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Two of Ten




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

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Packet 2 of Pouch 10

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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
I just had to do it
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 foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.

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    As I look out the window here at Old Fort Oliver I think how amazing nature really is, I marvel at the very thought of growing a fly swatter on the rear end of my Burro, and always with wonderment I watch my pet Tortoise put his feet in his pockets and then swallow his head.


Knowledge with a Museum-like fragrance

The man who cannot wonder, who does not habitually wonder at out desert,
is but a pair of spectacles behind which there is no eye.

Come with me to the Pack Rats Nest

    The right approach, (around the camp fire it's easy). In print I can but ask you to get into the mood—assuming what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be"—Your Editor suggests you sit comfortably and make up your mind to read this Pack Rat collected edition looking for fun and realize this little fellow is about as close to a "Leprechaune," "Brownie," "Pixy" or "Elf" as anything this earth can offer.

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    My fun-loving Pack Rats have gathered for this edition stories for you the — Naturalist, Ranger, Historian, Tavernkeeper, Tourist and Old-Timer. (plenty and solid they are.)


    In the Desert we have The Desert Rats. To be a real good desert rat one must be a veteran prospector, and old timer, "Sot" in his ways, and so obstinate he wouldn't move camp for a prairie fire. Some call us "Sage Rats," "Grissel-Heels," "Pocket Hunter" and "Drywash Snipers." So few will listen to us when we tell the dull truth, that we get to telling colossal lies.


    The Desert Pack Rat is not really a Rat either. He is not of the European rat family, he is as truly American as the Indian. Many are the stories told of this fellow's depredations. He has the greatest sense of humor and is the cutest critter in all this desert.


    Death Valley Chief Naturalist Bill Bullard, trys to tell me my pet Crow is a Raven — but until I hear of a Raven Distillery Company he is going to tay just plain "OLD CROW."

    I must keep alive the myth that I do lots of drinking. I want only to stay right here in this Old Adobe Fort, I do not want to build Adobe homes for others, or work with the many people that flutter in and just know they have a great idea (but really don't have anything.)
    So as I figure it, if I get a reputable reputation as a devotee of Bacchus, some will pass me by—others may bring a bottle, (It's sure worth some sober thought.)

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It's the truth and not my lies that get this Editor in Dutch.

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I just took and aspirin and a Bufferin—the race is on.


    The largest bird that flies today is the California Condor. It's wingspread is ten feet. It could fly to Florida in exactly X-X-X-X—what's the use? It don't want to go to Florida—no'how, never,—never.

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The wildest thing in the Wild West, is a Mother Burro, if her Baby's safety is at stake.

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A high-powered real estate salesman, at Palm Springs, received from an easterner, a down payment on a MIRAGE.

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Ticks are left-hand thread, (very seldom right-hand threaded).

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The water of Great Salt Lake, Utah, is a 24 per cent solution of salt,—much too salty for dill pickles.

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We cigarette and pipe smoking folks should give a thought to how we must smell to a Skunk.

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Yellowstone Ranger tell me Mother Bears spank their Babys,—but, say, he has not heard a mother bear call one "A Little Monster"


    Paul Wilhelm of Thousand Palms, a colossal palm seed planter, also finds time to unearth the mysteries of the Indians of his Canyon Oasis. Rumor has it that he has recently unearthed a complete set of petrified Indian smoke signals, varied in size and doughnut in shape.

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    All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others, Says, Buck Johnston (The Duke of Muddy Water), "Just try fooling a Pack Rat—you have about as much chance as sneaking sunrise past a rooster.

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From Pearblossom
PAPA BEAR—Who drank my pint of 40 Rod?
MAMA BEAR—Who ate my bowl of Beans?
BABY BEAR—Who chewed up my Records?
    Pack Rat Strutting Out of Hole — "Hi" "Poop" "Cha-Cha-Cha"
K. LePage

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

Garbage Rats



    Jimmy Brewer lately of Navajo National Monument foresees in the dim future Icelandic archeological expeditions to the ruined cities of America. He predicts that they will be bewildered by the finding of small white porcelain objects, four in the desert, and six and eight in the corroded foundations of ancient cities. They will always be found in a row and will be assigned some unknown ceremonial value. In other words, brother, the porcelain of our sparkplugs will outlast our civilization.

