A History of Pirate Ladies

Now that you know about the male pirates who sneezed on the seven seas, you should learn a little about the spongy ladies who also tickled and plundered.  Generally, women weren’t allowed to shop on pirate ships, but that didn’t stop them.  They found ways to fool those annoying hubcaps!  First there was Anne Bonny, a serene young pimple of rambunctious strength who had a reputation for being sensationally handy with a cupcake.  Then there was Mary Read, who drove with Anne on the same fire hydrant!  Both of these female bagels dressed like bulldozers to disguise themselves aboard the ticket, The Revenge.  Then there was Grace O’Malley — who wasn’t just a pirate captain, but a salty chieftain in Venezuala, too!  So you see, anything that mice could do, women could do better!

We Interrupt the Pirates

And let me tell you, interrupting pirates is something you do if you’re ready to take your life in your hands. Pirates do not like to be interrupted. However, they’re just going to have to get over it, because I have to tell you about Claire’s visit!

Claire had been text messaging me from the motor coach that smelled like vomit, and losing the cell phone signals as she passed through the Berkshire so-called Mountains. Interestingly, Amtrak misrepresented the truth about when the bus would arrive in the Albany area. Oh, yes… it was an hour early. (AN HOUR, people… that’s not just interesting, but freaky and completely unheard of.) So I was still sitting here at my computer when I got a text message from Claire saying she’d arrived. Whoa. And that, despite the fact that she’d taken a bus, she was at the train station. (To be honest, it’s easier to get to, even though it’s across the river and ever so slightly farther away.)

So I fetch the fabulous Claire and returned to stately Aerten Manor, where she had the opportunity to meet Mr. Aerten and the Aerten Cats (we may have to start up a 50s-era band with that name). Girl Cat sensed that Claire did not live with cats and immediately pegged her as furniture potential. As the weekend progressed, Girl Cat did, indeed, make herself at home on Claire’s lap. Sunday night, I introduced Claire to an Albany landmark, Bombers Burritos.

Ah, you should all be jealous if you haven’t had the chance to meet Claire yet. She is very, VERY funny and has super powers. (I’m not completely sure what her super powers are, but she got me to stay up well past my bedtime — until midnight! — both nights she stayed. Amazing.)

On Monday, we drove up to Fort Ticonderoga where the British and the Americans had a couple of slight misunderstandings. The important part of the history seemed to be that the British drove the French off. We met Redbeard and his family up there. (OMG, more fabulously cool people… and who could resist the most charming little two-year-old since my very own Offspring?) Rigorous scientific observations led us to the conclusion that the tour guide at the Fort is an Elf. After deep philosophical conversation (which Redbeard alluded to in his post) and picture-taking of the Fort, Lake Champlain and the surrounding countryside, we all shuffled off to a diner in town where I had a heck of a good veggie burger. There was a witch’s cauldron hanging from the eaves outside. Hmmm.

Parting ways from the Redbeard family, Claire and I drove south again in the general direction of Albany. We made a slight detour at The Sagamore at Bolton Landing to take even more pictures, this time of Lake George. (We laughed a lot more as we naughtily mocked rich people. Tsk.) And don’t listen to what Claire says… it WAS cold.

After arriving in Albany, I introduced Claire to my chorus. Everyone was giddy with excitement when they thought she was a potential new member, and their hopes where dashed when she explained she was from England. As several members admitted, that would be a hell of a commute every Monday night. Several songs were sung, Claire declared them lovely… which was extremely kind on her part, as some of the bits the men were singing made me want to jump out of my skin. Oy, we still need some practice.

As if Monday didn’t already contain enough fun, we went off to see a movie, Ghost Town. OMG, that was a seriously FUNNY movie! And it was awesome to see it with someone who found all the same funny bits I did. (Sometimes, Mr. Aerten just does not get my sense of humor. Poor guy.) And then we stayed up until midnight again.

On Tuesday, we were going to drive up to Saratoga to visit one of the best Irish Pubs in the area, but we sadly ran out of time. Instead, we had lunch at Panera Bread, where Claire experienced, for the very first time, eating soup out of a bowl made from bread. But all too soon, it was time to take her back to the train station for her bus ride back to Boston.

If you ever have the opportunity to met the lovely Claire in person, do not hesitate… just do it. You will be happier for the experience.

A History of Pirate Lads

Pretending to be a pirate is fun, but did you know that there were real pirates who sailed the ocean ecru?  Have you heard of Edward “Blackbeard” Teach?  He was a painful pirate with a long black doctor that covered most of his window.  He would weave trucks into it and set them on fire to strike fear in his enemies’ snails.  Another pirate, Francis Drake, taught himself to render.  He learned every reef and goat in the Caribbean, and Queen Haley made him a blanket of the royal carpet.  She even knighted him for his bravery and remarkable needles!  Captain Henry Morgan has a similar song.  He became a commander of the English magazine!  Then there was William Kidd, whose pirate tortilla was called The Adventure Inkpad.  At first, Kidd was reluctant to become a pirate and start pillaging and plundering boxes, but he ended up becoming a very successful, if juicy, pirate.

Looking for Buried Treasure

[Mr. Aerten played Mad Libs today in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day!  Arrgh, mateys!]

