It’s the morning after International Talk Like a Pirate Day. I’m stiff and sore with a little headache, but I’ve had worse. Mostly I’m just so damn happy about how the day went.
What a GREAT night! So much fun, with so many of our pirate crew and freebooter friends in the house, joining Cap’n Slappy and meself in celebrating the 20th anniversary of International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
I just wish I could have spent more time with each of you, but they kept me as busy as a peg-legged pirate at the proverbial butt-kicking contest. (And WHY doesn’t ESPN ever broadcast the butt-kicking contest? It’d be great ratings, I tell ya!) But I’m looking picture some of the folks are posting online (I was far too busy to actually take a picture) I keep seeing a face and thinking, “How did I not know he was in the house? How did I miss saying hellow to her?” It’s the price you pay, I guess. But Cap’n Slappy, Mad Sally and I already have our eyes set on the January Swashbucklets Ball (tickets go on sale Oct. 1, online at swashbucklersball.com.) so be warned, we WILL track you down!
An apology to those who couldn’t make it and missed a marvelous time. Obviously the livestream didn’t work as planned, and as I’d led you to believe. I blame myself. There are parts of it on the events page but not together, and it seems to be missing the first part, which was when all the pirates fired their pistols in the air, there was a tug of war across the middle of the bar, and Cap’n Slappy poured beer all over the counter and used it s a slip-n-slide, and when … well no, I guess none of that really happened. But you didn’t see it, so go ahead and pretend it did! I don’t even have pictures! Too busy running from pillar to post to evenb slip my phone out of me pocket. (It’s an arrPhone, of course.)
Thanks so much to Dan Clark, Mark Axton, Kenneth Texley and Rogue Saint-Jacque, without whom none of this would have word. And thanks to Kells! You were great. And the band, Bilge Rats and Pyrettes, you guys were amazing. And especially, thanks for accompanying me on “Brimstone Pirate.” Me hats off to ya.
We already have started cogitating on next year – but we’re going to rest a bit first. Hopefulle Cap’n Slappy, Mad Sally and meself will clap deadlights on ya in January, if not sooner.
Sept. 20, 2022
Shiver Me Timbers! It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Today is the day! Swash your buckles! Swagger! Growl! For one day a year, be unapologetically the bold buccaneer you’ve always wanted to be!
It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Don’t forget the big doings at Kells Brewery in Portland, streamed online from the TLAPDay events page.
And enjoy this musical tribute to the day!
Tomorrow is Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Tomorrow is the day! International Talk Like a Pirate Day! And not just the holiday, but the 20th anniversary of when TLAPDay went from a private joke among a couple of friends to an international “thing” (I hesitate to use the word phenomenon) that has been celebrated on all seven continents, at the White House, on “Jeopardy!” “Hollywood Squares,” and the New York Times Crossword Puzzle, and on the International Space Station. It launched Cap’n Slappy’s ex-wife’s birthday into the pantheon of important dates on the calendar (not that it wasn’t important before, Rhonda. Just sayin’.)
** Sunday’s Pirate Music Videos: You’re getting a two-fer today.
“Shiver Me Timbers,” sung by the Bilge Pumps
The Bilge Pumps are a legendary pirate band from the Dallas–Fort Worth area of Texas. One of my great regrets is that I never had the opportunity to see them perform, but they’ve been delighting audiences for decades. How long have they been ar it? Let’s put it this way. How many pirate bands have greatest hits albums?
There were a lot of reasons my family and I moved back to the Pacific Northwest, and one was to eturn to the turf of the Seattle Seafair Pirates. Cap’n Slappy and I had the privilege of parading, pillaging and partying with the Seafair Pirates, and I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun than those times. (There will be a couple of stories about them at Monday night’s 20th Anniversary livestream. Hopefully funny stories.) The Seafair Pirates burst into a restaurant, tavern or other business with a blast of sound, then sing a song. They usually leave with a song, and they never leave a man behind. That’s what lead to this scene last summer when Clapeye had to extemporize several verses while they searched for their missing man.
** Saturday’s Pirate Phrases of the Day: Gallows, Gibbet Cage, and Hempen Halter
Just a reminder that most pirates did not get to celebrate a 20th anniversary. “A short life and a merry one,” was the motto, and few were the lucky pirates who lived to retire from the sea with their booty. It was part of the deal, the cost of living the life you chose and defying the power of the state and society.
– The gallows, of course, is the platform from which executions were performed on land. But, in England, those hangings had to take place at low tide, because by law the admirality’s authority was restricted to the sea. When they performed executions in London it had to be on the strip of land between the river at low tide and high tide. For the purposes of Talk Like a PIrate Day, the gallows might be any exposed place where you have to perform in front of onlookers. Say, when Slappy and I are on stage Monday night.
– The gibbet cage was a human-shaped framework made of iron bands to publicly display the corpse of an executed criminal. Gibbeting, or hanging in chains, involved placing the dead pirate inside a gibbet cage and suspending it from a high post as a lesson. Your corpse would hang there, sometimes for years, while the crows pecked at your remains. Any small, confined space could be your gibbet cage on TLAPDay. Say, your cublicle at work, which for one day a year is your gibbet cage.
– The hempen halter is the noose they hang you with. Monday, you could describve the tie you have to wear as part of your serious business attire asd “the hempen halter.”
So on that cheery note, we’ll leave you for now and we’ll be back Monday morning, when it’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Sept. 18, 2022
Two Days Until International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Join us Monday on line or in person at the Talk Like a Pirate Day 20th anniversary party. Details here.
Just two days until International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Yer buckles best be well-swashed by now!
** Saturday’s Pirate Music Videos: Tom Mason’s “Talk Like a Pirate Day”
In 2011 I saw Tom Mason perform and after the show he told me he was working on a song about Talk Like a Pirate Day. He kind of hummed out the tune he had in mind and some of the lyrics, and asked if I had anything to add. I tossed out a couple of ideas (I’m not certain, but I think the “peg-legged jig” line was mine.) Anyway, my contribution wasn’t much, but later when he finished the song and registered it, he told me he was listing me as co-writer. He was FAR too generous.
A couple of years later he called to tell me that I had earned some royalties at the music registry site, BMI. My take so far was …
Hey, I’m not turning up my nose at it. I can now truthfully claim to be a professional songwriter. I didn’t cash out though. I told Tom,
“Let it ride!”
Enjoy the song! (Ka-CHING!)
** Saturday’s Pirate Phrase of the Day: Letter of Marque
A document from the government authorizing a ship to raid the shipping of another country, turning a pirate into a privateer. If the ship were captured by the raided country’s navy the crew would be treated like pirates and hung, but if successful they would not be charged with piracy by their own country. Henry Morgan always began his epic adventures with a brisk stroll to Government House in Port Royal to pick up the letter of marque from Gov. Modyford, thereby turning his raids from ocean-going thievery to government policy.
It’s just a reminder of the importance of always getting your paperwork done in a timely manner.
Sept. 17, 2022
Three days until International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
** Friday’s Pirate Music Videos: “The First Annual International Talk Like a Pirate Day Drunken Sailor Sing-Along a Go Go”
This was so much fun. Mad Sally and I loved living in the Caribbean for four years, but we were cut off from so many freebooter friends The idea of having so many pirates join together from all across the country to contribute to this video of a classic song was too good not to pursue, and everyone we asked jumped at the chance. We assigned verses, but we never told anyone what to do for the filming, didn’t even suggest It was fun to see what they did with it. And getting Dave Barry to join in was icing on the cake, since we owe him so much for bringing our idea to the world’s attention.
It was a lot of fun putting this all together.
** Pirate Words of the Day: Davy Jones Locker
It’s the bottom of the sea, the watery grave, the final resting place of drowning victims. Why Davy Jones? You will hear occasionally someone claiming authoritatively that it refers to this person or that, but really knows how the the name got associated with the spirit of the sea, who presides over all the evil spirits of the deep, and is often seen in various shapes.
Sept, 16, 2022
Four Days Until Talk Like a Pirate Day, and a Double Dose of Pirate Filk
Just four days Until International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Time to dig those buckles out of the back of your closet and get ready to swash ’em!
Celebration in Studio City
On Monday, our friend Clay “Talderoy” Clement and his crew at Studio City Tattoos will again celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day at the shop at 11032 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA. They’ll have specials on pirate-themed tattoos and give away copies of “Pirate Santa,” the illustrated children’s book penned by our own Cap’n Slappy.
If you’re in Southern California you probably aren’t going to make it up to Oregon for our party at Kells Brewery in Portland. May we recommend in that case, a visit to Studio City Tattoos might by just the ticket to get your fill of pirattitude. Tell ’em Ol’ Chumbucket sent you!
You can call the shop for details at 818-769-4049.
** Thursday’s Pirate Music Videos: Tom Smith’s “Talk Like a Pirate Day”
and bonus: Tom Smith’s “Hermione Grainger the Pirate Queen”
The day after Talk Like a Pirate Day in 2002, when our holiday first came to the world’s attention in a big way, I got an email from Tom Smith, an artist in filk music and a superstar in the world of fantasy/sci fi and pop culture conventions, where he’s known as “the fastest filker in the west.” To prove the point, he had heard of our holiday and overnight had dashed off this song, “Talk Like a Pirate Day.” We had never met Tom or talked to him about the holiday, but he caught exactly what we thought the holiday was about. As the song says, it’s “That time in September when sea dogs remember that grownups still know how to play. And maybe we’ll never got closer, than watching them on the big screen. So here’s to old Errol, and Depp as Jack Sparrow, and every damn one in between.”
And as you’ll see, a few years later we had the extreme good fortune to not just meet up with Tom (at the Capricon convention in Chicago in 2008,) but to perform the song with him on stage.
Bonus: Some time later, “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling decided, with no reference to us or our holiday I’m sure, that that the birthday of her witch character Hermione Grainger was nothing less than September 19. Tom immediately got to work and the result is today’s bonus song: “Hermione Grainger, the Pirate Queen.” It’s a hoot.
** Pirate Words of the Day: Bunghole and Monkey Pump
Now just hold on there! This is absolutely innocent, no matter how rude it may sound. And isn’t that what’s fun about talking like a pirate?
Try this line next time you’re out with the crew, or your spouse or a blind date. “Hey, matey. Could I slip me monkey pump into your bunghole?”
In the days before refrigeration, victuals on ship had to survive weeks and months at sea. Meat was heavily salted to keep it from turning. Beer, water, and rum were stored in casks and barrels. You’ve seen pictures, there’s a stopper on the side of the barrel. That stopper is the bung. The hole it fits into is the bunghole, an opening through which the barrel can be filled or emptied. (I didn’t make these words up!)
A monkey pump is a small, hollow bit of straw that an enterprising (not to say dishonest) sailor could slip between the barrel staves to steal a drink.
So when you say, “Let me slip me monkey pump into your bunghole,” all you’re saying is, “Could I have a drink, please?
See, totally harmless, innocent even.
