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alt.folklore.urban Frequently Asked Questions [Part 3 of 5]

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Archive-name: folklore-faq/part3
Last-Modified: 97/2/6
Version: 2.50

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
6 February 1997

INTRODUCTION:

This is part three of the five part Frequently Asked Questions
list for alt.folklore.urban.  This section contains a list
of various urban legends and related topics for this newsgroup.

If the story you are considering posting to AFU falls under
one of those discussed below, reconsider the posting or at
least ask about it intelligently.  Chances are, if it's on
this list, it's been discussed to death.  If you still want 
to post it as is, youse takes youse chances.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

PART THREE:  Categories of Frequently Posted Legends (Part 1):

     - The Misappliance of Science
     - The 'Plane Truth (What goes up...)
     - Does Not Compute
     - Twinkie Twitter
     - Mad Medicine
     - Wind Powered Fantasies
     - Stupid Academia Tricks
     - Stupid People Tricks
     - What's in a Word?
     - Reefer Madness
     - How Firm is Your Foundation?

Key to Listed FAQs:
     T  = 100% scientific truth
     Tb = believed true, but not conclusively proven
     F  = 100% falsehood
     Ft = A legend, mostly untrue, but with a true occurrence or 
          known origin.
     Fb = believed false, but not conclusively proven
     U  = unanswered and may be unanswerable
     P  = Maybe it didn't happen, but it's scientifically possible
               (used extremely sparingly, where the opposite is expected,
               as it could apply to just about every legend)

There is a comment, "*", on certain lines in the FAQ.  This indicates
that there is further information on this point available via anonymous
ftp.  See the AFU anonymous ftp sites noted in Part I of the FAQ for
more information.
==============================================================================

THE MISAPPLIANCE OF SCIENCE
F.*You can make as much ice faster by starting with warmer water.
T.*Boiled water freezes faster than ordinary water at same initial temp.
T.*Hot water evaporates while freezing, producing 75% of ice in 90% of time.
   See "Hot water freezes faster than cold water.  Why does it do so?",
   Jearl Walker in The Amateur Scientist, Scientific American, Vol. 237, 
   No. 3, pp 246-257; September, 1977 and "The Freezing of Hot and Cold 
   Water", G.S. Kell in American Journal of Physics, Vol. 37, No. 5, pp 
   564-565; May, 1969.
F. A penny falling from height of Empire State building will embed in pavement.
T. There is no truth to the rumor that James "T." Kirk's middle name is Terry.
F.*Bath water drains the other way round in other hemisphere, due to Coriolis.
T. Coriolis force affects fluids if you take incredible pains to isolate it.
T. You can also consult the sci.physics FAQ [part 2].
Fb.Microwaving panties kills yeast infections (cold spots in oven...)
F. Coloring your CD's rim with (special) marker will enhance sound quality.
T.*CDs are the size they are because it could hold Beethoven's 9th symphony.
F.*People explode/boil/something in the vacuum of space. 
F. Eelskin wallet demagnetizes bank cards (nope, but magnetic clasp might).
F. Daylight sky appears dark enough to see stars from bottom of deep well.
T. Venus and perhaps a few other bright stars/planets can be seen in daylight.
F. Bubbles in bubble wrap contain a cheap, but toxic gas.
U. East German secret police "bug" factory now uses skills to make hearing aids
F. Hot-drying acid-washed jeans "re-activates" the acid(Nope, but might shrink)
F. Ontario Hydro mandated poor installation,so copper fails as often as Alum.
T. Fluorescent lamp will light up when held near high-voltage line.
T. You sure can raise bloody hell asking about physics/chemistry on AFU.
Tb.Fluorescent light will break down vitamins in clear milk containers.
F. Fluorescent lights leach vitamins from your body.
Tb.Leather saddles used to be treated with llama dung to avoid scaring horses
Tb.The spec. for leather saddles got copied for leather jackets...
T. 3M "post-it" notes were invented & marketed as an unofficial project
T.*Subliminal messages in advertising are ineffective, but outlawed anyway.
   ["Media Sources and Business Legends" in TCD] ...Ted Frank cited USA law.
U. Filamentous phage M13 obtained from lab's letter rejecting the transfer!
T. Long term storage of paper in a PVC envelope is harmful (fumes degrade it).
T. Some combinations of metal tooth fillings can receive radio signals.
F. Printer/copier toner is carcinogenic. [But be careful about breathing it.]
F.*The moon looks larger near the horizon than up in the sky due to refraction.
T.*The above is due to an optical illusion.
T.*Indiana House Bill #246 of 1897 would've set pi=3.2 <or whatever>. Killed 
   in state Senate.
Fb.Some state (e.g., KS, OK, etc.) once considered a bill setting pi = 3
   (or some other arbitrary, non-transcendental number).
F. US and Russia won't destroy their cultures of smallpox for fear of bio- war.
Fb.People only use 10% of their brain capacity (whatever that means).
F. If the entire population of China jumped up at the same time: a) the Earth's
   orbit would be disturbed, b) the entire US would be swamped by a tidal wave.
Fb.If all the Chinese screamed at the same time, people in the US could hear it
U. This message is costing the net hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
T. There was a natural nuclear reaction in Africa long ago [NOT an explosion.]
F. Swimming right after eating will cause cramps and you'll drown.
F. Squeezing out the air from a partially consumed soda bottle will keep soda 
   from going flat.
F. There are workmen who died building Hoover Dam and were entombed in it.
F. There is a pillar in India made of metal found nowhere else in the world.
Tb.Tomatoes are not vegetables, they're berries.  [Thanks, Scott C.]
T.*Women workers in old watch factories got poisoning by licking brushes used 
   for applying radium compound to watch faces.  Thanks to Stan Schwarz.
F. Large telescope mirrors often become distorted due to glass flow.
F.*You can see glass flow in the windows of old buildings.
T. It don't matter whether or not you define glass as a liquid.  It still 
   don't go.
T.*MRI used to be called "Nuclear MRI", but "N" was dropped due to nuke fear.
T. Nobody except Doug Spindler came up with any good stuff on the origins 
   of Daylight Saving Time.
U. "Trekkies" are controlling the minds of everyone on the net.
T. A newspaper once substituted "In the African-American" for "in the black."
T. ...Andrew Steinberg sent a copy of the 19 Jul 90 column in the _Fresno Bee_
   which contained the original error and the 21 July 90 column w/correction.
T. ...pvdl nailed this sucker down as a prank which was pulled by a journalist.
F.*Welding while wearing contacts can cause them to stick to your eyeballs.
   [TCD]
F. NASA sends Swiss watchmakers very thin threads of gold; they send back 
   drilled w/holes. [Similar story w/Japan and US.]
F. Standing a hard-boiled egg on end has something to do with an equinox.
   [See TSD]
F. There was a "Philadelphia Experiment" that tried to make stuff invisible.
T. You'll probably die if your skin is completely coated w/paint, but not 
   of asphyxiation.  [TSD]
F. Scientists once concluded that bumblebees couldn't fly.
T. There are many stories about musicians and bands, especially after
   they die or are dead.  Most aren't very interesting or novel.
T. There are many bogus acronyms for rock bands (eg, KISS, etc.). Nobody cares.
T. There are male (and female) models in the Victoria's Secret catalogue.
F. No two snowflakes are alike.
F. Elderly/large woman shoplifter faints in checkout line due to frozen 
   chicken on her head.
F. There is no Nobel prize for mathematicians because his wife was fooling
   around with one.  [See the sci.math FAQ.]
F. There was a "missing day" that was discovered by a NASA scientist.
   [See "Government Legends" in TCD.]

