Scrap Book

From this packet you get Old Timers' Tall Tales

Desert Wit Humor Banter & Philosophy


Desert Efficiency Expert . . . Sez worst part of doing nothing is . . you can never take any time off. Lem is sure thinkin' way ahead of most folks.


The pack rat is honest. He totes off things, but he never steals anything outright — he merely trades with you.

After years of study I say he is not only honest but Scotch, very, very Scotch, and may I be found in a desert gulch — turned to dusty bones with a pack rat's next in my chest and a rock under my head — if anyone can prove to me that a pack rat ever got badly stuck on a trade. If my pencil had an eraser on it I would rub out that "nest on my chest" business. —H.O.


In the good old days of Tonopah, Nevada, a miner was up before the Judge for Highgrading gold. "Guilty or not guilty?" thundered the judge? "Gosh I dunno," said the miner, "I ain't heard the evidence yet."


Old Dry Wash Smith will be eighty-three years old in July. He says he'd be eighty-five, but he was in jail for two years in Carson City, Nevada.


That whip-snapping old Whiffletree, Ex-stage coach driver almost bit his tongue off trying to climb into one of them little Jeep Station Wagons.

Borego's Doc A.A. Beatty says the way to tell if a man is lying is to watch and see if his lips move. If they do, he is.


This paper is not entered as 2nd class mail. It's a first class newspaper.
Scrap Book
  Packet Four of Pouch Two
Smallest newspaper in the world and the only 5 paged one.
Published at Fort Oliver
1000 Palms, California
Four Times a Year

But sometimes they don't have them.
Darned if I am going to the trouble of mailing it for nothing.
10 Years .....................  $5.00
100 Years .....................$50.00
    (Something  to  think  about)

Published by
Fort Commander, Publisher, Distributor, Lamp Lighter, Editor, Artist, Gardener, Janitor, Owner

Pictures are by the author, many of them are woodcuts. I Did All but the Spelling.

We printers at Desert Magazine where this packet was produced are not sure whether Harry Oliver is the world's greatest philosopher, the desert's champion humorist, the biggest liar who ever came through Buzzard Gap — or just plain crazy.   —Randall Henderson

Not a one of these names or places is COINCIDENTAL.



The 24 copies of the last packet sent to W. Dart, Old Time Desert Trader of Goldfield, Nevada, came back . . . marked ... Deceased.

Remember his story in packet two of Pouch One . . . he had great faith . . . he was sure Goldfield was slated for another boom.


My aim is to prowl this South-West country and dig up as many Desert Tall Tales, as much Desert Rat Wit, Humor and Folklore as these pages will hold. I am going to whittle out woodcuts of the Old Time Desert Rats and set it all up in my collection of Old West Type (kind'a as a garnish. Always liked that word . . . to me it means something someone added with fellow-feeling), and I don't aim to stop till I stumble down my last hill.

This paper is not going to get bigger. I am only going to have 10 ads in it and they got to lean toward being entertainment, or telling about good Old Western Fun.

You ten-year subscribers don't worry about the last hill . . . I am only 60 . . . and some of the men folks in my family lived to pass 95.

Money Is Always Trouble

I GET POST OFFICE Money Orders, checks, stamps, Express Money Orders and more stamps. Everybody sends 3¢ stamps and I don't write letters so they are a nuisance. (I can use 2-cent stamps if your climate is not too damp.) Post Office Money Orders are bad too because there is a beer joint right next to the Post Office and your 50-cent P.O.M.O. just buys 2 beers. An Express Money Order means I have to drive over to Palm Springs to cash it. (They have beer there too). It's O.K. when you send a check. It goes in an envelope to San Francisco to the Wells Fargo Bank and pays for the next printing, so send checks, please, unless you own stock in a Brewery.

P.S. Might as well make it $1.00 for 2 years.

You Get What You Vote For

In the days before I went into the hermit business I did not have time to think much. I use [sic] to work 18 hours a day to do my small part in making moving pictures (didn't have time to vote). In those days there was a market for originality, and some of the pictures lasted as long as two months. Today radio needs a tip before it's too late. On the radio there's a hundred programs that should use as a title "It Pays to be Ignorant," or "Something for Nothing."

ROOSYFEL lived long enough to plant that something-for-nothing bug, and today the nit-wits turn on the radio and set by the hour and listen to someone two or three thousand miles away making the right guess to get some gadget for nothing — dreaming, hoping, setting.


Well, that's what they voted for.

To have what you want is riches. But to be able to do without is power.

 "I find that with the passing years,
 "My pace is just a little slowed.
 "I may not go as far nor fast,
 "But I see more along the road."
                   —Don Blanding


Seems to your editor that the new Will Rogers stamp could have been by an artist. I had hoped it would be the stamp of the year.

Your Editor has had his first whack at television. An outfit came down from Los Angeles to shoot the story of this paper. You may have seen it. My dog, Whiskers, and Snowball, the baby burro, stole the show.

