Monthly Archives: September 2013

Going On The Account: Talking Like/About Pirates!

Arrrr!  And it be International Talk Like a Pirate Day today, it be!

And once again, ye land-lubbers can be pretending to be going on the account, yellin’ to the wenches and sirs, “Avast! Prepare to be boarded!” as ye be taking liberties with them, blaming it all on the grog the whole time.  Arrrr, ye almost be making Cinco de Mayo and Saint Patrick’s Day look respectable by comparison…

Aye, yes, it be me, the Jonah to the buzz of the day, jabbin’ on about what we can learn from pirates, asking again to have us think about pirates, not just be using them as cheap excuses to get drunk.  If ye be meaning to get all ye sheets full into the wind, ye can get drunk to toasting your local postman, which may not be the most glamorous reasons to hoist a few, but it’s an excuse for a drink, right…?

Arrr, so I be drinkin’ with me small crew portside and not be doing no learnin’ to ye the way I be hoping to each year, unless ye picked up me tome, The Pirates of New York, which be free for the seizing today.  And if ye missed getting yer hands on this booty because ye be looking for other booty elsewhere (and no, she’s not into ye at all, so stop staring at her, matey…), she be yours for a mere twelve bits.

As for me wanting to teach ye, I get me chance a few days off…

Arrr!  Let me be parroting here the write up about me talk to the City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, SEMETIC SEADOGS! Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean, that I be giving on October 4th:

The story of an unlikely group of swashbuckling Jews who ransacked the high seas!
They had boats with names like the Prophet Samuel, Queen Esther, and Shield of Abraham. They attacked and plundered the Spanish fleet while forming alliances with other European powers to ensure the safety of Jews living in hiding. Their tales are filled with attractive and repellant personalities, including a warrior rabbi, a shady arms dealer, and loathsome Spanish inquisitors. Learn not only about the Jews who practiced the Sweet Trade, but how many of them got away with it!

So aye, I be offering me knowledge about pirates close on the day after all.  The notes I took in bringing Samuel de Cadiz to life, that be the basis of me talk that night.

And I promise you, it will not be entirely in pirate argot like this post; fun as that might be, I’ve got an audience to think of here…

So here be where the parley be, if ye be in the port of New York that night:

City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism

October 4th, 2013

7:30 PM

14th Street Y

344 East 14th Street (near corner of 1st Avenue)

New York, NY  10009

Arrr, if ye be willin’ to see me keel haul meself before an audience, and ye have a need to see something different for free on a Friday, then this be your course to chart, aye…

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Going On The Account: Quick Consideration

Just realized we missed a golden opportunity for this year’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day:


I wonder if it’s too late to reschedule the Thursday night football match-up, to be between the Raiders and the Buccaneers…?

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Going On The Account: What I’d Like to Do on Thursday

Yes, I mean this Thursday, as in International Talk Like a Pirate Day on the 19th of September.


I mean, I have some idea of what I’m going to do, like offer Pirates of New York for free that day, which is one of a number of great promotions being offered that day.  There’s a few bars that are not exactly walking-in-a-crooked-line-home’s distance from me that are offering Piraat Ale, which I recently got introduced to, that if any of them were seriously looking at the day I would have loved to done readings for them as they offered the product, a sort of lit-and-drink event.


Unfortunately, the tone of a few of the announcements made by some of these bars suggested that the main remembrances over and above drinking involved dress-up, and suggested that if I wanted to get really involved I’d have to be attired thusly:


Yes, it’s gratuitous; it’s also for sale at the link when you click the pic…


Not having the, well, hull and masts for pulling this off, it looks like I can’t offer something educational that evening.

Though I will have another option, sort of the next best thing, which I will discuss that day, right here…

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Going On The Account: Really Got to Get Writing Now

Some of you are wondering if I’m still writing, since I don’t have  serialized long form commitment to feed.

Those of you who thought I wasn’t and decided to break out the good stuff to toast with, put the cork back in.  I ain’t gone yet here.

But I better hurry, now that someone’s developed a book-writing program for their computer that could give William S. Burroughs a run for the money.  Last thing I need is to be told that my job could be done for a lot cheaper by a computer…

…which may mean nothing if how much Paul Kemp and Michael Sullivan got paid for their fantasy works holds as the norm.  Yeah, there are businesses out there that might consider even these amounts to be an overhead that could be cut in the organization…

…but even if I never saw a dime directly from my work, just to get something more than two works for free out there; I’m especially thinking about it today, on another sad anniversary, another day that makes you ask if it had been you caught up at the Trade Center that moment, would what you did up to then have been enough, and was this enough…

…and if you can’t say yes, then it’s time to get to it.