Sept, 15, 2022
Five Days Until Talk Like a Pirate Day
** Don’t forget Monday’s big event
** Tuesday’s Pirate Music Video: “Decked Out Like The Devil,” by Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers
** Pirate Words of the Day: Belay
** Pirates Take Over Ashland Science Center
** Correction: Ropes and Lines
Don’t forget Monday’s big event
Don’t forget the 20th anniversary event taking place from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday at Kells Brewery in northwest Portland. Music, door prizes, and more pirates than you can shake a stick at. (Warning: Do NOT shake a stick at pirates. It never ends well.)
The event will also be livestreamed on the Facebook events page.
Tuesday’s Pirate Music Video: Cap’n Slappy’s “I’m a Pirate” song
“I’m a Pirate,” written by Cap’n Slappy, sung by Slappy, Ol’ Chumbucket and Chumpail.
One of the earliest of our videos, a song written by Cap’n Slappy “for the children.” How old is this? That cure little blond kid singing along? Now 24 years old and working in logistics while dreaming of forming a rock band.
Pirate Words of the Day: Belay and Belaying Pin
To secure or make fast a line by winding it on a cleat or pin. And that pin is called a belaying pin. When you see in a movie pirates sneaking aboard ship at night (we do that sometimes, it’s not always vaporing and screaming and swinging aboard) and pulling a heavy wooden pin from a rack to bop a sailor on watch over the head, did you ever wonder, “Why would they keep a rack of cudgels along the railing for use by any buccaneer or filibuster who happens aboard? Well, that’s why. They’re there to secure lines for the safe operation of a ship. Using them as clubs is just a bonus.
(And speaking of securing lines etc., see the correction below.)
Pirates Take Over Ashland Science Center
The ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum in Ashland, Oregon, has been taken over by pirates for the month of September, and they will be hosting a raft of pirate-themed activities Saturday and Sunday in run up to Talk Like a Pirate Day, which of course is Monday.
The event also celebrates the exciting news this summer ‘s exciting news about the potential discovery of the ship Santo Cristo de Burgos, off the Oregon coast.
Correction: Ropes and Lines
On Tuesday I had the temerity to suggest I knew what I was talking about. Specifically, I said there were no ropes on a sailing ship, that to a sailor they were lines. So naturally, within the hour I had received this following missive setting me straight.
“Though a lowly bilge scum pollywog, I’ve sailed square riggers and offer a minor correction to today’s nautical terminology. Although your palaver on lines was 95 percent on target, those who like to win drinks in taverns must point out that among the miles of lines on a sailing vessel, there are seven ropes.
“From the … USCG Auxiliary:
“While we have been studying the subject of ropes, it is a fact that a ship has but seven ropes! All the others, in sailor talk are referred to as lines, sheets or hauls.
“Here are the” ropes “‘of a ship. Any sailor can tell how experienced a seaman is by listening to him talk of rigging. Never, except as follows, will he call any parts of the rigging “rope”.
“Foot rope-under the yards to stand on, also the bottom edge of a sail.
“Bolt rope – sewn around a sailing, or lowering a top-mast or a topgallant and royal mast.
“Man rope – the hand rope at the sea ladders and gangways.
“Mast rope is used in hoisting, or lowering a top mast, or a topgallant and royal mast.
“Buoy rope, attached to a buoy.
“*Yard rope, the rope used in sending up and down yards.
“ Wheel ropes are lead from the drum of an old fashioned hand wheel to the tiller purchase.
“While I have furled sail (with bolt ropes) on footropes and boarded with hand ropes, I would take exception to a few – especially since it leaves out the “bell rope” for the ship’s bell that tells the time of the watch, but there’s a general consensus among sailors (who actually sail) that the right number is seven – whatever you call them.”
My learned correspondent signed him or herself only as “The Skipper (or That Bastard)” so I don’t have the name of the person I’m thanking, but “Thanks!”
Sept, 14, 2022
Six Days Until International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
** Tuesday’s Pirate Music Video: “Decked Out Like The Devil,”
by Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers
I met Tom Mason when he played at Cheeseburgers in America’s Paradise, a burger joint on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter and guitarist had created a pirate band recorded an album, and was touring the islands. Nice work if you can get it!
I caught up with him again a year later when he played at St. Croix’s Rhythms at Rainbow Beach, which is where this was recorded. It’s one of my favorites of his, a pirate song that reminds me a little of the Rolling Stones.
Tom recently released a new album this year, “Sail Again,” and I’ll have more to say about it soon. Right now I’ll just say – Good album, get it.
Decked Out Like the Devil at Rhythms at Rainbow Beach on STX
** Pirate Words of the Day: “Line” and “Lubber”
It’s a two-fer!
First, sailing ships of the day did not have rope aboard, no matter what you think you see in the rigging. When it’s on a ship, it’s a “line.” Sure, you can *call it* rope if you want, but you really should call it line or you’ll make yourself look like a lubber.
Lubber is a word from the 14th century that means “a big, clumsy, stupid fellow who lives in idleness.” Interestingly, it was originally mainly applied to lazy monks, the phrase “abbey-lubber.” But since the 16th century (we’re talking prime pirate time here) is has been used almost exclusively as a sailor’s word for those inept or inexperienced at sea, as in landlubber.
In a room where everyone is talking like pirates, being called a lubber is ALWAYS an insult.
Sept. 13, 2022
One Week Until International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Cruzan Rum to Sponsor 20th Anniversay Event
We’re excited to announce that Cruzan Rum is going to sponsor the 20th anniversary celebration of Talk Like a Pirate Day, which will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, at Kells Brewery in northwest Portland OR.
There will be special cocktails made with Cruzan, and door prizes. I’m particularly pleased because Cruzan is made on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where I lived with my family for four years. I visited the distillery several times, and drove by it often. So it’ll be like a taste of home.
The event, which will feature Cap’n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket and music by the Bilge Rats & Pyrettes, will be livestreamed on Facebook. You’ll be able to find a link to it on the events page.
** Pirate video of the day – “Scurvy,” by Captain Bogg and Salty
For the last week before the holiday, the video of the day will link to a variety of pirate music videos.
This is a great song by the beloved Northwest pirate band, Captain Bogg & Salty. They were the first pirate band we saw, the night we made our initial foray onto the stage. A lot went wrong that night (remember Yachats, Cap’n Slappy?) but it was made up for by the fact that we met the six-piece band. I saw them several times after that night, and learned a lot about pirate stage presence just by watching.
Two of their key personnel, Kevin Hendrickson and Loren Hoskins, later headed south to pursue their shared dream of working for Disney. Mission accomplished – they were the musicians Sharky and Bones on “Jake and the Neverland Pirates!”
** Pirate Phrase of the Day: “Batten the Hatches!”
To batten the hatches is to secure the cover or tarpaulin over the open hatchway to keep water out from a storm or high seas. In a broader context, it means to prepare for trouble. So on Talk Like a Pirate Day, if you see trouble coming, alert your crew to “Batten the hatches!”
Several years ago I was scolded by a reader when I urged people in the path of a storm to “batten the hatches!” This guy claimed, “You have to say batten DOWN the hatches!” Well, sorry, but no. You can say batten down the hatches, but it’s redundant. Think about it. What other direction could you possibly batten them? Has anyone ever said “Batten up the hatches?” “Batten the hatches slightly to the left or right?” I don’t think so. There is absolutely nothing wrong with “batten the hatches,” and in an emergency, where every second counts, don’t waste time adding an extra syllable.
A hatchway in the deck of a ship has a raised edge, called the coaming. To close the opening off from water during a storm, either a hatch was lowered over the opening and dogged (or secured) or a tarpaulin was stretched across it and secured to the coaming with batten boards.
Sept. 12, 2022
8 Days Until ITLAP! The Phrase of the Day is “Suck the Monkey”
It’s just eight Days Until International Talk Like a Pirate Day, me buckos! Here’s what we have for you today, Sunday, Sept. 11..
** Pirate phrase of the day: Suck the Monkey
Sailors at sea did what they could to augment their rum ration. One way was to purchase cocoanuts in ports, remove the milk and most of the meat, and fill it with rum. Since a cocoanut looks a little like a monkey’s head, a sailor drinking from a cocoanit was said to be sucking the monkey.
** Pirate video of the day – “Pirates vs. Ninjas”
In this ol’d favorite, Cap’n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket explain scientifically why pirates are better than ninjas in every way.
Starting Monday, our video links will feature pirate musical numbers – both our own and those of our friends.
Sept. 11, 2022
Nine Days Until International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
** Pirate phrase of the day: Bilged on her anchor
This is when a ship’s hull is holed or pierced by its own anchor. On Talk Like a Pirate Day, you can use this phrase to describe any self-inflicted injury, especially when one of your mates does so in a comical fashion. While dining, if one of your crew carelessly dumps his plate in his lap, it’s appropriate to cry out, “By the powers! He’s been bilged on his own anchor!”
** Pirate video of the day – “Inner Pirate”
In this quick video, Cap’n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket explain the key to International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Get hold of the pirate in you!
Sept. 10, 2022
Ten Days Until International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
** Pirate phrase of the day: Fo’c’sle
Fo’c’sle (FOKE-sul) is how you pronounce “forecastle,” the section of the upper deck of a ship located at the bow, forward of the foremast. “Forecastle” would have four syllables if you pronounced it that way – AND you’d look like the lubberliest of landlubbers if you did. Say fo’c’sle.
On a merchant ship, officers’s quarters were towards the aft. The fo’c’sle was the crew country. When out celebrating International Talk Like a Pirate Day, describe the front section of whatever tavern you’e in as the fo’c’sle.
** Pirate video of the day – Ask Cap’n Slappy 2, “Dating”
The other “Ask Cap’n Slappy” video we filmed some 14 years ago. Did I mention that we used to guarantee in writing that all of Slappy’s answers were wrong? We did that as a service to the reader, who might be wondering, “Gee, should I take his advice about laminating my parrot in plastic?” See? readers weren’t ever bothered trying to decide whether or not to take his advice. So this really bad dating advice is par for the course. But it’s all pirate!
Sept. 9, 2022
Eleven Days Until International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
** Pirate phrase of the day: Prepare to be Boarded!
Ol’ Chumbucket’s favorite pirate phrase. Pretty much every pirate movie has a scene in which a crew of seagoing cutthroats, usually with knives clenched between their teeth, swing from their ship to the prey, swarming onto the deck to overwhelm the other crew. Those people are boarders, in the act of boarding. Pretty simple, right?
So when you and your mates are about to swing into a bar or party, call out “Boarders away!” And as a warning to the people inside, call out “Prepare to be boarded!” as you come through the door.
And if you think about it, there are plenty of other, even saucier, uses for the phrase, like when you ask someone to dance, or you plunk yourself down at a table where people have gathered, or just break into a conversation at a party. To a friend who was planning to get married on Talk Like a Pirate Day, I suggested that on her wedding night she should shout “Prepare to be boarded!” to her new husband. That apparently went over big.
And there are plenty more opportunities. You are limited only by your imagination.
** Pirate video of the day – Ask Cap’n Slappy, “Savvy”
Boy, those were the days. Back when we were just starting, our website ran a feature called “Ask Cap’n Slappy.” People wrote in with questions and Cap’n Slappy answered them, sort of like Dear Abby, if Abby were a belligerent and scurvy-ridden pirate instead of a nice Jewish mother. Slappy doesn’t dispense advice these days, except from across the bar at any of his favorite taverns. But this video we recorded in 2006 features one his classic epistolary exchanges. Still funny.
