Thursday, January 4, 2007

Hams and Shanties

I know that pirates are popular nowadays. Ever since the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, costume shops have sold out of eye patches every Halloween (I know this from personal experience). But, my friends, I am not just a slave to trends. Long before pirates were in vogue, my little sister and I were bellowing “ARRRR!” with gritted teeth and junior swashbuckling with her Playmobile pirate ship (the coolest toy ever). I have developed a reputation as “The Dread Pirate Watoosa,” of which I am very proud, even though I lack tattoos and scurvy.

Imagine my excitement when Ickie discovered the silliest books ever written about pirates. We read them out loud to each other amidst cramp-inducing spasms of laughter. Author Gideon Defoe claims to have written his first, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, in an ill-fated attempt to convince a girl to fall in love with him. The books are Monty Python-esque nonsense, and the pirates argue about ham cooking methods and who gets to ride shotgun in the boat and don’t appear to know much about sailing. Most of the pirates don’t have names and are referred to as “the pirate with the hook for a hand,” “the sassy pirate,” “the pirate who used to be a lawyer,” and “the pirate with a nut allergy.” In addition, Defoe includes comical caricatures of historic and literary figures like Darwin, Ahab, and Marx (among others).

The second book, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Ahab, is slightly less funny than the first, although it features a memorable scene with an albatross. The third book, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Communists, is as hysterical as the first, featuring a chase scene with live bears in a Wagnerian opera and a hilariously insane Nietzsche.

For a bonus, check out Gideon Defoe’s website titled “important work I am doing re: pie-charts,” designed to prevent you from getting in trouble if you’re reading it at the office. Click on “Books” on his sidebar to read some excerpts.

Also Recommended: The Pyrates by George MacDonald Fraser. It’s a more verbose, but similarly ridiculous and anachronistic.

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