Sippican Cottage

Close this search box.

Happy Opposite Day 2023

Mom’s drunk. Dad’s crying. Must be Opposite Day. Back when I was still in the music business, we called it “Amateur Hour.” It wasn’t a compliment. Ah, well, let’s have a blessing anyway:

those who love us love us.
And those that don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn’t turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we’ll know them by their limping.

Let’s sing Carrickfergus, and weep, and laugh, all at once. And before anyone gets any ideas in the comments, there is only one version of this song:


I wished I had you in Carrickfergus,
Only for nights in Ballygrand,
I would swim over the deepest ocean,
The deepest ocean to be by your side.

But the sea is wide and I can’t swim over
And neither have I wings to fly.
I wish I could find me a handy boatman
To ferry me over to my love and die.

My childhood days bring back sad reflections
Of happy days so long ago.
My boyhood friends and my own relations.
Have all passed on like the melting snow.

So I’ll spend my days in endless roving,
Soft is the grass and my bed is free.
Oh to be home now in Carrickfergus,
On the long road down to the salty sea.

And in Kilkenny it is reported
On marble stone there as black as ink,
With gold and silver I did support her
But I’ll sing no more now till I get a drink.

I’m drunk today and I’m rarely sober,
A handsome rover from town to town.
Oh but I am sick now and my days are numbered
Come all ye young men and lay me down.

I wish you’d put the battered kettle on
The bag could take one steeping more
I’d walk for miles across a rocky down
To hear the whistle we’re all waiting for

The gulf yawns wide and I can’t leap over
Until my time is drawing nigh
You’re laid to rest in the nonesuch clover
When you were here you slipped on by

Those Christmas days and our destinations
Trolley rides through the dirty snow
My childhood’s gone, like passing stations
Eyes full of tears, some from the cold

Nicely done, Van. More power to your elbow.

Best Find Your Tribe And Stick To Them, Boyo. The Vikings Are Abroad In The Land

That’s a fairly close approximation of my former music career — on a good day. Except the part where the musicians are talented.

The drunken men could never figure out why there were pretty girls all over the stage, but when they tried to get up there, unbidden, they were dragged off and thrown out. Drunken men aren’t too bright. Even when they’re sober. 

The Tribe

Mairead Hickey from Cork, Ireland. Just thirteen years old in the video. Fifteen now, and something of a big deal in Cork. 

Sullivans like me are thick on the ground in Cork. Lord knows what drove us from the place. I think they made it past the whole of the famine, and then bugged out. That strikes a familiar chord. Stubborn, then mercurial.

Nulla manus, tam liberalis atque generalis, atque universalis, quam Sullivanus

No hand so liberal,
And so general and universal,
As the O’Sullivan.

America is not a people. It’s an idea, one that many people share, or shared, anyway. I have trouble discerning that idea with any regularity out in the landscape recently. Sometimes the tribe calls out to me.

Imelda May? Imelda Does

Imelda May is not a singer. Imelda May is Lady Godiva’s better looking sister riding in a rockabilly chariot pulled by three horses she stole from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse with a wink, riding roughshod and bareback over the known world, while making Helen of Troy look like Bella Abzug.

Can I Get A Witness?

I dint know Van Morrison from a hole in the wall though he lived downa street for a spell and saw the same sunrise on the Mystic — but me, I just saw a dead dog float by and he was gone by then anyway; way later I spotted his face over and over like a hostage taken on the label in the bin I remember it was only a buck save a penny at the building nineteen and three quarters and that needle left an electrifying little wake on the platter like a boat in the fog or a dead dog on the Mystic. There’s a song or a poem or a story like a Greek with a lyre would tell in there somewheres but he took it already.

So glad to see you
So glad you’re here
Come here beside me now
We can clean inhibition away
All inhibitions
Throw them away
And when we dance like this
Like we’ve never been dancin’ before

Oh, they were swingin’
Down at kingdom hall
Oh, bells were ringin’
Down at the kingdom hall
Oh choir was singin’
Down at the kingdom hall
Hey, liley, liley, liley
Hey, liley, liley, lo

Good body music
Brings you right here
Free flowin’ motion now
When we’re shakin’ it out on the floor
Good rockin’ music
Down in your shoes
And when we dance like this
Like we’ve never been dancin’ before

Tag: Ireland

Find Stuff: