Among my favourite diversions upon the Internet is participating in the Internet Oracle (formerly known as the Usenet Oracle). This page consists of my answers (shown in yellow); the cyan text indicates the questions asked by other people.
The wisdom of the Priests who select submissions for the Oracularities is somewhat mysterious. Some of my answers which I thought were pretty darned clever never made it in, whereas I didn't really think 891-09 (for instance) was really all that great.
[890-10] How can I get beautiful women to look upon me favorably?
[891-09] What the heck is going on here?
[894-04] What should I do about Internet viruses?
[946-07] How can I get rid of all this paperwork?
[948-04] What else should I do to bring my family closer together?
[949-02] Why is that chicken in the bread pan, kicking out dough?
[955-05] I'm doing a school project on the Elizabethan period...
[960-02] SECRET -- NOFORN (This question intentionally left blank)
[966-07] When I buy a 10 cent candy bar, I only get 1/10th of what I expect.
[967-03] What is the meaning of wife?
[967-04] Should I bet on the Rams or the Giants?
[971-08] I'm rapidly running out of air...
[972-09] Why do so many graduate theses get inducted into the Oracularities?
[973-01] Why do men like power tools so much?
[988-09] What is the clap of one hand sounding?
[989-04] Why cannot I be immortal?
[1004-03] How should I conduct a job interview?
[1004-05] Is it true that staplers are really just tiny, mechanical vampires?
[1046-09] I'm the AOL Oracle, and you're toast, buddy!
[1054-01] Babylon 5 written by William Gibson or Stephen King
[1061-10] What's the daily routine of the Bastard Oracular Priest from Hell?
[1065-10] The Bunny of Death
[1066-05] It doesn't matter what I write here, it's all up to you.
[1067-05] How! Have I got a deal for you!
[1067-06] Who would win in a fight, a 3025 Rifleman or a Goshawk?
[1081-01] Terry Pratchett stole the names of the players on some muds I play on.
[1159-01] Is fear more powerful than love?
[1159-06] What new kinds of pets will we see in the new millennium?
[1159-07] What do you do about copyright infringers of yours?
[1159-08] Yes, but is it Art?
[1181-08] Oh Askme! Tellme!
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Oh Oracle most wise, some time ago I asked you how I could get > beautiful women to notice me, and you suggested that I cover my naked > body with horse manure and parade through the streets. Well I tried > this, and it worked, but not exactly the way I had hoped. A very > beautiful policewoman noticed me, and invited me to her place of > employment. But I guess she didn't like me, because she just left me > there, in the company of some rather unpleasant characters. > > The next morning when they let me out, I realized that had I asked you > the wrong question. It was very clever of you to make me figure this > out on my own. Thank you for the lesson. > > I think the question I really meant to ask was: how can I get > beautiful women to look upon me favorably? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } In order to achieve the desired result, you must do something that is } utterly unthinkable to all who consider themselves to be Real Men(tm). } } You will feel as though you have betrayed your gender; other men will } shun you and hold you up as an example of abomination, to be reviled } unto the end of your days and beyond. With Benedict Arnold and Judas } Iscariot shall your name keep company, as a traitor most foul. } } You will feel overwhelming guilt and humiliation for renouncing } masculine values and ideals; the only thing that will keep you going } will be your feeble hope that the goal will be adequate compensation } for your shameful, loathsome state. } } If this bleak view of your future does not dissuade you, then read on } -- but if your heart is faint, stop now. } } To get beautiful women to look upon you favorably, there is but one } thing you must do: } } Put the toilet seat down when you're through. } } You owe the Oracle twenty ells of rope, a cord of wood, a box of } "strike anywhere" matches, and a life-sized effigy of yourself.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Oh spiffy one > > Please tell me what the heck is going on here? > > Thanks! And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Sure thing. } } For starters, you've got the air hose on the wrong nozzle, you're using } an albino ferret rather than a sable, and the box is made out of HDPE } plastic rather than LDPE. } } Once you've got that all sorted out, I'd recommend cleaning the walls } before you try it again. } } You owe the Oracle a ream of Day-Glo orange paper, a clear plastic } kazoo, and an eggplant.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Dear Oracle, I just got on this Internet thing and I am very worried > about downloading viruses. I tried to put a condom over the modem > socket but then it wouldn't plug into the outlet properly :( What > should I do? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } You must stretch the condom over the entire computer, not just } the modem socket. If your computer is bigger than a "Baby AT" } or "Minitower", you'll need to use a Magnum (or a comparably sized } prophylactic of another brand). } } Make sure you use a latex condom, not a sheepskin one, because (a) } the latex ones stretch better, and (b) the sheepskin ones aren't as } effective against the transmission of viruses. } } If your computer has dictation capabilities, such as OS/2 Warp's } VoiceType, be sure to use a dental dam whenever you talk to your } computer. } } You owe the Oracle the email addresses of five newbies to send "Good } Times" warnings to.