Celebrate Talk Like a Pirate day

Posted by Jeremy Shulkin

Yesterday was the 15th international Talk Like a Pirate day and we wanted to do a little celebrating here on our little corner of the internet. Taking a cue from the Village Voice, who ran New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s recent piece through a talk like a pirate translator, we’ve decided to do the same with our local daily.

We were hoping to find something in yesterday’s opinion page, but none of the topics lent themselves to pirates, swashbuckling or the high seas.

But back on Friday, Sept. 17, they ran an editorial piece echoing government and BP reports that say “Everyone just needs to relax. Here, have a shrimp cocktail.”

With its focus on the ocean and the gulf’s recent “abandon all hope, ye who enter here” history, it’s the perfect piece for reading it as a pirate would have written it:

While th’ oil be spewin’, th’ problem in th’ Gulf be about manpower: stemmin’ th’ flow an’ dealin’ wi’ damage. Th’ Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in April killed 11 workers, an’ fer tides th’ unchecked spill inflicted massive harm t’ wildlife, beaches an’ livelihoods.

Still, th’ aftermath be far less problematic than expected.

Tho ‘t’s far too soon t’ assess th’ true impact o’ th’ emergency, in which almost 5 cargo holds o’ barrels o’ BP oil despoiled Gulf waters an’ shores, preliminary reports suggest th’ total damage may e’en be less than that o’ th’ 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, tho th’ Gulf event involved far more oil. Valdez be an ecological devastation t’ be sure, but predictions fer th’ Gulf spill had painted a much darker picture than be seen thus far. Fewer birds havin’ sank t’Davy Jones’ locker than feared, an’ dissolved oxygen levels nay havin’ sunk alarmingly, be th’ type o’ indicators that show we can let our breath ou’ a wee.

A New York Times report this tides credited a combination o’ luck — a shift in ocean currents that kept much o’ th’ oil away from shore — an’ physics — th’ relatively warm waters that facilitate th’ breakin’ down o’ oil in th’ Gulf.

Th’ massive spill be now a massive puzzle fer scientists. Reportedly, thar be heated arguments, particularly about th’ characteristics o’ a large plume o’ dispersed oil below th’ surface.

Meanwhile, powerful forces o’ nature be helpin’. Native oil-eatin’ bacteria be at work, outsmartin’ crewmate engineers as first responders.

A picture be emergin’ o’ nature’s reserves o’ resilience. Leaders will debate th’ safety, wisdom an’ politics o’ oil exploration an’ other aspects o’ our energy policy. Scientists will continue the’r tests an’ calculations. Fer now, we can take heart from encouragin’ signs ere can understand: green shoots pushin’ through oil-slicked marsh grass, birds flyin’ an’ callin’, photos an’ reports from th’ Gulf that look pretty good.


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