Talk Like a Pirate? Outlaw? Gangster?

blind in one eye?

Sam Bass
Texas outlaw Sam Bass
Because it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, I usually throw some frivolous buccaneering factoids together and call it a day. But a few years ago – I could look it up, but I’m too lazy – I was chastised for promoting it, given the real harm that pirates had done, and continue to do.

This got me to thinking: why are some fugitives from the law so attractive to a lot of people? This 2010 article lays it out:

  1. The outlaw is a victim of injustice from authorities and is paying back the favor.
  2. The outlaw helps common people.
  3. The outlaw is sacrificing his life for a political stance.
  4. The outlaw does things the average Joe would love to try if he had the courage.
  5. The outlaw’s outlandish adventures provide entertainment like a long-running serial.

Don’t we all have some buckles we’d like to swash? So Old West outlaws and gangsters from the first third of the 20th century often became folk heroes of a sort.

All this to say that I’ll continue to do terrible pirate accents on this day. I’ll note the standings of the Pittsburgh baseball team, 5th, i.e., last place in the National League Central Division.

Why did pirates wear eye patches? It can’t be because they all went blind in one eye, can it?

Defense Against Porch Pirates Act – I hope this didn’t pass!
“A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of the felony offense of package theft and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars and be imprisoned for a mandatory minimum of five years, no part of which may be suspended nor probation granted.”

ISPs Win Landmark Case to Protect Privacy of Alleged Pirates. This was from over a year ago, but somehow I missed it.

“Two Danish ISPs have won their long-running battle to prevent the identities of alleged pirates being handed over to copyright trolls. With the trolls’ activities being described as ‘mafia-like’, ISPs Telenor and Telia argued that IP address logs should only be used in serious criminal cases. In a ruling…, one of Denmark’s highest courts agreed, stopping the copyright trolls in their tracks.”

Finally, a Now I Know from five years ago, which I started writing about but apparently never finished: The Treasure of Bedford County:

“Pirate logic … goes down the following path: If you steal a lot of gold, you can’t use all of it right away, because that will provoke the suspicion of others. Assuming that there are banks or other such financial institutions one your area of the world and your era, you can hide some there, maybe, but you run the same risk of discovery.

“You can’t keep the gold in your home because (a) you may not have a home, being a seafarer and (b) your house would probably be an obvious place for a would-be thief to look. (Check the flour.) And it’s not like you can rely on the local authorities to protect your loot from others, bribes aside, because you stole the loot in the first place. The solution, of course, is to bury the treasure, draw a map, and mark the treasure’s location with an ‘X.'”

Movie review: Maiden

first-ever all-female crew to enter the yacht race

MaidenThere has been a yachting race around the world race every three or four years since 1973. The documentary Maiden tells the tale of the Whitbread Round the World Race of 1989-90, starting and ending that season in Southampton, England.

Specifically, it follows the efforts of Tracy Edwards, a generally directionless 24-year-old cook on charter boats, to become the skipper of the first-ever all-female crew to enter the race. Spoiler alert: she succeeds in getting into the race, with a ton of ingenuity and some royal help.

Unsurprisingly, the other crews were less than encouraging and the misogynist yachting press took bets on whether she and her crew would even make it to the first major stop, in Uruguay.

The film, written and directed by Alex Holmes and edited by Katie Bryer, has great archival footage, interspliced with Edwards and her crew today. For a story with a resolution that is knowable, it is exciting, riveting and breathtaking.

As one reviewer noted, “You ain’t seen nothing till you’ve seen storms out on the freezing black Southern Ocean near Antarctica, with 500-foot water geysers from giant waves caroming off ghostly icebergs in the mist.” It manages to avoid most of the sports story tropes.

For one thing, the hero is more than occasionally portrayed in a less-than-flattering light; one vital crew member quit before the race even started. Others admitted that the pressures of creating a team, and the event itself, sometimes “made her incredibly unpleasant to be around. But there is also no denying her determination.”

You may not care about yacht racing; it’s not a topic I’m generally interested in myself. Yet I related to the largely inexperienced captain and her crew, making mistakes, yet persevering.

Maiden is also a story of female empowerment that, unfortunately, still relevant today. It received positive reviews from critics (98% positive on Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences (97%). I hope you get a chance to see it, preferably in a theater. My wife and I saw it last month, naturally, at the Spectrum in Albany.

Kansas: onerous sales tax law

Neil Diamond and Deep Purple
This is a bit arcane, especially if you’re not in the United States. On October 1, “Texas and Kansas will be the latest states to tax remote sales – think online/mail order purchases – “leaving only two holdouts (Florida and Missouri) among the 45 states with sales tax.”

A business “must have nexus — a connection with a state — for the state to require the business to collect and remit sales tax.” It used to be that “sales tax nexus was based solely on physical presence: States couldn’t require an out-of-state seller with no physical presence in the state (remote seller) to collect and remit sales tax.”

Got that?

The Supreme Court’s 2018 “ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. enables states to tax remote sales… Wayfair authorizes states to require remote sellers in one state to collect and remit sales tax” based on their sales volume or the number of transactions in another state, what they call “economic nexus.”


Up until now, every state has had a minimum dollar amount or number of transactions before a business, say in New York, had to collect sales tax from Connecticut residents. New York business then sends that sales tax money to Connecticut, but only if that New York business had 200 transactions AND $100,000 in sales in Connecticut.

This generally exempted tiny businesses, such as most folks with an Etsy account.

“Many retailers are hoping Kansas will enact a small seller exception because as of this writing, it doesn’t have one.” This would be onerous for someone outside of Kansas selling online products to people in Kansas. This is especially true because each state has different sales tax rates and rules.

