BACK HOME COVER THIS IS HISTORICAL INFORMATION ONLY
PRICE 10 CENTS . . . . . . . ONLY ONE LOUSY THIN DIME
EDITOR'S 75th ANNIVERSARY EDITION PACKET FOUR OF POUCH TEN
PUBLISHED FOUR TIMES A YEAR
ONLY NEWSPAPER IN AMERICA YOU CAN OPEN IN THE WIND
Most Of My Stuff Is Too Good To Be Grue2
Smallest newspaper in the world and the only 5 page one. (Not a Texas Boast)
Packet 4 of Pouch 10
This paper is not entered as 2nd class mail. It's a first class newspaper.
Published at Fort Oliver
1000 Palms, California
Four Times a Year
ON THE NEWS STANDS NOW
TWO - BITS
I just had to do it
MAILING PRICE $1.00 A YEAR
This offer expires when I do
Asbestos editions will be forwarded
in case you don't make it.
H A R R Y O L I V E R
Talent, like the gout, sometimes skips two generations.
(Found in Chinese cookie)
Some of the people who call me a drunk ain't nothin' outstanding themselves.
I find when I tell lies, folks don't care just so's I'm sincere.
The Thunderbird was buzzing the other day with the story of a slaphappy hostess at a cocktail party who collared a bewildered author to tell him, "I read your book as a magazine serial, I read it in book form, and as a condensation, and now Iv'e seen it in the movies and on television. Frankly, Mr. Ingold, just what the hell are you trying to say?"
FUN AS A DESERT EDITOR
In April of 1946 I printed the first of this paper. The format was the same as it is tody. It was tagged Camp Edition— Saddle bag size. I printed ten thousand. I wanted to see if they would sell. The price was one thin dime.
I told of my plan in my first editorial.
After years of writing of the Desert, I present this Desert Scrap Book with its strange facts, desert oddities, and bits of humor, that you may enlarge on them, until they take their place as Desert Folklore.
You will find Legends, and Tall Tales will blow like dust devils with your te-telling, so when they call on you at the camp fire, make your story tall and give it a home in your own Desert Valley.
That's the reason of this little newspaper, or one of the reasons, the other is that I never had a newspaper of my own before and I think it will be a lot of fun.
Also I told of my policy. I would concoct an all-desert project with paper, of Folklore and Humor . . . even the Ads (if I ever got any) would be desert.
The 1st edition carries no ads. Future editions will only consider advertising copy that will add color beyond the ability of the editor. So if your advertising copy is better reading than my stuff shoot it along!
Edition number two I was not so sure about and only printed 5,000. But they sold — in fact not long ago one copy sold for $7.50. If you have a copy of Packet Two of Pouch 1, I could sell it for you. I sent all other copies to the New Desert Museum of Death Valley — without it. (IF you have one send it to them).
It was with this copy that I started that line . . . "Onhy Newspaper you can open in the wind."
Other lines became a part of the format, "Smallest newspaper in the world and the only 5 page one. (Not a Texas Boast)"— "THIS offer expires when I do," etc.
As the years went by I had fun, my Old Adobe Fort became well-known, my numerous trademarks such as the Old Station Wagon (1928), My Black Hat, My Dog Whiskers, My Cats, Sin and Satan, my old Crow (Col. Have-A-Shot), the Pack Rat Raffles, and the 39 Desert Rat Characters I gave birth to in the last 20 years became well-known to you readers.
A few years ago I did a column for the 5-acre Home Steaders, in the Riverside Enterprise, I looked for a new boom.
Today I am glad to say that the active Retired Folks are coming from all points of the globe, right here to our Desert, just to read my paper and find contentment.
"Boy" what prosperous days are ahead for your Editor.
The Editor wants you to know this is the FORTIETH EDITION of this paper, and he had FUN putting all of them together — and hopes you had fun reading each of them.
Los Angeles Times
BY ED AINSWORTH
Restoration of An Antique
Sentiment still does exist.
I know a man who can testify positively to this. He is Harry Oliver of Thousand Palms, one a famous artist and technician in the films but for many years a resident of the desert near Palm Springs. He lives there from choice and puts out a unique "five-page" newspaper, "The Desert Rat Scrapbook," every once in a while, averaging four times a year.
His most treasured possession has been a 1928 Ford station wagon. But, for some reason, it was getting a little worn and shabby.
This condition brought about project restoration, Sponsored by Barner Hinkle of Thunderbird, a lot of enthusiastic kids, and the people of Palm Springs.
A complete new set of chrome, new wheels and tires, engine renovation and general spit-and-polish were provided. The kids scraped and varnished the wooden body, and new signs were painted on the station wagon.
Harry drove the refurbished and splendiferous creation right to the door of the swank art tea given last Sunday at the desert gallery at Desert Magazine in Palm Desert in honor of Ted Degrazia and Ross Santee. It was the hit of the day, next to the artists.
