First Snow Of The Season For SE Massachusetts?

Don’t run out to get the bread and milk, but it looks like we may get a bit of the Siberian Marching Powder falling on SE Massachusetts this weekend.

A line of precipitation stretching from Texas to just south of us will wobble up towards us, and her outer fringe may give snow to either Cape Cod, the South Shore or both.

We’re talking Saturday night into Sunday morning.

We’re not talking about The Shining snow or anything, just a coating to a few inches. It will be significant only to those who are interested in when it first snows every winter.

A little wiggle in the storm track could make it miss us, or make it hit us with more snow, or even make it rain like a wealthy strip club patron.

There is another chance of some sort of stormy weather in the middle/end of next week, as a low pressure system will be operating offshore.

We’ll be back with an update if need be…

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Most Liqour Licenses Per Town (Archives)

One of the common local myths circulating around any town in Massachusetts comes to life every time someone says “No town in Massachusetts has more liquor stores than (insert his town here).” I have heard the term ascribed to Provincetown, Worcester, Amherst, Winthrop, Scituate, Clinton, Bridgewater, Marshfield and a dozen other towns. The easier to swallow version of this myth is the same quote, but on a per-person basis.

Opinions vary wildly, and this is probably one of those articles where I’ll get told to eff off in the comments section. I’m good with that. I will say that there are different lists with different criteria.

Boston generally wins Drunkest City In America. That title is shouldered by a heavily Irish population base, an unmatched pile of college kids, a nice flow of business travel, long suffering Red Sox fans, a solid nightlife industry and did I mention the Irish?

Roadsnacks, in an influential 2015 study using much of the same criteria as me (but using other factors like Package Stores, Divorce Rates and Twitter references), came up with a Top Ten of:

Plymouth
Scituate
Salem
Walpole
Adams
West Yarmouth
West Bridgewater
Andover
Hudson
Newburyport

 

WCVB, using a self-reporting technique of “Has More Than Five Drinks Per Session” and going by counties, had:

Hampshire County
Nantucket County
Sufflok County
Plymouth County
Barnstable County
Dukes County
Bristol County
Essex County
Franklin County
Middlesex County
Norfolk County
Worcester County
Berkshire County
Hampden County

They had Hampshire standing alone, Nantucket and Suffolk taking Place and Show, a glut with the same ranking (on that list, it runs from Barnstable to Norfolk Counties with each holding the same score) and the non-UMass western regions being a bit drier.

There are dry towns in the state where no Licka gets sold. Those towns remind me of the Civil War story of the Irish soldier slipping off the march into a dry-town inn and asking the innkeeper for “a glass of water, with a wee bit of the Creature added, unbeknownst to you or myself.”

I was going to try to find out Liquor Stores Per Town, but that seemed like too much work. There exists no easily-Googled database. I’d have to Google up which towns have how many liquor stores, then divide or something by how many people live in each town. A good method, granted, but very work-intensive for a sunny Saturday morning in May. There would also be a large Margin Of Error.

What I shall instead do is use this map of 2011 liquor licenses per town from the Boston Business Journal. Old numbers, obsolete, but providing insight. I can then cross-reference my numbers with the population figures of the town in question, and… Voila! We have a new stat, one which I will name once I think of something catchy.

(Editor’s Note: Or he can save 12 hours of math by just using this chart)

This map is just for places you can drink IN. Take-out drinking from packie stores isn’t accounted for on this list.

I may as well make a few guesses here before I start looking at the numbers, thus becoming like more enlightened than you. Once I have had a look, I’m disqualified from guessing. You’ll catch up to my enlightenment once you read the article, but by that time, I’ll be looking up some other new ish, and the cycle will begin anew.

I’m thinking that “the Irish Riviera” will miss out on her rightful title, mostly because “Cape Cod” is a touristy place and will have her numbers padded by people on vacation. I have no doubt that New Beige and Fall-down River carry the “South Coast” on their backs, but if places like Acushnet and Mattapoisett represent hard, the region may be able to take down a contender.

Anyhow, here are the towns from our region and their ranking on the list. The criteria is residets-per-liquor license. If I had package store numbers, these rankings might be radically different.

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Rank…. Town…. Residents… Licenses… Residents per License

1 PROVINCETOWN 3,390 62 55

Provincetown takes the title. At least one publication that I saw summed it up as well as I can… “Tourist haven in the summer… desolate, isolated winters.”

“55 residents per license” means that, if every single man, woman, child and baby in Provincetown went out for a drink to a local bar, each bar would only have 55 people in it… less, once you factor out bar employees who live in Provincetown,

By contrast…. if a similar event happened in Duxbury, there would be 1444 people in each bar. If it happened in Boxford (ranked #318 and last in the state), there would be 8600 people in each bar.

