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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com, 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!”