Spaf as Vegan

Back in the days when Usenet was actually interesting, and when people posting things spent time and effort to be creative and amusing, Spaf was known as the Net's resident extraterrestrial (from Vega). This led to many instances where confused people asked about Vegans (the ultra-orthodox vegetarians) and Spaf replied. This, of course, was back before Spaf basically quit the Usenet.

I have a large archive of amusing things from the early days on the net. These are a few of the postings that most people seem to remember for some reason. Interestingly, a search of Google does not find all of these.

Vegans on honey

Newsgroups: misc.consumers,rec.humor
Subject: Re: Vegetarian/Vegan (Now What is Vegan?)
From: (Gene Spafford)
References: <6483@bunny.UUCP> <5293@whuts.ATT.COM>
Reply-to: (Gene Spafford)
Organization: Department of Computer Science, Purdue University

In article <5293@whuts.ATT.COM> spf@whuts.ATT.COM (Steve Frysinger of Blue Feather Farm) writes:
>BUT WHAT IS VEGAN?   I'm especially intrigued because the poster said
>that all vegans they knew didn't eat honey (an animal product).  I'm
>curious about this, and my inquiring mind wants to know why.  Also, do
>vegans wear wool or silk?  Leather?

Glad you asked these, Steve.   Being a Vegan, I'll be happy to answer.

Vegans are any of the native peoples of the three inhabited planets of
the star Vega.  Many of us are here on your planet studying you Earthlings, 
eating your pizza, and impregnating your women.  We'd be impregnating our
own women if they were here, but Vegan women are rowdy and would be out
impregnating Earthmen -- far too conspicuous, I'm afraid.

As to honey, well, yes we do eat honey, but not by itself.  When we're
wearing that silk and leather is usually when that happens.  That's related
to Vegan gender, a topic I enlightened the Usenet about in 1983
(Sun, Nov 13 in fact -- Vegans have long memories and good archives)
(copies on request).

Some animal products, like fur, we don't eat.  Our dietary habits are
much like Earthlings, except we don't eat anything named after Smurfs,
we avoid cheese "foods," we like cinnamon in our Big Macs, and there is
never, ever room for Jello.  Some of us have odd preferences, though. I
did have a cousin who used to eat bowling balls -- I think it was just
an excuse to eat the rosin.

I hope that helps answer your question, Steve.  Don't hesitate to ask
if you have more -- no one believes we're here anyhow.

Vegans on gender

From: spaf@gatech.UUCP (Gene Spafford)
Newsgroups: net.misc,net.jokes,
Subject: Re: m/f/h/v? - (nf)
Date: Sun, 13-Nov-83 18:20:29 EST
Organization: Georgia Tech School of ICS, Atlanta

B. Walsh asks if Vegans have gender.  The answer is definitely "yes."
Gender is a differentiation amongst the various roles needed in sexual
reproduction within a species...or lack of roles in the case of asexual
reproduction.  Thus, lack of sex in reproduction implies a single
gender and a distinct lack of excitement on weekends, as you will no
doubt discover on any date with a Xerox machine.

If we examine the four major genders of which you earthlings are aware
(male sex, female sex, insects, and religious sects) it is difficult to
note the roles played by each in the reproductive cycle.  This also
doesn't take into account the activities of individuals like Catherine
the Great, Larry Flynt, and members of Congress.

Vegans recognize approximately 73,241 genders (as of last count).  At
puberty, each young hatchling undergoes the "maturity ritual" whereby
they choose a name, and a gender is registered.  This is accomplished
through a rather complicated ritual involving 2 Neptunians, a toaster
oven, a catcher's mitt, an Emperor penguin, 3 pine cones and a
bilingual moose.  This is roughly equivalent to a Bar Mitzveh, but with
considerably more trauma to the moose.  Once the ceremony is through
and we have established our identity, we spend the next few hundred
years attempting to determine just what the "opposite sex" really is,
and then find a date for the annual office party.  Until that time,
most of us either settle for the moose or the catcher's mitt, although
a few deviants have been seen consorting with used car salesmen.

I hope this helps clear up the matter.
Off the Wall of Gene Spafford
School of ICS, Georgia Tech, Atlanta GA 30332
CSNet:	Spaf @ GATech		ARPA:	Spaf.GATech @ CSNet-Relay
uucp:	...!{akgua,allegra,rlgvax,sb1,unmvax,ulysses,ut-sally}!gatech!spaf

Vegans (and Spaf) on "Tonga Plugs"

This started when someone (either myself or Rich Rosen, the usual instigators of this form of nonsense) made a posting mentioning "tonga plus." Several people who didn't know better inquired, and this is what they got (see also the followup).

From: spaf@gatech.UUCP (Gene Spafford)
Newsgroups: net.motss,,,
Subject: Re: net personals ... a pointer to a proposal (tonga plugs)
Date: 18 Dec 84 18:05:12 GMT
Organization: The Clouds Project, School of ICS, Georgia Tech

In article <758@oliven.UUCP> hawk@oliven.UUCP (Rick) writes:
>>BTW, anyone who knows me well might be rather reluctant to trust me,
>>especially with a cream pie in my hand...or a set of tonga plugs.
>OK, I'll ask.  What the hell is a tonga plug?

For some reason, a number of people have asked me this (usually from
people in the Midwest -- it figures).  Since we're all friends here,
and hopefully mature, I'll be frank (or gene) and provide a brief
description.  If there are any young children present, please ask them
not to read along with you.

