Monday, April 24, 2017
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Before we start the discussion, we want you understand a few facts about the likelihood of suffering a shark attack.
You're significantly more likely to win the Powerball than you are to suffer a shark attack.... shoot, like 30-45 people win the Powerball every year, which is about 50 years worth of American shark attack deaths. More people have put Lindsay Lohan on the D Train to Pound Town than have been killed by a shark this century.
If you're worrying about a shark attack, stop. You need to instead prepare for the lightning bolt strike which- however unlikely as it may be- is much more likely to kill you than a shark is.
This "Top Ten Places" list goes to 10 even though we have had less than 10 shark attacks in Massachusetts white-guy history.
If you ignore reputations and just crunch the actual numbers, I would not be at all surprised to find that the shark which has killed the most Americans is the Loan Shark.
That said, being devoured out of nowhere by a station wagon-sized monster with 250 teeth is nothing that you want to experience. If it can happen, and even if the odds are as slight as can be, there must be steps you can take which will lower those odds in your favor.
One step we can give you, beyond obvious ones like "Never swim if you have just been stabbed," "Do nothing at all seal-like" and "Get out of the water if you hear alternating tuba notes start playing" are simple ones that you probably already know. If you don't know those rules already, there isn't much that we can do for you.
What we can do for you is tell you which beaches to avoid, and why.
1) Monomoy Island, Chatham
If you need the Why for this one, just do a Google Map of the area and zoom in. You'll soon see little black marks all along the shoreline, thousands of them. Those are seals.
Seals are shark food, and everywhere the seal went, the shark was
This is the gold mine if you like Great White Sharks. It's also a rotten place to swim, especially if you have even one seal-like trait.
Chatham in general is very lucky that sharks don't like People Food. It remains the only viable location on Cape Cod for a sharknado to happen.
2) Ballston Beach, Truro
In spite of her fearsome reputation, the only recent shark attack on Cape Cod was a 2012 attack on a boogie boarder off of this Truro sandspot.
The victim was 400 yards offshore, near where the seals hang out, and paddling around in a manner that he had no way of knowing would register as "injured seal" to the monster shark swimming under him.
He managed to kick it away before it killed him. He described kicking it as akin to kicking "an underwater refrigerator, with skin." It maimed his leg.
3) South Beach, Edgarton
One of... no, scratch that... THE most famous shark attack of all time went down here. The victim was Chrissy Watkins. She was torn to pieces by Bruce, who is the world's most famous shark.
The fact that the attack which I'm referencing is the opening scene from Jaws will in no way prevent us from ranking this beach right near the top.
Joseph Sylvia State Beach in Oak Bluffs is where the Alex Kintner attack went down, but that one didn't have a nude 1970's chick.
4) Nauset Light Beach, Eastham
The whole run of the Outer Cape is a high risk area, as the sharks who get bored of Chatham can head up the coast for a little variety.
This is one of those beaches that you see mentioned on the news with "was closed after a 15 foot shark was spotted offshore" following it.
5) Manomet Point, Plymouth
This is where the (current) most recent shark attack went down. A porker rose up out of the water and chomped on a kayak, dumping the two pretty kayakers into the water. Concluding that humans taste like a kayak, the shark swam away and left the girls unharmed.
That's a pretty impressive resume line, which is why beaches in Chatham and Wellfleet are looking up at America's Hometown.
6) South Beach, Chatham
When you get attacked by a shark here, he's usually not pleased. When he got his rooming assignment, he was like "Yeah! South Beach! Miami, here I come!" Some older shark then has to take him aside and tell him "You're thinking of South Beach, Miami. You're actually going to South Beach, Massachusetts."
When he arrives, he's pissed. "Hangry," as the kids say.
7) Marconi Beach, Wellfleet
When a shark gets a taste for People Food, you have to start worrying about extenuating circumstances.
In this case, the two areas of concern are 1) "Marconi" looks like "Macaroni." Sharks are unique in that they can make American Chop Suey with actual Americans if they have access to lots of macaroni.
Also, 2) is that "Marconi" implies Italian food. It is safe to imply that he is a picky eater, as he travels up the entire East Coast via tail propulsion to sup on a particular sort of Seal. Developing a taste for Italian food isn't really much of a stretch compared to that.
8) Hollywood Beach, Mattapoisett
Holly Wood (aka Hollywood) Beach is where the last fatal shark attack in Massachusetts went down, in 1936. A boy swimming out to meet a boat had most of his leg bitten off by a juvenile Great White Shark.
Holly Wood should be #2 or #3, maybe even #1A.... but we're going on 80 years there, and you can't live on your past in my magazine, folks.
No, sharks aren't afraid of New Bedford and Fall River. You can just shush....
