Suck Yer Booty (wait, that came out wrong)

So Facebook has been feeding me an ad lately for FinalStraw, a really cool company that makes collapsible straws so you can suck your mojitos without harmful side effects to sea turtles. Their spokesperson is even a mermaid, so you know they’re serious. But the ad wasn’t just for FinalStraw in general – it was for their new limited edition color, Pirate’s Booty (black, for the uninitiated).

Now, I know what you’re thinking – carrying around a reuseable straw is hardly piratey. I mean, Blackbeard was a notorious litterbug afterall. But it’s time we fearsome men and women of the sea thought about the long-term damage we’re doing. Case in point, consider this famous passage from Moby Dick:

“The whale, the whale! Up helm, up helm! Oh, all ye sweet powers of air, now hug me close! Up helm, I say- ye fools, the jaw! the jaw! My God, stand by me now!”

But lo! At that the mighty beast did keel over and die, its blow-hole having jammed tight with a nigh fistful of plastic straws cast aside by careless fast food patrons. Ahab looked down as the whale gave a piteous death rattle. “Egads,” said he, “that was anticlimactic.”

See my point? So go buy a Pirate’s Booty FinalStraw before they run out. And use it. If you’re not into black, that’s cool. They also have plenty of other colors like Sea Tur-Teal and Shark’s Butt Grey.

The Ballad of the Long Beach Invasion

What’s the magic of pirate gatherings? I suppose answers vary. For some it’s the music. The food. The chance to deck up a right foul swab and carouse about town. But then, you don’t really need a pirate gathering to find and do these things (and I have the pix to prove it). Then there’s the rarer gems—the merfolk and live shows and vendors slinging swag. All good things, but I’d suggest they’re still not the true magic of pirate gatherings.

The true magic is right there in the back of its name. The gathering. The too rare occasion where like-minded roughs get together, belt out “yarrrs” free of irony and partake in all the aforementioned attractions piratical. The bands, the food, the merpeeps and rum. Usually more than a little rum.

Of course, not all pirate festivals are created equal. But after my first trek to Pirate Invasion Long Beach this past June, I’m pleased to note it measured strong on all counts. For me, it was damned near overwhelming, being my first true foray to piratedom in a long spell, and my first ever in Southern California.

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An Ode to Plunderpants

I purchased a new pair of plunderpants,
and thought it was time to report
that I purchased a new pair of plunderpants.
They’re brown, they’re cotton, they’re short.

I’d considered my old pair of plunderpants,
and all the adventures we’ve shared.
So saggy and baggy and tattered and stained
with stitches where the butt’s been repaired.

My old pair of plunderpants is still my best pair of plunderpants.
They’re piratey. They’re mangled. They’re hemp.
But for fancy occasions, they’re the wrong pair of plunderpants
cuz they’re more than a smidge too unkempt.

On most days I dress like a drunk washed-up swab
happy to wipe sword with sleeve once I run ya through.
But soon I’ll be gussed up in sharp Bilgemunky-fashion
and a fresh change of plunderpants seemed long overdue.

Prepping for some piratey action in Long Beach has got me planning. And thinking. About plunderpants, and how they just don’t get enough love. Hats get loads of love. Coats too. And with good reason—a glorious tricorn or frock can single-handedly define a pirate ensemble. Boots get their due, as do buckles and baldrics, tankards and tattoos (which aren’t exactly clothing but sort of are, kinda like having a favorite pair of stripy socks you refuse to ever take off).

But not the plunderpants. So little love for that single piece of clothing that serves as the foundation upon which all other items will be tucked, draped, pinned or hung. So here’s a toast to that most basic—yet essential—piece of pirate garb: the noble, sometimes striped sometimes not sometimes splattered sometimes cleanish ever present always important plunderpant.

Secret of Monkey Island – SOLVED (for realz this time.)

So just about a year ago, I boldly stated that I’d solved the secret of Monkey Island. In truth, all I did was finally get an ingame joke that had gone over my head all these years. But this time, I mean it. I think I’ve actually discovered something significantly game-changing about Monkey Island that I’ve never seen discussed elsewhere.

