Pirate flags

Arrr, me beauties! Cast your eyes on the beauty of the flag we be sailing today, for Talk Like a Pirate Day. Some seek to cast our maidenly efforts into shadow with their offerings but soon find themselves cast adrift, the scallywags.



(Reverting to multisyllabic non-guttural speech)

I know that today is Talk Like a Pirate Day, rather than just plain Pirate Day, but a history buff such as myself can’t go through the day without imparting a few nuggets of piratical lore. For instance, the flag that I started and that Elaine beautifully modified was actually an adaption of the flag that the pirate John Rackham used to fly. Rather than the traditional skull and crossbones, Rackham showed crossed swords beneath the skull’s head because, rumor has it, he was always up for a good fight.

As for the skull and crossbones, known as the Jolly Roger, rather than being flown to strike terror in the hearts of those about to be attacked, it was, in some ways, a reassurance – a promise that if the prey gave in without a fight, their lives would be spared. Maybe.

However, if a pirate flew a flag that was red in color, this was a signal that no quarter would be given, the pirates were out for blood. In fact, it’s been hypothesized that the name “Jolly Roger” was from the French joli rouge – pretty red.

So, what does our flag say? The crossed swords could signify that the women who fly it are up for a fight, but this message is somewhat softened by the gentle coloring and delicate detail, the tasteful bandana, and the elegant and stylish beaten gold earrings.

Perhaps what the flag is saying is that the women who fly it are up for a fight, but we’d rather not, thanks all the same. Or perhaps all it says is that though we may be deadly, we haven’t lost our keen fashion sense.

Of course, if a ship was carrying webloggers, there would be only one possible flag…

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How to talk like a pyrate

Ye be a sorry lot and not a True Pyrate amongst ye! Me thinks it’s because ye can’t talk like a pyrate. How can ye be a True Pyrate if ye can’t talk like one, I says to meself.

A few lessons in how to Talk like a Pyrate for the Pyrate Impaired:

From Maritime Pirates

Cackle Fruit – hen’s eggs

Hempen Halter – hangman’s noose

Nelson’s Folly – rum

Run a rig – play a trick

Dick Cheney:

“There has been significant success in putting Iraq back together again. … Most of Iraq is stable and quiet.”

From Pyrate Talk:

To Go on Account – a pleasant term used by pyrates to describe the act of turning pyrate. The basic idea was that a pyrate was more “free lance” and thus was, more or less, going into business for himself.

Take a Caulk – on deck of a ship, between planks, was a thick caulk of black tar and rope to keep water from between decks. This term came to mean to “take a nap” either because sailors who slept on deck ended up with black lines across their backs or simply because sailors laying down on deck were as horizontal as the caulk of the deck itself.

Quarter – deriving from the idea of “shelter”, quarter was given when mercy was offered by the pyrates. To give no quarter was to indicate that none would be spared. Quarter was often the prize given to an honourable loser in a pyrate fight. If enraged, however, a pyrate would deprive the loser any such luxury.


“In that instance, we had been in the country for about 15 seconds; sometimes I overstate for emphasis …. I should have said, ‘I believe they’re in that area’” around Tikrit and Baghdad.’”

From The Olympian:

Aye, aye: “I’ll get right on that sir, as soon as my break is over.”

Arr: “Yes,” “I agree,” “I’m happy,” “I’m enjoying this beer,” “My team is going to win it all,” “I saw that television show, it sucked!” and “That was a clever remark you or I just made.”

Beauty: The best possible pirate address for a woman. Always preceded by “me,” as in “C’mere, me beauty” or even “me buxom beauty.”

Lubber: This is short for landlubber and is the seaman’s version of land lover, mangled by typical pirate disregard for elocution.


“(The government)…should be looking for ways to improve the safety and security of American liberty.”

From The Pirate’s Realm:

Avast – “Avast Ye!” from the Dutch term for ‘hold fast’ and means “Stop and pay attention.”, like, “Get a load of this.”

Black Spot – a death threat among pirates made of a black spot or mark on a scrap of paper with more specific detail sometimes written on the other side, referred to in the story, Treasure Island.

