pirates

Why Didn’t We Put a Real Pirate in Office?

Even pirates have their limitations, but there arrrgghh  just some things a pirate will never say.

Putting a Real Pirate in office isn’t as hard as you think. 

The election is over and Donald Trump is the president elect of the United States. Hopefully, he will lead this country wisely and bravely for the next four years.

I have my doubts considering his remarks and behavior during the primaries and this past election bid. The man gushed unashamedly about how he likes to ogle naked women as they change for a beauty contest. It’s one thing to have your private sexual fantasies and another to act on them.

He also bubbled with joy about grabbing women’s genitals without fear of repercussion because he was a celebrity. I wonder how many women he’ll actually attempt to fondle now that he’s even more of a celebrity. I suspect if he tries it with Angela Merkel, chancellor of West Germany, he’ll be in for a surprise.

Of course, all of this is not exactly the stuff role models and leaders are made of. So how do you explain him to your teenage son or daughter?

His opponent put up a fantastic fight, actually winning more votes than he did.  She no doubt would have made a fine president, but a quirk in our electoral college circumvented that. So forty-eight percent of Americans decided they liked a borderline pervert instead. And to think that many of those who selected him were Evangelical Christians who believe in the straight and narrow path. I can only guess their value system aligns with Donald Trump’s, so it leaves me more than a little confused how groping and humiliating women, Hispanics, and special needs persons fits into organized religion.

Now that the dust has cleared, I’m wondering why someone like Jimmy Buffett didn’t run for office. He’s smart just like Donald Trump. He’s funny, unlike Donald Trump. He’s engaging unlike Donald Trump. And he’s a good businessman just like Donald Trump. Look at how he’s packed his concerts city after city over the years. Margaritaville restaurants and stores which grew systemically from his songs are thriving. Even though the music poohbahs who give out awards have largely neglected his achievements, his loyal parrothead fans now include their children and their children’s children.

Because Jimmy’s trademark is pirates and parrots, I have no trouble seeing the White House filled with these colorful creatures. Jimmy has always been a pirate. There’s a story about how in his earlier years, he stole peanut butter and sardines from a local supermarket to keep from starving. I believe he made restitution a long time ago. His story is recounted in his song The Peanut Butter Conspiracy.

I bet Donald Trump was never hungry a day in his life. Judging from his physical appearance, he sure doesn’t appear to have been. In fact, he received a nice little nest egg from his dad to get him started. Jimmy, on the other hand, had to endure a lot of hard times before he finally made it big. No nest eggs from his family. Just good family values and a pirate heart that told him he could do anything he set his mind to. Arrrgggh! Continue reading →

Olympic Fever

Think you have what it takes to design your own pirate flag? Maybe we’ll see you in the very first Pirate Olympics.

Think you have what it takes to design your own pirate flag? Maybe we’ll see you in the very first Pirate Olympics.

Lately it seems wherever you turn, you either hear about the Rio Olympics or you see it on TV. I’m not complaining. I find it inspiring to see so many topnotch athletes performing at their best.

But did you ever wonder what it would be like if pirates held their own Olympics? I can’t help but think it would be an exciting event well worth watching.

If I was organizing the event, I would have eight categories. First, there would be the sword and cutlass events. The first part would consist of polishing and honing a sword or cutlass. (Swords are more for piercing; cutlasses are more for slashing though you can do both with either.)

Each pirate would be given a dull, rusty blade and his job would be to turn it into a thing of beauty that every other pirate would want to steal.

Since this event is in the nascent stages, I’m still working out the details like how to prevent a bunch of pirates who had too much rum to keep from cutting themselves. In the end, the sword that pirates try to steal the most gets the gold. And you know how pirates love gold.

The next event requires each pirate to draw a treasure map. You heard that X marks the spot. Can you imagine a pirate marking a hundred X’s on his map? A stolen map would be worthless to the pilferer.

And before you object to pirates stealing at the Olympics, I want to remind you that they’re pirates. They’re supposed to steal from each other. In fact, if they failed to steal anything during the events, they’d be disqualified.

Another event would require everyone to design their own pirate flag. The only stipulation is that it’s designed on cloth. One pirate new to the trade actually flew an old piece of burlap because that was all he had. As time went on he got better.

Imagine the possibilities pirates could come up with after a couple of rum and Cokes. A treasure chest on a field of pink. My grand daughter would love that. Or picture a skull and crossbones on a rainbow background. I bet that would bring a smile to the faces of a lot of men and women in the gay community. Aarrrrgh!

