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Steve Likes to Curse
Writing, comics and random thoughts from really a rather vulgar man
Why trains are better than trucks 
Saturday, March 22nd, 2008 | 02:28 pm [commentary, humor, politics]
Steve
Roscoe Bartlett, our local representative in the perplexingly named House of Representatives, is a perfect example of what is wrong with American government as it exists today. It’s not the principles — it’s the people. Instead of representing the interests of the people in Maryland’s 6th district, the congressional career of Roscoe Bartlett has been a fifteen year waste of time. His accomplishments include publicly complaining that too many college scholarships go to students that don’t have “American names,” participating in a 2004 ceremony in which meglomaniacal cult leader and owner of the Washington Times, Sun-Myung Moon, declared himself the Messiah of the World, and voting in favor of drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.
 
But the other day Roscoe finally (as mentioned previously by Rick at Bent Corner) came up with a good idea: moving more shit by train. Sure, it pains me to agree with someone who has made a fortune subverting democracy, but when you’re right, you’re right. Here are a few reasons why trains are not only a more efficient means of moving freight, but also way cooler than trucks.
 
1. Trains are not only a more efficient means of moving freight, but also way cooler than trucks.
Trains use less fuel and are able to move much bigger loads much faster than trucks, becaues they don’t need to stop nearly as often. Over-the-road truckers are subject to traffic and weather, whereas a train just keeps on chugging down the track. Trains are also way, way cooler than trucks. Need convincing? Keep reading.
 
2. Railroad employees are better people than truck drivers.
I can tell you from personal experience that some of the rudest, most ignorant and least showered human beings on the planet earn their living driving a truck. Working maintenance at a truck stop for five years, I met the occasional trucker who was a decent human being, who could carry on an intelligent conversation, who was charming and polite, who practiced good hygiene, who did not turn and whistle or whoop or go “Damn . . .” every time a woman passed nearby, and who did not treat every square inch of the grounds as his own personal toilet-cum-landfill. For every one of these I was pleased and privileged to meet, there were five guys with their bellies dangling out from beneath their shirts, their pants hanging down past the crack of their asses, who seemed to spend every waking moment complaining about the price of fuel, or the food at our Subway, or the fact that there was no TV room, or “these damn Mexicans,” or “those goddamn queers.”
 
On the other hand, my experiences with guys who work for the railroad have been far more pleasant. My grandfather worked for the Western Maryland Railroad, and later CSX, for thirty years. When I was little, before he retired, he would take me into the train yard from time to time, and I would visit with the other guys working in dispatch.  I was in a phase then where I was fascinated with making photocopies of money. Pap gave me a $50 bill, and one of the other railroad guys helped me make a copy of it on both sides. He folded it into fourths, then did the same thing with a sheet of copy paper, then lined up the folds so that the two-sided copy would be lined up perfectly. The result was a very cool black-and-white counterfeit fifty. Number of times a trucker has helped me make a cool double-sided copy of a fifty: zero.
 
3. People make way better movies about trains than they do about trucks.
The list of films about truck drivers should fill us all with shame. It is packed with examples of unfunny comedy, lame action, and acting roles for Meat Loaf. I know, Smokey and the Bandit will always have its defenders, but I shall not be among them. Nor will you ever hear me sing the praises of Black Dog or Joy Ride. Trains, on the other hand, have long inspired filmmakers to dizzying creative heights. Look at the list of great films made by Buster Keaton that feature trains: Sherlock Jr., Our Hospitality, his classic short One Week, and his masterpiece The General. Think of all the trains in all those great westerns. Fuck, there was even a train in the last Back to the Future! Tell me you didn’t think it was cool when Doc Brown showed up at the very end with the train time machine. I know the rest of the movie wasn’t always so great, but come on! Is your heart made of fucking stone?!
 
In conclusion, big diesel trucks are a blight on our nation and should be wiped out, so are truckers and so should they, and trains should once again take over as our primary mode of transporting freight. Let us all look forward to the day when our interstate highways are free of obstructing and dangerous big truck traffic, and we can look to the side and wave at the trains as they steam proudly along on their bright steel tracks, without having to worry about slamming into the back of a trailer at 75 miles an hour because the guy driving the truck in front of us had to slow down to make sure his dick didn’t pop out of the pee jug.
Comments 
Tuesday, March 25th, 2008 | 10:42 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
On top of everything there is no better way to travel than on a train. The worst thing about travel is being crammed and needing to stretch, i.e. road trips and long flights.
Monday, April 14th, 2008 | 04:32 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
Gee, I wonder how they will get the goods from the train to the people who need them. Horse and buggy? Anyone who takes you serious is a fascist pig. So which one is your hero, Stalin, FDR, or Hitler?
Monday, April 14th, 2008 | 06:15 pm (UTC)
I hope you don't have to draw conclusions very often in your life away from the internet, because you are really, really terrible at it.

I assume they will get the goods from the train to the people/businesses by truck. I don't expect trucks to completely disappear as a means of moving freight. I would really like it if we moved the majority of it across long distances by train, and left the trucks for the short-haul when necessary. It would be a huge improvement to get most of the trucks off the interstate highways, and that the trains could take care of quite nicely.

As for people not taking me seriously I'm not sure if you noticed (and since your powers of observation don't appear too keen, I'll assume you didn't), but many of the articles on this blog are built on such scholarly premises as "wouldn't it be funny if Captain Kirk were an incompetent jerk?" and "shit and come jokes are funny!" Just saying.

Strictly speaking, Stalin wasn't a fascist. He was a Soviet Communist, and therefore a socialist; fascism was adamantly opposed to socialism. Hitler was a Nazi, which is differentiated from fascism by the primacy it afforded race; to a fascist like Mussolini, the state was supreme; to Hitler, the race was above even the state. It's a fine distinction, sure, but still ... They were both absolutists and mass-murderers, so they've got that much in common. Maybe the distinction is practically meaningless, but if we define fascism as actual fascists did (and still do), only Hitler was somewhat of one. Stalin wasn't.

FDR did some stupid things (Japanese Americans in interment camps during WWII being a glaring example), but as far as I know he never oversaw the systematic mass-murder of his fellow citizens, and he did kick Hitler's ass, so how does he deserve to be lumped in the same category with Adolf and Joe?
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