I wish Oliver Wendell Holmes, Masterpiece, "The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay," weren't such a long fable in poetry — As I like to think my 33 years with "My Old Dream Wagon" was somewhat the same story. "The One-Hoss Shay" is told in 3 big pages and this little paper must have things shorter than short.
So I can only thank the many friends who put "My Old Dream Wagon" together again on the eve of my 75th birthday.
You see if you 're not a dunce,
How it went to pieces all at once,—
All at once, and nothing first,—
Just as bubbles do when they burst.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
I won't say the railroads are in trouble — but what do you want to bet, come 1980, this country'll have 8,000,000 stations wagons and no stations!
If Both Sides Make You Laugh, You Are Broad-Minded 3
"Saint Frijole" rids Mexico of Arthritis
Says Raymond Carlson, Editor, ARIZONA HIGHWAYS
Cooking in the Sun: We sing a tribute for the lowly bean this month. We have never seen among our many Mexican friends, whose diet accents beans, that malady known as arthritis. The bean has strength, flavor, and is wonderfully palatable. Cook it right, ma'am, and you are cooking like all git-out. Here's how you can cook wonderful, gorgeous beans: For four: one pound pintos, no soaking overnight. Merely wash beans and then put them in boiling water (they get black if you put them in cold water). When beans have come to boil again, add ½ lb. chopped bacon and one onion. After one hour of boiling again, add one can solid packed tomatoes, and also pinch cayenne pepper plus salt and pepper. If water boils down do not add cold water but boiling water. After three hours your beans are done. Serve with salad and the blessings of your guests are yours.
—From Arizona Highways
New Mexico Magazine & Editor George Fitzpatrick
CHILI, SI! TEXAS, NO! Bill HB200 submitted to the New Mexico legislature directs that every person of the state eat at least one Mexican-style meal, using chili con carne and beans cooked in Rio Grande water. Those not complying "shall be forthwith taken and branded with a lone star on their 'como se llama and deported to Texas."
At a recent gathering of Famed Doctors in Fort Worth, Texas, it was agreed by common consent that they endorse quantities (under the skin) of both Whiskey and Pepper Hot Mexican-Style food . . . For those who must face the possibility of Fallout.
Then too there is the story of the Cow at White Sands, New Mexico, who, after eating grass off her little pasture for 17 years, developed skin cancer.
I GUESS A LITTLE PATCH OF CHILI PEPPERS WOULD HAVE SAVED HER.
My old-time friend, Captain Gibson of Palm Springs and Death Valley, has just handed me a membership card to the (International) Chili Appreciation Society.
Also this little story from The Dallas Morning News by Frank X. Tolbert.
THANK GOD FOR THAT CHILI!
Sondra, who is 16, worked at night in a small cafe up in the Panhandle of Texas. At about 11 o'clock one night after the last customer had gone, she was closing up. One of her final duties was to put a huge metal container of steaming hot Chili in the walk-in freezer.
After Sondra entered, the door slammed behind her. Evidently a sneak thief had come in the cafe and this villian dropped a long knife-sharpener through the hasp-lock on the freezer. Then he took $30 from the cash register, turned out all lights and went away, leaving Sondra to spend the night in her sub-zero cell.
Sondra's shoes were frozen to the floor. She would certainly have frozen to death if she hadn' embraced the container of Chili until all the heat left it.
Said her Mother: "So let's all Thank God for that Hot, Hot Chili!
I don't blame our Indians for being discouraged. They are the only ones to be conquered by the United States and not come out ahead.
Andy Hervey, longtime film studio publicist, is taking a job with the Wickenburg (Ariz.) Chamber of Commerce. He says, "A town that has a dry river named the Hassayampa running through it and a sign, 'No fishing from bridge,' has got to be going places.
OLD FORT OLIVER
This Story by Jack Smith of the Los Angeles "Times" shows that smart Newsmen can always find a "Pocket Full of Miracles" — At Old Fort Oliver.
PALM SPRINGS— Harry Oliver, the old desert rat, was listening to the World Series on his radio, when we dropped by to see if he had any new lies.
Oliver lives out in the desert in a "100-year-old" adobe fort he built about 20 years ago. He calls it Ft. Oliver. The yard is full of rusty old antiques, including Oliver's 17-year-old dog Whiskers.
"He keeps hearing his old stomach rumbling and thinks it's thunder," Oliver said. "He goes in the house to get out of the rain."
Besides Whiskers Oliver has two bobtail cats, Dot and Comma. "They're supposed to help me punctuate," Oliver said. Oliver is the Editor and the entire staff of Harry Oliver's Desert Rat Scrap Book.
It is printed four times a year on a big piece of paper folded four times. It has two slogans: "Price two bits" and "Only newspaper you can open in the wind."
The Scrapbook is full of philosophy, wit and facts. A mosquito has 22 teeth; bees tases with their knees. These are facts from the Scrapbook. Dry Camp Blackie would rather have a cat than a TV set. This is philosophy.
We met Dry Camp Blackie. He said hello. He was sitting in the shade outside Ft. Oliver with Whiskers. Blackie sat there all the time we were there and was sitting when we left.
