Adam Reger | Freelance Writer

Pittsburgh-based freelance writer

Tag: Pirates

Now It Can Be Told: My Book!

I’ve been holding off on saying much publicly, but as today is its release date, I’d like to announce that a book I worked on last summer—doing a lot of editing and a substantial amount of writing—is now out in the world.

It’s called U.S. Navy Pirate Combat Skills and the publisher is Lyons Press. It’s a humor book, taking public-domain military manuals and editing the text to create a manual on how to fight old-timey pirates (think Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, etc., not Somali pirates with motorboats and machine guns). It’s full of great, funny illustrations (that I thought up, so maybe some bias there) by David Cole Wheeler (who also illustrated U.S. Army Werewolf Sniper Manual and U.S. Army Werewolf Sniper Manual, predecessors to the pirate book, both edited/written by Cole Louison).

It was a lot of fun to work on last summer, and then to see the illustrations as they were produced, and, later, to answer copy editing queries about whether I perhaps meant “cutlass” instead of “dagger” on page 93, and if I could tweak the text of a figure caption to better match the image of hand-to-hand combat between a sailor and a crusty seadog. The staff at Lyons Press, in particular Keith Wallman and Ellen Urban, were terrific to work with.

The most fun of all, though, was writing prefatory materials for the book: a guest foreword by retired admiral I. I. Scuttle, commander of the most decorated anti-pirate fighting force in U.S. Navy history that includes “The Pirate Fighter’s Creed” and the lyrics of the sea-chantey “Pirate Slayers We.”

Below the fold, to give you a sense of what you’re getting yourself into by picking up this book, a few verses of that famous morale-boosting thumper, “Pirate Slayers We”:

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Adorable Economists

Slightly related to this earlier post on economics and how I find it fascinating, to the extent that I ever understand it, I ran across something interesting this morning.

At my office, there is a department that publishes a journal that is essentially a bibliographic list of economics books. They receive a ton of books on various strains of economic thought, of varying levels of seriousness, from Freakonomics-level stuff for people like me to data-heavy reference books for the hardest of hardcore econ weenies. Every few months, there accrues a surplus of these books and an e-mail goes out announcing that whomever so desires can take whatever books he/she wants (from certain, marked shelves; it’s usually a surefire laugh (for me, no one else) to reach for an adjacent shelf, which will send one of the bibliographers into a mini-conniption, as they go to great lengths to keep their shelves organized and have to account for every book).

Anyway, I ended up taking Peter Leeson’s The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates. It looked interesting, meant for the layman, and concerns an area that I’m doing some minor research in for a project. (See this earlier entry re: pirate research.)

I went to thumb through the table of contents and came across this dedication: “Ania, I love you; will you marry me?”

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Note to Self re: Research

When conducting research on, say, old-timey pirates, make sure that any films you may select off of Netflix are not actually porno flicks edited down to get an R rating.

Yes, friends, I unwittingly popped in a softcore porno, notebook poised to jot down any good period details that I might use in the project I’m working on. I swear that when I picked this movie (Pirates—the nondescript title probably contributed to my error) I had a hazy memory of its appearing in theaters a year or two ago. (Why did I picture Geoffrey Rush in pirate garb?)

This movie is very, very good for an adult film—terrible acting, as you’d expect, but excellent costumes and cheesy-but-still-impressive digital effects. But . . . how to say this delicately . . . something is definitely missing.