Good evening, and welcome to Friendly Fire. I am your host and moderator, Dr. Poe Edminster-Caar, chair of the Undead Studies department at Ravensholme University.

Tonight’s episode traces the origins of the most vicious and long-running conflict in the modern world: the Pirate-Ninja conflict. While many of our longtime viewers will recall our previous roundtables, the fear is that constant reports of violence on the nightly news has desensitized our viewership to the conflict. And on this, the most holy day of the Pirate calendar and the 50th anniversary of the extremely controversial Pirate-Ninja War of 1966, it behooves us more than ever to understand the conflict.

Along the way, we’ll hear from NBS’s own Pirate Affairs commentator William “Black Bill” Cubbins IV, pirate-in-residence at the University of Plunder Bay as well as executive director of UPB’s William Kidd Center for the Study of Pirate Culture. Naturally, the ninja viewpoint will be represented by the NBS Ninja Outreach director, Ms. Felicia Lloyd Matsumura-Tamaribuchi, an activist with the Occupy Treasure Island movement, the Sharper Blades, Sharper Minds katana outreach program, and the United Ninja College Fund.

But first, let me remind you, as I always do: pirate ships launch and sink, ninjas assassinate and are assassinated, people talk like a pirate on Talk Like a Pirate Day and remain silent like a ninja on Remain Silent Like a Ninja Day. But in the end, they will all join the ranks of the undead, and either feast upon brains or be feasted upon themselves in the coming Zombie Wars.

And now, a look at the origins of the Pirate-Ninja conflict, starting with the Sea Peoples migration in 1200 BC and the destruction of invading fleets of Chinese pirates by the Kamikaze Divine Wind in 1274 AD.

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CORVUS the Renaissance Plague Doctor
Real Name: Connor Hofstadter

Corvus is manic and energetic, which is not a good match with his delicate mask and its tendency to imapir his breathing. He believes himself to be silent but is in fact quite noisy. He’s also extremely opinionated, even hypocritical, about the others’ costumes.

SQUIDS the Clown
Real Name: Emilee Verde

Squids is depressed, sarcastic, and deeply introverted–exactly the opposite of what one would expect from a classic clown but exactly what one would expect from a post-Joker clown. She wants to be more outgoing and friendly and wears the makeup to that end, but is nevertheless deeply ribbed for attempting a disguise that seems so done-to-death.

BUCKEROO the Cowpoke
Real Name: Bruno Rodriguez

Buckeroo is not a gaucho, and not a vaquero, despite being called such. He’s quick to point out the historical, cultural, and literary context for his disguise and hates being associated with the modern glitzy Texas cowboy. Trying desperately to learn how to ride despite a total lack of balance and poise.

JANGLE the Pirate
Real Name: Marcus Washington Jr.

Jangle chose his name completely independent of the fried chicken chain and the famous dancer, trying to evoke the jingling sound of his many flashy pirate acoutrements. This does not stop people from making the latter assumption and looking at him askance. He is also in the fencing club.

SUZUKI the Ninja
Real Name: Annabelle Li

Suzuki is Chinese and her grandparents speak Cantonese at home. Her disguise tends to confuse people because they mistake her for a Japanese nisei, which she is quick to dismiss. As for the traditional animosity between China and Japan, she insists that her disguise is based on the ideal of a ninja, not the way they actually behaved.

GREAVES the Knight
Real Name: Lakshmi Gupta

If Suzuki disguize confuses people, Greaves’s outright bamboozles them. She simply insists that she has an affinity for the knights of fantasy lore, with their sparkling armor and cruciform swords, and that this is in no way incompatible with her Bengali heritage. Perhaps the most proficient of the group, she is an SCA member and can swordfight and ride with a reasonable degree of skill.

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EDMINSTER-CARR: Good evening, and welcome to Friendly Fire. I am your host and moderator, Dr. Poe Edminster-Caar, chair of the Undead Studies department at Ravensholme University. Tonight, our experts will put their delectable brains to the question of Talk Like a Pirate Day. Joining me with a perspective on piracy is William “Black Bill” Cubbins IV, pirate-in-residence at the University of Plunder Bay as well as executive director of UPB’s William Kidd Center for the Study of Pirate Culture.