Harry loves and protects all desert creatures. He has a talking crow and used to have a tortoise named Hopalong Pushadee. He died.
Oliver says the buzzards come back to Ft. Oliver every year like the swallows come back to Capistrano.
Oliver has a Ford station wagon which he says he has driven for 33 years without denting a fender or running over a horned toad. He is the inventor of the mule swearing contest where a man gets a prize for cussing out a mule the best, and the lazy dog contest for the laziest dog. The dog and his owner each get a prize.
Oliver has fought for years to save the burros. He also invented the burro flapjack contest for prospectors and burros. The prospectors have to pack their burros, race 100 yds., unpack, build a fire and cook a flapjack. The first prospector who gets his burro to eat a flapjack gets a prize. I believe the burro does, too.
Oliver talks to his crow and used to talk to Hopalong. He is trying to teach Whiskers to bark in italics. Oliver knows desert weather. Last August he predicted August was going to be as hot as July was all through September. It was. He says in the desert a 6-inch rain means the drops were 6 inches apart.
Oliver is 74-5/12 years young. "After you pass 70 you count your age like children," he says. "You put in the quarters and halves." His hair and beard are white but he's as tough as an old wagon wheel. He says the future is getting here quicker than it used to, though.
Oliver is like old Sky-Eye Jones, who is Oliver's flying saucer expert. Sky-Eye is 90. He has discovered that every time he lives through March he lives through the whole year, so far.
Oliver says he owes his jokes to his memory and his facts to his imagination. But so what? His paper only costs two-bits.
Park named for Mexican Bandit Dedicated
on 50th Anniversary of New Mexico's Statehood
With my sharp nose in the wind, I read of New Mexico's plan to create "The Pancho Villa State Park. 34 acres at Columbus N. M." as a tourist attraction.
I was as hot as a Cow-Boy's Pistol on 4th of July. I was Art Director of M.G.M's Great Picture, "Viva Villa," designing and building the sets in Mexico and Hollywood. I also have had 40 years experience building with adobe.
I got a letter off to George Fitzpatrick, Editor of New Mexico Magazinre, then to E. R. Smith, Superintendent of State Parks — but no soap — but I tried, didn't I?
This gives me a chance to let you know how great this picture is. Produced 30 years ago, and still galloping across the Motion Picture and TV screens of the World.
It was in 1932 that a dozen of us from Hollywood circle Mexico City looking for suitable locations to film "Vivi Villa." Howard Hawks, Ben Hecht, Charles G. Clark and others. Many miles on horseback through pulque fields, where today they have great highways. But it was a horseback picture — one of the greatest.
How to stage a fast-moving Revolution
Leo Carillo . . . the last time I was to talk to him, (Down in Borrego, it was when we were together at the dedication of "The Peg Leg Smith Monument"). Leo told me that M.G.M.'s European offices rent their copies of Viva Villa" to all the countries of the world. They rent the film when the people of a country get "REVOLUTION HUNGRY."
For 30 years these lessons in HOW TO DO IT YOURSELF have been available.
"VIVA LA REVOLUTION"
Wallace Beery Thrills Picture-goers with His Performance in "Viva Villa" at Preview
Wallace Beery never had a roll that will make picture theatre-goers remember his work in long after he is gone as he does in "Viva Villa," his latest M-G-M super production, produced by David O. Selznick, that was so excellently directed by Jack Conway. Aside from the star you can mark up credits for six players that help in great measure to hold interest created by the star. These are Leo Carillo, Henry B. Walthal, Stuart Erwin, Fay Wray, George E. Stone and Joseph Schildkraut. Others who will command attention are Donald Cook, Katherine De Mille, Phillip Cooper, David Durand, Francis X. Bushman, Jr., George Regas, Frank Paglia, Adrain Rosley, Pedro Regas, Henry Armetta and many others weho have small but good parts. The battle scenes and the mass gatherings of the various factions and the bandit raids are gems as far as building dramatic interest are concerned. The photography work of James Wong Howe and Charles G. Clarke are worthy of special attention, as is the art work of Harry Oliver, Herbert Stothart musical score, recording by Douglas Shearer and editing by Robert J. Kern. In closing let us give great credit to Ben Hecht for the screen play, suggested by the book by Edgcomb Pinchon and O. B. Stade.
—From ROB WAGNER'S SCRIPT
30 years ago
IT'S NEWS TO ME
by Herb Caen
A homespun old-timer in our town runs a pipe shop and publishes a booklet that's as corny as Kansas except when Kansas plays football. It's filled with homilies and shaggy doggeral about smoking, one of which I can barely resist, so I'll stick you with it:
"Bad men want their women to be like cigarettes, slender and firm, all in a row to be selected at will, set aflame, discarded only to select another. Fastidious men want their women be like a cigar. More expensive, they make a better appearance, last longer, and if the brand is good, are used to the end. The good man wants his women to be like his pipe — something he becomes attached to, knocks gently but lovingly, takes great care of always.