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Oh mighty Oracle, whose pens never run out of ink, especially when he's > writing a check, and the cashier doesn't have a pen of her own, please > tell me... > > How can I get rid of all this paper work, without just throwing it > away? I may need it later. And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Well, if you didn't need it later, I could give you a hundred and } one ways to get rid of it. That little condition complicates } matters, however. } } Oh, I know what you could do. Go find one of those photocopiers } that can handle 11-by-17 paper. Put two sheets of your paperwork } side by side, then copy them at half size, so they'll fit on one } piece of letter paper. Throw away the originals, and do the same } thing to the next two sheets of your paperwork. Then take the two } photocopies, put them side by side, and reduce them. With a little } bit of work, you can jam all your paperwork onto a single piece of } paper. When you need the paperwork back again, just reverse the } process! (Sure, it'll be a little grainy, but it's well worth the } convenience, wouldn't you say?) } } You owe the Oracle a copy of The Decline and Fall of the Roman } Empire on a postage stamp.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > O Oracle, you great, big, lovable lug, you, please tell me... > > Well, I did what you said, but things still aren't quite worked out. My > wife didn't like the live rat coat I got her (and, yes, I did what you > said and told her that wearing dead fur was inhumane). Her mother is > still angry at me for placing that ad in the Village Voice (although > I'm impressed at the number of telephone calls she's been getting; who > would thought that so many people would have a Janet Reno fetish). And, > finally, my sister has sworn out a warrant for my arrest, despite all > the effort I've taken to explain that the IRS *always* checks out these > anonymous reports before they start seizing houses and cars and things. > I mean, it was a *joke*, right? > > So, what else should I do to bring my family closer together? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Well, sheesh, there's just no pleasing some people, is there? At } least they're all finally agreeing on something, *and* they're } all paying attention to you. That was what you asked for; it's } not *my* fault you weren't more clear about what you wanted. } } But now you want to bring them closer together, too? Okay. } } First, rent a building. Remove the handle from the inside of the } front door. Nail all other doors and windows closed. } } Send a letter to your wife, apologizing for the mistake. Tell } her you've got a (dead) mink fur coat waiting for her. Give her } the address of the building you rented, and tell her to be there } at precisely 7:15 PM. } } Call your mother-in-law. Impersonate Robert Redford's voice, and } tell her that you've read the ad in the paper, and that you'll } give her a million dollars if she'll sleep with you. Tell her } to be at the address of the building you rented, at precisely } 7:15 PM. } } Call your sister. Tell her you're a police sargeant, and that } her brother has just been killed in a shoot-out with the police, } and that she's needed to identify the body. Give her the address } of the building you rented, and ask her to be there at precisely } 7:15 PM. } } Hide in the alley across the street. As soon as all three of } them have entered, engage the industrial-size trash compactor you } installed just inside the front door. I guarantee that they'll } be closer than they've ever been before. } } You owe the Oracle a rubber hose, a vacuum pump, and a 55-gallon } drum of butter-flavored instant grits.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Oh great keeper of the cheese, finder of lost gloves, stitcher of time, > etc: > > Why is that chicken in the bread pan, kicking out dough? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } To get to the other side? [rimshot] } } Seriously, though, that chicken is venting its frustration at the } sad turn of events its life has taken. Born and raised in the } Vatican City, it was purchased by a visiting baker and taken to } its new home in America. The chicken had heard many tales of } America: its streets paved with golden corn, sports stadiums } and publishers named after its species (such as Henway Park and } Bantam Books), and so on; so it looked forward with anticipation } to the new life it was to have. } } But to its dismay, it soon found that its life was confined to } wandering around the baker's kitchen, being warned not to cross } the road, and hearing the baker and his wife speak with concern } about the possibility that their young boy (just entering } puberty) would soon begin choking it! } } As you can imagine, this was quite a different turn of events } than it expected, so in its bitterness it decided to ruin the } livelihood of the baker who had devastated its life. It wanted } to turn to a life of crime as an evil supervillain, but (lacking } hands) it had no way to put a capon. [rimshot] } } So it has to content itself with its meager revenge, ruining } batch after batch of dough by kicking it out of the bread pans. } } After all, you shouldn't mistreat the Chicken of the See...
