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Three of Eight


PRICE 10 CENTS   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ONLY ONE LOUSY THIN DIME

If your Editor had the energy his Roadrunner Reporters
have - - - - this Newspaper would be a weekly
Roadrunner Disaster

Liminatin' Lem

    "Only a fool argues with a skunk, a mule, or cook."
    Liminatin' Lem says that red-headed woman that opened "The White Burro Cafe" stood over him telling him he was not eating enough. She pester'd him until Lem ups and tells her, "Look here woman I sometimes eat more than at other times but I never eat less"
    Lem's sure brave.

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Tennessee Ernie Ford says driving on the freeways makes him as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs.

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Mark Twain Mark Twain said

    War talk by men who have been in war is alway interesting; whereas moon talk by a poet who has not been in the moon is likely to be dull.
     The chatter of enthusiastic flying saucer fans has stirred me to print this.

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Margaret (Margo) Gerke, has in her cover drawing for this packet, caught the spirit and sparkle of this organization—she is the chief sparkler for sure—but it's all much to much fun to call an organization — it's just a happy scramble.
    Maggie's careful and don't step on any of the little animals.

My Dog Whiskers
The Best Dog I Ever Worked For



    Your Editor wrote a swank Hotel in El Centro, asking if my dog "Whiskers" would be permitted to share a room with me on my stay as a guest . . . . I received this answer:
    "I've been in the hotel business over 30 years. Never yet have I called the police to eject a disorderly dog during the small hours of the night. Never yet has a dog set the bed clothes afire form smoking a cigaret.
    "I've never found a hotel towel or blanket in a dog's suitcase, nor whisky rings on the bureau top from a dog's bottle. Sure, the dog's welcome.
    "P.S.—If he'll vouch for you, come along, too."
    Just wait till "Whiskers" gets to calling room service for a rabbit to chase up and down the halls.

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Ambrose Bierce, describes a Fiddle, as an instrument to tickle human ears by friction of a horse's tail on the entrails of a Cat.


    To the friends of this paper, I will say, I do not know why this quiddity.—I look at the 10 years of back numbers and see I have in the past answered many of your letters this way.
    I could be a nice-old-man and write letters to you all, but there are 20,000 of you, and it would not let me do anything else. Maybe this will answer some of your questions.
    I wish to remark, in reply to you many disappointed readers, that I agree that this paper is not as good as it used to be—but, I wish to tell you a little secret—"It never was."
    Many of you ask why the Packet and Pouch idea. I reprint this from the second edition, 1946. This Copy 2P of 1P is as rare as a Mermaid in a Mirage today, a collectors item.

117 In the Shade - 10 Years Ago

    This is Packet two, of Pouch one,—are you tired of—No. so and so of Vol No. so and so? I am,—you see you can't bind this Desert Rat Scrap Book—the way it folds won't let you. So along about the summer of 1949, I hope to get out a nice Pouch to hold 12 copies, or Packets, as I call them. I will think it over the next couple of hot summers. It should be tough so as to keep the packets in good shape, water tight, fireproof and have a draw string so the pack rats can't get them. I will bring this up again in 1949. If you have any ideas on this send them to me sometime in the next two or three years.
    If you keep these packets, along about five years from now you will have about all the Desert Rat stories there are—and you will probably have some of the stories two or three times.
    As to that 117 in the shade—you know, you don't have to stay in the shade all the time.
Harry Oliver—August 13, 1946

    Said the sage of Sageville! "The combined circulation of the 'Desert Rat Scrap Book' and 'Arizona Highways' has reached over 1,020,000.

Just some more of me, as I am

    As I go to press I should tell your readers I am on the AIR, six times a week, over KDES—a Palm Springs station, 920 on the dial. Give heed if you are riding through this part of the Desert on 60-70 or 90.
    This packet, as all I have put out in the past eleven years will have no date on it, and as I am just months away from 70—it may be necessary for you to change—IS—to—DID.
    If this is printed and you old time subscribers see this right after I mail it, I will have told 85 Desert Tall Tales, on the air for my boss J. Ray Corliss—who thoughtfully gave me John Norman a TEXAN to stop me if the Tales were too Tall. (If you don't see this it wasn't printed.)
    As to a sudden stop—if your subscription should EXPIRE unexpectedly, I HAVE TOO—I am sure I will go where the best stories can be had and, in fact, John and I have a code system ready—we will find a way to send them over gold old KDES—Yes, Sound waves would be best—couldn't write them—the Devil if he has a dictionary has probably got it all mixed up and I have a hell of a time trying to figure them out here on earth.