   

THE 'PLANE TRUTH (WHAT GOES UP...)
T. 800ft diameter asteroid passed within 500K miles of hitting earth in 1989.
T. Confused pilots occasionally land on tiny strip short of correct airport.
T. F51D plane can flip due to engine torque.(A. Frisbie posted pilot's manual!)
Tb.US Govt fixed plane transponders always report positions(catch drug imports)
T. Airforce/manufacturers tests planes by firing chickens from special cannon.
T. Cessna planes used to not be sold in the US due to threat of liability suits
   but Beechcraft and Mooney did still make & sell planes in the US. 
T. Pilot can discreetly signal a hijack by setting the transponder to "7500"
Tb.Leave flaps down when off the active as a request for armed intervention!!
F. The Great Wall of China can be seen with the naked eye from the moon.
T. Many manmade structures can be seen with the naked eye from Earth orbit.
F. Shuttle crew did secret experiment on how to make love in zero gravity.
Tb.Jet lag is exacerbated by alcohol consumption.
T. Parachute mishap brought down a Cessna (gently) on a novice's parachute.
F. Airlines use a gas to keep passengers mildly sedated and less troublesome.
U. Similar story of lowering cabin pressure below usual.
Fb.Both pilots on airliner end up locked out of cockpit in lavatory mixup.
   ["Death and Danger in the Air" in CBA]
U. In 90% of plane crashes, the words "Oh sh*t!" appear on the flight recorder.
Fb.Another passenger arrives for full plane; airline employee Gay must give up
   his seat.  Someone else answers yes to "Are you Gay?"; Gay says "*I'm* Gay";
   more passengers chime in that they're gay and "They can't kick us all off."
F. Bank programmer makes big bux by skimming off or rounding calculations in
   a payroll or interest compounding program.  [AKA "Salami" method.]
T. Institutions are very reluctant to report frauds so may be difficult to ID.
T. There're lots of stories about how the Challenger astronauts died.
T. ...Check the sci.space FAQ and http://www.winternet.com/~radams/chall/
T. On 2 July 1982, some lawn chairist w/lots of hot air went to 16K ft.
F. Neil Armstrong may have helped an old neighbor named Gorsky get a blowjob 
   when he took that step. [http://www.ksc.nasa.gov/history/apollo/apollo.html]


