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A car fit for a pirate. June 23, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Your humble bloggers here at Poor Richard’s Almanac—our friend Ben, Silence Dogood, and Richard Saunders—share a passion for all things piratical. Richard flies the skull and crossbones from the deck of his condo, and Silence’s and my huge pirate flag has waved so long in the backyard here at Hawk’s Haven that it could pass for the genuine article, with a cannonball hole just over the skull and the ends suitably tattered.

Our stash of pirate loot is somewhat limited, but we do have a bag of pirate “doubloons” plus some real pieces of eight and, of course, Plutarch the Pirate Parrot, our talking, singing, squawking yellow-naped Amazon parrot. (His favorite song is the James Bond theme, but we’re working on “A Pirate’s Life for Me.”) And, like Richard, we have an extensive stash of pirate histories, lore, and movies. Not to mention an instinctual love of the sea and a massive shell collection, if that counts for anything.

How this all brought our friend Ben to the topic of piratical cars I can’t imagine, though I have a vague feeling that it had something to do with the fact that Silence and I watched “Master and Commander” again last night after a hiatus of several years. The movie dealt with privateers (state-licensed pirates) rather than pirates per se, so I can’t be sure. But this morning found me on the website of those modern-day rapscallions, Cap’n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket, the No Quarter Given pirate magazine website (http://www.noquartergiven.net/), and shiver me timbers, there was a feature about piratical cars.

Now, here at Hawk’s Haven, our ancient but valiant VW Golf, the Red Rogue, is disreputable enough to qualify as a pirate in its own right. And it’s adorned with an eyepatch-wearing pirate fish and an “AAAARRRR!!!” sticker to emphasize the point. But we hung our heads in shame after seeing what the pirate types on the No Quarter Given website had managed to find for their vehicles.

Personalized license plates abounded, with “PYRATE” the most popular, but there were plenty of alternatives, including license-friendly versions of Blackbeard, Ann Bonny, Captain Morgan, Jack Sparrow, Jolly Roger, Black Pearl, and the like. Some “vessels” had the names of famous pirate ships printed on their sterns, and others had their favorite pirate flags painted on their hoods. (VERY impressive!)

What impressed us most, however, was the treasure trove of commercially available adornments these blackguards had managed to find for their vehicles: the bumper stickers, license plate frames, trailer hitch covers, antenna toppers, bobble heads, and rear-view mirror danglers. Skeletons, skulls and crossbones, clever sayings (“I Brake for Pirates,” “What Would Blackbeard Do?”), and the like were everywhere. One enterprising pirate had found a rosary made out of bone for the rear-view mirror with the individual beads shaped like skulls.

Suddenly, our valiant little Red Rogue is looking a little, well, outmanned. We do have a smaller pirate flag that we could wire to our antenna. But now we want a piratical license plate frame! We want some piratical bumper stickers!! We want a personalized license plate!!!

But alas, we don’t know where to find them. Here we are, land-locked in the precise middle of nowhere, PA, the perfect place for pirates to lay low but hardly a goldmine of piratical loot. Our friend Ben managed to discover that there was a pirate-themed shop in scenic PA, Admiral Nelson Shipwreck Treasure & Pyrate Shop in Gettysburg, thanks to the No Quarter Given site. But unfortunately, like so many of the merchants listed in the No Quarter Given merchants’ section, Admiral Nelson declared that you would find no vulgar tourist trash—such as, presumably, bumper stickers and license plate frames—in his shop.

Aaaarrrr. Such are the trials of a Pennsylvania pirate. If you have a piratical vehicle, please tell us all about it. And if you know an online source of pirate-themed auto accessories, please do let us know!

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