Re: Furcifer

I'm not a real doofus, but I play one at a national laboratory. (
Fri, 29 Aug 1997 10:01:42 -0500

It would seem that FoRKing is well established in nature as well as in

> Merriam-Webster's: Gallows bird, noun: A person who deserves hanging.

There are FoRKed Tanganyican cichlids.
The Lilypad Clubtail dragonfly is a furcifer.
Argentina has a FoRK-tailed Woodnymph, Thalurania furcata, a hummingbird.

> Fork-marked Lemur (Phaner furcifer)
> Fork-marked lemurs live in either monogomous pairs or as solitary individuals
> within small territories that they protect aggressively. They very vocal in
> nature, especially when they feel threatened. They emit an average of 30
> vocalizations per hour.

Keep the lemurs off the FoRK list! Too much noise.

> 4. Chameleon, Furcifer pardalis
> The organisms were even more wonderful and amazing than advertized.

The lizards have advertizing?

In The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable are the following:


> Fork Out: Hand over; pay down; stand treat. Fingers are called forks, and
> this may suffice to explain the phrase; if not, we have the Anglo-Saxon
> verb feccan (to draw out, to take), and "fork out" would be "fec out."

> Forks: The gallows. (Latin, furca. ) Cicero (de Divinitate, i. 26) says,
> "Ferens furcam ductus est, " often quoted in proof that criminals condemned
> to the cross were obliged to carry their own cross to the place of execution.
> But the ordinary meaning of furca is a kind of yoke to which the hands of
> criminals were fastened. The punishment was of three degrees of severity:
> (1) The furca ignominiosa ; (2) the furca panalis ; and (3) the furca
> capitalis. The first was for slight offences, and consisted in carrying the
> furca on the shoulders, more or less weighted. The second consisted in
> carrying the furca and being scourged. The third was being scourged to death.
> The word furcifer meant what we call a gallows-bad or vile fellow.

In Plautus' Casina (Kitchen?) we have the lines of Olympio Vilicvs:

> Quom mi haec dicentur dicta, tum tu, furcifer,
> Quasi mus in medio pariete uorsabere.

My Latin's rusty in the extreme (how can something non-existent be rusty?),
so I'll translate it as follows:

> Why you handin' me that line, FoRKface?
> You look like a mouse tryin' to eat a parrot.

We're now all qualified to answer #9 at:



VMS and its RSX ancestors all the way back to IAS, I believe, have
had a FoRK Queue, the source of at least 3% of Internals humor.