 

3 WELLFLEET 2,748 26 106
5 OAK BLUFFS 3,731 29 129
6 EDGARTOWN 3,920 30 131
9 NANTUCKET 10,531 73 144
10 AQUINNAH 354 2 177
14 TRURO 2,134 10 213
16 ORLEANS 6,315 27 234
21 CHATHAM 6,726 26 259

The Cape represents hard, although runner-up towns like Great Barrington could complain about tourists and summer people swelling the numbers. If you assume that summer people double the population of Chatham, and that there are also a disproportionate amount of hotels filling up with families, you might have to triple or even quadruple the licenses-per-town rankings. All of a sudden, these supposedly hard-drinking Cape towns start tumbling to 150th in the state.

Provincetown is immune to that. Tripling their RPL only moves them to 3rd in the state.

Monroe- ranked second in the state, just above Wellfleet- has 1 license in a town with 96 residents. By contrast, the Mayberry hometown (may have been County, or both town and county) of Andy Griffith fame had 5600 residents… in 1968.

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27 DENNIS 15,473 53 292
34 TISBURY 3,805 11 346
40 BARNSTABLE 46,738 112 417
42 YARMOUTH 24,010 56 429
43 FALMOUTH 33,247 76 437
44 SEEKONK 13,593 31 438
46 HARWICH 12,387 28 442

The pattern continues through the Top 50.

Let’s pause right here to tip our glasses to the western part of the state. While I’m only showing EMass towns, rest assured that about 90% of the towns that I’m leaving out are in the Berkshires.

“Mountain man/mountain man/drinks like a fish/and he hits like a ram.”

Both of the islands assert themselves mightily. Island people are sort of kin to mountain people. Both are a bit strange. It’s a different sort of strangeness, but it shares a common intensity. They’re both about equally lost in a city.

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54 FOXBOROUGH 16,298 34 479
58 EASTHAM 5,445 11 495
59 BREWSTER 10,023 20 501
60 HULL 11,067 22 503
64 WEST BRIDGEWATER 6,679 13 514
67 PLYMOUTH 55,188 103 536
68 MATTAPOISETT 6,447 12 537
71 COHASSET 7,182 13 552
74 FAIRHAVEN 16,124 29 556
75 WAREHAM 21,154 38 557

Rankings 50-75 have a few trends jumping out at me.

1) The South Coast is beginning to assert herself. Props to Seekonk for sliding into the top 50. Mattapoisett, Fairhaven and Wareham also step up to the bar by the time that #75 is called.

2) The South Shore and especially the Irish Riviera took awhile to show themselves. Scituate is nowhere to be seen.

3) I wonder if (and how much) Foxboro’s numbers are pushed up by the Patriots being in town. I don’t get out to Foxy Bro as much as I used to, and am not sure what sort of effect 8 home games (and X playoff games any year) has on the town’s drinking establishments. They say that businesses on Cape Cod are made/broken by 8-12 weekends a year. I wonder how much 8-12 weekend days a year is worth in Hooch Sold?

2012-03-05114225

78 BOURNE 19,023 33 576
80 BOSTON 599,351 1,033 580
82 KINGSTON 12,339 21 588
87 NEW BEDFORD 91,849 150 612

Cape Cod is starting to fade out… not because we don’t drink hard enough, but because we’ve exhausted most of our towns earlier in the rankings.

Bourne does drink harder than Boston, something I’m a bit shocked to see. If Boston had better beaches, they might be able fight their way up the list a bit.

Note that many of Boston’s Irish fled Boston in the 1970s, driving up the numbers in the otherwise sleepy Irish Riviera.

New Beddy closes out our presence in the top 100. 30% of the top 100 are towns in our coverage area.

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108 MASHPEE 14,261 21 679
109 RAYNHAM 13,641 20 682
111 OTIS 1,394 2 697
112 HINGHAM 22,394 32 700
119 AVON 4,303 6 717

Hey! That town of Otis is in Western Mass, and it’s not the rotary in Bourne.

My people in Raynham tell me there is great happiness that they conquered all but one Bridgewater.

In Massachusetts, the Avon lady is a bartender.

