The Poopdeck

The Talk Like A Pirate Day Newsletter
Published when the fancy strikes
Ol' Chumbucket, ed.
ISSUE NO. 57 or thereabouts- Sept 15, 2008
placeholder graphic skip to content

Four Days Until International Talk Like a Pirate Day!!

Celebrate in L.A. – and Everywhere Else!

We hope you're making plans for celebrating in true piratey style!

If you're near Los Angeles, get out to Studio City where Ye Olde Tattoo Shop is again planning another massive pirate party. Talderoy (our friend Clay) and Scarlett Harlot (Cap'n Slappy's one-day wife in New Orleans) are throwing a bash sponsored by Pirate Magazine, among others, that will include live pirate music, merchants, sword fightin' jugglin', fire eatin' and lots more such activities as appeal to us pirate folks. The fun begins at noon and runs 'til midnight. Oh, and it bein' a tattoo parlor, there's a special on sea rover inkings – $40 for pirate designs. That's where Slappy and I got inked last year, and we wear them with pride! And Rory Flynn, daughter of the inimitable swashbuckler Erroll Flynn, will be on hand to sign copies of her book about her dad. Can't beat that!

While the whole thing is a riot as only pirates can riot, maybe the most fun we had last year was standin' out on Ventura Boulevard waving at the passing motorists, many of whom dropped their cell phones, mouths agape, then smiled and shouted "Aarrr!" back to us.

The address is Studio City Tattoo, 11032 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA.

And there are plenty more parties like that all over the country – all over the world! From Missouri to Maui, from New York to New Orleans. Here's a note we got Saturday from Stuttgart.

"The most evil and drunk of all pirates shall be awaiting ye at O'Reilly's Irish Pub in the Reuchlinstrasse 17-19. Are you man (or wench) enough for this? Do you have the brass monkeys to face our broadside? ... Doc "Bloody Fingers" Stanley and Pirate John "Fingerless and fumbling yet still strangely popular with the wenches" will be awaiting you ... The only place to be on International Talk Like a Pirate Day in Stuttgart is O'Reilly's Irish Pub. Visit us for more information at ... "The Hook" Mann

Visit our Calendaarrr! of Events at

Pirate Guys in Philly And All Over the Airwaves

As I've told ye, we've got a busy schedule of events this weekend in Philadelphia, the 2008 world headquarters for International Talk Like a Pirate Day. But not so busy that we didn't add something. We just couldn't pass up the invitation to visit the tall ship Gazela at Penn's Landing. They're having a big pirate party themselves, beginning at 6 p.m. on the 19th.Sadly, 6 p.m. is when we begin our performance at the Franklin Institute, and since the museum is payin' to ship us to Philly the least we can do (and we always do the least we can do) is show up. So we'll miss the Gazela festivities (although by the same token, they'll miss ours, and I like to think that's worth something.) But we'll be there in the late afternoon to tour the ship, take some photos and generally misbehave. Then the crew is whisking us back to the Franklin, where we'll generally misbehave to the delight (we fervently hope) of the audiece.)

We're also building a fearsome schedule of radio interviews to do in the coming week, a broadside of buccaneer bloviators that would make lesser men turn green and run fer the exits. But Slappy and I can handle it, and you'll hear us on the airwaves in Los Angelses (KROQ, the Kevin & Bean show), Indianapolis, Saskatchewan (I'm not kidding, Saskatchewan,) Edinburgh, and New Zealand, among other places.

Ol' Chumbucket's Book Club

As promised, here's my look at three buccaneer books you might want to add to yer collection. Assumin', of course, that you've already purchased OUR book, "The Pirate Life: Unleashing Your Inner Buccaneer." If you haven't, get yerself down to the bookstore (or order online through our Website) right this very minute! It's right funny, if we do say so ourselves, and makes a perfect Talk Like a Pirate Day gift for all your friends.

Anyway, here's three more:

"Empire of Blue Water," by Steven Talty.

This may be the best book on pirates I've ever read (not counting ours, of course.) It's certainly one of the top two or three. Fascinating history that reads like the best swashbuckling novel. It's the story of Henry Morgan, who came to the Caribbean as a young man eager for fame and fortune. He became the key player in the war between the Spanish Empire and England, and his bloody exploits across the sea – from Maracaibo to Panama City – are great reading. Talty also creates a combined figure, a typical member of Morgan's crew, to help the reader understand the life and motivations of the average buccaneer.

The story winds to London and Madrid, but stays centered in the Caribbean, where the action takes place. And what action! Raids, pilfering, plundering, torture, kidnapping! There's treasure and carousing and dirty deeds, all the stuff that warms a freebooter's heart. Talty is able to place the action in the context of the political and economic currents of the time, so that when you're finished, you'll understand how and why the buccaneers won, and why their victory made it impossible for them to continue. The forces that unleashed them, now victorious, couldn't countenance their continued depredations. The earthquake that flattened Port Royal puts the final catastrophic exclamation point on their history, and Talty tells the tale chillingly. But it was the buccaneers' success that brought about their downfall. This, I believe, is the textbook definition of irony.

