The Pirate Primer: Mastering the Language of Swashbucklers and Rogues
by George Choundas
Talking like a pirate is the bane of my existence. As someone generally recognized as a guy who’s “really, really into pirates”, as the host of a fairly sizeable annual Talk Like a Pirate Day Party, and as DJ of a weekly pirate-themed radio show, folks pretty much expect me to “talk the talk.” Problem is, I generally don’t.
The core element to what’s widely regarding as “pirate talk” is essentially a mix of gutteral throat scratching combined with maritime words and a shameless knack for “hamming it up.” But sadly, I’m not by nature a ham. What’s more, common pirate impersonations don’t work well on the conversational level, as everything must be an enthusiastic exclamation. This may work fine at parties or festivals, but if you need to actually convey detailed information (as pirates surely did from time to time,) then one needs to find a way to actually – not yell, not growl, not utter – but yes, TALK like a pirate. Easier said than done, in my book. Continue reading
Captain Jack’s Pirate Hats
I’ve reviewed Captain Jack’s Pirate Hats before, and now I do so again. This may seem odd, in that most of his hats are essentially similar – all that usually changes is the shape, the color, and options regarding waterproof treatment. Being as these are matters of taste rather than quality (which is always exceptional in my experience with Jack’s Hats), it’s of little point for me to review each and every hat he makes. But there are a few styles and lines that bear particular mention, and the Skallywagg Limited Edition is one such hat.
The Skallywagg is an extra-thick hat with an extra-wide brim. Formed into a traditionalish tricorn fashion with a rolled back, it is then beat up and (yes) shot with a musket – and this makes the Scalliwagg special. Most of Captain Jack’s Pirate Hats are essentially infants – crisp and new, ready to grow, wear, and age with their new owner. Continue reading
When the bulk of the Monty Python cast teams up with Cheech and Chong to create a pirate movie – and then tosses in a David Bowie cameo just for good measure – the results are sure to be anything but dull. As to whether it’s actually good, well, that’s another question. Yellowbeard straddles that difficult line between genius and awkward, and I can’t quite determine which side of that line it spends most of its time. But while I don’t know that Yellowbeard is actually a good movie, I do know that I enjoyed it, which is all the really matters.
The film follows the exploits of Yellowbeard the pirate, escaping prison after 20 years of incarceration. He is essentially the human embodiment of the Muppets’ character Animal, as he glares out from a face that’s all teeth and wild hair, and spends his time killing, raping (to which the women only seem to marginally object), and – if there’s still time – seeking his long lost treasure. To do so he begrudgingly enlists the aid of his son, who he’d conceived the night before his arrest 20 years prior, as well as the additional aid of Dr. Gilpen and Lord Percy Lambourn (played by Peter Cook, who portrays the clueless drunk with astounding genius.) They’re pursued by the British Navy and government agents (particularly a Blind Pew, a sightless spy with preternatural hearing.) Continue reading
Zaya Gran Reserva Rum
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from Internet Wines and Spirits
Never has a rum looked more dignified. The bottle is tall and elegently marked with its black and gold label. The neck is tightly wrapped in palm, which contrasts beautifully with the rich mahogany, 12 year aged, pure sugarcane rum within. The bottle itself is extra thick, and the additional heft this creates only further lends the impression that this is a rum worthy of note.
Upon removing the cork, the rum itself smells heavy and sweet, and tastes the same. It’s full of contradiction, weighty and aloof, yet surprisingly forward. It’s kind of like meeting a dusky tribal queen dressed from head to toe in rich silks and golden feathers, and when you reach out to politely kiss her hand she instead sits on your lap and liplocks you in front of your bewildered crew. Yeah – something like that. Continue reading
Jack Tar Superior
Rum is made with molasses. As such, molasses is a common factor in the very nature of the rum flavor. Sure, there are often other subtle facets – fruits, spices, leather, etc. But molasses is so much a part of rum that many folks don’t seem to differentiate one from the other. But sometimes a dark rum comes along that transcends – and escapes – the molasses and becomes wholly and truly rum.
Jack Tar smells cool and heavy – and shamelessly of rum, plain and true. It’s not brown sugar, it’s not molasses – it’s rum. And just a bit peppery. It has a hint of undefined sweetness – not fruit or sugar, just sweetly rum (there’s that word again.) To the taste, Jack Tar is a whole-mouth experience. Where some rums seem to settle on one part of the tongue or another, Jack Tar envelopes and conquers it all, spreading instant warmth and spice throughout. It’s surpisingly smooth, but is followed with a wonderfully satisfying bite after you swallow, leaving the roof of your mouth all happy and tingly. Subsequent sips build on the first, leading to an increasingly warm and deep experience. Continue reading
Santa Teresa 1796
Santa Teresa 1796 is a truly glorious rum out of Venezuela. Some rums require time to get to know them, but Santa Teresa was love at first site. When first I saw it, the dignified wine-like bottle hidden beneath a rugged cardboard tube, complete with ribbon and wax seal, I expected I was in for a treat. And upon uncorking the bottle and taking a sniff of the amber rum inside, my expectations were instantly confirmed. To the nose, Santa Teresa is cool and spicy – and ultra, ultra smooth. It carries an extraordinarily soft aroma of oak, with underlying subtleties of banana and vanilla.
On the tongue, Santa Teresa is surprisingly unimposing, tasting richly of what I can only call “almost-fruit.” As it warms in the mouth it seems to thicken and cool. And yet when swallowed, it leaves behind a wonderfully penetrating heat along the roof of the mouth.
Incredibly gentle yet maddeningly seductive, this is a rum well worth experiencing.