Friday, June 30, 2006

The Week in Pictures LI

Random Friday Thoughts:

While wandering around Manhattan earlier this week, I saw some policemen on horseback and my first thought was "Oh, shit - Canada has invaded!"

We need to come up with a name for our Pirate Vessel. Any suggestions?

Other than that, I really have nothing to say, so let's move on to the WiP.


Archaeologists at an excavation site in Egypt made a remarkable discovery when they caught the pharaoh and his harem trying to sneak out the back door of one of the pyramids.


God received a huge welcome during an official visit to Brazil earlier this week.


A stealth balloon attack on Stratford-Upon-Avon was barely averted when a quick thinking six year old brought down the squadron with a handful of darts.


As competition stiffens, some pimps have responded with aggressive marketing campaigns.


Participants in the Wimbledon Championships have complained that they are terrified to approach the All-England's new spiked tennis nets during rallies.

Our video of the week is "It Hurts" by Angels & Airwaves.




Divers in a local aquarium were fired for torturing a turtle by playing "keep away" with it's soccer ball.


After months of trying, veterinarians at a Moscow Zoo believe that they've found a way of providing relief for polar bears suffering from hemorrhoids.


In sports, the invisible crew team finished a distant last place at the week's Henley Royal Regatta.


French forward Franck Ribery received a red card after failing to play the ball in favor of kneeing Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso's testicles while simultaneously giving him a wedgie.


It was an historic moment at the World Cup, when a set of conjoined twins suited up for different countries during a match between Switzerland and the Ukraine.


And finally, a pregnant Britney Spears posted naked for the cover of August issue Harper's Bazaar, which will be re-named Harper's Bizarre in honor of the stunt.


Interestingly, the article also includes an artist's depiction of what Ms. Spears and her husband K-Fed will look like 25 years from now.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Keelhauled

"You really are worthless, aren't you?"

She'd been dropping snide remarks like that ever since I'd gotten the kayak tangled in a mess of seaweed a few hours earlier. We were stranded there for quite a while until a group of boy scouts noticed our plight and waded over to push us free.

I suppose I could have gotten out done it, but the truth is that seaweed makes my skin crawl. The mere thought of those slimy tentacle like plants wrapping themselves around my legs was enough to make me sit there until we either drifted free or died from exposure. Besides, if she thought poorly of me for getting us stuck in the first place, you can imagine how she'd feel were I to leap from the water clawing at a piece of seaweed and squealing "Get it off of me! Get it off of me!"

She seemed so much nicer the previous afternoon when we were forced to share a table at Panera due to the lunchtime crowd. My last adventure taught me that I was more likely to take a vessel by cunning than by force, so it made sense to bring an attractive woman that could serve to lure unwary sailors close enough for me to board their vessel.

As lunch wound down, I'd proposed the idea to her and, much to my surprise, she accepted. Still, nothing was worth the abuse she was hurling my way.

"You'd best watch your tongue missy, afore I keelhaul1 ya," I growled menacingly.

She whipped out her blackberry and quickly googled the term.

"Keelhauled under a kayak? You're a moron." she said, shaking hear head in wonder.

"Anyway," she continued, "I'd rather be keelhauled than to have to sit here and listen to you do your stupid pirate impression - which, by the way, sucks. Are you trying to imitate Barbosa from Pirates of the Caribbean?"

"Yes. Or Johnny Depp. I can't decide."

"Well you sound like Popeye."

That sealed it. There was no way I could allow her to get away with talking to me like that in front of my crew - even if she was the only member of it at the moment.

Never being one to manhandle a woman, I resorted to a clever ruse in which I offered to make peace by teaching her to tie a few nautical knots. After binding her wrists to a length of rope, I paddled us out deeper water.

"You didn't have to trick me into being tied up, you know. I would have let you do it anyway." she whispered sexily. "In fact, why don't we stop playing pirate and go back to my place so that you can discipline me properly?"

Hearing her talk that way reminded me of those strange guys in Pirate Captain school who were always "accidentally" getting tangled in the rigging and then begging to receive their lashes before we cut them down.

