Scrap Livingston, Hobo Musician

Scrap Livingston, Hobo Musician

Hopefully Andrew has the original in his hands by now, so I'm going to go ahead and post this...

Follow me, here, for a moment, as this ties together several of my areas of interest.

In 2005 John Hodgman (This American Life, The Daily Show, the PC in those Mac/PC commericials) wrote a book called The Areas of My Expertise, a fake "compendium of world knowledge". It had a long section on hobos which included a list of 700 Hobo Names, names like Boxcar Ted and Guesstimate Jones and Microfiche Roy, the Side-Scroller. As part of the promotion material for the book, Hodgman released an mp3 of himself reading the entire list while Jonathan Coulton plays guitar in the background (live, one take - fingers of steel, that man). The book, by the way, is hilarious.

Inspired by a challenge from BoingBoing, some illustrators, including Adam "Apelad" Koford, set out to illustrate each of the names. An informal group covered all the names, but eventually Koford illustrated all 789* names by himself as well.

In early 2007, the LOL Cat internet phenomenon, which had been around as "Image macros" for years, really took off. In June 2007 Koford "revealed" that his grandfather, also a cartoonist, had actually invented LOLcats with his 1912 cartoon "The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats". The cartoon was the adventures of Meowlin Q. Kitteh and his kitten friend Pip, both hobo cats. I was an instant fan -- the combination of old-tymey humor, internet jokes, and the cuteness of the cats hits some magic combination of switches in my brain. The Laugh-Out-Louds Cats are created via an interesting process -- rather than being drawn on any sort of schedule, they're drawn as people buy them. For $20, you get the orignal artwork mailed to you and Koford posts a scan to his website. It's been popular -- where even a daily comic strip would just produce 365 strips a year, the Laugh-Out-Loud cats hit number 666 (on New Year's Day 2008) after just six months. At times, Koford has also used the same model to offer custom monkeys or animals or new hobo names via his website.

Also in 2005, Erica's good friend Andrew Livingston began to play bass in the Mike Doughty Band, which he continues to do to the present day (new album out February 19!). Everyone in the band had nicknames and Andrew was named Scrappy, which was quickly shortened to Scrap. Because it's what Mike calls him onstage, a lot of people only know Andrew as "Scrap Livingston".

Which is an awesome hobo name.

So that's what we got Andrew for Christmas 2007.

The end.

*The second paperback edition of the book included bonus hobo names.