International Talk Like a Pirate Day

September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. pirate__1221836287_8352It is a day that Uncle Ralph (from my bad side) would have loved.

Uncle Ralph’s had seats eight rows behind the Pirates dugout. “Herre we go!”

“Are you still doing that?”

“What arre you talking about therre?”7982284709_c13088c7a4_z

“Arr to you.” The sun had set behind the outfield, the light cold and yellow. The Pirates were ahead.

“You want a beerrr, picaroon?”


The cup bent in my hand, spilling in cool stickiness.pordb5orkg1azzo

“She got an ID?” The vendor demanded.

“She’s my niece, Willie. Back from college.”

“I need an ID.”

“She’s going to Desert Storm in a week. Is that enough for you?”

He trudged back up the stairs.

“Desert Storm?” I said. “Summer school is more like it.”

“You’re tough. Nobody messes with you.” He raised his beer. “Ray would have killed you.”

“What about mother?”

“I don’t  know. She would have been upset, but I think she would have taken your side. She was always family first.” He jumped out of his seat, yelling. “Come on, run it out! Arriba! Arriba! You’re a hell of a hitter, Van Slyke! But you’re lazy as a dog! Flojo! You’ll be in the nine spot if you don’t wake up! Come on, Andy!” andy-van-slykeWe watched Van Slyke jog back toward us, take his batting helmet off and lob it into the dugout. Uncle Ralph nodded at the next batter. “You know this guy? Parrish. He’s a Marooner from the Tigers. Probably his last season. He’s supposed to be helping out Van Slyke and Merced. Good luck on that.”

“What do you mean family first?”

“And he swings at the first pitch. Take the money and run, Lance. Take the money and run.”

Systematic Rape: Extract from “The Ark”

I remember my second year at university. All of my friends wanted to go down to the field and initiate the freshmen, cover them with whipped cream and blue dye, make them do stupid things, just humiliate them and get them horribly drunk. I looked at these people – my friends, good friends – and they were practically foaming at the mouth, intimidating these kids.I don’t know. It was like rape.

Dazed and Confused (Linklater, 1993)

Dazed and Confused (Linklater, 1993)

These kids were only a year younger than us, just a year, but we had had it done to us, and so it was our turn. It was our turn to be bullies. That’s what we were trained to do. We called it a rite of passage or some bullshit about growing up, but it was just rape. And it doesn’t stop there. It’s in everything we do, in school, at work, buying groceries, getting on a plane, walking in the street.

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street

We learn to accept it. We learn to give it back. Worse than that, we learn to derive pleasure from giving it back. We feel justified in giving it back.That’s why I don’t have faith in us. We’re more infantile than when we were kids.

The Compass Rose – Irish Theater Festival in New York

In a big city known for big-name theater, it is a pleasure to find something of quality not so hyped. 
CompassRose-Graphic-web600pixThe Compass Rosea simple story of lost love, is set in a bar and staged in the very same – Ryan’s Daughter Pub on the Upper East Side Compass Rose (1)The characters, a pair of ex-lovers, walk back and forth through the audience as they attempt to decipher their past.Compass Rose (4)It is visceral theater, well worth the $18; the house ale, at $5, is a fair price too.

Judging Politicians for all the Wrong Reasons

In 1989, President Bush nominated John Tower for Secretary of Defense, an appointment that the press and public attacked not because of his hawkish politics but for his reputation as a womanizer and drinker.John TowerA similar fate met Gary Hart in his 1987 presidential bid.gary hartAnthony Weiner’s candidacy for New York City mayor flopped for the same reasons. sydney leathersNone of these people were judged on their public policy, but on their private indiscretions. I don’t understand why, beyond his family and friends, anyone cares. Indeed what if the same skewed thinking had been applied to two American icons – JFK & MLK – for their weaknesses for the fairer sex?.

Marilyn Monroe offers her birthday wishes to JFK

Marilyn Monroe offers her birthday wishes to JFK

What if their indiscretions had been made public while they were alive? Would they have been cast from office?

Consider this pop quiz: Which of the following personalities would you vote for?

Candidate A drinks a quart of brandy every day and is a habitual smoker.drinkerCandidate B has had a long-standing extramarital affair and believes in the occult.witchCandidate C neither smokes nor drinks and is a vegetarian.
woman with bare shoulders holding vegetable

Yes, of course it’s a trick. That’s the point. (A: Winston Churchill, B: FDR, C: Adolf Hitler)