Scrap Book

From this packet you get Old Timers' Tall Tales

Desert Wit Humor Banter & Philosophy

[cartoon: IRS helicopter hovering over gold-panning prospectors]

Your Editor thanks the Saturday Evening Post for the use of this cartoon. When Ben Franklin started the Post in 1728, he too had a lot of fine old type, and he too was a good printer. Bob (C.R.) Dell of Marengo, Illinois, made the drawing. Thanks to you too, Bob.

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


This paper is not entered as 2nd class mail. It's a first class newspaper.
Scrap Book
  Packet One of Pouch Three
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.

This material, pictures and writing is copyrighted — and branded.


NEW MEXICO MAGAZINE   The Capitol   Santa Fe   George Fitzpatrick, Editor

Dear Harry Oliver

Thank you for your letter. I'm glad you like "This Is New Mexico." Coming from a real connoisseur, that's a real compliment.

Yes, we're happy to have you use Omar Barker's tribute to the great state of Texas with proper credit to "This Is New Mexico." With best wishes,  

See Page 4.  

Sweat & the Type Louse

Getting this paper out when it's 121 in the shade is tough — but trying to do the job with Pack Rats changing things around in the pigeon-holes of this hundred year old desk is almost the impossible — (but I am going to do it) — and what's more I got a new bunch of trouble, — this new trouble came out of an old font of type I found in a Ghost Town — (nice old type but no c's) — yes sir I found a Type Louse — He had his nest in the ffi compartment, but got away from me crawling into the 18 pt. P.T. Barnum type case — but knowing what to expect, — I'll watch for his dirty work.

As an apprentice I learned of the Type Louse. I remember when they fired me because I couldn't spell. The boss said if he could, he would keep me just to chase the Type Louse around.

I didn't learn to spell, — but I did learn the typesetter's rule, — "Set up type as long as you can hold your breath without getting blue in the face, then put in a comma. When you gape, put in a semicolon, and when you want to sneeze, that's the time to make a paragraph.

As to that 121 in the shade — you know, you don't have to stay in the shade all the time.


Here at Fort Oliver I can see farther and see less than anywhere else on earth. I just picked up my old telescope and looking over at Broiling Flats I could see the cactus crawlin' off in the shade of the big rocks. It's sure hot today.

Outside the lizards hang by their tails on the shady side of the cactus to keep their bellies from frying.

Too hot to go any place and not much to do, so for a month I have been trying to teach "Whiskers" my dog how to play checkers. — He will make about two moves, but then he stops and lays down on the cool floor. As a last resort I shut him up by himself in the room with a double jump right in front of him, and told him it was his move, — After considerable time had elapsed, I finally stooped and looked through the keyhole. — No, you're wrong — all I saw was one of "Whiskers" brown eyes and he winked — and said Hot Dog.

Dry Camp Blackie brought two cakes of ice home from Indio wrapped in burlap, opened the car door and says they started walking down trail hand in hand and fainted.

Last year about this time rain came but nary a drop hit the ground — turned into steam — like spittin' into a blast furnace.

My dog, Whiskers, nose is so hot he burnt a hole in the back door.

Yesterday two city real estate men all dressed up in new blue serge suits called at the Fort. They got into a jeep and started across the sand dunes, when the jeep finally got to the highway, the two blue suits got out of the jeep, the men had done melted out of 'em.

It's so hot here at Fort Oliver, my two pet Desert tortoises have burrowed ten feet under ground — last time I saw them by moonlight, Kate who is 6 7/8" had Duplikate's 8 1/2" shell on and was almost walking out of it, while Duplikate was oozing out of Date's pint size quonset. Sure is hot.

My cat sinks her claws into a prune for each foot when she walks in the sunny patio; gives her a new look.

Look! Look! on the desk — that Type Louse is taking a bath in the ink well.

Gee, It's Hot!

The wisest owl occasionally hoots at the wrong time.


 "Some think East
   Is always East
  And West is
   Always Wrest
  They haven't seen
   Conchita's slacks
  Or Ginsberg's
   Cowboy vest
—Brewery Gulch Gazette, Bisbee, Arizona

Don't Be Fooled

The records show that the tortoise won only one race with the hare.

Grasshopper Council

During an earthquake in a certain desert town, the municipal building was all shook up and the councilmen left in a hurry. The clerk, a man of rules and regulations, didn't know how to give his record the proper official business tone. Finally he made this entry: "On motion of the City Hall, the council adjourned."

Ask Mayor (Grasshopper) Farrell.