As tempting as her offer was, but I quickly steeled my resolve (so to speak) and continued with the original plan.

When we reached the proper spot, she clambered into the water and made her way over to the bow, while I stowed the paddles. Once she was properly positioned, I began pulling the rope. Clearly I hadn't thought this trough since her lifejacket kept her afloat no matter how hard I pulled. As a result, I wound up dragging her around the side of vessel. By the time she reached the stern, I was an exhausted, sweaty mess. Even worse was the fact that far from being chastened, she actually looked remarkably refreshed.

"That was fun! Can we do it again?" she asked. Of course I obliged as it was the first time she'd smiled since the adventure began. After a few more passes, she took notice of my withered state and graciously offered to keelhaul me.2

It turned out to be so much fun that we spent the remainder of the day taking turns while practicing our pirate voices. Unfortunately, our pirate vocabulary was rather limited which lead to us repeating phrases like "Arrrr" and "Ye scurvy dog" over and over.

Fortunately, the sea provided us with plenty of saltwater to gargle with when our throats became raw.

Alas, I need to go to complete my community service so I'll need to tell you about the rest of the adventure later.
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1 Recently, several noted historians published an article speculating that David Blaine is the sole living person who could survive a keelhauling. It was later discovered that this theory was based solely on their desire to trick him into trying so that they could torture and drown him.

2 Though I secretly hoped that she meant "keelhaul" in a euphemistic way, it appeared that ship had sailed when I'd turned a deaf ear on her earlier proposal. The captain's life is a lonely one indeed.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

In the wee small hours of the morning
While the whole wide world is fast asleep
You lie awake and think about the girl
And never ever think of counting sheep

When your lonely heart has learned its lesson
You'd be hers if only she would call
In the wee small hours of the morning
That's the time you miss her most of all


Oh bacon, why did you have to go and raise my cholesterol and mess things up for us?

Why couldn't things just have stayed the way they were?

Why, bacon?

Why?

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Week in Pictures L

Random Friday Thoughts:

I can't believe that this is the 50th edition of The Week in Pictures. You'd think I would have come up with a better gimmick by now, but apparently I'm not all that bright.

Speaking of non-bright things (how smooth was that transition), the weather here has been miserable for the past few days. As if the persistent threat of thunderstorms weren't enough, it's so muggy out that you practically have to swim to your destination. I. Hate. Summer.

By virtue of a 2-1 loss to Ghana yesterday, the United States team was eliminated from the World Cup. You can only imagine the rage and disbelief this was met with around the country. Everywhere I go, I hear people saying things like "The World What?", "We had a team there?", and "What's soccer?"

Anyway, back to the main point of this preamble. It seems like just three years ago that I wrote The Week in Pictures as a one-shot deal. (It's actually been just over a year, but it feels much longer). I guess time flies when you're lost in a sea of mediocrity.

Anyway, you're all invited to the post-softball game WiP 50th edition party that's being held at an undisclosed location. Music will be provided by the Starland Vocal Band and the festivities will be co-hosted by stand up comedian and former host of Family Feud (1999 - 2002) Louie Anderson and business magnate, entrepreneur, home-making advocate and convicted criminal struggling to rebuild her media empire who can't believe she's relegated to appearing at events such as this, Martha Stewart. I'd add something like "great family fun," but Martha tends to frighten children.

On to the WiP.


A General in the United States Army was forced to resign after misinterpreting orders to establish a beachhead in North Korea.


Experts estimate that over employers suffer over $1 billion in lost productivity each year due to workers playing games like "peek-a-boo" during business hours.


SuperDog is once again being praised as a hero after flying halfway around the world to save a Terrier from choking on a piece of rawhide bone.


A group of Hindu leaders announced that beginning next week all devotees of the religion will need to declare themselves as either a "top" or a "bottom."


Theologians were shocked when Buddha, thought to have died in 483 B.C., showed up for a World Cup match between France and South Korea.


In my next life I want to come back as Shakira's microphone. That's all I'm saying.


In response to overwhelming evidence provided as part of a paternity suit, Mick Jagger admitted this week to fathering triplets approximately twenty years ago during a Rolling Stones tour in Brazil.