Peg Leg Lost Gold

The Borego Desert Peg Leg Lost Mine Hunt was a great affair this year. Your Editor is happy that no one found th elost mine so we can have another try January 1st, 1950. (Wouldn't it be hell if someone found it?) The Monument is getting to be quite a pile of rocks, as every searcher places ten stones on the Peg Leg Monument. Ray Hicks, a Desert Hot Springs poet, was winer of the Tall Tale Derby prize, donated by Knott's Ghost Town. As Master of Ceremonies, your Ed. was not in the contest, but retold the story that won me the Oscar at 29 Palms May 29, 1948, which I will defend April 1st (the most appropriate day) at Lonesome Squaw Canyon.

A Proclamation by the Editor

This paper has revolutionized the newspaper business. I am the only Editor (not locked up) that says the next packet will be printed "when I am good and ready to print it."

That I have just about all the subscribers I want, and there will be no more notices of subscriptions run out. You worry, not me.

That I like new subscribers best because I can use my old jokes again on them.

That you that sell this paper on the newstands an don't send in your checks pronto are dropped off my books. (Book, not books.)

That I give you fuddy-duddies a lot of typographical errors to pick at, and that all my news was news once.

That's a lot of thats, but you advertisers, the ads you pay for for a year you'll get to see in 4 printings. May take a year and a half to do it, and the stuff above (just between you and me) is just to make 'em talk about this paper.

Everyone is ignorant — only on different subjects. —Will Rogers

And I print a newspaper. —H.O.

Packet 4 Pouch 2     Harry Oliver's DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOK     Page 3


Gold, Silver Used for Many Things Besides Money Base — Gold and silver, the precious metals which set the monetary standards for most of the world, also serve many other uses, according to the Bureau of Mines. Industrial and medical requirements for gold include salts and solutions for stained glass, gilding liquids and electrogilding, photography and medicinal salts and solutions. Silver is used in medical and dental supplies, mirrors, sterilizing water, indelible inks, hair dyes, coloring porcelain and in engine bearings.   —Outdoor Rambler, Ione, California

How Editors Get Rich

Santa Fe, N.M.

Like finding a gold nugget, was the thrill of digging this item out of an old copy of the Santa Fe magazine:

How Editors Get Rich — I have just learned of an editor who started poor twenty years ago and retired with a comfortable fortune of $50,000. This was acquired through industry, economy, conscientious effort, indomitable perseverance and the death of an uncle who left him $49,990.

Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico, is the oldest city in the United States, there being evidence to show that it was inhabited as early as 1325, or 300 years before the Pilgrim fathers landed on Plymouth rock. I like its narrow streets and old adobes. Today as I strolled near the church of San Miguel, built in 1710, I saw an old man seated outside an old adobe with all his furniture around him.

"Poor old soul. What's your trouble? Evicted I suppose,." "No, sir," was the mournful reply. "It's just my old woman whitewashing agin'." From a Daily Desert Column I wrote in 1938.


I asked Old Holladay, Borrego Desert Prospector, why he was always talking to himself.

"Well, in the first place, I like to talk to a smart man; and in the second place, I like to hear a smart man talk."

The Sad Tail of Arty Packrat

When Sir Harry Oliver, President of the Packrat Publicity Project, made the assertion that a packrat always gets the best of the bargain, he had never heard of my friend Arty.

Arty was a budding genius, a designer and interior decorator who used to frequent our cabin in the Santa Rosa mountains. That his I.Q. was above packrat par I learned early in our acquaintance after observing his relish for the printed page, not merely as an article of diet but as a source of mental inspiration. Each evening when one of us read aloud, Arty would slip in and sit on a shelf of the dish cupboard, his whiskers quivering with pleasure and his eyes bright and bulging with interest.

All his heavy work had to wait till the literary session was over and lights were out. Then he took up his arduous duties of moving the contents of the woodbox to a more suitable place, by way of the open rafters — naturally a hazardous operation. It was not his fault if some sticks proved too heavy and fell noisily to the floor or dropped on the face of some sleeper. Buy my aunt was unreasonable about it.

Sensing ill-will, Arty left a peace offering. One morning we found carefully centered in a soup plate, a round doily of white paper lace discarded from a candy box. Upon the doily was placed a flat rosette nipped from a plant which bears a cluster of five silver-gray leaves, and in the middle of the leaf-rosette was a large and perfect acorn. It was as charming and original a piece of designing as any artist ever executed.

I was captivated. Even auntie relented, — but only until a series of disasters revived her wrath. Then one night when Arty trustingly left the cupboard before the lamp was out, she threw a pine chunk and hit him on the side of the head, injuring him so that he could run only in circles. Someone had to finish the evil deed and since she wouldn't, I did. — blinded by tears.

Poor Arty! For his sake I have forgiven all the depredations of his kind. What a career he might have had in a kinder world! May his story live to immortalize his genius. Nina Paul Shumway


Low Down On Big Horn
By GEORGE PIPKIN of Death Valley

A wise man changes his mind while a fool never does. I'm speaking for myself, but do not get me wrong — I'm not a wise man by a long shot. In fact the more I study — the more I beat into my lame brain — the more I know that I do not know. It pays to be ignorant — ignorant people are the most happy.