Pirates are often given a bad rap about their hygiene- and some might well deserve it. In this next event, pirates are given a bar of soap and required to wash up. Drop the soap, and you’re automatically disqualified. Continue reading →

Buried Treasure

 

Treasure Chests come in an assortment of shapes and sizes. What does yours look like?

Treasure Chests come in an assortment of shapes and sizes. What does yours look like?

When I was a kid, I remember a small tin chest not more than four inches wide and a couple inches high. It was shaped like a pirate’s chest with a sturdy metal handle on the top and a hole underneath large enough to slip coins into. The metallic blacks, blues, and browns beckoned this six-year old to a fascinating world of pirates with Captain Kidd’s own name inscribed on the front of the chest.

Looking back, a pirate bank seems counterintuitive. Pirates were the last ones you’d expect to save money though Henry Morgan did and purchased several estates in Jamaica. Not bad for a pirate, mon!

I guess there was more pirate in that six-year old than I realized. I never managed to save more than a few coins at a time, and while rum and wenches didn’t call my name, packages of baseball cards with bubblegum inside did. I can think of a whole lot of pirates that would be proud of me because of my spendthrift ways.

Our piggy banks have changed over the years. There’s still the common pig- mostly see-through glass or plaster of Paris. I have two myself; one large and one small, both are painted blue.

I don’t know if kids still use piggy banks these days. From the looks of the shelves in the dollar stores, there seems to be one for every kid in America with plenty to spare.

But somehow I think most kids and their parents have grown too sophisticated for them. Now there are gift cards in denominations of twenty to a hundred dollars, and it’s not much fun to stare at a gift card lying indolently at the bottom of a piggy bank. It is fun, however, to see a few single coins grow from a tiny miniscule lump to an impressive mountain of change.

I never took a poll, but had I asked the hundreds of buccaneers and pirates that sailed the Seven Seas, I bet my best tricorn hat that ninety-nine percent of them would laugh at me if I asked if they ever buried treasure. “You think wenches and rum come free, you bloat?” they’d likely sneer.

Still I can’t help but think of Henry Morgan who actually buried the treasure he stole at Nombre de Dios. Spanish ships chased his ships away while he was off plundering in the jungles of Central America. When he discovered his predicament, he hastily buried the booty then rowed several hours till he caught up with his ships.

My wife never had that problem, but she does keep her treasure in a chest of sorts. I’d use the word booty, but some you with lurid minds would get the wrong idea. Her booty is in a tall glass jar, not something you could bury very easily. She often wonders why it doesn’t fill up faster till I remind her that if she didn’t plunder it as fast as Henry Morgan raided the Spanish Main, it might be brimming over.

While few pirates ever buried their treasure, I can assure you there were some. Even today part of William Kidd’s treasure is still the target of many a treasure hunt. And that’s a good thing because my grandchildren Luke and Nora buried treasure in my garden last year. We drew a pirate map up to make sure it was official.

I’m taking an informal poll, and I’d like to ask you two questions. Have you ever buried treasure? Hiding money under a rug or in a book counts! At the very least, do you have a piggy bank or chest where you store extra booty.

You’ll have to excuse me, but I hear someone digging out back. It might be a neighbor or it might be a professional treasure hunter. Word gets around.  I’ve got to grab my tricorn hat and sword and check it out. I’ll be back next week.

In the meantime, if you want to read a little more about treasure, you might enjoy reading “What’s in Your Treasure Chest?” Find it at  https://billhegerichsr.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/whats-in-your-treasure-chest/                                    .

                Bill Hegerich

               The Uncommon Mariner

 

If you’d like to respond, please click on https://billhegerichsr.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/buried-treasure/

 

 

Blackbeard for President

 

Blackbeard was the consummate politician, blending guile, skill, and leadership

Blackbeard was the consummate politician, blending guile, skill, and leadership

I have a bumper sticker with a skull and crossbones on it. The skull is wearing an eyepatch, smiling no doubt because of the bright red bandana it’s sporting. Underneath it reads: “Put a Real Pirate in Office. Jimmy Buffett for President.”

I think Jimmy is having way too much fun to be tricked into running for president, but of all the pirates I’ve known, Blackbeard would make a terrific president. It’s hard to think of a more presidential candidate than Edward Thatch. That’s his baptismal name. Yes, even the parents of buccaneers have high expectations for their offspring.

Of course, I can hear your comments now. He doesn’t look anything like a president. Look at all that hair! And that beard!  Have you lost your mind? As a matter of fact, I have, but my wife has gotten used to it. Did you know we had quite a number of presidents who were no slackers in the hair and beard department? Abe Lincoln, of course, being one of the greatest.

