Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#117775 - 12/16/03 07:25 AM Come in to my parlor...
Flatlander Offline
addict

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 428
Loc: Cape Cod, MA, US
So, as you may have heard, a certain individual that the US government has a few questions for was discovered in what officials and the press call a "spider hole". My question is why is it called that? I seem to recall that there is one species of spider that lives in a hole in the ground, but most of the eight-legged buggers have rather different accomodations. I could see "ferret hole" or "weasel hole" (the latter seems particularly apt), but I don't understand "spider hole". Anyone care to dig into this one?


Top
#117776 - 12/16/03 07:30 AM Re: Come in to my parlor...
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
I seem to recall that there is one species of spider that lives in a hole in the ground

really? funnelhole spiders are unique to living in the ground? i didn't know that.

but spiders live in holes in wood, (and under bits of bark) and in other creavases. they live in small dark places...
and i guess too, they are scarier to come across than a ferret.. (don't know of any poisonous species of ferret!)

_________________________
my other obsession

Top
#117777 - 12/16/03 09:06 AM Re: Come in to my parlor...
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
I seem to recall that there is one species of spider that lives in a hole in the ground

At least one. The term dates back at least to the VietNam war. The original definition was a hidey-hole made for the purpose of lying in wait for a victim to ambush. The technique was used by the Japanese in WWII, but it is uncertain if the term was used at the time. The usage in reference to a hidey-hole for purposes of evading capture seems to be an extended meaning, but the term "rat hole" has also been used to describe the Saddam situation.

The metaphor of the spider hole is from the actions of the trap door spider.

http://www.everythingabout.net/articles/biology/animals/arthropods/arachnids/spiders/trap-door_spider/



Top
#117778 - 12/16/03 10:02 AM Re: Come in to my parlor...
Flatlander Offline
addict

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 428
Loc: Cape Cod, MA, US
The usage in reference to a hidey-hole for purposes of evading capture seems to be an extended meaning

I think this is what was troubling me. I knew the trap door spider used a pit to ambush its prey, but this seemed to be more of a defensive situation. Thanks for the clarification.


Top
#117779 - 12/16/03 02:58 PM Re: Come in to my parlor...
Father Steve Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/06/00
Posts: 2788
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA

Top
#117780 - 12/16/03 08:03 PM Re: Come in to my parlor...
stales Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/13/00
Posts: 866
Loc: Perth, Western Australia
Ah - Oz - welcome to the land of creatures that'll kill you; no matter how many legs they do (or don't) have. That reminds me of a funny story - but I digress.

Most common hole dwelling arachnids in Oz are the Funnel Web, Trapdoor and Mouse spiders. All can be fatal - of course!

And now the funny story....was at Rottnest Island (19km off the coast of Perth) a couple of weekends ago. Went for the bus trip around the island tour - it doubles as a shuttle bus service for the various beaches and residential areas around the island - as well as a sightseeing opportunity. A large party of young Japanese tourists disembarked at one of the popular beaches....their leader, the last off, turned to thank the driver. The driver replied, "Thanks mate, be careful of the sharks", closed the door and drove off. Those of us inside were in stitches with his (arguably mean) trick; playing upon the fears of visitors to our shores. I don't think there's been a shark attack at "Rotto" in white history.

stales


Top
#117781 - 12/16/03 08:09 PM Re: Come in to my parlor...
sjmaxq Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/20/03
Posts: 3230
Loc: Te Ika a Maui
Aah, that sophisticated, intellectual Aussie humour shining at its brightest! Congratulations on a stunning effort in Adelaide, btw.

_________________________
noho ora mai
http://maxqnzs.com/References.html

Top
#117782 - 12/17/03 08:12 PM Re: Come in to my parlor...
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
You know, I kept reading it as Rottenest Island, and wondered whether this wouldn't be a bit off-putting for potential tourists.

Bingley
_________________________
Bingley

Top
#117783 - 12/17/03 08:52 PM Re: Come in to my parlor...
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Heavens, I read--well, interpreted--it as rat nest; hardly an improvement!


Top
#117784 - 12/17/03 08:57 PM Re: Come in to my parlor...
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
Dear Stales: sharks are bad enough. But how about the small jellyfish whose stings can kill a child. How common are they?


Top
#117785 - 12/18/03 07:17 AM Re: Come in to my parlor...
Flatlander Offline
addict

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 428
Loc: Cape Cod, MA, US
I know I'm replying to myself, but for others who might be interested, Safire chimes in on the origin of "spider hole" here:

http://www.sltrib.com/2003/Dec/12162003/commenta/120316.asp

The relevant snippet:

[safire]Another useful bit of information is the origin of "spider hole," a phrase used by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez to describe the dugout hiding place in which the fugitive Saddam was cowering.
This is Army lingo from the Vietnam era. The Vietcong guerrillas dug "Cu Chi tunnels" often connected to what the GI's called "spider holes" -- space dug deep enough for the placement of a clay pot large enough to hold a crouching man, covered by a wooden plank and concealed with leaves. When a U.S. patrol passed, the Vietcong would spring out, shooting. But the hole had its dangers; if the pot broke or cracked, the guerrilla could be attacked by poisonous spiders or snakes. Hence, "spider hole."[/safire]

Cardhouse (http://www.cardhouse.com)doesn't buy his logic:

[cardhouse]That seems like an awfully long road to travel to get to the term "spider hole." Why not "snake hole"? Why would American forces name things from the perspective of a clay pot-hiding VC? "Hey, I found one of those dead clay pot VCs ... looks like he died from a bunch of spider and/or snake bites! I thus call this hole and all subsequent holes formed in the same fashion ... a .... a spider hole!" It couldn't have possibly derived from the fact that spiders actually dig holes in the ground or that VC tunnels were sometimes "guarded" by a ton of spiders? [/cardhouse]


Top
#117786 - 12/18/03 07:39 AM I dunno...
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
I'm thinking that Sanchez and many of the other commanders and guys-in-charge were probably Viet Nam-era soldiers. This is the first big war for them since then and maybe they're just trotting out their old jargon. Probably now that there's such a large group of soldiers together they'll update that slang.


PS Thanks for the Safire take, Flatlander. Last I read him he was splainin "exit strategy."

Top
#117787 - 12/20/03 07:33 AM Re: Come in to my parlor...
stales Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/13/00
Posts: 866
Loc: Perth, Western Australia
And "Rat Nest Island" it is Jackie; thanks to the early Dutch explorers. Named after the ever so cute Quokkas (miniature wallabies) that reside there.

stales


Top
#117788 - 12/20/03 09:01 AM Picture of a quokka
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  Jackie 
Forum Stats
8746 Members
16 Forums
13809 Topics
215508 Posts

Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members
bobwar, Johnreed28, Lakshman, dcsteve, Jorg
8746 Registered Users
Who's Online
1 registered (1 invisible), 34 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
endymion6 106
LukeJavan8 98
wofahulicodoc 79
A C Bowden 54
Tromboniator 11
tuhin 2
chicablanca 1
Jorg 1
Top Posters
wwh 13858
Faldage 13803
Jackie 11609
tsuwm 10523
Buffalo Shrdlu 7210
LukeJavan8 6592
AnnaStrophic 6511
Wordwind 6296
of troy 5400
BranShea 5282

Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 2014 Wordsmith