  *   *   *  

What has this to do with the big horn sheep and burros? Well, I'll tell you. Since the Park Service inaugurated the control of wild burros back in 1939 in the Death Valley National Monument in order to preserve the pitifully small band of Nelson Big Horn Sheep, Ovis Canadensis Nelsoni, commonly known as the Desert Bighorn, a lot of unjust criticism has been directed against the park service for killing the burros.

  *   *   *  

The controversy pro and con has reached a crescendo where many cons are writing their senators in protest. I, myself, have been on the con side, though I never have written any senators because they are mostly all Republicans who would not listen to a Democrat.

  *   *   *  

You may wonder what caused the champion of the burros to have such a sudden change of heart. Well! to be more explicit and to get right down to brass tacks, it was my ignorance of the facts. I — like a lot of other people — only believed what I heard and what I read in the newspapers.

The other day my conscience on the subject began to bother me, so I thought to myself, "Pipkin, there's always two sides to a controversy, why don't you get on the pro side?" No sooner thought than done. Hoisting myself up the canyon to the park office I explained my mission to Mr. Keller, the naturalist, who obligingly dug into the files and presented the facts. After perusing the authentic records for hours, I reached the conclusion that I was on the wrong side of the fence. My sympathy was with the sheep.

  *   *   *  

This is what I learned — the facts. Maybe you too will have a change of heart after reading them.

The Nelson Bighorns are natives of the Death Valley country and of the mountains of Southern Nevada, Southern California and the northern border of Lower California. They were here long before the Spaniards brought in the burros. Like the Indians they are native, but they have been subjected to the same treatment by the burros that the Indians received by the white man. As the burros multiplied like rabbits they poached more and more on the bighorn domain, starving them out and pushing them into rugged isolated areas where the nimble sheep could only partly survive starvation. So that today there are thousands upon thousands of burros and only a few hundred bighorn.

  *   *   *  

There's no question but what burros are a serious menace to the bighorn. One of the significant causes of friction between the burro and bighorn lies in the refusal of the latter to use water sources which have been fouled and trampled by the burros. Since the burros have few natural checks to multiplication and are increasing by geometrical proportion — as more and more burros become old enough to bear foals in their turn — the tendency is for the burro population to occupy every spring from which they are not physically barred by dry waterfalls or other formidable obstructions. Since the majority of the best permanent springs are in the lower foothills below such dry waterfalls, the bighorn are forced more and more to depend on the small irregularly flowing seeps in the most rugged parts of their range.

As regards forage, the competition offered by the increasing burro hordes is even more serious. Much of the forage around the springs has been denuded and the specious [sic] flats below these springs are also suffering. It is true that in summer the bighorn tends to seek the highest, coldest, most rugged parts of their range where competition with the burros for forage is not so keen. In winter, however, when the bighorn comes down to the foothills in search of fresh succulents stimulated by the winter rains, they are again placed in direct unfavorable competition with the roving burro bands.

  *   *   *  

The question involved is, do we want the exotic burro or the native bighorn? It's a cinch that we cannot have the bighorn sheep unless we protect them.

Your Editor had a little story in the Ford Times (October, '48) and the editors of the Times gave us a plug (three pages) which brought new subscribers from every state in the Union. So you see, all in all, 1948 has been a great year for this little Desert Newspaper.

The Gila Monster is not as dangerous as reputed. Scientists have discovered that if they would brush their teeth they would not be poisonous at all.

Three types of persons are bitten by Gila monsters, according to the poisonous animals research laboratory at Tempe state college: laboratory workers who handle the Gila monsters so frequently they become careless, visitors who are attracted by a brightly coolred [sic] lizard and pick it up, and those who are just plain foolish. According to the laboratory, it is not necessary to cut off the big lizard's head before its jaws can be loosened. Hold a match under its belly or slit either side of its jaw and it will let go. Only the largest of the Gila monsters have enough venom to kill a person.

The Navajo Indians use the markings on the back of the Gila monsters as a pattern for their rugs.

An old timer here has a pet Gila monster with a swastika on it's back, and says it's "Sure pizen."

Where Are We? Why!

Desert Rats Teched in the Head

Frenchy from Slap Jack Gulch went berserk during World War I — and he even tried to walk on the waters of Salton Sea, but his faith wasn't quite strong enough, so they draggem him out and sent him to the Insane Asylum. In a few years they let the harmless old fellow out, checking his medical report and gave him discharge papers.

Nowadays when anything comes up about Desert Rats being nuts he always up's and says, "Well, ya know ther's a heap of crazy folks in this Desert, but I'm O.K. I got the papers to show I'm sane. Don't know anyone else around these parts that's got real proof they're sane." Must thank my sister, Frances, for this story. Gee I wish I had some of those papers to show.
—Your Editor.



From the Editor's book, Desert Rough Cuts, a Haywire History of Borego Desert (out of print ten years). These are the yarns the old keeper of the "Busy Bee" store told.

One day a young fellow came along this way from Brawley, a pert looking cuss, kinda inquisitive. I could tell from the way he walked in that he wasn't figurin' on buyin' much, so I deep myself busy behind the counter till he wanders over to tell me what's on his mind. He asks me about Trapdor Lewis, the old guy that was always huntin' up them trapdoor spiders so's he could watch 'em work their little doors and figure how they made them silk hinges.