Skye-Eye Jones OLD Sky-Eye Jones and his brand of HUMOR

    "Still alive I see" was my greeting, as our 90 year old flying-saucer expert came down the trail from his hill-top observatory.
    "Yes sir, yes sir; and I am going to live another year for sure."
    How do you know that?" I asked.
    "Why, sir, I have most always noticed that when I live through the month of March I live through the whole year, strange but its been that way for years."
     Old Sky-Eye Jones is generally right—look to his many bits of banter in your back copies.

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Saving is a way of spending money without getting any fun out of it.

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    A man needed a $3 bus ticket. He had only a $2 bill. He took it to a pawn shop and pawned it for $1.50; then he sold the pawn ticket to his friend for $1.50 and bought his bus ticket for $3.00.
—Joe Fox—Indian Wells

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    Pat Murphy and his wife Maggie lived in Leadville, Colo., in the early days. Pat was not a miner. He was not even a mucker. He did the outside lowly jobs with a pick and shovel. Maggie took in washing to make ends meet. A pick and shovel was an emblem of their poverty and Maggie hated the sight of a pick. One day pat was digging a ditch and uncovered a rich vein which in time made him a million. Then came the big house on the hill, fine horses, carriages and many friends among the newly rich.
    When Pat passed away there arrived banks and blankets of flowers and beautiful floral pieces in the form of hearts and crosses. Maggie was proud and delighted. "Now, who could have sent this cross? Ain't it beautiful? And who sent this heart of violets?"
    Then she discovered a large anchor of red roses and stepping back in all her dignity, she said "Who in the hell sent that pick"?
Old Bill Williams, Dead Man Gulch, Arizona

Brains in the head saves blisters on the feet       Page 3

Smallest newspaper in the world and the only 5 page one. (Not a Texas Boast)

Desert Rat Scrap Book small logo

Packet 3 of Pouch 8

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This paper is not entered as 2nd class mail. It's a first class newspaper.


Published at Fort Oliver
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
This offer expires when I do

Pack Rat
Asbestos editions will be forwarded
in case you don't make it.

Published by
H A R R Y   O L I V E R
1888 — 1999

Fort Commander
Lamp Lighter

Pack Rat


    The Desert Rat is to the desert what the man about town is to the metropolis. The only difference is the possibility that the man about town might really be a rat.

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Your right honourable Editor is indebted to his memory for his jests and to his imagination for his facts.

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Pack Rat

    In answer to letters from you that say you wish you like me.
    First, it is not safe until you are 65 or over—it omes with old-age-checks.
    Second, I say upwards of 4,000 things every year that I can't prove, any more than you can prove you have a "Leprechaun" in your pocket. Yet what I do know about things has been whispered to me by the spirits and roaming desert critters.
    Third, I don't advise anybody to depend on me for learning, best for you that can't talk to critters or spirits is to do as most folks do—just follow the ruts—they will take you "to town" just as they did your daddy.

Desert Roadrunner

    I have been writing this Desert Stuff for a long time (Sold 6 stories to LIFE in 1932), and I find some of my best lines in other fellows writing, much of this I can understand, but how did "Socrates" get my stuff way back in 399 B.C.

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OMEN—A sign that something will happen if nothing happens.

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MISFORTUNE—The kind of fortune that never misses.

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    A minister in Oklahoma was preaching such a powerful sermon that an excited (and beautiful) young lady in the balcony leaned over too far and crashed through the railing. Her dress caught in a chandelier, and she was suspended in mid-air. The minister noted her undignified position and thundered to his congregation, "Any person who looks up at poor Miss Duggan will be stricken blind." A deacon in the third row whispered to his companion, "I'm going to risk one eye."
—Bennett Cert

