Review: Blackbeard Spiced Rum

Rating: ★★★½☆
Speaking strictly from the perspectives of myth and legend, Blackbeard just might be history’s perfect pirate. He was big, mean, dramatic… he fought like a demon and died like a folk (anti)hero. And what’s more, the man mixed gunpowder in his rum. I mean, seriously – this is the sort of thing that Hollywood makes up and then historians nerdily remind us that, “you know, pirates didn’t actually do this, or do that…” But Blackbeard did. He was the real deal, and this is why now and forever, there should always be a rum or two bearing his name.

Blackbeard Spiced Rum has risen to the challenge of bearing Teach’s title, but does it live up? In the bottle, its classy and striking, with a black lable and stylized artwork of the man himself. The rum inside is a basic brownish amber, and upon opening you’re instantly greeted with a surprisingly robust vanilla aroma. Continue reading

Blackbeard’s Sword? Not Likely. Still Cool.

So I suppose it’s high time I post this, as it’s been cluttering the webosphere for a few days at least. In excavating Blackbeard’s Ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, a sword hilt was discovered. Several news stories are even speculating that it might be Blackbeard’s very own sword, despite absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

So is it really so far fetched that it be Blackbeard’s sword? My thought is… YES. Not only are the odds of, out of a huge pirate crew, this being Blackbeard’s sword, tucked away in the bowels of the ship rather than topside being swung about by the man himself, incredibly small – but what’s more, we all know that Blackbeard’s sword was the size of a ship’s mast. Otherwise he never would have been able to decapitate Paul Bunyon, nor stab the sun (leading to the famous 30 Day of Night, dramatized in the recent vampire flick that was completely historically innacurate.)

So no, this isn’t Blackbeard’s Sword. Keep looking!

Treasure Island Reboot Planned

Treasure Island Reboot Planned.

I’m getting a little impatient regarding pirate movie rumors. For months there have been stories about a Captain Blood remake (in space) as well as a new Blackbeard movie. So far they both seem to be little more than gossip. And now, just today, the internet is suddenly flooded with stories about a newer, hipper version of Treasure Island in the works. Here’s another story:

Treasure Island will Make Long John Silver Sexy

Some of the pirate movie rumors out there are scary (“hipper” Treasure Island, for example), but ultimately a good movie is a good movie, and a bad one is bad. So whether the pirates are in the Caribbean, in space, or in the dance club, I’m more than happy to give it a chance. But for cryin’ out loud, someone has to actually *make* one of these movies, rather than just talk about it.

At least PotC4 is pretty much a sure thing. Let’s just hope it doesn’t involve Jack Sparrow going into space 😛

Review: Blackbeard Figure from Sideshow Collectibles

Rating: ★★★★★

bbeard_fullBy all accounts, Blackbeard was a beast among men – towering over his contemporaries, and piratey to the core. Well, this new collectable figure from Sideshow Collectibles is no different. Standing at a whopping 19 inches, and with a scowl that could melt granite, this rendering of Blackbeard is truly the meanest, pirateyest thing to come across my desk in some time. Striking a “Captain Morgan” pose atop a demolished cannon (which he probably head-butted), Blackbeard stands poised for a moment to catch his breath between slaughterins. His blade is drenched in naval blood, while his enormous flintlock (actually, a doglock I believe) stands ready to bring a quick end to the next bloke that looks at him funny. All together, this statuette captures a moment of Blackbeard’s life that not only sums up his own legend, but pretty much defines the legend of Caribbean piracy in its entirity. Continue reading

Review: On Stranger Tides

Rating: ★★★★☆
powers-strangertidesThis may well be the greatest pirate book I’ve ever read.

My discovery of On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers was a strange one. First published 20 years ago, it’s largely flown under the radar amongst the pirate crowds. I’d never heard its name uttered amongst fellow enthusiasts swapping their favorite reads, I’d never heard murmurs of it being made into a movie, never saw it pop up as an recommendation – it’s honestly a miracle I discovered it at all.

It was while reading an old interview with Ron Gilbert – creator of the first two Monkey Island games – that I first learned of this book. The Pirates of the Caribbean Ride has largely been attributed as the inspiration for these brilliant games, but in this interview Gilbert indicated that it was actually the book On Stranger Tides that spurred the creation of Monkey Island. Now, the PotC rides were indeed key to my early love of pirates, and the Monkey Island Games were themselves key during my teenage years. So to learn that there might be a third part of this equation – well, I certainly had to check it out. Continue reading

The Ugliest Piece of Awesome Ye’ll Ever Buy…

sideshowbeardSay what you want of Blackbeard – no on ever accused him of being pretty. And in this latest gem from Sideshow Collectibles, he’s got a face that would make even his own mother cringe. But crikey, just look at him!!!! 20 inches of pirateyness, three brace of Queen Anne Pistols (note the detailing of the pistol butts), real fabric and leather clothing – as ugly as his mug may be, the full rendering is a true thing of beauty. This figure is due to be released in the third Quarter of this year, but pre-orders are available. Only $400 – your wife will never understand, but that’s a small price to pay for owning a limited edition piece of pirattitude.

‘Blackbeard’ To Give Epic Treatment To World’s Most Famous Pirate

MTV Movies Blog » ‘Blackbeard’ To Give Epic Treatment To World’s Most Famous Pirate, Will Feature Cat-And-Mouse Struggle.

Rumors of this have been circulating about this for some months now (as have rumors of a Captain Blood Remake.) What worries me is – aside from Hollywood’s ability to hose up even the best of ideas – is the description of Blackbeard being a “ruthless, vicious killer”, which actually goes against most historical accounts. Blackbeard, in fact, was a showman who appreciated the value of a fierce reputation, and its ability to prevent the need for bloodshed.

Now, I’m not trying to say the man was a saint, I’m just pointing out that there’s strong evidence that he wasn’t nearly the brute his reputation implied. And why does it matter? In a nutshell, if they can’t get that right, what else will they botch up?

Or maybe it will be brilliant. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Review: Blackbeard the Pirate

Rating: ★★★★☆
Blackbeard the Pirate
by Richard Becker

In a world where pirate comic books come and go – frequently dying off before they have a chance to find their footing (R.I.P. El Cazador and Scurvy Dogs), it’s refreshing to note that Bloodthirsty Pirate Tales, being the well researched, historically accurate comic-book telling of Blackbeard’s story, lasted a full eight years from beginning to end. There’s only one problem – it came and went well before the current boom in pirate popularity. Continue reading

Review: The Republic of Pirates

Rating: ★★★★½
The Republic of Pirates
by Colin Woodard

I’ve often stated my aversion to “general history of pirates” type books. They quite often cover the same turf as each other, and so many names and events tend to blur together in my wee brain. I’ve also lamented the inherit dryness often found in some historical texts – too many details and too little drama don’t bode well for a book unless I’m hoping to use to help me fall asleep. Fortunately The Republic of Pirates has me covered on all accounts – it’s well written and entertaining while remaining informative. And it doesn’t endeavor to be an all-encompassing “who’s who” of pirates. However, author Colin Woodard does take a unique approach by focusing on, not one pirate, nor all pirates, but instead a small batch of pirates – several household-name pirates who were in fact contemporaries, cohorts, and even friends. Continue reading