Tummy Porn: Mi Antojo In New Bedford

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My man Hardcore Logo and I celebrated him finishing 4th grade by eating Mexican food in New Bedford at a Maginot Line-looking  (minus the bright yellow paint, of course… even the French aren’t that French) concrete blockhouse in a tough harbor neighborhood. What could possibly go wrong?

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Things are already looking up as we enter. It’s tough to tell in print, even with photography, but the place smelled really good.

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My plan to order “Steak, medium rare, side order of Gloria Estefan” was looking good until I got inside and  found out that the menu was in Spanish. I don’t speak 10 words of Spanish. I don’t even know how to say “Gloria Estefan” in Spanish.

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No worries. We had Alice. Alice was the pretty girl working the counter, and it is safe to say that I was not the first befuddled honkey that she saw looking at their all-Spanish menu in her career. She tagged in at an appropriate time, guided us through the menu in a sort of Mexican Food 101 manner (“You don’t want that, Sir… there’s Spicy and there’s Mexican Spicy, and that one is Mexican Spicy”), and sat us down with a plate of nachos and some salsa verde.

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They have a very colorful soda selection, although I had Mexican Coke… no, not that kind. Logo had Mango Soda. Alice coached him through the process. I then sat with Logo, who is 11, and bombed with every “Alice”s Restaurant” and “Go ask Alice” joke that I tried. “You can get anything you want” went nowhere, as did “Feed your head.” Logo’s mom was at Edaville Railroad and Teresa was working until 3, so my audience options were limited there. Teresa and Jessica are both probably old enough to get the White Rabbit references, but too young for Arlo Guthrie. My job ain’t easy, people.

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OK, check that, my job friggin’ rules. It rules so hard that I get Primae Noctis rights in some parts of New Bedford. The nachos (they have a dozen varieties) were the part of the order where Alice steered me away from Mexican Spicy… and this was after I became overwhelmed by the Spanish menu, just said something that sounded Mexican restaurantish, and Alice had to say, “No sir, we don’t have that, that’s actually something they make at Taco Bell.”

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Taco Bell is going to come up in any review of a Mexican restaurant written by a corny white suburban kid from Massachusetts, and I am Duxbury High School level suburban. It was an excellent version of odd to see tacos with real steak in them, as opposed to meat paste. Mi Antojo pretty much ruined Taco Bell for me…which really is a shame, because I live 5 minutes from the Wareham Taco Bell and will most likely smoke up an eighth of Training Day herb before supper time. I probably should have zoomed the camera in on the tacos more, but that’s why you can read this for free, player.

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Logo went for quesadillas, which I can’t spell in English or Spanish. I do wonder if Alice, who was very influential in our eventual orders, steered us towards Things That White People Order At Taco Bell so that she and the staff could then ruin Taco Bell for us forever by feeding us better versions of that food. She seemed more sweet than devious, and I run across a lot of both types in this job… although it worked, and Alice wouldn’t be the first Latina to get me wrapped around her little finger. Hunger is a great motivator.

It’s better not to think about it, especially if you have a plate of nachos in front of you that is about the size of a hub cap. Trust in God, child, and eat with both hands.

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http://miantojomexicanrestaurant.com

 

Noah’s Place Playground

received_2096830007197076.jpegWelllllll, what do we have here?

 

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It”s Noah’s Place playground, which just opened up on Pope’s Island in New Bedford

 

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It is designed to serve the needs of children who might not be able to use other playgrounds around town.

 

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It may be the only fully inclusive playground in Southeastern Massachusetts.

 

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Noah Fernandes was the inspiration for the park. Noah had mitochondrial disease, but that didn’t stop him from getting to the playground when he could. Not all playgrounds were suited for children with special needs, but thanks to the Team Noah Foundation, there is now a fully inclusive playground in Southeastern Massachusetts.

 

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I don’t even know what that is, but I know that I want to play with it. I’m 49, by the way… going on 7.

 

 

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Mayor Mitchell says that he has never seen a project where the groundbreaking was so close to the ribbon cutting. They got this sucker up-n-open in less than a year.

 

 

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I thought they were trying to go with New Bedford High School’s colors, but New Bedford High School is red and white. Blue and yellow looks better for a playground.

 

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The playground is on 102 Pope’s Island Road on the New Bedford/Fairhaven border.

 

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It is up and running, just in time for summer.

 

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There is a nice view of Fairhaven Harbor, available to True Swingers.

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See?

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Big ups to the sponsors…

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Hope to see you there!

 

Bourne Needs A Tugboat

Granted, there are more important issues in the world, and even in Bourne. However, the town made a critical error back in 2006, and the responsibility for fixing it falls on us.

Bourne used to have her own landmark, right on the Belmont Circle rotary. It wasn’t the Statue of Liberty or the Washington Monument. No, it was just humble little Tugboat, loved by all.

