Review: The Pirate Life

Rating: ★★★½☆
The Pirate Life: Unleashing Your Inner Buccaneer
by John ‘Ol’ Chumbucket’ Baur and Mark ‘Cap’n Slappy’ Summers

My sister-in-law is a nurse. For those of you readers who prefer visuals to help in all matters, she’s the redhead posing on the Bilgemunky Swag page. But do bear in mind that if you just now went to the swag page to sneak a peak, you’re morally obligated to buy a shirt. I’m just sayin’.

Anyways, my sister-in-law is a nurse. And the problem with nurses in the family is they have this thing – it’s called “wellness.” The concept behind wellness is that you’re supposed to think about your health all the time. You’re supposed to eat healthy, exercise regularly, and try not to put any crap into your system – i.e. anything fun. Proponents of wellness fail to grasp that the whole point of an annual checkup is so that you don’t have to think about these things the other 364 days of the year. It seems these people think that getting poked and prodded by someone with an “M.D” after their name one day each year is no longer enough, and that all matters regarding our health should somehow infiltrate the rest of our lives. It’s a right crying shame, if you ask me. Continue reading

Review: The Pirate Primer

Rating: ★★★★★
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

Review: The Government Manual for New Pirates

Rating: ★★★★☆
The Government Manual for New Pirates
by Matthew David Brozik and Jacob Sager Weinstein

Bookstores are increasingly full of “Government” and other instructional manuals of a fictitious nature. Whether you’re seeking to be a spy or a superhero, hunt zombies, dragons, or wizards – a manual exists to educate and guide you in your endeavors. The problem with this genre – at least, the part that makes me nervous – is that manuals in reality can be tediously dull, and simply replacing mundane scenarios with something more ludicrous doesn’t necessarily make it entertaining. It takes writers with a very special talent in order to build humor on such a dry foundation, but The Government Manual for New Pirates succeeds in every respect. The cover left me unsure what to expect, being a government-style with fairly cliche pirate graphitti. But any fears I may have had as to the quality of this book’s content were instantly put to rest upon reading the forward. These same fears were then shot through the head with a harpoon and buried in tar upon reading the first paragraph of the first chapter, in which anyone who’s purchased this book is advised to put it down and give up their piratical aspirations, as a true pirate would have stolen it. Continue reading

Review: Cap’n Billy ‘The Butcher’ MacDougall’s Guide to Pirate Parenting

Rating: ★★★½☆
Cap’n Billy ‘The Butcher’ MacDougall’s Guide to Pirate Parenting
by Tim Bete

If you’re like me, or not like me for that matter… in fact no matter who you’re like, upon reading the title of “Cap’n Billy ‘The Butcher’ MacDougall’s Guide to Pirate Parenting”, odds are significant that you asked yourself that most basic of questions, “Is this for real?” It’s a question I’ve had to ask before with some books, and the answer has sometimes been surprising. In this particular case, however, it’s a definite “No.” 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: Ahoy Mates! Leadership Lessons from Successful Pirates

Rating: ★★★½☆
Ahoy Mates! Leadership Lessons from Successful Pirates
Robert G. Garrow

When I first spied this book, its cover adorned with the photo of author Robert G. Garrow dressed as a plastic-sword wielding bucanneer along with a title claiming it will teach me all about leadership as demonstrated by pirates, an obvious question formed in my head – namely, “he can’t be serious, can he?”

Surprisingly, although much of the book’s tone is light and humorous, Garrow does in fact seriously tackle the basics of leadership, from the very beginings of planning a mission statement to the more involved methods of inspiring your underlings to perform their best. And Garrow very much uses the themes of piracy throughout as readers observe the recruiting of crews, setting of ship’s articles, formation of strategies, implimentation of tactics – it’s all here, and it’s all plainly spelled out and then applied to the modern business world. Continue reading

Review: Well Blow Me Down!

Rating: ★★★★½
Well Blow Me Down! A Guy’s Guide to Talking Like a Pirate
by John ‘Ol’ Chumbucket’ Baur and Mark ‘Cap’n Slappy’ Summers

Where to even begin with a book like this? Well, I suppose I should mention it’s not even a book, really. Sure, it has words and pages, a cover with fun artwork, and even its own Library of Congress number. But still, it isn’t a book – it’s a focal point, a nexus, a singular compilation of all the history, wit, and wisdom that went into the creation of Talk Like a Pirate Day. The authors, as you know (or at least you should), are the co-creators of said holiday, and we all owe them a debt of grattitude. Johnny Depp may have brought pirates to the forefront of popular culture, but it was Cap’n Slappy and Chumbucket that gave us an outlet for the pirate hiding within us all – an excuse to get gussied up once a year and yell “Arrrrr!”

Newcomers to Talk Like a Pirate Day will find this book wonderfully entertaining and informative. The authors delve into the hows and whys of their unusual holiday, complete with a mini-dictionary, Talk Like a Pirate Day tips for various situations (clubs, work, church…), Continue reading