DOES NOT COMPUTE
T. Computers have been stolen.
T. Apple use a Cray to design hardware systems; Cray use an Apple...
T. Prodigy grabs large sectors of the disk, containing data from deleted files.
F. Prodigy slyly reads your disk & nefariously uploads your top secrets to IBM.
F. Stories about Seymour Cray's strange hobbies (annual boat burning etc).
F.*The FCC is proposing a modem tax (Nope, the proposal died in 1987).
T. Bill Gates has $750K Porsche 959 he can't use;no type compliance,no license!
U. New computer system "lost" a Montgomery Ward Calif warehouse for 3 years...
T. "q=q++;" is an undefined statement under ANSI C(same object modified twice).
T. Calling "#" a pound sign as in common US parlance really riles some folks up
T. "#" is frequently referred to as a "hash" mark outside the US.
F. Russian/Chinese mechanical translator translates "out of sight, out of mind"
   into "blind and insane".  Also "Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" 
   as "the drink is good but the meat is rotten."
U. IBM ordered a whole bunch of "THIMK" games; but printer changed to "THINK".
   ...a.B. Mayers claimed to have dug up a receipt for same. Getting close.
T. In 1947 a moth was found in a relay of the Harvard Mark II machine, and
   taped into the logbook as the "first actual case of bug being found".
T. The log book used to be in building 1200 "K-lab" of the Naval Surface 
   Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division.  Now at the Smithsonian MoAH.
F. Grace Hopper coined the term "bug" as a result of this event.
T. Grace Hopper was a programmer for the Mark II and often told the moth story.
T. "Bug" was used to mean a design defect as far back as Edison's time.
T. If you feel a need to finger a coke machine,try finger coke@g.gp.cs.cmu.edu
T. See the alt.internet.services FAQ for more neat-and-keen stuff.
T. The "Good Times" virus is bogus.  See http://users.aol.com/macfaq


TWINKIE TWITTER
T. "animal or vegetable shortening" on ingredients list == LARD
F. Hostess snacks (Twinkies, Cupcakes, etc.) aren't baked!  They set,like jello
Fb.Twinkies eat mold... If mold grows on a twinkie, the twinkie digests it...
T. There really were chocolate "iced" Twinkies.
F. Singer John Denver served as a sniper in Vietnam (though poss. his dad was).


MAD MEDICINE
T. London doctor struck off for inveigling Turkish peasants to donate a kidney.
F.*Dr. C. Drew, a plasma researcher; bleeds to death when hospital turns him
   (a black man) away. [Similar story with death of Blues great Bessie Smith.]
U. Hypnosis is a fake!  Net says "Yes, no, zzzz". [But does remove warts.]
F. Flowers are bad in hospital rooms because they suck oxygen out of air.
T. (Wo)man takes huge quantity of baking soda as an antacid and ends up with
   CO2 rupturing stomach.
U. Woman had "tree in the bedina" -- potato used as pessary, sprouted...
U. Woman had "Smiling Mighty Jesus" -- spinal meningitis.
U. Woman had "sick as hell anemia" -- sickle cell anemia
U. Woman named child "Nosmo King" after sign on delivery room door.
T. There're lots of stupid sounding names.  I don't need to hear anymore of 'em.
F. There is a special ward for "Newky Brown" addicts in Newcastle General
F.*Person's hair turns entirely white "overnight" from stress.
T.*Some people sneeze when exposed to bright light ("photic sneeze effect").
Tb.You can catch diseases (crabs, lice, herpes, VD, etc) from public toilets.
Tb.Patient died when intravenously given Kaopectate.
U. FDA approval causes cancer.
T. Yes, we've heard of Coca-cola as a douche, but if you're that desperate,
   you're in big trouble.
T. Coca-cola is acidic.  Wow.
Tb.Drinking large quantities of deionized/distilled water over a long period
   of time can screw you up due to ion imbalances.
F. Hair/nails continue to grow after death.
T. They appear to as the corpse shrinks.
F. Hair grows back thicker or faster if you shave it.
F. Woman sees doc with irritated eye. Sez a male stripper rubbed his pouch in 
   her eye.  Doc checks and removes a louse from it.
F. "Ear lobe" repair is booming in NYC because thieves rip earrings off women.
F. Thugs hide under cars in malls and cut ankles of women returning to cars.
   [See "The Slasher Under the Car" in TBT.]
Tb.Rat(s) eat face of child while child is near adult in poor side of town.
F.*An autopsy reveals big hairballs in lungs of a man who breathed in bits
   of hair while he worked, and thus suffocated him. 
T.*RT's wife's small hair ball nearly killed her.  And she's got a big scar.
F. Girl dies of big hairball in stomach from chewing on ends of her braids.
   [Above two in "The Hair Ball" in TMP.]
F. Mime has heart attack during act. People think it's part of act; he dies.
T. ...It happened to Tommy Cooper (though he's not a mime).
T. ...Brian Bringardner emailed a UPI report about this happening to Dick Shawn.
F. B.F. Skinner's daughter died/committed suicide/sued because of she was
   reared in a Skinner box/special crib.
Fb.Left-handed people have shorter life spans than righties.
Fb.Women/people shouldn't sit on cold cement or metal 'cause it might hurt
   their plumbing or cause piles.
F.*You can catch a cold by being chilled.
U. Jamie Lee Curtis is a hermaphrodite.
T. Like with any celebrity, there are lots of rumors about her.
T. There're all sorts of rumors about the AIDS virus being developed by
   various institutions.
T. The stories have generally been dull and boring.
Tb*Guillotined persons may remain conscious long enough to blink.
F.*Knuckle cracking will lead to arthritis. [Though you might get other probs.]
Tb.*...it may damage your hand in other ways see 
        http://www.panix.com/~iayork/knuckles.html
F.*Drunks are more relaxed, less likely to be hurt in car accidents.
F. A series of hospital deaths was due to a janitor who unplugged life-
   support systems to plug in a floor polisher.  
   [See http://www.legends.org.za/arthur/cleanfaq.htm]