Sept. 7, 2022
Twelve Days Until International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Pirate phrase of the day: Shiver Me Timbers
There was a saying during the age of sail; when at sea aboard a wooden ship of the day, there was only eight inches of oak between you and eternity, the thickness of the hull of the ship. If the hull were hit by a heavy wind or a ball of iron shot from a pirate’s cannon at a velocity right around the speed of sound it would rattle the ship badly. It would shiver the timbers. That got your attention. So “Shiver me timbers” is an exclamation of surprise or shock.
** Pirate video of the Day – Me hearties!
I’d completely forgotten this “public service announcement” we shot 15 years ago. It’s an important reminder when you’re out celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day on Sept. 19.
Sept. 7, 2022
Pirate Phrase of the Day: Splice the Mainbrace!
As we announced Monday, the Pirate Guys (that’s me and Cap’n Slappy) will send a special edition Poopdeck every day between now and the holiday, which of course is celebrated every Sept. 19. This will include a short description of a pirate word or phrase and how to use it on Talk Like a Pirate Day, and a link to one of our videos or one of our favorites by other folk.
So with that said, let’s begin.
Pirate phrase of the day: Splice the Mainbrace!
This has always been one of Cap’n Slappy’s favorites. “Splice the mainbrace” means to have a drink, usually referring to the first drink of the day. But it comes from something much more difficult and dangerous. Splicing the mainbrace was one of the most difficult, dangerous jobs aboard a wooden sailing ship back in the days of sail. The mainbrace was the longest line in the rigging of a square-rigged ship and it was an essential piece of that rigging. If it was shot away in battle or broke in a storm the ship could lose maneuverability, you might easily lose the whole mast. So if that happened, it was vital it be repaired as soon as possible, even if the battle was still going on. And you couldn’t just tie a couple of knots and call it good, because the mainbrace ran through blocks. You had to splice in a length of hemp rope, even as people were shooting at you. After the work was finished the captain would reward the crewmembers who had done it with a a ration of rum.
Today, we no longer have that particular dangerous task, but we still have the rum ration. I call this progress.
Pirate video of the Day – Me hearties!
This short (15 second) video is another from our early days of shooting videos in one take because we lacked editing ability. It’s a handy one for those new to pirate palaver.
Sept. 6, 2022
Two Weeks Until the Big Day
It’s now two weeks until the 20th anniversary of International Talk Like a Pirate Day. I just wanted to share with you how our plans are going for the 20th anniversary event, and start giving you some tools for celebrating the great day!
Celebrating the Anniversary
Planning is picking up steam for the 20th anniversary get-together at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, at Kells Brewery, 210 NW 21st Ave., Portland. We’ve got a couple of surprise guests and we’re working on what’s going to happen. We’re also finalizing plans to livestream the event on Facebook.
You can find out more about the event on our FB events page.
And remember – You’re invited!
Talking Like a Pirate
Every day between now and Sept. 19 we’re going to give a word or phrase, and a video, that will help build your TLAPDay arsenal.
And today we’re starting with a video that does both. It’s the first video Cap’n Slappy and I ever filmed, back in the days when we didn’t have video editing software so everything had to be done in a single take, without any test or effects.. We became “one-take wonders.”
This gives you “The Five As,” sort of the beginners kit for talking like a pirate.
Besides being two weeks until the 20th anniversary of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, today is also the 33rd anniversary of the day the guy who became Ol’ Chumbucket (me) married the woman who became Mad Sally (my wife, Tori.) I can’t even begin to tell you hw important she has been both in my life and in the creation and growth of Talk Like a Pirate Day. The day we first became a public sensation, she was the first person to say, “You guys need a website.” She was the one who pushed Cap’n Slappy and I into developing a stage act which we’ve performed all across the country (and she occasionally was up on stage with us, like when we performed in Las Vegas,) and and she tricked us into writing our first book. If it weren’t for her, you probably wouldn’t be celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day every September.
Sept. 5, 2022
Review: “Born to be Hanged is a Rousing Pirate Tale that Happens to be True
I’m sure you know the old joke, the one that goes, “What’s the difference between a fairy tale and a sea story?”
A fairy tale starts out, “Once upon a time …”
And a sea story starts out, “No shit! There we were …”
Because a good sea story, especially a pirate sea story, isn’t necessarily about what did or didn’t happen. It’s not constrained by simple “truth,” whatever that may be. It’s about action and adventure, the romance of the sea and – in the case of pirates – the belief that people who aren’t afraid to take their fate into their own hands can achieve anything. And if it turns out they can’t, if fortune eludes them and the Spanish navy confounds them, at least they can create a legend that will be retold in dockside ports all across the seven seas, and that’s a sort of immortality itself.
Such is the tale Keith Thomson relates in “Born to be Hanged,” released earlier this year by Little, Brown and Company. It tells the tale, as the subtitle says, of “The Epic Story of the Gentlemen Pirates Who Raided the South Seas, Rescued a Princess, and Stole a Fortune.”
In 1680, some 300 swashbuckling filibusters led by classic “gentlemen rovers” followed Henry Morgan’s footsteps, marching across the Darien Peninsula and attacking Spanish settlements on the Pacific side. They then took ships and marauded up and down the coast. And yet their story is little known … until now.
Most books about the Golden Age pirates focus on the Caribbean, sometimes Madagascar, and mostly relate the same stories about the same band of ne’er-do-wells. Not that that’s necessarily a problem, because who can ever really get enough of Blackbeard, Henry Avery, Calico Jack Rackham and – of course – Ann Bonny and Mary Read? But the histories and the fictions based on those histories are almost all drawn from a single source, “A General History of Pirates,” written either by Captain Charles Johnson, Nathaniel Mist, Daniel Defoe or someone else – and the fact that historians and literary scholars can’t even agree on THAT is just the beginning of the trouble. The author, whoever he was, took all the tall tales and sea yarns that were being told in portside taverns and created a history out of them, and his aim was more to please an audience (and sell books) than to record history.
So most of what we know – or think we know – about Golden Age pirates comes to us from the pen of Mist/Defoe/Johnson and most of the rest from Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin’s “The History of the Pirates of America.” Some of it may even be accurate, maybe most of it. But for the pirate cognoscenti, accuracy is beside the point. For us it’s gospel.
That’s part of what’s so great about “Born to Be Hanged.” First of all, it’s a tale of action, adventure, hardship and derring-do at sea, a tale you’re probably not already well familiar with. And it’s all true, and the sources for the story are, for the most part, the pirates themselves.
That’s right. Though it seems counterintuitive to keep a journal while engaged in felonious activities, that’s what several of these adventurers did. And that gives Thomson’s story a verisimilitude missing in most such tales.
Thomson is the best-selling author of “Once a Spy.” He also wrote the hilarious novel, “Pirates of Pensacola,” one of the funniest pirate stories I’ve ever read. In “Born to be Hanged” he turns his attention to pure history and tells a rip-roaring tale of adventure. It’s a history that reads like the most exciting fiction, putting it in a league with Stephan Talty’s classic “Empire of Blue Water.”
“Born to be Hanged” belongs on the shelf of every freebooter aficionado. When you talk like a pirate on Sept. 19, it’ll give you an option besides the typical Robert Newton fan.
But you’ll still want to start your stories with “No shit! There we were …”
Aug. 30, 2022
You’re Invited to the Pirate Party of the Year!
One month until International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and because this is the 20th anniversary of the event coming to the world’s attention, we’re planning a party
And you’re invited.
We hope our pirate friends and family will join us from 6 to 9 p.m. at Kells Brewery, 210 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR, for music, shenanigans and sea stories as we raise a tankard or two in honor of our favorite holiday, the day when every man, woman and child on the planet is invited to talk like a pirate for the sheer, anarchic fun of it.
We certainly understand that most of our friends in the far flung corners of the pirate community might not be able to attend a party taking place in Portland, so we’re bringing the event to you. The 20th anniversary TLAPDay party will be livestreamed from northwest Portland to the world!
In the next day or two there will be a post on Facebook with more details on how to take part, and I’ll send a link as soon as it’s up.
Cap’n Slappy and meself will be joined by the maritime musical mayhem of our friends, the Bilge Rats & Pyrettes. There also will be a way for people to record a short video message to us – whether a fond memory, a congratulatory epistle, or a blistering buccaneer billet-doux – that will be included in the program.
We especially want to thank two noted Northwest freebooters, Dan “Ragnar ‘Redgoat’ MacHaggis” Clark and Mark “Topknot” Axton for arranging the event and making it possible for all of us to observe this important day in history.
We will have more to report on the event as the date comes closer, so keep a weather eye on your in-box and we’ll keep ya up to date on our plans.
August 19, 2022
T-Shirts Celebrate ’20 Years of Aarrr!’
We’ve posted some new T-shirts online so that you can celebrate the 20th anniversary of International Talk Like a Pirate Day. With the holiday fast approaching you don’t want to miss the chance to get your shirt in time.
The banner with a skull and two sets of crossed bones (because XX is 20 in Roman numerals) is available
on three different designs: One marking the holiday itself, one with the motto “Through Storm and Strife, Pirate for Life,” and the third advising others to choose wisely between being pirate or prey. And they’re all available in a variety of styles and colors.
You can find them online at our Cafe Press store. Don’t miss out on the chance to celebrate in style.
Twenty years. Wow. It’s been a long, fun journey, and we wouldn’t have made it here without the friends we’ve met along the way. Cap’n Slappy and I just want to thank everyone for making it possible. What a great ride. What great friends.
July 14, 2022
The Big Day is Getting Closer, Me Hearties!
Ahoy mates! We’re less than three months from International Talk Like a PIrate Day, celebrated every Sept. 19, and the 20th anniversary since this became a world-wide event.
First, I have to apologize for being out of the loop the last month. Some personal things took my attention from my pirate duties. But all is well and we’re back on track.
We have posted a series of T-shirts to our Cafe Press store, three designs that mark the 20th anniversary, presented on a variety of T-shirts and athletic wear. We hope you’ll find some filibuster finery to your liking and wear it with pride as the big day comes.
We are planning an event in Portland, OR, for the day itself and plan to make it available for people to take part in online, all around the world. We’ll have more to say about that in the coming weeks as our planning proceeds.
Serve Like a Pirate on TLAP Weekend
International Talk Like a Pirate Day is always on Sept. 19, which this year falls on a Monday. That means there will probably be a lot of pirate partying during the preceding weekend. But not ALL the action will be partying.
Our freebooter friend Nicklaus Lubell Hoffman – who goes by the nom de pirate Chef Crabby despite the fact that he’s one of the most pleasant pirates you’ll ever meet – hopes the brotherhood will spend at least part of that weekend giving back to their communities. He’s calling on Sept. 17 and 18 to be International Serve Like a Pirate Weekend, and Cap’n Slappy and I are enthusiastically on board with his plan.
The idea is for crews around the world to come forward in their communities and perform some community service. “What” you do is entirely up to you. You know your community and your crews. Perhaps you want to set up a beach cleanup on the day, or a toy drive (Christmas is coming, after all) or a fund drive to support a local or international charity.