—From Bill's Sunday column, May 19, 1935

YES BUT we haven't got enough with that spirit. We talk more independence than we practice. Here is an interesting letter from an old friend of mine, Harry Oliver. He was art director for our movie company (Fox). That's the man that arranges all the "Sets." That's the houses and scenes that we shoot. Well he is quite a desert rat, and has a place away out on the desert, and he is head of the big amusement place called Gold Gulch at the big San Diego Exposition, which you don't want to miss. He is putting on a "Mule Swearing Contest." That is its prizes for the man that can cuss a mule the best, or worst. They are importing real Missouri Mules. He has a lazy dog contest, where there is handsome prizes for the laziest dog, including the owner.

Then he has a special contest for residents from Florida, who can tell the biggest lie about California, (or maybe it won't be a lie, but the Californians will call it a lie.) I can't imagine what it would be if it was a lie. California is a hard state to lie about.

[image: adobe shack in desertscape]
A Place Away Out on the Desert

Packet 1 Pouch 3     Harry Oliver's DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOK     Page 3


A certain judge in the mining territory of Nevada had a reputation for probity. In keeping with the opinion, he opened a mining claim case one morning with the followeing words to the court:

"Gentlemen, this court has received from the plaintiff in this case a check for $10,000. He has received from the defendent a check for $15,000. The court has returned $5,000 to the defendant and will now try the case on its merits."

The Censor Is Out Of The Room

Out in the wide open places of West Texas where men are men, we find a General Store. The proprietor, a lad of 104, is impatient. His son, a youngster of 80 who makes the deliveries on his bicycle is late, he finally arrives 30 minutes late.

His Father says, "Son, why are you so late?"

Son replies: "Well, Pa, I need glasses. I can't see the signs so good."

Father says, "Now listen, Son. Nary one in our family wore glasses, come out here and look down the road at the mile corner and tell me what you see."

Son looks and says, "Pa, I see a dog coming this way just this side of the corner. Yes, a one-eyed dog."

Father says, "Let's see son, (shielding his eyes with his hand), "Yes, Son, — my poor boy, you do need glasses. That's a dog all right, but he is going the other way." Thanks to— Gail Hamilton, El Paso, Texas

This Side Of the Sun

By Phat

Harry Oliver got back from Arizona the other day . . . He was down there betting business for his Desert Rat Scrap Book . . . One Wickenburg merchant was all for him after asking: "You're local of course" . . . Harry answered "yes" but when he gave his address, "Thousand Palms," California, the Arizona merchant shied . . . "You said you were local" he sputtered . . . "Oh, local," said Harry, "I thought you asked me if I was Loco!" He got the business. —The Desert Sun, Palm Springs

HORNED TOAD   "Nice fellow"

Nothing bothers them, they live in perfect accord with rattlesnakes and prospectors and desert rats and wandering tourists and desert birds . . . They suffer in silence tales told that they have vicious bites and their bite is as dangerous as their cousin, the Gila Monster, who lives with them, but he's an agreeable critter who never bit anybody, even if he did go insane and use his teeth . . . if he has any teeth . . . The horned toad is a pretty nice critter always minding his own business. He doesn't care what man does, just so he doesn't step on him. . . . Received a letter from M.S. (a desert lover) saying she won five dollars betting on'em in a race. They even get along on (roll your own) dude ranches.

. . . I think the Horned Toad should be adopted as an emblem of peace for they sure are symbolic of staying out of trouble. We haven't got very far following the dove and olive branch, mebbe we should give the horned toad a whirl at it.

Trapdoor Lewis, Knows his bugs

Trapdoor Lewis tells me most desert birds, insects and lizards, etc., find their way home, but ses there's a wise caterpillar here that spins a life line when leaving its home so's it can find its way back.

Trapdoor knows his bugs: — Ses the scorpion carries her young on her back. If one falls off she eats it. When they grow up they eat her. The insect stings with her tail, causing temprorary paralysis and sometimes death.

PARACHUTE INVASION: — Ballooning is the method of migration used by many species of spiders. Standing in an open space with its body elevated, the spider projects from its spinnarets a line of silk which continues until the spider feels the pull of the wind. It then releases its hold and is borne away to foreign places.


"It Couldn't be Done, so I went Ahead and Done it."   —Dave Flannagan

The early pioneers of southern Utah were hauling lumber from Kiabab, [sic] Trumble, and other remote forests, while right on the rim of Zion Park Canyon (later Cabal Mountain) were millions of feet of fine pine timber, but no known way of getting it down from those sheer 2000 feet of perpendicular ledges. Here is where native common sense and determination of pioneer stock came to the rescue.

One Dave Flannagan conceived the idea of bringing the timber down on wire cables. Dr. Decker of the B.A.C.U., hearing of the project, went down to investigate. He informed Dave that his scheme was not feasible — that the wire he was using would not hold its own weight for the required 3000 foot span — that scientific tests had determined this fact. Dave told this writer (11-28-48) in his modest way:

"I old Dr. Decker that I wasn't no scientist, so I didn't know it couldn't be done, and so I just went ahead and done it." Millions of feet of choice lumber were brought down over those wires at a tremendous saving.