CUBBINS: Arr, thank you, Dr. Edminster-Carr. It be a right pleasure to be here afore yer mast. I hope ye will permit me to reply in the piratey cant o’ me ancestors as a grog-hoist to today’s holiday.

EDMINSTER-CARR: Quite. And with a counterpoint, Ms. Matsumura-Tamaribuchi, an activist with the Occupy Treasure Island movement, the Sharper Blades, Sharper Minds katana outreach program, and the United Ninja College Fund. She is a current Distinguished Daimyo at Kaizoku University and is the Tokugawa Chair of Shinobi Studies there.

MATSUMURA-TAMARIBUCHI: The pleasure of being here cuts like a strong autumn wind through a tussock of rice paddies, Dr. Edminster-Car-san.

EDMINSTER-CARR: So, let me put the question to you right away, Mr. Cubbins: does Talk Like a Pirate Day support or denigrate pirate culture? And, that being said, does it support or denigrate ninja culture?

CUBBINS: Arr, while there be some in the pirate longboat who see Cant Like a Buccanneer Day as a reinforcin’ o’ negative stereotypes, I call that bilge. Piratey speech be a tradition o’ our people as old as Davy Jones, and the Day be a fine opportunity to reach out and educate lubbers about their pirate heritages, matey!

MATSUMURA-TAMARIBUCHI: Rubbish, Rubbish like the blades of a weed whacker cutting through a garbage scow. This so-called holiday is just pro-pirate propaganda, designed to endear them to people who are unaware of pirate crimes against ninjas.

CUBBINS: Arr, ye be tryin’ me patience with that bilge. There be nothin’ about talkin’ piraty that encorages any specific viewpoint!

MATSUMURA-TAMARIBUCHI: Like a voice through reeds, your discriminatory holiday appeals to a “golden age of piracy” that never existed and serves to buttress your claims to traditionally ninja islands.

CUBBINS: Arr, but what of ye? Yer own ninjas ain’t a-guilty of romanticizin’ their own past afore? The history books be a-teachin’ us that you’ve got bilge in yer hold as well.

MATSUMURA-TAMARIBUCHI: We are not talking about ninjas.

CUBBINS: Aye, perhaps because “Talk Like a Ninja Day” would be nothin’ but a cargo o’ SILENCE?

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This column, a response to the previous columns by William “Black Bill” Cubbins IV and Felisa Lloyd Matsumura-Tamaribuchi is from Poe Edminster-Caar. Dr. Edminster-Caar is a professor of Undead Studies at Ravensholme University in New England and the author of the controversial undead rights book “I Am Zombie.” As one of the first openly zombie faculty members at a major North American university, Dr. Edminster-Caar has won five ZAAD awards and the prestigious Golden Brain trophy from the Swedish Zombie Academy.

I was, as ever, amused to see the childish infighting between pirate affairs commentator “Black Bill” Cubbins and ninja activist Felisa Matsumura-Tamaribuchi in these pages. One can predict their scrapes with almost clockwork efficiency, point and counterpoint, attempts at serious discourse by one hijacked in favor of shrill condemnation by the other, all in the service of flogging their pet horses in the ridiculously named “Pirate-Ninja Peace Process.” Which, as Voltaire might quip, involves neither pirates, nor ninjas, nor peace, nor a process.

It matters not, though, because in the end they will all taste the same when they are devoured by zombies.

I have been accused, occasionally, by living commentators of militantly pushing an “undead agenda” and attempting to pervert the young and the impressionable into taking up a zombie lifestyle. Implicit in that is the backwards notion that zombiehood is a “deathstyle choice” or acceptance of the abhorrent “resurrection camps” where people attempt to “cure” zombies, as if we are suffering from some sort of affliction or disease. I am certainly more reasonably in my pursuits than Mr. Cubbins or Ms. Matsumura-Tamaribuchi, I think, though not for any lack of passion.

Rather, I am confident that time is on my side and that history will prove that we zombies are the ultimate solution to the “pirate-ninja peace process” and indeed all societal problems. Once we’ve all grown enlightened enough to learn that zombiehood is as natural as being alive, and is in fact preferable, we can all agree that laying down and accepting living death will solve all the world’s problems. Mr. Cubbins and Ms. Matsumura-Tamaribuchi are united in their opposition to undead rights, perhaps the only thing they do agree on, but even now any country or municipality that bans open zombiehood is experiencing a brain drain to more undead-friendly locales, and whether by persuasion or open bitings on the street, zombies will soon render both pirates and ninjas obsolete, with those that resist shown the error of their ways through the devouring of their delectable brain matter.