It may interest you to know the last time we had a president with a full blown beard was President Rutherford Hayes, twenty-third president who served from 1877 to 1881. He could have passed as Blackbeard’s double though I don’t think Blackbeard would have approved of him as president. At his wife’s urging, he banished wine and liquor from the White House. That’s not the sort of thing a president with pirate tendencies does.

In case you haven’t noticed, Donald Trump is no slouch in the hair department though he would probably garner a bit more respect if he let it go pure white instead of using something on it that looks like dog pee. His hair dresser should tell him white hair implies age and wisdom.

As for Blackbeard, he was a dedicated pragmatist who knew exactly how to utilize his hair and beard. He used to weave fuses in his beard then light them during battle to intimidate his opponents. Imagine how frightening he would appear before a joint session of Congress or in a tense meeting with Vladimir Putin when suddenly smoke belched from his head, his black penetrating eyes boring a hole in your soul.

But it takes more than hair to be a leader. When you’re the leader of a pirate ship, you need three things: an ability to take control, a knowledge of people, and a thorough understanding of your profession. Blackbeard had these in aces.

However, like every politician, he held his position using guile, though his strong pirate persona would certainly give him an edge over whining tea partyers. He once blew the candle out in his cabin while drinking with a few of his crew. Suddenly, he picked up his pistols and fired them underneath the table, laming one person. When asked why he did it, he answered: “Got to show ‘em who’s boss once in a while.”

I think that would work well when a pirate president runs into a congress like we’ve had for what seems an eternity. After all, if pirates pulled off the crap that our senators and congressmen have, they’d never leave port. Pirates unlike most members of Congress today knew if you wanted to get things done… if you wanted booty, rum, and wenches then you had to compromise; you couldn’t sit on the deck and whine about having everything your way: “I don’t want to go to Africa; I don’t think we should take that prize; how come I don’t ever get first choice of captured guns. Blah! Blah! Blah!” Continue reading →

Twenty-five Reasons to Have a Pirate as a Friend

Warning!!! Child in Adult's Body. Expect the Unexpected!!!

  1. Pirates always know where to find rum.
  2. Nobody messes with someone who wears an eye patch, a hook, and a wooden leg.
  3. Pirates don’t spend a lot of time correcting your grammar.
  4. Pirates Arr cool.
  5. Pirates are chick magnets. They always know how to get their hands on booty.
  6. When you hang out with pirates, at least you’ll be the best smelling one in the group.
  7. You don’t have to remember which spoon or fork to use if you’re eating at a fancy restaurant.
  8. If they decide to fire their cannons, you’ll have a blast.
  9. If you accidentally fart, you can blame it on them.
  10. You won’t be spending too much time in church.
  11. You’ll probably be the designated driver of a pirate ship. How cool is that?
  12. It’s always Five ‘O’Clock Somewhere.
  13. No matter how bad you are, you’ll look like an angel next to them.
  14. If you start losing at cards, there’s always a chance the captain will stop the game when he stands on the deck.
  15. Pirates know how to seas the moment.
  16. You can get your ears pierced for a buccaneer.
  17. You won’t have to watch your language.
  18. If you forget your deodorant, no one will notice.
  19. No one’s going to make fun of you for what you’re wearing.
  20. If you spill your Starbucks all over yourself, you won’t have to change your shirt all summer.
  21. Pirates won’t nag you to call home.
  22. If you lose your toothbrush, no one will notice.
  23. No one’s going to ask if they can borrow your comb.
  24. Pirates won’t get insulted if you belch in public.
  25. Pirates don’t care whether or not you’re on a diet. The only thing they weigh are anchors.

 

Bill Hegerich

The Uncommon Mariner

To leave a comment, please click on https://billhegerichsr.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/twenty-five-reasons-to-have-a-pirate-as-a-friend/

Sixty Things You’ll Never Hear a Pirate Say

Even pirates have their limitations, but there arrrgghh just some things a pirate will never say.

Even pirates have their limitations, and there arrrgghh just some things a pirate will never say.

