Saturday, April 08, 2006


Full sail, bouncing on the briny
Jolly Roger's flapping with a score of 84's
Many pretty treasures, so much booty to be taking
The cannon and the cutlass on a rebel man-o'-war

The lyrics come from a Real McKenzies song, “Cross the Ocean.” I don't remember where or when I first heard it, sometime shortly after I'd joined the Navy. But it became my unofficial anthem, every time my boat pulled away from the pier. Every sailor has that little bit of a pirate in him; the knowledge that he's really outside the realm of normal people, cast off from any civilized nation, free to prowl the seas as he may. If you don't have that passion for the open ocean, you'll tire of the life pretty rapidly, and many sailors do. Me, I loved it. Nothing summed it up better than my rare excursions topside on the surface, late at night, with the cold spray in my face, and not the briefest hint of land in any direction.

The pirate lifestyle has seen a resurgence as of late. Modern interpretations gloss over the rape, pillage, buggery, slavery and other undesirable aspects genuine piracy usually involved, instead glorifying the free, idealistic, rebellious life romantically attributed to it. From movies like Pirates of the Caribbean to cartoons like One Piece pirates are now heroes. (I'm not going to even try to interpret the pirate's role in Flying Spaghetti Monsterism) This is the theme I'm trying to invoke, not the lawless, despicable reality of piracy centuries ago, or today on the seas of southern Asia or South America.

There's also a line that's been making the rounds of the blogosphere lately, this one from H.L. Mencken:Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”

That's pretty much it. I started this blog because there's an unbelievable amount of Very Important Stuff going on in the world right now that few people seem to know about, fewer seem to care about and fewer still seem to be actually informed about to provide any useful dialogue about it. Honestly I'm probably in the second category much more than the third, but at least I'm trying. Seeing controversies like the Danish Cartoon circus and the horribly uneducated debate over the UAE ports deal infuriated me. This country (and the rest of the world) are at one of those points in history where our behavior affects the outcome of the world for centuries to come, and the majority of the people involved either have no clue what's going on at all or are hopelessly undereducated about it. So now I have a venue where I can speak my piece, outside of someone else's post comments, hoping that I can enlighten at least a few other minds. I'm hoisting my black flag, and nailing it the beam right here. I'll leave you with the last verse from the same song as above; hopefully you'll see ahow it sums up this whole enterprise.

We are sailing from our homeland
Cross the ocean, on the sea
For whatever our reasons be
We question all authority

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