Scientists studying elephants in Bangkok have discovered that females often accessorize in order make themselves more attractive to the eligible males in the herd.


Officials at the Wolong Panda Research Center announced that the centerfold shoot for next month's PlayPanda went off without a hitch.

Our video of the week is "Don't Wait" - the first single off of the new Dashboard Confessional CD that drops on Tuesday.




Ronald McDonald is branching out by opening a chain of hairstyling salons specializing in what he calls "my patented personal look."


Analysts expect Land Rover sales to skyrocket after the auto maker announced an optional accessory that allows drivers to send a blast of air up the skirt of women passing in front of the vehicle.


In sports, Spain's Sete Gibernau set a new world's record in the Men's 100-meter Muddy Somersault Race.


A forward on the German national team was released after repeatedly squealing "Not in the face!" whenever a ball came near him.


The first round match between Portugal and Iran was delayed for 10 minutes while two of the players belted out a Broadway show tune.


The new Nike designed linesman's uniforms unveiled for this year's World Cup have been meeting with mixed reviews. While they can be quite flattering in some cases, they appear to be less so when worn by portly middle-aged officials.


I have to admit that I suddenly find myself much more interested in this whole World Cup thing...and in moving to Sweden.


...or Germany.


...or Mexico.


But not Croatia, as that team seems to require just a little too much from their fans.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Lemon-Aid

In need of a well-deserved - albeit temporary - break from piracy, I decided earlier this week to invest in a card table and open a lemonade stand on the corner. Unfortunately, when I arrived at work yesterday morning I found the place reduced to smoking rubble as a result of my principled refusal to pay protection money to a group of six year olds that control the summer beverage corner sales racket in my neighborhood.

Despondent, I sat in a nearby Starbucks sipping coffee while I pondered my next move. As I scanned to crowded room, it occurred to me that one of the lonely stay at home moms that comprise the store's weekday morning customer base might be willing to pay handsomely for something to break the monotony.

After perusing the room, I spotted an easy mark.

She was a brunette in her mid-30's who was, at that moment, trying desperately to control her two year old son, who was wandering around happily tipping over people's drinks and marking his territory by spreading cupcake icing on everything he touched. On her lap, she held a screaming infant that steadfastly rebuffed all efforts by her mother to placate her. Bottles, pacifiers, keys, hugs, and songs were all stubbornly rejected, and the obligatory diaper check showed nothing amiss.

I stood at her table and broke out my best smile.

"It appears you have your hands full...and that you can use a little company. Would you mind if I joined you?"

Tears of gratitude welled in her eyes as she motioned to the empty seat beside her. As if by some sort of miracle, the baby chose that very moment to accept the pacifier. As she calmed down, the boy returned to the table to satisfy his curiosity about the strange man that was chatting up his mother.

Over the next half-hour we spoke for about the world we live in and life in general. Occasionally, she'd reach out to brush my hand or stroke my arm affectionately - tentatively at first but then with a growing familiarity and (dare I say it) intimacy. As our time together drew to a close, I went for broke.

"This might be out of line," I ventured, "but I was wondering if you might be interested in taking me on as your kept man."

I braced for a slap, but to my surprise she appeared to be considering the proposition.

"How much?" she asked.

"$5,000 a week would suffice."

"That sounds reasonable. You can start as soon as I receive payment."

"Payment?"

"Yes, we just agreed that you'd give me $5,000 a week to be my kept man"

"You're supposed to pay me!" I argued. "Besides, I don't have that kind of money!"

"You should have thought about that before you made the offer." she said flatly. "I'll tell you what. You seem like a nice guy and I'm feeling generous - so why don't you just give me $3,000 a week?"

I hesitated.

"That's my final offer," she said. "You have ten seconds to accept or I'm walking out the door for good."

"I don't think you understand how the whole 'kept man'thing works." I ventured.

"6...5..."

My head spun.

"4...3...2.."

"Deal!" I screamed in a panic.

All eyes turned towards me as the shop when completely silent forcacophony before exploding back into it's customary cacaphony ocaffeineing children, cell phone conversations, and caffiene laced beverage preparation noises.