"A man will give you a cigarette, offer you a cigar, but never share his pipe."
The Dane, a part of the staff here at Old Fort Oliver, (in fact he is second in command), is in charge of antique cars, gun room, all the livestock including Cats, Birds, Dogs, and strays.
One of his big jobs is the Winter-Comfort department, and he journeys up to our nearby mountains to cut wood for the fireplaces.
The last time I went up the hill to see him he was at work in a wild thunderstorm.
"How close did that bolt of lightning come to you Dane?" I asked.
"Commander, I don't know — but my pipe wasn't lit before."
Little Animals - Less Space
If you live in a haunted house, your dog won't stay with you — for it is said that animals can see ghosts. (Has your dog moved out lately?)
It was getting cold and all the other pigeons had flown south, but baby pigeon could not seem to fly. One day Mama pigeon said, "If you don't learn to fly today I'll have to tie a rope around your neck and tow you along." But baby pigeon cried, "Mommie, I don't want to be pigeon towed!"
Nature's snow job on Southern California last week still has people talking. Harry Oliver, the desert rat of Thousand Palms, says; "Since Alaska got in bed with us things sure have changed. This morning I looked out into the cold, cold desert and saw two little cottontails blowing steam and pushing a jackrabbit, trying to get him started."
From Matt Weinstock's Column. — After "That unusual weather dropped down on us from Nevada."
A little girl in Salton Beach, rushed into the house one day and said to her mother, "Ma, if baby were to eat tadpoles, would they give him a deep bass voice like frogs?"
"Dear me, Madeline, no. Why they'd kill baby."
The girl looked up at her mother wistfully. "Well, they didn't."
Did you hear about the bird that builds a nest with a hole in the bottom? It likes to lay eggs, but it hates the idea of raising a family.
Old John Searle of Borrego Desert told me how he saw two snakes swallow each other's tails — inch by inch. when there were only two heads, he says — they both gulped greedily and passed from sight and existence — yes, disappeared completely.
Mouse Squeaks Trap Wily Fox
INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minn. (AP) — They're trapping the wily fox with mouse squeaks in this area of Northern Minnesota.
The fox figures a mouse is a tasty tidbit and state game department officers are luring the animals into gunshot range with tape recorded squeaks.
The Dane says his unusual Parakeet don't talk. "I've taught it to keep its mouth shut."
The dane's bunk is near that noisy Raven here at the Fort.
It was Darwin who said, "A dog is the only thing on earth what loves you more than he loves himself."
This Page is Dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist - - The Desert Prospector PAGE 4
HARRY OLIVER'S DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOK
Quips and Clips
By KERWIN HOOVER
Conductor of the Column "Grassroots Clippings"
The Publisher's Auxiliary
It was about 15 years ago, after one of his first long evenings of toil, relates Karl Jorgensen in the Solvang (Cal.) Santa Ynez Valley News, that the tiny chap appeared: " . . . Four inches tall and under a printer's square cap of an old newspaper two large flapping ears stood straight out; between them a long, pointed nose and on either side a pair of friendly but mischievous brown eyes . . . he handed me his card which read 'Henrxegicies Unatizidies Louse Jr. of the Amalgamated Type Louses of America" with the comment, 'I'm taking over complete charge of your gruesome mistakes, ghastly errors, embarrasing oversights, messed up papers, breakdowns, misplaced copy, and mixed up or damaged type. Show me where I can set my bag of tools — I'm anxious to get to work.' He's been with me ever since."
The San Marino (Calif.) Tribune observes that a certain Missouri editor refuses to publish obituary notices of people who while living failed to subscribe to his newspaper, and gives this reason: "People who do not take the hometown paper are defunct anyway, and their passing has no news value."
AND THE EDITORS OF TIME & LIFE
Time & Life Building
Harry Oliver: We are gathering material for "The LIFE Treasury of American Folklore."
It is to be a book, 400 pages, 78 paintings by James Lewicki in full color. We want to include your Burro Stories in it and must have world publishing rights.
TIME INC. BOOK DIVISION
P.S. Glad to see your stories in print again — B. A. Botkin, Consultant
(He has 3 books of Folklore on the market and I am in them.)
From Me to Them
Old Fort Oliver, June 8, 1961
Jean Snow: Executive Office
TIME & LIFE INC. BOOK DIVISION
Dear Miss Snow:
In answer to your letter with request to republish my WISE, WISE BURROS Story.
You have my permission to print it any place in the World, on the moon and in Hell.
Time & Life Building
Dear Harry Oliver:
We refuse to go to hell for you and the astronauts are in charge of the moon. But we will accept your permission for world rights gratefully.
B. A. Botkin says, "Hell-o!"
OLD FORT OLIVER
Desert Folklore Kraal
Thousand Palms, California
Dear Miss Snow:
Your book is brilliant. I am proud to be a part of it. Thanks for your use of my word "HELL" on page 225.
I am sure my 20,000 Wise, Wise Burros will like it.
