See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
6 February 1997 INTRODUCTION: This is part two of the five part Frequently Asked Questions list for alt.folklore.urban. This section contains various administrative and other oddly interesting information pertaining to AFU. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- TWO NOTES TO NEW READERS: - We encourage you to post any stories you suspect may be an UL. Funny or whatever. Details matter! Please try to give as much as possible. BUT, be advised that many of the stories in the FAQ have been hashed over. If you wish to debate them, be prepared to substantiate your claim. - The weasely :-) symbol is frowned upon in this group. Any questions, see Phil Gustafson who will gladly rearrange your diodes for you and charge you two-fifty for it. Of course, there is no good reason why doing so should be a capital crime (virtual or otherwise), though you do leave yourself open to scorn, ridicule, and bad breath if you do use them. By the way, it's no big deal. Get a life. - There are also reports of a BOA going on. A NOTE TO OLD AND WOULD BE OLD READERS: - If you must troll, bear in mind that trolling outside of AFU is pretty weak. The purpose of summarizing these frequently-seen legends is to provide a guide to veracity and their experience in this newsgroup. Most ULs cannot be traced back to original true incidents, but some, particularly the more recent ones, can be. There are ULs which may, coincidentally, have a true manifestation, but a true manifestation does not deprive a UL of its legendary status. However, since many if not most ULs are false, where possible, I include a comment referring to a true incident, subject to sufficient evidence, of course. A DIGRESSION ON URBAN LEGENDS AND "FALSEHOOD" Occasionally, there is a post to the effect of: "That actually happened you st*p*d, f*ck*ng, b*st*rds, Jan Harold Brunvand is Polish, the FAQ list is wrong, the sun rises in the West and it's not an urban legend." As noted elsewhere in this list and by astute individuals on the net, an UL does not have to be false. If we take the example of "The Unsolvable Math Problem" (see below), we find that mathematician George Dantzig is the probable individual involved. So is this story no longer an UL? Jan Harold Brunvand addresses this issue thusly: "Despite finding its [The Unsolvable Math Problem] apparent origin, I continue to accept anonymous versions as legendary. Here's why." "An oral story is a story, whatever its origin. As long as a story continues to circulate in different variations, partly by word of mouth, we may regard it as folklore. But probably 'The Unsolvable Math Problem' legend should no longer be discussed as strictly 'apocryphal,' since we now seem to have found its source, and the deviations from the original incident are easily recognized and are not excessive." - JHB, _Curses! Broiled Again!_, p. 282 Veracity is interesting but far from the only thing when it comes to the study of urban legends. MEANWHILE, BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAM . . . I have also begun to collect references to specific volumes of JHB's to document various classic ULs. This is a slow and on-going process. Acronyms for Jan Harold Brunvand's books in the list below are: TVH - _The Vanishing Hitchhiker_ TMP - _The Mexican Pet_ (No, not Splinter!) TCD - _The Choking Doberman_ CBA - _Curses! Broiled Again_ TBT - _The Baby Train_ Related newsgroups to consider when posting an article which may be "folklore": - alt.folklore.computers [guess what this one is about?] - alt.folklore.science ["Does hot water freeze faster than cold?" Heh.] - alt.folklore.college [Lots of the same old stuff, but why not?] - alt.folklore.ghost-stories [Spooky!] - alt.folklore.suburban [Joel Furr moderated, low-volume group.] - alt.folklore.info [Terry Wood moderated, very low-volume group.] - alt.folklore.military [What exactly is "Puff the Magic Dragon" about?] - alt.fan.cecil-adams [For those who want the dope, straight or not] - sci.skeptic [for those with lots of time on their hands] - alt.tasteless [frequently more appropriate than not.] - alt.usage.english [pretty self-explanatory, dontcha think?] - alt.flame [just a thought else hold that thought] - alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.d [the others are for *pictures* only.] - alt.religion.kibology [the mother of all newsgroups] - rec.arts.startrek.misc [Anything about "Lost in Space" will do.] NOMINATIONS FOR THE OFFICIAL MOTTO OF A.F.U. [One free clue: if youse post with one of the following in your article, youse takes youse chances in this newsgroup.] "It could have happened, so it must be true." "Sheesh!" "Sorry to inject some facts into this newsgroup..." "It COULD have happened so it MUST have happened" "Bula Vinaka" "I read it on USE[less]NET so it must be true." "You st*p*d f*ck*ng b*st*rds..." "The way I heard it..." "I read it in the paper..." "I think it's stupid. We collect all these business cards, and it turns out nobody wants them." "Mumpsimus" "Furrfu!" "Bzzzzt!" "No Facts