We forgot SWANSEA, they’re 128th

131 MARION 5,217 7 745
132 SANDWICH 20,255 27 750
140 ABINGTON 16,365 21 779
141 BRAINTREE 34,422 44 782
145 QUINCY 91,622 116 790
158 FALL RIVER 90,905 111 819
160 MANSFIELD 22,993 28 821
162 WALPOLE 23,086 28 825
172 WRENTHAM 11,116 13 855
177 ACUSHNET 10,443 12 870
179 NORTON 19,222 22 874
183 ROCKLAND 17,780 20 889
184 DARTMOUTH 31,241 35 893
186 STOUGHTON 26,951 30 898
190 MARSHFIELD 24,576 27 910
192 EAST BRIDGEWATER 13,879 15 925
193 PEMBROKE 18,595 20 930
195 NORWELL 10,271 11 934
198 SCITUATE 17,881 19 941
199 WESTPORT 15,136 16 946

Fall River is pretty much right in the middle of the rankings. New Bedford and Fall River, which I thought would carry the South Coast, ranked a modest 87 and 158 respectively. Seekonk (44), Mattapoisett (60 something) and the Wareham/Fairhaven team (74 and 75) all represented harder.

At least 10% of the liquor licenses in Wareham are held by places that only serve breakfast. (Your Hometown Here) may have more or less, I just wanted to float that stat out there.

Sandwich finishes off the Cape.

Fall River trails Quincy, which is the same size but more Irish-heavy. The Squantum neighborhood of Quincy is about as Irish as it gets.

If a bar gets their license revoked in Scituate, this thought-she’d-be-ranked-higher Irish Riviera superheavyweight would fall out of the Top 200. She’d rank below hard-living Oakham (pop. 953, 2 licenses) in the state

205 REHOBOTH 11,484 12 957
206 SOMERSET 18,268 19 961
209 TAUNTON 55,783 57 979
219 NORTH ATTLEBORO 27,907 27 1,034
223 MIDDLEBORO 21,245 20 1,062
224 WEYMOUTH 53,272 50 1,065
225 HANOVER 13,966 13 1,074
230 HALIFAX 7,700 7 1,100
233 HANSON 9,956 9 1,106
234 BRIDGEWATER 25,514 23 1,109
243 EASTON 22,969 20 1,148
247 ATTLEBORO 43,113 37 1,165
248 LAKEVILLE 10,587 9 1,176
249 HOLBROOK 10,663 9 1,185
250 WHITMAN 14,385 12 1,199

You’d think a town known as “Hangover” would be higher than 225, but No.

If Taunton gets a casino, they could jump up a lot of spots. Considering Boston is 80, a jump into the Top 10 may be a lot to ask for.

Bridgewater, which has the University, is the lowest-ranked Bridgewater. East and West pub much harder.

252 FRANKLIN 31,381 25 1,255
253 BROCKTON 93,092 74 1,258
259 LYNN 87,122 67 1,300
270 DUXBURY 14,444 10 1,444
272 FREETOWN 8,935 6 1,489
300 BERKLEY 6,433 3 2,144
304 CARVER 11,547 5 2,309
311 DIGHTON 6,748 2 3,374
315 ROCHESTER 5,218 1 5,218

The infamous “City of Sin” ranks an effete 259.

If the Gurnet Inn was still open, sleepy Duxbury would be ahead of Brockton and Lynn.

Rochester and Dighton hold down the South Coast, and Lakeville is the more “Let’s go out” of the Freetown-Lakeville conglomerate.

Duxbury and Sandwich ranked similarly, something our staff predicted. Both towns are sort of the Rich People Conscience of either Cape Cod or the South Shore (I’m told by our Fairhaven editor that Dartmouth fills a similar role on the South Coast). Granted, Sandwich is about twice as pubby as Duxbury, but the Cape is sort of off the scale due to summer tourism.

Shame on you, Rochester!

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Here’s a quick region-by-region tally:

CAPE COD

Provincetown
Wellfleet
Nantucket
Martha’s Vineyard
Truro
Orleans
Chatham
Dennis
Barnstable
Yarmouth
Falmouth
Harwich
Eastham
Brewster
Bourne
Mashpee
Sandwich

 

SOUTH COAST

Mattapoisett
Fairhaven
Wareham
New Bedford
Marion
Fall River
Acushnet
Dartmouth
Westport
Freetown
Rochester

 

INTERIOR BRISTOL COUNTY

Seekonk
Raynham
Mansfield
Norton
Rehoboth
Somerset
Taunton
North Attleboro
Easton
Attleboro
Berkley
Dighton

 

INTERIOR PLYMOUTH COUNTY

West Bridgewater
Abington
Rockland
East Bridgewater
Pembroke
Norwell
Middleboro
Halifax
Hanover
Hanson
Bridgewater
Lakeville
Whitman
Brockton
Carver

 

THE IRISH RIVIERA

Hull
Plymouth
Cohasset
Kingston
Hingham
Quincy
Marshfield
Scituate
Weymouth
Duxbury

Necessary research….

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If The Right People Were Running Plymouth… (Archives)

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Plymouth has a lot going for it. They have miles of coastline. They are dripping with history. They have an active downtown area. They have hotels and tourist-type places.