9) Duxbury Beach, Duxbury
Duxbury seems to have a very lively and burgeoning shark population. She has an impressive stretch of uninhabited beach for seals to crash out on, and the bleedover of seals (and, following the seals, sharks) from Cape Cod looks to up their numbers.
If you're a shark hanging around at Race Point and you decide to see how the seal action is if you swim west for a while, the first beach you'll come to will be Duxbury Beach.
Added bonus: Duxbury Bay is a breeding ground for Sand Tiger Sharks. They're just the friendliest 8 foot flesh-eating shark (with a look which belies the fact that they are not physically equipped to hunt or eat humans) that you'll ever see.
10) Egypt Beach, Scituate
Scituate had the second most recent fatal shark attack in Massachusetts history. It was about 5 miles offshore, I chose Egypt Beach at random. The attack went down in the 1800s, which is why they are ranked #10 instead of #1.
In a story that really should be a movie, a shark swamped a smaller boat and devoured the occupant. The victim's brother returned the next day and caught what is believed to be the same shark. He then put it on display in Boston, and charged people a dime to see it.
- Boston Harbor (home of the first shark attack in colonized New England history)
- Rockport (a fisherman was bitten by a shark here, but he survived)
- West Island, Fairhaven (beaches were closed after a fisherman spotted a shark 50 yards away from swimmers)
- Fall River (one of the two fatal Rhode Island attacks went down in Bristol Harbor, about a mile from her nearest Massachusetts neighbor)
- Nahant (a fisherman was bitten in 1922)
- Cold Storage Beach, Truro (James Orlowski had his leg mauled by a shark in 1996. No one believed him at the time, saying "Shark attacks don't happen on Cape Cod," and intimating that he might have crossed a really ornery bluefish. He got the last word when his attacker was listed as a shark in the Shark Attack Database.
- Dartmouth (another guy who says a shark bit him, but everyone was telling him it was a seal... notable in that the victim didn't go to the hospital until infection set in... which is why St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Brighton, who treated this victim, has had more shark attack experience than more likelier places like Falmouth Hospital or Jordan Hospital)
- Gloucester (sharks follow fishing boats)
- New Bedford (see above, plus they have had shark sightings/beach closings)
- Horse Neck Beach (Westport (has been closed after shark sightings)
- Brant Rock, Marshfield (seal-friendly rockpile offshore)
- Buttermilk/Little Buttermilk Bay, Bourne (a 9 foot shark entered this bay and hung out a while in the 1990s)
Sunday, May 8, 2016
|Marylou's, although popular on the Cape, is a South Shore brand. Never hurts to lead off with a Lou, however... especially a Sagamore one.|
Life has bounced me from Boston to Quincy to Duxbury to Worcester (back) to Duxbury to Monponsett to Cape Motherlovin' Cod. I've seen them come and go, friend.
One thing that I noticed as I hopped around was that some business chains I got used to in one spot would either not exist in another spot, or some other product in the same field would be dominant in this new region.
I'd also see businesses that started in one spot springing up everywhere. That's always nice to see, especially with something you grew up loving... it sort of affirms your sense of good taste for you.
One other phenomena I'd see is that, while my friends and I might favor one particular local place or another, we'd have a regional default option. To use an example with a powerful business not born of these parts... we both might want a burger. I like Schmuckburgers over on Main Street. You like Ye Olde Slaughtered Cow on the State Road. However, there's always McDonald's.
Massachusetts is a funny place. We like things a certain way. There is an impressive list of otherwise nationally prosperous franchises who flop in Massachusetts. Pizza Hut, Papa John, Little Caesar and Domino's all struggle in Massachusetts, as locals often prefer their town's House Of Pizza. Locals laugh, especially near the coast, if you ask where the Red Lobster is. You might get punched, especially in Italian neighborhoods, if you ask where The Olive Garden is. IHOP and Krispy Kreme may be the biggest names crossed off of the Dunkin' Donut's hit list.
Today, we shall examine a few businesses which have that sort of regional recognition. Some people explore the world. Some people explore regions of it. If you are a regional tourist, look at this as a sort of Bucket List. You should be familiar with all of these businesses we are about to discuss, You can get your Local card pulled, otherwise.
Someone who never went to the Cape as a kid might not know the Thompson's Clam Bar jingle, while someone from Harwich might think that Peaceful Meadows is a pet cemetery. View these places as a sort of Mendoza Line. Thompson's never expanded regionally, and Peaceful Meadows might be an ounce of Swagger away from being listed down below.
I broke this list up by Barnstable/Plymouth/Bristol County, although it could very easily be Cape Cod/South Shore/South Coast. I had to stretch up to Mansfield to fatten the South Coast category, but it's still Bristol, babe.
Here we go...
