Mother, Mother Ocean, I have heard your call…

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has had a fine run, despite being based on a Disney theme park ride.  Opening in 1967, the ride was the last one overseen by Walt Disney himself, further evidence of the man’s Midas touch.  Johnny Depp modelled his pirate character on a mixture of Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards and the cartoon skunk Pepé Le Pew, and Disney executives were initially confused as to whether he was supposed to be drunk or gay…but didn’t care for the performance either way.  Pirates are real, of course.  The heyday of piracy in the Caribbean was between 1650 and 1730, when the heady combination of distracting wars in Europe, out-of-work sailors, and easy pickings on the open seas led to open season on merchant shipping.  Life could be nasty, brutal, and short in those days, so the prospects of quick paydays and high living drew many to the trade.  The average sailor’s life expectancy at the time was about four years, and he could count on ending life shot, hanged, stabbed to death or drowned.  I say “he”, though history records a few ladies among the crew as well.  The mighty sailing man in the photo below was riding his bike along the wharf in Oslo one day, and I envied his comfort in his own skin.  The boy may have a future in front of the camera!  (2 September, 2011 Oslo, Norway)