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The Jolly Roger is any of various flags flown to identify a ship’s crew as pirates that were about to attack. The flag most commonly identified as the Jolly Roger today is the skull and crossbones, a flag consisting of a human skull above two long bones set in an x-mark arrangement, most usually depicted crossing each other directly under the skull, on a black field. This design was used by several pirates, including Captains “Black Sam” Bellamy, Edward England, and John Taylor. Some Jolly Roger flags also include an hourglass, another common symbol representing death in 17th- and 18th-century Europe. Despite the prominence of flags with art in popular culture, plain black flags with no art were often employed by most pirates in the 17th–18th century. Historically, the flag was flown to frighten pirates’ victims into surrendering without a fight, since it conveyed the message that the attackers were outlaws who would not consider themselves bound by the usual rules of engagement—and might, therefore, slaughter those they defeated (since captured pirates were usually hanged, they did not have much to gain by asking quarter if defeated).

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My husband is quite a fan of all things pirate – books, movies, tv shows. But the phrase “Raise Jolly Roger” has nothing to do with 18th century pirates at our house. It means the Pittsburgh Pirates have won their baseball game.

The Pirates have been around since 1887 and even though the jolly Roger is not the “official” logo, which is a gold P, it’s still part of the whole Pirates thing. Over the years, the Overall the Pirates have won five World Series, the last one in ’79, and lost two. When I was in high school in junior high and high school they were a good team – and then the went downhill with 20 consecutive losing seasons—the longest such streak in North American professional sports history. But good news – last year they made the playoffs and this year, granted it’s early yet, but we’ve won 6, lost 3, which puts us at .667. Pretty good.

I have been a Pirates fan since I was a kid and we went to games at the old Three Rivers Stadium. The “new” stadium is PNC Park, which is a gorgeous park and full of good food. 🙂 We go to several games a year.

Go Bucs! (as in buccaneers)