#180 Yo Ho Ho & a Bottle of Rum


Amper­Art #180 was inspired by Inter­na­tion­al Talk Like a Pirate Day, cel­e­brat­ed Sept. 19 of every year since 2002. Scroll way down to read about the founders & their web­site, start­ing with their video on how to talk like a pirate. (Not the video direct­ly below — that’s about the song that this Amper­Art piece be titled.)

AmperArrrr #180

Yo Ho Ho & a Bottle of Rum (aka Dead Man’s Chest)

Each sailor was giv­en a cut­lass & a bot­tle of rum. Teach’s hope was that the pirates would kill each oth­er, but when he returned after a month he found 15 men had sur­vived. This would explain the lyrics in the very first stan­za & through­out the song:

Fif­teen men on the dead man’s chest—
…Yo-​ho-​ho, & a bot­tle of rum!


Robert Lewis Steven­son, author of Trea­sure Island (1883), found the name “Dead Man’s Chest” [the actu­al name of the song, aka “Fif­teen Men on the Dead Man’s Chest&Yo, Ho, Ho (And a Bot­tle of Rum)”] among a list of Vir­gin Island names in a book by Charles Kings­ley. As Steven­son once said, “Trea­sure Island came out of Kings­ley’s At Last: A Christ­mas in the West Indies (1871); where I got the ‘Dead Man’s Chest’ — that was the seed.”Wikipedia

Original song

In Trea­sure Island, Steven­son only wrote the cho­rus, leav­ing the remain­der of the song unwrit­ten, & to the read­er’s imag­i­na­tion. It was expand­ed in a poem, titled “Derelict” by Young E. Alli­son, pub­lished in the Louisville Courier-​Journal in 1891.

Fif­teen men on the dead man’s chest—
…Yo-​ho-​ho, & a bot­tle of rum!
Drink & the dev­il had done for the rest—
…Yo-​ho-​ho, & a bot­tle of rum!

Anoth­er lyric in the nov­el, near its end:

But one man of her crew alive,
What put to sea with seventy-five.


Lyrics & performance of the poem “Derelict”

Street​Di​rec​to​ry​.com pro­vides the pop­u­lar full lyrics ver­sion, from the poem based on “Dead Man’s Chest” & titled “Derelict” by Young Ewing Alli­son for this song with a live per­for­mance by the Ram­bling Sailors.

AllPo​et​ry​.com shows prob­a­bly the most accu­rate typo­graph­ic treat­ment for the poem “Derelict.” It is a beau­ti­ful web­site of poet­ry, about poet­ry & for poets.

Blackbeard & Female Pirates

Hol​i​daysCal​en​dar​.com offers these bits of his­to­ry about pirates:

  • Blackbeard’s name was Edward Teach, some­times spelled Edward Thatch.
  • Black­beard would weave hemp into his beard & set it on fire before he cap­tured a ship. That must’ve been a ter­ri­fy­ing sight indeed!
  • Some famous female pirates include Anne Bon­ny, Ching Shih, & Mary Read.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day, September 19

Cap’n Slap­py & Ol’ Chum­buck­et dis­cuss the impor­tance of find­ing yer inner pirate:

Plun­der the seas & sail over to the offi­cial Talk Like a Pirate Day web­site. “How it all start­ed” is a fun sto­ry, way back in 1995 while play­ing rac­quet­ball. As be told, who­ev­er let out the first “Arrr!” start­ed some­thing. One thing led to anoth­er & it became a nation­al hol­i­day in 2002. For their 20th anniver­sary, the par­ty was live-​streamed Sep­tem­ber 19, 2022 on Face­book from Kells Brew­ery in Port­land, Ore­gon. [I tuned in and enjoyed the whole swash­buck­lin’ par­ty. The musi­cians were fan­tas­tic & there was even a real danc­ing par­rot on a wench’s shoul­der. —Chaz]

Pirate Terms & Phrases

This page at Your​Dic​tionary​.com pro­vides a boat­load of pirate greet­ings, excla­ma­tions, insults, threats, & slang so you don’t have to go around say­ing “Aar­rr!” to all your mates on Talk Like a Pirate Day.