Plymouth also owns Thanksgiving. Her rule there is undisputed. There is no number one contender to that title. Plymouth owns it outright.

They take advantage of it. Pilgrims and Wampanoags are used to advertise businesses, decorate homes, and to generally set the mood of the community.

Just this past weekend, I went to a wonderful Thanksgiving parade that brought in locals by the thousands. All of those people spent money in the local economy, and Plymouth was the happening spot for a day.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

I’d just like Plymouth to happen a little harder.

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Nothing burns the frontal lobes of a writer with nada in the pipeline more than an underutilized resource.

You might think that my feelings on this are greedy and perhaps even crazy. They are definitely not in tune with the spirit of the season.

Thanksgiving should be when you are thankful for what you have, not about thinking “How can I make money?” and so forth. There admittedly are some errors in my argument when viewed from that viewpoint.

However, a rising tide lifts all boats that don’t have a big hole punched in the bottom, even those of the righteous. You can always be thankful, but you can always also be More Thankful.

Here are a few ideas I have that might get this town on a payin’ basis. We have a lot of nuclear reactor money to make up.

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Thanksgiving Football

Is there anything that compelling beaming out of ESPN on, say, a holiday Thursday? Why not make the Plymouth North/Plymouth South Thanksgiving football game be a national event?

A big part of Thanksgiving lore in America involves going to the holiday high school football game, either the one where you went to high school at or the one in the town your kids go to school in. I’m about five years from having to make a very painful Duxbury-to-Bourne switch when my kid finally gets School Spirit.

ESPN should show a game. Sure, if they get one from Texas, they have 300 pounders all along the offensive line and cornerbacks running a 4.4, and that would get you a higher level game. However, a lot of the charm is lost if it looks too much like a pro game, especially if they play it at one of those Texas schools with the 70,000 seat stadiums and the History textbooks that end with Jimmy Carter in the White House.

I would instead radically re-design the football stadium for one of the schools, or perhaps even build a stadium on a neutral site. I’d put it near the sea, preferably near wherever the Pilgrims actually set foot ashore.

There are a lot of woodlands around the nuclear reactor (if you ever want to see a satellite view of suburban sprawl coming to a skidding halt on either side of something, do a Google Map of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant), maybe they could build it in there.

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Thanksgiving Stadium (my idea, I’ll name it) would have less than 50,000 seats, but would possess several interesting visual facets:

– A giant replica Mayflower III on the seaside wall of the stadium, craftily positioned so that it would look like it was floating with the right camera angles. When either team scored, it could wobble back and forth as if in surf, while Rock The Boat (Don’t Tip The Boat Over) plays on the loudspeakers.

– A complete recreation of a Pilgrim and a Wampanoag village in either end zone.

– A much better version of Plymouth Rock. I would use the largest boulder that can be moved by modern machinery, and make it be the non-seaside wall of the stadium. I’d use a Disney-style fake rock if moving a small mountain became problematic.

– This Plymouth Rock would be hollowed out enough that the “1620” can be lit with fire or plasma rays. If we could somehow project the 1620 onto the moon, I’d be a-ight with that.

– A completely functional and life-sized lighthouse, which admittedly may be redundant with the 1620 neon sign.

– A seven hundred foot Turkey Of Vengeance robot who bursts forth from the sea to seek dinner-related vengeance on the crowd. We’d stop him before he killed too many any people, of course.

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Once we have the stadium in place, we’d need to get the schools up to speed.

We don’t need to have the kids playing pro-level football, but it can’t look like a Pop Warner game. Top coaches should be brought in, players from other schools should be lured in and the phys-ed classes K-12 should be hyper-intensified. I would not be put off by Soviet Union/Red Army comparisons.

We’d have to re-mascot the schools, as well. North could be the Pilgrims, South would be the… OK, this gets touchy.

“Wampanoags” is sort of a mouthful. “Indians” seems almost like a slur. “Sachems” lacks brand name recognition, and I think Middleboro or someone may already be the Sachems. “Warriors” is a bit bloody-minded. “Squantos” has a ring to it, although there was only one Squanto and we’d be heading into Lone Rangers territory. “Natives” sounds like what the Tea Party would name a team if they had one.

I suppose we could go Team Standish vs Team Alden, for the Massasoit Trophy. To be fair, Team Metacom vs Team Wamsutta for the Mayflower Trophy also works.

We’d also have to get the cheerleaders to step up their game. I’m thinking this here…. or this below.

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In turn for pretty much handing them their holiday viewing (and 30 for 30 special, or whatever they call those) for every Thanksgiving, ESPN will see that Plymouth gets a little financial compensation.