Why would the state enact such a draconian measure? The state is recovering from the multiple rounds of devastating budget cuts that occurred under former governor Sam Brownback.

On the other hand, there are the Eight Wonders of Kansas. There’s the world’s largest hand-dug well, the largest freshwater marsh in the interior U.S. and a massive underground salt museum.

KS Kansas – Abbreviation is the first and last letters, traditionally Kan. or Kans. Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita. I have never been there.

My favorite song by the group Kansas is Carry On, Wayward Son (#11 pop in 1977).

KY Kentucky – abbreviation the first and last letters, traditionally Ky., Ken., or Kent. Kentucky is one of four states designated as a Commonwealth.

I’ve been to Kentucky once, I think, to an ASBDC conference in 1993(?)

My favorite song about the state is Kentucky Woman, recorded by Neil Diamond, who wrote it (#22 pop hit in 1967), and Deep Purple (#38 in 1968). Considering the frequency I heard both versions in the day, their disappointing chart action surprises me.

The letter K for ABC Wednesday.

For Constitution Day, please watch 13th

from 300,000 inmates in 1970 to over 2 million today

13th amendmentMy daughter has watched the documentary 13th (2016) about a half dozen times. She compelled me to watch it recently as well, and now I commend it to you.

13th refers to the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

The problem is that section that is italicized section effectively meant that people, specifically black people, would be arrested on minor charges such as vagrancy or loitering, and ended up being leased out to industry. It was Slavery by Another Name.

This was followed by Jim Crow segregation and lynching, enhanced in no small part by D. W. Griffith’s film The Birth of a Nation (1915). The modern civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s arose from the death of Emmett Till. But it was stifled by the mass incarceration efforts of Presidents Nixon, Reagan and Clinton, which affected blacks disproportionately.

Even Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, noted in the film that the much greater sentencing for crack, more often used by blacks, than for powder cocaine preferred by white people.

The country went from having about 300,000 inmates in 1970 to over 2 million today, about 40% black because of various sentencing guidelines. The US has 25% of the incarcerated in the world, though it has but 5% of the world’s population.

13th was directed and co-written by Ava DuVernay, who had directed Selma (2014). Participants include Michelle Alexander, Cory Booker, Angela Davis, Henry Louis Gates, Van Jones, Grover Norquist, Charles Rangel, Bryan Stevenson, and several others. Plus archival footage of Lee Atwater, and every President after JFK.

Watch 13th HERE (96 minutes). See the preview HERE.

Listen to:

Letter To The Free – Common ft. Bilal
Work Song – Nina Simone
Human – Rag’n’Bone Man

How To Optimize Your Weight Loss Efforts

cave-like environment

By Erika Long

Losing weight can be a struggle but luckily there are tips and tricks that are proven to make weight loss efforts more effective.

Avoid drinking calories and stick to water

If consuming snacks is the first weight loss saboteur, drinking liquid calories is a close second. What we drink can pose the same threat as a calorie-laden snack as it’s easy to guzzle down a couple hundred calories from one sugary beverage.

Whether it’s blended coffee concoctions, sodas, or sports drinks, unless it’s a nutrient-dense smoothie that is replacing a meal, stick with drinking only water as it’s a natural appetite suppressant and is also necessary for fat burning.

Water should make up around 90% of our liquid intake. Drink the recommended 64 oz per day and another 24-32 oz during and after a workout. A glass of cold ice water in the morning is said to both give us energy as well as boost our metabolism.

If you find the taste of water itself a little too boring, add a slice of cucumber, lemon, lime or a couple berries to give it a bit more flavor.

Get to bed and sleep

The beauty of this tip is that it has nothing to do with diet or exercise. Actually, you don’t have to lift a finger. Sleep helps to stabilize your metabolism and regulates the hormones needed to release excess weight. When we are sleep deprived, we are more likely to crave foods that give fast energy like ones full of sugar.

By going to bed by 10 pm and getting 7-9 hours of sleep, we get in balance and can wake up with a clearer head and more refreshed body. We make better choices, like sticking to our calorie allotment and going to the gym, and avoid ones like snacking and staying up late.

For the best sleep, it’s important to practice good sleep hygiene. Basically, strive for a cave-like environment: dark, cool and quiet. Reduce light exposure starting an hour before bed, keep the bedroom between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit and use a white noise machine to block out extraneous noise if necessary.

Intermittent fasting is worth a try

Intermittent fasting is praised for its effectiveness at supporting weight loss. Fasting is abstaining from eating for a period of time. With intermittent fasting, it’s recommended to have an “eating window” which is when you consume food then the rest of time is a water fast.

The most effective type of intermittent fasting is the 16/8 method – which means that you fast for 16 hours and eat for 8. You determine the eating window time that works best for you. For example, stop eating by 8 pm and start eating at noon the next day. Basically, you get to have a hearty dinner, then at 10 pm, sleep for eight hours and for “breakfast” you drink water and then starting at 12 noon, you eat your allotted calories until 8 pm.

Intermittent fasting supports hormone levels and cellular repair as well as reduces oxidative stress and inflammation while increasing the body’s ability to breakdown fat. Hunger tends to only be a problem when first adopting this technique, but the body adapts fairly quickly to this new habit.


When giving the body good nutrition and daily exercise in conjunction with these three tips, the healthy, lean body you desire is within reach. The key to maintaining a healthy body weight is consistency. Give these three tips a try for the next 30 days and see how your health and weight improve.

Erika Long loves corgis, curry and comedy. Always searching for the next great snuggle, flavor or laugh, she inspires people to live their best life now. When not writing, Erika can be found at her local brewery dominating Harry Potter trivia night.