Be sure to let me know when I can get a copy printed in Japanese and also in Arabian.
This joyous book is brilliantly illustrated. There are more than a hundred pages of paintings in full color — See it. "THE LIFE TREASURY OF AMERICAN FOLKLORE." Price $12.95 at your book-sellers — or in your public library.
WRITERS, REPORTERS & EDITORS
A favorite of Herb S. Hamlin
The editor of a small-town newspaper had a sign over his desk that read, "Obituary Editor." In due course, his son took over the post, and had the sign duly changed to "Son of Obituary Editor."
Editor Eugene Conrotto of Desert Magazine cherishes the story told of frontier editor, "Lyin' Jim" Townsend — the desert's most frugal newspaperman. When Townsend was running the Homer Mining Index in Lundy, Calif., he would sometimes take-off for the outside world for a couple of weeks. Before he left, he would compose the next week's paper and let the printing devil run it off. Why not? His imagination was far livlier than any news that came out of the mining camp.
Every writer has his own theory of what particular conditions produce his best work. Balzac insisted that in order to produce a good book it was necessary for him to be chaste. So whenever he had an affair with a woman he whispered to himself: "There goes another masterpiece!"
A kid reporter out West on an atomic assignment was watching the sun set behind the gaunt mountains back of Las Vegas. He tapped an old croupier on the shoulder and said, "Beg pardon, but that is the West over there, isn't it?" The croupier assured him, "Son, if it isn't you've just scored the biggest scoop since the Johnstown Flood."
Hale and hearty at the age of eighty, George Moore, the famous Irish novelist, startled everybody by his continuing clarity of thought and physical well-being. "To what do you attribute your great good health in your eightieth year?" asked a reporter. Moore replied cheerfully, "It's because I never smoked, drank or touched a girl — until I was eleven years old."
ONE OF BENNETT CERF'S PETS
During Mr. Coolidge's tenure at the White House, there was a display of diplomatic nicety. The ambassador from Great Britain was breakfasting with the president, discussing an important trade agreement. He was somewhat taken aback when Mr. Coolidge carefully poured his cup of milk into a saucer, but, gentleman to the last, the Englishman did precisely the same. The President smiled slightly, but said nothing as he stooped down and gave his saucer to a gray cat waiting patiently at his feet.
Felt mighty sorry for a friend of mine recently who got a bedbug bite on her breast, scratched it and infected it and had to go to the hospital for lancing treatment. You hate like the devil to be inflicted with something you can't discuss freely with your friends. And a bedbug bite isn't exactly what you would like to go around talking about.
The old soldier wrote the distillery, "I'm the only survivor of my regiment who fought in the Philipines. Cholera, not bullets, wiped them out. My two sons were in the same battleground with MacArthur. Taking my advice they fought off the cholera, too. The remedy is simple. You drink whiskey and that licks all the cholera in the world. How much is it worth to endorse your product?"
The distillery wrote back: "Sorry, old warrior, none of our customers have cholera. But we're sending you a case to ward off any possible attacks.
Gasoline and Oil
Open the Year 'Round
THE STUBBORN QUEEN
BY HARRY OLIVER
When a man passes three-score and ten years, it is time for him to determine what life has fitted him to do best; then he must set out to do it.
My life has been an odd mixture — half show-business, and half a study of early pioneer life.
With this in mind, I wish to write a story of the forgotten age — the age of axe and wood — the age when the American woodworkers skill was pure art.
In turn I propose that this story be the basis for the greatest motion picture ever made; a picture as wild as Jules Verne, as down-to-earth as Robinson Crusoe, as vivid as Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and as western as the paintings of Remington and Russell — with Buffalo Bill's and P. T. Barnum's showmanship thrown in to boot.
THE CRITTERS REPRESENTED IN THE GRIPPING MELODRAMA, THE STUBBORN QUEEN—
The main character in my yarn is a great and wonderful, mobile giant; an awesome, plodding, land-ship powered by the prairie wind and 24 hand-picked Missouri mules — THE STUBBORN QUEEN.
Her creator is a fine wood-worker, wagon-builder, mill-wright and boat-builder named LONG-SIGHT ASHBY (formerly, my great, great, uncle Harry.)
Ashby has a young man to help him along — a trapper who said he would go along on the journey across the Plains in the Stubborn Queen. His handle is THOMAS L. SMITH, and his work with rawhide and leather gives the land cruiser a spick-and-span look (ash and hickory lashed with rawhide sure is pert!)
GINGHAM is the daughter of Long-Sight Ashby. She is a buxom girl of 18, and is the model for the figurehead on the prow of the Stubborn Queen.
SWISS HANS is a master sculptor. He carved massive clocks (all of hardwood) in the church steeples of Zurich. They're supposed to run for centuries. At present, he is the engraver of Gingham's pretty face and windblown hair on the stem of the Queen. He holds an unrequited love for his model.
