Monday, January 30, 2006

When I grow up, I'm gonna be like Mary

Mary herione. Posted by Picasa

Okay, it seems a little...eager to post more than once a day, but I was experimenting with the picture editor...and I accidentally posted this picture to the blog, so I thought I would tell a little bit about what makes Mary Read so bad ass.

When she was a kid her mother dressed her as a boy in order to pass her off as her older more legitimate brother, so that her dead husband's family would support them. So she lived her childhood as a boy and continued to dress as a man for most of her life. When she grew up she joined the army and fought in an infantry unit in Flanders, and eventually ended up in the Caribbean where the ship she was working on was attacked by Calico Jack Rackham, and she "went on the account." Which is how you say she joined his crew and became a pirate, ifin' yer cool.

Mary continued to dress as a man while she was on Rackham's ship, although she did have a lover from among his crew, so some people knew that she was a woman. Her lover got into a fight with another pirate who was somewhat fiercer than he, and they decided to settle the dispute with a duel the next time they beached the ship (they had to do this periodically to scrape the barnicles off the bottom so that they would be faster than the ships they were chasing). Mary, worried that her lover was no match for his opponant picked a fight with the very same pirate, and scheduled her duel for an hour before. She killed him, and as he lay dying on the sand she opened her shirt to show him that he'd been killed by a woman.

Anyway, when Rackham's ship was attacked by the English Navy, only three of the pirates stayed on the deck to fight them off, the other's stayed below deck drinking and continuing their party. Mary and Ann Bonny (also a very bad ass woman pirate, but not as cool as Mary) were two of them, along with an unidentified male member of the crew (possibly Mary's lover.) Mary was so pissed at her messmates for not helping fight off the british that she opened the door to the hold and fired her pistol down into the bottom of the ship, wounding one of her cowardly shipmates. When the pirates were arrested everyone was sentenced to hang, except for Ann and Mary, who "plead their bellies," meaning that they were pregnant (pirates don't use birth control). Here's an aside about Ann Bonny. When Calico Jack was being led to the gallows he asked to see Ann one more time (they were lovers) and as he was being led past her cell she said "I'm sorry to see you here Jack, but if you'd fought like a man, you needn't have died like a dog."

Here's a quote from Mary, regarding the punishment for piracy:
"As to hanging, it is no great hardship. For were it not for that, every cowardly fellow would turn pirate and so unfit the sea, that men of courage must starve"

So here's to Mary! Yo ho!


Getting things rolling...

How does one start one of these things anyway? I guess it would be the same as starting anything…just put down something so the blank page is no longer blank, and then tweak it from there. Some explanation of the name perhaps? A disclaimer about the willy nilly way I use punctuation marks? A warning that all grammar and spelling contained in this blog is fictional and any resemblance to any grammar and spelling living or dead is a coincidence? Hmmm….

Let’s go with the name. Domestic Piracy, and I’m not talking about software piracy, music piracy, internet piracy…or any of those other kinds of piracy. I’m talking about the true spirit of piracy, the “screw you and your crappy system, I’m taking my friends and stealing a boat, and we’re writing our own laws, and living the way we want to live and if you all don’t like it than you can chase us down and hang us,” kind of piracy. And domestic because, in spite of my best efforts I’ve turned out to be some sort of goddamned Martha Stewart clone who spends her days off making pie crust from scratch and picking wild blackberries to make jam. I don’t even eat that much jam, I just like making the vile stuff, it’s a compulsion, I can’t help myself. That’s how I view my domestic little universe, a sort of land locked pirate ship where we never run out of homemade jam.

And here are some other things that you can expect to read about here: long winded descriptions of my current knitting and spinning projects, excruciatingly cute stories about my daughter (she drives me freaking insane but I love the stuffing out of her,) ill informed rants on politics, feminism, and the benefits of making your own piecrust and therapeutic bitching about my house, my partner, my job, my car, and whatever else is stuck in my craw at the moment. Oh yeah…and run on sentences of bizarre proportions.

So, if you know anything about pirates, you’ll know that pirate ships were truly democratic institutions. When you signed up with a ship you had to sign to their articles, the rules that were written up and voted on by the crew. You put your hand on your boarding ax or your cutlass and swore to abide by their articles, and if you didn’t like them, then you’d have to go and find another pirate ship, with different rules that were more to your liking. Anyway, if we’re gonna have a good little pirate ship we have to have some articles:

Articles of Domestic Piracy!

I. Never do in 5 minutes what you can stretch out over 5 hours.
II. Work is for emailing friends, updating your blog and surfing the internet to find out more about whatever your current obsession is. It is not for working, under any circumstances.
III. Perform the following domestic chores at least once a year whether they need to be done or not. Mopping the floors, scrubbing the toilet, shower and sinks, dusting the cobwebs off the ceiling fans, chiseling the gunk off the stove top and making the bed.
IV. If it can be knitted, knit it. If it can be spun, spin it (cat hair sweater anyone?)
V. Make dinner as if you are on one of those awful food TV shows: use ingredients that you can’t pronounce, garnish.
VI. Never admit that you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.
VII. Always make sure that you have the maximum number of library books out that your library will allow.
VIII. Never buy anything for $12 that you can make for $25 and spend three days working on.
IX. Shoot your television.
X. It’s not just okay to drink while you’re doing chores….it’s mandatory.

And of course, since this is a democratic institution the articles will have to be voted upon and added to by the crew. And since I’m the captain, gally slave, and crew, I will vote to unanimously approve the articles. Aye aye, now where did we put the rum? Ah yes, it’s in the corner, partially hidden by those massive dust maggots.

So now the only thing left is to name our pirate ship, we could call it the Free Martha, but they already let her out. Any ideas?

It seems like I should tell an excruciatingly cute story about the Rat Girl (this is one of the endless nicknames by which I call the daughter creature, see also Punk Rock Squirrel, see also Fink), just so you all don’t get the wrong idea about what sort of a blog this is. So, I’ve been obsessed with pirates for about 2 years now, and it seems like it’s spreading to all of my friends, although it is possible that it’s entirely unrelated to my obsession. Perhaps I’m just like everyone else but I can’t admit that the reason I like Pirates is that Johnny Depp looks hot in eyeliner…I digress. Anyway, for whatever reason, a friend of mine who owns a venerable breakfast eating establishment hung a jolly roger over his diner. Actually he hung it there about a year ago, and it is now quite shredded and tattered. So Rat Girl and I were going out to eat breakfast and she was admiring the flag, like the good little powder monkey that she is. “That’s really interesting, how the flag has ripped around the cross bones, but it didn’t rip through the cross bones,” says the little darling, “You don’t see that everyday.”