It is reported that Brigham Young had once told those people that "lumber would come down over those cliffs like a hawk out of the sky." —Thanks to N.A. Jensen

"Do You Fear the Wind?"

 Do you fear the force of the wind,
 The slash of the rain?
 Go face them and fiht them,
 Be savage again.
 Go hungry and cold lide a wolf,
    Go wade like the crane;
 The palms of your hand with thicken
 The skin of your hands will tan,
 You'll grow ragged and weary and swarthy,
   But you'll walk like a man!


Here's the recipe for long life. It comes from Uncle Walter Morrison, who says he was born in slavery in Virginia 100 years ago.

He sums it up:

"When I works, I works hard. When I sits, I just sits relaxed. When I start worrying, I just fall asleep."


When I drink I ain't going to give Dry Camp Blackie any. You know drinks ain't good for him.

Time for my bath. I've had the electric fan setting in the bathroom window sucking in a mirage — great bathing in those mirages.

(P.S. I never have know a mirage to bring soap and towel.)


The best way to handle a rattlesnake is to pick it up by the body, as close to the head as possible — and be sure that the critter is dead!

Rattlesnakes do not 'rattle' to give a warning. They rattle because they can't help it. . . . There are several snakes that shake their tails when under a nervous tension but are fortunate enough not to have rattles that attract attention. When a rattlesnake sounds off, especially around human beings, it is a cinch that he isn't going to die of old age!

Most people think that a rattlesnake is about the most useless thing on earth, but facts prove quite the contrary. . . . There are several farms that breed and raise rattlesnakes for their venom, which is used in medicine. Other farms raise them for their skins and meat. . . . Canned rattlesnake is available in food stores all over the country. The skins are used for making purses, shoes, binding of books, lamp shades and many other things. . . . Even the vertegrae are used. . . . they make necklaces and bracelets from them. . . . By this time just about all of the snake is used up, and anyway I can't think of anything else they use them for.   —Lee Lindley.




PROSPECTORS in this desert seem to figure it's easier to find a mine someone else has lost, than to find one no one ever found, so most of them are huntin' for the mysterious lost ones, that's been talked about so much. Discountin' them few unimportant mines that were located accidental when no one was lookin' for them, there's not much been done by prospectors lately an' it's because most of them's only just scratchin' the top.

I was just showin' the widow a hammock one day when old Jake Topper comes in a'smilin' like a cat that's just swallowed the canary. You see I'm the closes' thing we got to a newspaper in Borego Valley, runnin' the Busy Bee store like I do, and the widow was askin' a lot about other folks and givin' a few contributions herself, bound that she was going to have her say or bust. Meanwhile Jake reaches over the counter and gets some peanut bars; he's on his fifth and got the wrappin's in a row so's I can see how many he's had. He was actin' darn prosperous.

When the widow left, Jake come to me still smilin' and mysterious, an' after grabbing his sixth peanut bar whispers that he wants to talk to me alone, so I send Haywire Johnnie over to Kactus Kate's to see if she don't want anything today. Then as Jake starts his seventh peanut bar, he puts a piece of quartz on the counter that would go two thousand to the ton. All excited he tells me what a fine thing he's got an' boils over, spatterin' peanuts in my face, a'trying to say he's found the mother lode.

He wants me top be a millionaire with him. As he goes through his tenth nut-bar and startrs the eleventh. About then I can just see myself rollin' down Fifth Avenue, back east, in a Rolls Royce, and then gettin' in to one of them steamers for Europe with some of them big Wall Street fellers tryin' to borrow money from me.

Reaching for the candy case again and talkin' way down in his whiskers, Jake says, "I've got the long lost Peg Leg Mine, and I can prove it!"

"How?" I asks him, kinda suspicious.

He looks out the door and windows to make sure we're alone, then whisperin' an' very impressive-like says, "I found the old-timer's peg leg in the shaft," and from under his coat he hauls out a peg leg that's seen lots of better days.

"Well," says I, "you've et twelve of them peanut bars, four bits you owe me. Maybe you'd like to give me the peg leg and call it square."

Jake looks at me like he thinks I'm plumb loco.

"Sure," I goes on, "I'm makin' a collection of 'em. You prospectors have been findin' old Smith's leg all the way from here to New Mexico and tryin' to sell a mine with each one. You top-scratchers must think Peg Leg Smith was a migratin' centipede."


OLD KASHINS' different from most desert prospectors, he ain't lookin' for gold, that is raw gold, it's gold he wants all right and gets. He first came to my store nine years ago ridin' a fancy horse and leadin' a string of twenty burros with bells an' silver Mex trappin's on 'em. Right away I had my suspicions of him, and warn't far wrong. I found cactus stickers in some flat-sided pickles he'd preserved.

