Saturday, September 19th is the date of a rather unique holiday made possible largely by the internets. Pirate enthusiasts around the globe will be celebrating International Talk Like a Pirate Day in various ways, but the unifying theme is to shiver up your timbers and adopt some pirate language, me hearties!
If you want some backstory and tips on how best to ring in the solemn occasion, read on for our guide to celebrating one of the best parodic holidays modern culture has to offer.
Know the Story
Talk Like a Pirate Day began back in 1995 when John ‘Ol’ Chumbucket’ Baur and his pal Mark ‘Cap’n Slappy’ Summers spontaneously began hurling piratical insults at each other on a YMCA racquetball court in Albany, Oregon. The logical conclusion of this exchange was to establish a day in which everyone around the world ought to talk like a pirate. September 19 was chosen as the date because it was Summers’ ex-wife’s birthday, thus making it easy for him to remember.
For several years the holiday remained an inside joke between Baur and Summers, until they sent a letter about their made-up holiday to nationally syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry. Taken with the idea, Barry promoted the concept in a 2002 column for the Miami Herald, after which Talk Like a Pirate Day began to spread virally on the internet.
Now celebrated all over the world, International Talk Like a Pirate Day has spawned thousands of events, parties, mashups, and various celebrations over the years. Check out the list of TLAPD events for 2009.
Know Your Vocabulary
So how does one get started participating in this worldwide holiday? Most importantly, you should learn some tips for talking like a pirate, of course.
The premiere ‘how to talk like a pirate’ guide is put together by the original two pirates themselves. It includes the basics, advanced topics, top 10 pirate pickup lines (’prepare to be boarded!’), pirate speak for kids and how to celebrate Pirate Day in the workplace.
Twitter Like a Pirate
If you don’t have time to brush up on your vocab, or just want some help tweaking your pirate speak, check out the Post Like a Pirate tool for easy translation and posting direct to your Twitter or Myspace account, or to send a piratical email to a friend.
You can also use the English-to-Pirate translator for passages longer than 140 characters.
Facebook Like a Pirate
If you head over to your account settings and go to the language tab, you’ll notice that one of the options available is ‘English (Pirate).’ If you choose this setting, you’ll be able to browse Facebook in pirate speak! Unfortunately this view is only for you, so you can’t display your own Facebook page to your friends in pirate — but it’s still a fun nod to the TLAPD holiday from the social networking giant.
Search Like a Pirate
Google is on board with the holiday too, offering a special Google Pirate interface for translating your entire search experience into Pirate.
And if you’re a developer type, Yahoo has put together a way to convert your web pages to pirate speak using YQL.
Pirate Talk for Your iPhone
Oh yes, there’s an app for that. Get phrases translated into pirate on your iPhone and email custom pirate phrases to friends and family for $0.99 from the App Store.
Drink Like a Pirate
Of course, you can always make do with swigging away from pretty much any old bottle of rum. But if you want to step it up just a bit, check out these pirate cocktail recipes drafted up special for old sea dogs.
Raise a Pirate
You can download the e-book for free, or purchase a hard copy of the book from ThinkGeek.com.
Piracy for Good
One great way to celebrate TLAPD is to participate in some of the fundraising efforts kicked off by pirates around the world for good causes. Check out a few below, and let us know of any others in the comments.
Marie Curie Cancer Cure: Donate and help fundraise for this organization that provides care to terminally ill patients and support for their families.
Pirates for Parkinson’s: Find or host a Pirates for Parkinson’s walk in your local area to raise awareness for Parkinson’s Disease.
Enjoy Pirate Media
What better way to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day than checking out some of the great pirate-themed films, TV shows, music and games? You’ll be studying up on your lingo for September 19 every year; think of it as an investment.
CBS had a short-lived reality series a few years ago called Pirate Master, whose premise was following 16 modern-day pirates on a question for $1 million worth of gold. You can still watch the episodes online at CBS’s site.
Video game developer Telltale Games, known for the popular franchise Sam & Max, will be giving away a free download of the Tales of Monkey Island’s first episode in honor of the Talk Like a Pirate Day holiday. To get it, head over to their Play Like a Pirate page.
Lots of online games are having TLAPD celebrations as well, including World of Warcraft, Second Life, Lord of the Rings Online, Guild Wars, City of Heroes, Pirates of the Burning Sea, and Xbox Live’s Saturday All-Nighter will feature pirate-themed titles.
We’ll leave you with a few embeds from pirate-themed TV episodes — enjoy ‘em, mateys!
Family Guy: Pirate Chase
Saturday Night Live: Pirates Convention
South Park: Perfect Pirate Club
Know of any other great ways to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to let us know what you’ll be doing to commemorate TLAPD.