History is on our side; we will exhume you.

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Yesterday’s post by Willam “Black Bill” Cubbins has elicited the following response from Felisa Lloyd Matsumura-Tamaribuchi. Ms. Matsumura-Tamaribuchi is a noted participant in the Occupy Treasure Island movement, the Sharper Blades, Sharper Minds katana outreach program, and the United Ninja College Fund. She is a current Distinguished Daimyo at Kaizoku University and is the Tokugawa Chair of Shinobi Studies there.

I actually find myself agreeing with the vile corsair “Black Bill” Cubbins when he wrote in his recent column warning against cultural misappropriation and lack of diversity within “Talk Like A Pirate Day,” a pseudo-holiday that no doubt many of he and his fellow repulsive buccaneers would like wiped off the face of the earth in as much as it highlights their inability to form articulate and coherent thoughts and sentences and their predisposition to plunder and violence.

But I would go even farther than “Black Bill” and argue that he and his race and their expansionist piratism are guilty of the very charges with which they seek to tar and muzzle their opponents. After all, what is the pirate-promoted image of the ninja as a violent and mercenary group of assassins but cultural misappropriation? What is the racist, xenophobic, colon-blocking, and meteor-summoning pirate occupation and oppression of ninja islands of spice and gold if not a lack of diversity? Humanity may be a beautiful rainbow, but it is clear that pirates are the reddest part of that rainbow, unable to communicate except by cannon fire and boardings in what they hypocritically call self-defense.

What about the Battle of Kagishuma Shrine Island which “Black Bill” mentioned in passing? Even though pirates claim to have given up their claims to that sacred outpost of ninjadom, they saw fit to invade it again over the summer, cannons and flintlocks blazing. By rough estimates compiled by the Ninjauthority, a completely impartial and independent group, over 200,000 ninjas died in the assault out of a prewar population of 200,001. And all that just because the ninjas of that peaceful island were exercising their sacred right, as ingrained at the bedrock of our culture and heritage, to raid passing pirate galleons and stuff the flayed skins of their crews with straw for use as targeting dummies. The pirate-run media has, of course, only taken their side in the matter through their biased reporting of ninjas going into battle wearing their own children as armor (which anyone with five minutes and Wikipedia knows is actually both a sacred tradition and a necessity on tiny Kagishuma Shrine Island).

In short, we must take “Black Bill” Cubbins at his word every “Talk Like A Pirate Day,” and indeed every day of the year, by pledging our lives and our treasure to the cause of throwing every last pirate back into the sea and slaughtering them to a man in the name of the peaceful ninja peoples.

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William “Black Bill” Cubbins IV, our regular commentator on pirate affairs, is pirate-in-residence at the University of Plunder Bay as well as executive director of UPB’s William Kidd Center for the Study of Pirate Culture. A devout pirate, his most recent prize was a Chinese junk full of junk food bound for snooty Californian importers.

Ahoy me hearties. On this, the most visible day for pirate culture, I’d like to issue a call to reason. Talk Like A Pirate Day is an opportunity to engage with pirate culture, but also an occasion for flouting hurtful pirate stereotypes. I’d like to share these simple tips with you:

-Remember, pirates are a culture, not a costume. It is never okay to dress as a pirate or, god forbid, a “sexy pirate” unless you identify with pirate culture.

-Slurs like ass pirate or widely discredited defamatory texts like Protocols of the Elder Pirates are never something that a pirate would use in daily conversation. Terms like buccanner or corsair are still controversial; the one thing everyone agrees on is that only pirates can decide when they are appropriate and that only pirates should use them.

-Pirates have many dialects. Try speaking the South China Sea or the Horn of Africa dialects of pirate to help educate people on our diversity and rich cultural heritage.

-Keep in mind the many pirates killed or wounded by vicious ninja attacks during this summer’s tragic Battle of Kagishuma Shrine Island. There are still many places in the world where ninjas actively seek the extermination of us and our way of life.