Senator DEACON WILL wants to accompany the expedition into the West. He is an amateur "Sigmund Freud." He's totally blind in one eye, with only half sight in the other. He wears a black patch over the bad eye, carries a big umbrella grayed with time, and sports a tall, black, stovepipe hat. Deacon has a great interest in youth. He refers to all growing boys as "young giants." (He's told hundreds of little fellows that if they will read much, listen much, and talk loud only when they're alone in the woods, they will be sure to be Senators some day.) He lost his sight as a boy, and always tells, with a hearty laugh, of the great noise his home-made cannon made as it took his sight.
Deacon has a red-headed, seeing-eye nephew named RICOCHET JONES. As the deacon runs his long fingers through his nephew's mop of curly, red hair, he takes on a strange look (in his almost sightless eyes) of one peering into a crystal ball, and with his fingertips he reads what Ricochet sees.
(THIS I KNOW, BECAUSE I'M THE AUTHOR OF THIS HERE LITERARY COMPOSITION. —H. O.)
CUSSIN' SKINNER DAGGET is the best mule-skinner in all Missouri. He's the "Chief Engineer" of the Queen, and the proud owner of a 24 mule-power (a prize Missouri mule = 1 ½ horse power), oat-eating dynamo. He was called "Cussin' Daggett," but odly enough, he never cursed or used profane words. He had a vocabulary of his own — fast, spitting words that didn't mean anything when they came out of slow. Some say his words were Mule-Talk.
THE BUILDING OF THE STUBBORN QUEEN
She was all Long-Sight Ashby's idea. He knew how to use mule power to cut wood, turn a grindstone, and do many other jobs.
Now he wanted to build a giant Cruiser (mast and all) to house a treadmill in. He was going to harness 24 mules to he treadmill and, aided by a little wind, "sail" right across the western plains.
Old Long-Sight even took his idea to Andrew Jackson, expansionist, frontiersman, and 7th President of the United States (1829-1837) "Old Hickory" listened to to Uncle. He was all for Old Long-Sight's idea. (In fact is was Jackson himself who gave Uncle Harry the name Long-Sight.) As a token of good luck, Jackson lauhingly presented Long-Sight with a small, brass cannon.
You can scare bow and arrow Indians with it," he said.
In Bolivar, Missouri, on April 4, 1836, the building began. Old-Long-Sight spent the summer selecting and curing the hardwood to be used; the "craft" was to be build with the perfection and super-excellence of "The Wonderful One-Horse Shay" (Oliver Wendell Holmes: 1809-1894.)
The body of the Queen was half boat and half stagecoach, with a mast and sail. The rudder was a way-3 job on a big wooden ratchet: a heavy wooden rudder for water, a big sharp wheel for soft land going, and a giant iron plow (to be used going downhill.)
Old Long-Sight gave the cannon to Swiss Hans and told him to fashon a base for it. This Hans did. Then he returned to carving Gingham's likeness on the prow of the Queen. One day Uncle came back and said to his lovely daughter, "He used to make cuckoo clocks. Hope he don't make you look silly as a Coo Coo."
Meanwhile, Skinner Dagget's been down by the corral eyein' is 24 hand-picked mules . . . (HERE INSERT A MONTAGE GLORYFYING THE MULE) DAGGETT'S VOICE IS HEARD. HE'S PROUD OF HIS MULES; HE LIGHTS HIS PIPE; SMOKE FILLS THE PICTURE . . .
The Montage dissolves from the moving mules in the corral to faster-moving legs, — as we pull back to see the "Jack Ass Mail" crossing the Desert, Indians all around, shooting, — but the mules keep on going, — as we dissolve to Army Mule Wagons hundreds of them — then a dust storm in the desert — tumbleweeds pass the camera — as out of the storm — coming right at us is The 20 Mule Team of Death Valley — Ship loading Mules for the Boer War — Pack Mule-trains moving down into Grand Canyon, — Then with the screen full of Mules in harness we pull back and see a 40 Mule Combine in Oregon Wheat field, — as we fade out another of theses great Combines comes alongside. Fox has stock shots with three of these 40 Mule Combines in one shot, — and that's 120 Mules — I worked on the picture.
The Calvary has a prize "White Mule" that has out jumped everything at Horse Shows — he should jump in and out of this Montage a few times.
Folks came from as far away as Springfield and Kansas City to see Ashby's land-going ship, and marveled at his extraordinary skills and workmanship.
One fellow was a tall, gawky 27-year-old with a simple sort of name: ABRAHAM LINCOLN. He came to talk to Old Long-Sight about his patent, a boat-floater.
Deacon Witt took note of everyone and commented on them as he and Old Long-Sight had their coffee in the shade:
"That young fellow Lincoln who talked about his boat patent . . . he'll go a long way . . . but not with patents . . . Yes-siree, you just mark my words. And that Smith, Tom Smith. His will be a masterful life . . . with good luck, he'll go places and do things too!"
So you, the reader, will note the unerring truth of his words — he did not know that Lincoln would become President of the United States; nor that Thomas L. Smith would amputate his own leg, find and lose a gold mine, and become the famed PEG LEG SMITH.