After the road was put through the Colonel got a car. Now I sell him gas and get him fancy cigarettes. He's smart, a kinda desert genius or maybe a genii who rubs a lamp or something, for the way he can see, or hear (his kind of gold), every place he turns is unnatural.

It's Kashin that's sent yucca stalks to the factories in New Jersey to amke artificial legs of, an' he ships cactus to Germany for them Ultra Moderns, and he sends lizard an' snake skins to the shoe factories in Milwaukee, an' desert holly an' mistletoe at Christmas time to New York, and live horned toads to Boston, an' he's got good trade hauling blistered rocks to Los Angeles and San Diego for rock gardens and stepping stones. He digs up trap door spider's nests, trap doors, tunnels an' all, to send to a curio dealer in Denver, sends eagles feathers an' hawk feathers to the women folks hat stores back East, and pays Uphill Smith to watch all that glass ware in Hell-Hole Canyon till it gets a desert purple. No one else but Kashin could think of it.

He showed me how to drive a spigot in a barrel cactus, and he told me it was his idea to use polished cactus stickers for phonograph needles, and how he brought the jumpin' bean to the public eye. Now he's planted forty acres of them.

Col. Kashins' doin' a lot of shippin' lately comin' to the express window here at the store a coupla times a week, sendin' mineral specimens and petrified wood East in boxes I save for him.

Now, all these old prospectors gets to sayin' things about him sellin' everything we got down here, diggin' at him until it kinda got him peeved, bein' busy like he always is. I'm tryin' to get 'em off that ornery envyin' talk, and makes the remark that we're lucky they ain't makin' hour glasses no more or he'd sell the sand right out from under our feet.

Col. Kashins chucklin' as he opens a sack, "I know something to sell that would help this valley a lot, but can't do it 'cuz you got a corner on the best specimens, right there a sittin' on your counter."

"These are the best I can find," and he empties the sack (filled with old fossils) on to the floor.

Sappho was a lady

A prospecor over at Quartzite, Arizona, that's spent 26 years out here in the desert, six years huntin' gold, and twenty years huntin' his three dad-burned burros, told me this story today.

"Years ago," said he, "I put a bell on Sappho, my pet burro, and turned her loose to feed n ights with Frankey and Johnny, a pesky pair of blues, the bell so's I can locate them in the mornin', they stayin' together. Well, lots of ties I couldn't hear that bell and after spendin' most a day lookin' for 'em would find their tracks close by, I thought I might be gettin' deaf, till one day after trampin' for miles, I found out how them pesky burros had been trickin' me these years. I returned to camp and looked down into a canyon close by; there was Sappho, her head motionless over a large rock, and Frankey and Johnny bringin' every other mouth-full of grass over to her rock, so's she wouldn't move her head and ring that tell-tale bell."


Seven Moons for the Desert

Had God ever traveled or made camp in a cactus desert filled with rattlers and barbed spines, He would have provided at least seven moons, always full, so that between night and day would be only the difference of heat. Senor Don Juan Obregon, Baja California, 1798
Thanks to CLARENCE F. JOYCE, Casa Blanca, Ensenada, Mexico

Did you know that the Mojave lizards travel in pairs in the summer time? One rides the other pick-a-back till the tootsies get hot. Then they trade off. —Mrs. Karl Mott Klinger

U.S. will only surpass Mexico in pleasure when it adopts two fiesta days to supplant the Mexican's one. C. ALEXANDER, Alexander the Great, A Magician Turned Desert Rat.

Page 4   Hot Weather Packet   This Page is Dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist -- The Desert Prospector

Harry Oliver's


By George Pipkin   Death Valley

A group of prospectors were camped in the Funeral Mountains. One of the prospectors while gazing across Death Valley at the mountains beyond, made the remark that he was going into those mountains and pan-a-mint-of-gold, His companions thought that Panamint would be an appropriate name for the mountains, and so it was.

Nice thing about the part I play — is it lets you do things the E Z way. You write them when you are Hi — and edit them when you have a hangover.

The Pack Rat's Nest

Desert packrats are noted as traders, often leaving some small worthless article, such as a chip or pebble, in the place of something that pleases their fancy. A rancher attempted to kill off some packrats with poisoned wheat. A few days after he had placed the wheat he went to his kitchen for some rice. In a sack scattered among the whie grains were a lot of brown ones — poisoned wheat. The packrats had done some trading. —"My Column" in Bisbee Evening Ore.


Your Editor is proud to say Bertha Brown, in the book department in the Desert Magazine's beautiful new building, Palm Desert, California, (The Capital of the Desert) sells my paper — as well as everything else written about the Desert — Well, what I'm saying — I don't get much cash. I just get books, books, books, and more books, so many tempting items to add to my library — the best about the Desert. Stop and see these books at the Desert Magazine. Then you will know why the minus cash and the plus books.


