Smokey Stover
May 18, 2007 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Why? These are words that crop up from time to time in a variety of places. Notary sojac appears on the dungeon floor in Nethack from time to time. Foo can be seen in the classic WB "Wackyland" cartoons and countless man pages and computer science textbooks.

Yet despite all this thinly-spread ubiquity, I hadn't even heard of Smokey Stover until a few months ago. It seems to have been published as late as 1987, but I've never seen a newspaper that carried it.
posted by JHarris at 10:35 AM on May 18, 2007

I think the computer science "foo" has a different origin, but this is cool - I'd never heard of it either.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:38 AM on May 18, 2007

All your base has a Posse and Jelly time
posted by ZachsMind at 10:40 AM on May 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

Dad came home and we had all the neighborhood dogs lined up for kissing and loving. The next thing I knew, I wasn't allowed to play with Kelsy anymore and later found out that he went off to military school. The EnD
posted by doctorschlock at 10:47 AM on May 18, 2007

Smokey Stover was almost the same character as Sad Sack.
Just different professions.
posted by doctorschlock at 10:51 AM on May 18, 2007

Foo Dogs!
posted by Floydd at 10:55 AM on May 18, 2007

I loved Smokey Stover as a kid, even before I could read. The visual style was so wacky, you didn't need the words.
posted by tommasz at 10:55 AM on May 18, 2007

Interesting, I HAD heard of Smokey Stover, before today, but didn't know anything about it.

About 10 years ago, a lady came into my friend's comic book store to ask if we had ever heard of it and if we had any of them.

We told her no, we had never heard of him and didn't have any of those comic books. She then told us her grandfather had written them.

I hadn't thought of it at all since then, but seeing the name reminded me of it.
posted by empath at 11:01 AM on May 18, 2007

Nice post.
Smokey Stover I remember fondly from a childhood reading the New York Daily News, "New York's Picture Newspaper", when it was considerably less cretinous and more sensational than it is today.
For a long time, I thought "Notary Sojac" was the cartoonist.
posted by the sobsister at 11:05 AM on May 18, 2007

Computer science "foo" comes from FUBAR, which became "foo" and "bar" as example names in early documentation.

FUBAR dates to WWII, along with its mate SNAFU.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:59 AM on May 18, 2007

posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:05 PM on May 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:10 PM on May 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

My first stuffed animal as a child was named Foo. That is all.
posted by NationalKato at 12:39 PM on May 18, 2007

My dad used to say "Notary Sojac" a lot when I was little.
posted by matildaben at 12:56 PM on May 18, 2007

Turbo Encabulator!
posted by rusty at 1:17 PM on May 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ah ZenMasterThis, that is interesting!
posted by JHarris at 3:05 PM on May 18, 2007

And don't overlook the little entry down there for the Smoky-Stover-inspired WWII-era Air Force term for UFO's - "foo fighters".
posted by ormondsacker at 4:01 PM on May 18, 2007

First place I'd ever heard Notary Sojac was in Spike Jones' Beetlebomb. I always just assumed it was one of the horses.
posted by davelog at 7:02 AM on May 19, 2007

I can't believe in my searching for this post I missed this post from the languagehat blog.
posted by JHarris at 4:21 PM on May 19, 2007

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