Frog-men try for trip from bottom of Salton Sea to Caves of La Jolla

    "A soupy fog that blanketed rain-drenched Salton Sink yesterday rolled in silent swirling waves over my Jeep as I made the turn into Helen Burns' Salton Sea Beach from Highway 99. I went past the clubhouse—all was dark—my front wheels were in the water before I could stop.
    "I was surprised and got out to investigate a huge cigar-shaped monster that loomed up in the gray light from my flashlight.
    "I clanged lustily on the side of the side of the metal monster with my tire wrench and heard a voice tell me that I had better do my pearl diving elsewhere, or one of Uncle Sam's submarines would loose a torpedo in my direction.
    "'But I ain't no pearl diver,' I shouted as loud as I could.
    "'In that case,' answered the voice, 'what are you doing on the bottom of the ocean? Our depth gauge shows that we are 200 feet below sea level!'
    "The submarine turned a cold periscope-eye on my Jeep and me, seemed to shudder violently, then disappeared in a roar of churning propellers, headed perhaps for deeper, wetter environment.
    But at that, that damn fog was so wet my hat floated off my head six times on the way to Indio and my dog "Whiskers" had to swim after it, and that is sure unusual in this dry Desert.
    There is a big leak somewhere—big enough to warrant fetching in a Texas plumber.


    Bennett Cerf, tells this hair-raiser.
    A huntsman in Texas had a harrowing experience one night this fall. He had killed a huge rattlesnake outside his tent before supper, and just before going off to sleep, decided that the rattles would make a nice memento. Helped by the faint light from the tent—with a bare-foot to hold the snake—a quick slash with a razor-blade—and he had his prize.
    The sight that greeted him the next morning stood his hair on end. The snake he had killed still had its rattles.

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    MIRACLE—An act or event out of the order of nature and unaccountable, as beating a normal hand of four kings with an ace with four aces and a king.

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"Conscience is the inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking."

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    A gypsy who had lost her husband went to the police and asked them to find him for her.
    "You fortune-tellers say you can find everything by reading cares," said the police captain. "Can you do the same thing, and find out her your husband is?"
    The gypsy spread out her cards and looked at them.
    "Well," said the captain, "where is he?"
    "Give me five dollars," she said, "and I'll tell you."

History Making Wit At Fort Oliver

Old Fort Oliver

    In 1952 my daughters Amy and Mary compiled a book of my yarns, but to add more pages wisely made up a page of Editor Phat Graethinger's Wit, of earlier years.—Being my daughters they picked stories with me in them Their page was as follows:


    Dad's good friend and fellow Editor, Colonel Phat Graettinger of Palm Springs, kept up a steady flow of this happy banter. It was Dad who raised him to the rank of "Colonel."

Editor Desert Sun
Swank Palm Springs Newspaper

    Twice in the same place said Harry Oliver as he came in this morning. . . Only a few weeks ago Dry Camp Blackie took him for $1.80 in a tumble weed race by slipping in some flat-sided tumble weeds which wouldn't roll as fast as Blackie's round ones. . . This week he said he lost $2.60 on a cock fight and after the dust blew away he found Blackie's rooster was a road runner with its tail cut off. . . Speaking of alarm clocks, Oliver doesn't use and alarm clock. . . He has a burro that brays regularly an hour before sunrise and at sunrise, on the dot.
    Back in town this week was Harry Oliver, who, with Dry Camp Blackie, comprises the garrison at Fort Oliver over at 1,000 Palms. . . He had two new ones . . . One, he's going into competition with Avak . . . "Speaking of faith cures," he said, "the other night my right leg ached so I couldn't sleep. Reached into the medicine cabinet and got out the Sloan's liniment . . . Rubbed it on, the aching stopped once and I slept like a baby. . . Next morning, I found I had missed the bottle of Sloan's liniment in the dark and used furniture polish instead." . . . He said cement-laden trucks come down the hill from Garnet to 1,000 Palms so fast, they bounce off an average of six sacks of cement each . . . Blackie is going to write to the company telling them how they can save thousands of dollars a year . . . "Just load six less sacks on each truck," he says.
    One worry, what has become of Harry Oliver, was ended this week . . . Dry Camp Blackie trekked in with a note telling how things are in Thousand Palms . . . "Phat," Oliver wrote, "do you know of anyone who wants a 12-foot horned toad? She's for sale." . . It all stems back to the Desert Circus parade when the local museum asked Oliver to build them a float with a huge horned toad on it. . . He did and he made it realistic. . . After the circus he took it to Fort Oliver, his "dobe" he's building at Thousand Palms. "The burro still brays, my dog, Whiskers, still barks when I wend my way through the 300-odd potted cactus to my front door—but the place isn't the same, it's haunted by a great, big, baleful-eyed horned toad. Doesn't anyone want it?"