WIND-POWERED FANTASIES
T. Fin-de-siecle Frenchman,Petomane,got rich farting as music hall act.Fartist.
U. Blowback (blowforward?) from ignited fart, singed frat-boy's intestines.
U. Vet cut vent-hole in cow's flank, lit escaping gases, burned down barn...
   ...the veterinarian known as "James Herriot" claims this happened to him.
Tb.A patient's intestine exploded from cauterization during surgery due to gas.
T. A patient's intestine exploded during a colotomy.

STUPID ACADEMIA TRICKS
NOTE: Many university-based ULs are passed continually. Before posting, check 
      out the references below, Appendix B of JHB's textbook by Barre Toelken, 
      and Simon Bronners book mentioned in part V of the FAQ.
For real good stuff on many college ULs, point your web browser to:
	http://www.best.com/~snopes/college/college.htm
T. Prof lists famous unsolved problems;student thought it was homework- solved!
   (Student was George Dantzig.)  ["The Unsolvable Math Problem" in CBA.]
Fb.Student cheats on exam,asks "do you know who I am?",jams paper in exam pile!
   ["Bluebook Legends" in TMP]
Fb.Professor jostled; misses watch;grabs back from jostler; later finds at home
   [Variation of "The Jogger's Billfold" in TCD]
F. College roommate commits suicide, gets you an automatic "A" for courses.
   ["The Suicide Rule" in CBA.]
T. Student gets tuition $ by asking for $0.01 from each person via newspaper.
T. Students find rolled-up carpet; take and unroll in dorm room to find body.
T. ...But bear in mind that this is one true occurance and a close relative of 
   a urban legend about hotels/motels with dead bodies in the crawl space, etc.
   that had already been around for a long time.
Fb.Student kills self during exam by putting 2 pencils in nose and hitting desk
T. People's lawn gnomes/elves stolen; owners were sent letter/pics from exotic
   locations with the ornament.  ["Roaming Gnomes" in CBA]
T. Famous UL researcher misspells the subtitle of a Star Trek film in a book.
F. Two co-eds alone in dorm; one goes to study; other in room; roomie hears
   heavy dragging sounds; blocks door; hears scratches; waits til morning;
   opens door to find other co-ed with ax in head who was scratching for help.
   ["The Roommate's Death" in TVH and TMP]
Fb.Students buy a barber pole and drive the town. Stopped continually by police
F. Girl is alone at home/dorm with dog; sleeps; hears noise and a dripping
   sound; is frightened but reaches to dog and feels a lick; goes back to
   sleep. In morning, finds dog hanged in shower and note under bed which
   says "humans can lick too." ["The Licked Hand" in TCD]
Fb.Prof. gives "announced" quiz to surprised class after putting ad in paper.
Fb.Prof. allows students to "bring in what they can carry for exam"; student
   carrys in a grad student" (variation on allowing use of "Feynman").
Fb.Prof. nails exam thief by cutting bottom 0.5" of exam to find longer answer.
Fb.Philosophy prof.'s 1 word exam: "Why?" "A" to student who replies "Why not?"
   [Many, many variations].
Fb.Low grading prof. grades same exam in successive semesters; gives higher 
   grade each time. 4th time around (or so), writes: "Like it more each time".
   [Version with drawing of a whale.]
Fb.Prof. lectures class on sugar content of ejaculate. Girl then asks "Why
   does it taste so salty then?"  Runs out of class amidst laughter.
Fb.Science class students take swab from inside of cheek and examine under
   microscope. One group sees odd organisms and calls prof. who looks and
   declares that it's sperm.
Fb.Student submits 20 yr old paper for class; prof. gives "A"; says he always
   liked it but he only got a "B" when he wrote it.  [The above 6 are in 
   "College Con Artists and How They Operate" in CBA]
T. Prof. Donald "Art of Computer Programming" Knuth's 1st publication was in 
   MAD mag. (MAD #33 "The Potrzebie system of weights and measures")
F. Frat holds blood drive. Some grossly high % of frat donors are HIV positive.
T. There seems to be quite a few university buildings named after Kresge.
Fb.Prof. demos test for diabetes by dipping finger in several flasks of urine 
   and then licking it. Then asks students to do same.  They do, after which 
   he says he dipped with one finger and licked with the other.
Fb.alt.folklore.college is dead.
Fb.Co-ed responds to "quizzy" announcement with fear of "testies", blushes.
F. Albert Einstein did poorly in school.
T. If you want to post about some university's swimming tests, go to AFC.
T. Sam Houston State University was once Sam Houston Institute of Teaching,
   renamed due to initials.