Somebody went out of business, someone put in a CVS… and our little tugboat was allowed to slip away. NY Central #16 (picture from the New York Times) went to the Great Canal In The Sky, and Belmont Circle has been whack ever since.

We need a new tugboat. We need to acquire it, transport it and plop that sucka right in the middle of the rotary island.

To say that a slump has hit Buzzards Bay (the Bourne village, not the body of water, which is doing fine) is being generous. Main Street has more shuttered businesses than, uhm, ah… well, let’s just say that business is not good there.

Pols and business leaders will offer explanations for this, many of which are correct. None of these explanations cover town spirit.

I am a certified expert in school spirit, as I won Most School Spirit during my high school days. Granted, I won this award because the gods blessed me with a big booming voice that can be heard over just about anything, but let’s not allow technicalities to cloud the argument or the achievement.

Buzzards Bay has no school spirit.

It is a malaise that eats to the center of the town. We are something that you drive past on your way to somewhere else.

A tugboat isn’t going to solve all of that, but it would help give us an identity, and that’s a start. We can’t recreate the old days, but we can take advantage of the fact that people grew up looking at the tugboat, and kind of miss it now that it isn’t here.

We have several options if we decide to press forward on this issue.

We could get a real tugboat. It doesn’t have to be seaworthy, or new… sh*t, it might look more authentic if it’s a bit rusty. Used ones are cheaper anyhow.

I saw one for $25K, but it actually floats and drives and all that unnecessary stuff that a rotary tugboat wouldn’t need.

There must be one sitting unused and unloved in New Bedford or Gloucester or Mystic that we could get our hands on for short green. Throw it on a flatbed, cut down a few trees and drop her right in the middle of the rotary.

I even read about a tugboat sitting in the Potomac River. It belongs to some business, and they use it for various projects involving the Pentagon. Thusly, it lives in semi-permanent anchorage in the Potomac River. The article was from 2010, so we may be too late as far as working on some sort of trade goes.

The name of the tugboat? Her name is the “Bourne.”

If that proves problematic, why not build a fake one? It’s not like she’s ever going to have to go into the water or anything, right? It would be a lot cheaper than buying or transporting the Bourne up to Bourne.

Also, building one allows us a certain creative freedom that we would not have if we needed to build the tugboat that would actually work. It can have two bows if we want, three sterns, or it could be the size of what you think of when you imagine what Noah’s Ark might have looked like. It should also have cannons, because reasons.

You could also build it without doors, so kids won’t be drinking in it and homeless people won’t be sleeping in it.

A new Tugboat would also give us an excuse to rename the high school sports teams mascot. “Canalmen” is so lame, it limps. “Canalwomen” is worse, neighboring on a metaphor for working girls. Many names would be better… among them, “Tugboats.” I’d hang that name on the Braves, too.

The bow, or one of the bows, should be aimed due East in a manner that gives it a Stonehenge effect when the sun rises on the day of the Summer Solstice. You could conceivably do the stern so the same effect is seen at the sunset of the day when the Autumn Equinox begins. That will at least get us attention.

Someone should already be working on this.

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July 3rd Tides

Many towns on the Massachusetts South Shore celebrate the nation’s Independence Day by having a July 3rd bonfire.

That may or may not be legal in your town, and I advise you to check with local authorities before assembling a 20-foot Inferno… or just be really sneaky, get a few scouts on either end of the road and build the fire very quickly before the police arrive.

One thing that can screw up a bonfire is a bad tide. Ideally, a bonfire is lit at night, but not so late at night that it does not provide entertainment for the children.

That part isn’t hard, unless there is a 9 p.m. high tide. You either have to light the bonfire at 6 p.m. or drink beer until 1 a.m. and light it then. Not much good comes from lighting 20-foot bonfires at 1 a.m.

However, Uncle Sam is smiling on the Irish Riviera this year, as tides look to be ideal for bonfires.

Here are some local July 3rd tides, information, which is of course useful to people who aread not assembling semi-legal conflagrations.

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Brant Rock, 3:53 PM

Scituate Harbor, 3:47 PM

Plymouth Harbor, 3:39 PM

Hull, 3:53 PM

Hingham, 3:57 PM

Cape Cod Canal, East, 3:47 PM

Cohasset, 3:52 PM

This puts low tide pretty close to 10 PM for most of these places.

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Grey Morning In Duxbury

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A little foul weather doesn’t keep me from my morning stroll.

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Poseidon was trying to give us an ocean storm, but his heart wasn’t in it.

 

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At the foot of the Powder Point Bridge, aiming at Duxbury Proper.

 

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Looking for the distance limit on my camera phone… yup, it’s right about there.

