Review: Pirate Shirt and Vest

Rating: ★★★★½

The internet is full of Jack Sparrow costumes, many of which do a fine job at capturing the basic shape and colors of his outfit. But quite often one thing is missing (besides Johnny Depp, that is.) One of the genius elements of the Jack Sparrow look is its bedraggled simplicity. The clothes looked period and well-worn. On the surface this is an obvious thing to do when designing a pirate captain, but it’s amazing how often it’s overlooked. And obvious though it may be, it’s also surprisingly hard to recreate. To make an outfit appear “period” while remaining visually interesting requires more than drab colors and old patterns – even little details such as hand-sewing, or utilizing course-woven fabric, can make a world of difference. Continue reading

Review: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Ahab

Rating: ★★★★☆
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Ahab
by Gideon Defoe

Back in the charming days of yesteryear (I think it was 2004), Gideon Defoe took the literary world by storm with his groundbreaking novelette, “The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists.” Never before had the gritty world of pirates been so vividly realized, complete with the utmost attention to both historical accuracy and poetic beauty.

I am, of course, full of it.

Like its predecessor, Defoe’s second work, “The Pirates! In an Adventure with Ahab” is sure to throw humorless historians into a tissy. But for the rest of us, it’s another wonderfully demented bit of comedic genius. Once again we’re invited to follow the adventures of a hapless crew of no-name pirates (“The Pirate Captain”, “The Pirate with a Scarf”, “The Pirate Who was Good at Math” and such), this time as they seek a way – any way – to gather the needed money to pay off a debt to the most dangerous of villians, Cutlass Liz. They attempt to gain said loot through a range of efforts, from improv-theater to whaling to out-right pirating. Continue reading

Review: Bravo Two Sierra

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Bravo Two Sierra
by Stephen R. Gagin

Bravo Two Sierra is quite the change of pace from the usual pirate book. The story is completely modern and – like most modern piracy – it completely lacks the romantic panache that makes historical piracy so much fun. But that’s not to say this book isn’t entertaining. Indeed, more than anything I enjoyed the language. It reminded me of reading Treasure Island, except instead of words like “belay” and “scupper,” author Stephen R. Gagin has inundated his work with modern nautical terminology. Phrases such as “1MC” and “sea and anchor detail” abound, phrases frighteningly familiar from my navy days. Indeed, it was Gagin’s persistence in sharing the details of modern shipboard life that made this book most worthwhile. Continue reading

Review: Pirattitude

Rating: ★★★★☆
Pirattitude: So You Wanna Be a Pirate? Here’s How!

by John ‘Ol’ Chumbucket’ Baur and Mark ‘Cap’n Slappy’ Summers

Upon creating a major national holiday, most folks would figure they’ve done their bit for king and country and rest a while. But rest just isn’t in the Pirate Guys’ vocabulary. Since creating International Talk Like a Pirate Day (actually, one could argue International Talk Like a Pirate Day actually created the Pirate Guys, as before that moment, they were just guys), John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur and Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers have traveled the nation sharing pirate wisdom, written a comprehensive book on the subject (Well Blow Me Down!) and NOW they’ve gone and written yet another masterpiece, Pirattitude! Continue reading

Review: Jolly Roger – Massacre at Cutter’s Cove

Rating: ½☆☆☆☆
This was bad. Really bad. But it was also amusing, which makes it kind of good.

Jolly Roger features all the typical elements of most teeny-bopper straight-to-video slasher flicks in the vein of such classics as “Leprechaun in the Hood” and “Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman” – a supernatural villian in search of his treasure kills many people along the way, some of whom get naked first. And while the costume of Jolly Roger himself is actually quite impressive, not much else is. Unbelievably, the best scene in the whole movie, in which Jolly Roger has a heart-to-heart while sharing rum with a bartender, got edited out – you can view it in the “deleted scenes” segment of the DVD.

Jolly Roger is bad. But watch it anyways. If you’re old enough to drink, watch it drunk. If you’re not, well, wait until you’re 21, and then watch it drunk.

Review: Dread Pirate

Rating: ★★★★☆

There are several pirate table-top games out there, and many of them are quite good. But few conjure a feeling of old-world piracy so effectively as Dread Pirate from Front Porch Classics. Packaged in a real wooden chest, from the moment you remove its contents of metal doubloons, glass jewels, and even a cloth playing “board”, every aspect of this game seems as though it were stolen straight from the captain’s cabin. It’s as if it were specifically designed to be played over rum by candlelight – preferably while a storm wages outside. Continue reading