The book stores have the book today—Harry Oliver, "The Old Mirage Salesman" Sells at $3.00

Burro The Burro (Donkey)
Creator of the Mule

"Hail, Holy Ass!" the quiring angels sing;
"Priest of Unreason, and of Discords King!
Great co-Creator, let Thy glory shine:
God made all else; the Mule, the Mule is thine!
               —G. J.


    In March, 1953, Raymond Carlson, Editor of Arizona Highways was gracious and printed 4 pages about this paper under the title "A Salty Western Editor and Sage"—thousands of subscriptions came—it was sure a jack-pot.
    In the May, 1953, edition I thank him with this letter which he headed with—


    My letter to Raymond Carlson—
    You son-of-a-gun! You and your staff have wrecked all of my plans. On April 4 I was 65 years old and was going to get my old-age pension, but today with this stack of mail before me (over two feet high) (in response to the article in your March issue) I see I will never be able to make my newspaper look like a lazy old man's hobby. I do thank you and think it is generous and big of you to let me walk (for a bit) the trail of Arizona's famed Dick Wick Hall.
Harry Oliver

    Dick Wick Hall of Salome, in an earlier day, dug humor and wit and laughter out of the desert, Harry Oliver is doing it today and we sure hope no old-age pension is going to stop him from digging. Anyway, old desert rats don't stop. They just get old and older and older and then show up finally haunting old ghost towns.
Raymond Carlson, editor.

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Mine Was Lost as Stockholderes Look on

    Dick Wick Hall, Miner, Promoter and Desert Humorist of Salome, Arizona, some thirty years ago, whose stories appeared in the Saturday Evening Post—and made Salome famous is also remembered by some of us old timers for his great gold promotion.
    Dick discovered gold on three sides of a small mountain sitting out in the desert and as digging was hard and slow in the hot summer sun, he figured a way to do the job in a big way.
    His way was simple, a hundred people put in a hundred dollars each (but he didn't want poor people's money), all the money to be spent for dynamite, the stockholders to be on hand, to walk in and pick up their own gold on the day set for the blast.
    The day came and so did the stockholders; there was never anything like it (but maybe the A-bomb); some said there was a tidal wave went up the Colorado River sixty miles away.
    After the dust settled, the stockholders went in to pick up their gold, but there was no gold—a few showed their disappointment — some talked nasty—but an alert deputy sheriff from Yuma stepped up on a large rock—the men gathered around him, as he said—"Fellows, you have had weeks of dreams, enthusiasm and anticipation—you saw and heard the greatest blast you will ever see—and by dam, you got something to talk about the rest of your life—let's give three big cheers for Dick Wick Hall.

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Injun Stuff

Indian "HOW?" & "UGH"

This is an old Indian gag, also an old Indian woodcut.

    So, an old Sister, looking at a necklace strung with odd looking teeth, asked the trader what they were.
    "Grizzly Bear teeth," was the answer. "Come here Feather-In-The-Wind"—he said. "This Lady wants to talk about your Grizzly string."
    "Yes Mr. Loose Feather, tell em do you red people value grizzly teeth as we do pearls?"
    "Not quite, Ma-dam" said the Indian, "Anybody can open an oyster—and I am not Mr. Loose Feather"—perturbed he mumbled, "My feather not for to tickle you."

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Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor'd mind.
Sees God in clouds or hears him in the wind.

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A wise old owl sat on an oak,
The more he sat the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard;
Why aren't we like that wise old bird?
E. H. Richards

4                     The Happy Scramble Edition

This page is dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist--the Desert Prospector

Harry Oliver's

Harry at Keyhole


    Hundreds of letters over the last 6 years—similiar to this one, have made me see I must start to organize "The Desert Snoopers"—You can be a snooper. Any Police Department in our Desert will help, read the letter below and go to work.
Your Editor.

A Margo sketch

Harry Oliver, Commander
Old Fort Oliver
Thousand Palms, Hub of the Desert.

