Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 13:00:26 -0500
From: Mike Salovesh
Subject: And now for something really . . .

In re the comment that "we vets would say . . . " something about the
spelling of "foobar": we have two (2 !) historical derivations in
conflict here. Historical precedence goes to a sequence which is often
represented by euphemisms:

The root, dating to WWII, was "snafu": Situation Normal, All F(oul)ed
Up. This led to a series that reached its apogee in "fubar": F(oul)ed
Up Beyond All Recall.

Computerlandia, that country in which we are all seeking naturalization,
uses a blank word, traditionally spelled "foobar", to stand for "put the
name of a real program or file, or some other identifier, in this
space". The blank word began life as an inside joke, a backreference to
WWII's "fubar". It has taken on a life of its own.

There's a comparable insider joke in the name of a commercially produced
program widely sold as a simulation game for teaching the principles of
archaeological excavation. Its name is "Fugawiland", named after a
mythical Native American group of pathfinders, the Fugawi.

The story goes that when a Fugawi guide would lead a party from another
tribe, he would begin each day by celebrating an ancient secret rite of
the tribe. He would begin by climbing the tallest tree in the area.
Offering tobacco to the gods of the six cardinal directions (sunrise or
east, the sun's left hand or south, the sun's right hand or north,
sunset or west, up, and down), the guide would recite the secret prayers
of his tribe, always ending with the ritual recitation of the tribe's
name: "Where the Fugawi?"

-- mike salovesh
anthropology department
northern illinois university PEACE !!!

P.S.: Honest to God, there really is a simulation program for student
archaeologists called "Fugawiland". I have used it with some of my
students, usually without telling them of the title's derivation.