STUPID PEOPLE TRICKS
T.*Craig Shergold, UK cancer kid,sought get-well cards,overwhelmed with 33 mil.
T.*Craig Shergold, UK health plan wouldn't operate;Kluge paid;tumor was benign!
T.*Lousy quality CS GIF courtesy of Phil Kernick available via anonymous ftp.
T. Craig Shergold's 13th birthday was June 24, 1992.From now June 24 is AFUday.
T. His name has been misspelled several times in various pleas.
T. But he sure as heck doesn't want or need any more cards now.
T.*See _The Guinness Book of Records 1992_, p. 207.4 for his listing.
T.*See 19 July 1990 _NY Times_ (p. 24), _People_ magazine 10 June 1991, p. 63.
T. He was interviewed on TV (23 Sep 94) on "Eye to Eye with Connie Chung."
T. On 1 Dec 95 he was declared "cured." [e.g., _San Francisco Examiner_.]
T.*Check the afu anonymous ftp site for sources and references.
T.*Cards that are sent to the hospital no longer go to him.
T. A variation of the above now includes a call for business cards.
   [Classic American UL in this genre is "Postcards for Little Buddy" in CBA]
T. There was a version involving bar codes which was a hoax.
Tb.Craig Shergold lives in an "unsalubrious" section of town, but
   ...John Slater doesn't think Craig live in an "unsalubrious" area anymore.
Tb.Craig voted on the folklore rmgroup from Craig_shergold@vms.cis.pitt.edu. 
F. The American Cancer Society sponsors a chain letter for "Jessica Mydek."
U. Errol Flynn was invited to "black tie" party; went nude,except for black tie
U. Ed Zotti is Cecil Adams, or Marilyn vos Savant, or Isaac Asimov, or....
T. Some, one, or all of the above reads AFU.
T. Some beggars with "will work for food" signs are just extra sympathy scams.
T.*People have been injured by rocking a vending machine that falls on them.
Fb.Man's house demolished after friend placed ad in paper for a joke.
Fb.US GI captures Iraqi soldier - they knew each other from Chicago.
F. Special chemical for swim pools, turns bright color on contact with urine.
F.*"3 Men & a Baby" has a scene with a real ghost in it.
   ["Psychic Videotapes" in TBT.]
F. In the "Wizard of Oz" film you can see a body of someone who hung himself.
   ...See http://us.imdb.com/cache/title-more/trivia+78757
Fb.Wife sprays toilet with flammable bug spray, husband shits, smokes, explodes
   Wife sprays toilet with flammable hair spray, you know the rest, etc.
   ["Hilarious Accidents" in TMP.  Variations in TVH.]
F.*Aluminum ring pull tabs are collected & exchanged for dialysis machine time.
   ["Redemption Rumors" in TMP]
T. ...Some places or people (e.g., The Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, MN)
   do collect tabs for their scrap value and raise $$ for various causes.
T. The MN connection has been noted by many people.  One of the better articles
   was posted by Sarah Skovronsky.
T.*There are two Canadians who collect them for wheelchairs. See Fred Ennis's
   article.
F. Chanting "Mary Worth" before a mirror summons dead spirit at slumber parties
   ...Related to famous La Llorona legend? ["I Believe in Mary Worth" in TMP]  
Fb.Male athlete cheats drug test with wife's pee; test shows he's pregnant.
T. Infirm, elderly, obese alcoholics have set themselves on fire occasionally.
F.*People occasionally spontaneously combust and burn to death.  Whoompfh!
F. Cabbage Patch dolls are possessed by the devil.
F. Kid sends broken Cabbage Patch dolls back. Death certificate sent to kid.
   ["The Cabbage Patch Tragedy" in TMP]
Ft.Couple stays in odoriferous hotel room;informed next day of body in mattress
T. Case reported in Miami, FL in Mar 1994: Posts from Bo Bradham & Len Berlind.
F. Someone is crushed to death trying to shrink blue jeans by wearing in tub.
   ["Product Defect and Liability Legends" in TCD]
F.*Tourists' room is burgled, later finds snaps of "toothbrush up thief's ass".
   Often told of tropical areas (e.g., Hawaii, various countries in the
   Carribbean, but there's even one for Colorado).["Indecent Exposure" in TBT]
F. Two guys see kid fishing; kid says fish aren't biting but worms are; on way 
   back; they discover kid slumped over; worms were baby water moccasins!
   ["The Can of Snakes" in TMP]
F. Some boys go swimming and taunt each other to jump in first.  First kid in
   warns everyone to stay back!  They rescue him and he's badly snakebitten. 
   ["The Incautious Swimmer" in TMP]
Fb.Child's foot/leg is amputated after pumping Reeboks shoes too tight.
T. For some reason, some folks kill snakes by grabbing tail and "snapping" them
T. "Chicken sexing" is big business. Started by Asian family.
T."little gator" S. Mudgett is mentioned in one of Cecil's books.
F. Folks find casks of wine in cellar of old house. Tap and drank from several
   of them.  Later, preserved body of original house owner found in cask.
   [Body in the cask motif may find some basis in old story of Admiral Nelson
   of Battle of Trafalgar.  His body was shipped back in wine/rum cask.  Upon
   arrival in UK, cask was low/empty.  "The body in the cask" in TCD.]
Tb.Nautical saying: "Tapping the Admiral" is based on the above.
F. Boyfriend tells girlfriend they're through and she should leave when he
   leaves on a long trip. He returns to find phone off the hook connected to 
   the "time" recording in Japan/some far away place.
   ["The Lover's Telephone Revenge" in CBA]
F. Helicopter fights forest fires by scooping water from lake. Charred body
   of scuba diver found in ashes.  ["Death and Danger in the Air" in CBA]
T. ...or compete in http://www.netcom.com/~time2div/firedive.html
F. Fat person on airline toilet has intestines sucked out due to vacuum.
T. Apparently, a "slightly obese" person on ship toilet has had intestines 
   sucked out due to vacuum.
T. A similar accident happened to a little girl who sat on a wading pool 
   drain in North Carolina on 26 June 1993 [she didn't die].
Tb.Some guy in a foreign country teaches the locals that a certain obscene
   handsign (to him) was actually a welcoming gesture. Locals all pose for
   pictures while making the gesture.
