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They may be harmless and meant in another way sometimes but....
One such question was received a few days ago where a viewer very seriously asked 'What do people in Thailand wear'
Made my day!
I used to work for a small ISP (6 people). Our DN was foo-net.com. We had a support person who'd been with us for 3 years. She gets a phone call from one of our clients one day. The client was asking about DNs. So not knowing the answer she comes running into the back room (where we're all playing games) and blurts out the question in a panic "can someone buy a domain name with a hyphen in it?"
We all looked at her and simultaneously said "Duuh" and our domain is...?
I was once asked what country london was in!
In the United States of course... far more of 'em here than in England. ;)
London, West Virginia
I particularly like the people calling some ISP hotline and asking 'Is this the Internet?' :)
In the United States of course... far more of 'em here than in England.
Goes to show just how inventive americans are ;).
<added after JOAT's comment> Where did I put my 'rest of the world' t-shirt? ;)</added>
[edited by: Sinner_G at 11:08 am (utc) on Dec. 11, 2002]
Something to the effect of: "I know you're very busy and probably can't do this, but you're my brother's favorite actor and if you can find the time, it'd be kewl if you could come to his birthday party next week. Write me if you need directions."
Never did find out exactly which actor the person thought I was, but it was about when XXX was just out in theaters, so I've always assumed it was Vin Diesel. (Which also verifies certain theories I have about Vin Diesel fans...).
I get a few like this almost every day. Now no offense to AOL users, because they can be great customers, but 99.9% of these questions come from an AOL IP address.
Will the island be in the same place when we get back a week later?
This lady honestly thought the islands just bobbed around in the sea and weren't attached to anything! Must have been blonde!
Apologies if I'm merely showing my dense-ness, I'll return to the shade of my cave forthwith.
However, the use of the word `foo' itself has more complicated antecedents, including a long history in comic strips and cartoons. The old "Smokey Stover" comic strips by Bill Holman often included the word `FOO', in particular on license plates of cars; allegedly, `FOO' and `BAR' also occurred in Walt Kelly's "Pogo" strips. In the 1938 cartoon "The Daffy Doc", a very early version of Daffy Duck holds up a sign saying "SILENCE IS FOO!"; oddly, this seems to refer to some approving or positive affirmative use of foo. It has been suggested that this might be related to the Chinese word `fu' (sometimes transliterated `foo'), which can mean "happiness" when spoken with the proper tone (the lion-dog guardians flanking the steps of many Chinese restaurants are properly called "fu dogs").
Earlier versions of this entry suggested the possibility that hacker usage actually sprang from "FOO, Lampoons and Parody", the title of a comic book first issued in September 1958, a joint project of Charles and Robert Crumb. Though Robert Crumb (then in his mid-teens) later became one of the most important and influential artists in underground comics, this venture was hardly a success; indeed, the brothers later burned most of the existing copies in disgust. The title FOO was featured in large letters on the front cover. However, very few copies of this comic actually circulated, and students of Crumb's `oeuvre' have established that this title was a reference to the earlier Smokey Stover comics.
An old-time member reports that in the 1959 "Dictionary of the TMRC Language", compiled at TMRC there was an entry that went something like this:
FOO: The first syllable of the sacred chant phrase "FOO MANE PADME
HUM." Our first obligation is to keep the foo counters turning.
For more about the legendary foo counters, see TMRC. Almost the entire staff of what became the MIT AI LAB was involved with TMRC, and probably picked the word up there.
Very probably, hackish `foo' had no single origin and derives through all these channels from Yiddish `feh' and/or English `fooey'.
Jargon File Version 3.0
Foo and Bar are reminiscent of the military slang, FUBAR, an acronym for, more or less, "*fouled* up beyond all redemption".
I kept telling him there was no way and no reason I would ever take the entire website offline... he kept paging everytime the ISP went down.