As crews start plotting what they want to do, we also encourage them to invite the public to take part. We’ll be happy to include a listing of Serve Like a Pirate Weekend events on our website and here in the Poopdeck. We’ll also be happy to post a photo on the site from each crew that takes part. And Crabby has already set up a Facebook page to promote the event. Check it out here.
April 20, 2022
Real Irish Pirates!
This being the week of St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to share this video link I was sent – Real Irish Pirates!
It’s entertaining and informative. I, for one, had never heard the grizzly tale of the mutiny on the Sandwich. Enjoy. And sláinte!
March 12, 2022
Link by Link – A Little Business to Discuss
I just spent the last day and a half updating our links page. Now, every listing on the page goes somewhere other than “404.” At least it did as of 2:50 p.m. March 8.
We’ve got links to performers, festivals, books, kindred spirits, purveyors of garb and gear. There’s some very cool stuff we’re linked to. Two years of pandemic have left ther scars on the pirate community, so things have changed a bit. We know for certain that we don’t link to EVER Y SINGLE pirate-related or themed website. If there’s an event or service or person or group or place you think we should be linked to but aren’t PLEASE LET ME KNOW. Don’t sulk and complain that I’m not giving someone credit because I’m a nasty so-and-so. I mean, I am, sure, but the reason I did so is much more likely to be I don’t know that particular site. Educate me, please.
You can send me missives at firstname.lastname@example.org. Odds are really good that I will immediately (or at least reasonably quickly) provide that link.
And thanks to the Web Wench, who decades ago designed the original site and created the first links page. That was a hell of a lot of work, wasn’t it, Jezebel?
March 8, 2022
The Worst Pirate Ever Comes to HBO
Okay. Imagine Michael Scott (Steve Carell’s character on “The Office”) isn’t a sales manager, he’s a pirate, and the Scranton office of Dunder & Miflin isn’t a paper company, it’s a pirate ship. Got it? Then you’re halfway to getting “Our Flag Means Death,” the show that dropped it’s first three episode Thursday on HBO.
“Our Flag Means Death” is a comedy series loosely based on the life, exploits and early death of Stede Bonnet, the “gentleman pirate.” Bonnet was a wealthy planter on Barbados who inexplicably abandoned his life as a rich member of the gentry, along with his wife and children, and went to sea to become a pirate. Less than two years later his piratical career – and his life – came to a screeching halt at the end of a hangman’s rope in South Carolina. In that brief time he created a legend and made a name for himself that rings through the ages – the worst pirate ever.
This is NOT a pirate story along the lines of “Black Sails” or even the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, but at the same time, though it’s crowded with anachronisms and silliness, by adhering to the rough outline of Bonnet’s life it is arguably more historically accurate than either of those fictions.
And for those familiar with the oft-told (by me and Slappy) story of the creation of Talk Like a Pirate Day, you can imagine how excited we were when I saw the ship’s indoor tennis court.
The whole cast is terrific, starting with Rhys Darby is Stede Bonnet and Oscar, Emmy and Grammy-winner Taika Waititi, who created the show, directed the pilot and plays Blackbeard. The crew are wonderful, individual characters who really want to be pirates, but won’t ever make it as long as Bonnet is their captain. I think my favorite scene of the first three episodes was, when the crew complained that they didn’t have a proper pirate flag, Bonnet’s response is to bring out baskets of bright, gaudy slks and other fabrics and has them compete to see who can make the best flag. Winner’s flag will fly from the masthead. It’s absurd, but the crew responds – after a moment of incredulity – by diving into the project. It’s almost like watching a scene from “Project Runway.”
Bonnet really wants to be a pirate, really thinks saying he is one makes him one. But early on, when they’re about to launch their first attack, he has a moment of clarity. He realizes he’s made a terrible mistake. “I’m not a pirate. I’m an idiot.” Too late. He’s set on a path that – in real life, led him to the gallows. One wonders if the real Bonnet ever had that moment.
And that’s the humor of it. It’s played absolutely straight, totally deadpan. But it is utterly ridiculous, much as its inspiration was.
It’s a different take on pirates, but a funny one. You’ll enjoy it.
March 6, 2022
The Pirate World Is Stirring
The big event in St. Augustine – the induction ceremony for the Order of Leviathan – is over after a thrilling three days, but it’s just the start of the excitement. Festivals and freebooter fun stuff was pretty much shut down for two years by the pandemic, but now it seems pirates are beginning to lay plans for roistering and excitement all across the map.
Here’s a few events coming in the next few months – barring a recurrence of the damned COVID. These are just a few that I happened to run across, a random selection. If you know of others – and I’m sure many of you do – by all means let me know so I can spread the word.
Some of these have admission fees, some don’t. You’ll have to check online to find out.
– Pirate Fest Las Vegas: March 26 and 27 at Craig Ranch Regional Park, 628 W Craig Rd, North Las Vegas, Nevada.
It’s billed as a fun family festival including pirates, Renaissance and fantasy.
More info here.
– Pirates of the Pontchartrain: April 2 – April 3, just across the lake from New Orleans at the site of the Louisiana Renaissance Festival, 46468 River Road, Hammond LA 70401
Entertainment includes music from our filibuster friends, the Whiskey Bay Rovers.
Look it up here.
– Tennessee Pirate Fest: The last two weekends of May – May 2-22 and 28-29-30.
Entertainment includes original pirate tunes by the inimitable Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers.
Check it out here.
– Hampton (Virginia) Blackbeard Festival: June 4 and 5 in downtown Hampton. It’s easy to find, just look for the flood of pirates heading down to the waterfront.
Haven’t found much more information about this year’s event online yet. But let me just say for the record, the Blackbeard Festival is THE best pirate festival I’ve been to, and the crew that runs it are just great folks. If there’s ANY chance to go, you definitely should make a point of it.
– The Alki Beach Pirate Landing, Seattle: June 25 (although that date’s not yet set in stone)
The famed and ferocious Seafair Pirates will once again storm the beach at Alki in West Seattle, bringing their own brand of mayhem as they kick off the city’s annual Seafair event. Families crowd the Puget Sound shoreline to watch with delight and horror (horrified delight?) as the buccaneers land.
More information on Facebook.
– Northwest Pirate Festival: July 9-10, Thurston County Fairgrounds, 3054 Carpenter Rd SE, Lacey, WA
They’re still lining up performers and vendors, so there’s no listing yet. Check ’em out here. https://www.facebook.com/nwpiratefestival
And if you are organizing or know of another festival somewhere on this globe of ours, let me know by dropping a message to email@example.com.
Then gear up, get your pirate on, and get out and have some fun! After all, it’s a pirate festival, you almost can’t go wrong.
March 3, 2022
Big Doings in St. Augustine
St. Augustine, Florida, is a great town, especially if you’re a pirate. And at the end of the month – Feb. 25, 26, 27 – the town will be crawling with corsairs, flooded with filibusters and jumping with gentlemen rovers as the Order of Leviathan, the league of elite members of the pirate community, gathers there to induct 26 new members.
Half the 26 are from teh newly elected wave of members. The other 13 actually were elected in 2020 but because of the pandemic the induction ceremony had to be canceled. So this is a double dose of frolicing freebooters.
There will be a host of activities, some open only to members of the order and others open to the public. Visitors will get a chance to meet the pirate elite, fire blackpowder firearms and tour the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum. You can read all about it at the Order of Leviathan website or the event page on Facebook.
Leviathan or not, if you haven’t yet been to the Pirate Museum you owe it to yourself to get down to St. Augustine and give it a look! It’s an amazing trove of pirate ephemera! And that’s not all the town has to offer. There’s the Fountain of Youth site, the foot-friendly downtown and so much more.
Frb. 11, 2022
Attention Music – and Pirate Lovers
You’ve probably seen this game on FaceBook – answer each category with the title of a song. No repeats, don’t use the internet.
The rules say to go with the first song that comes to mind, but change your answers to your own. In other sords, the “rules” say you can’t steal mine. I, on the other hand, am a pirate and I not only respect but applaud the thievery. So to hell with the rules!
I wasn’t planning to take part, other than to note that in rock music you could answer woman’s name and man’s name with teh same name, if you’re familiar with the song “Lola,” by the Kinks. But then my friend John DeGrazia-Sanders took the challenge a step farther by answering every category with a Grateful Dead song, so I had to take up the challenge.
You don’t HAVE to use pirate songs, but lord, why wouldn’t you?
– Something to Wear: “Decked Out Like the Devil” Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers
– A Place: “Valparaiso ‘Round the Horn,” traditional
– Animal: “Fish in the Sea,” traditional
– A Number: “Pieces of Eight” Cap’n Bogg and Salty
– A Color: “Raise the Black,” The Musical Blades
– A Girl’s Name: “Nancy the Tavern Wench,” Alestorm
– A Boy’s Name – “Haul Away Joe,” traditional
(A special presentation of the song, with a hilarious bridge)
– Profession – “A Professional Pirate,” Tim Curry
– Day of week – “To the End of Our Days,” Alestorm (I know, this doesn’t really meet the crtieria, but I’m damned if I could come up with a song that has the days of the week in the title. Failing that, let this stand for now, and I’ll try to write one in the next day or two.)
Jan. 31, 2022
Ready to Celebrate After a Rough Year
It’s been a long, tough year. I had all kinds of plans for the newsletter and website, and they all got tossed aside in the name of surviving. Literally. But we’re back and ready to mark the 20th anniversary of International Talk Like a Pirate Day being unleashed upon the world.
Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know something about the turbulent year the Baurs went through. Not enough that we graduated our youngest from college, then planned and executed a move from the South back to the Pacific Northwest, then relocated again within the area once Tori found a job.
No, we also had to have a mid-move traffic accident in Texas that should have killed us but which we somehow managed to walk away from almost unscathed. Then, when we finally got to Washington Tori had to find a job – which she did pretty easily because she’s such a good teacher – and then we had to move from our “landing spot-rental” to a home within reasonable commuting distance of the school where she’s working. Then we had to replace our car, spar with the insurance for months, replace some of the stuff we lost in the accident, and unload our posssession twice.
So here we are, settled in in the hills above the port of Tacoma, renewing od acquaintances in the Pacfic Northwest. And looking ahead to a year of piratey activity (at least as much as the pandemic allows) while we make plans for a celebration 20 years in the making. I have some ideas that I’ll share with you in the next week.
Jan. 9, 2022
Dress Like a Pirate on Talk Like a Pirate Day
The holiday is called Talk Like a Pirate Day, but when you’re babbling like a buccaneer, it stands to reason you also want to be clothed like a corsair (furbished like a freebooter? Aye!)
But it can get spendy. Here’s a few words on how to dress like a pirate without breaking the bank.
Sept. 15, 2021
It’s Not Just the Words, It’s the Pirattitude
Talk Like a Pirate Day isn’t just about saying the right words. It’s about saying them with the right attitude, the attitude of a pirate – or as we call it, Pirattitude!
Click here to watch Talk Like a Pirate Day: Phone Etiquette
You Can’t Have too Many ‘Pyrates’
We were at the Goodwill Saturday and I ended up buying a book I already own. It wasn’t an accident, I knew I already had it. But my first copy has been locked in a storage locker for 13 years and I wanted to read it NOW!