"Good. I'll drop the children off no later than 7 each morning and I'll pick them up at around 5 each evening"

"But we didn't say anything about babysitting!" I protested.

She arched her eyebrow.

"3...2..."

"Okay."

*sigh*

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Pirate Code

The fact that none of the scurvy wags that comprise my crew were able to rescue me from prison calls attention the fact that we're badly in need of a Pirate Code of Conduct.

Rather than re-inventing the hull1, I've chosen to modify an existing code so that it won't be entirely unfamiliar to any real - erm, I mean 'other' - pirates that join our crew at a later date.2

So without further ado, I present to you The Official Pirate Code of Conduct for the Crew of the As Yet to be Named (and Yet to be Commandeered) Pirate Vessel:

I. ALWAYS rescue your Captain when he or she is imprisoned.

And keep Doug away from the glue while planning the rescue.

II. Every Man3 shall obey civil Command; The Captain is to have two full Shares; the Master is to have one Share and one Half; The Doctor, Mate, Gunner and Boatswain, one Share and one Quarter.

I was going to include the Chef as well, but then I remembered that she gets tips...and that she's mutinous.

III. If any Man shall offer to run away, or keep any Secret from the Company, he shall be marroon'd with one Bottle of Powder, one Bottle of Water, one small Arm, and shot.

I assume that this mean baby powder as chafing would seem to be problematic for the marroon'd. With respect to the shot, you'll have to whatever we have on hand at the moment. If you'd prefer a specific liquor, I'd suggest that you bring a bottle of it aboard.

As for the small arm, I haven't a clue where we'd get one of those. I suppose we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

IV. If any Man shall steel any Thing in the Company, or game, to the Value of a Piece of Eight, he shall be marroon'd or shot.

I'll let you know the current value of a piece of eight as soon as we hire a ship's accountant. I'm guessing that it's roughly equivalent to a either a loonie or a toonie.

V. If at any Time we should meet another Marrooner (that is Pyrate) that Man that shall sign his Articles without the Consent of our Company, shall suffer such Punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit.

It goes with out saying that this in no way applies to the pirate pictured below. As far as I'm concerned, she's already a member of the crew.

VI. That Man that shall strike another whilst these Articles are in force, shall receive Mose's Law (that is 40 stripes lacking one) on the bare Back.

Let's just simplify this to 39 stripes. Given her expertise in the area of wet noodle lashes, we'll put Diva in charge of this one.

VII. That Person that shall snap his Arms, or smoak Tobacco in the Hold, without a cap to his Pipe, or carry a Candle lighted without a Lanthorn, shall suffer the same Punishment as in the former Article.

So that's were we get the small arms. Problem solved.

VIII. That Man that shall not keep his Arms clean, fit for an Engagement, or neglect his Business, shall be cut off from his Share, and suffer such other Punishment as the Captain and the Company shall think fit.

And that Man that spends too much time handing his Business - and neglects his duties as a result - shall suffer an even worse punishment.

IX. If any Man shall lose a Joint in time of an Engagement he shall have 400 pieces of Eight; if a limb 800.

For those of you that have inquired about this, I'm considering extending the same insurance to non-engaged crew as well as I can't see what having a fiancee has to do with anything. I'm also looking into the issue of domestic partner benefits.

X. The musicians to have rest on the Sabbath Day, but the other six days and nights, none without special favour.

The music will, of course, be Ultra's responsibility.

XI. No person to game at cards or dice for money.

However, Playstation and Xbox are okay as long as you're playing Sid Meier's Pirates.

XII. He that shall be guilty of Drunkenness in time of Engagement shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and Majority of the Company shall think fit.

Which will most likely involve a derisive nickname of some sort.

XIII. He that shall be found Guilty of Cowardice in the time of Ingagements, shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and the Majority of the Company shall think fit.

Generally, that will include reading this blog from start to finish with no breaks. Nobody has ever survived that ordeal.

XIV. He that sees a Sail first, shall have the best Pistol or Small Arm aboard of her.

Or a double ration of baby powder for the day. It's your choice.