Compensation would be in order. I’m not sure that “free publicity” means much to a town that is in the early chapters of every American History textbook, Likewise, nationally televised stadium advertising would be limited, as very few people in Chicago are going to be ordering delivery from the humble Pizza Factory in America’s Hometown.

No, Plymouth will be requiring little green pieces of paper with Founding Father Faces.

America would adopt the game as their own. It might not sell well out East where many are going to their own HS games, but it would be prime morning viewing for anyone a time zone or three over.

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Thanksgiving Parade

Speaking of compulsory national Thanksgiving viewing, we could make some improvements to the Thanksgiving parade and get it up on the tube.

Macy’s has a Thanksgiving parade. Philadelphia and Detroit also have prominent Thanksgiving parades. New York was an Algonquian trading post with 5000 Lenape natives when the first Thanksgiving was held in 1621. Why should they have the Thanksgiving parade?

F*** them.

The Thanksgiving parade held in Plymouth should be televised nationally. The Macy’s parade gets 88 million eyes a year. It is a national tradition that the much smaller Plymouth has little chance of vanquishing.

Plymouth could work some odd angle for their parade, to distinguish it from the giant Macy’s parade that we have no chance of defeating straight up.

The Macy’s parade starts at 9 AM, and ends about when the North/South football game would be starting. We’d be fools to run opposite of that.

Why not try the night before, or even Thanksgiving night?

7 PM, either night. I like the Thursday night idea better, as we’d be trying to wedge in between the 4 PM NFL game and the 8:30 PM game. We’d have all of the vacationers in town already, as opposed to a Wednesday night event.

We’d have to weed out the weaklings among the parade attractions. We’d have to hunt up corporate sponsorship, which could be used to super-power the floats.

We’d have to consider altering the parade route. I like Benny’s as much as the next person doesn’t, but it’s not the place for a Jump Off. I’m thinking of using 3A, maybe make the parade run from Plimoth Plantation to Plymouth Rock. That may also prove problematic. but we can sweat the details later.

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BLACK FRIDAY

The important part is the ending, which is also why Thursday night is crucial to the parade.

Plymouth is already the home of Thanksgiving. Why not also take the running-unopposed title for Black Friday?

That’s right… go from humbly thanking the Gods for what you have to the Gimme Gimme Gimme of the Christmas shopping season. It’s the most important day of the consumer year, and no city owns it.

Plymouth could take possession of Black Friday simply by having the eyes of the nation on them already via the football game and the parade. End that parade at Plymouth Rock, and light a mammoth Christmas tree there.

A simple, symbolic act, lighting that tree. It will match neither the Rockefeller Center tree nor even the Boston tree in grandeur.

However, what it lacks in prestige, it makes up for in timing. Tied to the Thanksgiving parade, at a slack hour between football games…. Boom… Light that sucker up.

Black Friday is ours.

Granted, I’m aiming high, with stadiums and new holidays and all. Plymouth should aim high. If we don’t, someone might come along and take Thanksgiving from us. New York already has the nationally televised parade that by all rights should belong to Plymouth.

We can take it back, if we Think Big.

Whether that makes enough money to pay for the effort remains to be seen. I’m more of an idea guy than a bean counter. The bean counters would have the hard job.

However, if Plymouth has a chance to profit heavily off of a holiday that they already own, and if they have a chance to claim a second holiday, would they not be wise to look into the best case scenario?

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Duxbury vs Marshfield, 2017 Thanksgiving Game

KODAK Digital Still Camera
We headed out to Marsh Vegas for the Thanksgiving game against arch-rival Duxbury.
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Don’t be fooled by the pictures, as I was in Duxbury’s end zone for most of the game… and the “I” in question was Most School Spirit 1986 at Duxbury High School. Marshfield smacked us around pretty badly. The final score was close, but the moment-by-moment was ugly for a Dragons fan.
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Unconscious bias from a Duxbury kid, but here was the best picture I got of a Marshfield kid. Even though my boys took the L, it was nice to see Vegas coach Lou Silva go out a winner. Class act.
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As if my holiday wasn’t painful enough, the concession stand sold me a hot dog in a tortilla wrap. I shared it with two opportunistic seagulls.
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Parking your giant pickup truck in the FUEL EFFICIENT VEHICLES ONLY spot rules pretty hard.

