Archive for June, 2009

June 7, 2009

Boone's Day; or, Not the Boone of Boone's Farm

by cowboylands

We have Daniel Boone’s ADHD to thank for the western two-thirds of the United States. June 7 is a day that lives in glorious Disney colors or one that lives in infamy, depending on whether you were not or were a Native American. 

On June 7, 1769, Daniel Boone crested a summit in the Appalachians and looked down upon the present-day Kentucky.

Not a breeze shook the most tremulous leaf. I had gained the summit of a commanding ridge, and, looking round with astonishing delight, beheld the ample plains, the beauteous tracts below.


Because of these words, how many raccoon-tail hats have been sold in the continental United States alone?

How many people were uprooted and massacred? How many people left home and family to search for beaver pelts, gold, uranium, the silver screen? How many people tried their hand at homesteading, ranching, cowboying, mining, teaching, farming, oil rigging, acting, tricking, gambling, computing, green jobbing…?

Being asked “why he had left that dear Kentucke, which he had discovered and won from the wild Indian, for the wilderness of Missouri,” [Boone’s] memorable reply betrays the leading feature of his character, the primum mobile of the man: “Too crowded! too crowded! I want elbow-room!” 

Primum mobile–referring to the outer sphere of the geocentric universe, and that which imparts movement to other spheres. The networks had theirs. The 1964-70 “Daniel Boone” series chose Fess Parker because of “… Parker’s everyman appeal — a poor man’s Gregory Peck for the TV airwaves.” 

Daniel Boone’s restlessness tipped the balance so that Europeans spilled across the Midwest and the Plains and the Mountain states to the Pacific, crossing the waters to take Hawaii and Guam.

And bringing me to my primum mobile, from pre-rye and western writing, Boone’s Farm “flavored malt beverage.” 

Happy Boone’s day!

June 3, 2009


by cowboylands

A Western definition:

Dude (dood) n.

Usually an Easterner, but it can be used to call anyone obviously unready for the West–such as if a person is wearing street shoes, too-fancy clothes, or unable to ride a horse or track game or make coffee in a tin can. A dude is usually mocked mercilessly (see The Virginian, by Owen Wister). A dude, however, can rise above his dudeness (see Theodore Roosevelt) and in fact, may bring other virtues to the word (see The Big Lebowski). 

Legends of America also describes it as originally, a word that means a boil on a tenderfoot’s backside, gotten after riding in a saddle all day for the first time. (I will now call any pimple I get “dude.”)

An example of how to use “dude” in a sentence:  

Savvy Westerners don’t walk through a clump of chollo cactus, much less ride through on an ATV. This dude should’ve ridden a horse–they can be smarter than their riders.