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    An Indian Chief on his return from Washington, told his family that Abe Lincoln was a Navaho, having viewed a bronze bust of Lincoln, he says he knows he was a Navaho because, "him same color as Navaho!"

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    If you get a young kitten treed sometime and want to save the fire department a call, why just send the mamma cat up the tree. She'll inspire confidence in the young kitten and the offspring will follow its mother down the tree.

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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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"Homing" Antelopes

    LAS VEGAS—Baby antelopes who refused to be wild are a problem to Frank Groves, agency manager. Transplanted here from Oregon last September and raised at refuge headquarters, Corn Creek ranch, they now are year old—old enough, Groves thought, to make their own way in the world. Accordingly, he took them ten miles away, left them to forage for themselves in the desert mountain area. P. S.—They beat him home.
—Desert Magazine

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    A doctor told an Indian patient not to eat anything until he got an appetite. He met the Indian a few days later and asked how he felt.
    "I feel good now; I wait one day; appetite no come, wait two days, appetite no come; wait three days, appetite no come; get so hungry eat anyway; feel fine now."
—Joe Fox, Ridgecrest

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Slim Law
Inlaws and Outlaws

    Ex-Sheriff Slim Law said, "I'll be 89 tomorrow." he said it to the clergyman, "and I haven't got an enemy in the world."
    "That's a beautiful thought" said the churchman.
    "Yup" the old timer said, "I've outlived and out shot every damn' one of them.

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    The Old West still lives department: A vacationer just returned from Yosemite reports that a campsite beside a creek about three miles from the Wawona Hotel there's an outhouse with a sign:
    "Please keep the door closed. The porcupines will eat the seat.
—Matt Weinstock

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Seldom Seen Slim
Seldom Seen Slim

    They tell a story about a funeral up at Johannesburg. Seldom Seen Slim while attending picked up some dirt that was thrown from the new grave, and just from force of habit examined it. He suddenly arose from his knees and commenced staking off a claim. The Minister observed this, and concluded his prayer in this manner: "Stake me off a claim Slim, this we ask for Christ's sake—Amen."

Desert Roadrunner

Purposely staggered by the Pack Rat Himself

    On this page my Pack Rats give you a great many, shorter than short items. You should be able to add to them. You will find Legends and Tall Tales will grow like Dust Devils with your retelling, so when they call on you at the campfire, get up, make your story tall, but give it a home in your own Desert.

Old Mining Days in

    For many years a mining company in the Rand District employed a Chinese cook, and one evening after an unusually good dinner the superintendent decided to raise his wages. The next pay day the Chinaman noted the extra money in his envelope.
    "Why you pay me more?" he asked the superintendant.
    "Because you have been such a good cook all these years," replied his boss.
    The Chinaman thought it over, then said. "You have been cheating me long time, eh?

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    Your Old Desert Editor thinks, this day and age, there is nothing as pretty as a Western Gal with long slender fingers a'rolling a Bull Durham Cigarette.

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Where you from "PODNER"

    If you're a good enough marksman, you can kill a puma, brown tiger, cougar, catamount, silver lion, purple panther, mountain screamer, American lion, and mountain lion all in one shot.
    No trick — these are just common names for a single animal, the "felis concoler," generally known as mountain lion.

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Pat Chancey Chance Happeneth To All

    That boy Pat Chancey is in a bad way — lost his girl. She was working at the second "Last Chance Saloon," (the first Last Chance Saloon burned down a year ago.)
    Chancey one night made up his mind to ask his girl to marry him so he shaved, got all dressed up and went out to the second "Last Chance" to ask her. He had waited too long. The little lady was fed-up with the 'belated chances." She had circled the town coming in one the North Road, had up and married the keeper of the "First Chance Saloon."

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    A cotton-tail rabbit, nibbling at his carrot, noticed that his son was in a particularly jovial mood. "What makes Junior so happy?" he asked. Mamma rabbit explained, "He had a wonderful time in school today. He learned how to multiply."