Dear Sir—For a long time I have been following your Crusade for Clean Desert Highways, I don't know whether California has a law prohibiting the dumping of litter on her highways or not, we do in Mich., and we are making it work. Of course growth on our roadsides help some but alert citizens can help. Here is how I help; As a rule if a so called citizen dumps a sack or box of rubbish he's just dumb enough to leave a grocer's slip or many time letters (Editors note—in other letters writers have suggested we look for medicine bottles, magazine addresses, etc.), the readily identifies him or her.
    I don't call the authorities but notify the culprit I will unless he cleans the mess up thoroughly. It always works. The fine here can be $25.00 and costs. Also the police make them clean it up.
    Dumping is still being done but has been cut to a minimum. The citizen that takes pride in his State will take the trouble to help the police in this big job. I have traveled many miles of your beautiful highways and as a tourist, the glittering beer cans are striking but not beautiful. Nothing rots or rusts very fast in the desert. They last along with dead tires, etc.
    As you know this is a Water Wonderland, and through education and law enforcement helps. With a certain pride I feel that Mich. is a beautiful state and we try to attract the tourist, as he makes money for us.
    It pays a state to be tidy. I hope your crusade pays off as I am sure it will if you can put the burr under the right saddle. People are generally clean but they get careless or don't think.
    Your Desert Rat Scrap Book is still the most refreshing newspaper, even being read by Ministers and their Wives. One asked me what buffalo chips were, I told her.

Yours truly, after 29 copies, Corwin Davis, Bellevue, Mich.

Folks, it's up to you—you will not need a badge, star or whistle just get going—BE ONE OF MY "SNOOPS."


    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.
    Slim Law did not say the above. But Slim wears a star and is our law, also he looks under bridges.—I just happened to have his picture.
    It was Anatole France who said it in 1888.

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You Can't Burn In Hell Without Smog Board's O K

    HELL, Calif. (AP)—Things are getting tough all over, it seems.
    Witness this ruling by the Riverside County air polution control district: There will be no burning in Hell without prior approval.
    Hell is not much of a place . . . not even listed in the U. S. postal guide. But this desert community does have a service station and cafe and during a hearing on the matter of burning, the applicants disclosed their telephone number is Hell 1.

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Sylvia DeMello tells of a rooster so lazy it wouldn't even crow—it waited for another rooster to crow and then nodded.




Finest Accommodations
Gasoline and Oil

Open the Year 'Round
Showplace of



Yermo, California

13 Miles East of Barstow

Calico in the 1880's was the largest silver mining Camp in the southwest. Almost obliterated by time, it is now being restored by Knott's Berry Farm. An ideal outing for the rockhound, and camping groups.



    Back in 1916, Lloyd Kelsey took Doc A. A. Beatty and me, in his old wooden-frame, air-cooled Franklin Car, took us out the old Borego road to Highway 99 then North. Doc Beatty stopped us at a spot unmarked, and we pulled off the highway on hard ground.
    Here I saw for the first time Mother Nature's "Doodle Shop"—here she had become very playful,—she had formed strange sandstone concretions—as endless in shape as the imagination could fancy or conceive.
    I wanted to take some back to my Borego Ranch, we did load the old car with much too much and had to unload some as Kelsey did not like the noise the car made.
    I kept one long flat "Sign-Like" piece and where we turned back to the highway I got out and placed it so I could find the spot again. Taking a sharp piece of rock I scratched these words—SQUEAKY SPRINGS—A year or two later the sign-rock was gone but the name lives on.
    Today as you pass on the West side of Salton Sea you can stop for Gas and Oil or a Cool Drink and the latest copy of this paper at "Squeaky Springs Service Station."
—Harry Oliver

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"Prisoner, are you married?"
"No, sir; that scar is whee a mule kicked me."

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Horse Doctor

    "Silence in the courtroom," thundered a police magistrate. "The court has already committed four persons without being able to hear a word of the testimony"

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    Two Caterpillars were making their way across the desert to Fort Oliver—Air minded, they looked up and saw a beautiful butterfly sailing along — Said, one, "You'd never get me up in one of them things."

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    Silence is restful. It gives rest to the heart, the lungs, the larynx, the tongue, the lips, the mouth—and lends color to a Desert Sun Set.

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Sign in a Yuma cafe window: "Gone on vacation. Don't eat until I get back."

Only One World Famous

Valerie Jean Date Shop

11 Miles South of Indio on Highway 99
or Please Mail Your Order
1-lb. Date Crunchie Fudge.......$1.65
2-lbs. Assorted Date Candies.... 2.75
3-lbs. 4 Varieties Rare Dates..... 3.15

Including Delivery — write for Folder

Thermal, Calif.


