The Poopdeck

The Talk Like A Pirate Day Newsletter
Published when the fancy strikes
Ol' Chumbucket, ed.
ISSUE NO. 3 July 17, 2003
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Welcome back, me hearties, to The Poopdeck, the official online newsletter for International Talk Like a Pirate Day. As of today there are 70 fine subscribers to this publication, all of them no doubt good looking, smart and more successful with the opposite sex than anyone has a right to be.

This is our third edition, and we have to kick it off by coming to a screeching halt and issuing:


In issue number 2 of The Poopdeck, the editor committed a terrible faux pas (literally "false paw.") I completely forgot to shamelessly suck up to our close personal friend, Pulitzer Prize winner Dave Barry. It was OCPFPPW Dave (who we haven't actually met, but that's the kind of friends we are) who put this holiday on the map by writing a column about it last Sept. 8. To thank him for this, and in the hopes of prying even more publicity out of him this year, Cap'n Slappy and meself have vowed unending obsequiousness - if that's a word. And then Poopdeck No. 2 comes out and doesn't even mention him. That will never happen again. In fact, the omission makes Poopdeck No. 2 rare, possibly even valuable, like a Batman comic where they forgot to draw the Caped Crusader's pants.

Sorry, Mr. Barry sir. It'll never happen again.


Here aboard the good ship, we are easily excited. Just imagine, then, the high-fiving (or high hooking, in Cap'n Slappy's case) that went on around here when we received this request from Gordon S. Hlavenka, the Web list maintainer for USS John Young (DD-973, or "Big John" as she's known to her crew.) He was writing to offering Big John as an official mascot. Way cool.

Naturally, we leaped at the chance. From now on, Big John is the official US Naval Vessel of International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

"Big John" (remember, your editor's "real" name is John, so you can see why I’m so taken with this. I’m going to work hard to get Big John in print as often as possible!) was commissioned on May 20, 1978, and decommissioned on September 19, 2002. There you go. She was drummed out of the service on the very day TLAP Day went international (thanks to OCPFPPW Dave) Arrr!

When we noticed the Spruance class destroyer is now part of the mothball fleet in Bremerton, Wa., we got even MORE excited. As we may have mentioned, we live in the Pacific Northwest, and a trip up to the Puget Sound area for the chance to visit the official US Naval Vessel of Talk Like a Pirate Day is just too good to pass up. Said trip is now in the planning stages.

You can find out information about the ship at You can read about her decommissioning at Both sites have some photos as well.

The links are also posted at our Web site.

Welcome aboard, Big John!!


Shiver me timbers! It's still two months before this year's celebration of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and the drumbeat is getting louder. Cap'n Slappy and Ol' Chumbucket have already done a radio interview, with Kevin "Cap'n" Kirk of Eugene, Ore., radio station KZEL. It seemed a little early, but it was good practice. After all, it was our first interview since the Super Bowl way back when. In fact, the radio boys had Cap'n Slappy in the studio and had him on the air for an hour and a half! Besides the interviewing part, they had Slappy reading weather reports and news updates, including the announcement that Buddy Hackett had died. That may be my favorite piece of radio broadcasting of all time. We've been promised a recording of the interview, and will try to get some bits of it online. (That’s the sort of promise I can make because I have nothing to do with the technical stuff. But it makes the Web Wench wince.)

The holiday was also mentioned in - of all places - Publishers Weekly magazine. In a longish story about a book convention, the writer mentioned that the release of a children's pirate book is timed to coincide with "National Talk Like a Pirate Day, September 19, a humorous celebration dreamed up by two friends (and self-professed pirate freaks) who want to encourage people to toss around phrases like "shiver me timbers" and "ahoy, matey."

What was especially interesting about that, other than the mere fact that someone in the publishing business was paying attention to us, were the things the story got wrong. Listen, we have never claimed to be "pirate freaks." We freely admit that we know a little about a lot of stuff, but we don't know a lot about ANYTHING. Probably most kids know more about pirates than we do. We just think the idea of having one day a year when people talk like pirates is funny. But they were right about the essential facts - it's Sept. 19, and we definitely want to encourage people to toss around phrases like "shiver me timbers" and "ahoy, matey."