"Empire of Blue Water" is a must read for anyone who fancies pirates and wants to know their true story. It's a great book, and earns five tankards o' grog on a scale of five.

"Silver," a novel by Edward Chupack

The subtitle of this book clues you in – "My Own Tale as Written By Me with a Goodly Amount of Murder." It's the long-awaited memoir of Long John Silver, a fictional pirate so masterfully created by Robert Louis Stevenson and powerfully portrayed on screen by Robert Newton that he's more real to us than many actual pirates.

In "Silver," Chupack has created an alternate story to Stevenson's masterpiece. Readers should not waste time trying to match up the events in this book with those in "Treasure Island," it's a different story. Many of the names and a handful of the events are sort of the same, but Chupack's story takes a different tack. He's letting Silver tell his own tale, and you can certainly enjoy this without feeling you're betraying the Stevenson classic. So don't worry that this Silver hurts his leg, but never loses it. It's a different story, mate, and a fun one, although dark and dangerous.

In this version, an aging Silver has been captured and is being brought back to England for hanging. Imprisoned in his cabin, he's setting down his story, taunting his captor with clues about a fabulous treasure the two of them had pursued for decades. Starting with his early life as a beggar and thief on the streets of Bristol, Silver frankly accounts the murders, betrayals and other black deeds that marked his career. Mind you, he's not trying to justify or excuse his actions, and this is probably not a book for the wee ones. He's just telling you what happened and what kind of person he is.

And, like any good pirate story, there's a treasure at the heart of this tale. Chupack strews clues throughout the story, the clues that Silver and his cronies – friend and foe alike, have been following since they first found that Bible with the bloody inscription. And to his captor he dangles some bait – Silver has amassed his own amazing fortune, hidden away somewhere in the world, and he's left clues to its whereabouts in the manuscript, clues the reader is welcome to try to unravel.

The book's title may be "Silver" but it's a tale told in black deeds and red blood. And it's a fine read for a stormy night at sea when the ship lies at anchor with the wind roaring,, the boards and rigging creaking and waves slapping the oaken hull.

Four tankards of grog on a scale of five.

"How To Talk Pirate," by Geordie Teller

Geordie Teller brings us a new take on something that you know is right up our alley – Pirate talk. Our first book ("Well Blow Me Down" which became "Pirattude!") started as a pirate lexicon and sort of got out of hand. Teller's book is far more comprehensive than ours, while not being nearly as funny. Another difference is that in our book we say right up front not to trust anything we say because we made it all up and any time we were right it was by accident. Teller waits until the end of the book to allow as how, while he hasn't actually made stuff up, he has played sort of fast and loose from time to time. But he's not as forthcoming with where he did that, which casts a shadow on all of it. You can use the book for fun on Talk Like a Pirate Day, but I wouldn't for any kind of serious purpose – from literary to acdemic.

This is not a problem for guys like us, because we have no serious literary or academic pretensions and we doubt most of you do either. As Geordie points out, his book is called "How to Speak Pirate," not "How Pirates Really Talked" and he's after –and has caught – the fun of stereotypical pirate patois. This is a fine book for folks who want to parade their pirate persona with appropriate panache applied to his personal palaver. It's of much less value to serious linguists or historians, but what would they be doing acting like pirates anyway? They're supposed to be in the library, sipping sherry and arguing about whether "Aarrr" has three Rs or four.

This book falls somewhere in between George Choudras' comprehensive "The Pirate Primer," the complete and best-researched book on pirate patois I've ever seen, and Terry Bremerton's "The Pirate Dictionary," which is a good book but is so incompetently produced, with typos on almost every page, that it's really hard to take seriously. If you want some serious scholarship on how pirates in literature and film talked, go with Choudras's book. If you want some light reading to prime you for the upcoming holiday, Geordie Teller's "How to Talk Pirate" might be just the thing you need.

(And, it goes without saying, whichever group you fall in, you definitely want to buy our two books, "Pirattitude!" and "The Pirate Life: Unleashing Your Inner Buccaneer." Already have copies of both? Let me suggest you don't have ENOUGH copies of both.)

I'd give "How To Talk Pirate," tree tankards of rum.

And that's all for now. Knock the rust off yer cutlass, the sand outta yer flintlock and shoo the goony bird out of yer tricorn hat! It's almost Talk Like a Pirate Day, mateys! Be ready!

-- Ol' Chumbucket, editor


Having trouble getting The Poopdeck by e-mail? Use your favorite feed reader to subscribe to our feed and get notified whenever a new issue is posted!