Thinkin' about Trapdoor made me feel kinda sad. He was a queer duck, and I sure miss him. He used to sit on the counter there and tell me his recipe for happiness. He was a lot older'n Lem, but he sounds a lot like him when he'd say, "Son, I ain't got nothin', an' I'm happier ;cause I ain't."

He was downright sorry for people that inherited a farm or was tied down to grindstones such as houses, lots, cars, jobs, radio sets, and the like. He said they was bound to be squashed under the load sooner or later, that appropriatin' folks and storekeepers like me was so busy with the cares and labors of life that we didn't have time to live.

But there stood the young fellow, askin' questions. "Where is he?" he asks me. "I want to find him."

"He's gone," I says, an' not feelin' any too happy about it. "He's left Borego."

"I'm sorry," says the young fellow. "What happened to him?"

"Well," I says. "After years of bein' happy and content in this valley, the old boy gets all stewed up with a new idea. It was this way: One night the mail plane gets lost in a fog on the way to San Diego and lands in Borego near Trapdoor's shack. The pilot is a fine young fellow with an altogether different slant on things, havin' seen lots, an' not all from the sky, either. He and Trapdoor sets up most of the night arguin' tellin' each other how to live this here life so's you get the most out of it, each of them thinkin' different.

"They sure locked horns, from what I heard from the boys over the counter. The pilot tells Trapdoor that what he needs is to be educated up to modern ideas, and before he takes off the next morning he says he'll drop him a newspaper from the plane if Trapdoor'll be right dutiful about readin' it.

"First thing we knew that steady old-timer gets to comparin' the speed of airplanes with the speed of tarantula hawks, and high-powered automobiles with tortoises and tarantulas. He kind of got off the subject of trapdoor spiders and horned toads. Never saw a man change like he did. Well, one day he turns up at the store with his beard all trimmed and says goodbye to me and Borego. Guess that son-of-a-gun of a pilot sold him his idea all right."

I looks at this stranger from Brawley and sees he has a queer expression on his face like he wants to do some of the talkin', so I stops and asks him did he know Trapdoor, too.

"I'll say I did!" he comes back at me quick. "The old duffer was a great philosopher. A reformer."

"A reformer?" says I. "Say, you can't tell me he ever took to religion."

"Hell, no!" says the stranger.

"Well, a reformer's a kinda preacher," I says to him, gettin' riled.

He appeared not to notice I was mad. He stood lookin' off thoughtful-like. Then he turns to me an' says, "He was a great old fellow. I'm sorry I talked so much. If there's no objections I'll move into Trapdoor's shack. I'm takin' to Borego for good."

"Who are you?" says I.

He looks at me like I shoulds understood. "Me?" he says. "Why, I'm the pilot."

Old Bill "Calico" Jones, who knows all about meteorites . . . sez, "Once I seen two falling stars hit one another and throw out sparks just like modern fireworks." Sez "It was in 1888," and he remembers right where he was standing at the time.

California, the state of swanky-sleek cars with rust-riddled, smog-smudged license plates.

AGE and antiquity give an added value to everything except an egg.


Dry Camp Blackie sat folded up like a Praying Mantis, — he looked at his shack as he mumbled to me — "Everything I get is worn out or empty" —I was thinking of grub and his old flivver, but just then a tourist came along and asked Blackie, —"Is it lonesome here in the desert?" He answered — "It's lonesome everywhere, my friend, but you can get back packets of Oliver's Scrap Book most any place in the Desert and they're chuck full of Quicksilver Humor," as the somewhat bemuddled tourist left, Blackie turned to me and repeated, —"Worn out or empty covers a lot, don't it,— then back to his mumbling — "I thought I remembered the look on her face — yes, it was the same look my gray mare had for weeks after she had become a mule's mother." —Then he went on— "Some people think being lonesome and being sober is the same thing" — "Say, Harry, that Spanish food does something to your brain, let me snap out of it, and we write something for this column, a gag or something, shall we?"

Editor's Note: — It wasn't the Spanish food because it gives one a nice warm contented feeling. Might be Quicksilver. You can get awful, awful mad at Quicksilver.


J. Frank Dobie, who admits he can be the biggest liar in the Southwest, says "The lies I tell are authentic lies. An authentic liar knows what he is lying about, knows that his listeners, unless they are tenderfeet or greenhorns, know also, and hence makes no pretense of fooling either himself or them."

Page 4   2nd Anniversary Packet   This Page is Dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist -- The Desert Prospector

Harry Oliver's

The Pack Rat's Nest

By ALLEN J. PAPEN, Glorieta, New Mexico

I camped with an old "desert rat" prospector, one night a few years ago, near Beaty, [sic] Nevada. While sitting around the campfire that evening he told me an interesting story of a pack rat.

He said he was pocket mining, as he called it. He occupied an old rock cabin close to his work. A family of pack rats lived close by. They often raided his cabin and following the habits of their kind, generally left something to replace what they had taken.

