Archive for October, 2011


Introducing Long John Silver

October 27, 2011

Earlier I claimed to have read this book before.  Now I’m doubting whether or not that is actually true.  For if it were true I would need for someone to please explain to me the immense surprise I felt when Long John Silver was introduced as a character.

The surprise I felt when Squire Trelawney mentions the sea cook (how perfect…the namesake of Long John Silver’s, perfecter of hush puppies and popcorn-er of shrimp, is a pirate chef) was matched equally by my shock at his characterization. My memory of the LJS iconography was more severe than this depiction of the pirate as a kindly uncle figure, taking Jack for walks and regaling him with “some little anecdote of ships or seamen”.

Also I’ve come across the first use of the famous pirate phrase “shiver my timbers” (as opposed to the more piratical pronunciation “shiver me timbers”)…uttered by Long John Silver.  I was curious to see if this saying, too, originated with Stevenson…if this book was some sort of Ur-text for pirate cliches.  According to my favorite source Stevenson popularized it, but didn’t create it.

I know earlier I said that I was leaving you ashore, but it seems I was a wee bit hasty…two more chapters along and I’m still waiting to get on the damn boat.  But I think this schooner’s going to be unmooring soon.

If you’re not there, I guess that just means more hush puppies for me.

hush puppies

"decent hush puppies" by jslander CC.

Until next time,


P.S.  There are a surprising number of pictures of hush puppies on Flickr.

P.P.S.  This will shiver your timbers

P.P.S.  Pirates are popping up everywhere!  I just came across this post from Cracked.  (They even address “shiver my timbers”!)


X Does Not Mark The Spot

October 18, 2011

Justin you “cowardly son of a rum puncheon”, you!  You haven’t posted in over a week.

I don’t actually think you’re a son of a rum puncheon (because 1.) that would also make me the son of a rum puncheon, and 2.) I have no idea what a puncheon is), but ever since reading that epithet I’ve been trying to work it into my everday conversation.  This was my first go and I’d describe the attempt as “seamless”.

Okay, my librarian brain couldn’t handle not knowing…I had do some digging–a puncheon is a type of cask or a type of rum — either way it’s kind of a lame saying (“Son of a rum cask”.  “Son of a rum rum”.–so it will fit right in with my lexicon–boo-yeah! (case in point)).

Well twin I’m leaving you on shore as it looks like I’m about to board ship.  I think my favorite part of  Master Hawkins and Dr. Livesey finding the map is the way they decoded the pirate cipher in determining where the booty had been hidden on the island.  I mean who would have guessed that the treasure would be hidden under the portion of the map ingeniously encrypted with the description “‘Bulk of treasure here'”?  Just like the Da Vinci Code.

Off to sail the seven seas!



Pirating…Popular Conceptions of Gender

October 8, 2011

Oh Justin you to have the talent for the maritime air!  I’ve been humming your shanty ever since you posted it.  I thought it would be funny to try and write a sea shanty myself…but after days of brainstorming I still can’t come up with a rhyme for lapsang souchong.  So it goes.

I did do some research on the actual sea shanty that Stevenson used in the opening chapter of the book (I’m assuming that when you say “I started the book”, you mean “I kind of skimmed the first chapter.”–those sea shanties sure do jump out to the skimming eye!)  I thought maybe it was real song that he “sampled” (or “pirated” — haha) for his story. But no…he actually wrote it. (no pirating there).

But what Stevenson is pirating is the time period’s popular conceptions of gender (My use of the term pirating here is largely poetic license).  In my last post I discussed how, upon closer inspection of his pocket contents, Bill seemed more Nanny Bumpo than Natty Bumpo (Ba-dum-bum-bing! It should be noted that this joke took a lot of planning…more planning than most people would consider “healthy”–so appreciate it.  A lot.).

Well the gendering shenanigans continue.  When no one will return to the Admiral Benbow after its pandemic of death, only Mama Hawkins shows some “balls”.

She would not, she declared, lose money that belonged to her fatherless boy; “if none of you the rest of you dare,” she said, “Jim and I dare.  Back we will go, the way we came, and small thanks to you big, hulking, chickenhearted men.”

And then Stevenson provides us with this terrifying description of “When Pirates Attack!”

I was scarcely in position ere my enemies began to arrive, seven or eight of them, running hard, their feet beating out of time along the road, and the man with the lantern some paces in front.  Three man ran together, hand in hand…

Isn’t that the most darling pirate attack you’ve ever read?  Holding hands while plundering booty.

And I enjoyed the use of “ere”.

I look forward to see what will come next!




You Had Me at Yo, Ho, Ho

October 4, 2011

Be ready to be amazed Twin Brother…No, no, not just amazed astounded nay stupefied:

I finally started the book.

(I will now give you moment to catch your breath.)

In reading the first chapter of this book I have finally been able to put my finger on that one elusive element that we have  been missing from all our blog-related books. That my friend, can be summarized in two words:

Sea Shanites

Oh, sure I started this books with my doubts. Who wouldn’t with our spotty success with maritime-themed books in the past. (Ahem, Ship of Fools), but then I am less than a page in when our bucanner friend let’s out with a healthy, “Yo, ho, ho…” and from there, what more could I ask for?

So not one to be out-shantied–you will recall the Land, Sea, and Air Shany Showdown of 1998 as case in point–I started fashioning a shanty of my own. Now, the only way to fairly assess whose shanty outshines the other is to set them side by side.

First Stevenson’s:

“Fifteen men on the deadman’s chest–
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum
Drink and the devil had done the rest
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum”

Now mine–admittedly mine is a working draft, but I will leave you to judge it on it own merits:

I once went on a river for nice little float
Tee-hee-hee and a can of Fresca
Five minutes in, and I had enough of the boat
Tee-hee-hee and a can of Fresca

I will leave it up to you to judge. (But really, Game, Set, Match: Jeffryes–Right?)