The Cranberry Bowls: SE Massachusetts Thanksgiving Football Schedule

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is the 2017 Thanksgiving football schedule for our coverage area. The lower team is hosting, i.e. Falmouth, Marshfield, etc…

10:00 A.M.
Barnstable
Falmouth

 
10:00 A.M.
Duxbury
Marshfield

 
10:00 A.M.
Nauset
Dennis-Yarmouth

 
10:00 A.M.
Mashpee
Sandwich

 

10:00 A.M.
Weymouth
Walpole

 
10:15 A.M.
New Bedford
Durfee

 
10:00 A.M.
Brockton
Bridgewater-Raynham

 
10:00 A.M.
Cardinal Spellman
Archbishop Williams

 
10:00 A.M.
Bishop Feehan
Bishop Stang

 
10:00 A.M.
Taunton
Coyle & Cassidy

10:00 A.M.
Attleboro
North Attleborough

 
10:00 A.M.
Stoughton
Canton

 
10:00 A.M.
Oliver Ames
Sharon

 
10:00 A.M.
Mansfield
Foxborough

 
10:00 A.M.
Franklin
King Philip

 

10:00 A.M.
Diman
Greater New Bedford

 
10:00 A.M.
West Bridgewater
Southeastern

 
10:00 A.M.
Bristol-Plymouth
Blue Hills

 
10:00 A.M.
Holbrook/Avon
South Shore Voc-Tech

 
10:00 A.M.
Upper Cape
Cape Cod Tech

 
10:00 A.M.
Monomoy
Sacred Heart

 
10:00 A.M.
Dartmouth
Fairhaven

 
10:00 A.M.
Norwell
Hanover

 
10:00 A.M.
Plymouth North
Plymouth South

 

 
10:00 A.M.
Silver Lake
Pembroke

 
10:00 A.M.
North Quincy
Quincy

 

 

10:00 A.M.
Whitman-Hanson
Abington

 

 

10:00 A.M.
Dartmouth
Fairhaven

 
10:00 A.M.
Apponequet
Old Rochester

 

 

10:00 A.M.
Wareham
Bourne

 

 

10:00 A.M.
Dighton-Rehoboth
Seekonk

 

 

10:00 A.M.
Somerset Berkley
Case

 

 

South Shore
10:00 A.M.
Mashpee
Sandwich

 

10:00 A.M.
Norwell
Hanover

 

 

10:00 A.M.
Whitman-Hanson
Abington

 

 

10:00 A.M.
Rockland
East Bridgewater

 

 

10:00 A.M.
Carver
Middleborough

 

 

10:00 A.M.
Cohasset
Hull

 

 
10:00 A.M.
Bellingham
Norton

 

Archives: Is It Possible To Jump The Cape Cod Canal In A Car?

The story of a man who drove his car into the Cape Cod Canal grabbed headlines this week. They say it was a suicide attempt, and they’re probably correct. However, what if it were a little bit more than a suicide attempt?

I may be 100% wrong, but I can’t shake the feeling that the man in the Ford Focus may have been trying to jump the Cape Cod Canal. I’m thinking of an effort akin to Evel Knievil’s attempt to jump a rocket over Idaho’s Snake River Canyon in 1974.

While suicide is a rotten option to choose, one must admire the man who tries to do it with Style. I’d bet that 100 people have jumped to their deaths into the Canal, but perhaps only one (I’m being told someone may have tried it in the 1940s) guy tried to kill himself while jumping over it.

There’s an All Or Nothing, Death or Glory sort of hardcore appeal to this act. If you’re going to push all of your chips onto the table and ask for the Eternal Answer, you may as well do so while crossing the most dangerous item off of your bucket list. When the one thing that you’re normally afraid of losing when pondering ridiculous stunts has no worth, stunt-planning moves along much more quickly.

The Canal is incidental to this story. If this guy lived in Buffalo, I’d imagine that he’d probably have gone over Niagara Falls in a barrel. If he lived in Rwanda, he’d have slapped a silverback in the face. If he lived in Pripyat, he’d run have around nude and drank from the streams.

The plan was flawed for many reasons, some of which were apparent immediately. Other flaws reveal themselves to the expert (or the guy who spent a morning researching Stunt Jumping) upon deeper examination.

For starters…. if you try to kill yourself and live, your plan had flaws. You become the Polish kamikaze pilot from the 1970s joke book.

If you assign the man a higher motivation than suicide, you must also point out more specific flaws. His jump across the Canal ended 40 feet away- an impressive jump, but not one that you’d need to clear the 450 foot wide Cape Cod Canal.

I was undersexed as a kid, and therefore spent most of my Physics classes staring at legs… but I did stay on-task long enough to pick up some vocabulary that will come in handy here. The plan had fatal flaws (fatal flaws in a suicide attempt produce a Bizzaro-style polar opposite effect where the jumper lives) in the areas of Speed, Mass, Acceleration, Incline, Resistance and Drag.

There was also a pine tree-sized hole in his Exit Strategy plan, but we’ll get to that later.

