Archive for July, 2011


Sunday, July 31st, 2011

2011, ohio, 23″ x 7 3/4″, paint and mixed media on panels.


Sunday, July 31st, 2011

2011, river, paint & mixed media on panels, 8 3/4″ x 27 1/4″.

whistling dick

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

2011, whistling dick, 24″ x 38 1/2″, mixed media on panels.


Don’t usually do this but…. Whistling Dick, the 18 inch civil war cannon pictured above is one the most famous pieces of artillery from the Civil War (the others being the “Swamp Angel”, and rail mounted mortar “The Dictator”, (no implications there!, sheesh). The cannon was originally a smooth bore, but was rifled after the outbreak of war, but an anomaly in the rifling process made the shells whistle when the cannon was fired, so hence the nick-name “Whistling Dick”. The cannon played a prominent role in the South’s defenses of Vicksburg Mississippi and control of the river itself, the most essential interior shipping lane in the country. During the siege of Vicksburg in 1863 Whistling Dick distinguished itself by sinking the Union gunboat Cincinnati that was regularly shelling the civilian population of Vicksburg. Eventually of course, Vicksburg fell to the Union General U.S.S. Grant and his sidekick W.T. Sherman, and effectively cut the South from its shipping lane and divided the Eastern States from the Western ones. Whistling Dick itself, has never been recovered or located, supposedly, spirited off for future use and sank somewhere in the dark and murky Mississippi itself.

It also happened (as fate would have it) that just prior to the war between the states, there was an itinerant young black man in Philadelphia named Dick Milburn, who achieved some local notoriety – along with the the nick-name “Whistling Dick” – for songs he composed by whistling them out loud, as he either wandered about or indulged in some off the cuff hair styling. One of his songs was picked up by a resident music teacher named Septimus Weiner (alias Alice Hawthorn) who arranged and published his song “Listen To the Mockingbird” in 1855. The song went on to be one of the most popular tunes of the Civil War period, and reportedly, one of Abrahm Lincoln’s favorites. The song sold an astonishing 20 million (sheet music) copies, but judging from the lyrics, considering the times, and the possible meanings latent in the song, it’s not hard to see why.

Here’s the lyrics:
by Alice Hawthorne (1855)

I’m dreaming now of Hally, sweet Hally, sweet Hally;
I’m dreaming now of Hally,
For the thought of her is one that never dies:
She’s sleeping in the valley, the valley, the valley;
She’s sleeping in the valley,
And the mocking bird singing where she lies.

Listen to the mocking bird, listen to the mocking bird,
The mocking bird still singing o’er her grave;
Listen to the mocking bird, listen to the mocking bird,
Still singing where the weeping willows wave.

Additional Verses:
Ah! well I yet remember, remember, remember,
Ah! well I yet remember,
When we gather’d in the cotton side by side;
’Twas in the mild September, September, September,
’Twas in the mild September,
And the mocking bird was singing far and wide.

When the charms of spring awaken, awaken, awaken:
When the charms of spring awaken,
And the mocking bird is singing on the bough.
I feel like one forsaken, forsaken, forsaken.
I feel like one so forsaken,
Since my Hally is no longer with me now.

Most of us (older types) will recall the song because it was used  (in exaggerated/bastardized form) as the theme song for the Three Stooges. But when we listen to the lyrics themselves and all the melancholy implications (lost cause, etc.) it’s an altogether different story…… At least one would hope so.

happy 4th

Monday, July 4th, 2011

2011, digital image

snagged this on a short walk today.