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If I zoom in enough, I do OK…

 

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The Powder Point Bridge, as much as I love it, looks like a fishing pier that they got the measurement wrong on to the extent that it reached the other end of the bay.

 

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I am more punk than gangsta, which is the reason why I did not steal this unattended police vehicle for my own personal use. I know my limits.

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See what I mean about it being a really big fishing pier?

 

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Lobsters do not walk upright, but the horizontal lobster wouldn’t be as effective as an advertising tool.

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I should have led off with this…

…or this.

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Alicia Fox, in the house… OK, under it.

 

Bourne, In The Morning… But Not This Morning

 

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Some mornings, I drive around seeking stories. Sometimes, you just have to walk a round town… or climb up on the roof of a defunct tavern, whatever works.

 

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I was going for a nice red/white/blue moyif, but the power lines make it look like the houses were fighting Spider Man.

 

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The upper northwest corner of Barnstable County.

 

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You can’t see the beach, but is at the bottom of the stairs, trust me.

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More tavern-scaling, to get the Bourne Bridge.

 

Cape Cod Summer Traffic Begins

The traffic doesn’t bother me as much as it did when I washed ashore (wrong term, I was far out on Duxbury Beach enough that a move to Cape Cod actually brought me inland some) here a dozen years ago. Part of that is me getting used to the traffic patterns. Part of it is me knowing when not to try the rotary. Part of it is the slow process of me becoming a full Cape Codder.

Either way, one thing that Cape Codders love to do is read comments on local Facebook pages on the Friday that kicks off Memorial Day weekend. You hear from everyone who got lulled into a sense of false security by the winter traffic, although that is somewhat muted this year after a lengthy Sagamore Bridge project snarled up the traffic in the spring. They try to go down to the Way Ho or to the Mezza Luna… and Whammo!

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“I gave up and turned around and said “Screw it,'” from a girl who I know well enough to say that she was leaving Onset and going to Buzzards Bay House Of Pizza. The ride normally takes five minutes, but these are not normal times, player.

“Already over this f***ng traffic!!” from another Onset resident trying to cross one of the bridges. A quick look at her Facebook page shows, an hour earlier, a much happier post with little hearts that says “Spending this beautiful day with my family on the Cape!” 

My car crawled into work at 8, and the traffic hasn’t let up all day,” said a Christmas Tree Shoppe employee.

“I might cut off some motherf**ker’s head!” Oh wait, that was me. Ever since I got the Godzilla hood ornament, I drive angrier and often fantasize about stomping on Japanese port cities.

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Bourne is a lovely town and Buzzards Bay or Sagamore are nice villages in that town. However, even nice things have flaws, and our flaw is traffic.

Both bridges cross the Canal in Bourne, and a few unfortunately-placed rotaries make it even worse. Buzzards Bay has almost 4000 souls on a good day, but they have Chicago-style traffic on bad day.

I’ll write at length about that traffic when I am angrier about it. For now, I like the traffic. It is a harbinger of future summer days. It is very much like the first snow of the year, in that I like it at first, then curse it after a few more times seeing it.

It’s a slow creep. Many June days, especially rainy ones, will have almost no traffic at all. But from this point on, any time that you try to cross one of the bridges… well, don’t say that we didn’t warn you.

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Speaking of which…

The Massachusetts State Police are reminding you to not text and drive or maybe not drive drunk or maybe just to wear your seatbelts.

They did so with a display below, where a crash test dummy who apparently was updating his Facebook failed to see some obstacle and got his neck broken like he was Teddy Pendergrass.

Sucks to be him, huh?

Setting up a “WTF is that?” display right next to the entrance into a rotary (one stuffed today with many people from states which don’t have rotaries, I might add) isn’t the safest thing ever, but State Troopers know car accidents better than I do, so the risk must be relatively low.

33602785_10156289103627510_5384740635188133888_oHey, the car was moving, it was the best shot I could get!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, everyone!

Fore River Park In Quincy

 

Beaching it in Quincy…

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I had some business up in Capital Q, and I took my smoke breaks down at the Fore River Park/Mound Street Beach area.

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Not much happens there now, but this was just upstream from the Fore River Shipyard, which was putting in work until 1986.

20180519_072024Just the geese and I…

 

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Personal use lighthouse at a defunct gas station.

 

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We did catch a game of Cricket. A group of Calcutta-type Indians go down there before 7 AM every Saturday for a match. Cricket is baseball enough to watch, but English enough that you don’t really know what’s going on. The pitcher gets a running start from centerfield, winds up like a softball pitcher, throws overhand and bounces it in the dirt in front of the batter. I was going to ask if I could play, but it violates the journalistic Primary Directive of “never interfere with what you are covering.” I also suck at baseball… I am a large man, and you could hide a small man very effectively in my strike zone.