but..." "And as for the voracity [sic] of the source, this is my GRANDMOTHER you're talking about." "True story as far as anyone knows. No particular reason why it should be doubted." "I can't vouch for the veracity of your story. But there's enough stupidity out there that I'll believe it." "He might have. That alone is enough to prove..." "Are you saying that some soaps are not detergents but that no detergents are soaps?" "Well, looking at my couch, I could see how this would happen" "Excuse me. But can anyone tell me what's going on here?" "I'm not making this up. I've seen a wargame of the battle of Stalingrad which includes an optional counter for mine dogs, so it must be true. "I will not describe it so don't even bother asking me about it." "My girlfriend has seen people doing this. Sources don't come more reliable." "If you doubt this crap, Ive [sic] got a copy I could quote." "I heard the story. It wasn't cocaine, it was a cat." "Exaggeration makes a better story." "Yup. I've heard that one too so it must be true." "I didn't keep any references as I didn't think it would be a subject on AFU." "I do not post speculation or bullshit to this newsgroup." "Sounds like bullshit to me." "I must say, with all due respect, the tone of your reply is typical of much of the dialog that goes on on this network and newsgroup. Any apparent weakness or oversight, real or not, becomes the occasion for an attack on the basic intelligence of the person who reveals it -- in this case the lecturer whose talk some fifteen years ago I sketchily summarized." "I can't remember where I heard that, so it must be true." "Your intuition is excellent, but another viewpoint could be helpful." "...you're still wrong, even taking your pedantry at face value." "Well, this has nothing to do with San Francisco or pus, but..." "Yes a film of that does exist. Some kids I once knew in high school once saw it." "[f]rankly I couldn't give a fig what you all say, this happens[...]" "Home address and plane fare on request, punk." "If it isn't true, it should be, and if we could afford it, it would be." "Why don't you just select your silly MOTTO and get on with it." "i wasnt thinking...obviously this doesnt matter to my point..." "I believe it because I have already heard other versions of it..." "I'm extremely sceptical about this being an urban legend; after all, the fellow who sent _me_ the letter is an attorney." "If you mess around with a really great screw you're in danger of losing your ass?" "This may be the single dumbest argument I've ever engaged in, but your rock-solid surety in taking on such a counterintuitive position intrigues me." "You bet your ass I am." "I trust that this ensures me a lasting place in the FAQ." "This is actually true, but it's pretty good anyway." AFU MAN OF THE YEAR - B1FF (1990) - STella (1991) - Trelford Pinkerton (1992) - Phil Gustafson (1993) - Terry Chan (1994) - Lee Rudolph (1994) - Kim Scheinberg (1994) - Harry Tepper and Michele Teasley (1996 A.L.) - snopes (1996) SPECULATION ON CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK'S MIDDLE NAME - "Terry" - "Tirebiter" - "Tennessee" - "Tyrone" - "Tin-Plated Dictator with Delusions of Godhood" - "Teriyaki" - "Thermocephalic" - "Tribble Stuffer" OFFICIAL AFU MASCOT - My pet King snake, Elvis - Peter's pet dalmatian dog, Pixel - snopes' pet cat, Snopes - little gator's non-biological gator, harvee - Cindy's pet troll, Steinar - Nigel's pet human, Joel Furr - Weasels! Weasels! Weasels! HACK ETYMOLOGIES FOR THE WORD 'POSH' - Puke On Shoes Here - Port Out, Starboard Home - Passed Out, She Hurled - Post Office: Shergold's Hospital - Pulmonary -- Oxygenated Supply to Heart - Port Out, Sherry Home - Prow Outward, Stern Homeward OFFICIAL AFU PHOTOGRAPHERS - Dan Wright and Patrick S. Clark (ret.) - Joe "Not Not Him" DiMaggio OFFICIAL AFU HATCHETMAN - Ray "Not Dick" Depew OFFICIAL FOOD OF AFU - Chicken Mole' - Red Velvet Cake - Poinsettia Salad - Kentucky Fried Chicken - little gator's Deep Sh*t Cookies [to get the cookie recipe via email, send a message to email@example.com] - Live (only) Monkey Brains on the Half Skull OFFICIAL BIG DIC OF AFU - The OED or Winston Churchill (tie) NOT THE OFFICIAL SONG OF AFU - She Bop --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Frequently Asked Questions List has been maintained by Terry Chan since July 1991. Its inception and spirit was due to the efforts of Peter van der Linden in February 1991. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- COPYRIGHT STUFF: ---------------- Copyright (c) 1997, Terry Chan and Peter van der Linden. All Rights Reserved. Permission for personal, educational or non- profit use is granted provided this this copyright and notice are included in its entirety and remains unaltered. All other uses must receive prior permission in writing from both Terry Chan (at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) and Peter van der Linden (at firstname.lastname@example.org). Licensing terms on request. -- http://www.nardis.com/~twchan "Ah, the life of a frog, that's the life for me."