Oh, Sue was young and Sue was fair and Sue was slim and neat.
She helped support her crippled Dad by servin' stuff to eat
To hungry cowboys stoppin' in, from wranglin' stock all weary,
And plenty of us hankered hard to have Sue for our dearie.

Most specially young Bashful Burt, a tophand with the herd,
But too ungodly modest to attempt a courtin' word.
She turned the rest of us plumb down, so sweet it hardly hurt,
And then we seen the way it was—she hankered after Burt!

And him all blush and bashfulness, the pore cowpunchin' sinner,
He had her won already but was still too dumb to win her.
Then one fine day a drummer guy breezed in for noonday chow,
And growled about the service like he hankered for a row.

The fare was beans—and mighty fine. I know, for I was there.
But this here uppish drummer bowed his neck and pawed the air.
Shoved his beans plumb unpolite: "I ain't no hired help!
Bring me some food that's civilized!" You should of heard him yelp.

Pore Sue looked all beflustered. Then Burt riz up in his jeans,
Drawed out his gun and calmly says: "Now stranger, eat them beans!"
Then Sue looks up adorin' and toward Burt kinder leans,
Till all at once he kisses her—and the stranger eats his beans!
—From S. Omar Barker's book, Songs of the Saddlemen

By S. Omar Barker

Porcupine Pining

Romance to Mr. Porcupine,
    I have no doubt, is sweet.
But how does he know, the poor dumb Joe,
    It's not just prickly heat?


    The plane buzzed the two old prospectors to alert them. Then, on the second pass, the pilot dropped a package and headed back to Juneau.
    Thus unfolded one of the strangest stories in the history of Social Security.
    It started when a friend of the gold miners, both over 70, told the Anchorage (Alaska) Social Security office that the men were eligible for monthly payments but were losing the money because they'd failed to file applications.
    They were eligible as self-employed gold miners. And, the friend said, they could ill afford to lose the money.
    The problem: The men—partners for 45 years—were out hunting gold in the back country of Alaska. Ordinary ways to get in touch with them weren't open. Nobody knew when they'd be back to civilization. Prospector Mule
    The Juneau office put the problem to a local bush pilot. In a few days, he was off in his float plane with a package. It contained application forms, directions for filling them out and instructions to leave the completed forms at a designated spot on a lake a few miles away.
    After finding the miner's camp, he dropped his package. The next day he went back, landed on the lake and picked up the forms.
    When the prospectors returned to civilization, their checks—from the date they'd applied—were waiting for them. If they hadn't applied, they'd have lost all the monthly payments while away.
    Perhaps this isn't the stuff movies are made of. But the effort made by the Social Security people for the miners is an indication of how far they'll go to make sure you get what you've got coming.

    In "The Along the Border Packet" I told you reders that my psychiatrist was on a diet—black coffee and fingernails—and asked, who was nuts, he or me.
    Today I can say he is nuts. He asked me to come lie down on the couch and tell him everything. How I started this paper? How I fill its pages? How I distribute and sell it?
    Then he says, he is going to quit his racket and start a paper, and wants to swap his couch for my $3.00 shears.
    Maybe at that we have something in common as we both must depend on you slightly-tetched-in-the-head customers.
The style is the man himself.



    "After all" said Judge D. S. Saund, addressing some of our good Latin American voters, "there is very little difference between men and women."
    Shouted Pancho — "Viva la differencia!"

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Prolonged Drouth Offers Chances for Dry Humor

    This prolonged drouth is producing its quota of dry humor. Sen. Johnson says that in some parts of Texas it's been dry so long that six-months old bullfrogs haven't learned how to swim.
    There's also a story of the small Texas farm that hasn't produced a crop in years. The owner said his hired hand worked until his unpaid wages amounted to more than the farm was worth. Then the title went to the hired hand and the owner started working for him. When the original owner's unpaid wages amounted to more than the farm was worth he got it back form the hired hand who then resumed working for him.
—Daily Oklahoman

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A pair of Montana drivers, who met on a road blocked by a landslide, traded cars and proceded about their business.