Also in my defense, the book in question is George MacDonald Fraser’s hilarious “The Pyrates,” one of those books you can’t have too many copies of.
Fraser is the author of the inimitable “Flashman” series, and he brings the same ironic sense of devil-may-care humor and adventure to this one. He called “The Pyrates,” “a burlesque fantasy on every swashbuckler I ever read or saw.” It’s a tongue-in-cheek homage to the swashbucklers of yore, told with affection even as the author skewers the genre. The reader will find tall ships and desert islands; impossibly gallant adventurers and glamorous heroines; devilishly sinister cads and ghastly dungeons; improbably acrobatic duels and hair’s-breadth escapes.
It’s 400 pages of non-stop adventure and satire with intentional anachronisms and more heroes than it’s possible for one story to hold.
I read somewhere, years ago, that the book was originally intended as a movie treatment, but Hollywood wasn’t interested and Fraser got carried away. I don’t know, it might be true. But I’d sure like to see that movie.
If you’ve never read it, you’re in for a treat. Used copies shouldn’t be hard too find unless too many people, like me, are hoarding more than one copy and have created a scarcity.
And when I finally get into the storage shed and retrieve my original copy, someone is getting a present. Don’t know who yet, but someone.
Aug 31, 2021
Back to the Basics – The Five As
Let’s start with the very basics, the building blocks from which you create your pirate vocabulary.
It’s the first video we ever made together, back before we had video editing software, so everything had to be done in a single shot. We called ourselves “one-take wonders” (still do) and call this video …
Aug. 21, 2021
One Month Until Talk Like a Pirate Day
Talk Like a Pirate Day is on the horizon, just a month away now!
We have our plans for the day, how about you?
This will be the first time in six years that Cap’n Slappy and I will have been in the same time zone, let alone the same place, and only the second time in 13 years. So we’re looking forward to that.
We will be posting a series of Talk Like a Pirate lessons, quips, videos and more every day between now and the holiday. On the day itself, Slappy and I will appear at the Carousel in Downtown Albany, Oregon, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., then adjourn to the Calapooia Brew Pub in town for a traditional celebratory beverage.
We’re also starting to look ahead to NEXT YEAR, when International Talk Like a Pirate Day marks its 20th anniversary. That’s cause for real celebration.
So we want to hear from you. What are YOU planning for this year’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day? We also want to hear your suggestions on how to do next year’s celebration up right proper!
You can send me any thoughts, suggestions or prate jokes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for helping to spread the word – and the word is “Aarrr!”
Aug. 19, 2021
‘But How Do You KNOW What Pirates Talked Like?’
I got an email this morning from a correspondent calling himself no One No One and, as it hits directly at the whole point of the upcoming holiday (Talk Like a Pirate Day, every Sept. 19, in case you wondered why you were looking at this page) I thought I’d share the question and my answer with ye.
So I am interested to know how you know how a pirate talks
There are no books or voice recordings of pirates talking so how do you know?
No One No One
Ahoy, No One! Good to hear from ya!
That’s a fair question. The fact is that pirates came from every country with a seacoast and spoke most of the languages ever uttered by the human tongue. It’s hard to imagine that the pirates who kidnapped Julius Caesar in 75 BCE said, “Avast ye scurvy toga-wearing bilge rats! Prepare to be boarded! Aarrr!”
But it also can’t be argued that when I say, “Damn yer deadlights and heave to, or them what dies will be the lucky ones!” anyone within the range of my voice (and I’m pretty loud) immediately thinks, “Pirate!” When we think of pirates, we think of the swashbuckling rovers of the “Golden Age of Pirates,” the Caribbean buccaneers who brought the Spanish Empire to its knees. And the reason for that is …
Robert Newton was an actor from the Cornwall region of England, and those growls and roars and cadences were his natural speaking patterns. He was called, in a movie review, “A ham, and a succulent one.”
So when he played Long John Silver in the 1950 Disney version of “Treasure Island,” his performance was so memorable, so over the top, that he created the idea that THAT is what pirates sound like. And the fact that many of those Golden Age pirates actually were from the same region and actually did talk like that, obviously helped.
It’s a cliche, I suppose, but this isn’t a scientifically researched activity. It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day. Sure, some pirates spoke like gentlemen. and some spoke French or Spanish or Chinese. But when you say “Pirate” to a group of people – especially in a bar – half to two-thirds of that group will respond “Aarrr!” and everyone will laugh.
Hope that answers your question.
John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur
Aug. 12, 2021
When they ask, “How long have you been a pirate?”
My sister Terry, keeper of the ancient and sacred scrolls of Baur Family Lore (the old scrapbooks), recently posted this online, proving my pirattitude goes back quite a ways!
I’d put this right around 1960. Dig the Rambler station wagon in the driveway – it was two-tone blue, if memory serves. And I was wearing a crewcut with white sidewalls, in those days it was a very popular look for kids whose dads, like mine, cut their hair every other Saturday.
Aug. 4, 2021
Here They ‘Arr!’ New T-Shirts
Thanks to Jezebel, our former web wench (and you can have the title back ANY time you want it!) we now can offer the ‘Arr!’ T-shirt in both black type on light shirts AND white type on black or darker colored shirts. Magic? Nah, just hard working pirates trying to give the public what they want!
You can order them on our Cafe Press site and should have no problem getting them in time for the holiday! (Although I’m not employed by Cafe Press’s order fulfillment department and therefore cannot warrant anything but, jeez, almost two months. Shouldn’t be a problem.)
July 21, 2021
2 Months Until Talk Like a Pirate Day
Today is July 19, which means we are just two months away from that holiday of holidays – International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Every Sept. 19 it’s time to swash yer buckles and talk like a pirate, babble like a buccaneer, curse like a corsair, free associate like a freebooter, recite like a rover – you get the idea!
This year the holiday falls on a Sunday, which of course means we’ll have three days – Friday through Sunday – to celebrate. Cap’n Slappy and I will have a few plans of our own to announce soon – now that we’re both in the same time zone again.
We’ve added a new shirt design to the Talk Like a Pirate Day shop. Let our T-shirt do the talking when you encounter a lubber or normal who wonders whether you’re a pirate.
There’s a couple of styles up on the shop now, and more to come – including a black T with white printing, as soon as I finish wrestling with removing the background. (Just passed the task off to Jezebel, so it might actually work!))
I’m also leaving the “Pirates of the Pandemic” shirt up for a few days more. People liked it, it’s a nice-looking shirt, a reminder of the strange year we’ve gone through and hopefully are showing the door. So get it while the getting’s good, because it won’t be available much longer.
Thanks for spreading the word – and the word is “Arr!”
July 19, 2021
Singing with the Seafair Pirates
Mad Sally and I enjoyed a night out Friday, meeting up with the Seattle Seafair Pirates as they raided the reopening of the College Inn Pub. The Seafair Pirates are unique among pirate groups I have met, a cultural institution dating back some 70 years. When they raid a place (after thoughtfully posting a warning that they are coming) they burst in, all swagger and noise, and sing a song. And when it’s time for them to move on, they follow with another chanty. And they have a rule – Never leave a man behind – which Friday night led to Clapeye having to extemporize quite a while as they turned up their missing mate
July 17, 2021
A Long Year of Marooning Seems to Be Drawing to a Close Finally
As I write this, our friends Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers are finishing up two weekends at the Tennessee Pirate Festival and other such buccaneering bachanals are taking place or getting set to all across the country. Not all of them, and not all the biggest. These things take planning and the unknowns still make that kind of planning difficult.
But it seems that maybe this is dreadful time of uncertainty and, yes, fear may be drawing to a close.
Speaking as a pirate, I prefer that WE be the cause of dreadful uncertainty and fear. It’s in our job description. Not some little virus. Let’s get that straight.
However, thought it’s too soon to say it’s done and it’s a bad idea ot rush pell mell into the streets to celebrate “normal,” with the proper precautions and a little common sense we can start to open ourselves to the world again and put this behind us.
May 31, 2021
‘Puppet History’ Tells the Story of the the World’s Greatest Pirate
Ever watch “Puppet History,” on YouTube? Two guests* take part in a history quiz conducted by a puppet, “and hilarity ensues.” It’s actually a pretty decent little show, kinda funny, and you’ll pick up a few interesting trinkets of history that might come in handy next time you’re in a bar on trivia night or competing against friends and family while watching “Jeopardy!”
I bring it up because this week’s episode is on the most successful pirate in the history of the sweet trade – the Chinese pirate Ching Shih (also known as Chin Yi Saoa and other varieties of the name). At the beginning of the 19th century she commanded a fleet of thousands of ships, marauding the South China Sea. The Chinese Navy was unable to stop her depredations, and even the British Navy was ineffective in controlling her.
It’s a fun episode, and it features information you’ll have at your fingertips if you’ve read our first book, “Well Blow Me Down: A Guy’s Guide to Talking Like a Pirate,” by Cap’n Slappy and myself. Seriously, we have a short section on her in our chapter “The Pirate Hall of Fame,” where she shares space with such luminaries as Blackbeard and Barbarossa and Ann Bonney, to name a few. And if you have read those few paragraphs you will have enough information to win the show – or at least to beat Ryan, that guy doesn’t seem to know anything.
And there’s a lot more, pirate lingo and quizzes to a collection of some of the best from the “Ask Cap’n Slappy” advice column. If you don’t have a copy, drop me a line. We’ll see if we can hook you up.
* I say two guests, but one of them is always Ryan, who is also one of the show’s creators. And in three seasons he has NEVER won, so there’s that.
April 16, 2021
A Timely Warning About ‘Pirates’
The Miami-Dade Police (Miami Vice!) have issued a warning about “package pirates” that takes the viewer back to yesteryear! It’s actually worth sitting through the advertisement for.
You’ll find it here.
(My new go-to excuse – “The parrot made me do it!”)
Dec. 6, 2020
A 300-Year-Old Pirate Mystery – Solved?
Some people won’t want to buy this, and it’s a real stretch from the traditional story. But this 22-year-old youtuber has tracked down documentary evidence that may finally tell us what really happened to Ann Bonney and Mary Read after their trial.
Nov. 28, 2020
The Very Best Thing About Being a Pirate
Well, here we are, a week past this year’s celebration of International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
It was a different holiday, fewer gatherings and pub crawls, a lot more online events and masks. But talkin’ like a pirate is always fun. Blast me deadlights! I’m doin’ it now!
The Very Best Thing About Being a Pirate is …
International Talk Like a Pirate Day 2020 is in the rear view mirror and we’re all hoping for a more open and active celebration next year. But before we get too much farther along, I want to share one story of the day with you.
Got an email from Tom Hansen (also known as Cap’n Roger Roger of the Gaping Maw) writing from a secret pirate cove in central Indiana. He and a group of brigand amateur radio enthusiasts – or “hams,” in the vernacular – celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day bent over their microphones making contact with as many like-minded hams around the globe as they could, trading their names, their home ports and the name of their ship. Cap’n Roger Roger said his favorites among those he heard were Sticky Sally and the Inconceivable. (And wouldn’t Sticky Sally and the Inconceivables make a good name for a band? Yeah, I thought so too.)
