Parallel Rails: ICHABOD


ICHABOD’s is a story I’ve been wanting to tell for several years now. I present it here: words by me, photos by various friends of the artist. By the way: I’m not ICHABOD and I very rarely facilitate contact between him and others. – Caleb Neelon, 


ICHABOD is a master of American freight train graffiti: prolific, durable, and consistent. In a game where thousands of graffiti writers compete to make their names as densely distributed as possible throughout the nearly two million freight cars across North America, ICH has been among the very best and most successful. Ceaselessly repeating his ultra-legible signature piece, he makes two things as likely as can be in graffiti: that his name will be rolling on every train in North America, and that you, me, and anyone else will be able to read it.

“The appeal of a freight train for me was obvious from the start, because I was fascinated with freight trains before I started writing,” ICHABOD – or ICH, for short – explains. “Most people want to write their name in the sense of ‘Kilroy Was Here,’ that ‘I was here, at this geographical location.’ If you paint a tag or a burner on a wall, it’s partly you saying ‘I was here,’ but partly, people have to go to see it, it’s one location. But freights, freights are moving walls. When you paint a freight, you never know where it will end up: alongside a highway in a very prominent spot in a downtown area, or in a cornfield in Nebraska. I’ve done freights where the Atlantic Ocean was at my back while I was painting them, since the layup was right on the water, and those trains have gone and seen the Pacific Ocean and been parked next to the Pacific.”

Those sentiments and experiences are hardly unique to ICHABOD: they encapsulate much of the essential appeal of painting freight trains, an activity with thousands of practitioners across the continent. And like the top tier of practitioners of freight train graffiti, ICH researched the United States rail system with the passion of the most serious railfan: he learned which types of cars are most likely to travel the most widely, and which will only run back and forth on a defined route. He learned which types of cars look best when painted, and based on the customers they served, where he might find them laid up on nights and weekends. And he learned how to sustain his painting spots by secrecy, strategy, and the rigorous discouragement of uninvited graffiti writers.

While mastering the rail system and how to scatter one’s name on it most effectively was also not unique to ICHABOD among seasoned train painters, he dove in as deeply as anyone. What separated him was his willingness to paint what was essentially the same piece – an I, C, H, with each at an angle to one another (what graffiti writers call a ‘tick-tock’) with a skull character next to it – more than 3,000 times and counting. (Graffiti writers are often exaggerators, but a look through the ICHABOD flickr group will dispel a lot of doubt one might have with regard to that number). Where many of his peers would get creatively itchy and break their own mold with regularity, ICH never tired of it. “It fits the master plan,” he explains. “I can’t count the number of people who want to get famous by doing graffiti, but who change their style every week or every time they go out. First of all, a lot of writers won’t even know that it’s the same person, and certainly the general public can’t tell that it’s the same person. But it’s simple: it’s brand recognition. Coca-Cola doesn’t go changing its logo every week. You want to get inside people’s brains and burn that one spot, over and over. Especially considering that you’ll only go so far in illegal activity before you get caught. There’s a clock running. You don’t want to have to retire before you made the dent you wanted to make. And how can you make that dent if you aren’t using repetition as one of your tools?”

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What It Feels Like to Be Buried Alive


From Antony Britton via NPR:

“To start off with, it’s painful. There’s no coffin there, there’s no casket — nothing there to protect your body. I remember the first bucket of soil hit me — it was a bit of a shock. But then it was a case of, “Right, we’re here, we’re doing it.” And then when the second one hit me, it was more like a foot on your body, and you could feel the soil compressing around you.

You know, you just got to clear your mind and just completely forget that that’s happening if you can. Each bucket that went on to you — obviously the crushing that is coming from the front, you know, underneath you. It’s coming from the sides of you, it’s going on top of you.

But yeah, it’s not a good one.”


5 feet tall with a brain the size of an orange


Introducing Homo Naledi, the newest member to humanity’s family tree.

“We practice sun-gazing as a substitute for eating.”


A new diet craze—replete with pinhole glasses—is allegedly emerging on the beaches of Hong Kong. It’s all about absorbing the Sun’s calories or something.

Video Meditation for Computer Driven Humans

Pop the headphones on, hit the full screen button and breathe.

Binary breathing exercises by Sasha Gransjean.

Fist Bump to Cross


Walking in LA is bullshit. As really the only form of exercise I ever got in New York, I thought I would carry the trend on over to the West Coast when I moved out earlier this year. While I still hoof it from place to place in my neighborhood, this city makes you feel uncomfortable doing it. First, there’s the fact that there’s nowhere worth walking to. It just seems that all the best places to go, you need to be driving or be driven. No bodegas either. Secondly, you can’t jaywalk, which is dumb. Let me cross the road when I feel like I can safely enough do it. And finally, this thing where you have to push a button to get a walk signal? Fuck you. Let me jaywalk or automatically turn it on. The unnecessary stress of having to remember to hit that button really ruins a peaceful activity. Great weather though.

Alfredo Adán recently made the task of pushing the walk button a little more enjoyable by turning the act into a fist bump. Good work from him on that.

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“Look where it is, it goes far below the knees”


At 18.9 inches long, 52-year old Roberto Esquivel Cabrera officially has “the world’s longest penis.”

Feel Yourself Straightening Up As You Watch This

The pros of good posture

Breathe In Strength, Breathe Out Bullshit

Meditation for the people.

Creators No Longer Creating


Notable deaths from the month of June
Don Featherstone, Inventor of the Pink (plastic) Flamingo

Wyatt Neumann, fearless photographer and creative director

Sonny Madrid, founder of Lowrider magazine

Paul Bacon, influential book cover designer

Blaze Starr, voluptuous stripper and Queen of Burlesque

Horst Brandstätter, the businessman behind Playmobil

Dusty Rhodes, WWF wrestler

Hermann Zapf, typeface designer behind Optima and Palatino

Harold Feinstein, photographer and native of Coney Island

Where To Seek Silence


Here’s a map of America’s most quiet places (and its loudest).

The Goddess of Grope


After spending years as a midwife, Takiko Shindo mastered the Japanese art of Oppai Taisou (translated: boob exercise), which is meant to help women “achieve healthier, shapely bosoms.” Realizing that her hands were a hot commodity and that all women should benefit from her method, Shindo developed the “Oppai Taisou Hand” to simulate her master touch. Essentially an oversized back scratcher, the pink plastic hand allows its user to simulate the groping method in the comfort of their own home.

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