Monthly Archive: April 2005

Review: Swashbuckler Shirt

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Dress Like a

A pirate’s success in life depends on many factors, luck and skill amongst the very top. But perhaps even more important are the tools of the trade – a captain would never seek treasure without a map, nor would the bos’n splice the mainbrace without a marlinspike and keg of rum. And in a similar vein, no dashing swashbuckler should even think of crashing the governor’s ball without his ruffles.

Whether swinging from the chandelier or merely shouting, (more…)

Review: Big Bell Swashbuckler Boots

Rating: ★★★★☆
Champion Attitude Boots

Ordering footwear online is always a scary experience, especially from a company that has no real return policy. Nonetheless I decided to take the plunge and order a pair of Champion Attitude’s Custom Big Bell Swashbuckler Boots – they looked to be some of classiest pirate boots available, and I figured a company that’s spent generations making cowboy boots probably knows what they’re doing.

Let me start off by reviewing the boots themselves – they really are top notch. The leather seems high quality and the craftsmanship is superb. The sizing was based on foot tracings I’d sent in, resulting in an almost-perfect fit (they were a little loose in the heel, but this was easily remedied with some inserts.) The break-in period was surprisingly short, especially considering the all-leather sole. All in all, these are a far cry from costume boots – these are durable and battle-ready. I could wear these every day if it were socially acceptable. (more…)

Review: Myers’s Legend

Rating: ★★★★☆
Myers’s Legend Rum

Click to buy!
from Internet Wines and Spirits

Myer’s Original Rum is a grocery store staple – I can’t imagine it not being available most anywhere. Myer’s Legend, on the other hand, is a rare prize. Compared to its more common cousin, Myer’s Legend is less bitter and less coppery. It’s warmer, smoother, and in a nicer bottle.

That last comment about the bottle isn’t meant to be snide. Drinking rum is about the entire experience – and that experience begins with the bottle. Short and wide like its seagoing ancestors, the Myer’s Legend bottle is wrapped in cord which contrasts beautifully with the dark brown glass. The rum that pours forth has a gravity, but not too much so. It smells faintly of molasses, but mostly this is rum – plain and true. (more…)

Review: Billy Bones and Other Ditties

Rating: ★★½☆☆
Skip Henderson

Buy the CD
Genre: Traditional and traditional inspired sea shanteys.
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Grown ups, mostly

Skip Henderson’s “Billy Bones and Other Ditties” is one of the most aptly named albums of all time. Amongst the track listing is, as expected, the song “Billy Bones” – one of the greatest pirate songs I’ve ever heard. And the rest of the album is a bunch of ditties – some more entertaining than others, but few that really leave a mark. (more…)

Review: Illegitimus Non Carborundum

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy the CD
Genre: Original pirate rock and experimental.
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Ages 15 and up

I imagine that, upon meeting an alien life form for the first time, one would at once feel awed, confused, terrified, and overwhelmed. The experience would be both beautiful and frightening, fascinating yet hopelessly beyond our comprehension. Why am I saying this? No reason. Illegitimus Non Carborundum is a fun, bizarre, perplexing, and incredibly diverse CD. To quote Will Turner form Pirates of the Caribbean, “This is either madness or genius.” (more…)

Review: Myers’s Original Dark

Rating: ★★½☆☆
Myers’s Original Dark Rum

Click to buy!
from Internet Wines and Spirits

There’s nothing subtle about Myer’s Dark Jamaican Rum – the name says it all. A quick whiff of the bottle will tell you that it’s heavy, cool, and smells of copper and oak. This is rum, and it tastes like it. The grocery store is full of rums I’d never drink straight, not even in cases of direst adversity. But then, most grocery store rums are white. Or spiced. Or flavored. Myer’s, however, is rum. Uncomplicated and unapologetic.

Fine for mixing, superb for cooking, and, in a pinch, decent in the mug.

Review: Pirates of Pensacola

Rating: ★★★★★
Pirates of Pensacola
by Keith Thomson

This book would be easy to underestimate; its premise of a modern-day classical pirate kidnapping his estranged accountant son in a quest for buried gold sounds like fine material for an over-the-top parody, and its cover featuring a cartoon parrot perched on a lap top computer certainly implies a happy-go-lucky seagoing adventure – yet neither feature betrays a hint of how much is really at work here.

Author Keith Thomson envisions a Caribbean full of modern pirates with roots firmly planted in days of yore. Motorboats and shotguns abound, but so do eye patches and peg legs. Tiny, uncharted islands provide the base of operations for bloodthirsty scallywags as they spend their days pillaging, wenching, and grogging while the rest of the world remains blissfully unaware. Being a comedy, this unlikely scenario could easily be dismissed as a mere quirk of chance or artistic license, but Thomson goes above and beyond the call as he weaves a tale that makes the existence of old-timey pirates not only just-this-side of feasible, but may induce readers to wonder why they themselves couldn’t be so lucky as to have been born in the Sugar Islands. (more…)

Review: Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates

Rating: ★★★★★
Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates

I first fell in love with this game back when they were still beta testing. It was fantastic then, and has only gotten better. The scope has grown, as have the options and the puzzles, and my wife is wishing I hadn’t discovered this thing – my chores have stacked up to Mt. Everest levels and I’m only getting started.

There are many fantastic points to this game – it’s fun, it’s clean (arguably g-rated). But I think its greatest feature is that the pirate crews have to work (get this) AS A CREW. Some folks work sails as others pump the bilge or navigate. Somebody’s got to load the cannons while the captain barks his orders so you can all collect some booty. And isn’t that what its all about – cooperation and booty? I’d review the game in more detail, but I’m not sure I can. Puzzle Pirates is an entire world of piratey goodness, and your options are endless. I could tell you about my experiences in the game, but they won’t be your experiences. All you can do is take my word that this is a fantastic game and go learn about it for yourself. It’s like a game of Monkey Island that never ends – and I can think of no higher praise. Go there, subscribe – I promise your real life will crumble from neglect. (more…)

Review: The Lost Fleet

Rating: ★★★★☆
The Lost Fleet: The Discovery of a Sunken Armada from the Golden Age of Piracy
by Barry Clifford

“The Lost Fleet” has all the makings of a typical sequel – exotic locales, more shipwrecks, and even a new villain. Where Barry Clifford’s account of his discovery of the Whydah occurred domestically in the relatively uneventful waters off Cape Cod, his exploration of an entire sunken armada near Venezuela brings us the dangers of foreign governments in turmoil, ravenous barracudas, and a power-hungry dentist turned jungle explorer. It would almost seem ridiculously stereotypical if it wasn’t all true. (more…)