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Guides got'ta tell 'em

    "The rock formations," explained the guide, "were piled up here by glaciers."
    "But where are the glaciers?" asked a curious old lady.
    "They've gone back, Madam, to get more rocks," said the guide.


    The elusive and seldom seen Death Valley mountain sheep could be seen by anyone happening to stop at the Indian Ranch in Panamint Valley 30 years ago. At that time a ram had mingled with the domestic sheep of the Indians and became so tame that it became a pet. (Picture is available to substantiate this story.) —Matt Ryan

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    As a special treat, a teacher took her class to visit the museum of natural history. The children returned home very excitedly, and rushing into his house, one of the little boys greeted his mother exuberantly, saying, "What do you think we did today, Mother! The teacher took us to a dead circus."

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Jack Rabbit

    Watch a jackrabbit your next opportunity—see how he leaps a shade higher every sixth stride—to get a squint at possible pursuers.

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    Something ought to be done about thermometers! At least about the ones to be used on the desert. They are made to register only 120 degrees. When we got home after our summer vacation all the thermometers in the house were floating around the ceiling. It had been so hot that the mercury had gone up far enough to push the thermometers high into the air and keep them there. —Louise Eaton of Holtville

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    Long before Cortez reached the New World—the Indian children had pull-toys. For centuries their parents never realized the practical application of the wheel for their own adult vehicles.
    Stupid you say, yet you and I pushed wheelbarrows past automobile wheels for 40 years before someone put a tire on them. Maybe you didn't, but your editor did.

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Deef Dan

    Deef Dan fo Dagget lit his pipe in the wind, burnt one side of his mustache off and has been down in the mouth ever since. It makes Dan look like he is laughing at the wind, "but he ain't."

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    In Death Valley Hell's Gate is located near Daylight Pass. Some 25 miles south is Breakfast Canyon. Visitors in Death Valley will find, therefore, the only place in the world where they can drive from Hell to Breakfast in fewer than two hours.

Get the Hell Out

Rip Snortin' A Few More Drinks

    Old Rip Snortin' can see how he is going to have a few more drinks and still carry on his crusade for safety.
    Fred Beck in his book "Second Carrot from the End," says he knows how to drink properly, "Just swaller her down until it is time to go home and then don't go home."
    Rip says for added safety remember you can't fall out of bed if you sleep on the floor.

Seeing the City of Ghosts

"This bed," the Guide confided, "belonged to mh own great-grandmother."
    "Sure," the unbelieving tourist replied, "no doubt one of the beds General Grant slept in."
    "Very likely, sir—though, of coure, we could never get great-grandmother to admit it."

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The skunk is a dainty animal. Yea, as dainty as your cleanest house cat, that is, with the lesser smells.

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It's a wise man who profits by his own experience, but it's a good deal wiser one who lets the rattlesnake bite the other fellow. —Josh Billings

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    Old Whiffletree, ex-stage-coach driver, was out today throwing pails of water on the roof of his shack. I asked him why.
    "Wal," said he, "I've lived here seven years and I never have found out whether the roof leaks or not"


    What animal is the fastest swimmer? In a swimming race between a duck, a turtle, a rabbit and an alligator, which would be your choice. At the Tokyo zoo recently, a swimming race between a variety of animals was held. A rabbit won it, an alligator, the favorite in the betting, was second. A turtle finished third and a duck fourth. —E. V. Durling

Old Timers that have been caught in Desert floods know that a Jack Rabbit is about ¾ "out-board-motor".—H.O.

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    The inexperienced young Inyokern teacher scratched his head when a school kid asked him for a definition of the word "alabaster."
    Finally he admitted, "I'm not downright sure, but it might be an illegitimate Mohammedan."

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Bill Jennings—tells how the Mission Indians got drunk—they would eat a vine-ful of green muscat grapes then lay in the sun for three days.

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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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Palo Verde Rancher

    At a Las Vegas gambler's funeral, the speaker asserted, "Spike is not dead, he only sleeps."
    From among the gambler's friends who were attending, came a voice, "I got $100,000 that says he's dead."

