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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can reach Cap’n Slappy at email@example.com.
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 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!”