Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Penguicon 2015

Yer humble narrator, Rathbone, and his crew invaded Penguicon over the weekend, and it were a better blast than an overcharged cannon! Penguicon be a fan convention celebrating all forms of geekery: fantasy & science fiction media, open source software, costuming, sustainability, food hacks, and promoting a better world by sharing knowledge.


Amy and Rory were even there.


On Friday night, Rathbone got the party started with his band The Likedeelers, playing sea shanties and doling out the rum. The Likedeelers featured Emily the Aptonymless on vocals, Marauding Mary on auxilliary percussion and baby slapping, and Cutthroat Clipner on bass. Rathbone assures you that Emily, Mary, and David (Clipner) have never heard these nicknames before.


Saturday started early for Rathbone with a 9 AM session called Pirate 101, followed by a 2-hour Pirate gaming session. At 1:00, Rathbone co-paneled Life As Adventure with Matt Arnold, Heather Fish, and Moshe [redacted]. Rathbone advocated making decisions with dice rolls and Moshe & Heather advocated learning to do one pull-up. Matt used dice to moderate, and encouraged people to stay away from couches, where there be almost no "luck surface area." Other advice included spending a week saying yes to every opportunity that appears and following the Cult of Done Manifesto.


At 5:00, Rathbone performed his Pirate Magic Show which runs the gamut from silly card and rope tricks to demonstrations of apparent mind reading. As a finale, Rathbone sent the audience back in time about two minutes.

After roasting former (and current) ConChair, Nuri Gocay, with a hilarious assortment of pirated insult jokes, Rathbone emceed the costume contest. Winners included a female Link from Legend of Zelda and a Pikachou/Tron mashup on rollerskates (fleeing a kabuki guy for some reason).



Rathbone then took a break from his crazy Saturday schedule to take in some third-party pirate entertainment by Duckman et. al. ("The Taking of the H.M.S. Virginity") which was amusingly ribald as expected. After which Rathbone commandeered a panel on random powerpoint improv. It seemed as though the presenters were not there, so Rathbone took to the head of the class and introduced the topic. He asked if anyone had a laptop to connect to the projector. Someone did, and as Rathbone addressed the crowd it became apparent that the people with the laptop were the actual presenters. They just didn't want to interrupt a pirate who was on a roll. Rathbone danced at the fifth floor hall party (thanks, Away Team!) and then drank rum until he fell down.

Sunday, being the Lord's day, put an end to Rathbone's deviltry, and he returned from whence he came. Thanks to everyone who planned, ran, presented at and attended Penguicon. Rathbone the Pirate, who seeks treasure for a living, knows no better treasure than the friends and experiences therein.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rathbone presents at Chi-Fi!

Ahoy, Chicago! Rathbone the Pirate, author of Ye Pirate Blogge, will be presenting at Chi-Fi 2015 this weekend!

Held at the beautiful and historic Palmer House in downtown Chicago, Chi-Fi is a celebration of all things geek. There will be geeky music, lightsaber training, Renaissance Faire activities, authors, artists, cosplay, and parties... plus our own Rathbone!

Rathbone performs a Pirate Magic Show at 10 AM on Friday, March 20. Also Friday at 5:30 PM will be Rathbone's "Pirate 101" session, featuring tips on dressing, drinking, eating, fighting, talking (and even walking) like a pirate. Saturday at 1 PM, Rathbone leads a session on some Pirate Games with dice and cards. You can also head over to Rathbone's vendor table to get games, missions, certificates of Rathbone's Pyrate Code, and even a palm or tarot reading by Rathbone himself. So head on down to Chicago's historic Palmer House on Friday and Saturday!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Black Pirates Month

We tend to be whimsical here on Ye Pirate Blogge. Our focus is the romantic ideal of the literary (and filmic) pirate. We relate legends and stories without too much scrutiny on their veracity. We try to be factual, more or less, but we lack the academic rigor of a professional historian. Therefore, here's an article on the veracity of black pirates by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Black Pirates Month: Peter Cloise

Peter Cloise was a Caribbean slave who was "taken" from his "owner" by the English pirate Edward Davis in the mid-1600's. According to accounts, Cloise and Davis became fast friends and pirated together not only in the Caribbean but also off the coast of Brazil. Davis and Cloise were Buccaneers-- although the term eventually came to be synonymous with "pirate," in Cloise's day the "Buccaneer" label was given to Caribbean pirates with large crews who often attacked coastal cities. England gave letters of marque to Buccaneers, legalizing their raids against England's main rival in the region-- Spain.

Not much is known about Cloise. He was arrested in 1688, and contradicted Davis' statement that he was "never a privateer," which may have been damning or exonerating, depending on who was doing the prosecuting. In any case Davis was pardoned by King James II and Cloise may have been the recipient of that deal as well. Possibly related to the pardon: some of the loot that Cloise and Davis raised were used to build a college in the name of the next generation of royals: William and Mary.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Don't Call Him A Box Thief

A man in Fair Oaks, California was caught on video brazenly walking up to a house and taking a box of booty.

The man was smoking tobacco, covered in Tattoos, and probably came from the nearby community of "Gold River." He walked right up to the door, knocked politely, then took the box and absconded with the loot.

So why are the news outlets calling him a box thief? He has tattoos like a pirate. He smokes tobacco like a pirate. He approaches in a guise of friendliness and then takes what he wants. He's clearly a pirate.

