William Booth. It is a church, of the Christian Protestant variety. They ministered unto the poor of London's worst slums, slowly growing in numbers and abilities.

Booth soon had a lot of volunteers helping him, to the extent that he joked of it in a memo as a "volunteer army." Somebody with a good sense of marketing crossed out "volunteer" and drew in "Salvation." Voila! What would grow into one of the world's most powerful charities had a name.

Deciding that there were too many slogans on the sign, one Kettle Master made it more subtle by adding Trump-like levels of gold tinsel and some nice Made In China battery-powered colored lighting.
If you get into it deep enough, you are assigned a military rank. You have to be ordained, which means that I don't have a rank and am technically a Salvationist. I consider myself to be like a Blackwater operative (or, if you prefer something less sinister, a USO volunteer) in this Army.

The Salvation Army started off ministering to undesirables like addicts, drunks and prostitutes. They soon grew beyond that, and are now a common helping hand to any sort of person or family in need.

They crossed the pond to the US soon enough, and their reputation was helped along by their tireless efforts here during the Galveston Hurricane, the San Francisco Earthquake and both World Wars.

The Army has 25,000 volunteers working in the US, many of whom are ringing bells and standing by their kettles. They have operating costs of about $2 billion a year, and serve 32 million people in the USA alone. They are the second largest charity in the US, and hold rankings ranging from A to A- in various charity watchdog groups. They famously had a CEO with a salary of $13,500 for quite some time, while people at other prominent charities were taking home millions per year.

My kettle, which rocks hard like heavy metal...
I work for the Hyannis Corps, which serves all of Cape Cod. The highest ranks that I know there are a Lieutenant and a Major. I offered to accept a rank of Admiral and annex Cape Cod Bay for them, but that whole Ordination thing came up and it was decided in a High Council meeting that I was best left on the kettle in my Blackwater role... Santa's bag man, God's collection agent.

I love the work, even on the coldest nights. I spend most of the year up to no good, so it's nice to be doing God's work (albeit often with Satan's methods) for 6 weeks a year. It never hurts to inch your way up the Nice list in the month before Santa heads out with the goods. I'm not wealthy enough to donate Wealth to charity, so I instead donate my Health.

Most importantly, it means that I'm sort of on Santa's team. I serve in the lowest position that he offers, and only know Saint Nick on a nodding basis. I can get word to him if need be, a fact that I sometimes share with children who donate to my kettle.

I worked in Sagamore at the Christmas Tree Shop for 4 years before the CTS stopped allowing the Army access to their various storefronts. Since then, I have locked down the Stop & Shop on Route 132 in Hyannis. The Army likes to get one person in the same spot over the years, so S&S is my turf.

I'm a very aggressive greeter, and try to wish every single person well. If you've gone there this Christmas season, I have probably said Hello to you. As you can see in my pictures, no expense was spared in decorating my kettle. Many people have told me that they were about to go see the lights of Paris, but the vague Eiffel Tower shape of my garishly-lit kettle stand made that expensive voyage wholly unnecessary. (Editor's Note: No one said that).

I work in any weather. I did that freezing day last week, for instance. I'm not like someone else who works out in the cold, like a roofer, busting his/her ass and working up a sweat. I literally just stand there, unless some funk is on the radio and I'm doing the Twist or the Smurf or the Robot or the Watusi or the Time Warp or the Crank Dat or the Crip Walk... all of which look the same when I do them.

I have also developed an almost preternatural ability to flip my bell in the air, have it rotate at a high speed 10-20 times, and catch it by the handle. This ability is useless in any other position than Kettle Lord, but I swear that I'm like a f***ing samurai with that bell. It helps to keep me from freezing.

The key to withstanding cold like that is to dress in layers. I start off in clothes that fit me snugly, then continue to buy up several sizes that fit over the previous layers. I end up looking like a very cold and bulky defensive tackle.

Here's what I was wearing last Thursday. I had to spread it out on the floor to get the proper perspective.

I wasn't nude when that picture was taken, either, so the total (for those of you keeping score at home) is two hoodies (bonus: the UMASS one has Belichick-style cutoff sleeves), two t-shirts, a turtleneck, a Bruins sweater, a ski vest, a ski jacket, a knockoff Cah-hahhhhht jacket, duck boots, thermal socks, two pairs of sweatpants and two pairs of wind pants. I was also rocking the only Infinity Scarf owned and worn by a heterosexual man, although a teenage girl passing by my kettle had to show me how to put it on properly, before there was a David Carradine-style asphyxiation incident.

I had gloves, too. I gave them to some homeless dude when I was leaving the kettle for the night. I'd have given him my jacket, too, but it is very difficult finding 4XL in stores.

The Hyannis Corps has me at the Stop & Shop. If you fear that I may be too handsome, you can also donate at the AC Moore, Shaw's, Star and the Cape Cod Mall Food Court.... all in Hyannis.

Let's end with something cute.... here's Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott celebrating a touchdown by leaping into a Salvation Army kettle. They say that donations are up 60% since he did that.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Great Massachusetts Smokeout

Marijuana becomes legal in Massachusetts at 12:00 AM on December 15th. The persecution is (almost) over.

The legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts is a wonderful thing. In one vote, we opened up a powerful new revenue stream, dealt a death blow to the black market, decriminalized hundreds of thousands of our citizens, found a lucrative new use for every town with an empty storefront in their business districts and freed police up to pursue actual dangerous criminal activity.

We can kick all that around some other time. What we are here to discuss today is the Great Massachusetts Smoke Show.