One night he left a quartz crystal lying on the table. The next morning the crystal was gone and in its place he found a gold nugget. The next evening he placed another crystal on the table. In the morning that was gone but a second nugget had taken its place. He then placed several crystals on the table. In the morning one crystal was missing but, there was another nugget. For several days, each moning a crystal was missing and a gold nugget had taken its place.

"By gosh," he said, "I got nervous. I thought that that rat had located a cache of gold ore. One nugget a day was too slow. I tried to locate the nest from whence these nuggets came but without success."

"How long did this replacing of crystals with gold nuggets continue?" I asked him.

"I got eight of them," he said, "before the rats were scared away by my search for their nest."


It is very true that what one does not know will not harm him.

The California Indian probably had great fun in selling a kind of meal to Fremont's men in 1845, which the purchasers relished well. Bidwell, in his memoirs wrote, "It was rich, spicy and pleasant to the taste."

It was so well liked by early pioneers that demand for it grew until the Indians became careless in its manufacture.

When the travelers found in it the legs, wings and heads of grasshoppers, the demand was killed.

The "rich, spicy" meal was nothing more than grasshopper meal.


In the trackless waste of the great Nevada Desert, it is often difficult for the most experienced desert rat to find water for himself and his burros, and in many places throughout the desert the whitened bones of man and beast bear grim testimony to this fact.

In the hope of providing for the desert sojourner in an emergency, the Nevada Legislature passed a law soon after the building of the first transcontinental railraod, requiring trains to stop at the signal of a distressed desert traveller and provide him and his animals with water. It is recorded that in 1906, when a train was speeding along from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles, it was flagged by an old prospector with three staggering burros in the heart of the hot dry desert in Nevada. Fortunately for the old man and his burros, the engineer was acquaited with the statutem and pulled his train to a stop. Water forr man and beasts was handed out by the bucketful, and the train moved on. —Outdoor Rambler, Ione, California.

If a fellow works hard an saves his money by the time he is 50 he can afford a nervous breakdown.


Arriving home very late, Frisco Freddy sliped off his shoes, entered the house very quietly, even got into the bedroom without disturbing the "battle axe."

Just as he was easing himself into bed, however, his wife slightly aroused and groaned, "Is that you, Fido?"

Thinking quickly, quicker than he ever did before, Freddy licked her hand.

Perplexed Oriental: "Our children velly white. Is velly strange."

Spouse: "Well . . . Occidents will happen."

From the Brewery Gulch Gazette, a little weekly newspaper printed in Bisbee, Arizona, that you can get for $2.50 a year. Just send them the money and you learn of the West.

What the New Yorker is to the East, the Gazette is to the Gulch.


A Great Collection of Relics, a Faithful Reproduction of a Composite Old West Ghost Town

Open Daily, 12 noon to 9 P.M.   Come and have FUN and a GOOD DINNER


22 Miles Southeast of Los Angeles
How To Get Along In Mexico

Is just one of the many interesting bits of information contained in

  Sonora Sketchbook

(Illustrated by the author)

Chapters have such titles as:

The Love Life of the Jumping Bean

The Social Aspects of Carrying Water

The Illiterate Book Seller


The Begger Who Smelled Like Violets

$5.00 at your Book Store

How To Rub-Out An Earthquake

Dear Harry:

Things have come to a fine stew in Palm Springs. We're having a lot of adverse comment about a crack I made in the Reader's Digest (which picked it up in Harper's) to the effect that "The climate is sexy."

Harry, I wasn't talking about the PEOPLE — just the CLIMATE. Is that bad? Is that slander? Is that true or false?

I know you have a brindled beard and your hais is white as San Jacinto's Peak — but was I wrong? What we need right now is an expert opinion — and I'm sure there's enough of the Pan left in you so that you should know.



Palm Springs had three spots in the news in 1948: a rain storm, a little earthquake that knocked a few bottles off slippery shelves (mostly whiskey and perfume), but the third "whoopee" was a wild story — "Palm Springs, Wind, Sand and Stars" in Harper's Magazine for August, '48. Seems the writer, Cleveland Amory (a very proper Bostonian) talked to a Palm Springs girl, Priscilla Chaffey (for 11 years editor of one of the Palm Springs newspapers). Priscilla was quoted as saying, "Our climate here is sexy."

All your Editor has to say is that our Desert Folks have always been very, very healthy and very friendly. Priscilla, I wish we could have the expert opinion of the old Desert Pioneer in the picture in the next column. —>

Then too, the answer may be in John Hilton's . . . "How To Be a Desert Rat and Like It" . . . on page 5 of this packet.


"Cactus Slim" Moorten says things are different in Palm Springs than they used to be. Even the weather doesn't work the same. Along in the fall of the year when days are getting shorter they take a spurt for a week or two of being a few minutes longer. Reason — the sun finding notches in the mountains.

Slim says "Another curious fact is that it freezes a 8 degrees higher in Palm Springs. When the radios says it's going to be 40 degrees before sunup, I look out the window and see frost on the ground and ice, too, in spots.