F. Woman on bus raises a man's hand and asks "Who does it belong to?  It was
   on my butt." Several red-faced men get off at next stop.
T. Jan Harold Brunvand's son, Erik, teaches at UU and even read a.f.u. Sheesh!
T.*There's a gif of Jan Harold Brunvand available via anonymous ftp.
F. Halloween sadists randomly give poisoned candy to children.
T. A Texas child was poisoned by his father on Halloween in 1974.
   [Above two are in "Halloween Sadists" in CBA]
F. Woman frequents tanning salons; develops funny smell; innards cooked!
   ["Curses! Broiled Again" in _CBA_]
T. A guy goes a-shooting at Saguaro cacti; hits one. It falls and kills him!
   ["The Plant's Revenge" in _CBA_]
F. Someone couldn't call for help because they couldn't dial the "11" in "911".
   ["Dial 911 for Help" in TCD] 
T. Lots of people comment on the FAQ list without actually reading it.
Tb.People were once frequently mistaken for dead and were buried alive.
Tb.Edison's last breath is kept in a jar in Michigan. (Well, sort of).
Tb.Elvis lives near Palo Alto, works for Sun, and speaks w/an English accent.
Fb.Co-ed loses tampon inside prior to blind date; worried; sees school intern;
   is acutely embarrassed.  Her date turns out to be the intern! 
Fb.Young man buys condom from pharmacist; he's embarrassed so boasts of date. 
   He picks her up, pharmacist/dad answers the door! ["The Blind Date" in TMP]
F. Bride at big wedding thanks each person, then thanks groom for sleeping 
   w/maid-of-honor.  Then throws bouquet, etc.  ["The Bothered Bride" in TMP] 
F. Kid in Michael Jackson's commercial breaks neck and dies from: breakdancing,
   OD, hit by motorcycle. Kid is Alfonse Ribera. Rumored of many TV kids. 
   [See "Michael Jackson's Dancing Partner" inTMP]
F. First 7 numbers on bar code of "Thriller" album is Michael Jackson's phone.
   ["Michael Jackson's Telephone Number" in TMP]
F.*Phil Collins' song "In the Air Tonight" is about a death witnessed by Phil.
T. ...Sheesh!  This was even debunked in _Parade_ magazine.
T. Crotch seam rivet in original Levi's dropped due to pain from standing near 
   fires.
F. Several suburban white women visit big city. They nervously enter elevator 
   which has a black man and a dog.He says "Sit Lady!" They promptly sit on the
   floor but he was talking to the dog! 
T. ...UL ends w/free dinner, roses, or tickets to concert for ignorant women.
T. ...Guys mentioned include Reggie Jackson, Wilt Chamberlain, Lionel Ritchie, 
   ...Eddie Murphy, O.J. Simpson, Joe Greene and Magic Johnson.
T. ...There is an amusing variant about the English parliament (look it up). 
T. ...Older version:woman stuck in an elevator where two black men piss on her.
   [Above five are in "The Elevator Incident" in CBA.]
Fb.Some famous artist (Picasso/da Vinci/etc.] wants a new piece of furniture
   or furniture to be moved. Draws sketch for workman; who says no charge
   for the artist if he can keep the sketch.
F. Couple hires hippie-type babysitter. Later, mother calls and sitter says 
   everything is fine; she's stuffed the turkey and put it in the oven. 
   Mom worries since they don't have an turkey; parents rush home and find 
   that stoned sitter has (or is about to) put baby in the (microwave) oven.  
   ["The Hippie-Babysitter" in TVH.]
F. "Clever" babysitter stops baby crying by holding its head in oven.
   ["The Clever Babysitter" in TMP]
U. A plain-Jane coed invited to special night out by a BMOC. As she gets ready,
   has bad gas from lunch. Date arrives;so plans to fart in car before he gets
   in. She farts and quickly rolls down window. Date gets in, says,"I'd like 
   you to meet Tom and Mary in the backseat." ["The Fart in the Dark" in TVH.]
Fb.Family visits wilderness park. They see bears and want to get "cute pics"
   of bear w/child so they smear honey on his cheek. Bear eats child's face.
F. Bride's father at wedding goes to pay band, but wallet is missing and has 
   to take up collection from guests. Later viewing of wedding video shows
   groom's father lifting bride's father's wallet! ["Sex Scandals" in TCD]
Tb.Some guys who make $ recycling aluminum strip a house with new siding.
T. People (mostly guys) have been electrocuted pissing on a subway's 3rd rail. 
T. Common UL mills include Dear Abby, Ann Landers, and Paul Harvey.
F. Woman lighting fire opens door w/hot poker;robber at door sees and grabs it!
   (Var. where woman is holding a knife). ["The Robber Who was Hurt" in TCD]
U. People who feel the need to argue that 1 Jan 2000 is or is not the start
   of the 21st century need to get a life.
F. Clocks are commonly displayed at 8:18/8:20/10:10 because that's when JFK
   or Abraham Lincoln was shot.
Fb.Henry Ford/Gen. Douglas McArthur/IBM Rep./et al. tests an interviewee by 
   when they salt their food during lunch.
T. The song "Happy Birthday" is copyrighted.
F. ...Paul McCartney owns the rights. 
T. "Dave Rhodes" letter asking for money is bogus.  If you post it to AFU, you 
   almost deserve to be mailbombed.  
Fb.Some guy who works at a factory takes home a part a day until some time
   later he has a Cadillac/tank/truck (and has been immortalized in song).
Tb.Putting a sleeping person's hand in water will cause him/her to pee.  
   Anecdotally, it seems to work for some people but not for others.
F. Some famous store is paying money for long fingernails to make false
   fingernails.
T.*The bizarre suicide involving a guy (variations include Ronald Opus and
   Paul Aulphis), a tall building, an old couple, and a shotgun is totally 
   bogus but pretty damn good.  Don Harper Mills, past president of the
   American Academy of Forensic Sciences made it up in 1987.  See 27 Feb 96
   _Los Angeles Times_ for an interview.
F.*People are much loonier (e.g., shoot, screw, etc.) during a full moon.
F. Woman jokes with maitre'd to tell her husband that he won the lottery.
   ...he does, husband then says all is her's as he's "shagging" her sister.
F. Drug smugglers stuff a baby's corpse with cocaine and pretend it's "sleeping"
   ["A Drug-Smuggling Legend" in _TMP_]