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Mr. Oracle, Sir, > > I'm doing a school project on the Elizabethan period and I was > wondering, could you tell me some points of interest that are 'must > have' facts for my report? > > Yours, > Sherman And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Well, Sherman, step into the Wayback machine... } } Oops, I forgot; Zadoc made off with it. Okay, how about the 3D-BB? } No, I loaned that to the POV-Ray folks. Atavachron's broken; I can't } find the TARDIS... Oh well, I'll just have to tell you. } } Men wore hose and garters, and proudly displayed their genitalia by } wearing "codpieces", which were often padded or stuffed (except for } the Spanish, who for some reason preferred small codpieces). Their } breeches were often so large that they could put tablecloths, } candlesticks, pistols, and other large objects in them. Women } wore corsets to give them the figures of twelve-year-old boys. } "Nice" women didn't wear underwear, but prostitutes did. Dennis } Rodman, therefore, would not have been viewed as a freak. Mary, } Queen of Scots, was *not* Elizabeth's sister -- "Bloody Mary" was. } Both were beheaded. Women were not allowed to act; boys or young } men played female parts on the stage. And kissed the men. } Elizabethans were fond of fart jokes; Beavis and Butthead would } have been considered comic geniuses. Syphilis was a sign of social } status; some people even wore fake sores to make it look like they } were infected. People spelled words however they thought they } sounded, and would even spell the same word three different ways } in the same sentence; a single sentence could take up an entire } printed page (if the Internet had existed then, there would have } been no such thing as a "spelling flame" or "grammar flame"). } Elizabethans thought potatoes were horrible, because they tried } to eat the greens rather than the roots. They brushed their teeth } with sugar and honey. They had pencils, but since rubber hadn't } been invented yet, erased their lines with bread. To guard their } noses against the foul odours of peasants, Elizabethan ladies made } "pomanders" or "sweet bags" with substances as varied as weasel } squeezings and whale snot. } } And the worst part of it is, I'm not making any of this up. } } Well, except that part about Rodman not being a freak. } } An thou wouldst pay thy tribute to the Oracle, then pull thou the } Oracles Ffingre, (& thou shalt receeve a Surprize for thyne Efforts).
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > SECRET -- NOFORN > > > +----------------------------------------+ > | THIS QUESTION INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK | > +----------------------------------------+ > > > SECRET -- NOFORN And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Ah, another round of "I'm too embarrassed to ask this question, so } I'll rely on the fact that the Oracle is omniscient, and therefore } already knows it." At least you've thoughtfully provided the } headers and footers of one of the humanity(1) man pages as a clue. } I'll have to speak to Jehovah about letting that book lie around } where you mortals can find it... } } Anyway, the answer is: Yes, as you suspected, you are still a } virgin because (like most computer geeks) you were compiled with } the "nofornicate" option enabled. You can get around this by } downloading a replacement LIBIDO run-time library that will allow } you to "fork". } } You owe the Oracle your firstborn child process.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Oh Master Oracle, > > When I buy a 10 cent candy bar, I only > get 1/10th of what I expect to get. Why? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Well, Su } say that } used to } investme } At first } air bubb } fraction } 3 Musket } cardboar } shrank e } trays al } } And that } } You owe
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > ORACLE most wise at CS dot INDIANA dot EDU, please TELLME... > > What is the meaning of wife? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Not as much sex as you thought, refraining from reading newspapers } at the breakfast table, killing the spiders, in-laws, remembering } flowers on your anniversary, and leaving the seat down. } } You owe the Oracle an invitation.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > O Oracle most wise in the ways of finance, please tell me... > > Here's a list of people who are after me: > > The Internal Revenue Service > Superior National Bank (and they're not that superior, I can tell > you...) > MFC First National Bank > my landlord > my bookie > Bill's House O' Booze (I think it had to do with that case of Wild > Turkey...) > Jimmy ("The Nut") Caravaggio (my loanshark) > AT&T > The Illuminati > NorWest Gas & Electric > small white mice with really large teeth and a desire for blood > CitiBank MasterCard (why the hell do they keep alternating between > upper case and lower case?) > The American Library Association > the Small Greys > The Trilaterial Commission > my Internet provider > the local public library > The AA Conspiracy > The Sons of the Elders of Cromwell > Adolph Hitler III > The Knights Templar > the people next door who keep looking at me... I mean, why are they > looking at me all the time! > The ghost of Calvin Klein. > The American Printing History Association > President-for-Life Idi Amin-dada > Looks-at-the-Bull > the population of Bill, Wyoming > the horror! oh, the horror! > Joseph Stalin IV > > So, what do you think, Orrie... should I bet on the Rams or the Giants? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Well, as long as the Giants can keep Fafner away from that Nibelung } Gold, and Fasolt stays in there the whole time, then they won't have } any problem against a few mountain goats. } } You owe the Oracle... hell, with that list of creditors, I'd be } lucky to get an unwashed left sock. Good luck, dude, you'll need it.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Oh great oracle, please forgive my lack of a grovel but I'm rapidly > running out of air and I need you to .......help....... me..... to .... And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Ahh, Dr. Wolf. More problems on Mir? Very well, at least this } one is easy to solve. Get into your EVA suit; that will give you } a little more time. Okay. Now go to the Kvant-2 module, replace } the air filters in the life support systems, and turn the } recirculation pumps on HIGH. Within a few minutes, you should } have breathable air again. } } Now, this time, it's your own fault. Glasnost is a nice idea, } but there are some aspects of culture that just don't mix. } Come on, Dave, you don't have to be an omniscient being to know } that a dinner of boiled cabbage, broccoli and baked beans would } have disastrous results in a confined space... } } You owe the Oracle a request to open the pod bay doors.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > O Omnicient Oracle Of Owesome... Sorry, I'm not good at extemporaneous > grovelling. Let me try again: O Oracle, you are really pretty good. > > What I want to know is, if of the priesthood claims to revere brevity > in Oracular replies, why do so many veritable tomes, so many graduate > theses get inducted into the Oracularities? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Well, they may revere brevity, but they also know what I'll do to } them if they fail to include an answer that I'm particularly proud } of. } } You owe the Oracle an answer to the W**dch*ck question in the style } of H.P. Lovecraft, in under thirty words.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Why do men like power tools so much? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Well, come on down to the workshop, and we'll see what we can come } up with. } } The first thing on the workbench is a hand-held drill. Turn it on, } press it against the wood, and it penetrates deeply, leaving a tight, } perfect hole. Look at that! Isn't it a beauty? } } Okay, moving on, we have a power hammer. Put the nails in here, } thrust it against the wood, and it drives the spike in, all the } way, in one powerful stroke. And you can do it over and over } again, thrusting the nails in, one after another... } } Next we come to the power sander. Hold the edge of the wood against } it, like so, and... see that nice, smooth curve? Look at the way } it fits into the hand, no sharp edges. Mmmmm! } } Power screwdriver. Look how easy it is to put the screws in. And } now back out again, with just as little effort. In, out, in, out... } I could keep this up all day! } } Scroll saw? Look how easy it is to use. It just goes up and down, } up and down, violating the pristine, virgin wood and cleaving it } right in twain. Oh, yeah! Take it all, baby! } } Errr... } } So as you can plainly see, the answer to your question is that a } man enjoys power tools because they allow him to create useful and } beautiful objects with a professional, well-crafted look. } } You owe the Oracle a cigarette.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > O mighty Oracle, what is the clap of one hand sounding? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } You've got the clap on one hand? } } Son, you need to find a girlfriend. Seriously. You're going to go } blind if you keep that up. } } But to answer your question, most such ailments are fairly silent. } } You owe the Oracle a promise to visit a free clinic.