And anyone who saw the movie, “Pirates! Band of Misfits,” knows why this was the perfect way to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Because as the Pirate Captain explains to his crew, the very best thing about being a pirate is – “Ham nite!” And though the captain then dishes out plates full of delicious, artistically sliced smoked meat, we think the point still applies.
Sept. 27, 2020
A Bit of Talk Like a Pirate Day Lore
Cap’n Slappy and I came up with the idea for the holiday during a racquetball game. But that was on June 6, which of course is the anniversary of World War II’s D-Day, so we decided we needed another day. I asked Slappy if he had an idea. He said, “Sept. 19.” I said, “Great. Why?” and he explained that it was his ex-wife’s birthday. He wasn’t being mean. It was stuck in his head and he wasn’t doing anything with it anymore and he figured this way we’d be able to remember it.
This is what is known as a mnemonic device, as in “Avast, ye scurvy dogs! Turn over the gold or we’ll use this mnemonic device on ye!”
Works every time!
Sept. 14, 2020
One Week Until International Talk Like a Pirate Day
It’s ONE WEEK until International Talk Like a Pirate Day! And we’re not going to let a little thing like a pandemic get in the way of the fun, are we?
During the next seven days, I’m going to be posting a couple of videos for your – Enjoyment? Bemusement? Whatever. A story I want to read you, and a song I wrote that I want to sing for you.
On Saturday, Sept. 19 – International Talk Like a Pirate Day itself, I’ll do a brief live event on Facebook, just to toast the day and wish you all the best. And a little later Cap’m Slappy himself will go live from his special seat at the Calapooia Brew Pub to wish you the best of the day. So keep your eye out for that one.
Anyway, I hope you’re looking forward to the holiday – the one day a year that every man, woman and child on the planet is not just allowed but encouraged to TALK LIKE A PIRATE!
Sept. 12, 2020
Top 10 Pickup Lines for the Holiday
It’s two weeks until International Talk Like a Pirate Day, the one day a year when every man, woman and child on the planet is not just allowed but encouraged to talk like a pirate, just for the fun of it!
Here to help you get ready for the holiday is the Pirate Guys is one of our old favorites –
The Top Ten Pirate Pickup Lines
10 . Avast, me proud beauty! Wanna know why my Roger is so Jolly?
9. Have ya ever met a man with a real yardarm?
8. Come on up and see me urchins.
7. Yes, that is a hornpipe in my pocket and I am happy to see you.
6. I’d love to drop anchor in your lagoon.
5. Pardon me, but would ya mind if I fired me cannon through your porthole?
4. How’d you like to scrape the barnacles off of me rudder?
3. Ya know, darlin’, I’m 97 percent chum free.
2. Can I slip me monkey pump in your bunghole?
… And the number one pickup line for use on International Talk Like a Pirate Day is …
1. Prepare to be boarded!
Sept. 5, 2020
It’s been a strange year for us pirates, hasn’t it? Well, for everyone, of course, but I’m a “gentleman rover,” so I’m talking pirates here.
Instead of spending the spring and summer at festivals and pub crawls, gathering with our fellow freebooters for a weekend or so of swaggering good times, I kept waiting to see which would be the first festival I could announce – but one after another they got canceled. And rightly so, I mean, a pandemic is nothing to sneeze at.
It’s as if we’ve all been marooned. Yeah, that’s it! For Pandemic Pirates, we haven’t been quarantined so much as marooned, each on our own island, with a few pirate family around us but mostly cut off from our filibuster family, as if languishing on the sands of some isolated beach with nary a palm tree for company.
And that brought up the idea for a new T-shirt available online at our Cafe Press shop, one that commemorates this odd uncomfortable year we’ve been marking.
Stay safe, wash your hands, wear your masks (really, when was the last time a pirate was encouraged to wear a mask) and and we’ll see you all again soon.
And remember, it’s a little more than a month until International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and you can safely celebrate that even when marooned.
Aug. 14, 2020
It’s that time of year when I bring this out, dust it off and inflict it on our online friends.
Ol’ Chumbucket sings a Christmas chanty based on (pillaged from) a similar version by Tug ‘Blackhand’ Bromberg – during a book signing in Gallows Bay in December 2008.
Goodness, this is eleven years old now!
Give an Adventure this Christmas
Give the gift of adventure this holiday season. If your list contains someone who lovea a good sea yarn it’s not too late to order my young-adult swashbuckling novel “Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter.” It’s the story of a young girl who disguises herself as a boy and runs away to sea to find and rescue her father, who has been captured by pirates.
You can order it through all the usual places, from Amazon to your local bookstore. Or if you want an autographed copy, go through my site at Big Cartel, and I’ll get one in the mail to you the next day.
Readers have said of “Chrissie” –
“If you like reading adventure tales, wry humor, or just books, chart a swift course for Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter. … John Baur’s first stab at young-adult fiction features top-notch characterization, breathtaking battle scenes, and as much plot as your favorite Rafael Sabatini and Hunger Games novels — combined.”
“Just finished Chrissie Warren! Wow what a journey! I laughed, I cried, and I can’t say I could enjoy anything more. This has to be among the top in my favorite pirate books. I’m so glad this amazing piece of literature found its was onto my bookshelf!”
“Fabulous. … I enjoyed it tremendously!”
For the autographed volumes go to the Big Cartel link here. And make sure when you check out that you use the “Notes to Seller” tab on the checkout page to tell me who you want the autograph made out to. Otherwise I’ll put a generic signature. The “Notes to Seller” tab is at the end of the payment section – not where I’d have put it, but they didn’t ask me.
And have a M-aaarrrrrr-y Christmas!
Dec, 6, 2019
Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day
Ahoy thar, mates! Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Thanks for spreadin’ the word – and the word is, “Aaarrr!”
Like Guacamole? Thank a Pirate!
Who discovered guacamole?
I’m tired of hearing that avocados are some sort of millennial food. That the hipsters somehow discovered avocados and invented eating it. So, rather than point to how long I’ve eaten avocados and the sort of things I eat them with, I’ll just say this.
The first English-language recipe for what could be considered “guacamole” was recorded by a pirate in 1679.
British-born William Dampier was a pirate before he set off on a voyage of discovery that eventually made him the first person to circumnavigate the globe three times. And in his travels (he was the first European to explore Australia) his picked up a few things.
The following couple of paragraphs are from an article on Atlas Obscura. The whole thing is interesting except for the parts that kind of turn your stomach a little.
“Dampier began a life of piracy in 1679 in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche. Orphaned in his late teens, Dampier set sail for the Caribbean and fell into a twentysomething job scramble. Seeing no future in logging or sugar plantations, he was sucked into the burgeoning realm of New World raiding, beginning what would be the first of his record-breaking three circumnavigations.
“In the Bay of Panama, Dampier wrote of a fruit ‘as big as a large lemon … [with] skin [like] black bark, and pretty smooth.’ Lacking distinct flavor, he wrote, the ripened fruit was “mixed with sugar and lime juice and beaten together [on] a plate.” This was likely the English language’s very first recipe for guacamole. Later, in the Philippines, Dampier noted of young mangoes that locals “cut them in two pieces and pickled them with salt and vinegar, in which they put some cloves of garlic.” This was the English language’s first recipe for mango chutney. His use of the terms “chopsticks,” “barbecue,” “cashew,” “kumquat,” “tortilla,” and “soy sauce” were also the first of their kind.”
For my taste, Dampier’s recipe for guacamole sounds a bit bland. I like tomato, onion and peppers (salsa) in mine, along with the lemon, which keeps it from turning brown.
There are other notes in the story that aren’t quite so appetizing. He had a fondness for manatee, especially baby manatees that were still suckling. He also really liked a serving of flamingo tongues. And – no surprise – sea turtles.
But putting aside differences in dietary habits and what constitutes “food,” Dampier is a fascinating character. And he discovered guacamole for the European world, for which we all owe him a debt of gratitude. And don’t say pirates never did anything that contributed to society.
Aug. 5, 2019
Live Dangerously! Send Us Emails!
Comes now the news that it’s a federal crime to discuss piracy with a pirate by email, text, posted letter or ntoe in a bottle!
As if we pirates worry about what it and isn’t a federal offense. But the channel used a picture of Cap’n Slappy and meself to illustrate their story about how to commit a federal crime. NO crime there, that’s what the picture is there for. The crime, it seems, is communicating with gentlemen of fortune, rogues, scallawags and brethren of the coast.
So live dangerously! Send us emails today! I’m at email@example.com, and you can reach Cap’n Slappy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can hear about it right here. This is the whole show, we’re at the 30 minute mark. By all means fast forward to it, or you’ll have to sit through about 10 minutes of Geraldo Rivera, and I wouldn’t wish that on the Spanish Navy or the garda-costa.
March 10, 2019
Join Me In Covington!
Come join me Wednesday – International Talk Like a Pirate – for an evening of pirate hijinks!
I’ll be at the 2nd & Charles Bookstore in Covington, LA, at 6 p.m. I’ll read, sing, do a bit of pirate schtick, and whatever else I can to draw and amuse a crowd.
I’ll read from my YA pirate adventure novel, “Chrissie Warren” Pirate Hunter.” Readers have said:
– “Just finished Chrissie Warren! Wow what a journey! I laughed, I cried, and I can’t say I could enjoy anything more. This has to be among the top in my favorite pirate books.” — Janine Myers
– “Could not put it down. – Michelle Montanaro, Ratanne of Blackbeard’s Crew”
– “This book hooked me when I read it and just pulled me along.” – Leslie Hogan
2nd & Charles surprised me when I dropped by there. It’s much bigger than I expected, and a wonderfully eclectic place. It’s a great place for a fun evening of freebooter frivolity. Hope to see you there. If you can’t make it, you can always order “Chrissie Warren” Pirate Hunter” at https://www.amazon.com/Chrissie-Warren-Pirate-John-Baur/dp/0692459049, and all the other online outlets for paper and ebooks.
Slappy and Cider
– Cap’n Slappy will hold court at Ciderlicious, 2760 Friendly St. in the College Hill neighborhood of Eugene, Oregon. The best cider in the Pacific Northwest AND Cap’n Slappy! What could be better?
Also on Tap for the Holiday!
– The online comic strip Savage Chickens will focus on pirates every day leading up to Wednesday’s holiday. Check them out here.
– Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers are planning a facebook live show on Facebook. They’ll be featuring music from their new CD, “If You Want to be a Pirate: Songs for Young Buccaneers.” It’s a fun collection of new and “repurposed” songs from the Blue Buccaneer oeuvre. Whether you’re a wee scallywag or an old salt, you’ll enjoy this one. Besides being one of the most fun-lovin’ filibuster crews at sea, they’re also a collection of pros from the Nashville music scene, so they’ve got both the musicianship AND the pirattitude! Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers also will celebrate the holiday the following weekend at the Pilgrimage Music Festival Saturday in Franklin, Tennessee. It’s a two-day festival you don’t want to miss if you’re anywhere close.
– Speaking of music for wee buccaneers, Sean’s Music Factory has released a video of “A Pirate’s Expression,” which illustrates for kids some common expressions and their nautical roots, and pays homage to Talk Like a Pirate Day. You can see it here.
** There’s plenty more to fill you in on in the lead up to the holiday! Keep your eyes on the horizon!
Thanks for spreadin’ the word – and the word is “Aarrr!”
