Noah’s Ark meets the Canterbury Tales – Part 1

Ahoy mateys, last time we is left that ship sailing along under Bird Power. Which be steady, but sl-o-o-o-o-o-w. The passengers be clumping together and muttering like as if they be brewing up a mutiny.

But the captain he be one smart macaroon. He sez to them he sez, “Arr, but ye be a mixed bag o’ kree-turs. I bet you all gots you stories about why you be on me ship. Let’s hear ‘em.”

Blog19-FrogA bullfrog hopped forward. “Call me MZ, Spokesfrog – er, Croaksfrog. Here’s our story. Once upon a time we were happy in our pond, sitting on our lily pads and eating flies. Then word got around that witches were turning princes and princesses into frogs. Suddenly the pond was full of puckered-up fortune hunters hoping to bag rich royalty.”

“Those sloppy smackers were bad enough. But it was even worse when they stomped away going, ‘Shoot, it’s just a frog,’ like being a frog wasn’t good enough. We’re so over that. We want a place where it’s not a curse to be a frog.”


Shouts of “We hear you, brother!” “Frogs rule!” “Frogs forever!” spread around the ship, along with stomping and flapping and wagging and clapping. MZ wiped away a tear.

So did the captain. “Stap me vitals, that be one heck of a story,” he said, “So who’s next?”

“Awwwk, and that would be me.”

A Case of collective nouns

“Come aboard,” the captain said. And so they did.

A passel of pirates;

A pandemonium of red and green parrots;

A fluffle of rabbits with carrots;

And a fesnyng of top-hatted ferrets;

Plus Bluebeard with his septet of wives;

And a clowder of cats with their nonet of lives;

Followed by a leaping army of frogs;

A band of gorillas writing blogs;

And a six-pack of wiener dogs.

The riffraff of knaves on land sneered, “You’ll never get that tub going.”

But then


A gulp of cormorants;

A flamboyance of flamingos;

And a vortex of vultures

Flew by.

They flapped that ship way out to sea. And everybody had a barrel of laughs.


Morgan goes on strike – Part 4

Sooo mateys. In our last episode we is left they pirates pounding on the table and shouting something. Nar, they weren’t gonna make the cook walk the plank. But they weren’t gonna lay a big smackeroo on his kisser, neither.  All’s they wanted was “Morgan, Morgan, Morgan.”

Morgan stepped out cool as ever. She hopped up on the table, sniffed at the Boot Au Rhum and gave them the look that sez to them, it sez, “How’s that working for you, swabbies?” She got a few gnarled thumbs down, a few curses, and a rumbling which mighta been a answer or it mighta been their stomachs.

They coulda still been there shrugging they shoulders at each other, but then the doc stood up.  “Ahoy, crew, I’m not sayin’ any of this is my fault…” The pirates finally found a use for the Boot Au Rhum. They threw it at him. “But,” he batted away pieces of old boot, “I know how to fix it. “ He unrolled the flag that he’d spent all night sewing. “I give you…the Merry Morgan!”

Blog17-4-Merry Morgan

“Yo ho ho!” The crew tore down the Gloomy Gus, threw it overboard, and raised the Cat and Crosspaws in its place. Morgan she went back to catching rats. Once in a while she’d even stick a paw into the water and flip a fish onto the lower deck. And that, mateys be—

Blog17-4-The end

Morgan goes on strike – Part 3

Aye mateys, I be betting that by now you is guessed that Morgan she went on strike. Yar, she still caught her a rat or three, but only for her own dining pleasure. Elsewise she sat in the corner throwing the crew the look that sez to them it sez, “Rats? What rats?” while rat tails they be peeking out from behind her. The rats themselves they be getting fat on all they pirate grub.

Blog17-3-Rat Stew“Stap me vitals those rats they be eating us out of ship and…er, ship.” The cook grabbed a few rat traps outta the hold. He not be wanting to waste food so he be baiting them with rope cooked in oil and covered with salt and pepper. Yo ho ho, some of they rats with dim bulbs where they brains shoulda been fell for it. The cook he chopped them in pieces and cooked up a vat of some mess he called “Rat-A-Stewy.” The crew they not be swallowing that load of bilge. They cried “Rat-A-Phooey” and threw it back at him.  One swabby piped up, “We’d rather eat our boots. They be like roast beef, right? They both be coming from cows.”

