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Solving the world's problems, peg-leg by peg-leg

Pirates

As promised - a post about Pirates. It's with great pleasure that I observed International Talk Like a Pirate Day (ITLAPD) on Monday. It's not really as well observed here as it is in Australia, there was no mention of it on the media. I had to explain the entire concept to people who were wondering exactly why talking like a pirate needed its own global day of observance. It's actually quite hard to do, especially when people don't really buy into the basic idea that talking in such a manner is fun. I ended up giving up, and going through my repertoire of pirate jokes. The Captain Courageous and his red jacket joke is still my favourite.

Before I delve into why I think pirates have really proven their relevance this year, I'd like to make an observation about pirates that I realised while explaining the piratical concepts to the Germans. I don't think that anyone will argue that pirates are not funny, but what exactly is it about them that makes them so funny? I mean, they're vicious, uncouth, missing limbs, generally dangerous and cart around tropical birds on their decrepit ships, all while having a tenuous grasp on the English language. Yet they're still hilarious. I started thinking about what else was hilarious, despite the components that comprise its whole, and one example that kept popping up was the Zombie. Zombies - especially when they're going on their rampages - are hilarious. I think the hilarity can be easily assigned to how ineffective they are at doing their job of eating brains. If a zombie was coming at you, all you have to do is walk away at a brisk pace. They're slow. And stupid. Pirates are remarkably ineffective too. If they're not hobbling around peg legs, they're getting remarkably drunk, or having long arguments with Polly about what exactly constitutes a piece of eight. That's why the modern pirates are not funny at all. They actually manage to hijack ships, riding around on their speedboats. To be fair to them though, I'd guess they wouldn't have a particularly good grasp of English, and they might have a parrot, or maybe a cat on their speedboats.

Have you all noticed how expensive fuel is nowadays? It makes me glad I'm living the environmentally sound life here, catching the (excellent) public transport, and walking everywhere. I was thinking of getting a car (actually a motorbike with a side-car so I can drive around like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, humming the tune to myself and driving into fences), but given the lack of fuel to throw into it, I don't think that will be happening soon. It's been made worse by the whole hurricane Katrina situation too, and I don't think that Rita is going to ease the strain. Maybe this will provide the final push for more environmentally sound transportation. We're in trouble now as is, after a number of reports have come out recently suggesting that we're all screwed because global warming is here to stay. Nice alarmist reports saying that there will be massive population movements in south-east Asia, as temperature rises yield an increase in diseases, and general pandemics of bad stuff. (On a related note - should we all be scared about Avian Bird Flu yet? I see that Indonesia has requested a big-arse shipment of TamiFlu. Let's hope that these drugs go into mass production, so their price is dropped down to the level when I can just pop down to the chemist to pick up a flu treatment with spare change)

So let's recount my arguments here. Pirates are funny. Environmental problems are real, and we've seen some wild weather, and could be seeing worldwide pandemics of disease brought on by climate change. You wouldn't see it at first, but these two things are related. One of the other things that has been happening in earnest this year is that some people in the US have been trying to convince other people that we're not all monkeys, but that a guy often depicted with a beard was doing a bit of pottery, we sort of just happened, and he planted a whole bunch of bones on the ground to give us something to dig up. Anyway, it's an idea, and I wish them luck proving it. If I were to subscribe to an idea like that, I'd follow the more likely one, where you replace the guy with a beard with a Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM). It makes sense when you think about it, even more so when you consider the startling revelation that followers of FSM believe that there is a direct relationship between the decline in the number of pirates in the world today and the rise of global warming (and by association, all environmental problems, and the eventual worldwide panic resulting from various killer diseases being let loose on the world, turning us all into Zombies like in the Day after tomorrow). The evidence is clear. We need more pirates in the world, if we are ever going to survive. It's not an easy life being a pirate, so I'm not going to suggest that we all become pirates. However, I think that the people putting the most burden on the environment should take some responsibility for their actions. I'm talking about you - Car drivers. Here's my suggestion, which has some unexpected side-benefits for you. First off, get a bandana, and wrap it around your head. Get an eyepatch, some gold teeth, and amputate a limb. Now, walk out of your house, ready for a drive to work, or the shops. Instead of getting in your car, walk down the street, and find a car which is waiting at an intersection. Hijack the car. I'll leave it up to you as to how you achieve this - you're a pirate, be creative. Now, get in the car and drive off. Not only are you helping to reduce global warming by being a pirate - but you're saving on fuel costs, since it's not your fuel that you're driving the car on. I look forward to hearing about your piratical driving experiences!

3 comments

butercup *

OMFGWTF

Or at least, burgers.

Hey, you should go *back* and grab Quicksilver!! You'd really appreciate it. It's not as geekoid as Cryptonomicon, and it's all about the massive explosion in scientific experimentation, and maybe has mention of pirates.

Ok I just said that to make you regret not grabbing that book at your earliest opportunity.

Oh and hey, as for Cryptonomicon, DTM lent ours to someone - it's been gone now for over a year.

celia *

Hey you! [waves hello] How are you doing? Enjoying Hiedelberg? (That IS where you are, isn't it?)

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