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September 19, 2006

International Talk like a Pirate Day

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‘Tis’ Talk Like A Pirate Day har at Bruce Clay and be’ond, we be prope’ly celebratin’! Aye, matey, let’s see what those swashbucklin’ search engines have wo’ked up to’ay and if they be offerin’ a wee bit o’ pirate trivia to help ye sprogs in the bilge learn ye piratey ways.

[exhales deeply]

Okay, my brain hurts and my spell checker is officially very, very angry with me. I think I’ll stick to 21st century English and let the search engines handle the piratey-stuff.

It was a 2-2 split this year when it came to which engines were lighthearted enough to celebrate their silliness with Talk like a Pirate Day and which were just too-cool to play along.

As usual, Ask.com is the leader of all things trivia. The folks at Ask.com are showing their Talk like a Pirate Smart Answer, which includes links to advanced pirate lingo, an English-to-pirate translator (though I prefer this one), pirate links and images, and basic info on the origin of this crazy International holiday.

Ask’s Narrow Your Search function gives users an even greater wealth of information, directing them to a pirate name test, pirate vocabulary terms, pirate jokes, jargon and then something about those elusive Pittsburgh Pirates that wreak havoc and mayhem along the Eastern seas.

Sadly, Google is not running any sort of piratey-themed logo this year, but they haven’t forgotten about the holiday completely. When the Inquirer contacted Google’s marketing department to suggest a holiday doodle, they received an email that said in part:

“As ye may imagine, it be terrible difficult fer us t’ choose which events t’ be celebratin’ on our site. We be hav’in a long list o’ horlidays that we’d be liken’ ter celebrate in th’ future. We be hav’in ter balance this rotatin’ calendar with th’ need te be maintainin’ the likeness o’ the Google homepage.

Some horlidays that we no’ been celebratin’ in the past will be rotatin’ into our horliday doodles fer future years.”

Heh, well played, Google. Well played.

Yahoo! and Microsoft are too cool for their own good, ignoring the holiday completely. I realize it’s silly but it’s also a branding opportunity wasted. I would have loved to see Microsoft use today to attract more attention to Live.com, possibly with relevant searches or just a blog mentioning the day and pointing to their new search. There are a million things Microsoft could have done to play off today and highlight the new functionalities of Live.com. Why not take advantage of them?

Or what about Yahoo? They’re about to launch a multi-million dollar, multi-medium advertising campaign. Why not capitalize on today and put a 30 second video on the Yahoo! homepage showing what pirates would be like with and without Yahoo? Make a pirate yodel. It would be low cost for them and would be seen by millions of searchers and written about by dozens of bloggers.

To make up for Yahoo! and Microsoft’s slack, here be some pirate trivia to help ye sporgs learn the ways o’ th’ pirate (I apologize. I really can’t help myself):

  • Always speak in the present. A real pirate lives for today. (i.e. “I be” instead of “I was”)
  • The letters “r”, “g” and “v” do not exist in the pirate language. Except when they do.
  • Use as many adjectives as you can, preferably back to back, ad nausea.
  • Insert words and phrases like “scallywag”, “scurvy dog”, “avast!” and “walk the plank” into every sentence. [Actually, walking the plank was an invention of Hollywood but use it anyway for the land-lubbers that don’t know better.]
  • Capture a parrot, teach him piratey phrases and train him to sit on your shoulder and (only) speak at key moments.
  • When all else fails, end each sentence with “arr”, “aye” or “argh” (this is where all the missing Rs mentioned above went.)
  • Wearing an eye patch doesn’t hurt.

You stay and practice, I have to go make amends with my spell checker. And my 12th grade English teacher.

Don’t look so horrified, we warned you yesterday…

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