Cape Cod Potato Chips
Cape Cod Potato Chips were first made in Hyannis, in 1980. The guy who founded CCPC had a $3,000 potato slicer, and had taken a one-week class in potato chip-making.
They use a kettle (as opposed to a conveyor belt like other chip-makers) to produce a crunchier potato chip. They were very unique in the industry when they appeared, and the business blew up like the Maine. Kettle chips are very prominent now, much because of CCPC.
They were bought out by Anheuser-Busch in 1985. They bought it back in 1996, before selling it again to Lance Inc. They do $30 million annually in sales. At one point, they were selling 80,000 bags of chips a day.
You might break off a tooth if you get one of the bottom-of-the-kettle chips, but there are worse reasons to go to a dentist.
Cape Cod Baseball League
Cape Cod doesn't have a monopoly on minor-league baseball. You can drive to Pawtucket and see higher-level minor league ball. Maine has the Sea Dogs, which is a cooler name than those used by any other local team. Brockton has or had the Rock Lobsters, and Plymouth has a team.
However, to paraphrase Ric Flair... if your team isn't in the Cape Cod Baseball League, you're playing catch-up ball, no matter what you tell yourself.
You're also sort of shorting yourself if you're on Cape Cod and not checking out a CCBBL game now and then. They've been in business since 1885, and are as integral to a proper Cape Cod vacation as swimming and lobster rolls.
They have ten teams running from Wareham to Harwich, and the season starts on June 10th.
Four Seas Ice Cream
Four Seas (not 4 Cs, that's Cape Cod Community College) Ice Cream has been in business since 1934. Cape Cod has always had a sweet tooth, even during the Great Depression.
Four Seas ranks highly on a national recognition scale, as many tourists have made sometimes daily trips to Four Seas a part of their vacation routine.
They were a seasonal business for some time, but they began selling ice cream to various shops and restaurants, and demand soon brought about year-round work.
Cape Cod Creamery also merits a mention in this field... but when they were naming ice cream after Cape Cod towns, they gave us Bourne Butter Pecan. I can't forgive that kind of slight.
Try to not eat Chappaquidick Chocolate Chip when driving, especially with people from Hyannis Port.
Christmas Tree Shops
If you want to see a man's facial expression collapse, get one trapped in a car and bring up the prospect of a "quick" stop at the Christmas Tree Shops. Dude may throw himself out onto the pavement at 65 mph.
However, mention it to your girlfriends when you all just cashed paychecks, and you have a pretty good night out planned... as long as said plan involves a stop somewhere for vineyard-based fortification.
Girls still are the primary arbiter of where the spending money gets spent, which is why the Christmas Tree Shops expanded all over the region, and why there is 24/7/365 sports programming on the telly back home where the husband hopefully got to stay.
The CTS was founded in Yarmouth in the 1950s, and- like Four Seas- was a seasonal business for a while. That all changed, and, well... Don't You just Lovvvve A Bargain?
You can bring your dog into the CTS, as long as it's one of those wussy purse dogs. Don't show up with your Rotty, and an eager Border Collie could do thousands of dollars worth of damage in there.
Barnstable Municipal Airport
They got a TV show out of Cape Air, which trumps almost everyone (see Captain Phillips, below) on this list.
Founded in 1928, it spent World War II being used as a base for anti-submarine planes. It is now Cape Cod's major airport.
You can land a 727 there, something I was not aware of.
Cape Air has a 91 plane fleet, including 83 Cessnas.
If you want to enjoy island life on Martha's Vineyard or Cape Cod without the getting-on-a-boat stuff, you're going to have to visit the Barnstable Municipal Airport.
Business picks up in the summer, as is often the case with Cape Cod businesses. Be sure to file a flight plan and stuff.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy
The Massachusetts Maritime Academy is only one small college, but it has a ripple effect throughout the globe. They touch a lot of businesses, as Harvard does. However, MMA guys get their hands a lot dirtier than (most) Harvard guys do.
Founded in 1891, MMA cranks out Merchant Marines. They then spread out to an untold number of businesses, shipping their products across the seas.
In that sense, the single-entity MMA is actually like a McDonald's or something similar. It's just that, instead of franchising out hamburger stands, they franchise out their developed talent to anyone
Speaking of McDonald's... unless all of those Chinese-factory-made Happy Meal toys float over to America on tsunami waves, there's a good chance that you can't even run a McDonald's without a few MMA grads.
Grads include Captain Phillips of Captain Phillips fame amd Emery Rice, who is credited with firing the first American shot of World War I. Rice also picked up a Navy Cross for ramming and sinking a U-Boat.
We'll buy him a pie from Monument Beach House Of Pizza for that!
Monday, October 5, 2015
We admit to spamming a lot of useless stuff over those Internets at times. You most likely won't be changed permanently by our coverage of 2 foot waves lapping up against Chapin Beach, or our visit to a Plympton pumpkin patch. I won't say we're 100% useless, because we might amuse you, but we're not really utilitarian.