. . . is where the desert, and the West, begin. The story of New Mexico in an easy-to-take form has been compiled in . . .

This Is New Mexico
Edited by George Fitzpatrick

  You can buy it direct from New Mexico Magazine, Santa Fe, N.M., for $3.00 a copy — but you'll give your local bookseller a break if you order it through him.


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

By Harry Oliver

In the year 1888, as the story goes, a desert rat hired a burro in the summer time, to pack a load from Palm Springs to Dos Palmas. At noon, when the sun was very hot, both he who had hired the burro and the owner of the animal wanted to sit in the shade of the burro, they fell to thrusting one another away. The owner insisted that he had hired out only the burro and not the shadow. The Desert Rat insisted that as he had hired the burro, all that belonged to the burro was his.

Old timers say the fine point of the burro and his shadow remain unsettled to this day, but the name Shadow (later Shadow Mountain) has stayed through the years. Today most folks come to Palm Desert not for shadows, but to enjoy the winters sun.

Palm Desert ADOBE
HOTEL BUNGALOWS adjacent to Shadow Mountain Club

Copyrighted by HARRY OLIVER
Not to be reprinted without permission.

of the old West
By Herbert W. Kuhm

In traveling about the West I like to make a detour to every nice, quiet Ghost Town cemetary I come across. For two reasons. First, I have to push my body at such a hectic clip day after day that it feels good to halt and let my soul catch up with me. It is then that I ponder on such bits of wisdom as that of the old Paiute chieftan who said: "White man tam fool: work like hell to be richest man in cemetary!"

Secondly, I like to leisurely skulk through skull orchards in quest of quaint tombstones, for the inscriptions on them tell many a story.

For example, two little lambs with heads caressing over the grave of Abby and Willie McDougal, and the inscription "Our darling little Lamb" over that of Permelia Calder evidence the high infant mortality in the rough and rugged pioneer days.

The very given names are full of interest. There are those like Abel, Jason, Isaiah, Elija, Ruth, Martha and Miriam which testify to the deep religious nature of the naming parents. Others as Horatio, Augustus, Ulysses, Euclid, Orasmus, Phydello, Romulus or Remus gave evidence of the Latin and Greek classics that were the mainstay of early academic backgrounds.

Soothing and as comfortable as a pair of old carpet slippers are such names in stone as Addie, Nellie, Tessie or Amie; likewise Amy, Matie, Polly and Lizzie.

The effect of highly romantic novels as "Hypatia" and "Clarissa" on the names of the babes of that period are reflected in such inscriptions as: Melissa, Terissa, Lavancha and Drusilla; not to mention further Orcelia, Lucretia, Leonora and Juliette, lifted bodily from early paper-backed novels or theatre programs. It was often the pitiful gesture of a mother to put a bit of color intpo an otherwise drab existence.

This cemetary snooping can bring out an occasional gem at times. For example, what can be more interesting than the epitath found at Sparta Diggings, California, which reads:

In memory of
JOHN SMITH, who met
wierlent death, neer this spot
18 hundred and 40 too. He was shot
by his own pistill;
It was not one of the new kind,l
but an old fashioned
brass barrel, and of such is
the Kingdom of heaven.
And then there's that oft-quoted Colorado epitath, concise and final:
He was young
He was fair
But the Injuns
Raised his hair.

Although humor is lacking in the general mine-run of epitaths, there are spare occasions when unconscious humor can be read into the lines of tragedy graven upon some headstones, such as that of two Idaho babes:

Here lie two infants
By water confounded;
One died of dropsy,
the other died drownded.

I never saw but have heard of an Oneida Indian whose grave bore this inscription:

Here lies poor Johnny Kunkerpod
Have mercy on him, gracious God
He would on you if he were God
And you were called Johnny Kunkerpod

Some might call that sacreligious, but I don't think it is; sacreligiousness usually goes with a smart-aleck sophistication foreign to simple, homey folk.

After Jesse James was bumped off, the following lines were inscribed on his monument at his mother's request:

Murdered by a Traitor and Coward Whose Name is Not Worthy to Appear Here

After J.B. (Wild Bill) Hickok had been murdered in Deadwood, Black hills, a grave was dug for him at Ingleside, a romantic spot on the mountain slope. On a large stump at the head of the grave was rudely carved the following:

A brave man
the victim of an assassin,
J. B. (Wild Bill) Hickok,
Aged 39 years;
murdered by Jack McCall,
Aug. 2, 1876.