Dear Harry:

Just read a very interesting article on birds and found something that you ought to know about. It seems that most birds have four toes on each foot, three in front and one behind and that birds of the Parrot family are a little different, having two toes in front and two behind . . . Now a Roadrunner's foot has two toes in front and two behind, so that ought to make it a member of the Parrot family . . . What I am getting at is that you ought to catch yourself a Roadrunner and educate him — then you would probably have the only talking Roadrunner in the world for your Museum.


Old Timer McRae who lives just west of Fort Oliver is adding another room to his shack so's he'll have room to take a Sunday paper.

Petrified Lightning

Harry, you old fossil, you have often mentioned the various Petrified Forests and Springs in the desert that will petrify wood, and you have probably been petrified yourself a few times around Christmas and New Year's — BUT I'll bet that you probably haven't seen any Petrified Lightning . . . Well, practically right out your own back door, there are barren sand dunes that have been struck with lightning. The intense heat fuses the sand and forms tubes, which are sometimes 30 feet in length. These tubes vary in size, some being three to four inches in circumference although most of them are a little smaller . . . The interior of the tubes is [sic] glossy and like glass, so now get busy and figure out something that they can be used for . . . High class Rockhounds call he Fulgurites, but between you and me, they are just Petrified Lightning.


You Can Float In

PLAY — In the Sun - - In the Water and Under the Wind
250 Feet Below Sea Level
Salton Sea — A beautiful inland body of salt water — area 306 square miles, 25 0feet [sic] below sea level. Its salt content is twice that of the ocean — Its surface is the fastest motor boat course in the world.


Swimming and Boating
Desert and Seashore Homesites

9½ Miles East of Meca, [sic] California

[image: riot in overloaded bed - man atop wardrobe]

Polygamy was Brigham Young's own invention among the westward bound Mormons according to officials of the Re-Organized Church of the Later [sic] Day Saints, with headquarters in the "Garden of Eden" at Independence, Missouri. Abner Blackburn says "there was much talk about polygamy" after Brigham Young took over, which is further proof that Joseph Smith did not start plural marriage as charged by Utah Mormons. Brigham had 21 wives, 20 of whom lived in the Lion House, where the "Lion of the Lord" sometimes presided, away from danger, high up on the clothes closet as portrayed in the above early day caricature. WHile westward bound, early in 1846, at Council Bluffs, Brigham sent several hundred of his able bodied men to enlist in the Mexican War. He was short of food and money, and now of man power which probably was responsible for him and his Elders taking on plural and younger wives. Emilia was always his favorite, and for her he built a separate palace on Brigham Street. Descendents of Emilia today claim they are the only legitimate heirs of Brigham, leaving hundreds of others without claim. The George Edmunds Act of 1882 and 1887 broke up Brigham's polygamy business by making it a Federal crime subject to $500 fine and 5 years in jail. Many Saints never went to jail by practicing it secretly. From The Pony Express. By permission of Herb S. Hamlin

LEGEND: A lie that has attained the dignity of age.


This is the 2nd Anniversary of this publication, which means there's been 8 copies come off the press. The first packet was published the 15th of April, 1946, and here it is December 15th, 1948. Thirty-one months to get to be two years old.

I did it without hired help except for the printing, and never ordered it printed until I had the money to pay the printer. Worked out, building Adobe Houses, Fairs, Floats, Swimming Pools, etc., to get the money.

It's been fun. I like your letters even if I did not answer any of them, not even the ones in which you enclose 50¢ for a year's subscription and then forget to put in the 50¢. There is always the possibility a letter may have a 10 years subscription (with a $5 check in it). I have a few. Sure it's fun!

I do have subscribers in every state in the Union and a coupl'a hundred going to Foreign Countries (mostly Canada and Mexico).

Most of my patients re-subscribe, so I guess you miht say this paper is a success. Viva La Anniversary!

From the Preachers Pack

"The Ministry of Humor"

Pastor of the West Adams Presbyterian Church, Los Angeles

"Humor is not the mark of a superficial character. Only Humor is song. Men express themselves through laughter just as deeply as through tears. There are certain strenghtening states of mind such as love, joy, peace, friendliness. These all build health. Humor is contributory to all these. It is one of the paths of happiness.

"Humor is not the mark of a superficial character. Only serious minded people can produce rich humor. Men like Mark Twain knew all about the sorrows and heartaches of humanity. Because they knew these experiences they could provide the antidotes for them.

"Humor has its definite mission because it helps to promote true fellowship and fellowship is the chief value of human living. Men who have fortunes and no fellows are poverty stricken, for money can't furnish satisfactiuon for soul hunger. On the other hand, men who enjoy the fellowship of congenial spirits do not need to consult their properties to know their wealth.

"If we have a grouch, let's check it. If we have a laugh, let's share it. For folks who can laugh together can live together."


Proprietor, Wickenburg Ore Market, in the Wickenburg Sun

Out beyone Salome and a few miles on west of the own of Hope lies the settlement of Desert Wells, on the edge of a great desert valley where some years ago a number of colored families took up homesteads on the promise of water from the Colorado River.