WHAT'S IN A WORD?
   [Bear in mind that AFU is not a dictionary server.  Try checking out 
   the OED and the _Dictionary of American Regional English_ for 
   etymological history; _The Penguin Dictionary of Historical Slang_, 
   by Eric Partridge (abridged by Jacqueline Simpson). Penguin books.  
   For you computer jocks, there's always alt.usage.english.]  
F.*The etymology of the 4-letter word "f*ck" is an acronym of old. [e.g.
   "Fornication Under Consent of the King."]
T. Lord knows, there're lots of variations of initials/names for "Jesus Christ"
T. ...like Haploid/hermaphrodite/Harold/etc.  If you must, post it to rec.humor.
U.*'HAL' in the film "2001: A Space Odyssey" was derived from letters for "IBM"
T. ...Arthur C. Clarke has maintained that it was not.
Tb.The expression "86" (to put the kibosh on), originated in 1920s diner slang.
T. A.J.Balfour appt'd Secretary Ireland by Uncle Bob.Nepotism? Bob's your uncle
T.*JF Kennedy said "Ich bin ein Berliner." Could be either "I am a native of
   Berlin" or "I am a jelly doughnut." Berliners knew what he was talking about
T. Hebrew was considered as official language of the US. [Guess what happened?]
F.*German was once within one or two votes of becoming the official US language
T. Fijian on the AT&T ad says ""Bula vinaka, beachside!" ("hello, thanks").
T. Many languages don't pronounce foreign words/phrases as they really are.
Fb.US Civil War Gen. Hooker is the source for a common term for streetwalkers.
Tb....Though he may have helped popularize it.
F.*Thomas Crapper invented the flush toilet.
T.*Thomas Crapper did exist and made improvements to modern flushing mechanisms
T. Martin Gardner said Crapper was bogus, but retracted it in one of his books.
F.*The word 'crap' is derived from Thomas Crapper.
F. Otto Titzling invented the brassiere.
F.*The words to "Louie, Louie" are dirty.[Thanks to Maiko Covington for lyrics]
T.*Eskimos have some megaboss number of `words' for snow.
F.*...There's something significant about this. 
T.*...English does too, and also a large number for liquid water.
F.*This validates the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (ie, language determines thought).
F.*"Posh" is from "Port Out, Starboard Home" from Colonial English days.
T.*"Hamburgers" and "Frankfurters" are named after cities in Germany.
T.*"In like Flynn" is from Errol Flynn's acquittal on statutory rape charges.
T.*"Okay" or "OK" is originally from a misspelling fad: "Oll Korrect" (all
   correct); popularized by "Old Kinderhook" Van Buren in election campaign.
T. The du Pont Co. has claimed (1940) that "nylon" was an arbitrary coinage,
   but also (1978) that it was a modification of "no run" spelled backwards.
F. Jack Kerouac wrote that "Pig" stands for "Protector of Immutable Government"
T. "Futhark" is an acronym.
F. The song "Puff the Magic Dragon" is about smoking pot or Vietnam war weapon.
T. Winston Churchill once said something memorable.
T. There is no good etymology for the phrase "The whole nine yards."
T. Suggestions have included:  Volume in a concrete mixer, coal truck, or
   a wealthy person's grave; amount of cloth in a man's custom-made (i.e., 
   "bespoke") suit, sports games, funeral shroud, kilt, in a bolt of cloth,
   square area in a ship's sails, and volume in a soldier's pack.
T.*Studies indicate that the majority of US currency has traces of cocaine.
F.*The childhood rhyme "Ring Around the Rosie" has ties to the Black Plague.
   ...see Ian Munro's http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~imunro/ring.html
T.*The Chinese characters for "Coca-cola" could sound like those for "bite the
   wax tadpole."
F.*The old Chevy Nova was a failure in Spanish speaking countries because it
   translates to "No go."  [Esp. since "Nova" means "star."]
Tb.Pepsi had a similar episode where "Come Alive with Pepsi!" is rendered as
   "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead!"
T. Lots of people think threads like the etymology of company names such
   as "Exxon" are interesting and/or have some relevance.
F.*The expression "rule of thumb" came from an old practice that permitted
   husbands to beat their wives as long as it was with a stick no larger
   than his thumb.
   

