Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What You're Saying When You Talk Like a Pirate

It's that time again: International Talk Like a Pirate Day! In past years, I've helped you with the how. How to talk like a Jewish pirate, like numerous international pirates, and like assorted other pirates. There's not much more to cover on that front, so this year I'm skipping the how and giving you the what.

When you say the stereotypical pirate phrases, what are you actually saying? The phrases are old, and language gets muddied over time. Meanings get muddled, pronunciation mottled, and things stray a bit from their original intention.

I've done extensive research into pirate historic linguistic patterns (all without leaving my brain) and here's what I've found.

Avast, me hearties!
This is pirates being deep. In essence, it means "the world is a vast place, my friends." And of course, "hearties" comes from the fact that all pirates had those MOM heart tattoos.

Shiver me timbers!
The "er" in shiver is actually a corruption of "arrgh," which pirates were always interjecting into everything. Thus, that leaves us with "shiv" (a makeshift knife) and "me timbers" (my peg leg). It is akin to a challenge to other pirates. As in, "Go ahead, just try to stab my wooden leg."

Ya scurvy dogs!
This one just shows how mumbling and poor grammar can lead to misinterpretation. It's not "ya scurvy" but "you's curvy." And "You's curvy dogs" is roughly comparable to "You're sexy bitches." Just one of the many things a pirate captain would say to try to keep the crew's confidence up on those dreary long voyages at sea.

Walk the plank!
Um... yeah. This one's pretty much what you think.

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
An easy one. It's a call to the ship's first mate — on most vessels, the first mate was affectionately referred to as Yolanda, or Yo for short — to bring the captain another delicious Ho Ho and the aforementioned bottle of rum.

And there you have it. Now instead of going around today spouting these sayings in stereotypical fashion, you can sound like you really know what you're talking about.

Yarrrr welcome.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I'm Back! And Older Than Ever!

I was anti-social this summer. In a manner of speaking, that is. You may have noticed no one was at The Wheel for two months, but I also hardly visited others' blogs. On Facebook, I did little more than Like pictures of babies.1 I all but left Twitter for dead, and completely forgot there was ever anything out there called Google+.2

So, you might be asking, Why did I abandon the sweet nectar that is the internets?

Or... perhaps you're actually asking Where did I put my glasses?, Do I have something in my teeth?, What is the square root of x?, or Who wrote the book of love?

First off, that last question is just wrong. The correct wording is Whomba-doo who, who wrote the book of love? Nevertheless, I'll try to answer all of those and then get back to the one about me.

Check the cupboard. Yes, you do; it's called dentin. Nice try, but do your own homework. And Kathleen McGowan.

Okay, back to me. Why did I go off the grid? Because grids are for tabulating data3 and I had better things to do with my summer. I traveled (20 days out of 28 at one point). I read. I did improv. I spent more time with The Professor.4

So yeah, I might have been a bit selfish. I left you all to your own devices by leaving all of my devices. 'Twas a wonderful summer.

I hope yours was, too.

1 I mostly ignored pictures of food... though I did hit Like for pictures of baby corn and baby spinach.
2 I'm still not entirely sure it exists.
3 Or possibly ironing football players. Yeah, I still don't get that one.
4 He's now 2. At this age, some boys are obsessed with trains or tractors or dinosaurs. He loves animals. Knows dozens and dozens of them. Thus, we took him to both the Buffalo Zoo (his favorite part: riding the carousel) and Elmwood Park Zoo (favorite part: crawling through a tunnel). He enjoys hitting baseballs off a tee, so we brought him to his first baseball game (favorite part: hiding in a cabinet in the skybox). Nope, never a dull moment. I can't get enough of this kid.