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Were you aware of it?



"Here are the 700 hobo names you have requested."

John Hodgman. So considerate.

This is one PROFESSIONAL WRITER -- now with blog! -- who takes seriously his duty to provide the public with knowledge they may never have known they needed. He imparts his vast erudition over the airwaves on This American Life, in the pages of McSweeney's and The Believer, and in his own "Little Gray Book Lectures."

Now, in his new omnibus compendium of obvious falsehoods, The Areas of My Expertise, a mock almanac chock-a-block with "strange facts and odd-ities of the bizarre," Hodgman deposits the fruits of his cogitation between two sturdy covers. Learn here the menu of the first Thanksgiving repast. Engross yourself in a brief timeline of the lobster in America. Puzzle over lists of failed palindromes and jokes which have never produced laughter.

Hodgman's writing is touched, as Dave Eggers puts it, with the "meticulous consistency of the deranged." And perhaps no document is better testament to this than his exhaustive list of 700 bona fide hobo names.

1. Stewbuilder Dennis ... 29. Ol' Barb Stab-You-Quick ... 120. Cincinnati O'Gurk ... 564. Elihu Skinpockets ... 697. Smokehouse "Frankie" Jowl-Poker.

Perhaps even more unsettling is Hodgman's yen to read this list aloud. All 700 names. In a peroration that lasts for 53 minutes and 49 seconds. His endurance is matched only by Jonathan Coulton, who provides dulcet acoustic accompaniment throughout.

Download it here. Put on a pot of coffee.

LISTEN: John Hodgman, "700 Hobo Names" (MP3)
WATCH: John Hodgman on The Daily Show (Windows Media)
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