Monday, March 15, 2004

March 15, 2004
Great weekend for weather. Mild and balmy. On Sunday I made four trips out on the desert to get driveway rocks. Collected maybe 60. Unfortunately, got into a nasty confrontation with a neighbor across the creek. Late in the afternoon yesterday, Kathy and I drove over to the other side in the Ranger with Buddy Boze Bell in the back. Parked in a rocky hollow and started gathering up a few flat stones off the road and in the ditch. The guy who lives in a huge compound on the hill south of there, came charging up in his Explorer and demanded us to get off his land. I tried to joke with him and calm him down but he was on a mission (his wife was on the roof with binoculars). I finally told him he was “not being very neighborly,” which only exacerbated his anger. You could tell he felt like he was being a noble steward of the land (there are scumbags who come out and poach cactus, etc.), but his pompous rage was unwarranted. As we got in the truck, Kathy asked his name and when he told her and proceeded to pontificate, she told him off: “Just shut your trap Ron!” (I do love that girl). It was one of those ugly Boomer vs. Boomer showdowns (he was my age, white beard, trying his hardest to channel Kenny Rogers). Of course this kind of neighborly nastiness will only increase as more Yuppie scum, like us, move out here and claim every rock for themselves.

Speaking of wanting to shoot someone, I’ve been getting great feedback on the buscadero front. Dan Buck googled “buscadero” and found more than 700 hits for “buscadero”, but if he limited the search to references on websites in Mexico or Spain, the number is zero. He goes on:

“Italy, however has nearly 900 hits, largely cites to the Italian rock magazine, BUSCADERO, and to Sam Peckinpah's L'ULTIMO BUSCADERO (JUNIOR BONNER to we Yanks). The earliest pulp fiction reference I found was Ray Nofziger's "Border Buscadero," published in WESTERN STORY, March 1940. Other writers, from Eugene Cunningham to Louis L'Amour, worked buscadero into the title of their works. I'm beginning to wonder if the word wasn't invented by pulpers—regardless, they certainly popularized it.”

This prompted an e-mail from a friend of mine who is world travelled and a musician, who told me:

“In Italy, the primary organizing principale for il gente afficianado por musica Americana is a monthly magazine entitled questo: Buscadero. Run by a guy who started a similar magazine back in the early 70s and evolved into a specialty mail order record store for all things American roots, and eventually re-enlisted with Buscadero. It's essential from promoting your concerts, albums, so forth. Their top ten albums of the month get called, I swear to God, ‘Junior Bonner's Choice.’”

Dan Buck came back this morning with this:

“Push back the in-print citations to the 1930s. Over the weekend I found references to two 1935 short stories, ‘Buscadero Bullets’ and ‘Buscadero Buster,’ by Lee Bond; and a 1937 short story, ‘Buscadero Lover,’ by Marian O'Hearn. Bond and O'Hearn wrote for Western pulps. The word must have been in use by then, unless Bond coined it. Perhaps completely off point, but perhaps not, Lighter's Historical Dictionary of American Slang (1994) cites ‘buscar’ as a verb, 1890s/early 1900s US military slang for to search, to scrounge; and later, 1940s, also US military slang, as a noun for something sought or found by chance, e.g., money or a prostitute.”

Buck later added this:

“Eugene Cunningham uses ‘buscadero’ frequently in TRIGGERONMENTRY. My edition is 1941, but there is an earlier edition, 1934. He uses the word to mean gunmen, not lawmen. Cunningham, interestingly, served in the US military ‘in the Mexican campaign’ and WWI, and then went to Central America as a soldier of fortune and correspondent for WIDE WORLD MAGAZINE. In the 1920s he wrote for the EL PASO TIMES. So he knew Spanish and lived in the Southwest. Two of his novels use our favorite word: THE BUSCADERO TRAIL (1951) and RIDING GUN: A BUSCADERO NOVEL (1956). For the moment, at least, credit Cunningham—1934—as Mr. Buscadero Primero.

As much as me and my history minded friends despise the 1950s buscadero rigs in movies and on tv, my musician compadre capped the entire discussion with this:

“I vote for the inauthenticity of the buscadero, and Lucas McCain's Winchester with the little clip on the handle that allowed you to blow off Greenie Stick'em Caps at an alarming rate. I vote for Zorro and Paladin and Sugarfoot and singing cowboys and spaghetti westerns and Ennio Morricone and Sergio Leone and wagon trains wandering through Monument Valley. Makes for better visuals and music. And Raquel Welch and Brigitte Bardot get worked into the plot then too. I vote for F Troop.”

It doesn’t get any better than that. Call it a Buscadero Fandango Completo. And by the way, I’m going back over tonight to get “my” rocks.

“If I do not return to the pulpit this weekend, millions of people will go to hell.”
—Jimmy Swaggart

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