(ONLY I, THE AUTHOR, KNEW THAT!)
In the interest of safety, President Jackson sent two, handsome, new recruits to escort the Stubborn Queen westward. While waiting for the expedition to get underway the two gentlemen passed the time fencing on the deck. They were admired by Gingham, their swords flashing in the sun.
Seeing this, jealous Swiss Hans hurried to the hold and seized the small, brass cannon.
A small charge of black powder — a big wad of mule droppings — Swiss Hans took aim. The target, the swordsmen . . .
THE WAR HAD STARTED, AND THE QUEEN WAS NOT YET UNDERWAY! ! !
In all, Long-Sight's "craft" was as cozy as Noah's Ark — but, unfortunately, not filled with mated passengers — instead — 24 mules and a hand-full of female-starved men.
Anyhow, she was now ready to go. Old Uncle Harry, looking through the sea of big Missouri Mule ears ahead (12 mules on each side of the treadmill), spurred the 96 sturdy legs forward. His choice of the direction in which to proceed was Santa Fe, New Mexico — in 1836, he oldest, most colorful, and best-established town in the West. From there, it was Sutter's Fort in Sacramento, California, and visits to the missions linking the two towns. This lane of travel was chosen because it was the southernmost as smoothest. (BESIDES, FIERY MEXICAN SENORITAS AND BEAUTIFUL INDIAN GALS WERE NEEDED FOR THE THREE YOUNG BLOODS — TO KEEP THE RIVALRY ALIVE.)
(Who knows? Maybe they could find some Spanish soldiers to skirmish with (H. O.)
And so the Stubborn Queen "sailed" through the prairie's high green grass. It was said that in a spot that is now call "Nebraska" Cussin' Skinner Daggett was at his cussed worst. It seems he ran a whole herd of wild Bull Buffalo into the left side treadmill.
At night, when the moonlight made the prairie grass look all the world like water, the crew of the mobile giant rested, just as Roman galley slaves laid down their oars to rest.
On rainy nights the sails were used to cover the Queen and two lanterns were hung on her prow, giving her the appearance of a huge beetle-bug. This sure scared the hell out of wandering Comanches.
TO THE READER —
As I look into my great, great Uncle Harry's musty old trunk at the notebooks, maps, and drawings pertaining to this Great Adventure, it overwhelms me that, in the days of wooden ships and century-old church steeples, the skills of these same craftsmen should contrive, invent, design, plan, and manage to bring about this first trip across the plains. As you study the design, you will note it is so much like the track-laying, war-making, steel vehicles of today. So far, this is the only conclusion I can draw after taking the time to tell you of this great undertaking. You see, there is some doubt as to whether or not I shall write the next chapter . . . my real name is Harry Schubert.
By the time you read this, it will have been copyrighted. These same pages were registered on June 15, 1959 with the Writers Guild of America, West No. 74101.
To Be Continued
If Harry Schubert is lucky, (or gets busy) this International Saga will be resumed on the next overhead passage of Telestar.
NEW ON THE DESERT MAGAZINE BOOK SHOP LIST
Palm Desert, California
30,000 MILES INTO MEXICO. Nell Murbarger. This popular author's newest book, describing her personal exploration of the by-ways of Mexico while on an extensive camping trip. 16 pages of photos. Indexed. $6
PHOTO ALBUM OF YESTERDAY'S SOUTHWEST. Compiled by Charles Shelton. Documentation of the desert Southwest from the 1860s to 1910 through the camera's lens. Early-day photographs show the explorers, the prospectors, the miners, the cowboys, the desperados, the ordinary people, as they were, before glamor and varnish were applied to the legend of the Old West. Highest quality printing. 195 photographs. Hand set type. Embossed black and gold hard cover. Special gift for those who collect Westerniana. $15.
THE DESERT, TODAY AND YESTERDAY. Randall Henderson. The founder and former editor of Desert Magazine draws on his vast knowledge of the Southwest to put together a book of his experiences and observations. Almost a half century of desert living is coupounded in Herderson's book. Many photographs. $5.
DEATH VALLEY SCOTTY. Tom G. Murry. Excellent photographs of the legendary Scotty in a high-quality 9 by 12 gloss paper booklet. Some of the best pictures ever done of Scotty and the Castle. $2.
— ALSO —
THE OLD MIRAGE SALESMAN. — It's out again in a Spiral Binding, selling at $2.00. Compiled by your Editor's Daughters, Amy and Mary. 88 little wood-cuts, 120 pages.
Poet Robert Frost, in his new book of poems, "In the Clearing": "Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee — and I'll forgive Thy great big one on me."
An old Gold Mining Town, 4200' high in the San Diego Mountains, is always a wonderful spot for us dried-up Old Desert Rats, come July and August.
Col. F. J. Hickey at his "Apache Trading Post" — says if the government ever should fix the price of gold at say $75 an ounce, Julian again will see a mining boom.
Trout Fishing in the Desert.