Within three years Deadwood had grown so rapidly that it was found necessary to remove the bodies in the old graveyard where Wild Bill lay. In 1879, old friends of Bill's arranged for the removal of the remains to Mount Moriah cemetary. A marble headstone was placed at the head of the new grave inscribed as follows:

August 2, 1878

But so great had Wild Bill's fame become that in the ten succeeding years visitors to Mount Moriah cemetary had chipped off pieces of the headstone as souvenirs until little or nothing was left of it. Then a new headstone and full-length statue was arranged for. It was decided that in order to save the tomb from desecration by vandals it should be surrounded by a steel cage.

Epitath hunting is not the ghoulish pastime some might think. In the tangle of overgrown weeds and grasses around the resting places set apart for the burial fo the dead lingers the tenderness of the living. The slate gravestones are blue now, and coral-colored, and some are green with moss. And the white stones are whiter than snow. Against them rustle the sage-green and silver leaves of the quivering aspen.

One way or another they record an informal history of America from the days when buckskin bullies, full of red-dog likker and rattlesnake juice, came roaring, bragging, crowing and fighting into the West.

Our Good Neighbor, Texas By S. OMAR BARKER
From the Book, "This Is New Mexico." Edited by George Fitzpatrick

S. Omar Barker's Pa learned him not to spit against the wind or whittle against himself, but he never warned him about Texas. But as he grew up, it didn't take Barker long to learn for himself that "there is no place in New Mexico from which on a sunny day you cannot see a mountain, smell a pine tree or hear a Texan." Because he grew up in the high country of New Mexico, at a place called Tecolotenos, or Hoot Owl Holler, ifyou want the English translation, he has an "outdoor" background, and he's written about it in dozens fo magazines from the smallest to the biggest. He'll even write a poem for pay, but his tribute to Texas was written for fun. And even Texans have gotten a lot of fun out of it — George Fitzpatrick, Editor, New Mexico Magazine.

  *   *   *  

Despite a profound reverence for the self-confessed colossalitudde of Texas, I feel that the Lone Star's tall shadow should not be permitted unduly to adumbrate the modest merits of her nearest neighbor to the West. I refer to New Mexico, 47th star in the flag, not to be confused (though it generally is) with Mexico, the good neighbor Republic which supplies, via the southwest wind, 50 percent of the Grade A sand in every Texan's craw. New Mexico, of course, supplies the rest. Actually, of course, Texas is no bigger than New Mexico. It only appears so because it is spread out so much thinner. The mean average thickness of New Mexico from sunshine to sea level is 5,066 feet, and the higher you climb into the mountains the meaner it gets. Straight down from the snow-capped crest of Truchas Peaks, New MExico is 13,300 feet thick, and a little over. Mashed down and rolled out to the same thickness as Texas, New Mexico would reach all the way from Yalta to the Atlantic Charter, with enough left over to flap in the well-known Texas wind. On the other hand, at the thickest point in Texas, an average New Mexico screw-billed angleworm could bore through to the bottom in on wiggle. New Mexico is called the Sunshine State because its scenic beauty is so entrancing that even Old Sol cannot let a day pass without taking a good look at it.

Compared to New Mexico, Texas is a newcomer. A million years before Tex Columbus discovered America, an early settler known as the Folsom Man was actually practicing point rationing in New Mexico, using arrowheads for red points — no points, no buffalo meat.

Fourscore years before the first Texas cowboy scuffed a high heeled boot on Plymouth Rock, a Mr. Coronado of Spain was eating corn off the cob in New Mexico and mailing home pictograph postcards of the five storied Pueblo tourist courts marked "X &mdash My Room — X. Come on over — the climb, [sic] it's fine!"

Speaking of climate, New Mexico is where Texans come every summer to cool off and brag about the Texas climate. New Mexico has plains so flat that the Highway Department has to put up signs to show the water which way to run when (if) it rains. Yet its mountains are so steep that the bears which inhabit them have all developed corkscrew tails so they can sit down once in while [sic] without sliding off into Texas.

There is no place in New Mexico from which on a sunny day (which means any day) you cannot see a mountain, smell a pine tree or hear a Texan. Snow falls so deep in New Mexico's mountains that it takes 40,000 automobile loads of Texas hot air each summer to melt it. On that fabulous river, the Rio Grande, New Mexico and Texas split 50-50; New Mexico furnishes the water and Texas the sand for it to sink away in.

New Mexico is game country, too. If all the deer horns in the state were clustered together intop one giant hatrack, it would make a good place for Texans to hand their hats when not talking through them. Combine all the mountain lion tails in New Mexico into one brush and it could sweep all the heel flies out of Texas in one swish.

Whenever you hear a Texan bragging about Texas oil, just remember that oil you have to do in southeastern New Mexico to start a filling station is to stick a garden hose down a gopher hole and whistle for a Texas gas tank. Sometimes you don't even have to whistle.

