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Avast! No lubbers today, ye scurvy bilge rats!

Byline: Mark Baker The Register-Guard


'Tis once again Talk Like a Pirate Day, and thar ye be sittin', me beauties and landlubbers, with yer cup o' grog, or yer bucket o' chum, holding this scurvy newspaper in your hand, just a-waitin' fer a tale.


What? Ye never heard of Talk Like a Pirate Day, ye slimy bilge rat?

Well, don't get yer doubloons in a wad, me hearties. Just bend ye an ear.

If ye read that scurvy syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry on Sundays, ye might know what we're talkin' about.

But it was two landlubbers in Albany, John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy), who started this whole thing - that's now gone international - when they e-mailed Barry last year and asked him to promote it.


"Now it's everywhere," Baur said Thursday, right in the middle of doing interviews with media all over the globe - from CNN to Australian newspapers to BBC Radio. "It's a little scary.

Baur, 48, a former journalist at the Corvallis Gazette-Times and the Albany Democrat-Herald and now a science writer with the Oregon State University-based Oregon Sea Grant program, and Summers, 40, a behavior management consultant with the Linn-Benton-Lincoln Education Service District, came up with the swashbuckling idea while playing racquetball in 1995.

"One of us must have strained something and let out an `Arrrrr!!,' ' Baur said. "We realized we had something, that a national Talk Like a Pirate Day was just what the world needed. And, being guys, we ran right out and did nothing."

They picked Sept. 19 because that's the birthday of Summers' ex-wife. For years, Baur and Summers and a few friends would call each other up and say "Arrrrrr!!!!"

Last year, however, they had the brilliant notion to e-mail Barry, who loved the idea and wrote about it in his column on Sept. 8, 2002.

"I have decided to throw my full support behind Talk Like a Pirate Day," Barry wrote, mentioning the famous people who would be likely to join him, from Tom Cruise to Tiger Woods, the Sopranos to Puff Doody. "I see no need to recruit President Bush because he already talks like a pirate," Barry wrote.

Barry mentioned Talk Like a Pirate Day again this year in his Aug. 31 column, reminding everyone to remember Sept. 19 and when answering the phone, `instead of `hello,' you say `Ahoy!' Then you hang up. Scurvy telemarketers.'

Now, the phenomenon is all over the world, Baur said. A school in the Ivory Coast in Africa will celebrate it all day. A Boy Scout troop in Sweden is taking a pirate-themed camping trip.

Baur and Summer were up at 4 a.m. Thursday giving one of about 60 interviews they'll give this week.

They've created a Web site,, that contains everything you'd want to know about their strange venture. There's even a link to buy pirate-related products such as lunch boxes complete with skull and crossbones. There's even a book in the works, "Shiver me Timbers: The Guy's Guide to Talking Like a Pirate."

Baur's wife, Tori - the "lusty pirate wench" - suggested they write it to channel their pirate speak elsewhere.

"She's tired of listening to us talk," Baur said.


Arrrrr!!: Various meanings from "yes" to "I agree," to "I'm happy" or "I'm enjoying this beer."

Ahoy!: Hello.

Avast!: Stop and give attention.

Aye!: "Yes, I agree most heartily with everything you just said."

Aye, aye!: "I'll get right on it, sir, as soon as my break is over."

Beauty: The best possible pirate address for a woman. Always preceded by "me," as in "C'mere, me beauty."

Bilge rat: The bilge is the ship's lowest level. It's loaded with ballast and slimy, reeking water. This is where bilge rats live.

Grog: An alcoholic drink, usually rum diluted with water. Or beer. Or whatever yer tippin', if calling it that makes you happy.

Landlubber: The seaman's version of "land lover," mangled by typical pirate disregard for elocution. A "lubber" is someone who does not go to sea. In a room where everyone is talking like pirates, lubber is always an insult.

Smartly: To do something quickly. "Smartly, me lass," you might say when sending the bar maid off for another round. She will be so impressed she may well spit in your grog.



Cap'n Slappy (Mark Summers, left) and Ol' Chumbucket (John Baur), dreamed up the "holiday," which was publicized by columnist Dave Barry.
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Title Annotation:Hoist the skull and crossbones, 'cause Sept. 19 has caught on as Talk Like a Pirate Day. Smartly now!; General News
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Sep 19, 2003
Previous Article:Your favorite `local' radio host may be in California.

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