Active Retired Folks coming into our Desert, can find trout fishing only thirty miles from Old Fort Oliver, at Rainbow Rancho, Whitewater Canyon.
This cool shaded spot offers fishing and a place to cook and eat them.
Free, in the main hall is Ewald Edward Lohe's, highly rated exhibition of patriotic art of all our Presidents from Washington to Kennedy.
"Man is the only animal that blushes — or needs to!" (Mark Twain)
"A good reputation is when you are what you appear to be." (Socrates)
Quote: "High heels were invented by a woman who had been kissed on the forehead." —Christopher Morley.
Quote: "The most dangerous thing in the world is to try to leap a chasm in two jumps." —David Lloyd-George
"Truth is stranger than fiction; fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities, truth isn't." (Mark Twain)
CALICO GHOST TOWN
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.
The best way to avoid a hangover is to keep drinking.
After checking the patient over, the physician asked, "Have you been living a normal life?"
"Well, you'll have to cut it out for a while."
The only advantage I can find to being poor is that it is so inexpensive.
Harry Oliver the tongue-in-cheek desert rat, is having fun again.
At an observance of the Desert Hot Springs library's sixth anniversary, of all places, Harry, who lives in a home-made castle in Thousand Palms, announced his plan for a development called Alcoholic City.
The city he explained, would be built in a circle so drunks would not have to cross the street and thereby endanger their lives. Curbs would only be a quarter inch high so no one would stumble and fall. Also, no gutters to fall into. For landscaping — salted peanut bushes.
Harry has been out in the sun a long time.
From Matt Weinstock's Column in L.A. Times
The doctor concluded his examination. "I can't find the cause of your trouble. Offhand I'd say it's due to drinking."
The patient shook his head understandingly. "Perhaps I had better come back, Doc, when you're sober."
GIFT GUIDE. Abercrombie & Fitch's gift booklet contains nice hint for man who has everything. It's a beer can Launcher (price: $23). that projects empties 100 feet, or far enough to fling them into the nieghbor's patio.
One of the steamshop companies was examining a young physician who wanted to sign on as assistant Ship's Surgeon.
"What would you do," he was asked, "if the captain fainted on the bridge?"
"I'd bring him to," answered the young man.
"And if he was still wobbly?"
"I'd bring him two more."
"What's the difference between a drunk and an alcoholic? A drunk doesn't have to attend all those meetings!"
—I got this one, of all places, from T.V.
My doctor said to me: "What are you taking for your cold?" I replied: "Make me an offer."
"So how do you tell if you're nuts?" Don't worry about psychiatric terminology. Just give yourself this simple test. If you think you are crazy, you are not. If you think everyone else is crazy, you are.
Sign over 29 Palm's bar: "If you're drinking to forget, kindly pay in advance."
Every morning I read the obituary notices before I get out of bed. If I'm not listed, I get up and shave.
"Gee" I wish I could remember what it was I wanted to forget.
SIMPLE LIFE IN DESERT CASTLES 5
This story comes from the North bank of the combined White Water and Tahquitz Rivers, at Palm Springs.
A doctor recalls the husband and wife who went to a psychiatrist. "We've been married more than twenty years," explained the husband, "and lately, she's been acting queer."
"In what way?" asked the medico.
"She keeps goats in the living room. They smell terrible."
"Why don't you open the doors and the windows?" suggested the psychiatrist.
"What? And let all my pigeons fly away?"
"No, No," said the Centipede crossing her legs, "A hundred times no!"
While filing the above item from The Tonopah Times-Bonanza, it occurred to me that it just might hook-up with the story below, from a much earlier edition of the same newspaper:
The inmate of the Nevada State Prison at Carson City who invented the Zipper got the idea from study of his pet Centipedes.
A favorite habit of the pack rat, one that would justify a chuckle if the animal was human, is that of carrying the redoubtable joints of the porcupine-like cholla cactus into farm house privies, where very often they are stored in a corner, on the seat or on the floor!
Fellow bought a mouse-trap for his cellar. When he went to set it, he found that he had forgotten to buy cheese. So he cut a piece of cheeze from a magazine and place this in the trap. Surprisingly enough this worked. When he went down next morning he found in the trap — a picture of a mouse.
CATS AND DOGS GET COMPANY
NEW YORK (AP) — Americans, who always have liked pets, are veering to the unusual — chameleons, iguanas, baby alligators, horned toads, hamsters — says Wyman L. Hammond, head of pet operations for the F. W. Woolworth Co.
Hammond said the chain sold 100,000 chameleons, 750,000 turtles, 500,000 birds and four mission fish during 1961.
If you're picking up this paper for the first time — where've you been?
POSTMASTER — DO NOT — send this back — if the subscriber don't know where he lives, I sure as Heck don't either.
All text was hand-entered (no OCR scans) by Ric Carter (all of Harry's misspellings retained). Dick Oakes did the layout, markup and graphics reproduction, but not the contents, which remain the property of Bill Powers and his heirs.