Sir, Knight of the American Desert

    We had excepted you as a reality. Your going back to the 16th Century in search of a rickety spirit, the fictional Knight Errant Don Quixote, has not helped you in Australia.
    We liked you as a new idiotic desert madcap, and as our desert is three times the size of yours—we ask you to get back to your well earned dynasty—As King of the Desert Rats, and Ghost Town census-taker.

Harry Lewis Bell Lasseter
28 Elgin Street
East Gordon
New South Wales, Australia


If you want a bigger dose of this
effervescent Desert Medicine,
just send $3.00 to the
Palm Desert, California

For the Book
Harry Oliver
The Old


Compiled by
his Daughters
AMY &nbs;and  MARY

A Whimsical Desert Digest
of Refreshing Nonsense

The BURRO: Is the only animal with a sense of humor.

Prospector and Mules

By Anne Evans Bancroft

    A man who had mining interests in Colorado told me this true story.
    High up on the side of a mountain is the saft opening to a gold mine and grouped around it is a camp where the miners live. They have to be supplied from the stores at the foot of the mountain.
    Every day the men there loaded 20 burros with supplies and sent them up the trail to the camp at the top of the mountain where they were unloaded and sent back down the trail. Every day nineteen came back without their packs but one was always still loaded.
    Then telephone arguments were held between the men at the mine and those at the supply shed.
    "What's the matter with you fellows? Can't you count? Why don't you unload all the burros we send up?"
    "What are you giving us? Of cours we can count. We did unload every burro. Every single one."
    "You didn't!"
    The controversy grew heated and acrimonious. Finally a man at the foot of the mountain started to investigate and give the men at the mine "what for." Both the gangs watched and counted and checked. This is what happened.
    At the first zigzag turn of the trail, the burros were out of sight from the foot of the mountain. At this point one little burro dropped out of the procession and while the others toiled up the long, steep climb, he took his ease nibbling grass until the nineteen burros who had done their duty came by. Then the quitter joined the others and came into camp looking completely blameless. He had not made that long hard climb.

CROW made to eat CROW


    I keep a scrap book for each of my mixed staff, "Colonel Have-a-shot" (that's what I all my pet Old Crow), he is my "critic" passing on everythig before I print it, but today (getting ahead of me) he got into my "source" scrap book on "The Crow," (that is the stuff by others that I rewrite making it somewhat? more like it was mine, (my original spelling helps—it's a sort of a brand).
    Anyway the Colonel did not like what Josh Billings had to say of Crows, so he tore that page to bits. I, after hours of painstaking work have put it together and am here printing it so's I can again clip it and paste it in that spot in the book, and that dam' Crow will not get his martini tonight.

The Crow-By Josh Billings 1873

    Next to the monkey, the crow has the most deviltry to spare. They are born very wild, but can be tamed as easy as the goat can, but a tame crow is worse than a sore thumb.
    If there is anything about the house that they can't get into it is because the thing ain't big enough. Crows live on what they can steal, and they will steal anything that ain't tied down.
    They are fond of meat vittles and are the first to hold an inquest over a departed horse or a still sheep. They are a fine bird to hunt but a hard one to kill. They can see you 2 miles first and will smell a gun right through a mountain.
    They are not songsters but what they do sing, they seem to understand thoroughly. Long practice has made them perfect.
    I never knew a crow to die a natural death and don't believe they know how.
    They are always thin in flesh and are thin inside and out. They are not considered fine eating, although I have read somewhere of boiled crow. But still I never heard of the same man hankering for some boiled crow 2 times.
    If I had made the crow I would have made him more honest and not quite so tough.
—from Josh Billings' Farmer's Alminax 1873

P.S. The "Critic" is looking over my shoulder—Says he my Crow, "Your are a coward and talk in italics, while Billings has not the good taste to capitalize Crow."

    A drunk walked into the Owl Cafe and asked Slim Riffle for a drink of squirrel whiskey.
    "Sorry," said Slim, "I haven't any squirrel whiskey but I can give you some Old Crow."
    "No, that won't do," objected the drunk. "I don't want to fly, I just wanted to jump around a little."

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If you were to make little fishes talk, they would talk like whales.
—Oliver Goldsmith

One Year, $2.00         Three Years, $5.00
Grubstaker: The late Scotty Allen
The Pony Express
Stories of Pioneers and Old Trails

Pony Express

Herb S. Hamlin, Editor
Address All Mail to

P. O. Box 326

Published Monthly at
SONORA (Tuolumne County) CAL.
(Founded by real Sonorans—1848)

Old Mirage Salesman

    "Nothing to read around this place," stormed the man of the house who settled down for an evening—"but some old next month's magazines!"