XV. Every man has a vote in affairs of moment; has equal title to the fresh provisions, or strong liquors, at any time seized, and may use them at pleasure, unless a scarcity makes it necessary, for the good of all, to vote a retrenchment.

In the event of scarcity, I'll keep the liquor in my quarters. You can trust me. Really...

XVI. If at any time you meet with a prudent Woman, that Man that offers to meddle with her, without her Consent, shall suffer present Death.

This includes, but is not limited to, absent mindedly stroking her hair as you stand behind her whilst waiting on line.

I'll probably come up with a dress code at some point, but for now, please keep this simple phrase in mind as you plan your wardrobe:

"The mo' buckles, the mo' better"

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1 Notice how I used a nautical term in place of "wheel" there. I'm not the Captain for nothing, you know.

2 More specifically, the pirate below is strongly encouraged to join our crew:




I love a woman that carries her own parrot.

3 Our Ship's Attorneys have asked us to remind you that the terms "Man" and "He" in the articles above apply equally to both men and women.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Week in Pictures XLIX

Random Friday Thoughts:

Summer weather has finally hit the New York region, so I've been a bit distracted this week...not that you'd be able to tell based on the consistent lack of quality in the posts. As always, I apologize.

My nephew is playing in his baseball league's championship game tomorrow. I hope they win, if only because I can't even begin to imagine how devastated he'll be if they lose.

I ripped my pants on the way to a job interview yesterday. As refreshing as the cool breeze felt on a hot day, I was forced to stop at Macy's to buy a new pair. That's the thing about being a Pirate Captain. You all see the glory, but you never realize how hard we need to work to keep up that illusion. 'Tis a lonely life indeed.

I seem to somehow have been welcomed into the Starbucks Mom's club as I can't sit down to peruse the want ads without being lured into chatting with various women who are starved for adult conversation after being trapped with a three year old - who at that moment is busy spreading cupcake icing on every seat in the place. Happens nearly every day.

More pirate adventures next week, but for now let's move on to the WiP.


Several hundred lonely women participated in the "Running of the Brides" in Times Square, during which they to roamed the area and were allowed to keep any eligible men that they gored.


An Indian businessman plans to market the world's least effective umbrella. He says that he expects sales to be especially brisk in drought ridden areas.


An article in "Ornithology Today" claims that some female parakeets support themselves by wearing garish makeup, perching on branches at night, and selling their bodies to lonely males that come their way.


Lonely male iguanas, on the other hand, are often forced to have sex with garden ornaments that they order from adult shop catalogs.


World Cup fever has hit Germany. Symptoms include flag-like rashes on various body parts, a soccer ball shaped swelling of the nose...


...and hexagon shaped hair loss.


Meanwhile, a fan attending the match between Australia and Japan was rushed to the hospital after a ball went into the stands and became embedded in his head.

Our video of the week is "Hate Me" by Blue October




A Salvadoran man married an endangered blue butterfly this weekend. The couple refrained from pre-marital sex, limiting themselves to butterfly kisses during the courtship process.


A group of Australian scientists announced that they have finally perfected the thought bubble.


A local Theatre Group claims that they've discovered a foolproof way to lure men to Broadway plays.


Severe intestinal cramping cause American Idol winner Taylor Hicks to cut short a performance at the Wal-Mart shareholders meeting.


Sadly, Hicks had still not fully recovered before his appearance on the Today show, which also ended early.


The combination of the box office failure of "The Brothers Grimm" and the birth of his daughter Isabella have forced actor Matt Damon to temporarily scale back on expenses.


Nicole Richie took to the talk show circuit this week to promote "The Simple Life: 'Til Death Do Us Part"


A scheduling conflict resulted in a rugby Test between New Zealand and Ireland being played at on the same field as the World Bikini Soccer Championships.


A Giant Panda was rushed to the hospital after accidentally ingesting a bottle of Viagra, resulting in a painful woody.


And finally, in our "Where Are They Now" segment, former child star Winnie the Pooh has fallen on hard times and is reduced to peddling oral sex to tourists on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.