If you open Google Maps and look at the area at the end of Perry Avenue, it will help with comprehension. You’ll notice that Perry Avenue is a straight drag, and you’ll see an odd structure at the end of it. That’s Three Mile Look, which serves as a Canal observation point 99.99999% of the time and as a ramp .000001% of the time. It is the smaller of the two numbers that concerns us today.

Three Mile Look isn’t what a stunt man is looking for in a ramp. Other attempts to jump larger rivers involved an almost vertical climb. The other jumps also didn’t involve the driver smashing through wooden railings before takeoff.

Three Mile Look also is about 2 stories above the Canal, maybe 3. An object falls 9.8 meters a second for every second that it is in the air. the Canal is 450 feet wide, about 1.5 football fields.

There’s other math, but it confuses me. You could use Real Math, which means solving the  s=ut+½at² equation.Good luck with that.

I prefer to use Vin Diesel Math, which is where I find an article written in a science journal about a similar jump performed in one of those Fastest And Furiousest movies. I hope this math works for you, because we may also get into Burt Reynolds Math and Keannu Reeves Math if we tangent off into the Smokey And The Bandit or  Speed franchises.

Vin is in Dubai, way the hell up in the Etihad Tower Complex. The limey guy from The Transporter movie is chasing him with a rocket launcher. Even though he’s on the 45th floor of a skyscraper, there happens to be a $3 million Lykan HyperSport supercar all fueled up and ready to aid in Vin’s escape.

Vin gets it up to 100 mph in an apartment living room (the Lykan, of which only 7 were made, can reach that speed in 2.8 seconds)`and then jumps the car out of one building into one nearby, dropping a few stories in the process.

The buildings are 100 yards apart, a bit more narrow of a distance than the Canal, but my Math flaws will erase those distances.

The Lykan HyperSport has a top speed of 240 mph, considerably higher than even the best Ford Focus out there. They both weigh 3000 pounds or so. The guy jumping the Canal has one advantage over Diesel (two, if you count “isn’t that worried about dying”) in that he has all of Perry Avenue to use to build up what isn’t that difficult of a speed to obtain. Perry Avenue is about 50 feet longer than the distance he’d have to jump. He might need to be going 150 MPH, but we’ll worry about that later.

If you’re keeping score at home, he has a shot at going fast enough, but he doesn’t have enough ramp to get the necessary height with which he could drift a bit.

That height is important, because it will take him 3 seconds to get across the Canal at 100 mph, and he’ll be losing speed as he flies. Every second that he is falling, he loses about 30 feet of height. Granted, he’ll be going up for part of the flight, but 30 foot drops every second of descent aren’t what you’re looking for when your launch ramp is 30 feet high.

Acceleration at the point of launch is also important, as it is what keeps your nose from landing first. Speaking of landings, the Canal guy would have been in for a painful one had he gotten across the Canal. The only flat surface is the bike path, which is 30 feet across or so. It is bordered on either side by boulders and forest.

Ironically, he would have landed on Perry Avenue if he made the jump. I just noticed this now, but it appears that Perry Avenue was split in half by the construction of the Canal. He’d need a stout East wind, as the Cape side of Perry Avenue is to the west of where the mainland Perry Avenue ends. Fortunately, or perhaps after years of planning and waiting, the attempt to leap the Canal was performed during a Tropical Storm where Bourne was suffering stiff east winds.

It sounds so crazy, it has to be true. Cape Cod has a FTW-style Evel Knievil. He’s just not that swift. “A” for effort, though… maybe an “A+” for imagination.

How would a professional handle the same leap?

For starters, some trees would have to come down. Three Mile Look, for all of her flaws as a launching ramp, is better than the Three Hundred Trees any jumper would land into on the other side of the Canal. Three Mile Look would have to be rebuilt with greater incline. A lot of trees would have to come down on the Cape side.

He’d probably need a car that is much more modified than the Ford Focus. The speed needed to jump would be easy enough to attain with a modified vehicle. However, this is where I should point out that, for all of his broken bones, Evel Knievil was never injured during his jumps. He was injured by his landings. I don’t know how they modify cars to do stunt jumps, but they’d have to find out and do that.

Evel was jumping a river three times as wide as our Canal. He was also using a steam rocket. Vin Diesel did his jump in a car that can outrun a F-16 until takeoff. Burt Reynolds and Sally Fields only had to jump a stream.

Reynolds’ jump over a dismantled bridge was more in the range of what the Canal guy should have tried. That jump was made with a rocket similar to what Evel Knievil used for his Snake River jump, as a 1977 Trans-Am wasn’t powerful enough for the leap. It covered about the same 40 foot distance that the Canal jumper managed, and took off from a similar height. It was driven by a stuntman.

It also destroyed the car, which tells you all that you need to know about the feasibility of jumping a regular-person car across the Cape Cod Canal.