Blog17-3-Boot Menu“Fine.” The cook grabbed a pair of boots that’d belonged to some poor lubber who’d got himself lost at sea. He pounded those boots with his trusty mallet, whacked them up with his trusty cleaver, and boiled them in salt water overnight with 7½ glugs of cooking rum. Next morning he dished it up. “Here be Boot Au Rhum. Eat hearty, me buckos.” The crew they be chewing up a bite or two of boot, then they be pounding they forks on the table and shouting something. Be it kiss the cook or kill the cook? The whole poop it be revealed next time.

Morgan goes on strike – Part 2

“Mateys, you been at sea too long,” the doc sez to them he sez, “That thar cat she be a FEMALE!” The whole entire crew it crosses its arms in front of its faces. Women on ships they be a epic no-no.

“Hold on mateys,” one smart pirate he piped up, “That be a cat, not a real woman so no dice on the bad luck. But hey, if’n we wants to take ourselves no chances, mayhaps we be kicking her overboard anyways. ”

Blog17-2-Cat overboard“NOOOOO,” the oldest grizzliest pegleggiest eye patchiest swabby on board put in his two pieces of eight. “If’n we be throwing a cat overboard, we be causing a terrible storm to strike our ship. Even if she not be sinking, we gets us nine years bad luck.” Arr, they be damned if they does and damned if they doesn’t. They be taking a vote but some swabbies they not be voting and some swabbies they be voting for both sides.

Morgan she decided to make herself scarce in case it not be going her way. But by this time she be royally miffed – and no kree-tur gets miffed like a cat gets miffed. “That’s what I get for all my years of service to this rust bucket,” she meowed to herself. “Well, they think they got it bad now. I’ll show them what misery guts is like.”

Blog17-2-Miffed cat

What do you think she did mateys? I be betting you figures it out. It not be rocket science.

Morgan goes on strike – A cat-astrophe, Part 1

Stap me vitals mateys, if we isn’t had us a ton of snow days – and nights. As me furry friend Claude sez to me he sez, “Purr-fect for snoozing by the fire and spinning yarns about ship’s cats.” Ahoy, this be one me dad he spun for me when I be but a witchling.

Blog17-1-Gloomy GusLike all his tales, this one be happening on a pirate ship. Howsomever, this not be yer fierce pirate ship of story and song. This ship she was called the Gloomy Gus. Her flag it had it a weeping skull. And her crew they be the scuzziest of the scuzzbags. The sea doggiest of the sea dogs. The – well, you gets the idea.

Arr, but the Gloomy Gus she not all be a rotten kettle of flounder. She gots her a ace ship’s cat name of Morgan. No rat would dare lay his scurvy lips on any of they pirate food while Morgan be on the job.

Blog17-1-OverboardThen one day the old ship’s doctor had him one too many flagons of ‘medicine’ and fell overboard in the middle of the night. The new doctor rowed out to the ship. He stepped aboard, spotted the crew, sniffed the ship, and wondered what crime he was being punished for. The crew be giving him their usual stink eye, but Morgan went “MROWWRRR” and rubbed against his leg. The doc bent over to give the cat a thank you thump. Wait. He leaned in. Was it – he leaned in closer. “Hey,” he said, “That cat’s…”

What do you think it was, matey? Find out next time.

Baba Yaga’s advice for tongue-tied mock cursers

Ahoy mateys, is you ever set out to curse some lubber and you goes, “You…you…you…” Then you gots nothing? Baba Yaga she be feelin’ yer pain. It be happening to me a time or two or 756. That be why I is coming up with one killer solution.

Blog16-ScurvyBlog16-SlimyMeet me pals Slimy and Scurvy. If’n yer curses they gets stuck in yer craw and refuses to come out, all’s you gots to do is throw one of them in and anything it becomes they perfect mock curse. Such as for example, “You slimy load of bricks” or “You scurvy piece of paper.” See? It be working every time.