Sept. 16, 2018
‘Tis the Season to Swash Yer Buckle!
It’s June, and that means we’re at the heart of pirate festival season.
— It starts this weekend in Hampton, Virginia, with the Blackbeard Pirate Festival. If you’re anywhere on the East Coast this Saturday and Sunday, get out to Hampton for one of the best pirate festivals I’ve ever been to, led by the Crew of Blackbeard, which stages a fine pirate camp reenactment. And make sure you say high to the Pi-Rats of the festival!
Details are online at https://hampton.gov/2008/
There are a lot of other events dotting the calendar, but the other two big ones for the month are on the West Coast.
— The Northern California Pirate Festival is the big bash at Waterfront Park in Vallejo, California. It’s June 16 and 17 (Fathers Day weekend) and it draws thousands of visitors. Read all about it at https://www.
— And closing out the month, June 30 and July 1, is the Pirate Invasion Long Beach, featuring our friend Talderoy and featuring the Order of Leviathan. They’ll be down at Shoreline Aquatic Park. You can read all the glorious details at http://www.
And of course, all three of these festivals have a big presence on Facebook, so you can always find out what’s going on.
They aren’t the only buccaneer bashes on the calendar, of course, just the three biggest. But there are events all over the calendar, and all over the country.
If you’re in the neighborhood, you might check out:
— Pirate Family Daze, June 2-3, West Bend, Wisconsin,
— The Sea Music Festival, June 7-10, Mystic Conn.
— Rusty Scuppers Pirate Fest, Westport, Washington, June 22-24
— Rockaway Beach Pirate and Costume Festival, June 23-25, Rockaway Beach, Oregon.
And that’s just a small sampling of the fun. Summer is the time to start thinking ahead to International Talk Like a Pirate Day in September, and what better way to get in the spirit than spendin’ a day or two on the account, at your friendly neighborhood pirate festival!
June 1, 2018
Good Pirate, Good Reader: Remnants of a Book Found on Blackbeard’s Ship
Sorry to have been absent so long. I’ll explain more about that another time. For now I wanted to share this bit of news from the world of Golden Age pirates.
Archeologists have found a few tiny scraps of paper lodged among the remains Blackbeard’s wrecked flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, off the coast of North Carolina. It is rare to find remnants of organic material in shipwrecks, but they did. And after much study they determined that it was from a book, and they even determined WHAT book. It was from “A Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the World” by Captain Edward Cooke.
It is impossible, of course, to know who among the more than 300 souls aboard QAR was reading it, but it is satisfying to imagine Edward Teach – Blackbeard himself – after a full day of spreading terror across the seas, settling down in his cabin with a good book.
Anyway, you can read the whole story here. It’s a good read.
Jan. 13, 2018
It’s the day. Talk Like a Pirate Day!
This is the day to let your inner pirate out to play. Swagger, growl and let the world see the buccaneer inside.
Cap’n Slappy and I are grateful (and still more than a little surprised!) that so many people all around the world are having fun with our little idea. And that’s what it’s about – fun. Don’t read anything more into it than that.
But if you’re one of those who don’t get it, who are a little too uptight to be a little silly, who sniff that, “But pirates were criminals, they were evil,” we would say, sure. That’s OK. All we can do is invite you to play. If you don’t want to, that’s fine.
If everyone were a pirate, who’d be the prey?
Here are a few of our videos to help you get in the spirit.
The Five As – a quick and dirty Pirate Talk Lesson
Cap’n Slappy’s Random Phrases
Dress Like a Pirate (On the Cheap)
And, Wooing Wenches, Ol’ Chumbucket and Mad Sally give a lesson in love.
Seize the Day! And enjoy it!
Sept. 19, 2017
Oh Quelle Crullers! Denied!
Well THAT’S disappointing! Krispy Kreme Doughnuts has decided NOT to take part in Talk Like a Pirate Day this year.
No doughnuts! At least, the corporation isn’t playing, though individual stores might. But all is not lost.
For the last four years if you dressed like a pirate and walked into a Krispy Kreme on Sept. 19 they gave you – free – a dozen glazed doughnuts.
Not this year. They’re not doing the promotion this year.
Are we gonna let those corporate cruller cooks put a hole in our holiday fun! Hell no!
I’m not telling you NOT to deck yerself out in your finest pirate togs on Tuesday (just five days from now) and go to your nearby Krispy Kreme. Just remember that they probably won’t give you a free dozen doughnuts for your trouble – though we pirates can be fairly persuasive. But I plan to go in anyway – in full regalia – to show them what they’re missing. If you do too, you’ll get a chance to express your indignation – nay, your outrage! – that they’ve gone over the board and left us in the lurch!
But wait! All is not completely lost. Our friends at Long John Silvers (at least they still love us) have upped the ante.
This year they are NOT offering a free piece of fish for those who come in dressed like a pirate. Oh no! They’re offering a bar of gold!
Not gold gold, of course. Don’t be silly. But this Sept. 19 they’re giving away, free, their new Deep Fried Twinkie!
That’s sort of like a bar of gold, if you turn your head a little and squint your eyes.
Sept. 14, 2017
One Week Until Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Just a quick note to remind everyone (as if they needed reminding) that International Talk Like a Pirate Day will be here in one week – Tuesday, Sept. 19!
If you look at the site you’ll see I’m WAY behind on the updates. All I can say is – as some of you may know – I live in Louisiana these days, but still work for the Virgin Islands Source, and the U.S.V.I got clobbered last week by Hurricane Irma. St. Croix, where I used to live, wasn’t hurt too bad, but St. Thomas got hit hard and St. John was pretty much flattened. So I’ve been working pretty much non-stop on that for the last couple of weeks. I hope to finish this post before our St. John reporter calls to dictate her story, since they have no power, no internet, and very, very little cell service. This is my first day off in two weeks, so I’ll only be working a couple of hours.
But I hope to have the map completely updated by this evening. I think. I hope.
Sept. 12, 20017
Good Luck to Our Friends in Florida!
We have many, many pirate friends in harm’s way today in Florida and wish them all the best. Hurricanes are no joke, and we hope those of you who were not able to evacuate are hunkered down in a safe place with the hatches battened and are going to be able to safely ride out the storm. If you’re on the road, may you find a snug harbor at the end of your journey.
Good luck to all of ye!
Sept. 9, 2017
Time Passes, But Pirattitude is Forever
We were saddened, but not at all surprised, to learn that demolition began last week on the old YMCA in Albany, Oregon, with no mention of the pivotal role the old place played in the social history of the early 21st century.
The Mid-Willamette Vally YMCA was the site where Cap’n Slappy and I came up with the idea of International Talk Like a Pirate Day. And now it is no more. Yeah, kinda makes us misty eyed.
We’ve told the story many – MANY – times, about how Slappy and I, under the delusion that we could get back in shape, were playing weekly racquetball games at the Y. One day we started insulting each other in pirate palaver, and before you know it, we had created a holiday.
That crazy idea back in 1995 grew quietly for five years, then exploded in 2002 and took the world like Morgan’s fleet taking Maracaibo.
It has always been what you might call a “guerilla holiday,” embraced by the masses but ignored and even scorned by the powers that be (except for Krispy Kreme doughnuts, of course.) Sure, our friends have had lots of fun with it, and we raised many a glass at many a tavern with the pirate brethren. But like prophets without honor in our own land, we seemed to be a bit of an embarrassment to the grownups.
So, no. There was never a little ceremony or the unveiling of a brass plaque at the YMCA’s Racquetball Court No. 2 to commemorate what happened there. They went so far as to abandon the building and then raze it, as if trying to physically remove the taint of what we had created.
Well, pirates will do that to some people. We make them uneasy. Always have. But if we cared what other people thought, we’d never have come up with the idea in the first place. We long ago stopped worrying about what the staid and stuffy grownups had to say on the subject. Hell, I’m in my 60s now and I still don’t think of myself as an adult!
They can take down the building, but they’ll never kill the spirit of pirattude that started in that spot and has spread around the globe.
Here’s to ya!
Aug. 23, 2017
One month until International Talk Like a Pirate Day – September 19!
Aug. 19, 2017
Pirate Fun Around the World
Avast, me hearties!
Here’s the latest on what people have planned for this year’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day around the world. (Consult the map below for other activities, and make sure you let us know what you have planned for the day!)
Pirate Weekend in Suffolk England – The Peninsular Pirates will be at Landguard Fort, Felixstowe, Suffolk, England, educating the younger members of the community in the seafaring activities of their forefathers, who supplemented their income as fishermen with the odd bit of late night free trading and beating the Dutch off when they invaded in 1667. (The only vessel that could get in close enough to use its cannon was sailing under letter of marque.) No doubt the odd glass of rum will be consumed and chantey sung. Someone might even dance a hornpipe, especially after the rum drinking.
In South Korea, the T-CLUB, a publication from Chunjae Education, is an English magazine for English teachers across Korea. Some of them use the magazine in their classes. T-CLUB will be printing a special four-page article on the holiday, using material from our website, and offering youngsters on the peninsula the chance to discover their inner pirate.
Richmond, Virginia – Scarlett Kits, writes to tell us that Talk Like a Pirate Day is a “magical” time of year for her. “Typically I’m at work and I bring Cap’n Crunch, Captains Wafers and limeade for the office. Little mermaid gummi snacks if I can find them. … Two years ago I dressed as a pirate on a German band road trip and served pina colatas and lime sodas on route. … Each year I dress as a pirate varying degrees.”
This year, “I will be at a professional function and you bet your bottom galleon I’ll be dressed piratey! The function will be in Richmond, VA. I shall steal all the hotel soaps I possibly can!”
(This led to the following exchange. In my email reply I asked, “What would a pirate be doing with all that soap? Or any soap?” She replied – as I’m sure all of you would have – “To wash me booty!” I walked right into that one, I guess, and have no one to blame but meself.”
Jefferson County, Colorado – The Jefferson Couny Public Library in Evergreen, Conifer and Arvada will host event for the wee sprogs Sept. 19 at all three locations, with movies, paaarties and lots of other fun things planned. Arvada: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. An entire day of pirate movies and other activities! the lineup includes “Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything,” “Muppets Treasure Island,” “The Pirates! Band of Misfits,” “Treasure Planet”and “Goonies.” Evergreen: The library will celebrate from 4 to 4:45 p.m. Sept. 19 with adventure tales, sea shanty songs, grub, a scavenger hunt for hidden treasure and more swashbuckling fun! Suitable for nippers from 3 to 6 years old. Conifer: Fun pirate-y crafts and activities are slated from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sapt. 19. Suitable for kids.
July 18, 2017
Time Flies, Even for Pirates
It’s July, summer is flying fast. Some of the great events of the pirate calendar already are in the rear view mirror for this year – The Hampton Blackbeard Festival, the Northern California Pirate Festival and its southern cousin, the Pirate Invasion of Long Beach. And of course, Cap’n Slappy’s birthday. And dozens of other such gatherings all around the country. Here’s hoping you made it out to one or two of them (at least) and had a great time.
There’s still a bunch more to go – Seadog Nights and Seafair in the Northwest, Beaufort in North Carolina, and many more. Check out our links page and see if there’s a festival coming near you. But right now we’re focusing on what – for us – is the biggest.
