Pirates have often been accused of being illiterate, ignorant thugs whose only interests were rum, booty (spell that gold, silver, and pieces of eight), and booty (spell that hot babes), but that simply is not true. Okay, on some ships it was, but if you sailed with Captain Benjamin Hornigold, William Kidd, or Thomas Tew, you had better know your stuff.
The fact is, navigators had to chart their course literally by the stars, and unlike sailors today didn’t have the guess work taken out of a tedious and dangerous journey by GPS equipment and computers. That’s not to take away from the modern sailor who still must be an expert to bring a ship safely into harbor; it’s just that these ancient sailors had to be so knowledgeable and skilled, that common sailors referred to them as Artisans.
I’ve compiled a small tribute to pirates and mariners whether they graduated from the Yale of their day, or never saw the inside of a classroom. I hope Hornigold, Kidd and Tew approve. Maybe even today’s sailors will see a little something of themselves in this “Verse”-a-tile poem.
A is for anchor pirates throw out in a storm.
B is for booty, just the thought keeps me warm.
C is for cannons that boom and then blast
It’s also for slow crew who move just half fast.
D is for the ever-dangerous Davy Jones;
He lies in the ocean ready to rattle your bones.
E is for every able-bodied sailor at sea.
There’s hardly a port that they’d rather not be.
F is for flags and the pirates who fly ‘em.
They’ll steal yours if they can,
Cause they’ll never once buy ‘em.
G is for gibbets that cage rotting bodies;
Soon only vultures will think Pirates are hotties.
H is for harbor and halyard and hammock;
Sleep in one too long, and you’ll want a bed,
Oh, by damn it!
I is for island where wenches are waiting;
The bawdiest ones get the highest of ratings.
J is for journeys that surely must end;
With endless horizons, it’s just hard to say when.
K is for Kraken, a horrible beast;
He loves salty sailors as good as roast beef.
L is for lighthouse that shines out at sea;
For centuries it’s filled sailors’ hearts with great glee.
M is for marooned pirates abandoned on shore
With a dram of hot rum and a rusty, old sword.
Here pirates are promised rum, women, and mirth.
O is for overboard when the plank is withdrawn.
Better be a good swimmer,
Cuz ye could be swimmin’ till dawn.
P is for plunder and pieces of eight
Spent on wenches and rum,
You know I can’t wait.
Q is for quarters, and none will be given;
Best fight to the death; ain’t no time to be quittin’.
R is for rum or a wanton sea rover.
On ship or in port, ain’t one that is sober.
S is for shipwrecks, but it could be for sin;
pirates are naughty wherever they’ve been.
T is for treasure. I blew mine in port
Gamblin’ and wenchin’ and rum by the quart.
U is for Uncommon Mariners at sea,
Far from all land, they’re just thrilled to be free.
V is for vaporing pirates who curse;
Resist and they’ll turn you into
Dainty hors d’oeuvres.
W is for shipwrecked with me nothing to wear;
And all I can think of it’s Five O’clock Somewhere.
X marks the spot where pirates their treasure did bury,
After feasting and gambling and making all merry.
Y is for yawl, a small vessel afloat,
In South Carolina, they call it a boat.
Z is for zero; it’s what’s left of me booty;
I spent it in bars, romancing the Cuties.
To leave a comment on this poem, please click on https://billhegerichsr.wordpress.com/2019/06/10/the-abcs-of-being-a-pirate/
The Uncommon Mariner
To leave a comment, click on https://billhegerichsr.wordpress.com/2019/05/06/fifty-things-youll-never-find-on-a-pirate-ship/ Happy voyages out there on the High Seas of Life. Don’t forget to have some fun.
Aarrrgh is one of the defining words in our common psyche when we think of pirates. My wife says two mature, normal grown-ups can’t help but smile when they utter that word to each other. You can be a pirate aficionado, a parrothead with 50 years of partying and pirating under your sash, or just plain nuts like me, but the response will always be the same when someone greets you with “Aarrrgh!”
I don’t know why that is. As Johnny Depp says, “Enjoy the ride while it lasts.” Don’t question the gift of Aarrgh when someone brightens your day with one.
I taught school for over 37 years, and it’s the one word that’s practically impossible to misspell though I know a few people who would come close. Despite what you think and what you’ve seen in the dozens of pirate books you’ve read, there really is no one way to spell Aarrrgh.