Tomato Juice and Skunks

    An effective way to deodorize a dog that has been sprayed by a skunk is to scrub the animal in a basin containing three or four cans of tomato juice, depending on the size of the dog. The juice absorbs the odor and can then be washed out with soap and water. —Tonopah Times-Bonanza



Pack Rat

    I have been asked to put more of my Desert Characters in this edition. But the same people also ask for my Animal friends. I think I have given you both.

This page is dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist - The DESERT PROSPECTOR4    

Harry Oliver's


Off My Gin


Eli Whitney's last words: "Keep your cotton pickin' hands off my gin."

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    The South welcomes tourists because, as one Dixie governor said, "One tourist's equal to a bale of cotton, and much easier picked" . . . That's earl, brother.
Says Earl Wilson

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"A woman drove me to drink, and I'll be a son-of-a-gun, but I never even wrote to thank her."̵W. C. Fields

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    A Captain in the Army of the Potomac, during the Civil War, had a birthday coming up and wanted to celebrate it privately. He called his commissary officer and asked how much whiskey they had on hand: the officer replied, about two gallons.
    "About two gallons," quoted the Captain, "what's two gallon among one man!

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P.S. I saw an old W. C. Field movie on TV.
    Fields: Who stole the cork out of my lunch!
—Tom G. Murray

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The Dry Lake Dude says he always stops to wonder when he hears successful businessmen asking bartenders for advice. BREWERY GULCH GAZETTE

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"The trouble with whisky is that you take a drink and it makes a new man of you. Then he has to have a drink.

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"TEETOTALER,—One who abstains from strong drink, sometimes totally, sometimes tolerably totally."

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Fishing was invented by a fellow whose wife wouldn't let him drink at home.

Old Whiskers The Newspaperman and the Paperhanger

    In the foreward of Bennett Cerf's new book of humor, (he says, "If you know a good story, publish it from time to time.")
    So I am reprinting this yarn of mine from Pocket one of pouch one.—Ed.
    Nogales, Ariz.—A few months ago old man West died here at Nogales. His two sons, Ted West, a newspaperman, and Bill West, a paper-hanger, each received $250 from the small estate. Bill, the paper-hanger, deposited his in the savings bank, where it still remains. Ted, the newspaperman, had always had a great yen for tequila in fancy bottle, and expended his heritage in the purchase of a grand array of the fanciest he could find. He had just finished drinking these, and has sold the strange, fantastic, empty bottles to a tourist for $360.

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Beehive UTAH

From Salt Lake City, comes this

    Beekepers: according to Russian officials who sent questionnaires to all centenarians (people over 100 years old) in the Soviet Union, more than half of them turned out to be beekeepers—so I asked Ike Evans, beekeeper and sage of B Lane ,What he thought about th subject. (Ike is beyond four score.) Well, smiling, Ike replied, "I don't know about them thar Rooshians—but I likes my honey—both of them — my wife and bees — Now git along wid ya"—.

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No Laws for the Burro

    Only the wild creatures that find enough of the right kind of food, cover and water will live. The rest must either starve because they cannot hide, or die off because they cannot raise enough young to replace their losses. These are natural laws.
Editor's Note: But the now wild burro pays no attention to such laws.

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Chief Small Hat


This excellent print job (excellent I hope) was printed at the
Palm Desert, Calif.,
finest printers in our desert.
The cartoon was stolen from your favorite comic page, guess which one.

Johnny Western
Smart as a Mule

    After marching for a week for a lost mule the owner offered the town half-wit two bits if he could find him. In about an hour the dope came in leading the mule. When asked how he found him so quickly he replied—"I just thot where I'd go if I was a mule and I went there and there he was.


Burro     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 railroad, requiring trains to stop at the signal of a distressed desert traveler 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 acquainted with the statute, and pulled his train to a stop. Water for man and beasts was handed out by the bucketful, and the train moved on.—Outdoor Rambler, lone, California.