  1. Ye think ye can pick me up some deodorant when ye go ashore, mate?
  1. Why don’t we donate this booty to the reverend so he can build a new church?
  1. More rum? No thanks, mate. I’ve had my fill.
  1. Keep yer gold and silver, folks. Ye need it more than me.
  1. It’s Sunday, mate. Let’s bow our heads in prayer.
  1. Does this sword and pistol make me look too violent?
  1. What’s that god-awful smell?
  1. This is me last cruise, mate. After this, I’m joining a monastery.
  1. Someday I’m going to marry a sweet, wholesome, old fashion girl.
  1. A haircut and a shave please.
  1. I have more than enough. You take my share of the booty.
  1. The wenches in this tavern are far too depraved for me.
  1. May I touch yer booty? ( sez a pirate as he looks at a wench’s money.)
  1. May I touch yer booty? (sez a pirate as he eyes the rump of a curvaceous wench.)
  1. It’s been ten years since I had me a drink.
  1. Play cards? No thanks. I want to finish this article in the New York Times.
  1. Put yer clothes on, ye saucy wench. You’re embarrassing me.
  1. Let’s chase that ship down and give ‘er all our gold.
  1. We need a new flag with fairies and rainbows on it.
  1. Let’s fill our cannons with M&M’s and sweeten the world.
  1. I’m going to volunteer for the Red Cross when I get into port.
  2. Where’s the next AA meeting?

Continue reading →

You Have to Grow Older, but You Don’t Have to Grow Up

Send more pirates. The last one was delicious.

Send more pirates. The last one was delicious.

May 09 marks the 156th birthday of J. M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan. It was Barrie who helped shape our concept of pirates and our love for them. Captain Hook with his elaborate dress, his one eye, his hook, and his diabolical demeanor changed the public‘s consciousness towards pirates forever. We were hooked from the outset.

Barrie was born in Scotland but moved to London to make his way in the literary world. He was successful as a playwright long before he wrote Peter Pan in 1903. However, when it appeared on stage the following year, audiences adored it.

Few are aware the character of Peter Pan first appeared in another work of Barrie’s called The Little White Bird. When Peter Pan was first written, it was also known appropriately enough as The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up.

Peter Pan relates the story of a boy who remains eternally young. One night he flies into a nursery and tells two boys and a girl all about Never Never Land. Fascinated, he agrees to take them there after a fairy sprinkles them with fairy dust. Their adventures involve Peter battling Captain Hook who tries several times to kill him. In the end, Peter defeats Hook when he falls off his ship, the Jolly Roger, and into the mouth of a waiting crocodile.

Peter Pan appeals to that part of our soul that stays forever young, that prompts us to still chase our dreams and believe anything is possible whether we‘re six or ninety-six.

Beyond that, Peter Pan teaches us that it’s okay to be childlike long after we’ve outgrown our childish ways. This would help to explain why Jimmy Buffett is still so appealing to aging parrotheads. He’s reintroduced us to pirates and the fun to be had from exploring our childlike heart. Continue reading →

Where the Ghosts of Pirates Still Walk the Streets: The Pirates of Nassau

PIRATES OF NASSAU

It stands about a block off Bay Street in Nassau, Bahamas at the corner of King and George, but when the sun hits the sign on that deep pink building the drunkest pirate could find it after the wildest night of debauchery. And if you haven’t indulged too heavily the night before, you’re likely to hear Blackbeard’s voice boom as he swears gleefully at Benjamin Hornigold, his one time shipmate and mentor.

“And what the hell is me quartermaster be doing on these streets when ye got important business on the ship?” swears Hornigold.

Blackbeard studying his captain barely blinks. “I got me an itchin’ for that raven-haired wench at the Crossbones Pub and a thirst to match.”

“We be sailin’ tonight for sure. Word has it a shipload of Spanish coins, lots of rum, and an assortment of lovely baubles all be headin‘ our way.”

Blackbeard grunts then slips into the dark coolness of a nearby tavern. His dark beauty is waiting.

Nassau, Bahamas is a booming island, and whether you visit by plane or by ship, you’ll find the people for the most part warm and friendly, and focused on the business of daily living just like the old days when Blackbeard and Hornigold turned it into one of the most thriving Pirate Havens of the Caribbean.

Little is left of their haunts where they unloaded their booty and swapped tales and goods with local merchants and citizens. New markets have risen on the ghostly remains of the old, but the smiles and grinning eyes remain in the town’s descendants.

But to really appreciate the significance of Nassau, you have to wander up from Bay street till you come to the pink clad building cloaked in an air of mystery. Like one who consorts with pirates, it sees far more than it tells.

Rounding the corner, the first thing I notice is the lone black figure standing tall in the street. Black boots, black trousers, black shirt frame the figure, a tricorn hat long associated with pirates sits atop the pirate’s ebony face. And he grins.

He grins and waves me over. “Let’s see how it fits you,” he calls as he motions to his weathered stocks with a hole just large enough to place my head and  two smaller holes to clasp my wrists.

The black pirate’s disarming smile nudges me just feet from the dark castle-like building, its opening like a mouth ready to swallow one more visitor into its mysterious depths.

