John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur and Mark "Cap'n Slappy" Summers, Well Blow Me Down! The Guy's Guide to Talking Like a Pirate (The Pirate Guys LLC, 2004)

Once upon a time two guys on a racquetball court "[flailed] ineffectually at a bouncing blue ball and [hurled] insults at one another in pirate lingo" and "decided right then and there that the world needed a holiday where everyone talked like a pirate." Thus, Talk Like a Pirate Day was born, and became an international phenomenon. Now the two guys responsible, John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur and Mark "Cap'n Slappy" Summers, have published a guide for all of those who wish to participate. Well Blow Me Down!, subtitled The Guy's Guide to Talking Like a Pirate, is a silly bit of fun well suited for anyone who has ever felt the draw of the high seas -- even if you've never been closer to the ocean than you are when purchasing a can of Star-Kist tuna.

From Chapter 1 (Meet the Pirate Guys) to Chapter 12 (A Pirate Can Dream, Can't He? -- in which the Pirate Guys dream of their Nobel prize) Well Blow Me Down! is full of humor and interesting historical tidbits. Chapter 5 is the useful bit, being a glossary of pirate terms and their proper use. A bung hole is not what you probably think it is, sea dog isn't an insult, you don't want to have Moses' Law applied, and nobody really walked the plank.

Chapter 6 provides instructions on using pirate talk in everyday situations: around the house, at the office, at school, even at church! (Note: the authors are entirely correct when they surmise that "most women do not consider the phrase prepare to be boarded!an adequate substitute for foreplay" although I myself might be swayed by the suggested (and charming) piratical pickup line "I've sailed the Seven Seas and you're the sleekest schooner I've ever sighted." Of course, I do have sort of a thing for pirates...)

Cap'n Slappy and Ol' Chumbucket are funny, funny men. I particularly enjoyed Chapter 10, the Official Talk Like a Pirate Personality Inventory -- according to Chapter 10, I'm a Cap'n Danita Smackbottom. And advice column fans will enjoy the piratical solutions offered by Cap'n Slappy in Chapter 11, culled from the Ask Cap'n Slappy column at the Talk Like A Pirate Web site.

Talk Like a Pirate Day occurs annually on September 19th. Pick up this marvellous guidebook so you can be properly prepared for the next event.

[Maria "Mistress D'Grogcups" Nutick]