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William “Black Bill” Cubbins IV, our regular pirate affairs commentator, sent us this rebuttal to Ms. Matsumura-Tamarabuchi’s column published yesterday. Cubbins serves as pirate-in-residence at the University of Plunder Bay, and executive director of UPB’s William Kidd Center for the Study of Pirate Culture. A practicing pirate, he most recently took a Spanish Man o’ Tacos freighter off Cadiz laden with baked golden treasure from Mexico.

I was disgusted by Felisa Matsumura-Tamaribuchi’s column yesterday demanding the release of murderer and reprobate Death’s Hand–or to use his appellation in Piratese, Lorryblawwer or “Burner of Buses.” But it is not surprising; if there is one thing you can count on from the disorderly, untrustworthy, illegal, racist, fascist, and unattractive hordes of ninjakind, it is to milk every perceived slight in the overwhelmingly pro-ninja media.

The so-called Grand Sensei–a meaningless and made-up position used to buttress pro-ninja sentiments and to disguise the fact that ninjas as a nation and a people were unrecognized prior to 1868–is in fact a murdering, pyromaniac bilge rat. His open attack on a bus of peaceful pirate settlers en route to our most sacred ritual, Plundercon, was but the latest in a litany of ninja aggression and terrorism. Fifteen peg legs, seventeen hooks, twenty-eight eyepatches, and one wooden aorta were given out as a result of that attack, a toll in blood and treasure not seen since the dark days of the Anti-Pirate Campaigns of the 1710s.

Ninja claims that Death’s Hand was acting in self-defense, that he is a man of peace, ring hollow in the face of naked ninja barbarism and aggression. The ninja way is the way of violence, of rejecting civilized parley in favor of daggers between the ribs. Politicians and media commentators repeat the lie of the peaceful ninja out of pro-ninja bias or out of fear that a stray remark will enrage “peaceful” ninjas worldwide and lead to still more slaughter, violence, and assassination. One needs only look at the titles of Death’s Hand’s mind-poisoning “children’s” books and the list of simpering pro-ninja public figures lined up to protest his just imprisonment for evidence of that.

It is perhaps most telling that Ms. Matsumura-Tamaribuchi must trot out that most well-worn Big Lie to support her case, the so-called Protocols of the Pirate Elders. Serious scholars have long since dismissed that text as a forgery concocted by the British crown during anti-pirate pogroms in the 1700s, and for such a fringe theory to crop up in a supposedly reasonable column further reinforces the fact that ninjas are an unkempt, proudly ignorant, and backwards race.

Reject the call for in the “ninja liberation struggle.” Use your brain. Plunder freely, plunder well, and ignore the lies of the pro-ninja media. Let not their lies and slander diminish the strength and ferocity of every throaty “arr” we raise to the heavens with our mugs of grog.

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Felisa Lloyd Matsumura-Tamaribuchi is a frequent editorial contributor to EFNB and the current Tokugawa Chair of Shinobi Studies at Kaizoku University. Widow of Sensei Takeharu Matsumura-Tamaribuchi of the Black Shadow Clan, who died in 1997 at the age of 108, Ms. Matsumura-Tamaribuchi was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1977 and is perhaps the most visible and vocal pro-ninja activist in the nation today.

I write to you today to decry the illegal, racist, fascist, and high blood sugar promoting imprisonment of a great and shining light among the Shinobi–or, to use the popular but less enlightened term, ninjas. I speak of course of Grand Sensei Shi No Te, Death’s Hand, also known as Adder’s Venom, Chill-of-First-Snow, and The Tickler. He is a political prisoner, a symbol of the shameful treatment of ninjas by world governments and the world media.

His crime? Merely blowing up a bus full of pirates on their way to Plundercon 2002. I, and the greater ninja community, hold that this act was a political testament, an expression of free and therefore protected speech, and a great favor to all cities and gas stations at which the bus might have stopped. For, as detailed in the absolutely true and oft-repressed text Protocols of the Elder Pirates, pirates are and have always been secretly planning to take over the world and plunder it like a giant galleon from the shadows. Grand Sensei Death’s Hand was merely striking in self-defense, as part of the inevitable move to drive the vile pirate invaders back into the sea.