We wrote them a nice letter to the editor thanking them for the attention and mentioning casually that if anyone reading was a publisher who might be interested in the drivel we write, they can contact our agent. He's standing by! Unfortunately, it turns out Publishers Weekly doesn't run letters to the editor, but it was worth a shot. (And seriously, if anyone reading this is a book publisher, our agent Scott is standing by!)

We're working on lining up interviews for the week building up to the holidays. If there's anything that a lot of people may be able to hear (like last year's NPR interview) we'll keep you all informed.


Don't forget to let us know your plans for Sept. 19 this year, which falls on a Friday. We'll be posting them on a special place on our Web site so that people will know where they can go to celebrate. Here in Albany, OR, for instance, Cap'n Slappy and Ol' Chumbucket will probably be holding forth at Riley's Billiard Hall (good bar and there's plenty of room for the young 'uns as well.) It'll be a no-host evening to just sit around and talk like pirates all night. But we’ll probably be starting the evening (or finishing the evening, we haven't decided) with an adults only session at the Oregon Trader Brew Pub, which is literally right around the corner from Slappy's house and has GREAT beer but is not open to minors. So there are still some loose ends to tighten up.

Times to be announced.


"The Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl," is the feel good movie of the summer. In fact, this may be the finest movie of the year, possibly the best movie ever made. It's impossible to overstate how totally excellent this movie is.

No, we haven't actually seen the movie yet. Cap'n Slappy had to officiate at a wedding this weekend (he's legally allowed to do that, really, so if you're planning to tie the knot, give him a call! His rates are totally unreasonable!!) and with one thing and another neither of the Talk Like a Pirate crew have actually seen the film yet, a deficiency we will be rectifying very soon. In the meantime, we take the word of a friend who saw it who told us it was pretty good. That's all we need to hear to confidently proclaim that "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" represents the culmination of the entire creative efforts of the human species and will probably never be surpassed as an artistic achievement in any medium.

Seriously, if there's any actor out there who can do the little crooked smile indicating his character is totally deranged better than Johnny Depp does it, we haven't seen him. He makes Jack Nicholson look sane! And the girls seem to like that Orlando Bloom fella. The Cap'n and I, on the other hand, LOVE the idea of sword-fightin' ghosts!!!

(LATER BREAKING BULLETIN: Cap’n Slappy saw the movie last night and says of it: Cap'n Slappy gives it three and a half hooks. He gives Johnny Depp a perfect five hooks and says, "Now, that's what I calls "piratin'!")


Against our better judgments, the Web Wench has posted a photo of Cap'n Slappy and Ol' Chumbucket at our site, Yes, that's really us. We're still not sure if this was a good idea. We kind of preferred the mystery, the mystique, of people guessing what these two swashbuckling knaves looked like, a cross between Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks, perhaps, with just a touch of Mel Gibson. No, now you can see for yourself that we're just a couple of guys, and probably older than you'd imagined. Certainly older than we imagine ourselves, which might be the secret to our success, if that's in fact what this is.

So we'd ask you never to click over to that part of the site to look at the picture. Really, it's up there, but it's too accurate. So just don't even look at it, OK?

The Web Wench adds that there's plenty of room for your pirate pictures in our Rogue's Gallery as well, so get your pictures to her. Just remember to optimize the photo so that the file is small. Otherwise, her inbox will explode. All the info is available online at our site


We received a message from Jim Johnston (who doesn't mention where he's from but his e-mail address ends with a .uk, so that might be a hint.) He asks if there's any link between Talk Like a Pirate Day and Talk Like a Parrot Day. None at all, is our response.

Look, we're the last people in the world to rain on anyone else's parade or piss in their beer or however you want to put it. But Talk Like a Parrot Day sure strikes us as a bad idea. What? You're gonna spend all day saying, "Brawwk! I'm a pretty boy! I'm a pretty boy! Brawwk!!"? Better to just call it "Make Everyone Within the Sound of My Voice Hate Me Day" and be done with it. Because, oh! the pummelings you'll endure.

Now Talk Like a Pirate Day. That's cool.

So that's all for now from Big John! I mean, Ol' Chumbucket