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

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Terry Chan

Feb 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/7/97

Archive-name: folklore-faq/part5
Last-Modified: 97/2/6
Version: 2.50

6 February 1997


This is the last section of the five part Frequently Asked
Questions list for alt.folklore.urban. This section credits
posters who have contributed in the spirit of the newsgroup
and also lists some basic references. Note, many of the ULs
discussed in the FAQ list as being "F" or "T" are discussed
in one of the following references.


Many Thanks to the Following Posters for Relevant Information on
the FAQ List and for Contributing to the Overall Spirit and Quality
of alt.folklore.urban.
Bo Bradham, Jane Beckman, Steven Bellovin, Conrad Black, Mark Brader, Bo
Bradham, Jean-Louis Brodu, Justin Bukowski, Danny Burstein, Jack Campin,
Raymond Chen, Joe Chew, Bob Church, Tom "Splinter" Cikowski, Patrick S Clark,
Guy Coates, Cathi A.Cook, Camilla A. Cracchiolo, Cindy Davies, Glenn Davis,
Jeff Davis, Ray Depew, Scott Deerwester, Larry Doering, all the Terry's:
Carroll, Chan, Monks, Wood, et al., David Esan, Clive Feather, Sharon Fenick,
Greg Franklin, Alan Frisbie, Joel Furr, Kim Greer, Tom Greer, Dave Gross,
Phil Gustafson, Barbara Hamel^WMikkelson, David A. Honigs, David B. Horvath,
Wendy Foran Howard, Mark Israel, Richard Joltes, Jim Jones, Diane Kelly, Emily
Kelly, Phil Kernick, Ron Knight, David Lesher, Andrew Lewis, Helge Molding,
Dean "dino" Moore, Susan Mudgett, Ian Munro, Bill Nelson, Tom Neff, Bob
O'Brien, Madeleine Page, Jonathan Papai, Christophe Pettus, Lee Rudolph, saki,
G. Paul Savage, Brian Scearce, Sean Smith, Randal Schwartz, Ken Shirriff, Doug
Spindler, Haakon Styri, Derek Tearne, Michelle Tepper, Harry Teasley, Bruce
Tindall, Dwight Tovey, Peter van der Linden, Will Wheeler, Greg Widdicombe,
Dan Wright.


Have you ever wondered how those people have gotten the name at the end
of the FAQ list? They are people who are widely recognized as thoughtful
posters of reliable information. They have consistently added value to
various debates by sharing their point of view, and often researching
difficult questions which arise on the net, and posting authoritative facts
citing sources.

The official way for joining the list of distinguished AFU-ers is to
research a number of the unanswered questions that come now and then
and reach a definitive conclusion (or demonstrate that one cannot be
found). Post your findings. If your reports are sound, and have
provide a reasonable contribution to the signal-to-noise ratio of
the newsgroup, and the original question was non-trivial, you will
be added to the acknowledgements section of the FAQ list! Be prepared
to submit references. We are mostly adults here (except around the
beginning of the academic year). Be prepared to discuss and debate
your research and conclusions here. The unofficial way to get on the
list is to give me a big payoff (and it better be more than two-fifty).


Peter van der Linden, _Expert C Programming_, 1994, Prentice-Hall.
ISBN 0-13-177429-8, paperback, 384 pages, US$32. An provocative
and lively excursion into the depths of mental anguish and
instability that give rise to urban legends such as C. Recommended
for people of all ages and religious persuasions. If this isn't
the most spine-tingling book you read this year, you haven't lived!
So controversial that the Book of the Month Club won't even acknowledge

Also by the same author: _The Official Handbook of Practical Jokes_
Signet, ISBN 0-451-15873-3, 1989, _The Second Official Handbook of
Practical Jokes_, 1991, Signet, ISBN 0-451-16924-7.


Simon J. Bronner, _Piled Higher and Deeper_, 1990, ISBN 0-87483-154-7,
August House. Very readable and interesting collection of campus
and academic folklore.

Jan Harold Brunvand (_The Vanishing Hitchhiker_, 1981, ISBN 0-393-95169-3;
_The Choking Doberman_, 1984, ISBN 0-393-30321-7; _The Mexican Pet_,
1986, ISBN 0-393-30542-2; _Curses! Broiled Again_, 1989, ISBN 0-393-
30711-5, _The Baby Train_, 1993, ISBN 0-393-03438-0; _The Study of
American Folklore_, 3rd Ed., 1986, all published by W.W. Norton);
_Folklore: A Study and Research Guide_, 1976, St. Martin's (out of
print). JHB is one of the leading folklorists in this field today
and has done much to popularize the study of ULs. Also has a great
back hand and skis a mean "figure 11."

Alan Dundes, _Cracking Jokes: Studies of Sick Humor Cycles and
Stereotypes_, 1987, Ten Speed Press. Curious about what makes
sick humor popular? Check this baby out so you'll be ready the
next time an Olympian gets whacked with a crowbar.