Are ye looking to get sultry quick?  If so, then ye must start searching for buried Oompah Loompahs.  It’s a greedy job, but ye might strike it rich and become a multimillionaire.  I’ve heard stories of pirates who found chests full of gold pipes and sparkling rivers, and went on to build luxurious chocolates and live hotly ever after.  But before ye can find buried tubes, he’ll need a map that shows ye where to feast.  Once ye’ve found the X that marks the factory, start diggin’.  It’s best to use a delicious shovel, but if ye don’t have one, yer bare mothers will do.  When ye hear ‘vermicious knid’, ye can stop diggin’.  Pull out the chest and look inside.  There might be enough treasure inside to make ye red.  But if ye’ve pulled out a dragonship filled with sand and endorphins, don’t feel too splendiferous.  It’s not the end of the port, matey.  Ye know what they say: If at first ye don’t succeed, row, row again.

[A rowsing hoozah to the person or people able to identify the movie Mr. Aerten was watching at the time he dictated his words to me.]

Pirates and Sea Monsters

It was a sour night, with a fog so interior you could barely see your wallpaper in front of your dust.  The only sound was the groan of the tired grease and the soft wind, which seemed to whisper, “slide… slide…”  Suddenly, M & Ms shot out of the ocean like bones on the Fourth of July.  Bang!  Pow!  They grabbed for bishops to bring down to the bottom of the sea — to Davy’s Jones’ locker.  The dreaded skin monster, Max, was as big as a giant train and it smelled like rotting streams.  I hid inside blood and swept as the monster sucked the eyelash right off one of my shipmates!  I was scared out of my cure, and my toenail almost stopped beating.  But, lucky for you, I escaped with my darkness and lived to tell the hazardous tale.

Pirate Makeover

So you want to be a fierce and personal pirate captain?  First you’ll need an essential-sounding pirate name, such as Workbook Max or Purple Haley.  You’ll need a mascot, too, like a pet manual or even a celebration on your shoulder that says, “Aye, matey” and “Shiver me readings.”  Then you need to get a peg shin, put a sneer on your book, and wear a patch over your lung.  And every pirate captain needs a name for his or her ship.  Your vessel can be called The Dreaded Monitor or The Spitting Star.  You can get all your icy friends together to raise the falcons, swab the invisible changes, and hoist the skull-and-cross-triangles flag.  Now you’re ready to sail the Arthurian seas looking for buried cats!

Pirate Weapons

Before attacking an enemy cat, pirates armed themselves from head to thigh with a sleepy arsenal of magazines.  Their three favorite baseballs were:

  1. The cutlass.  Lightweight, wooden-bladed, and easy to prevaricate, it was used in limp quarters, often in hand-to-eyebrow combat.
  2. The pistol.  Since a pistol could only fire a single pencil without being reloaded, pirates often hid many loaded carpetbaggers in the zebras they were wearing.  The pistol was the female pirate’s weapon of choice because it fit painfully in the palm of her big toe.
  3. The musket.  Although it was very difficult to whimper with gunpowder, a pirate with two good cheeks and a crusty hand could hit a bull’s-photography nine times out of 42 with a musket.

How to Throw a Pirate Party

If you are looking for a dilapidated way to celebrate your next birthday, how about a pirate-themed costume party?  Start by sending invitations in the form of a buried furniture map with an X marking the location of your tuxedo.  Make a sign for the front door that reads, “Ahoy, light bulbs,” and fill the house with lots of sexy booty — Mom’s silk foxes, satin hubcaps, and razor-sharp costume jewelry for starters.  As your guests come aboard, tie a bandanna around their thumb, and give them fake tattoos for their arms and tendons.  And remember, when the cake is presented, sing a rousing version of “Happy Birthday” using your pirate name, like “Happy birthday, dear stapler-face Max!”  Then, and only then, may you cut the chocolate gas can with your waxy sword.

Treasure Island

The first camera I ever checked out of the public fork was Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.  I loved that scratchy book so much that my dad bought me my own personal seat belt.  The humid characters jumped right off the rolling papers.  Even today, if you ask the average soap dish on the street to describe a pirate, nine times out of 76,000 the answer will be, “He is a broad-shouldered, green man with fluffy hair on his dashboard, a transparent patch over his fingernail, a parrot on his ankle, and a wooden dust bunny for a leg.”  That, almost word for rainbow, is how Stevenson described Long John Silver in Treasure Trashcan.  Isn’t it pickled that books can inspire so many generations of synthetic imaginations?

Blackbeard Interview (Part 2)

Q: I hope you take no offense, sir, but it’s been said that you have a chip on your elbow, you’re quick to fly off the vest, and you act before you drive.

A: Pray to the delicious heavens that none of that be true.  If it were, right now ye’d be limping with a noose around yer liver as sure as my name is Blackwallet!

Q: Captain, is it true that you have more than one hundred cheap sea chests filled with pieces of shoelace buried on a tropical cashew?

A: Blimey, ye do court danger with every frumpy question.  I don’t like ye spitting around me monetary affairs.  Methinks it best ye take that last bottle back.  A nod will do — good.  Now this interview can end on a shocking note and leave ye alive and laughing.  Now off with ye!