The Poopdeck

The Talk Like A Pirate Day Newsletter
Published now and again
Ol' Chumbucket, ed.
ISSUE NO. 83, August 16, 2010
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34 Days Until Talk Like a Pirate Day
33 Days Until Talk Like a Pirate Day Eve

In This Issue

The Holiday Weekend is Almost Here!

What are YOU doing this year for International Talk Like a Pirate Day Weekend?

With the holiday fallng on a Sunday again, we're claiming the entire weekend - as usual. As it happens, Cap'n Slappy, Mad Sally and I will be at piratey parties Saturday night (Talk Like a Pirate Day Eve, as it were) and at the stroke of midnight (three hours apart, since we're in different time zones) we'll be toasting he holiday with the best rum we can find. And given Slappy's nose for a good tot o'rum, that ought to be pretty good indeed!

There are parties in Costa Rica, in Australia, in London, and all across the U.S. Check our Calend-Aarr ( for one near you. And if there isn't one near you, start planning one, and let us know your plans. Pass the word on to Jezebel the Web Wench at and she'll post it where everyone can see it and join in the fun!

Official TLAPDay 2010 Shirts

Many of us will be in full pirate regalia for the weekend, but if that's too much trouble (or if you're afraid of spilling rum and Salmagundi on you pirate togs) you should definitely go with our official 2010 Talk Like a Pirate Day T-Shirt.

The designs were done as part of a contest and Slappy picked three winners. They are by Nick Domschot, Mike "The Skeleton Pirate" Quinn and Greg Warmbrodt and Capt. Salty. Their incredible designs are available on T-shirts, mugs and other goodies avalable at our Cafe Press store -

Order now so you'll be sure to have them in time for the holiday!

Ol' Chumbcket's Book Club

"Pirate Latitudes," by Michael Crichton

I've never been a fan of Crichton and, having read "Pirate Latitudes," the novel found completed on his computer after he died, I'm still not.

Don't get me wrong - there's a ton of piratey action and adventure in this novel, all of it is the stuff that'll warm any pirate's heart. There's capture and escape, battles at sea, revenge, a spirited land battle, a woman wronged extracting awful vengeance from the wronger, even a kraaken, Okay, the kraaken took things a bit too far for my money, it was like, 'Ohmigod! NOW what?' Just seemed a little much, ya know?

But that's not my complaint. My complaint is the same I've had with every single Crichton novel since I read "The Andromeda Strain" way back in the mid-'70s. The guy can spin a story, no doubt about it, and there's plenty of story here. But his characters are bloodless cliches. He has never written a three-dimensional character who changes or grows over the course of the story.

Captain Charles Hunter, the leadig man of this adventure, is a too-good-to-be-true, too-tough-to-be-defeated, too-smooth-and-handsome-to-not-bed-any-lady stalwart hero at the beginning of the book. At the end, he's still exactly the same thing. Nothing he goes through in this whole adventure causes so much as a second thought or the whisper of an existential doubt.

The same is true of every other character. The only ones who change are the many, many characters who start out alive and finish the story dead. And it's not like there aren't' plenty of interesting characters to have worked with. But not one of them learns anything about him or herself. They just go on pillaging and plundering and plotting from start to finish wth nary a thought in their heads.

So there's plenty of action - really enough for two pirate stories - and that's good, although O'Brian and Forrester both did the sea action better. But there are stock characters straight out of central casting who never look past the next fight or learn anything about themselves, and that's bad. Even Fraser did better characters and his novel, "The Pyrates," is a parody. (and a terrific book!)

So I can't give this one a hearty recommendation. I'll give it two mugs o' rum out of a possible five. It might have gotten three if it weren't for that kraaken.


That's all I've got for now, mateys, but you'll be hearing from me again real soon. Because Talk Like a Pirate Day Weekend is almost here!

- Ol' Chumbucket (ed.)

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