First, some backstory. Yes, the original game was called The Secret of Monkey Island, and yes, the game revealed that the ghost pirate LeChuck had been hiding out on Monkey Island, which could, clearly, be considered the island’s secret. But the series creator, Ron Gilbert, has claimed that there actually is another, greater secret—one meant to be revealed in the trilogy’s never-created final chapter.

“But Bilge,” you say, “you’ve gone daft. There’s no ‘never-created’ third chapter. After The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, we had The Curse of Monkey Island, and then Escape from Monkey Island, and finally Tales of Monkey Island. And besides all that, in Escape the secret of Monkey Island was clearly revealed to be that the giant monkey head was actually part of a giant monkey robot.”

“You’ve done your homework,” says I. “And you’re correct on all counts, but you’re forgetting one important detail. Ron Gilbert wasn’t part of those further releases, meaning only the first two of the series are OG Monkey Island. Everything that followed was more of an extended alternate timeline, and doesn’t reflect Gilbert’s vision for the true trilogy—or its secret. In fact, he’s even said as much in interviews.”

“Good point,” says you.

So, what’s the true secret of Monkey Island? Some days I feared we might never know. I did have hope a few years back—albeit briefly—when Gilbert announced the release of a non-Monkey Island pirate game called Scurvy Scallywags. It’s a fun match-three type game that revolves around the quest for the Ultimate Sea Shanty. I’d thought that just maybe Gilbert had pulled a sneaky and made this the “secret” conclusion to his Monkey Island trilogy. But no such luck. I’ve played the game through, collected all the verses for the Ultimate Sea Shanty, and aside from one very over-powered feather duster, narry a single Monkey Island reference was to be found.

So, back to square one, with little-to-no hope of learning the secret. BUT… then I made a discovery that blew the lid off the whole affair—the final piece of the enigma that is Monkey Island. Yes, it’s big. Yes, it’s devious. And yes, Ron Gilbert has pulled a sneaky. Perhaps the greatest sneaky of all time. Continue reading

Pamper yerself. Pirate-style.

You work hard. Between vet appointments and housecleaning and the 9-to-5 grind at the acid mines or nail factory or law dispensary or whatever you do for a living, you’re beat. And you long for nothing more than to cut loose and blow off steam in a manner most piratey. You reach for the rum and cigars, but then remember the doctor told you to cut back. You’d settle for striking a jaunty pose, but your knee isn’t what it used to be. You could say bugger it all, grab a flintlock and raid the neighbors poolside tiki bar, but there’s that damned restraining order to think about…

So what’s a modern pirate to do? All you ask is the chance to swash the occasional buckle, but Talk Like a Pirate Day is months away and your hearty crewmates are all busy with their kids at judo practice and ballet recitals. You’re too landlocked to steal a dinghy, and too broke and/or out-of-shape for any respectable carousing.

Whenever the call of the sea is thwarted, it’s good to remember our pirate forebears of old, and how they dealt in such times. When Blackbeard had to let the Queen Anne’s Revenge sail without him while he stayed behind for jury duty, did he mope around the docks, morosely stabbing strangers with a sad little “yar”? Probably. But it didn’t help his sour mood—that could only be remedied with a pirate spa night. Continue reading

Coming Soon: Pirate Emojis

Pirate fans rejoice! It’s tough out there, what with no good pirate movies on the horizon, Black Sails done and done, and half the country awash in sub-zero temps. But on the bright side, the new Emoji’s have just been announced, and two of them are quite piratey:

Three, if you’re generous:

So yes, you can now text your mates with a little extra swagger, wrapping up your threats or drunken ravings with a jolly roger, parrot or—er, bone—to show them you mean business. So that’s something.

What’s the Deal with Bilgemunky Radio?

From July 2007 through May 2012, Bilgemunky Radio featured the most diverse collection of pirate-themed songs fit for human consumption. Sadly, we’ve closed up shop, but more than 200 podcasts are still available.

Bilgemunky Radio – The Complete Collection
also available in iTunes

If you’re still hungry for more, then check out Scoundrel’s Inn, who’ve taken up the banner and done the devil’s best to keep the dream alive.


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