39 Days Until Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Today's pirate quote:
In this issue:
The biggest day on the pirate calendar is on the horizon and bearing down like a sloop full of filibusters. International Talk Like a Pirate Day is only 39 days away. What are you going to do about it!
Let us know your plans. Do you have a party, a parade, a festival coming up? Are you raiding a restaurant or taking part in a pub crawl? Or a family picnic?
We're amassing a calendar of events for the Web site and you want to be sure your event is on it. So write a message, put it in a bottle, then e-mail it (I know, the metaphor breaks down) to the Web Wench at email@example.com. She'll be getting it all shipshape and Bristol fashion, and you'll be able to scan what's going on around the country, around the world, and around your neighborhood.
Then make your plans for the holiday!
Each year we hear of more and more groups – big and small – all around the globe, using Talk Like a Pirate Day to hold a fundraising event for some worthy cause – hurricane relief, cancer research, children's programs. That's the sort of thing that can bring a tear to a couple of old salts like me and Cap'n Slappy.
We're glad to see it, but it got us to wondering. How much money for worthy causes has actually been raised? So this year we're asking people organizing such events two things. One, let us know it's going on so we can help you get the word out. And two, after the event is over, let us know how much you raised and what it's going for. We'd be happy to trumpet your success, and let the world know what buccaneers as a whole have been doing to give back.
I had never thought of "Treasure Island" as a story needing either a prequel or sequel. Yes, there was a long history leading up to the events that embroiled young Jim Hawkins with Long John Silver and his gang of cutthroats, but really, isn't that true of every story, and life in general?
Yet, as John Drake, author of "Flint & Silver" notes, TI is like watching a train go by and only seeing the last couple of cars. There's a long history there, and in "Flint & Silver," his prequel to the classic, he mines that history beautifully.
In "Flint & Silver" we meet Long John Silver early in his career – actually at the very moment he becomes a pirate. But Long John denies that he's anything so crass as a pirate. He and his crew are "gentlemen rovers," or a brotherhood of adventurers, men who have signed articles and made common cause against the world. Not pirates. And his openness, his willingness to take people at face value and expect them to do the same for him, becomes his tragic flaw. He trusts Flint.
Drake presents Flint, who of course is mentioned often in TI as the most frightening creature ever to sail the seven seas, not so much as a psychopath but as a full-blown sociopath, a man who does what he wants for his own reasons without ever considering how it affects anyone else, including his crew.
It's a good story, full of action and adventure, swashbuckling and skullduggery. "Flint & Silver" is a grand adventure featuring characters you'll be glad to meet again for the first time, familiar figures that you'll see in formation, finding out how they'll become the characters you remember so fondly from Stevenson's classic. Drake's book is worthy of Stevenson.
But I can't give it a full five tankards, the perfect score. Not because there's anything wrong with it, but because it's not complete. There is no clue until the end that the story isn't going to conclude but is in fact the first of a series of prequels. This makes it a little frustrating as you approach the end, looking at the dwindling number of pages and asking, "How can he possibly wrap this up?" The answer is, he doesn't. He ends the first part of the story satafactorily, but that's where you finally realize there's much more to come.
So I'm giving "Flint & Silver" a provisional three tankards of grog. Depending on where it goes in the next book or books, I reserve the right to come back and increase the score.
With the holiday closing in, there's LOTS more to talk about, so you'll be hearing from me again soon and a lot more in the coming weeks. I haven't even mentioned Slappy's upcoming trip to the great white north, or our love of Pirate Booty, or what's happening down here in the Caribbean. So there'll be another Poopdeck coming to you really soon.
-- your editor, Ol' Chumbucket
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