Monday, January 7, 2008

Riding the Rails

This is a documentary about hobos, and it's pretty good. For one thing, it's got several interviews with people who actually hopped freight trains and slept in hobo jungles, and it's always nice to get actual participant testimony. And I'm always a sucker for MovieTone newsreels, and they did a lot of coverage of the Hobo Phenomenon. So this turns out to be one of those documentaries that has a lot of information about its subject.

It didn't answer the thing I've always wondered about, which is how you know where your train is headed. I lived for a few months in an apartment right outside a huge train yard, and I often considered hopping a train, but I could never figure out how to get where I wanted to go. I guess if you're a hobo, you're not really on a schedule, but I think you'd want to know which train was going to Los Angeles and which was going to Saskatchewan.

It also helps that hobos are fascinating. I think hobos are poised for a big pop culture resurgence, what with that great John Hodgman book. They could be the pirates of 2008, and I'll be in on the ground floor!

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