HOW FIRM IS YOUR FOUNDATION?  
F. Building is built backwards. Public criticizes; Architect commits suicide.
Tb.There have been buildings built backwards. 
F. Various university libraries sink; books heavier than architect thought!
F. Same as above, but pool not library, weight of water, not books.
Ft.Lots of bldgs (malls, etc.) are sinking into the ground as we post!
   [See "Back to the Drawing Board--Some Architectural Legends" in CBA]
T. Some universities, cities are riddled with semi-secret utility tunnels.
T. Clouds and other weather can transpire in the upper parts of high structures
Fb.RC Church building plans reviewed by Pope/Vatican; response was "we are not
   angels"; plans had no loos!
Fb.Bldg collapses due to gas explosion from buried dead elephant under it.
T. Soldiers break step when marching over bridges (trivially observed).
U. Bridge falls down if soldiers don't break step when marching over.
Fb.Bridge falls down due to resonance if soldiers don't break step marching 
   over.  Broughton suspension bridge, England, 14 April 1831, fell under 
   soldiers march, but prob just overloaded, not resonating. Mark Brader 
   posted Times story!
F. Otherwise sound bridge falls down if soldiers don't break step marching 
   over.  (There have been no documented instances of this)
F. Arizona resorts are prewired for slot machines should gambling be okay'd.
F. Young woman meets beau's family for 1st time. During dinner, she has to
   take a leak and asks where the bathroom is. She goes in, but finds it's
   a bathroom w/no toilet! She looks around, can't find it. Being desperate
   and embarassed, she stands on sink to do it. Family hears loud crash and
   run to find that she's unconscious/bleeding/but okay. Sink collapsed!
T. Lotsa university buildings constructed in the 1960s look like prisons.
U. Many manhole covers are round because the holes are.
T.*If you want to find out about the "Oak Island" story, check cathouse.org
   for Dick Joltes' excellent piece.  Even if you don't it's there.

[continued]

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 
tchan@dante.lbl.gov or mercymercymercy@nardis.com) and Peter van 
der Linden (at linden@eng.sun.com).  

Licensing terms on request.
--
http://www.nardis.com/~twchan
"Ah, the life of a frog, that's the life for me."

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