The years passed and as prayers for water went unanswered, one by one these families gave up the long struggle and took the road back.

Only one family remained — one of great faith — the family of Raymond Perry. A family that trusted in the Lord and believed in the power of prayer.

A few weeks ago Raymond was awakened in the night by a vision. A vision of a rich mine in the desert. The great vision was so clear he could not sleep and walked about outside the house, waiting for the break of day while his good wife prayed that the great vision might be true and that the Lord would guide his footsteps through the desert to his dream of dreams.

And so it was that Raymond Perry, guided by something greater than himself, walked 10 miles ion a straight line to a very rich lead deposit. One that may become a great mine.

Raymond has already taken out and marketed enough ore to prove the value of the mine and has been offered a lot of money for it. But he says, "This is the Lord's mine and He is going to keep it."

Next June when it gets hot (and it does get hot!) Raymond is going up in the high mountains where it is cool, and spend the summer fishing. For 15 years he has toiled and sweated through the heat of the desert, always with an eye on the cool mountains to the north and a wish in his heart to go fishing.


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Our Aim and Object — To rescue for America the old Pioneer Spirit by relating true stories of famous Frontier Trails.

Herb S. Hamlin, Editor
Address All Mail to
500 Virginia Ave.
San Mateo, California
Published Monthly at Placerville, Calif.
Formerly Hangtown

THE WEST Is Still Wild

I have a big old 44 Colt "Trouble Stopper" with notches on its handle and by gee I have to use it every night because I don't like trouble — yes sir'ee, I lay that old shooting iron on my well stuffed old office chair so's "Whiskers," my dog, and "Sin," my cat, won't fight all night to see which sleeps on that soft chair seat.

  Rip-Snortin', the Old Time Prospector is back from his vacation.   It was an alcoholiday.

Alaskans Learn Silversmithing . . .

TUBA CITY — Four students from Wrangell and White Mountain schools in Alaska are being sent by Indian Service to boarding school here to learn the art of making cast silver jewelry. Two of the students will be from the Haida and Tlinget tribes, and two will be Eskimos. Their instructor is Chester Yellowhair, famous for his beautiful work in cast silver. It is planned that upon their return the students will teach other Alaskan natives, using distinctly Alaskan designs from their traditional totemic material. —Desert Magazine.

The largest black opal in the world, with a value placed at $200,000, was found in northwestern Nevada. —Desert Magazine.


He knew he was great. Had he not read it in the morning papers again and again in the evening papers? A great director of a great motion picture. Great he must be. Of course the papers stated that the stars had been cleverly chosen, the story was brilliant, the costumes beautiful, the music refreshing and snappy, the settings colossal, the photography superb. But he was there in person so he could take the bows for all of this, he and his beautiful wife, and everyone in Hollywood's newest CAFE OF YES was aware that he was the fellow that made "SUE GOES UPSTAIRS," the great hit. He also knew the hit would be talked of only until another came along to take its place — two weeks, if he was lucky.

Then the singing waiter came to his table and all eyes were turned his way and he had a chance to smile at a few he had missed. As the song went on — a song about "no matter what you drink the night before, it's water, water, ice cold water in the morning." While the waiter did a shaky imitation of the morning after, a splash of water socked "our here" under the chin, wilting his Bond Street shirt, as the crowd roared with laughter. Mr. Great Director slapped the apologizing waiter and, turning, saw the profile of his beautiful wife. She and his brother, both forgetting his importance, laughed with the crowd.

He thought he heard hisses as he hastily fled from the place, not stopping for his hat. As he reached the curb he could hear the laughter and the waiter's song, "Water, water in the morning," ringing in his ears.

As he shot down Hollywood Boulevard in his big blue roadster he could see his name in electric lights. On and on he drove through the summer night — Berdoo, Banning, on into the desert to make the wrong turn at a detour, his radio blasting, blasting out the lauhter from the cafe he had just left.

Many missed Mr. Great Director at the preview the following night, but it wasn't till long after they had left the theatre that Yuma Slim, a prospector crossing a narrow strip of the desert, heard someone singing "Water, water," and investigating, found a big blue car miles off the main highway, out of gas, a thirst-crazed man slumped in the seat.

It took Yuma Slim some time to figure who was hollering for the waer, but knowing more of the ways of the desert than of radios, he gave him water from his canteen.

The next day when Mr. Director left for Hollywood, Yuma Slim said to him, "I guess that fellah singin' that water song saved your life, and he's darned comical, too." "Yes, he saved my life alright and I can repay him. I am going to have the writers make a spot for him in my next picture.

Harry Has Given An Appetizer

To Really Know Our Desert Read

Edited by Randall Henderson

For 11 Years the Desert Dwellers Bible

Send 25¢ for sample copy - - - PALM DESERT, CALIF.

It is estimated that half a million snakes and twice that number of lizards were lkilled for their skins and turned into shoes and purses last year, for milady's fancy.



Pat Boomer who's always got a patent pending, has gone and taken to raising chickens. He's doing it all by machinery. Everything is to be automatic. You push a button and it works.

