The Poopdeck

The Talk Like A Pirate Day Newsletter
Published when the fancy strikes
Ol' Chumbucket, ed.
ISSUE NO. 75 (I believe), Sept. 19. 2009
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TODAY is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!!

Today's Inspirational Pirate Quote:

"We, the undersigned, are men without a country. Outlaws in our own land and homeless outcasts in any other. Desperate men, we go to seek a desperate fortune. Therefore, we do, here and now, band ourselves into a brotherhood of buccaneers... to practice the trade of piracy on the high seas..."
"Captain Blood" (Errol Flynn)

In This Issue

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Thank you all for your continued and growing support of International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Cap'n Slappy and I have long suspected that we would soon become almost incidental to the holiday. You have taken it and made it your own, and we couldn't be happier about it.

Thanks to the women of Team Pirate, Mad Sally and Jezebel the Web Wench. Slappy and I have funny ideas – they do the heavy lifting to make things work.

Thanks to Captain Chuck and the whole gang at the University of Alaska, and to Captain Killy and the mad pirates on the beach of St. Croix for making a couple of ol' lopers so welcome.

Thanks to all the friends we've met on the way – Jamaica Rose and Cockroach (hard to catch and impossible to kill) and Cap'n Bogg & Salty and The Mackay and Bilgemunky, Keelhaul and Clapeye and Bunny (yes – Bunny. Wanna make something of it?) and Talderoy and Shayna and all the rest of ye! There's so many we can't name 'em all! What a grand trip this is!

And finally, thanks to our close personal friend, Pulitzer Prize Winner Dave Barry, whose column back in 2002 launched the holiday from a small private joke among a few friends into the stratosphere. It has become an international phenomenon, and we don't use that word lightly, nor are we certain we've spelled it correctly. Dave (we call him Dave now) keeps trying to duck any responsibility, but we know full well we'd never have gotten here without him. Thanks. Dave.

Or, if you prefer, Mr. Barry.

Around the World

This is a story that says it all. It was sent to us by Dennis from the small Dutch coastal town of Goes. Last year they celebrated TLAPDay in a local bar called Café La Strada, a favorite hangout for young and old alike. They had a great time. They were going to do it again this year, but the pub had burned down in January. But people kept asking Dennis where the party would be this year, so he passed the word that he'd be putting on his pirate finery and walking through the town today. He figured 10 or so, maybe a couple of dozen at most, would want to join him.

Instead, he's received confirmation from more than 100 people that they'd be there in full regalia! In a town of 18,000! Would 100 accountants show up? 100 tennis players? 100 chiropodists? I don't think so! 100 Ninjas? Maybe, but how could you tell? They're quiet and sneaky.

By the time you read this, it will probably be over and we'll know how big the party has gotten. But it's really inspirational. All over the globe, people are swaggering and just having fun. That's really all we ask.

You can go to our site at for lots, lots more reports like these, of pirates partying, doing good deeds, having fun, making asses of themselves – often all at the same time – just for the sheer anarchic fun of talking like pirates. The page is at .

Online – And the Answers to the Quiz

Everybody is getting into the act. Facebook pages are being translated into pirate, bloggers, role-playing games, myspace and Facebook. You've been checking out our youtube videos and commenting, and of course Twitter, where Cap'n Slappy holds forth as thecapnslapply to a growing army of twitternauts. Today the No. 1 trending topic is Pirate Day! Awe-insiring and a little humbling.

The quiz I shared with you in the last Poopdeck (answers below) is online at CNN's Web site: . Play the video to hear me read the question, then submit your answer and find out if you're right.

And now, here's the answers. I'm not resending the entire quiz, but you can check it out on to remind yourself of the questions.

Test Your Pirate Knowledge

When is it time to "splice the mainbrace?"
c) When having the first drink of the day. "It's time to splice the mainbrace" means it's time for the first drink of the day. There's probably a reason for that, but if anyone knows it, he didn't tell me.

When is it appropriate to shout, "Prepare to be boarded!"
a) When attacking a ship.
b) When crashing a party.
c) On your wedding night.
d) All of the above.
In a purely technical sense, the correct answer is A. Pirates boarded merchant ships to capture and loot them. However, it's a handy phrase that can have wide application depending on how creative you are, so we're saying the correct answer is D, all of the above. So you get points for anything.

When a pirate asks you, "Mind if I slip me monkey pump in yer bunghole?" you should:
d) Give him a drink. A monkey pump is a straw sailors would slip between the slats of a barrel to sneak sips of rum. The bunghole is simply the hole in the barrel.

Before ship-to-ship combat, a crew would spread sand on the deck
b) To provide sure footing when the blood flows. Besides the fact that ships are, by definition, at sea, where things get wet, all the cannon fire and cutlass slashing, etc., there tended to be a fair amount of blood on the deck. Sand was just the ticket to soak it up and give the pirates, who lacked the athletic footwear we have today, the traction they needed.

A pirate would be most likely to sprinkle a pinch of gunpowder
a) In his rum. That's just something sailors did in the pre-Viagra era to try to improve their virility. It adds plenty of vitamin "Boom!"

The term "Jolly Roger" was ...
b) Was derived from the French, "Jolie Rouge" meaning, "Pretty Red." Many original pirate flags were red, the color that meant the approaching ship would show no mercy unless you surrendered immediately. So the "Jolie Rouge" became Jolly Roger, and though most flags became black, the name stuck.

Blackbeard's ship was called,
a) The Queen Anne's Revenge It's not clear that Blackbeard was actually a fan of Queen Anne or that she was out for revenge. It probably just sounded cool, and it's a good thing, if you're a pirate, to let think that you were pissed off about something and out for revenge.

The "Dogwatch" is -
c) Either of two short "watches" aboard a ship - 4 p.m.-6 p.m. or 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Ships companies were divided into two groups that worked alternate four-hour watches. But in the evening the two-hour dogwatches made an odd numbered watch schedule instead of even, so the crew wouldn't have to work the same watches day after day. This term led to a joke in the "Master and Commander" series – Why are they called dogwatches?" "Because they're "cur-tailed." In the books, Jack Aubrey thought that was the funniest thing he'd ever heard.

If you are a "shellback" you ...
d) Are an experienced sailor who has crossed the equator at sea. It's just what they call them to this day. They also call a sailor who has crossed the arctic circle a "bluenose."

You know you've been "Keelhauled" when ...
a) Your mates drag you under the ship while at sea. The bottom of the ship is the keel. If you're being punished – and this was often fatal – they'd tie a rope around you and haul you under the keel, which besides the whole drowning thing also involved getting cut up on razor-sharp barnacle shells.
Have fun – pirate on! And talk like a pirate!

-- Ol' Chumbucket, editor

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