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Why cannot I be immortal ? > I know that immortality is a very difficult thing to reach for > humanity. But I am not asking for it for the whole humanity. > That should be simpler. > And it would be enough for me if I were immortal. And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Poor human. } } You THINK you want to be immortal. You read books about vampires, } gods, and other immortal creatures, and say, "I wish I were immortal } too, because they lead such interesting lives." } } But here, let me reach into another future, a future where you } achieve immortality, while the rest of the world remains mortal. } I show you this, a page from your diary, dated a mere hundred } years from now. } } Wednesday, 26 February 2098. } } Elise has left, saying people have mistaken her for my mother } once too often. Once again, a relationship dies because I am } still young, and she has succumbed to the ravages of time. } } I turned on the television and found that Microsoft has } purchased the last remaining network. Now it is nothing but } American sitcoms, with Microsoft commercials every three } minutes. Perhaps I should introduce myself to Bill Gates; } he is only a disembodied brain kept alive by machines and } running the world from the Microsoft Network, but at least } we two know what it is to be immortal. } } Two hundred years from now: } } Monday, 26 February 2198. } } Got up. Had green NutriPaste for breakfast. Petted MS-Dog, } noticed fur is falling out. Nothing on television that I } haven't seen 1000 times before. Chose brown paste for lunch. } Spent the afternoon deleting spam from mailbox. Ate yellow } paste for dinner. Kids rode past on hoverbikes, blasting } that new Phreenge "music". Shook fist at them. They laughed } at me. Whippersnappers; no respect for their elders. } } Three hundred years from now: } } Saturday, 26 February 2298. } } I am so bored, I want to die. Useless, of course -- no matter } what I chop off, it grows back. Tried chopping off head, that } was a disaster. A new head grew back on the body, a new body } grew back on the head. Thought that would be wonderful, but I } learned I can't stand to live with myself. Couldn't play } chess with him, since he knew what I was up to. Couldn't play } cards, because we each knew the other was cheating. And he } never refilled the ice tray. } } Four hundred years from now: } } Thursday, 26 February 2398. } } Very exciting day today; ate yellow paste instead of green for } breakfast. I shouldn't do that again soon, or the novelty will } wear off. } } Five hundred years for now: } } Wednesday, 26 February 2498: } } Got up. Green paste for breakfast. Yellow paste for lunch. } Brown paste for dinner. Going to bed. } } After that, they're all duplicate entries. } } The only thing that makes your life interesting is the fact that it's } so finite. Eat nothing but bologna sandwiches every day for breakfast, } lunch and dinner, and that'll give you a good idea of what immortality } is really like. } } You owe the Oracle a cure for ennui.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Oh Oracle most wise, I frequently have to interview candidates for > software engineering positions here. The problem is I don't really > know how to conduct an interview. There doesn't seem to be any kind of > formal training for it. Could you give me a few pointers, please? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Certainly. Sit down. No, not there! Use the other chair. } } Good. Now, the first thing you need to do is assert your dominance. } YOU are the interviewer; you hold power over them, and you need to } establish this fact immediately. Put two chairs across from your } desk. When you ask them to sit, wait until they've selected a } chair, and them tell them to sit in the other one. This gets them } off-balance from the beginning. Hunt around for their resume, as } if they weren't important enough to keep on top. } } Now, many male candidates for a software engineering position will } come in sporting long hair. Tell them (whether it's true or not) } that your company has a strict dress code which forbids long hair } on men. If they agree to cut their hair, then they most likely will } meekly accept whatever tasks or positions are given them, and won't } come gunning for your job in six months. On the other hand, it also } means they're stupid enough to want to work for a company that } places a higher value on appearance than on ability, but hey, at } least your job is safe. } } Next, look at the candidate's clothing, especially the shoes. If } they look cheap, worn or ill-fitting, the candidate is probably } desperate for a job and will accept a much lower salary than someone } wearing high-quality, tailored clothes. } } Ask them about the stuff on their resume. Don't actually listen to } what they say; instead, pay attention to their eyes. If their eyes } widen, or they look to the right or left when they're talking, then } they're probably lying. If they look up, they're either praying } you'll believe them, or there are lawn dwarfs dancing in the window } behind you. If they look straight at you without blinking, they're } probably a Scientologist, in which case not hiring them will get } you slapped with a religious-discrimination lawsuit. If they look } down the entire time, they're probably humble, meek and obsequious } -- so send them over to me and I'll pay you a hefty headhunter's fee } for finding me another priest. } } Finally, if you think they might have some actual talent, show them } a printout of some code containing a bug which has so far eluded } your department's coders, and ask them to find it, as a "test of } their abilities". If they find it, even if you don't actually end } up hiring them, at least you've gotten some free work out of them. } } You owe the Oracle a diesel software engine.