The clincher? The box was full of pirate party favors. Here's the full story: Pirate jacks party favors in Fair Oaks

Friday, February 6, 2015

Black Pirates Month: Black Caesar

Black Caesar was an African chieftain who evaded capture by slavers many times until he was tricked aboard a vessel with promises of trade. A sea captain approached his band of warriors and, showing them a watch, said there were goods too heavy and numerous to carry on his ship. He invited them aboard and showed them various treasures, jewels, and silk. He plied the men with food and drink, and Caesar soon found that the ship had secretly set sail while they were on board. The Africans tried to fight the crew, but the slavers were well armed and quickly subdued them.

One of the sailors befriended Caesar during the voyage, and when a hurricane threatened to destroy the ship off the coast of Florida, the white sailor freed Caesar and the two escaped in a lifeboat. They took up lodging on a small island in the upper keys and began pirating. The two men would approach a ship in their lifeboat and pretend to be castaways, and once on board would subdue and rob the crew.

They were quite successful for a time. Legend says that Black Caesar had a prison camp for captives to be ransomed, and that he and his partner had a way to hide their boat underwater if anyone sailed near, to keep up the ruse that the island had no inhabitants. It all went sour, though, when Caesar's partner brought home a particularly attractive female captive. The two men fought over her, and Caesar killed his former friend.

Some time later, Black Caesar joined the pirate crew of none other than Blackbeard (Edward Teach) and became his lieutenant, successfully raiding American merchant ships in the Mid-Atlantic. When Blackbeard was finally killed, Caesar attempted to light the whole powder magazine (in what we suppose would now be called a suicide bombing), but he was subdued and captured before he could light the fuse. He was tried and executed for piracy.

To this day, the island that served as his headquarters for ten years still bears his name as "Caesar's Rock."

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Black Pirates Month


In many of the Commonwealth nations, namely the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, February is celebrated as "Black History Month." And the history of Piracy is an important part of the African Diaspora. Most of the well-known pirate captains of the Golden Age had significant numbers of Africans on their crews. Blackbeard's crew was at times up to sixty percent black.

Upon capturing a slave ship, many pirate captains invited the enslaved people on board to join their crews, usually with an equal vote and an equal share of the treasure. Many runaway slaves also turned pirate, as they were already "outlaws." Pirating was a good way to get paid while evading the authorities.

The chief difference between European and African pirates was this: when captured, European pirates were executed, while African pirates were usually sold or re-sold into slavery. We'll leave it to the reader to decide which fate was worse.

Many pirates of all ethnicities lived and died unsung, their names lost in the tide. But there are a number of black pirates we know by name, whose part in history must not be marginalized. This month we'll profile several historical black pirates in honor of Black History Month.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

New Pirates of the Caribbean Film

After much development and many delays, the fifth film in the powerful Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is set to begin filming in two weeks. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer tweeted a photo from the set:

We hope this film brings a great story as well as a jolt of adrenaline for Johnny Depp's fatigued career. In our opinion, the quality of these stories has been hit-or-miss; but they are visually great, and anything that keeps the spirit of the Golden Age of Piracy alive is good in our book!

Visit Ye Pirate Shoppe for recommendations of pirate media to keep ye content while we await the release.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Pirates for Everyone!

Aye, maties, it's that time a year again. The Gasparilla Pirate Fest is today in Tampa, FL. The Tampa Bay Times has a nice piece on the festival highlighting the growing diversity of the festival.

Formerly a Mardi-Gras-style event for white people with privilege, the Fest is now growing into something for everyone, from the suburbs to the "gritty" neighborhoods, to the rural surrounding areas. The article describes the various groups involved:

Time — and even Gasparilla — changes. After the big brouhaha over Ye Mystic Krewe's all-white, all-male membership, they admitted a few black members. Today you have more than 50 krewes in the pirate party: a krewe for "women of spirit and wit," krewes of sailboaters and riverboat gamblers, the Krewe of Buffalo Soldiers, a krewe in kilts. There's even Ye Notorious Krewe of the Peg Leg Pirate, with a core mission of helping amputees and their families.

It's fitting for a pirate festival to be diverse, because most pirate crews were more diverse than their Naval and otherwise reputable counterparts. Since pirats pledged allegiance to no nation, many nationalilites could be represented on their crews. Pirates had even been known to capture slaving ships and invite the enslaved people to join their crew as equal members.

So if yer near Tampa today... hell if you're near Tampa you're probably already at the fest, so read the nice article tomorrow...

Friday, January 30, 2015

Pyrate Video of the Day

We recently found this version of Rolling Down the River, which is not a historical sea shanty; it was written in 1982. However, it's in classic sea shanty style, and Elise and the folks at the pub do a bang-up job with it. It helps that someone in the crowd is singing contrabass, like Thurl Ravenscroft on Disney's Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life for Me. The uploader of the video disabled embedding, though, so you'll have to click to hear it: Elise and the gang singing Rolling Down the River

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Blackbeard's Ghost Says "Up Yer Arse!"

Blackbeard was known for being defiant. When confronted at his last stand, he toasted the crew of his capturers, calling them "cowardly puppies." They say he had to be shot and stabbed numerous times before falling, and even after being tossed overboard, his beheaded corpse was said to have swum around the ship several times before sinking. Such was his reputation that this last tale was considered believable by those who knew him.

It's not surprising, then, that the ghost of Blackbeard is still giving us news nearly 200 years after his death.

The wreck of Blackbeard's ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, was discovered nearly 20 years ago off the coast of North Carolina. They are still excavating it and making new discoveries all the time.

The latest finds have been various archaic medical technologies, including a device used to treat dehydration by pumping fluid into the rectum. In the 16th century, it seemed reasonable to cure a deficiency by forcing the needed substance up your ass.

Click here for the full story: Medical finds from Blackbeard's wreck