Sorry, trying to fight maudlin with industrious; while life is always preferable to death, this may not be the best way to wage that struggle.

Lemme ask you all:  Given the need to buck up, how do you do it?  What do you do to snap out of it?

Really, let me know below, please…

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Going On The Account: Weathering Warmer Waters

Piece on the wire today about more treasure being found at the wreck of the Whydah, which was found on what was supposed to be the last dive for the season.

Mind you, the waters off Massachusetts can get pretty nasty as the fall creeps on in.  Which means if the salvage crew wants to keep their skills up during the off season, they might have to practice looking for elements of Morgan’s fleet down in Panama.

And if they can’t quite make the fare to book passage, there’s always the waters between Point Morris and Hunts Point…

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Going On The Account: Celebrating the Holiday

No, not that one; all the same, shana tovah, everyone…

I’m actually discussing International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which as always is September 19th.  Once again, it’s time to go “Aaargh!” a lot, order rum drinks with impunity and watch everyone in Sid Meier’s Pirates honor the day by speaking like pirates when you play on September 19th (or set your computer’s calendar to that date; seriously, any governor’s daughter you interact with speaks like she’s Robert Freakin’ Newton in the film, and it’s worth a laugh to read that…)

This year, over and above doing all that listed above and having a few words on the blog, I’ll be making a special offer for everyone out there:

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I’ve just published for Kindle the popular history The Pirates of New York.  It looks at how pirates affected the history of New York City, and is a light short read that hopes to entertain as well as inform.

And for International Talk Like a Pirate Day, it’ll be downloadable for free!

So if you’ve been meaning to check it out but plead poverty for whatever reason (I don’t judge…), log in that day and download the book.  Tell your friends about it, let them know there’s goodies being given away then.

Never let it be said that I let this year’s remembrance go unnoticed…

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Going On The Account: Reality Checked

So the last time I pitched Red Jenny, the person I was describing to said, “You mean, you really think climate change will make a war possible between the US and Canada?”

Had that happened after this post, I could have held up Syria as a case study in climate change geopolitics.

Which makes what may happen there soon all the more tragically ironic, as we’d be going back to the Middle East so soon because of oil, although not for oil.  If anything, we have less reason to go to war there to fight for new petroleum, and instead are looking at intervening thanks to our overusing this resource over the last few decades.

So no, I don’t think what I set up is all that far fetched; the consequences that thematically built the book did come and bite everyone’s asses pretty well.  Depending on how Syria plays out, I might look back and think I didn’t go far enough…

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Going On The Account: From the Bottom, And Over the Top

Yeah, it’s been a pretty dead summer; part of the reason The Pirates of New York took so long to leave drydock was a whole host of mundane distractions that just piled up on each other, so getting that put out cut into some other projected project time,and the dominoes, they just didn’t stay up…

So, getting my time back in line, putting a few things in order and all that.  No more time for excuses here, which means when things happen they best be noted sooner rather than later.

Like another effort to find the HMS Hussar being underway.  You may remember we talked about her before, and now that some of the local shore line has been altered by Sandy last year, there’s a chance she may have been exposed when the silt shifted.  The chances are a long shot, as over the course of 200 years (which can be unforgiving to wooden hulls under the East River) the number of vessels that could have come to rest there is high enough that the ship found might have had some other treasure that came through much later, like Canadian hooch avoiding Treasury agents or was the sister ship for overflow from the barge Mobro, either of which are worth note just for historical purposes…



And speaking of coming later, when I was doing the last work I had thought the Northeast Passage was still a few years off from seeing much regular traffic.  Right now, the container ship Yong Sheng is taking this route, and expected to make Rotterdam in five days as of this post.  Which means I might actually get to visit that tiki bar on Baffin Island I envisaged for the sequel…

Assuming that I get to it, which depends on a few factors, such as encouragement.  Yeah, yeah, here’s where you usually hear the “poor-artist-needs-some-stroking-of-the-ego” pitch.  Just my ego, I promise, nothing more…

Although a few other signs might be available to me soon, he said cryptically…

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