First off, let me note that there is no such thing as just a "tonga
plug."  They always come in pairs.  Just like you never find a "pant,"
but you always find a pair of "pants." After all, it takes two to

The origin of tonga plugs is shrouded in mystery.  Some people claim
that they were first used in ancient Atlantis, whilst others make a
strong case for their creation during an a "love-in" of the 70's.  The
technology behind their manufacture and use was certainly not beyond
Bronze Age man, although there is some question of whether they had the
requisite advanced knowledge of physiology, sociology, astronomy,
electrical engineering and animal husbandry required to operate them to
their full, very stimulating, capacity.

No matter what their origin,  tonga plugs have become an indispensible
addition to the games room of any adventuresome and sensitive adult, as
you well know.  Their only other known use is by licensed  physical
therapists, and their somewhat controversial use by ministers of
certain fundamentalist religious groups in the mountains of Appalachia;
this is much more dangerous to the inexperienced than snake handling,
however, but these groups are protected under the Constitution (they
argue).  There may be some truth to the rumor that certain South
American dictatorships use tonga plugs to whip political prisoners into
a frenzy, continuing only when the hapless victims agree to sign a
confession or betray their comrades.  This is, of course, a blatant
violation of numerous international treaties, the UN Charter, and the
Geneva conventions -- not to mention a terrible affront to human
dignity.  Amnesty International has yet to fully document such a case,
since such misuse rarely results in a survivor (at least a sane one).
However, this is off the subject of your question.

Tonga plugs vary in size from about 10 cm. long (major axis) on up to
almost a full meter, although rumor has it that the NSA is working on a
two meter set.  Traditional tonga plugs may be made of steel, brass,
hard plastic, or shatterproof (obviously!) glass; some back-to-nature
types have had success with tonga plugs made of varnished wood or fried
tofu, however.  Your usual set of tongas are roughly cylindircal,
usually tapered towards one end, and curved ever so slightly (too large
a curve may result in them slipping from between your feet should you
apply too much mayonaise).  Exactly 1.72 meters of rope, cable, or
chain is connected to an inset eyelet at the major end of each plug; a
non-conductive connector is obviously required in the case of metal
plugs.  The surface of one plug is usually etched or inscribed
(patterns vary widely) to distinguish it from the one used with the
wombat.  Colors vary, if used,  with the exception that it should not
be any shade matching the feathers or the jackstand -- this is
considered to be "bad luck."

I think that covers most of the major features.  My apologies for not
being able to present a sketch or picture, but not only is this medium
somewhat limited in that regard, but I would not wish to run afoul of
some of the rather archaic (but nasty and unrepealed) federal
regulations concerning the manufacture, illustration, transportation
across state lines, and conversion (to fully automatic) of tonga
plugs.  Lucky for us, OSHA and the EPA have decided not to challenge
the federal court decision that tonga plugs are legal when used in
private by consenting adults, provided that proper permits have been
granted by the FCC and the ASPCA.

If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
Gene "8 months and counting" Spafford
The Clouds Project, School of ICS, Georgia Tech, Atlanta GA 30332
CSNet:	Spaf @ GATech		ARPA:	Spaf%GATech.CSNet @ CSNet-Relay.ARPA
uucp:	...!{akgua,allegra,hplabs,ihnp4,linus,seismo,ulysses}!gatech!spaf

Tonga reprieve

Newsgroups: net.motss,,,
Subject: Re: net personals ... a pointer to a proposal (tonga plugs)
Organization: The Clouds Project, School of ICS, Georgia Tech

[Tonga power to the masses!]

In article <469@ukma.UUCP> david@ukma.UUCP (David Herron, NPR Lover) writes:
>In article <11372@gatech.UUCP> spaf@gatech.UUCP (Gene Spaffard) writes:
>>In article <65@cithep.UucP> tim@cithep.UucP (Tim Smith ) writes:
>>>[ 1. Nf3 ]
>>>>>>BTW, anyone who knows me well might be rather reluctant to trust me,
>>>>>>especially with a cream pie in my hand...or a set of tonga plugs.
>>>>>OK, I'll ask.  What the hell is a tonga plug?
>>>> [ detailed explanation of what a set of tonga plugs is ]
>>>OK, but what are they used for?
>>Well, that really is a matter of personal perference and endurance.
>>I use them for about 2 hours at a time.
>>Gene "7 months and counting" Spafford
>OK, but what are you doing with them for two hours at a time?
>[And, what have you been counting for 7 months?]

Actually, in my particular case, the question is not "what are you
doing with them" but "who are you doing with them?"  The answer to that
is "Kathy, my squeeze."  By the way, don't ever let anyone tell you
that tonga plugs don't constitute a danger:  In the hands of an
experienced Vegan (or wombat or other expert), and using the
famed "Rosen Technique" (reposting available on request), it is
possible to do grave damage to someone.  In our case, I've ruined Kathy
for any other mammal (and most reptiles), and towards the end of the
year I'll have to do one of the only honorable (for a Vegan) things and
either sell her to a dog food company or marry her.  Unless she puts on
enough weight to fetch a good price, it looks like it is going to be
the latter. Luckily, she's not allergic to duct tape.

As to the 7 months biz, that's how long I anticipate until my PhD
thesis defense.  (And no, my thesis doesn't involve tonga plugs. Yet.)