New Mexico raises everything, including cotton, cattle, beans, buckaroos, wheat, sheep, atomic bombs and the hopes of all Texans who hanker for some place to go fishing for something besides mudcats. Numerous valiant New Mexicans also raised hell with the Japs on Bataan, thus saving Texas once again from invasion. The other time was when T.R.'s New Mexico Rough Riders charged up San Juan Hill in 1898 — said to be the only time anybodey ever went anywhere without finding a Texan talking.

There are more writers, artists, jackrabbits and politicians in New Mexico than there are Texas bureaucrats in Washington.

However, the charge that half the votes in any New Mexico election are sheep is erroreous. Buy and large, votes are no sheeper here than they are, for instance, in Jersey City, Chicago or any other outlying Texas precinct.

But the sunshine is, 365 days of the year and twice on Sundays. That's doubtless why so many Texas noses look sunburned. (See Ad on this page)


Dear Lord: I only want you to go 50-50 with me. — If you will keep me from getting greedy, — I will try to give my 60,000 readers (Lord, I stretched it a little but maybe 3 or 4 read some of the copies) — yes, I will promise to give them good clean fun and fan their interests in the many wonderful things you have put out here in your desert.

Here Is My Deal

The Lord to do

Me to do

You're to keep me from making this paper a monthly, or adding more pages to it. You're to keep me from getting ambitious. I don't want to make money, I want only to make these 5 pages better reading. You're to help me remember, the flattering mail comes — because of your color Desert, not because of what I write about it.

I will keep people interested in the plants, animals and beauty of your Desert, I will tell only authentic lies about its people. I will say nice things about the folks that love the Desert and just not talk a tall about those that don't understand it.

I will be the best gol-dern publicity agent for your Desert you ever had.

P.S. If I have not asked for more than my 50%, you could, maybe, while we are at it, help me get a few more good wholesome true Desert ads, — not too many — you don't want me to pay income tax, do you? (I know that other fellow down below made up that Hellish thing.) Good night — and I hope others have not asked for too much tonight. I wanted to tune in on a good quiet night.


Seven Million Ounces of Silver Is Sold to Arabia

The Bank of Mexico in March completed a deal for sale of seven million ounces of silver, with a total value of six million pesos, to the government of Saudi Arabia.

Deal was signed in the Mexican Embassy in Washington. Half of the silver will be shipped as bullion, the remainder having been contracted in the form of money, to be minted in Mexico, for circulation in Saudi Arabia.


It is no wonder that a few hundred Mexican church paintings, altar cloths and the like turned up in the States. The same things form a large part of the stock of every fair-sized curio or antique shop here, and any amount of them have been sold to American tourists and collectors. Also, a surprising number of Mexican homes here, and elsewhere in the Republic; boast a goodly number of Church paintings, etc. There was never any need to sneak them out of the country; it was all open and aboveboard.

ONE YEAR $2.00         SINGLE COPY 25 ¢
Grubstaker: The late Scotty Allen



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 Chaparral Cock

A chaparral cock was struttin' his stuff,
When he heard a soft buzz just over the bluff.

He poked out his neck and marched straght ahead,
And inwardly felt it was time to be fed.

With inquisitive leer he peered over the dune—
To see Mr. Rattler a playin' his tune.

Now there by the greasewood they came eye to eye;
The wind sighed again for a conflict was nigh.

Amid hissing and pecking; darting and glare,
The battle raged on by the rattlesnake'slair.

The wind signed again as the combatants pose,
And blew bits of sand 'midst the shower of blows.

Now mind you this feud took place in the spring—
Along way off where the mocking birds sing—

Where catclaw and cactus, the horned toad and wren—
Sit on the side lines awonderin' when—

The fracas will finish and the desert be calm,
Like the Valley of Death in the 23rd psalm.

Looks like it now— like the time was at hand—
For the chaparral cock to sever a gland.

Sure enough it is true, the rattler struck fair,
But the sage of the desert just wasn't there.

Instead he had parried, his pose was a sight—
He clipped Mr. Rattler— and clipped him just right.

Wriggling and squirming quite tight in his beak—
The big diamond-back menace grew placid and weak.

Now the flora and fauna were certainly glad—
The road runner won from so vicious a lad.

The battle was over and so was the shock—
And greasewood still waves o'er the chaparral cock.

                    By Walt Beckwith
                    Rancho Ranegras
                    Vicksburg, Arizona

The Dry Lake Dude tells about the young bride who came into the hardware store and asked the clerk for: "a little oven." It was about three seconds later that she slapped him down. —Brewery Gulch Gazette, Bisbee, Arizona.

THAR'S GOLD   in them thar hills

By John C. Herb
Proprietor, Wickenburg Ore Market

Jack Bailey was an old prospector around Quartzite in the early days and was a fiend at playing solitaire. Spent most of his time sitting at a table in the old saloon pondering over a hand of solitaire and if anyone was so unfortunate as to look over his shoulder he was sure to receive un-mentionable insults long to be remembered. Old Jack was the prize grouch when absorbed in his game.