I also had to get back to work…

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SE Massachusetts Branding

Interior SE Massachusetts Nicknames…

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Inspiration for a writer comes from many places. In this case, it came from me reading a booklet while I waited for my General Tso’s chicken at Chen’s Kitchen in Sagamore Beach.

The booklet in question was the Greater Plymouth County In Your Pocket guide. It is one of those tourist books that you can read for free if you find one laying around in a stack at your local House Of Pizza. It is very similar to the Best Read Guide that you see all over Cape Cod, and may in fact be put out by the same people.

The Guide is useful to tourists because of it has a colorful user-friendly map inside. The Plymouth version has a similar map.

This map breaks Southeastern Massachusetts down into several sections, as seen below:

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Plymouth, Cape Cod and the South Shore are common regional designations. Everybody knows what you mean when you say them.

Plymouth is a town. Cape Cod is a land mass. The South Shore, which sorta looks like an East Shore to me, makes sense once someone explains it to you.

You could slip North Shore, the Berkshires, Metro West, Boston/Greater Boston and the South  Coast seamlessly into the mix, as well.

The other regions? Not so seamless…

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“Cranberry County Canal Region” is so whack that it hurts. I say this before we start to discuss how badly they are biting our style. TV wrestlers call that “gimmick infringement,” and they will punch you for real if they see you doing it.

“Cranberry County Magazine” was named by a girl named Ana Banana. We didn’t use the name at the time, as we were writing for a paper which already had a name, but it was what I went with when naming this website. Ana never got to write for the site she named, as she was institutionalized.

CCM beat out “Chowderhead Thawtz,” “Nor’easter Blues,” “Tales From The Swamp Yankee” and several others.

Our office is essentially located on a triangle point where the South Coast, the South Shore and Cape Cod meet.  We cover all three regions, and decided that it would be easier to just create a supercounty for Branding purposes.

My first instinct was not to launch a lawsuit, a state of mind which probably explains why I live in a 484 square foot house with one of the  windows taped in. I was flattered. Our supercounty made enough sense that someone else ran with it.

However, they ran too far with it. Northwestern Lakeville is closer to Boston than it is to the Cape Cod Canal. Their regional designation removes Mattapoisett, Marion and Wareham from their more valid South Coast designation. It does perform the perhaps necessary action of removing the villages of Buzzards Bay, Bournedale and Sagamore Beach from Cape Cod.

Hanson, where Ocean Spray was founded, doesn’t make it into Cranberry Country.  They instead end up in the South Shore, landlocked, 15 miles inland from any beach.

Buzzards Bay, Sagamore and Bournedale have enough cranberries to group them in with Carver and Middleboro and just drop the Canal Region part. Shoot, the Cranberry farmer picture at the top of the page was taken in Buzzards Bay.

You get a sense that the map guy was being hurried as the publication date neared, or that two people of equal influence disagreed on whether it should be Canal Country or Cranberry Country, and a compromise was reached.

Either way, whoever signed off on it should be taken out and maimed… or punched for real by Braun Strowman.

Next…

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Metro South.

I don’the know who named the South Shore. The South Coast was named by Todd Gross, a TV weatherman, most likely to shave a few syllables off of “Greater New Bedford area” during his forecasts.

Metro West was named by the former Middlesex News paper, which now bears the MW. It was suggested by reporter Greg Supernovich, and I want it on the internet somewhere that “Supernovich” which would be a pretty cool name as well.

I have not seen Metro South used anywhere but on this map.

That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a cool name. I like it. It has rhythm, is catchy, plays off a successful precedent and takes less time to spit out than “the greater Brockton area.”

They have it as Brockton, the various Bridgewaters, Raynham, Whitman and Abington.

Metrowest was named to cover the metropolitan area between Boston and Worcester. This Metro South is everything between Holbrook and Middleboro.

The real Metro  South would seem to be the Quincy/Braintree/Randolph area. Brockton would be a fine southern border, but Abington, Whitman and the Bridgewaters seem to be more Cranberry.

For all I know, there is a Greater Norfolk County booklet map with the Quincy-to-Brockton part labeled as Metro South. That is a problem I can leave to some Quincy-to-Brockton writer.

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These areas do need a nickname. I get negative reader feedback if I lump Dighton  or Freetown into a South Coast article. It is difficult to work Brockton into the South Shore with Duxbury, even if they were the same town once.

Regional pride demands better nicknames. Greater Taunton and Greater Brockton would suffice, with some sort of Cranberry designation covering everything inland from the Irish Riviera. The Cranberry part would be physically large, but sparsely populated.

Plymouth, while only one town, is very large physically and her stand-alone designation works on a map.

The division of Cape Cod into regions is a whole other article… an article which cannot begin until we define Cape Cod’s western border … which is also a whole other article.

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