Black Jack – large drinking cups made of leather that were made stiffer with an application of tar

Bumboo – A drink of the West Indies made with watered rum and flavored with sugar and nutmeg

President Bush:

Two years ago, I told the Congress and the country that the war on terror would be a lengthy war, a different kind of war, fought on many fronts in many places. Iraq is now the central front. Enemies of freedom are making a desperate stand there – and there they must be defeated. This will take time and require sacrifice. Yet we will do what is necessary, we will spend what is necessary, to achieve this essential victory in the war on terror, to promote freedom and to make our own nation more secure.


More on how to talk like a pirate and the upcoming presidential candidates at Salt Lake City Tribune. Tis a fine group of privateers.

Avast Ye!

Ahoy ye blackguards and scallywags! Today be Talk Like a Pyrate Day! And to fill ye’r sorry lives, we three – Elaine, The Kalilily Queen, Jeneane, The Sword of the Marketeer, and meself, Flaming Bird, the Songster – will bring ye tales to make ye’r blood run hot, and ye’r spine run cold.

After all, we Women of the Sea can’t leave this day to the likes of AKMA, The Captain of the Skull and Cross, or David, The Prince of the PoMo Seas, now can we?

Bring ye Nelson’s Folly and heave-to, or we’ll have to keelhaul ye!


jolly roger bandana.jpg

Insects Photography Places

Madame Butterfly

The next month, from the middle of September until the middle of October, is the most beautiful time of the year in Missouri. The weather has cooled and the humidity dropped, and a slight breeze blows most days to keep the sky clean, and clear. The trees are in their richest green, their end of summer finery; next week they’ll become tipped with golds and oranges and scarlet as Fall begins.

Today there was a huge hot air balloon race at Forest Park, which I had planned on attending to continue my quest to find perfect photos for a perfect portfolia. However, this morning I looked out my window at a perfect day and had no interest in fighting a crowd of tens of thousands for glimpses of bright material reflected in the sun. I headed to the Shaw Arboretum, instead, bad girl that I am.

At the lake where I normally park, there were two wedding parties wondering about — fluffs of white dress and colorful satin and chiffon, with men in black tuxes or well ironed khaki. One group was in the midst of a 3:00 wedding, and the other group in a pre-wedding photo shoot. Both ceremonies were unpretentious, with guests sitting in plain folding white chairs and a simple stand acting as alter. No need for ribbons and bows and hot house flowers when you stand under a canopy of Cypress, backed by saphire blue waters. For a magical touch, I could see several butterflies fluttering about during the earlier wedding. No amount of prestige, of cut stone and stained glass, can beat butterflies circling about as you exchange vows with someone you love.

I hadn’t been out to Shaw for sometime and was amazed at the height of the grasses and flowers in the wild flower garden. The air was filled with butterflies and bees and other insects and as I walked between two fields filled with flowers I could hear a constant hum and buzz, as if I were a late arrival at church and the congregation made note of my tardiness.

I had both my digital and my film camera and I had forgotten how satisfying is the feel my old Nikon, the heaviness of it and its fit within my hand, as well as the quality of the lens. Since the butterflies were kind enough to stop and pose strategically, the little vixens, I spent some time taking photos of them with my film camera, and then switching to digital for one or two for the weblog.

The late sun is that unique green-gold of this area, and it highlighted the purple and yellow flowers, green grasses, and blue skies — with bright orange butterflies, Monarch and otherwise. There was considerable activity around one bunch of yellow flowers, and as I focused in with my telephoto lens, I could see a swarm of honey bees vying with the butterflies for nector. Normally I’m cautious around bees, but today I knew without hesitation that I was at no risk for being stung.


Later by the lake I met up with an older man and several young girls, all with butterfly nets. Chatting with the friendly bunch, I found that they were part of Monarch Watch, a group that tags Monarch butterflies in order to track the creatures migratory patterns.

The young ladies were wonderfully gentle with the creatures and when I asked questions they gathered around, smiles as warm as the sun, as each tried to answer my questions in a rush. They let me hold one of the butterflies, and showed me the tiny tags, and between them and their escort, the enthusiast father of one of the budding scientists, I learned all about the program, as well as Monarchs. Five generations of Monarchs have been tracked and tagged from this area to Mexico I was proudly told.

As I reluctantly moved on to the lake to take some final photos, I could hear the group finishing up their work; laughing, gentle boasts of number of butterflies tagged, excitement in their voices as they wondered if any of theirs will be found in the select stand of trees on that small bit of land in Mexico that is the ultimate destination of the colorful gossamer wings.