Today, we plan on bein' Mighty Useful to you. We're going to go town-by-town and list the cheapest and most expensive gas prices you can find there. We're using the Massachusetts Gas Prices website for or numbers, and it's like Monday morning or something. These will be the prices reported to that site over the last 36 hours.
There may be some variation to the prices, as the price some station in Chatham is charging tourists on Saturday might not be what he's trying to run by the locals on Monday. We're just doing what we can for you, people.
Here we go:
Best = $2.42, Cumberland Farms, Shank Painter Rd
Worst = $2.45, Gulf, Bradford St.
Best = $2.35, Wave, State Highway
Worst = $2.39, Mobil, State Highway
Best = $2.33, Speedway (South Orleans Rd) and Cumberland Farms (Rte 6A)
No higher prices reported
Best = $2.27, Mobil, Whip O Will Lne
Worst = $2.35, Speedway, Main St
Best = $2.13, Mobil, Theophilis Smith Rd
Worst = $2.45, Shell, East-West Dennis Rd
Best = $2.19, Speedway, Iyannough Road
Worst = $2.29, Shell, Station Ave
$2.37, Main St, Mobil
Best = multiple at $2.19, on 28 and 132
Worst = $2.39, Mobil, Iyannough Rd
Best = $2.21, Stop & Shop, Falmouth Rd
Worst = $2.27, Shell, Nathan Ellis Highway
Best = $2.21, Cumberland Farms(2), Mobil, Sav-On, Johnny's Tune And Lube
Worst = $2.25, Mobil, Palmer Ave
Best = $2.27, Speedway, Forestdale Road
Worst = $2.39, Gulf, Route 6A
Best = $2.19, Gulf, Bourne Rotary
Worst = $2.29, CITGO, Sandwich Road
Best = $2.12 (cash), Mobil full-serve
Worst = $2.29, Shell, Canal Road
Martha's Vineyard has the 3rd (CITGO) and 4th (Shell) worst gas prices listed on the site, $3.19 at both spots on Vineyard Haven. The worst in the state is $3.49, at a Newburyport Mobil. The cheapest gas listed was $1.93 at both Speedway and Prestige in Brockton.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
|If God needed to open a beer bottle, He would use Wellfleet Harbor.|
There are no imminent storms, Wellfleet is just next up to bat in our ongoing series.
We have two maps from FEMA to check out today. The map above is a Hurricane Inundation map, and it depicts storm surge from a direct hit hurricane visiting Wellfleet at mean high tide. It also shows what sort of storm would be needed to soak certain regions, which we'll get to in a minute.
The map is from the combined efforts of FEMA, MEMA, NOAA and the NHC. They use the funny-weatherman-titled SLOSH model of storm surge estimation. They do not depict freshwater flooding.
The colors relate to the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity, and break down like this:
Light Green = Category 1 hurricane. Hurricane Gloria was one of these, and the offshore Halloween Gale was, too. Although not a tropical system, the Blizzard of '78 did Cat. 1-style damage.
Dark Green = Category 2 hurricane. Hurricane Bob was one of these.
Yellow = Category 3 hurricane. We've only had five of these hit New England since the Other Man arrived in 1620, the most recent being Hurricane Carol in 1954.
Pink = Category 4 hurricane. We've had one in recorded New England history, and it struck in 1635.
Flesh = One Hundred Year FEMA Food Zone. This is the "100 year storm" you hear people speak of, but you have to go pre-Colombian to find them ("going pre-Colombian" means using salt marsh soil samples to look for sand layering associated with large hurricanes). New England has had storms in the Category 4+ level in the 1100s, the 1300s, and the 1400s.
Sorry about Flesh, but my knowledge of color names was and continues to be heavily influenced by whoever was in charge at Crayola in the 1970s.
Note that you don't need to be in a shaded area to get yourself a quick and sudden Ending. You can have a tree fall on you, have your car washed out in street flooding, step on a downed power line, get purged by looters, enjoy the Robespierre treatment from flying shingles, be summarily executed by National Guardsmen, or even stumble into a sharknado. There's no shortage of ways for you to get Left.
With that in mind, we now present to you the down-there-somewhere Evacuation Zone map.
Remember, you don't HAVE to leave when 5-0 tells you to. Also remember that the cop you read the Constitution to before the storm may be the one who has to fish you out of the drink when the ship hits the fan.
The E-map is easier to read, as it is made up of only two colors.
Red = Get Out.
Yellow = Get the f*** out.
Bone up on some cool, hurricane-related information!
Hurricane Inundation Maps
Worst Hurricanes To Hit New England
List of all hurricanes to hit New England