How to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day besides walking the plank

Nation​al​Day​Cal​en​dar​.com offers unique ways to enjoy Talk Like a Pirate Day:

✠ While order­ing your cof­fee in the drive-​thru, ask if they have change for gold bul­lion. Try test­ing your pirate lan­guage out at the library when ask­ing for the loca­tion of Moby Dick. The pirate lan­guage always fairs well in rough seas. Set­tle a debate with “I’m right or I’ll walk the plank!”

✠ When the boss gives you a new project, “Aye, aye, Capt’n,” is the cor­rect response. How­ev­er, beware call­ing the boss any frothy names. The goal of the day is not to lose your job.

✠ To pol­ish your per­sona, prac­tice a swag­ger, limp or squint. Long days at sea give pirates unique qualities.

Concept & design

I’ve nev­er been good at imi­tat­ing dialects, so I’m not one to talk like a pirate (although I’ve been told I cuss & swear like one). Among my hearties is Mardy DeSan­to, who invit­ed me to an elab­o­rate pirate par­ty sev­er­al years ago, & it was a swash­buck­ling fun time. Mardy added to the atmos­phere, as he does incred­i­ble imper­son­ations, includ­ing authen­tic pirate speak just like an old salt on the sea. Ever since then I’ve enjoyed pirate sto­ries, scenery, & “pirates” them­selves (I have a few friends who real­ly do think they were pirates in anoth­er life­time). So thanks, Mardy, for intro­duc­ing me to the skull­dug­gery of those who swag­ger & shout “yo ho ho & a bot­tle of rum.”

The design for this issue is all clip-​art, pieced togeth­er & mod­i­fied to get an amper­sand into it. That’s fun, “franken­stein­ing” a design, rather than always cre­at­ing from scratch. I was very pleased to find a care­free style of illus­tra­tion & a font to match. (I altered the type, though. Note there are no two let­ters that match exact­ly. If a type­style is to look like hand-​lettering, it’s a good idea to mod­i­fy every repeat­ing let­ter so that it’s just a lit­tle dif­fer­ent than the oth­ers.) I found this excel­lent, styl­ish vec­tor art at Deposit​Pho​tos​.com.

Yo ho ho — this one’s done, so I think me deserves a bot­tle of rum…or maybe just a shot. Or bet­ter yet, just a healthy pro­tein drink.

Production notes for #180 Yo Ho Ho & a Bottle of Rum:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Program: Adobe Illustrator
Font: Professor Minty (with alternates), some glyphs modified
Ampersand: hand-​bump only, please
Illustrations: deposit​pho​tos​.com (modifed)
Amperskull & Crossbones flag: Chaz DeSimone (typestyle Benguiat Charisma)
Inspiration & most of the text:
Mardy DeSanto, for inviting me to a swashbuckling pirate party
talk​likeapi​rate​.com—founders of Talk Like a Pirate Day

Note: &” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster suitable for printing & framing, click on the image.

Chaz DeS­i­mone is the cre­ator of Amper­Art & own­er of Des­i­mone Design. He was adding ser­ifs to let­ters when he was just a lit­tle brat scrib­bling on walls. Now he’s a big brat & his entire career is design for clients who desire the most sophis­ti­cat­ed, log­i­cal, cap­ti­vat­ing cre­ative. Con­tact him at chaz@​desimonedesign.​com to dis­cuss your project, pick his brain, or just talk shop.

Chaz sez...


Wouldn’t it be intriguing to see today’s wars being fought with ships & pirates rather than missiles & tanks? Better yet, forget fighting and just enjoy the rum.
This is just one of my opinions on the chaz sez blog.
Rants & raves mostly about design, sometimes about the universe.
An occasional bit of useful advice.
Read the blog:

Desimone Design
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Enjoy & share…

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