Archives: Plymouth Cranberry Harvest

If you need more Thanksgiving before December hits, we have a dozen or so pictures of the local cranberry harvests. We’re emptying the picture stash into this, so some may be blurry.
You need more than one truck to harvest cranberries… one to store them, and one to, uhm, pump water and stuff.
Those trees could have helped us out by going all fall foliage, but No. I wonder if the farmer uses foliage color as a sort of harvest alarm, i.e. “when the oak turns scarlet, flood the bogs.”
Those commercials for Ocean Spray should have more Cape Verdean crews in them.
We try to get all of the crews in our shots.
Add 25000000 pounds of sugar, boil, strain….. Voila! Cranberry Sauce for everyone in Belgium.
We’re berry, berry happy that you chose to visit our humble site.
There’s that machine without the two trucks attached to it.
The cranberries won the popular vote, but the water ruled the Electoral College.
Red tide
Blurry as hell, but kind of cool.
The closer-to-shore berries erected a Trump wall to keep the mid-bog berries from coming over and causing 9/11.
Any larger than this, and the pic gets reallllllly blurry
I’m not sure if the farmers or if Ocean Spray divides the red and white berries. I try to not bother the workers with questions when I trespass on their job site.
If they harvested in July, my Facebook profile picture would be my silhouette in those berries after I belly-flopped into them. Unfortunately, my first status update would read “being beaten by a Cape Verdean cranberry harvest crew.”
Blood on the highway… oh wait, that’s just a big cranberry stain, like on Gorbachev’s head.
We tend to work Carver, Plymouth and Wareham heavily, as they sort of encircle our office.
We hope that you enjoyed our cranberry articles.

Open-Air Art In New Bedford

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Why waste time and money going to the Louvre when there is perfectly good art to be found on various walls in New Bedford?
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We were going to name this “Graffiti” or “Unsanctioned Street Art,” but a lot of these were murals done with the owner’s permission, by professional artists.
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Nothing livens up a drab city like a little outdoor art by a ghetto Gauguin.
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Do-gooder graffiti
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When I was teaching, we toured Channel 4 with the students. The trip was set up so my five kids who were held back from summer break and I could waste a day checking out a weathergirl (Melissa Bell, in this case). She was cool, but the fun part was when we walked by Gil Santos’ desk. I am old enough to have known Santos by sight, but the kids weren’t. I put a buck down, promised it to the kid who could recognize Santos (he was doing Patriots play by play  at the time, I’m not THAT old) once he started talking, went over and introduced myself. Santos, immortalized on the wall’s upper left, has a one-in-a-million voice, instantly recognizable… and I was handing the dollar over about 5 seconds after he started speaking.
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Katsuhika Hokusai could have a nice copyright lawsuit over this mural, which looks suspiciously like someone said “Just redo ‘The Great Wave Off Kanagawa,’ replace Mount Fuji with a second tidal wave, and BOOM…. New Bedford!” Hokusai died in the 1800s, so he won’t live to spend any of it.
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Gutsy tagging, seeing as it is 5 yards off of Route 18.
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What happens after someone decides that the Port Of New Bedford needs to be cuter.
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Liven up your block-long abandoned Clarks Cove brick factory by disguising the exposed pipes as palm trees. It’s what Martha Stewart would do if she suddenly and inexplicably took an interest in beautifying abandoned New Bedford factories.
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It wasn’t me, but I do know a girl who slipped on this once.
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Martha thinks of everything…
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It’s on like Donkey Kong in New Bedford!

Benny’s Closing, But A Few Stores To Remain Open

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Benny’s, a 93 year old retail icon in New England, is going out of business. They have 31 stores over 3 states (MA, RI, CT) and the closings will unemploy 715 workers.

This is a shame, but unavoidable. Benny’s was not in position to slug it out with Wal-Mart, and life is cruel, shoppers.

Many of the Benny’s outlets are already closed down, like the one in South Dartmouth that we captured in the photo above.

However, a shopper who is willing to travel can still get her Benny’s on, and can still collect Benny’s. The store is closing their stores en echelon, closing some while moving the inventory into a larger regional one. Three stores will close, and everything from them will be jammed in a 4th store.

The remaining open-for-business stores in Massachusetts are Taunton Ave and Central Ave in Seekonk, Mansfield, Taunton, Fall River, Fairhaven, Plymouth, Dennisport and North Attleborough.

Be careful with that list, however. I drove by Fairhaven’s Benny’s, and it is open in the windows-covered-with-brown-paper way. I also heard a radio ad saying that West Yarmouth’s store will be one of the open ones. I also just heard that Plymouth may stay open a while.

I’ll update this after some reader feedback.

Stores that are open have everything at 50% off.