A tenderfoot from the east strolled into the saloon one afternoon and as there was nothing going on around there, he stepped up behind Old Jack to watch the play. Finally the stranger tried to open up a conversation and asked Old Jack what he did around there. Jack said he was a prospector. "Well," said the stranger, "I'd think you would get lost out on this desert."

Jack threw up his hand and leaned back in his chair. "No," he says, "No danger of getting lost. I always take a pack of cards with me when I go out into the desert."

"Well," says the stranger, "What's that for?"

"When I getr lost," says Jack, "I just sit down and start a game of solitaire and in less than five minutes there will be some SOB a looking over my shoulder." —The Sun, Wickenburg.

Greatest Little Western Stores in the Southwest"



R.T. Bob (Hardrock) Jones
Orval Graham

Mischievous Burros

The burro is everywhere in Baja California, and the burro is an animal which has my unqualified admiration and respect.

My association with burros goes back some six or seven years to a time when Louie brought me a pair of very yourg burros by way of a present.

From the start I befdame completely fascinated by the characters of the burros. Standing side by side, looking almost alike, except that one was blond and the other a brownish brunette, the burros gave no indication of having any character, any individuality, or any interest in their surroundings. But I soon learned that they were distinctive individuals, and that very little happened which escaped their notice. . . .

Within a week they would come when I called them, and for years they had the run of the ranch, romping around like a pair of dogs, following us wherever we went, and on hot days, when we were stretched out in hammocks, they bit the edge of the hammock and started it swinging back and forth, then tried to upset us.

They had the uncanny ability of knowing what was mischief and what wasn't, and rejected everything that wasn't. They dearly loved getting into trouble and then standing with drooping ears, an expression on their faces that said, "Who? Me?" and seeming to be quite dazed by any reproaches that were directed at them.

Afterwards, when I had withdrawn, if I peeked cautiously around a corner of the house, or out of the window, I would see them turn and exchange glances.

There was perfect understanding in those glances, a quiet, comprehensive chuckle. ...

They were uncanny in their knowledge of what they could do that would put a human being at the greatest disadvantage, when they saw fit to do so.

—From "The Land of Shorter Shadows," by Erle Stanley Gardner, copyright 1948 by Erle Stanley Gardner, reprinted by permission of William Morrow and Company, Inc.

The Old Prospector wrote to the Corn Syrup Co., "Dear Sirs, I have been using your syrup for five years and it ain't helped my feet at all. They hurt worse than ever."

Nevada's A-Number 1

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Swimming and Boating
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9½ Miles East of Meca, [sic] California


"Bug" Belden Desert MEASURING WORM

Desert turtle lives a hundred years.

  *   *   *  

The loudest noise in the world is thunder.

  *   *   *  

The largest gold nugget ever found weighed 630 pounds.

  *   *   *  

A lightning-flash lasts approximately one-millionth part of a second.

  *   *   *  

A cubic foot of gold weight more than half a ton — 1203 pounds.

  *   *   *  

One pound of honey represents the life work of more than 1000 bees.

  *   *   *  

The Mecca postoffice is the lowest in the United States — It's 197 feet below sea level.

  *   *   *  

The Indian population in the desert is steadily growing — from 8,000 to 45,000 in 60 years.

  *   *   *  

A hundred thousand years from now all the stars in the little dipper will still be observable from the earth. They will no longer form a dipper; they will be a jagged line.

  *   *   *  

Editor's Note—

Bug Belden wailed, "it only takes ten minutes to get married in Yuma — six weeks to get a divorce in Reno — yet Uncle Sam says I have to stay here five years to prove up on this desert claim."

"Bug's" got me thinking about that old age pension of mine, it's coming around the mountain, too!


* * * * — Truth is stranger than fiction, but also cluttered with details. —Harry Oliver.

  *   *   *  

Arizona sunsets are beautiful, even if they do set in California. —H.O.

  *   *   *  

"It never pays to give anyone a dirty look. If he deserves it, he probably has it already." —Frances Power.

  *   *   *  

. . . "A pessimist is a man who thinks the world is against him. And he is probably right."

  *   *   *  

Some people are so busy falling for everything they don't have time to stand for anything.

  *   *   *  

If living conditions in this country don't stop improving we are going to run out of humble beginnings for our greatest men.

  *   *   *  

You probably wouldn't worry about what people think of you if you know how seldom they do.

  *   *   *  

Money is to hard to keep that it's a downright wonder anybody is fool enough to work for the blamed stuff.


Mark Twain once observed sagely, "One should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it — and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on the hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again — and that's well; but also whe will never sit down on a cold one any more."

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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