A Miner and His Penguin

DaGoddess @ 04:00

The Miner

Shorty Harris and Friend

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. That really is a miner with a penguin. According to several sources, the penguin represents the artist and his sense of displacement in the desert. Why it’s there with Shorty Harris (the miner), I’m still not entirely certain. Of course, there’s another story that says when Shorty got drunk (as he often did), he’d see penguins instead of elephants. I don’t know which story is true, nor does it matter. What I do like is the whimsy of the miner’s flightless little companion. I think everyone should have a whimsical companion, even if it’s an imaginary one.

Also of note: based on the description of Harris in various sources, he sounded much like Rob (I only wish he’d lived as long as Shorty), which is even more amusing when you consider my otherworldly experience across the road from this statue.


  1. I thought ‘…she always comes up with such interesting titles for her posts…’ and then I saw that sure enough, it’s a miner and a penguin. :biggrin:

    Comment by Pam — 2009/04/17 @ 05:40

  2. Well spotted on that first one. Like!

    Comment by Jan — 2009/04/17 @ 07:28

  3. Sometimes literal is just as good, Pam

    Jan, thank you. I thought it was pretty good, too

    Comment by DaGoddess — 2009/04/17 @ 07:58

  4. And for Pam, “Un minero y su pingüino”

    Comment by DaGoddess — 2009/04/17 @ 08:17

  5. Photos like this make me miss the California desert.

    Comment by diamond dave — 2009/04/17 @ 09:18

  6. You may have the desert. I’ll keep the beach.

    I like the desert for a little while and then I need something cooler.

    Comment by DaGoddess — 2009/04/17 @ 09:23

  7. Isn’t Shorty Harris the miner that they buried standing up? I can’t remember in what Louis L’Amour book I read that but he was generally very accurate in his history factoids.

    Comment by Peter — 2009/04/17 @ 11:16

  8. None of the stories I’ve read about Shorty tell of him being buried standing up. However, I have read that he was once placed in a coffin on a pool table while he was passed out.

    “The simple service, when the last rites were pronounced, was beautiful in the quiet solitude of the great valley. Chaplain Henry of the C.C.C. camp at Cow Creek, officiated at the open-air burial service. One hundred and fifty C.C.C. boys were present, bowing their heads out of respect for the grand old man of the desert, whose stories of early Death Valley, of burrow-prospecting days, have been chronicled far and wide by writers of national repute. The body was lowered in the grave exactly at sunset and more than 300 people stood quietly at attention as taps sounded. … The burial of ‘Shorty’ Harris went down in history as the first Christian burial in Death Valley, altho [sic] there had been many more who were buried there in shallow graves before, without Christian services.” — November 16, 1934 Inyo Independent

    That’s from the GBR Essay.

    Comment by DaGoddess — 2009/04/17 @ 15:11

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