Here are some of the more common ways. Aarrrgh! Aaarr! Arrrr! Arrr! Arrrgh! For the sake of consistency, I’m using Arr, though there are times when Arrgh is better.
Some historians assert that pirates never once uttered the word Aarrgh or anything like it. They assert that the word is a Hollywood device that can be traced back to Long John Silver in the story Treasure Island. I don’t think they would argue their point so loud if they were looking down the barrel of a Caribbean pirate’s cannon, or dancing a jig at the end of a pirate sword.
The fact is, many pirates were Irish, Welsh, and English. All three spoke with distinct accents that gave Aarrrgh a delightful flavor. Count among Welsh pirates, Henry Morgan, the inspiration behind Captain Morgan rum, and Black Bart aka Bartholomew Roberts. I don’t think a lot of people reading this would have wanted to sail on Roberts’ ship. He preferred to drink tea instead of rum.
Captain William Kidd was Scottish. I think his Aarrgh would have been as good as anyone’s in history. Blackbeard and Edward England were both English as was Calico Jack Rackham though his shipmate the notorious Anne Bonny was born in County Cork, Ireland. Anne delighted in revealing her breast to the men she conquered. Talk about wild Irish lasses! That alone deserves an Aaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!
That’s not to say there weren’t French, Spanish, and Dutch pirates. Boy, there were plenty of those too. But I just don’t know how you can put a French or Dutch accent on Aarrrgh! Awkward!!!
The following are thirty pirate riddles with the word Aarrr in the answer. I have no doubt even Henry Morgan, if he sobered up long enough, would surely be amused. Ready or not, here they Arrr!
1.How do pirates like their eggs?
2. Where in the Caribbean do pirates go for vacation?
3. What’s a pirate’s favorite game fish?
4. Why was the pirate voted most valuable player in baseball?
Because he had the most Arrr BI’s.
5. What happened to the movie about pirates who plundered a ship with scantily clad wenches?
It was raided Arrr!
6. What music do pirates listen to?
Arrr and B
7. What’s a pirate’s favorite musical instrument?
8. What was the pirate’s explosive secret weapon?
9. What were pirates doing in the dollar store?
Looking for a b-arrr-gain.
10. What do pirates like to smoke after a day of pillaging and wenching?
11. What does a pirate do after brushing his teeth?
He g-arrr-gles with rum.
12. What did Blackbeard do when fuses got hopelessly tangled in his beard?
He went to a b-arrr-ber.
13. What do pirates like inscribed on their tombstone?
Arrr I P
14. Why didn’t the pirate say anything at his own trial?
Because there was no use in Arrr-guing with the judge.
15. Why did the pirate interrupt the band in the middle of the song?
He didn’t like the Arrr-angement.
16. What famous pirate appeared in Star Wars?
Arrr 2 D 2.
17. What’s a pirate’s favorite part of the boardwalk?
18. What do you call a muscular pirate with a German accent?
19. What vegetable does a cook never serve on a pirate ship?
20. Why did the pirate drink unsweetened iced tea?
He didn’t like Arrr-tificial sweeteners.
21. Where do pirates hold their tailgate party before a night of plundering?
In the p-arrr-king lot.
22. What TV show do pirates like to watch when they get up in the morning?
23. What job did the pirate volunteer for on Thanksgiving Day?
C-arrr-ving the turkey.
24. Why was the pirate limping?
25. How do pirates spend their Saturday mornings?
They go to yarrr-d sales.
26. If God is a pirate, what’s the first thing he’s going to ask to see when you reach heaven?
27. What kind of toilet paper do pirates use?
28. What’s the smelliest part of a pirate?
His Arrr-m pit.
29. Who was the best pirate to ever play golf?
30. What did God tell Noah to do when he turned pirate?
Start building an Arrr-k.
How about you? I bet there’s a little pirate in you yearning to break free. What arrr you waiting for? Let me hear your best aarrr jokes.
To leave a comment, click on https://billhegerichsr.wordpress.com/2019/04/10/aaaarrrrgh/ with a sense of humor.
The Uncommon Mariner
It’s hard to believe Halloween is almost here. Pirates know something about that holiday. Let’s face it who knows more about scary things like skeletons and things that go bump in the night. Especially since so many pirates were turned into skeletons over the years.
I’ve noticed a lot of advice being given to trick-or-treaters these past couple weeks. It’s good advice for kids who dare to go out in the dark, facing unknown dreads just for a little bit of candy. You won’t find genuine pirates facing their fears for a Snickers bar. Maybe a little rum, or a pretty wench, or a little gold, but it’s going to take more than a Mary Jane or some stale popcorn to get me out of me easy chair. It was a Mary Jane that ripped out half my fillings one Halloween when I was a kid.
A lot of the advice kids get is good, sound information. Travel in groups. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Watch out for obstacles. Not every adult is your friend. Check something carefully before consuming it. That’s advice every pirate should heed.
For example, a lot more pirates would have survived the Golden Age of Piracy if they stayed in groups. And even more would be alive if they didn’t take unnecessary risks. Blackbeard should have paid attention to that one. After an intense exchange of firepower, a ship that attacked him appeared to be lifeless. Instead of letting things alone, he had his men board the ship. Was he ever surprised when a whole regiment of soldiers and sailors suddenly poured on deck and decimated his crew.
And Captain Kidd was thinking more like a kid when he sailed to New York and met with the very man he trusted would exonerate him. Lord Bellomont may have held a respectable position as governor, but he certainly was not his friend. Kidd trusted two passes to Bellomont, passes that would have cleared his name. Instead, the passes mysteriously vanished, Kidd was put on trial, hanged, and his body left to rot on a dock where other sailors could view his remains for months to come. I bet Jamie Lee Curtis or Freddy Kreuger didn’t have to face anything like that.
Moms and dads have the bases covered when it comes to protecting their kids this Halloween, but I’m a little worried about pirates because some of the great advice kids are given is just plain terrible for a buccaneer.
For example, someone told his kid not to wear an eye-patch because it would obstruct his view. That’s terrible advice for a pirate. I mean what do you expect a bloke with one eye to wear? Besides when you’re being attacked by a one-eyed pirate with a black eye-patch, you’re probably going to think twice about fighting back.
Adults also tell kids to wear bright clothing so they can easily be seen. When you’re a pirate, being easily seen is the last thing you want to happen. How do you think pirates got their hands on all that booty not to mention their wench’s booty over the years?
Another piece of advice that is just plain wrong is wearing reflective tape on your costume. You can’t be serious! Bartholomew Roberts would still be alive today if he didn’t do something similarly stupid. He used to dress up in bright fine clothes with gold chains and other jewelry around his neck. Can you guess what happened to him at the very beginning of one battle? I’ll give you a hint. It was his last battle, and not because he retired.
Kids are told not to carry pointed sword, sticks, or other sharp objects. Now that is excellent advice. BUT NOT FOR PIRATES! I wouldn’t want to be the one to tell pirates before they go out to leave their swords below deck. I think you can imagine where they would stick them before I finished giving such fine advice.
Finally, kids are warned to avoid dark places. Now that’s sound advice for a kid on any night of the year. The trouble is that’s where pirates do their best work. And I can’t think of a better place for a pirate to cozy up with his wench than a quiet, dark place.
Halloween is almost here, so I gotta go. I have to look for my eye-patch and check to make sure my sword is sharp enough for whatever things I meet that go bump in the night. Then I’m going to grab me pirate wench and find a nice dark, cozy room.
Happy Halloween and stay safe.
The Uncommon Mariner
To bring good luck upon yourself from the gods of the seas, leave a comment at: https://billhegerichsr.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/halloween-advice-for-pirates/
It was the last week in June, 2003, that pirates sailed into the Caribbean, led by what may be the strangest pirate that ever lived. Captain Jack Sparrow. Not even Blackbeard could have guessed that Johnny Depp, in Disney’s swashbuckling film, Curse of the Black Pearl would plunder the hearts and wallets of pirate fans around the globe for years to come.
What most people don’t realize is that when Johnny Depp began to portray his character as a saucy, almost effeminate pirate, several of the executives bristled. Depp won out, and Disney was buried under an avalanche of cash. They didn’t complain much about that. Grossing over $654 million, Curse of the Black Pearl went on to become the most successful film of the year.
Other films in the series include Dead Man’s Chest (2006) which earned $1.1 billion. At the World’s End (2007) earned $960 million, On Stranger Tides (2011) over a billion dollars, and Deadmen Tell No Tales in 2017 plundered nearly $800 million. Not a bad take for a bunch of hapless, unwashed pirates.