His penetrating eyes stare into my soul, and recognizing a compatriot, I smile back. With the same playful banter between Blackbeard and Hornigold, he invites me into a world of pirates, and suddenly centuries fall away, and it’s 1715 again when pirates overwhelmingly outnumbered its citizens. Continue reading →

April Fool’s Day… Pirate Style

Warning!!! Child in Adult's Body. Expect the Unexpected!!!

Though it’s hard to trace the origin of April Fool’s Day, it’s a safe bet it’s not going to go away any time soon. I’d bet my last piece of eight it’s  been around for as long as pirates, but I know I’d lose. Just look at the old Greek saying: “When God created the sea, he created pirates.” Now that’s longevity for you.

Did you ever wonder though what it would be like to play an April Fool’s Day prank on a pirate? I suspect it wouldn’t be a very bright idea. And that’s something I would bet my last piece of eight on.

Imagine the surprise pirates might have when they dig for a treasure chest under the hot Caribbean sun, and you finally shout as sweat drips from their faces and necks onto their broad shoulders, “April Fools!” Imagine how many pieces thirty angry pirates can cut you into.

Or imagine some polliwog bringing a jar of termites aboard ship and letting them run up and down a shipmate’s wooden leg as he awakens to you shouting “April Fool!” I bet that prankster would feel like a bigger fool after he’s stripped and tarred with molasses then marooned on a flea-infested island.

It’s not that pirates didn’t have a sense of humor. They often put on little skits to while away their time. Some of these referred to dancing the hempen jig. For the uninitiated, that’s pirate lingo for hanging at the end of a rope. They all chuckled at the prospect, knowing full well that if they stayed in the business long enough, that’s exactly how they were going to end their days.

And I pity the fool who would dare spike a shipmate’s rum with salt water. “April Fool!” he shouts as the victim spits out what was once a perfectly good dram of rum. I bet a day lashed to the main mast without a drop to drink might show the scalawag the error of his ways.

Pirates were rarely a sophisticated lot so they weren’t beyond crude jokes, but I just can’t imagine the saltiest of them laughing off a tack on their seat after a hard day of pillaging and plundering. “You think that’s funny?” the victim snorts? “No, this is funny!” he fumes as he pulls his cutlass from his scabbard and shows the prankster the true meaning of being half-assed. Continue reading →

Dinner is Now Being Served in the Main Galley

With Easter and spring upon us, it’s only natural to think of all those eggs, hams, and spring lambs adorning the tables of millions around the world. But did you ever think about what pirates and other mariners feasted on for their daily fare? Surely, if they beseeched God to “… give us this day our daily bread…” it’s no wonder they became a hard, atheistic lot when they showed up for dinner with far less to eat than their counterpart landlubbers.

It’s hard to make a sweeping generalization that captures all mariners at sea. William Dampier, the buccaneer, explorer, and navigator, once dined on flamingoes. For the PETA folks, it’s not something I would approve of, so no nasty emails please. I wouldn’t approve of dining on turtles either, which pirates and mariners did when they could, but when you haven’t eaten a very substantial meal in weeks, it’s not hard for your stomach to persuade your brain to change its mind no matter how much you love God‘s creatures.

The fact is, dining at the beginning of a journey out on the high seas was tolerable. Food and water were fresh. Fowl or livestock brought aboard provided wholesome meat and eggs; and when rations grew short, they could become tomorrow’s dinner. A few weeks into the trip was a different story. With no refrigeration, meat soon became rotten, filled with maggots and worms. A good cook disguised the putrid taste with a variety of seasonings.

Of course, there was the old standby of salted meat, so hard and tasteless that some sailors actually carved their allotment into buttons. Then there was the hardtack. Before you go thinking it was some kind of delicious candy kept in tins, you’ll be disappointed to know it was nothing more than hard biscuits made from flour and water. The only true nourishment was from the weevils that burrowed inside.

When supplies ran really low, a competent cook got creative with a little dish that survives today. Salmagundi. The word comes from the French salmigondis which means a hodgepodge of something. With what started as  scraps, the cook threw in anything available, adding a few pounds of seasoning to mask the even more putrid ingredients that weren’t getting any tastier by the day.

I know what you’re thinking, but before you turn your nose up at salmagundi, look at all the dishes that evolved from cultures where there wasn’t a lot of money to spend on food. Hash, corned beef and cabbage, shit-on-the- shingle. Even on cruise ships they serve a dish called Seafood medley. What do you think goes into THAT? What the folks didn’t eat the day before! Continue reading →