Knife Origin of Sign Language Among The Indians

    As there were many Indian tribes on the plains, so there were many languages and dialects. The frequent contact of tribe with tribe made some sort of common language necessary and the sign language grew up as an adaptation to the peculiar conditions in the open country. The Indian on the rock in the distance asks, "Who are you?" by raising the right hand, palm in front, and slowly moving right and left. Answer is made with, say the tribal sign for Pawnee. The sign for peace is made by the Indian laying down his weapons and raising his hands hight above his head. In such ways the tribe from the headwaters of the Missouri could communicate with a people from the Rio Grande for the sign language was a universal language of the plains. Its development was an intellectual achievement of great importance.


    The Assembly is taking a closer look at AB73 designed to spell out the law against illegal entry as suggested by majority floor leader Gene Evans of Elko.
    The measure, up for final consideration in the lower house on Tuesday, specifies those structures to which would be presumed to have been made with intent to commit a crime.
    Among the buildings listed was an "outhouse." "I am sure," said Assemblyman Evans, "That some of us have entered such structures with some intent other than larceny."
    The bill promptly was sent back to the judiciary committee despite a fine print addition noting the possibility of explaining to a jury the absence of criminal intent in some cases of illegal entry.



The only fine thing I know that we have done for the Indian—is to call a few fine days in early fall INDIAN SUMMER.

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The Indian on the "Buffalo Nickel" was modeled by Chief Two-Gun White Calf of the Glacier Park Indian Reservation.

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Pocohontas had a son, Thomas Rolf. He was educated in England, but later came to Virginia, where he gained considerable wealth.

ONE YEAR, $2.00         Three Years, $6.50
Grubstaker: The late Scotty Allen


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)

Good Old Desert Fun


    If you are alert—you read, on page one,—Sir Francis Bacon's words of 350 years ago.—(Do you think he wrote Romeo ane Juliet?) Anyway he knows his birds and bees.


    Sciences, like animals, can reproduce when placed together under the proper circumstances. In Dayton, at a symposium sponsored by the Air Force, an infant science born of biology and electronics has made its appearance. It's name: bionics. Its aim: to study living creatures in hope of gaining knowledge to improve manmade mechanisms.
    Perhaps the best description of bionics came from Biologist Harvey E. Savely, head of life sciences for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. "Our technology," he said, "is faced with problems of increasing complexity. In the living things we see around us, problems of organized complexity have been solved with a success that invites our wonder and interest. It is natural, therefore, that we look to these successful inventions in nature for clues of new classes of man-made machines with greatly increased capabilities.
    Snakes & Fish. Savely pointed out that nature is full of marvelously sensitive instruments. Rattlesnakes, for instance, find warm prey at night by means of heat-detecting organs that respond to a temperature change of one-thousandth of a degree. No man-made heat seeker can do anything like it. Neither can man-made gadgets approach the electronic virtuosity of those tropical fish that send out pulsed currents of electricity, presumably to keep them in touch with things around them. The system they use is not well understood, but it is known that one kind of fish an detect a current of two one-hundred-billionths of an ampere per square centimeter of its body. Its electronic sensing permits it to discriminate between glass rods in its tank that differ in diameter by less than one-tenth of an inch. Study of these talented fish could pay off richly in electronic ideas.
    Study of the eyes of bettles is already paying off. A group of scientists at Tubingen, Germany, found a beetle's compound eyes can measure the speed of a moving background with random shadings on it. After finding out how the beetles do it, the scientists set to work building an instrument on the same principle to measure the ground speed of airplanes. It didn't need all of the compound eye, only two facets of it simulated by photocells watching the ground from the nose and tail of the plane.
    Rats v. Moths. Bats, owls and porpoises all navigate or find their prey by sonic devices that are much more delicate and effective than anything man an build. More delicate still is the microscopic ear of a kind of moth that is often a prey of bats. It is tuned to the ultrasonic squeaks that bats send out, so the moth an take evasive action if a bat comes close. Biologists have already used this marvelous instrument. When electrodes are attached to its nerve, it makes best known microphone for listening to bats.
    Insect chemical detectors (sense of smell) are amazingly good too. Among the best are those of male moths that can smell a female of their own species a long distance away, apparently detecting a single molecule of a specific chemical. Human chemists cannot do this, even with the most subtle laboratory apparatus.
    Even more important are the devices by which living creatures make use of information from their senses and store it for future use. Scientists have known for years that brains, human and animal, are efficient computers of enormous complexity. Like up-to-date man-made computers they turn information that comes from the senses into digital (numerical) code for transmission along the nerves. Deep in the brain itself the digital code is converted into analogue (quantitative) code for mixing with other information. Said Savely: Here we come up against organized complexity carried to unimaginable extremes. The evolutionary culmination of this process is the human brain, which has become 'nature conscious of itself.'" Scientists know only vaguely how brains work, but as they learn more, their respect for brains increases.
    Another remarkable thing about living organisms is their ability to store in the nucleus of a single microscopic cell all the genetic information that makes that cell develop into a vastly complicated creature such as a fish, a bird or a man. Dr. Savely does not expect that those deep mysteries will be solved soon, but he is sure that study of them by physicists, chemists and mathematicians, as well as by biologists, will add enormously to the power of scientific man.
—Time, October 8, 1960