It's bad business for a stranger to push buttons around Pat's house; you might stop the windmill, you might feed the hogs off hours or you might accidentally lock the gate when the mother-in-law's coming.

Pat had us all breakin' our backs shovelin' into that separator he invented for dry gold mining. The patent must still be pending. All we ever found was two horseshoe nail and the Widow Winchester's false teeth. Pat sure is a mechanical cuss, so mechanical that he forgot it takes a little romance to breed chickens, till that new-fangled solar heater incubator of his refused to show any results without a rooster. I was wonderin' about that and wasn't surprised when he come to the Busy Bee store and asked me who's got the best roosters.

A storekeeper's got to be diplomatic, so I said, "Well, Joe Webb says he has, so does Scotty. Better get one from each ofr them. That's the way we do things here."

He took my advice. About a week later we were all out on the porch when here comes Pat in his flivver, its fenders floppin' like the ears of a hound dog. Pat gets out, and talkin' like he always does to machinery, like as if it understands him, he tells the car to wait. He got cured of swearin' at machinery; seems once he told a meat-grinder to go to hell and it up an' bit his finger.

Strange enough, he didn't come to talk about his fancy contraptions. He had somethin' else on his mind. He hands me one of them mail-order envelopes, forgettin' that they always make me see red, and says, "Take a squint at what's inside, old timer."

I did. And there were four of the prettiest little gold nuggets you ever seen.

"Either Joe or Scotty's got gold on his place," says Pat.

Funny, the interest gold can excite. Everyone talked at once. Of course Joe and Scotty got most of the attention.

"Gold on my place?" says Joe lookin' suspicious at Pat.

"Gold on my place?" says Scotty. "Hoot, Mon, you're daft."

"Well," says Pat, "I got a rooster from each of you, didn't I? Well, they took to fightin' this mornin' an' one of them got so badly licked I had to kill it."

"Not mine," snaps out Joe.

"Whose else could it be?" says Scotty.

They were both right proud of their roosters and wouldn't stand for no slanderous reports. They side tracked Pat's story and it looked like they'd come to blows before the boys dragged 'em back to the subject of gold.

"That gold," says Pat, "come from the crop of the rooster that got beat."

"Then the gold's from your place," says Scotty to Joe.

"Wrong again," says Joe. "My roosters keep in practice by lickin' rattlesnakes."

"Congratulate him, boys," says Scotty.

"No rooster of mine gets licked, gold or no gold," says Joe.

There was no stopin' 'em. Finally Pat gets disgusted, says something about inventin' a gag for folks that argue too much and heads himself home.

Late that night, as I was shuttin' up the store, I saw the lights of two langerns flashin' in the dark, one to the east, the other to the west. Knowin' the geography down here pretty well I guesses that, roosters or no roosters, there was some preliminary gold huntin' goin' on in two chicken yards.

The Jackass Rabbit

In the early days of the West, naturalists referred to the rabbit with the long ears as the Jackass Rabbit and Mule rabbit . . . Inasmuch as the common name for a Jackass was shortened to Jack, the same happened to the Jackass rabbit and it is now called a Jack rabbit. The average desert Jack can get going at a speed of 35 to 40 miles an hour for quite a distance . . . When going at top speed it makes leaps of from 10 to 15 feet and cannot be caught by ordinary dogs . . . Greyhounds can catch them if they are in a straight run, but will not stand a chance if in a bushy country.

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How to be a Desert Rat and like it


There are as many deserts as there are people in them, just as there are as many worlds. Being a "Desert Rat" is like being a lover, for the desert is like a woman with a million faces.

Her flowery make-up in the spring is like a your chorus girl. There's real beauty there if you can get past the sand verbenas and cloying perfume. Most visitors see only the surface charm. She's in a flirting mood then is anybody's girl. If you want to be a "stage door Johnny," you can pay a high price for a cheap thrill and feel a bit silly afterward, carrying home a mass-produced flashy painting of the desert in bloom like a Paris postcard.

The desert possesses a rich dowry and some woo her for that alone, but the money leaves a bitter taste with a secret hatred for its source. For business reasons or to cover up their frustration, such persons may try to act and talk like real desert rats, but it won't work! Even if they ride silver-saddled Palominos, wear embroidered shirts, teach their butler a western drawl and serve champagne in tincups.

Anyone can be a desert rat who can see and love the beauty of the desert in all her moods. There's beauty and wild music in a desert sandstorm. he lightning and thunder of a summer cloudburst are the flashing eyes — the emoting and tears of a high-spirited, beautiful actress "putting on a scene." They are soon over. There's beauty in crisp cool winter mornings and hot sultry summer afternoons, but most of all there's the intimate beauty of being alone with her on long walks on lying on her warm breast on balmy summer nights counting the stars in her hair — listening in the silence to your own heartbeat as it matches hers.

Being a desert rat and liking it is like being in love — you just can't help it.

All text was lovingly hand-entered (no OCR scans) by RIC CARTER who stakes a claim to the copyright for the layout and markup, but not to the contents, which remain the property of the heirs and estate of Harry Oliver, wherever they may be. Hopefully all the original typos were preserved and not too many new ones were introduced, but y'know how it goes...
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