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Then there was this Texan (says Lee Segall) who brought his dog a boy.

hr short center

Exemption from attachment for debt in Texas includes Cemetery lot, 20 hogs, 20 sheep, 5 cows, and the family library.
(Texan folks sure want to keep their J. Frank Dobie books.)


    The sight of Rip is a better sermon against drink than was ever preached.
    Rip signed two pledges New Year's Eve, one at the Church, one at the Lodge. When asked if he thought he could stop drinking and keep his pledge, he said, he was going to try to keep one of them at least.
    Says—weak men swear off. Strong men quit—and thinks this time with two chances he might make it.
    We wants to lay off the coffin varnish.
    Rip, is so well read, that if you name any patent medicine he can tell you the alcoholic content—
Says, Matt Weinstock

Knott's Ghost Town

Western Books
Tale of the Old West
    "Deep Enough," by Frank A Crampton, Sage Books, Denver, $4.

    "A working stiff in the western mining camps." Certainly author Crampton has been too busy being a "bindle stiff," "a hard-rock mining stiff." a self-taught assayer and later mining engineer in Asia and Central America, and still later a consultant in the office of Korean President Syngman Rhee to be expected to have learned the sissified refinement of writing a book.
    Probably he doesn't are and there is no reason why he should. His business was mining. Now he is retired and is giving an account of his early years.
    Heir of a wealthy New York family, he ran away at 16 and was picked up in Chicago by a couple of "bindle stiffs." (Bindle stiffs are stiffs with bundles corrupted into bindles.) That was the beginning of an adventuresome career that took him to practically every important mining camp in the still wooly enough West between 1900 and 1920.
    The book is rich in descriptions of rugged mining life. That the author knows more desert rats, tin horns, prostitutes, wobbly labor radicals and bearded prospectors with old, dusty burros than any other man who ever has bothered to write a book about it is undoubtedly true.
    "Deep Enough" is a valuable historical document, a genuine contribution to Americana. There are lots of fine snapshots, including a never-before-published picture of Mark Twain in a bathing suit.

Price $4.00
Sage Books are published by
Alan Swallow, 2679 So. York St.
Denver 10, Colorado

Page 5

Bighorn     The effort of weeks, on the part of my efficient staff of roadrunner reporters has gone into this desert fable, facts from interviews with our own Mountain, Big Horn Sheep, and the Coyote (always the villain).
    Other than their story printed below, these roadrunner reporters have told me, the Coyote will be with us for all time, Litter-Bugs can't drive him out.
    I have not edited this—No revising, this is their story. Your Editor


    A Coyote saw a Ram feeding at the summit of San Jacinto Mountain, high on the ridge, where he could not get at him.
    "Why do you and your little lambs stay up there in that barren place and go hungry?" said the Coyote, looking up to the Ram. "Down below, the broken-bottle vine cometh up as a flower. The Kleenex bushes blossom as the rose—The tin-can tree bringeth forth a fragrance after its refreshing kind—And the newspaper bushes wave and nod a welcome to all Mountain Sheep." Coyote
    "That is true no doubt," said The-King-of-th-Ridge, "But I tell *you, one of my *Ewe's made an unexpected *U-turn one night and did eat from a newspaper bush and found it most bitter. 'Tis said the editors of the West have (and quite justly) spoiled the flavor of newspapers lambasting the stupid LITTER-BUGS, they are, she said so bittered even a domestic Goat could not eat them."
    "So you will not bring your flock down to play in our foothills so beautifully sprinkled with culture," said the Coyote.
    "I think," said The-Crowned-Monarch-of-the-Top-of-our-Scenery, "I think I like this Above-Smog-Spot better, and the view is great.
    "And a Roadrunner has just told me the good news, Man is not going to build that big wagon on wires to dump beer-cans, bottles, Kleenex, gum wrappers and such up here. Fact the Roadrunner said, the people that were to come, just won't be coming—TOO FAT TO WALK."

Dick Oakes

All text was hand-entered (no OCR scans) by Dick Oakes who did the layout, markup and graphics reproduction (all of Harry's misspellings retained). The contents remain the property of Bill Lincoln and his heirs.