Look what you've gotten yourself into!

Okay, I can hear the questions already (those voices in my head are good for something, after all).

Some of you are saying, "What's this furrfu stuff?"

Others, who know the answer to that one are asking, "Why would you pick that name?"

The History

So sit right down, and you'll hear a tale . . . .

The origin of "furrfu" is deeply nested in the bowels, or at least small intestines of UseNet history.

Once upon a time, there was a world known as UseNet, a world loosely connected by slow dial-up lines and inhabited by obtuse online geeks. Okay, so that doesn't sound different from today . . . . I mean really slow connections and really obtuse geeks.

Anyway, where was I?

And on the eighth day He created UseNet

Right, oh yea. This was a world hacked out or the void by people inventing it as they went. One of the creations was propagated message posting, and UseNet newsgroups (affectionately known as "the imminent death of the 'Net") were born. Despite its harsh birth, UseNet was a place of deep sensitivity and etiquette -- mainly because it was usually leaching resources from other "legitimate" work. If you offended anyone too much, you (and perhaps your entire organization) were booted off to the Land of No News.

Given that, and the normal human desire to talk dirty, what could be done?
How could we still write on the walls without offending the principal?

Enter our hero, ROT13

ROT13 (pronounced just like what UseNet does to our minds) is a simple yet effective "public encoding" of text. It takes each letter in a message and replaces it with the letter 13 positions away (or, rotates it 13 positions in the alphabet). Since there are 26 (13*2) letters in the alphabet, doing it twice brings you back where you started.

If you post something in ROT13, the reader has to take a step (usually an extra keystroke) to get the scrambled text back to readable form. In essence this kept people from accidentally being exposed to dirty jokes (or plot spoilers for movie discussions, etc) without making it difficult for those who wanted to read it.

And this is relevant, how?

After UseNet had festered and spread for many years, surviving even the Great Renaming, it was overcome with a pestilence called "alt." Deep in the Alt.Sewer, across the hall from the alligators and the glowing fungi there formed alt.folklore.urban.

In the days before the marauding hoards from AOL, Prodigy or even Delphi, alt.folklore.urban (or AFU) stood as a pinnacle of order and stability, before the dark times, before the Empire (oops, wrong story).

This was the land of the birth and rearing of furrfu, or more commonly, Furrfu!

You see, if a person were to take "furrfu" and run it through ROT13, he would find that

    f  <-->  s
    r  <-->  e
    u  <-->  h
And so,
    furrfu  <--> sheesh

Why, indeed

So, you see, "furrfu" is irreverent, archaic and obtuse all at once. It is also far more harmless than one might first think.

It seems to be a perfect fit to my personality.

Copyright 1997, Drew Lawson.
[Last mucked around with: 6 June 1997]
URL: http://www.furrfu.com/furrfu.html
Email drew@furrfu.com