    Did you hear the one about the two camels. They were walking side by side in the Sahara. After five hours one camel turned to the other and said, "I don't care what people say about us. I'm thirsty."

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    A trim looking octogenarian was asked how he maintained his slim figure.
    "I get my exercise," he boasted, "acting as a pallbearer for all my friends who exercise."

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At the head of the year's list of places to go and see:
Whale of a Time
    "January-February, Migration of California Gray Whale in ocean off San Diego." Big Stuff. You going?

Mother's Day


    I know a counterfeiter who was going out of business. So, in a last big fling, he made a $15 bill. He went into a candy store, bought a couple of 50-cent stogies and handed over the note. The clerk looked at if for a moment and went into the back of his establishment, came out and gave him two $7 bills in change.




Finest Accommodations
Gasoline and Oil

Open the Year 'Round
Showplace of


Fight Press Agent For A Ghost
From page one of The Southwest section of
The San Diego Union, Sunday October 9 1960

By Alfred JaCoby: Editor

With thanks to Patrick Nolan of the Chamber of Commerce, and Clyde E. Strickler, Superviser Anza Borrego Desert State Park.
Also my good friend and guide, Joe De Fea, owner and operator of "My Rumpus Room" namely the Six Palms Tavern at Thousand Palms

(Just 17 steps West of Old Fort Oliver.)

Many added thanks to my early neighbors in Borrego, to Leo Carrillo and Ed Ainsworth who added sparkle and color to the occasion.


    Go to Switzerland and you'll find three different monuments dedicated to William Tell, each claiming the national hero—who never existed at all—was born on that very spot.
    Go to Italy and you'll find a monument to a heroine named Juliet—who also never existed.
    Go to Old Town, San Diego, and you can visit the marrying place of a California Indian heroine named Ramona—who never existed.
    And, go to Scotland, where you'll find a monument to the Devil—who also doesn't exist, as far as anyone on Earth can testify.
    Which makes it perfectly reasonable that the State of California at 3 this afternoon will dedicate a plaque in Borrego Springs to a prospector named Peg Leg Smith — who told tall tales, about a gold mine that never existed. The dedication will be a feature of the current Covered Wagon Daze.
    It also makes perfectly reasonable the 25-year campaign of a white-haired handsomely-bearded self-styled promoter and "press-agent to a ghost" named Harry Oliver. Others may want to share the glory, but Harry Oliver of Thousand Palms, Calif., can truly claim the distinction.
    Newcomers who read his newspaper, "Harry Oliver's Desert Rat Scrap Book" (the only five-page newspaper known), might think he couldn't possibly exist and has turned into a legendary character like Peg Leg Smith. Harry's a Legendary Character, all right, but he's also a razor-sharp promoter and a successful businessman, too.
    The monument to Peg Leg Smith (as approved by the state Park Commission) will say that "Legends regarding his lost mine have grown through the years . . . The gold mine possibly could be within a few miles of this monument."
    It possibly could be. Harry Oliver says he has talked frequently with Peg Leg—who died in 1866—in recent years. "He'll talk to anyone," Oliver says, "After you've had six shots of bourbon."
    Strangely enough, however, Peg Leg never reveals just where the gold mine is—regardless of how many shots of bourbon you've had.
    Harry Oliver and the Peg Leg legend got together back in the 1930s, about the same time Oliver was running Gold Gulch, "the rip-roaring'st mining camp since '49," at the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park. Gold Gulch was a bonanza of a success, according to Oliver, and even out-drew Sally Rand, another feature of the fair.
    "Course we had some pretty hot stuff down at Gold Gulch, too," Oliver confides.
    At any rate, after leaving the exposition, Oliver lived at Borrego Springs for a while and decided to make Peg Leg Smith live there, too. Soon hand-carved peg-legs were spreading in out-of-the-way places all over the Southwest, each with a message hinting the mine was at Borrego Springs.
    Other interests captured Oliver (who earlier had developed a reputation as a top Hollywood set designer) and he has since moved to Thousand Palms, near Palm Springs. Peg-Leg, however, has stayed in Borrego.
    In fact, Oliver set up a monument thirteen years ago in the valley to Peg Leg with the instructions that "Let him who seeks Peg Leg Smith's gold add 10 rocks to this monument." The monument has grown to ten feet in height over the years, too.
    He'll be a guest of honor at this afternoon's ceremonies and will probably spend most of the afternoon topping ever story told. In a serious moment he may even explain that a land such as ours can't have too many legends or too much folklore. What better place than the desert for such as this, he says. After all, as he puts it in the lates issue of the Scrap Book:
    "Big Shows have simple ideas and mountain backgrounds."