Depp never won an Academy Award for Curse of the Black Pearl. He never won an Academy Award for the other five Pirates of the Caribbean either. In fact, of all the movies he’s appeared in, and that includes: Sweeney Todd (2007), Charlie and the
Chocolate Factory (2005), Edward Scissorhands (1990), and Sleepy Hollow (1999), he’s never once won the coveted award. Is he that bad of an actor or do the people who vote on such things actually live with their heads up their astral?
Pirates never get old. Each generation must face the possibility of encountering some very real ones out on the high seas. Yet, as the Golden Age of Piracy, which lasted from around 1700 to 1720, fades into history’s rearview mirror, the appeal of pirates has never been stronger. Within a span of 14 years, Disney has sensed this, and continues to pillage the box office around the globe for the foreseeable future.
There are a few things that might surprise you about pirates. In fact, there are a few things that might surprise you about Johnny Depp. For example, did you know that he carries his pirate costume around with him so he can visit sick kids in the hospital? He’s not going to intimidate too many people with that kind of attitude. In fact, after playing the role of Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow, he found out the horse he rode was going to be put down so he adopted it. Softie!
Johnny Depp has been close friends with Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones for years. Depp used him as an inspiration for his portrayal of Jack Sparrow.
Anyone who’s seen Sweeney Todd is probably aware of what an excellent singer Depp is, but don’t ask him to dance anytime soon. It’s one of his biggest fears.
When God made Johnny Depp, he threw away the mold. As a man of contradictions, he isn’t easy to explain away as the executives in Hollywood know only too well. When he was cast as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, not many people knew he was allergic to chocolate as a kid. While he was filming the first Pirates of the Caribbean, he fell in love with an island he came across in the Caribbean. He was so enamored by it that he bought it for $3.6 million. My brother-in-law would be proud of him. Everything there runs on solar power.
If you think Captain Jack Sparrow is a strange character, you’ll be more than amused at the real-life character of Depp. He has 30 tattoos on his body. In fact, he once said: “My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story.” I don’t know if any of those tattoos are of saucy wenches or skull and crossbones, but he is known to have tattooed Winona Forever on his body. When he and Winona Ryder broke up, he had it altered to Wino Forever, a nod to his wine-keeping hobby.
You can’t say Johnny Depp hasn’t immersed himself in the persona of a pirate over the years. He was once accused of having trashed the room of a five-star hotel in New York City, something he flatly denies. To this day he swears an armadillo did it after jumping out of a closet. When questioned by police where it went, he pointed to the window. “Jumped out!” he exclaimed.
All the films in the Pirates of the Caribbean series serve up a lot of fun even if they are a little lean on historical accuracy. For example, did you know that most pirates never made anyone walk the plank. If they got around to disliking you, they simply threw you overboard.
Then, of course, there’s the Flying Dutchman. The historical account is actually simpler than what the movies portray. A Dutchman trying to round the Cape of Good Hope off South Africa kept being pushed backwards by ferocious winds and mountainous waves. Exasperated, he swore to the devil that if he would let him through, he would sell him his soul. Since then any sailor who sees the Flying Dutchman is doomed to die prematurely.
As for the depravity and slovenly dress of pirates, the crew of the Black Pearl got it right. The more unkempt and dirty pirates were, the happier they seemed to be though Jack Sparrow dressed more closely to real-life pirate Jack Rackham who sported fancy clothes. As for pirates’ finances, I’m afraid my financial planner would starve if he were around pirates of the Golden Age. When in port, most spent every last doubloon on wine, women, and debauchery. Of course, there were exceptions. Buccaneer, Henry Morgan, whom all that rum has been named after, saved a generous portion of his booty and bought several plantations in the Caribbean.
When the next Pirates of the Caribbean comes out, I wonder where the adventure will take us. It doesn’t matter much. When Johnny Depp transforms himself into Captain Jack Sparrow, and his mascara is barely dry, we’ll be running for our lives trying to keep up with him. See you then. I’ll be the one in the movie seat behind you, swinging my cutlass wildly and curdling your blood with the fiercest scream I can muster. “Aarrggh!”
To leave a comment, please go to https://billhegerichsr.wordpress.com/2018/06/27/caribbean-pirates-nab-654-million-plundering-to-continue-indefinitely/