His incendiary actions and unpopular slaughter aside, Grand Sensei Death’s Hand is a man of peace, as are all ninjas. The ninja way is the way of peace, only slipping a muffled dagger between the ribs of a victim when they really, really deserve it. Grand Sensei Death’s Hand has dedicated himself to education and peace during his imprisonment as well, penning gentle children’s books like Kill All Pirates, Pirates are the Assassins of Our Future, and Dear Children Reject Pirate Lies. Entertainers, politicians, and Nobel laureates have all called for his release, drawing on their vast experience in those honest and directly ninja-related fields.

I urge you, dear readers, to write to your government–secretly controlled and financed by pirates as it may be–to demand the release of Grand Sensei Death’s Hand. I urge you to take direct action as well, through protest and possibly making things explode. Blow up your own buses full of pirates. Join us in the great Shinobi liberation struggle by donating your time and talents. We ninjas are waiting for your help, silently, in the shadows, wearing black, with concealed daggers, and also perhaps some smoke bombs.

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The road pirates’ vehicle had pulled alongside the fleeing Sani-Cola drink truck, let fly with another burst of fire, this time ripping apart one of the rig’s rear wheels. Stricken, it jackknifed a bit before one of Captain Higgs’ men cried out and pointed at the cab: the trucker had removed his off-white wifebeater and was waving it as a white flag.

True to the Jolly Roger they drove under, Higgs’ men let the driver go, giving him naught but a boot to the ass for the trouble he had caused in trying to run away. He then set a crew to work replacing the Sani-Cola truck’s tire so his men could drive it to a safe chop shop while their armed and armored Toyota Hilux did the same with a skeleton crew.

“A fine bounty boys, an excellent haul!” Even selling for pennies on the dollar, the Sani-Cola, Diet Sani-Cola, and Sani-Cola Xtreme filling the truck would net each of Higgs’ men a fine prize share. As was his right, the captain took the contents of the cab for himself, including two fine beaded seat covers, an ashtray full of change for toll roads, and highly addictive Trucker’s Choice brand pep pills worth a few bucks on the side.

The crew of road pirates had just about finished making their catch ready to drive when Captain Higgs’ first mate, who had been scanning the horizon, pointed and cried out. A Mitsubishi with neon lights was approaching at high speed, and through his spyglass Higgs could see several figures in black on its running boards.

“Damn! Road ninjas!” he hollered. “Battle stations, all of you!”

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As surely as autumn follows summer, the latest contribution by Willam “Black Bill” Cubbins has been followed by a counter-post by Felisa Lloyd Matsumura-Tamaribuchi. In the interests of balance we present it to you here. Ms. Matsumura-Tamaribuchi is a noted participant in the Anti-Pirate Freedom Flotilla, the Port Elizabeth Tribunal for Buccaneer Crimes, and the Boycott Booty campaign. She is a current Distinguished Fellow at Kaizoku University and is the current Tokugawa Chair of Shinobi Studies there.

Rather than feeling sorry for the plight of pirates who are being undermined and reduced in number by so-called foreign competition, we should rejoice in the fact that this vile way of life is slowly and naturally becoming extinct. Ninja activists like myself have long since held that there is no room in the modern economy for pirates or piracy, and the racist, disenfranchising, and bigoted attitudes they encourage.

Piracy is, no matter how “locally” and “sustainably” conducted, an inherently dishonorable and disenfranchising profession built around taking–taking of land, of lives, of booty. It has no value in any economy, much less an economy as bad as the one now facing the world. Activists in the pro-pirate media can talk all they like about “cherished” and “ancient” ways of life, but all pirates are nothing more than thieves and cockroaches.

Contrast that situation with that of the shinobi–or “ninja” to use a less-aware but more popular term. The silent, amoral assassins that make up the major ninja clans have value in any economy. As scouts, as spies, and as dealers of death to those who deserve it, ninjas have no peers–and those skills are needed more in a bad economy than in any other. While pirates only take, ninjas give back by cutting away the dead wood of society with a surgical knife. There will always be a need for the subtle art of honorable killing, and ninjas will always be there to provide it from the shadows.

This makes them unlike pirates, whose days are limited by both a world that increasingly sees them as the disenfranchising barbarians that they are. A skyrocketing ninja birth rate that will soon see the pirates’ one advantage, that of numbers, whittled down to nothing as they are hurled back into the sea.

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