Hobos are the new Unicorns

By now everyone knows that empanadas are the new cupcakes, but did you know that hobos are the new unicorns? It's pretty official when fecalface.com does a special "how to jump trains" posting.
Apparently this is what a modern day hobo packs in their bindle sack:
This crash course on hobo-ism should get you through any situation where you find yourself with hipsters discussing train hoping:
Hobo with a shotgun: A parody trailer included in the movie Grindhouse.
Hobo Nickels:
Popular art for for hobos. Images on nickles are altered into their own designs.
700 Hobos Project:
The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman (2005) is a fake almanac that includes 700 different hobo names. Hodgman read each of them in a very thisamericanlife-ish relaxing way and you can hear it here. I think you'll laugh at least 10% of them. (I just cracked up at 317 - Yes, I'm listening to all of them.)Mark of Boing Boing heard it and suggested that 700 cartoonists volunteer to draw one hobo each. They did and they're all on flickr.
Mulligan Stew: dish prepared by hobos in camps in the early 1900s. Usually, it includes meat, potatoes, vegetables, and whatever else can be found. The hobo who put it together was known as the "mulligan mixer". Also see: Hobo Soup, a canned soup with an amazingly cool label.
(Mulligan stew is also an alcoholic mixed drink with a rum base, usually set on fire. Think: Flaming Dr. Pepper.)
Jack Black: Late 19th century hobo who wrote You Can't Win - the favorite book of William Burroughs. This first person narrative contains stories and recipes about the Hobo lifestyle- freight hopping in the Wild West, opium addiction, stints in jail, escaping jail, crooked cops etc.
Why hobo?
From the National Hobo Convention's website:

What's the appeal of Hobo Life? So what appeal to this kind of life is there really?, to the neo-phyte, imagine a way of life where you are not bound by time schedules, home owner bill, job expectations, the IRS, you can live where you want, sleep where you want, travel wherever you want as long as its' in the continental US and Canada. Never pay a travel fare unless you want to, never pay rent, electric, gas, water, or cable bills, never pay taxes, and see places in the US and Canada others only see in the movies, or in a magazine. Sound like the lifestyle of Bill Gates, or Donald Trump?, well hundreds of folks live that kind of life every day, in fact that kind of life/culture has been going on since just after Americas' Civil War. A lifestyle/culture so sweet, so addictive, so seductive, so intoxicating, that those of us who retire after 20, 30, even 40 years of are never really free of it. Because Lady Freedom has gotten too far in our blood to gotten rid of her completely. Freedom, complete freedom, and the ability to pursue that ultimate free life, and the vehicle to propel you ion such a quest, and a constitutionally base right to free movement. It's truly a drug, a greasy steely drug that once it gets in your blood it's there for good, and no matte how you've retired, no matter how much you deny it, you'll never be free of it. Whenever you hear a train whistle, whenever you see a moving train, or just train cars, or even train tracks, that longing in your heart will tug at you so tight you'll realize that you're addicted for life!

Here I am October 1990. Thrilled to be a hobo for Halloween.

I'm off to learn King of the Road on bass... B, E, F???


  1. Not to mention, William T. Vollman wrote an article for Harper's about riding the rails. I'm pretty sure it was a chapter from a forthcoming book on the same subject.

    Also, I thought cupcakes were the new empanadas.

    Lastly, how cute are you as a 12 year old hobo? Settin' trends even as a pre-teen. (Or as your generation calls them, tweens.")

  2. You are doing a most excellent job at coming across as a sleazy old guy. It's incredible really.

    No. Empanadas are definitely the new cupcake.

    What are you going to be for Halloween this year???

  3. 1-What? That was a perfectly harmless comment. You were a cute kid.

    2-Could it be that cupcakes are the new empanadas are the new cupcakes?

    3-Old and bitter.

  4. what an exhaustive hobo round up. fantastic.

    i kinda thought pinkberry was the new cupcake, no?

    you've got me thinking i should be a hobo for halloween this year, seeing as i wasn't one when i was 12, and it's a totally great costume idea. only question i guess is where to find a small white plastic box with a mans butt drawn on it for my hobo pouch...

  5. Isak:
    1. No, no, I just mean in general. Not that comment in particular.

    2. see below.

    3. hmmmm...I can't imagine what that costume would look like on you. Maybe you can send a photo.


    Thanks for the reminder about pinkBerry. Good call. Except, pinkberry is already too cool. And although it does have the portability and cute factor, theres nothing left to make it an underground discovery. (ps - I'm dying to try it.)

    Honestly, sigh, and you'd know better than me -being in the big city and all, I don't think we're done with the cupcake. Since 2002 - and still holding strong.
    Maybe it's time for a posting on cupcakes. Surely there's people out there that would like to be reminded of Lazy Sunday, or the tiny israeli flags that Amy Sedaris so delicately topped her's with back in '03.

    Yes, Isak. I believe you're right. cupcake is the new cupcake. Thank goodness for you NY-ers to keep me abreast.

  6. Don't eat Pink Berry. It gives you rickets and night vision and some nights you shit and Fall back in it while undergoing an spell of uncontrolable high five-ing fit. . It is a completely miserable experience and the owners are getting sued for having some cardboard shavings in the ingredients or something... I swear to muthafuckin god I heard that somewhere. BTW. Zeppoli's are the new Funnel Cake.