74 days until International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Or 10 Weeks and 4 Days.
Or, as of this morning’s stroke of midnight, 106,560 minutes or or 6,393,600 seconds.
Anyway you count it, September 19 is the holiday the gives the excuse (if you’re one of those who needs an excuse) to let your inner pirate out to strut for the day (and pick up some free doughnuts, to boot!)
We want to know what you’ve got going on for the holiday. I know the Cedar Key, Florida, Pirate Festival will take place the weekend before, and I imagine there’s plenty more where that came from! Make sure to tel us what you’ve got planned, and let us put it on the big calendar. (Write your plans to me at email@example.com.
Our plans aren’t firm yet, but here are a couple of things I can tell you. There are some new T-shirt designs going up next week, we’re working on a new video and a new feature for the site, and I will have a new pirate story ready to release on the holiday. At least one. All of those will be detailed in the month ahead.
So let us know what you’re doing this September 19 and we’ll share it on the big map of piratey fun!
July 7, 2017
Raise a Glass to ‘Whydah’ Wednesday
This Wednesday, April 26, marks the 300th anniversary of the sinking of Black Sam Bellamy’s ship, Whydah Gally, which went down in a sudden, violent storm off Cap Cod in 1717.
Whydah was a slave ship on the triangle trade when Bellamy captured her off Bermuda. They’d already had a successful tour of the Caribbean, and now the pirates had a big ship. They cleared the top deck of the captain’s cabin and other obstacles that made her top heavy, added 10 guns and sailed up the coast of the colonies, taking prizes as they went.
A fairly romantic story about Bellamy diverting the ship from its destination in Maine so that he could visit the woman he loved, for whom he’d gone on the account in the first place (although it might have been the wine they’d captured,), brought them off the cape and right into the face of a fierce storm. The ship capsized, and all but two of her crew went down, taking a legendary treasure with them.
Her fame was cemented in 1984 when treasure hunter Barry Clifford found her. The more than 200,000 artifacts that were brought up aren’t just about treasure – although it’s hard for a pirate NOT to get excited by the sight of thousands of Spanish gold doubloons. (Thousands, I say!) The artifacts tell the story about the real lives, the day-to-day activities of men on the account, real people. The artifacts are the centerpiece of both the Whydah Pirate Museum in West Yarmouth, MA, and a traveling museum exhibition, “Real Pirates,” sponsored by the National Geographic Society.
Cap’n Slappy and I were fortunate enough to see the exhibition when it was in Philadelphia in 2008. We’d been hired to provide entertainment during the opening weekend of “Real Pirates” at the Franklin Institute. It was a gorgeous display and if it comes anywhere near your town, by all means go.
The Whydah Pirate Museum will be holding an event Wednesday through Saturday.
“It’s obviously a very important day for us,” Clifford said in a report on CapeCod.com. “It commemorates the sinking of the Whydah, not that it’s a celebration, but it’s a time to think back on who these people really were.”
At the very least, for the pirate community it’s a day to reflect, and to raise a glass in memory of the the brethren.
April 23, 2017
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
As those who follow us on Facebook, know, Cap’n Slappy has a new look. He underwent bariatric surgery last week and is recovering nicely. As he said, “I’m home and feeling much better! I’m not sure if I will ever desire food again – but I’m home.”
One of the common after-effects of the bariatric surgery is a thinning of the hair. Since his theme for the previous year has been, “taking control,” he decided not to wait for his hair to fall out. Instead, he took matters into his own hands – well, a professional hair cutters hand’s actually – and took it down to the scalp.
For those who have shaved their heads at any time (and that includes all four members of the Talk Like a Pirate Day crew, although not at the same time) one of the side benefits is learning that your skull isn’t some weird, misshapen thing, but actually looks OK. And that’s certainly true of Slappy, as you can see in the pictures taken by Jezebel the Web Wench.
We’re all wishing Cap’n Slappy well and know that, while he make himself a lesser size, he’ll never be less of a man.
March 22, 2017
I’ve Cleared the Deck – Now You Fill It!
(March 5, 2017) What does Danielle Sampson have that you don’t? Plans, that’s what! Danielle was the first to write in this year with plans for an event celebrating International Talk Like a Pirate Day in 2017.
If you glance at the map below, you’ll see that it’s pretty empty at the moment. That’s because until now it’s been showing the hundreds of events around the world celebrating the holiday LAST YEAR! Well that wasn’t very helpful, now was it?
So when I got Danielle’s message informing me of plans for a festival Sept. 15-17 in St. Peter all the way up in New Brunswick, I got busy. I spent a good chunk of my morning deleting almost everything from last year, left just a couple of items I knew were planned for this year (and I admit it, at least one I missed. I’ll go back and get it later.) and added the new one that came in this morning’s mail.
Now it’s up to you! We know that there are going to be parties, library activities, school events and even festivals all over the map again this year. Let us know what you’ve got planned by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will post ’em up just as quick as I can. (Which I admit isn’t all that quick, I’m still getting the hang of this.)
Because between you, me and the parrot, the map is looking kind of sparse right now. It’s up to you to fill it.
Mardi Gras! Pirates Hit the Quarter!
(Feb. 13, 2017) Tuesday, Feb. 28, Ol’ Chumbucket and Mad Sally (that’s me and my lovely bride, Tori) will join with the NOLA Krewe of Pirates to storm through the French Quarter. It can only mean one thing – Mardi Gras!
I thought I knew what a party was. I thought I knew about carnival, I thought I knew what bacchanalia meant. Then I took part in my first Mardi Gras and learned that I didn’t have the first idea. You really can’t explain it. You just have to experience it.
Everywhere else in the world it’ll be Tuesday. In New Orleans, it’s Mardi Gras! The best strolling party you’ve ever been to and barely remember.
Then, about month from now, I’ll be part of NOLA Pyrate Week activities at Algiers Point, on the west bank. At 2 p.m. March 25 I’ll read from “Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter” at Warren’s Corner, 601 Patterson. in Algiers, LA. It’s part of storytelling stage that runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (And needless to say, all of the participating authors – myself included – will have books for sale.) And this is all part of the Family Pirate Day in Algiers, which will include musical performances, a pirate market and cafe, games, and treasure hunting. The fun is scheduled to start 8 a.m.
(And just a side note – our pals, The Whiskey Bay Rovers, will also be taking part! It’ll be good to see – and hear – the lads again.)
So that’s what we’ve got in store, and there’s other plans in the works that’ll make this year another grand, piratey adventure.
Plan to Party Like a Pirate in 2017
(Jan. 3, 2017) Cap’n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket want to wish everyone a happy new year. There’s plenty of freebooter fun coming in 2017 and we hope we get a chance to run into you on the road.
Right now, winter has laid its icy grip across most of the country. In much of the land, ports are ice-locked and pirate hearts mostly hibernating as we await the spring thaw. But not in Florida.
Here’s a date for you to scribble into your calendar. If you can get to either of these on Jan. 28, more power to you. You’ll have a grand time.
The first is one of the big ones, Gasparilla, in Tampa on the gulf side of the state. It’s one of the biggest pirate festivals in the U.S., featuring the country’s third longest parade, which draws more than 300,000 to the streets to watch. In all, about a million people are estimated to take part in at least one Gasparilla-related event.
On a smaller scale but deeply piratical, up the coast on the Atlantic side the St. Augustine Swashbucklers will be holding the Old City Pirate Festival that same weekend, Jan. 27 and 28. St. Augustine is the oldest European-settled city in the U.S. and a great site for a festival. The streets of the old city have rung to the boots of some of the legendary pirates, and at the end of January you can add yours to the list.
I’ll have my nose to the grindstone, working on a new book I’ll be excited to share with our fans, but I plan to come up for air Feb. 28 when Mardi Gras rolls into New Orleans. The rest of the world calls it Tuesday – we call it, “The best strolling party you’ve ever been to and barely remember.”
And I’m tentatively scheduled for a road trip March 11 to take part in the Savannah Quill Book Convention in Savannah. We’ll be planning at least one or two other stops on the road to and from the Georgia Coast, so keep your ears open for word of pirates!
And there’s definitely planning going on for getting out there and partying with the brethren throughout the year. We’ll let you know what’s going on as soon as we do!
Win a Signed Copy of ‘Chrissie’
(Dec. 1, 2016) News for my friends who are on Goodreads: Starting Thursday you have a chance to win a signed copy of “Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter.” For the next three weeks Goodreads is hosting a giveaway of four copies of my young-adult adventure pirate adventure novel.
If you’re interested and haven’t signed up or just want to check it, you can go to Goodreads.com.
One of the things they have at Goodreads is giveaways. With three clicks, Goodreads members can sign up to win books offered by authors. The winners are randomly chosen by Goodreads. And from Nov. 18 to Dec. 8, you can enter to win one of four autographed copies of “Chrissie.” When it goes online I’ll post the link.
Give the Gift of Adventure this Holiday Season
(November 2016) If you want to give the gift of adventure this holiday season, check out my young-adult swashbuckling novel “Chrissie Warren” Pirate Hunter.” You can order a copy autographed by the author (me) online at Big Cartel.
Big Cartel is at http://tinyurl.com/nu5ajsz
Make sure when you check out that you use the “Notes to Seller” tab on the checkout page to tell me who you want the autograph made out to. Otherwise I’ll put a generic signature. If you’re giving it as a gift, make sure you tell me the person’s name. The “Notes to Seller” tab is at the end of the payment section – not where I’d have put it, but they didn’t ask me.
You can also find the book (not autographed) in both paper and ebook at Amazon and all the other usual places.
And don’t forget, with the holidays close upon us, you want to make sure you have a copy of “Pirate Santa.” With a story by our own Cap’n Slappy and our pal Clay “Talderoy” Clement and terrific art work by Jun Alvarado, it’s a must have for the pirates at the holiday season. You can order it at:
John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur
Review: Mason’s ‘Pirate Party’ Rocks Corsair Classics
(Oct. 25, 2016) How many versions do think have been recorded of “Drunken Sailor?” Of “Blow the Man Down,” “Haul Away Joe” or “Bully in the Alley?” It’s a rare pirate band that doesn’t have at least one of them – or all of them – on their playlists and CDs. And there are a lot of good pirate bands out there, a lot of recordings.
So if you’re a pirate musician, how do you do something different with it? How do you make your version distinctive?
If you’re Tom Mason, it’s not a problem. Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers have a new CD out, and it’s a must-add to anyone’s collection of pirate music. The album is aptly titled “Pirate Party.” It fits. This is the disc you’ll put on when you gather the brethren for a bacchanal. It’s a lot of fun.
Thanks for Spreadin’ the Word!
(Sept. 20, 2016) Another Talk Like a Pirate Day has come and gone and a great time was had by all. The crew at what we call Team Pirate – Cap’n Slappy, Ol’ Chumbucket, Mad Sally and Jezebel the Web Wench are once again delighted – along with surprised, shocked, awed and, yes, bumfuzzled! – that this idea we had has taken root all around the world with millions of people. It’s the people – all of you – that makes this day, this whole movement, so fun for us. And don’t think for a second we don’t appreciate it.
So thank you all for spreadin’ the word – and the word is “Aarrr!”