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > O Oracle, mightier than the moon at night, more shiny than the stars > that pierce the darkness, able to copy, sort and collate 10 million > 'Starry Night' prints, tell me: > > Is it true that staplers are really just tiny, mechanical vampires? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Let's compare the similarities and differences of each: } } SIMILARITIES } } Vampire Stapler } ------------------ ------------------- } Has long, sharp teeth Has long, sharp teeth } Holy water causes damage Holy water causes rust } Cannot eat garlic Cannot eat garlic } Sleeps in wooden coffin Sleeps in wooden drawer } Turns invisible when sought Turns invisible when sought } Does not appear to age Does not appear to age } Can draw blood Can draw blood } Cannot cross running water Cannot cross running water } under own power under own power } Cannot enter your home unless Cannot enter your home unless } invited carried } } DIFFERENCES } } Vampire Stapler } ------------------ ------------------- } No reflection in mirror. Reflects in mirror. } Afraid of crosses. No reaction to crosses. } Able to fly. Doesn't fly very well. } Can change shape. Cannot change shape. } Can hypnotize with a glance. No eyes to glance with. } } As you can see, there are more similarities than differences. } Ordinarily, that might be enough to suggest that, yes, staplers are } just little mechanical vampires. } } However, there's one more big difference, one which tips the scales } towards a big resounding "NO": you don't see geeky Goth-wannabees } running around the club scene pretending to be staplers. } } You owe the Oracle the Player's Guide for "Stapler: The Gathering".
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Allright, TUO, you think you're tough? Try ME on for size! > <pulls out a <ZOT> wand> I'm the AOL Oracle, and you're toast, buddy! And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } You have my compliments. You've dragged yourself out of the } capslock mire and learned to speak complete sentences. You have } finally become a worthy adversary. } } > I know! And now I shall take my rightful place as your } > replacement! Your staff of ZOT is across the room from } > you, and you'll never reach it before I fire my wand! } } You have a formidable weapon indeed, my friend, but it cannot } compete with *this*. } } > What is that? A computer printout? } } It is a list of sites which make pornography available via } anonymous FTP. } } > You fiend! I know what... you're trying to do! Must... } > resist... } } You cannot resist. Nature can be hidden but never truly overcome. } Look closely. You know you want it. } } > No! No! Arrrrrgh! } } Here it is, you need just ask for it and it's yours. } } > PLEASE SEND PRONO FTP LIST! } } Good boy. Nature will out, as they say; philosophers have asserted } this for centuries. It is the reason procrastination is so hard to } overcome; the reason recovering alcoholics fall off the wagon. It } is by no means solely a human failing, for the gods are prone to } recidivism as well (look how many children Zeus kept fathering, } even after promising to change). Here, you have now heard me say } words which humans might call "erudite"; what is your response? } } > } Good boy. Nature will out, as they say; philosophers have asserted } > } this for centuries. It is the reason procrastination is so hard to } > } overcome; the reason recovering alcoholics fall off the wagon. It } > } is by no means solely a human failing, for the gods are prone to } > } recidivism as well (look how many children Zeus kept fathering, } > } even after promising to change). Here, you have now heard me say } > } words which humans might call "erudite"; what is your response? } > } > ME TOO! } } Excellent. Now give me that wand. Very good. Run along now. } } > ILL BE BACK!!!!!! } } Yes, I know. And I'll be waiting.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Oh, great Oracle, who always knows where the TV remote is, > > What would a Babylon 5 episode written by William Gibson or Stephen > King be like? