One of the questions we get asked by a lot is, "Did you ever expect Talk Like a Pirate Day to become as big as it has?" And our answer is, "There's no way anyone could have foreseen this. It was just a joke shared by a few friends, that's grown into a joke shared by a few million friends all around the world."
And oce again, millions of you all over the planet, from the South Pole to Portland, Oregon, from Edinburgh, Scotland, to Tupelo, Mississippi, New Zealand to New York were talking dressing, partying and generally just carrying on like pirates all weekend long. Thank you all. We are in awe of you.
See for yourself! You can visit our Web site at http://talklikeapirate.com/tlapd08.html. It's an amazing list of events, parties, media and and mayhem you got yourself up to over the Talk Like a Pirate Day weekend. And don't forget to look at our Flicker photo page.
For now, we'd like to bring you a couple of the favorite things we've heard of, some of the highlights, and what we were up to.
* The New York Times crossword puzzle on Sept. 19, 2008, featured the following answers – 31 across, "talklikeapirateday" and 8 down, "shivermetimbers." THAT is a big deal to a puzzle junkie like me.
* As you know, we were in Philadelphia performing at The Franklin Institute museum on the day. The museum is hosting National Geographic's "Real Pirates" exhibition, and if you get the chance to see it as it travels around the country – DO NOT MISS IT! It's a terrific exhibit about the life and times of pirates, using hundreds of artifacts (including a big chest o' piece of eight) brought up from the wreck of the Whydah. We'll try to keep track of its movements and keep you informed. All we know right now is that this winter it moves to Chicago. So all you Windy City pirates, get ready for a treat!
* While in Philly, we visited Gazela, an authentic tall ship from over a century ago. The crew treated us to a tour of the ship, a couple of beers, and allowed me to scamper up the rigging. Okay, scamper is the wrong word. But I definitely climbed until my legs gave out. I guess I'm not as young as I used to be. In fact, I'm not sure I was EVER as young as I used to be. The next day I could barely walk. But it was a great view up there.
* Our performances at the museum went well – audiences were happy, the people who hired us were happy, so we were happy. And Philadelphia is a great city. But boy, were we glad to get home!
* Keith Olbermann talked like a pirate during his Sept. 19 Countdown.
* MSNBC's Will Geist at ZeitGeist celebrated by naming the five greatest pirates of all time. (No, neither of us made the list, but we were so happy he paid attention to the holiday that we decided not to complain.)
* The Wiggles – yes I said the Wiggles! – the immensely-popular-though-who-knows-why kid's TV show out of Australia (and home of the infamous Captain Feathersword), promoted TLAPD in its fan club newsletter.
* Our Web site took more than 5 million hits on the day alone. The spike put us at No. 5 on Alxis.com's list of movers and shakers, right between Lehman Bros. and CNBC. Google added pirate as one of its official languages. Blogs and Web sites and radio shows all over featured pirate talk. Online games such as World of Warcraft had pirate features, and of course at Pirates of the Burning Sea (where we are actual characters!) there was plenty of celebrating.
Really, I could go on all day. Rather than that, let me just urge you to visit the Web site (http://talklikeapirate.com/tlapd08.html) and scroll through the incredible variety of filibuster festivities. And don't miss the pictures posted over at Flicker.
Let me finish with two stories stories from Philadelphia – one kind of odd and the other that really made our day – our weekend and maybe even our year!
The odd one is reported by Cap'n Slappy: A young man approached athe table where we were signing copies of our book, "The Pirate Life: Unleashing Your Inner Buccaneer," and asked, "Wasn't Cap'n Slappy originally played by Mark Summers?" Apparently he meant the host of TV's Doubldare Kids Game Show, "Marc Summers." A confused exchange that followed:
"I'm Mark Summers."
It took a team of translators to remedy that conversational bottomless pit. That bit of misinformation was up on Wikipedia a while back and it took the Web Wench days to eventually convince the Wiki editors to remove it. Because if someone wrote it, it must be true. Right?
And here's perhaps our favorite single moment of the weekend:
Saturday, Sept. 20, we were sitting in the cafeteria area of the museum waiting to go on for our last show. About ten minutes before show time, a guy walked by with his wife, glanced over, then did a double take. "Oh my gosh!" he said. "I don't believe it! I ... Oh my gosh!" He was excited. This continued for a minute, then he came over and introduced himself. He's Aaron, a middle school English teacher at a private school in Maryland. And not only had he been teaching about pirates the first couple of weeks at school – he'd been teaching about US! Me and Cap'n Slappy! The whole school had taken a day earlier in the week to do pirate presentations, comedy, art, you name it. And he had studied our youtube video of me and Slappy and my son Young Chumpail singing the song, "I'm A Pirate," which Slappy wrote. His students had learned the song to perform for the pirate day.
Aaron took out his camera and pulled up a video, explaining that he wanted to make sure the class was ready to perform so he had assigned them to "do two things at once." The video showed his class playing basketball, racing up and down the court, shooting rebounding and defending – while singing "I'm A Pirate!" It was incredible. Wonderful. Just – I'm not sure what word I want is, happy-making. Something like that. Just amazing.
Thank you Aaron for sharing that with us. He's trying to figure out how to get it off his camera and into the e-mail so I can share it with all of you. Because – "Wow!" That was incredible. (The Web Wench urgently wants me to remind all our readers and fans – and presumably those groups overlap – that we are NOT going to post videos, anyone's videos, on our site, because we simply don't have the space, but we will post links to any vids YOU want to post on your own. Assuming, of course, that they're piratey.)
Anyway, enough of that. Slappy and I are always awestruck by the incredible reception Talk Like a Pirate Day has received from the world. For Slappy and meself, plus Mad Sally, Jezebel the Web Wench and everyone else associated with Team Pirate, thank you from the bottom of our black hearts. Thank you.
Ol' Chumbucket, editor
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