Happy Patriots Day. And who might be your favorite Patriot? Pick one from the Revolutionary War and also off the all-time roster of the footballing Patriots. It's not as easy as you might think.

Among the Sons of Liberty, we've always been partial to Paul Revere's cookware and Ethan Allen's furniture, but they don't make the cut.

We're staying local. We're going with Gen. Israel Putnam, a son of Danvers (then Salem Village) and one of the four major generals under Gen. George Washington. He also came up with the concept of the ice cream smorgasbord that we so enjoy at Putnam Pantry.

As for the pigskin Patriots, our favorite is Chuck Shonta, a defensive back who played for the Boston Patriots from the inaugural 1960 squad through the 1967 season.

In the second game of the 1960 season, the visiting Patriots were trailing the New York Titans 24-21 at the Polo Grounds with 3 seconds left in the game.

On fourth down, Slingin' Sammy Baugh, the Titans head coach, decided to punt when a kneel-down would have ended things. The punter muffed the snap and Shonta picked up the loose ball and ran 52 yards — the final gun sounded when he was still at the Titans' 20-yard line — to give the Pats a 28-24 victory.

Let's see Brady do that.

Godspeed, Tony Gross 

The seahorse whisper is going hoarse. Long-time fisherman and lobsterman Tony Gross has hung up his slicks — he says for good. Two weeks ago, Gross sold his boat — the F/V Sandollar — and all its gear and inventory to his long-time stern man, Andrew Gossom.

When Gross hired Gossom five years ago, he told the newbie he'd teach him everything he knew.

Eight minutes later, the kid was all set.

Kidding, kidding.

Gross leaves the biz with the usual memories and maladies— chief among them a couple of herniated discs.

"It's a young man's game," Gross said Friday afternoon.

He was asked if he'll miss it.

"I don't know," he said. "I guess we'll find out. To be determined. But when I left fishing before, the thing I missed most was the community of fishing."

Gross also has decided not to seek re-election to the School Committee.

"I'll figure out what to do next," he said. "These are big changes. I've got to find someplace to make trouble."    


It doesn't happen nearly enough, but sometimes, if the stars align and you've eaten your Wheaties and made your bed, you end up with good stuff that you just don't have room for in the final edit of a story.

Lo and behold, it happened twice last week, which gives us a chance to revisit the stories and get even more good stuff in print.

You may have seen the story that appeared in the Gloucester Daily Times and online at gloucestertimes.com on the new course developed by Gloucester Capt. Joe Sanfilippo to teach the skills needed to work as a commercial fisherman.

During the reporting for the story, we asked Sanfilippo about his teaching experience and he related a story from when he was but a wee tyke.

"My first memory of doing any kind of teaching was when I was 12," Sanfilippo said. "My mom threw a huge party in our backyard. There must have been 250 people there and I remember gathering a bunch of other kids together and teaching them all net mending. I think that was my first experience teaching."

We also wrote about the upcoming road trip planned for the Gloucester-centric fishing documentary "Dead in the Water," which is set for May 16 in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. During the reporting, Rebecca Bell Sorensen, chief protagonist in the campaign to screen the film in the Twin Cities, reminded us that St. Louis Park is where the filmmaking Coen brothers — Ethan and Joel — grew up.

But here's the best part: Joel Coen is married to actress Frances McDormand, who spent a ton of time on Cape Ann during the filming of the television mini-series "Olive Kitteridge" that ran in 2014 on HBO.

McDormand was approached by "Dead in the Water" writer/director David Wittkower about providing the voice-over for the film. The actress was interested, but the two sides never could close the deal.

Still, Sorensen sent her an invitation to the May screening event, which also will include a panel discussion, a cocktail reception and seafood feast featuring fresh, Gloucester-landed seafood.

"Who knows? Maybe she'll come," Sorensen said. "And maybe she'll bring her husband with her."

Worth a shot.

Fishy business in the Carolinas

We also wrote last week about the Wilmington, North Carolina, man who was charged with multiple counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and abandonment after he left behind his pet oscar fish to live in "deplorable" conditions when he was evicted from his residence.

Michael Ray Hinson had to post a $4,000 bond for his release and he was roundly castigated as a scofflaw when the story went viral.

Now it turns out that authorities in New Hanover County had to drop the charges because fish are not protected under the state's animal cruelty laws.

To which we ask, what's up with that? Get the fish lobby on the blower. This needs fixing.

Tears for fears

We may have mentioned we have an inordinate fear of bees. Most likely it stems from the first time we saw the 1961 movie "Mysterious Island" in which a monster bee seals two human visitors inside a giant honeycomb. Just writing about it gives us the creeps.

And this didn't help: According to a story in the Washington Post, a 29-year-old Taiwanese woman went to the hospital after her eye was inexplicably swollen shut. She thought she had an infection. What she really had were four small bees — known as Halictidae, or "sweat bees" — living under her eyelid.

Craving salt, the bees had been living off her tears.

"I saw something that looked like insect legs," the doctor told Business Insider Singapore. "So I pulled them out under a microscope slowly, and one at a time without damaging their bodies."


As always, no fish were harmed in the making of this column. 

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT.

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