Alan Dundes and Carl Pagter, _Urban folklore from the Paperwork
Empire_, 1975, American Folklore Society. You want it when?
Find out about it and other Xerox lore in the modern (or not
so modern) office in this series of collections by Dundes and

Arthur Goldstuck, _The Ink in the Porridge: Urban Legends of
South African Elections_, Penguin, 1994. Interesting short
study on ULs in a seminal event in our time. You can also
email him at

Beng af Klintberg, _R&ttan i Pizzan_ (The rat in the pizza. The
'&' is an a-with-a-ring-above), Pan, 1990 ISBN 91-1-893831-0.
Haakon Styri, maintainer of the Norway AFU ftp site says Bengt
af Klintberg writes in a Brunvandish style. He lists 100 legends,
unfortunately not classified by topic. Though many of the legends
are well known in other parts of the world there are a few that
may be European.

Iona and Peter Opie, _The Lore and Language of School-Children_,
Oxford, Clarendon P., 1972. Noted poster Jack Campin says:
"This [book] has some mind-boggling figures on the speed and
effectiveness of folklore transmission by kids."

Paul Smith, _The Complete Book of Office Mis-practice_, 1984, London;
Boston: Routledge & K. Paul, 1984. Covers some of the same subject
matter as Dundes and Pagter. Other comments by Jack Campin:

"He's also done a series of popular books with titles
incorporating the phrase "Nasty Legends" (rather like
Brunvand's stuff) and some heavyweight folklore theory
in a series he edits called "Perspectives on Contemporary

Smith has also co-authored two books with Gillian Bennett
entitled, _Monsters with Iron Teeth_, 1988, and _Perspectives
on Contemporary Legend_, 1987, both published by Sheffield
Sheffield Academic Press.

Patricia Turner, _I Heard It Through the Grapevine: Rumor in African-
American Culture_, 1993, University of California Press. Provides
interesting insights into the propagation of urban legends in
African-American Culture.


The International Society for Contemporary Legend Research (ISCLR)
has two publications of interest.

_FOAFtale News_ is the newsletter of the society and contains
information from around the world along with extensive
bibliographies and reports and notes from other related publications.
It is published quarterly.

_Contemporary Legend_ is a refereed journal of scholarly articles
on legends. It is edited by Paul Smith.

Membership in ISCLR entitles one to both publications. For US and
Canadian subscription information, write to: Paul Smith, Department
of Folklore, Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland, CANADA
A1C 5S7. Subscription rates as of July 1994 are US$18 or 10 pounds


Cecil Adams (_The Straight Dope_, 1984, ISBN 0-345-33315-2, _More of the
Straight Dope_, 1988, ISBN 0-345-35145-2, _Return of the Straight
Dope_, 1994, ISBN 0-345-38111-4, all published by Ballantine Books).
Author of "The Straight Dope" Q&A column of _The Chicago Reader_ and
is syndicated in many alternative newspapers. Worth reading if only
for for his writing style. You can e-mail his editor, Ed Zotti, at

Alfie Kohn, _You Know What They Say...The Truth About Popular Beliefs_,
1990, ISBN 0-06-092115-3, Harper. Pretty good book with, get this,
*references* to stuff in the back. This is a good habit which some
of you folks may want to try sometime...

Paul Krassner (ed.), _Best of the Realist_, 1984, ISBN 0-89471-287-X,
Running Press. The worst thing about _BotR_, is that the reprints
aren't dated. Otherwise the book is a must, especially for the
generation X crowd: articles by Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Robert
Anton Wilson, Terry Southern, Mae Brussel, and Margo St. James; art
by Rodrigues, S. Clay Wilson, and the pre-carp Richard Guindon. Not
to mention "The Parts Left Out of the Kennedy Book", "The Case of
the Cock-Sure Groupies" (the Plaster Casters), and an illegal Groucho
Marx quote: "I think the only hope this country has is Nixon's
assassination." [Unfortunately, this appears to be out of print.]

G. & C. Merriam Co., _Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary_, 1977, ISBN
0-87779-348-4. Great bedside reading. Check it out sometime.
There's also the OED, but Bruce Tindall has first dibs on it.

William Poundstone (_Big Secrets_, 1983, Quill, ISBN 0-688-04830-7,
_Bigger Secrets_, 1986, Houghton-Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-53008-3,
and _Biggest Secrets_, Quill (Wm. Morrow), ISBN 0-688-13792-X).
Sorry, it's a secret. Peter Trei says the stuff on Masons is total
BS, but then, he WOULD say that. Perhaps the weakest of the lot
though still on target and somewhat interesting for the most part.

Jesse Sheidlower (ed.), _The F-Word,_, Random House, 1995, ISBN
0-679-76427-5. But only if you give a fuck.

Bruce Tindall and Mark Watson, _Did Mohawks Wear Mohawks? And Other
Wonders, Plunders, and Blunders_, Quill - William and Morrow, 1991.
ISBN 0-688-09859-2. Damn good book (even if his father did write
_America: A Narrative History_) with only one wrong entry so far.
Just don't believe what they say about dalmatians, humans, and urea.
You can even e-mail Bruce on the net at
to blast 'im.

And wouldn't you know it, the next installment which is appalling
named _How Does Olive Oil Lose Its Virginity?_ is out. For even
more GS check out ISBN #0-688-12681-2 by William and Morrow, 1994.

The AFU 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 (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 or and Peter van
der Linden (at

Licensing terms on request.
"Ah, the life of a frog, that's the life for me."

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