The Great Massachusetts Smoke Show (aka The Great Massachusetts Smokeout) is an underground, grassroots celebration of marijuana legalization in Massachusetts. As important as it is, it should hardly be something anyone would notice. It should hurt no one at all, and should have zero in-your-face mean spirit to it.

The basics are that, at 4:20 PM, any marijuana smoker in Massachusetts should drop whatever they're doing and have a nice, legal smoke.

It's a distant cousin of the Boston Tea Party, but it is much more of an end zone dance than an act of somewhat civil disobedience. 4:20 PM smokes on December 15th may also become an annual celebration among the Blessed.

"4:20 PM" and "4/20" are sweeping terms used to describe marijuana activity, based on some California school where the kids would meet at 4:20 PM (after afternoon classes) and have a smoke. The use of the term is now prominent enough that there was no runner-up when a start time for the Great Massachusetts Smoke Show was being discussed.

The time may not work for everyone. I don't expect that a surgeon in the middle of a surgery should stop, say "Hold this vein shut, Nurse," and then go outside to get high at 4:20 PM. A teacher in a class or a preacher in a mass would also e good examples of people who can't observe the ceremony because of job-related reasons.

Other than that, you have no excuse. The late afternoon kickoff time means that someone with no weed has sufficient enough time to get somewhere Kind for the ceremony.

We ask you to remember that smoking marijuana in public is still illegal, and doing so- even at 4:20 PM on December 15th- gives any policeman who may not agree with the decision to legalize an opportunity to teach some stoner a little lesson in Applicable Law.

There are rumors that NASA are aiming some satellites at Massachusetts for a 4:20 PM flyover, and expect to get pictures of pot smoke rising from Massachusetts akin to those seen when Quebec is having a forest fire.

Employers are expected to deal with the GMSS on a business-by-business basis.

The hashtag #GreatMassachusettsSmokeShow is trending.

Get Nice, folks!
Smoke envelops Bourne....

Monday, December 12, 2016

Cape Cod Gets Her First Snow Of The Year

Well, we get our first accumulating snow of the year. I saw flakes a few times earlier this season, but this is the first snow to stick south/east of Plymouth. I include mainland Bourne and mainland Sandwich in my Cape Cod first snowfall geography, as I consider these regions to be a Latvia sort of buffer zone between Cape Cod and the real world. Snowfall is 35% of the joke in any White Florida references you see aimed at Cape Cod. These pics were taken from Capeside Bourne, where the Trowbridge Tavern is.

My car, cold-chillin'. This snow should change to rain on Cape Cod, and temperatures will actually crack 50 today for most of the area. This is good, because I have 9 hours of Salvation Army bellringing today in Hyannis, and was none-too-pleased with that 27 degree, 35 mph gusts nonsense I stood outside in on Saturday.

In case you're wondering, the first snow of 2015 for Cape Cod was December 29th, and the first snow of 2014 for Cape Cod was November 2nd. For years before that, we'd need the Cape Cod TODAY archives, and that's someone else's problem, player.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Marylou's Coffee Taking Over The South Coast

The South Coast is the next domino to fall in the world conquest plan of Marylou's Coffee.

Marylou's Coffee, a cultural icon of the South Shore, has almost 40 locations around Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Most of them lie within a stretch of the Irish Riviera running from Weymouth to Plymouth.

Marylou's has made inroads on Cape Cod (Sagamore, Sandwich, Hyannis), interior Plymouth County (Raynham Brockton, etc...) and Rhode Island (Greenwich, Cumberland, Providence). They have a huge gap on the South Coast, where Dunkin Donuts and Honey Dew Donuts still hold sway.

Marylou made a move to address that problem Sunday, opening a new spot in Rochester, right on the Wareham line. The South Coast is now bracketed, with Marylou pushing west from Rhodey, east from Cape Cod/Plymouth, and south from Taunton and Lakeville.

The location in Rochester is based in the new Seasons convenience store plaza. They celebrated n force last Sunday, with the little Marylou girls out greeting the cars.

Marylou's is known for their comely staff (although rumors of Marylou's as the Hooters of coffee have been debunked by numerous plus-sized and male employees) and their spectacular flavored coffee. Once you have one, you will never wait in  ten-car line at Dunkin again.

I can't even get on this computer and libel someone until I have taken a large Funky Fanabla to the head. I can't pronounce "Fanabla," and taught in urban high schools long enough that I pronounce "funky" as "fonkee," sort of along the lines of how the bear on the Muppets pronounces his name. The girls at Cedarville mostly have it down by now, and I tip well.

Go on in and say hi to the new Marylou's girls. Tell them that Cranberry County Magazine sent you, and they'll give you no discount whatsoever.

Friday, December 2, 2016

MIAA State Championship Football Schedule

Saturday is when we settle the Who Is The Best Football Team questions for like 8 different arguments. We get some cross-state fights.... I can almost guarantee that no one from Shrewsbury or Wachonah has ever spent much time worrying about how life is in Duxbury or Mashpee, and vice versa. Their views will change after they have beaten or been beaten by the other in front of their townmates, parents and cheerleaders.

Our predictions run as follows:

Everett 21, Xaverian 18
King Phillip 24, Reading 23
Duxbury 56, Shrewsbury 0
Falmouth 28, Marblehead 27
Hanover 18, Grafton 10
East Bridgewater 20, St. Mary's 7
Mashpee 34, Wahconah 0
Maynard 7, Mills-Hopedale 6