Grandpa Kewl

Book Review – In Search of The Hobo

This is nor a book – rather it is a web site I stumbled on. I was at work…the folks I work with had just implemented a project that converts out email system from Groupwise to Outlook. The process had run into a wide variety of bumps and the staff was fully engaged in the process of trying to correct all the deficiencies and errors. I am not directly involved as there is only a marginal impact upon the databases I manage. My part has mostly been consumed by writing code to parse out the contents of a bunch of log files created during the migration into a meaningful format, which in this case is a couple thousand Excel files. I’m the only one there that can write a lick of code and have the distinction of being the only Programmer…that’s Programmer with a capitol “P”….Anyway, the room was pretty noisy and got irritating as I needed to write some scripts for my Energy project…more programming…ya got to love it. So I put on my headphones and started up a folder of music by one of my favorite singers – Mississippi John Hurt. A song came on that I have listened to a hundred times if I have heard it once: “Casey Jones” which contains the following lines:

Casey said, before he died,
fixed the
blinds so the boys can’t ride
If they ride, let ’em ride the rod,
trust they lives in the hands of God”                           

It dawned on me that I had wondered about the meaning of the word “blinds” and the phrase “ride the rod” many times before but never ran it down. So, taking a bit of a chance (My desk in the cube farm is a bit exposed to the public) and started a search on the internet. After a short while, I found the site:

which answered my questions. In addition, it provided me a very fine and detailed examination of the Hobo in American history. I was so taken by the site that I downloaded the entire site to my hard drive at home. I do that often as web sites are prone to disappear. For the techs out there – get the program “Offline Explorer” from Metaproducts ( I have owned it since it was an in-house project from a poor Russian programmer who later migrated to the USA. Great software. The zipped up complete contents of the site are attached (or will be before I finish this).

A few things from the site:

In a pamphlet in the site, speaking about the plight of the Hobo: “Do you never think that it is due to no intrinsic merit of yours, and no intrinsic fault of his, that you are gentle, pure, clean, respected and he is brutal, vile, filthy, despised? That the slightest shake given in the past to the kaleidoscope of circumstances, might have made you two exchange circumstances.”


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