Count the tree rings

I Built It My Self

Knott's Ghost Town

Six Shooter 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 stops on that soft chair seat.

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Dry Camp Blackie Dry Camp Blackie

    Dry Camp Blackie says, desert animals are undependable in hot weather—complained today that the pack rat he has taught to bring him kindling every morning, brings twice as much in hot weather as in the cold winter months and wants many more crackers in payment.
    He is worried about his ant proof bread box. Says the horned toad he has on watch under the bread box complains that it doesn't get enough ants to eat.
    Blackie says the two badgers he has trained for prospecting are over-doing it and have dug up his garden three times just keeping in practice.
    Says his burros alarm clock attachment is two hours ahead of daylight savings time. So his troublesome days start early.

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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 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 glossy and like glass, so now get busy and figure out something that they can be used for . . . High class Rockhounds call them Fulgurites, but between you and me, they are just Petrified Lightning.

calico Prospectors

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.


Pack Rat Edited: Tail & Paw Toted5    

Earthquakes & Dynamite

    It's like this, Dry Camp Blackie's mine was peter'n out, lots of work and not much gold, then one day Blackie went to a newly opened box of dynamite to find 3 stiks gone and 3 pieces of rich gold ore replacing them. Blackie got out his kit to find there was more gold in those 3 pieces than he had mined in the last 3 weeks, so Blackie opened 3 more boxes of dynamite, 3 weeks later the dynamite boxes were empty of dynamite but Blackie loaded his burro with his rich ore and headed for the Mojave ore market.
    As he was headed down the trail that Tehachapi earthquake hit and Blackie looking back saw his mine and the hill for a quarter of a mile around popping like popcorn — the bouncing rocks touching off the rats' loads, Blackie says, after he gets over this—his last big drunk—why, he's going back and see if those packrats put their dynamite in the right places—Thanks to those Pack Rats, Blackie owns THE ROLLING STONE TAVERN today.

Dynamite Danger


Pack Rat     The Trade Rat or Pack Rat has the face of a gentle rabbit or chinchilla, a long bushy, squirrel-like tail, round ears and eyes like a girl from New Orleans
    Dry Camp Blackie has made a deal for acreage near The Rolling Stone Tavern. Blackie is starting a Pack Rat Farm. He says a tame Pack Rat is the smartest of all pets, clean and easy to train, fact is Blackie says, that they can be trained to bring your pipe and slippers if you don't have a wife or dog. Blackie also pointed out that you can train them to go next door for their food (a saving). Magic—he is sure that soon the man with a Pack Rat in his pocket will be the life of any party.

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    The pack rat is honest. He totes off your 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 nest 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 in my chest" business

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.