Arr, those be me last words on they subject of mock curses. Les’n they not be. You never knows in this life. But for now I be leaving you with a blessing. May yer swash never buckle and the devil never get to know yer name.

Hot potatoes to you!

Ahoy mateys, Baba Yaga be back at you with more poop on mock curses. Yar, you can just shiver yer timbers like we be doing last time. But it be tons more fun to make up yer own. It not be rocket science. Even a nice innocent word that brushes its teeth every night can become a mock curse.

Blog15-MashedSuch as for example when me old matey Maynard he goes “Pomme de terre.” That be French for “potato.” Now if’n sez it when he be sitting in a diner with a napkin tied around his neck he gets him a plate of white fluffy buttery pommes de terre.

But if’n he sez it when he whaps his thumb, that be a whole ‘nother kinda spud.


Arr arr mateys, that be working for him. Personally speaking, I likes “jugo de naranja,” which be Spanish for “orange juice.” So what you got? Put in yer two doubloons here.

Matey Pat takes over the blog

Ahoy swabbies, Pat she has written us a story for Susanna Hill’s 8th annual holiday contest. In Un-Scrooged thar be a killer reason whyfor Jethro goes from zero to hero overnight. Yo ho ho, I hoists me flagon of blue rose tea to you me readers.

Un-Scrooged or A Christmas Jethro

Blog14-Dog“WAKE UP!” Jethro’s dog Spike jumped up and down on their bed.

Jethro opened his eyes. “Whoa… talking dog…nutso dream.”

“It’s no dream. We animals get to talk to our people on Christmas Eve. And I’ve got a bone to pick with you. I saw what you did to Timmy.”

“So I gave him a wedgie. So what?”

“Well, I was ashamed to be your dog. You were soooo ruff, ruff, ruff.”

“Whatever.” Jethro went back to sleep. He dreamed he was strutting down the road whacking at bushes. Spike trotted around the corner, spotted Jethro, and hid behind some other boy. “Go away,” the kid said, “You’re scaring my dog.”

“NOOOOO! I’m sorry I was so mean, Spike. Don’t go.” Jethro jerked awake. Spike was still there. “Yessss! It’s not too late.”

That afternoon the neighborhood kids went outside to show off their presents. It was all “epic” and “awesome” and “way to go, Santa.” Except for Timmy. He ran back and forth between two taller boys playing catch over his head. “Hey, that’s my Christmas baseball. Give it back.” They just laughed.

“Lemme see that.” Jethro snagged the ball in mid-flight. “Yep, this ball belongs to my best bud Timmy. Now scram. ” He pulled out his Christmas slingshot. “… or do I have to show you how this works?”

They ran away. Jethro tossed the ball to Timmy. “Let’s play catch.”

Spike went, “Yarf, yarf, yarf.”



What the shivering timbers?

“Ahoy, Baba Yaga,” me friend sez to me the other day she sez. ”It was all ‘shiver me timbers’ on Talk Like a Pirate Day. What does that mean anyway?” Well mateys, here be what I knows and what I thinks about it.

Blog13-DadThe first time I heard of they shivering timbers I be but a witchling. Me pirate dad he whammed his thumb with a hammer. He started out going “Aw, shi…,” but then he spied me watching him so he finished up with “…ver me timbers.” I asked him what that “shiver me timbers” meant when it be at home.

Blog13-TimbersHe told me they timbers be the ribs of a ship. When a storm blows in it picks up the ship then slaps her back down. That be making her timbers shiver. The swabbies they gets all surprised and mayhaps a bit afeared so they sez to each other they sez, “Shiver me timbers.”

Arr, “shiver me timbers” it be a mock curse on account of you can say it and even yer grandmother not be giving you the stink eye. Son of a son of a sea dog, that be giving me a killer idea. Why not we be writing our own mock curses? That be making they lingo live and grow. More on that next time. But for now, may yer timbers never shiver.