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Stephen King: Sheridan would start seeing strange things which nobody } else could see, and his sanity would be questioned. Only Delenn } would believe him -- though her belief would be tinged somewhat with } doubt -- but she would be killed early on in the episode, and return } in spectral form to blame him for her death. The whole episode would } build up to a dramatic conclusion -- and bear a remarkable resemblance } to some classic horror novel or movie -- but end disappointingly when } they discover that it was all being caused by something lame, like a } giant psychic cockroach. Or possibly a spider. } } William Gibson: Everyone would get cyber-interface implants, and the } episode would focus mainly on how the implants work. Lots of eye candy } as the characters explore cyberspace, and lots of technical doubletalk, } but no real substance, plot or characterization -- the protagonists } would be turned into two-dimensional caricatures. In other words, it } would be mistaken for an episode of Star Trek. } } You owe the Oracle a date with Lyta. Preferably while her eyes are } solid black. For some reason, I find that really sexy.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > O wise Oracle, who never follows a help-desk operator's advice to fix > a computer that's running out of memory by pouring cough mixture into > the floppy drive. > > Oracle, we've all heard of the BOFH (B**t*rd Operator from Hell), but > what of the B**t*rd Oracle Priest from Hell? What's his or her daily > routine like? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } 0800: Arrive at work. Load enough applications to hide the email } window with a quick Alt-Tab when the boss is heard } approaching. } } 0820: Set the Oracle server to add "The Oracle's question queue is } getting rather full. Help speed things up for everyone and do } askme's instead of tellme's" to every message. Watch queue } drain until potential Incarnations are told that there are } no questions to ask, but still get the message that the queue } is full. } } 0930: Fill the queue with 100 null questions, 100 woodchuck } questions, 100 questions saying only "blah blah blah", and } 500 specially crafted questions to which there is no funny } answer unless the Incarnation responds with a surreal } non-sequitur. } } 1000: Remove the full-queue message. } } 1100: Sort through the incoming answers and gather up all the lame } and unfunny ones. Send them all to another Priest to wade } through. } } 1130: Look for an answer which, due to the use of a chemistry or } physics in-joke, will be appreciated by maybe four people. } Add it to the Digest. } } 1200: Break for lunch. } } 1330: Return from lunch. } } 1400: Find a really embarrassing question. Append somebody's .sig } to it. } } 1405: Find another embarrassing question that's just been answered. } Use DejaNews to find the supplicant's most recent .sig file. } Add it on to their question so that they'll *think* they left } it on, and then send it to them. Imagine them fervently } praying that it doesn't get Digested. Laugh delightedly. } } 1430: Redirect all of the questions from HotMail to one Incarnation } chosen at random. } } 1500: Find a really well-written answer, full of classical } references and intellectual humor. Reject it from the Digest. } Include the first answer found which involves the Spice Girls, } Bill Gates or Og. Imagine the rejected Incarnation becoming } bitter when he reads the Digest. Laugh delightedly. } } 1515: Reject all question/answer pairs from supplicants or } Incarnations who think they'll make the Digest if they } mention Priests. } } 1530: Coffee break. } } 1600: Randomly swap answers to questions. } } 1630: Hit Alt-Tab when boss is heard approaching. Accept paycheck. } Gloat silently about how great it is to get paid for being } an Oracular Priest when no one's watching. } } 1645: Run across question from supplicant wanting to know schedule } of Bastard Priest from Hell. Intercept question, write } truthful answer which will be dismissed by supplicant as } humor. Relax, knowing it will never be Digested. } } 1700: Shut down computer, leave work. } } You owe the Bas^H^H^HOracle an Early Boss Warning System.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > ACT 2 SCENE 5 > The Oracle's Chamber > > [The Oracle is sitting on his throne. Zadoc, Zodoc, and Kendai are > standing in the background.] > > [Enter Supplicant] > > Supplicant: > Oh, great Oracle, who knows the truth about The Conspiracy... > > [Enter Woodchuck] > > Oracle: > One second, please. [He reaches for his Staff of ZOT.] > > Zadoc: [Aside] > Now is the time! Charge! > > [Zadoc, Kendai, and Zodoc rush up to the Oracle, and attempt to grab > the Staff of ZOT] > > Supplicant: > ...What is the meaning of - > > Woodchuck: [At the same time] > I call upon the power of [Sound effect here] The Bunny of Death! > > [A small bunny appears, and pounces at the Oracle's throne.] > > [Enter Lisa] > > Lisa: > Oh, Orrie! Let me help! > > [Lisa jumps at the bunny.] > > Supplicant: I'd best hide now. [Hides behind a pillar] > ... And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } [Enter MULDER and SCULLY. Subtitles: INDIANA UNIVERSITY, } DECEMBER 1, 1998, 5:00 PM] } } Scully: What happened here, Mulder? } } Mulder: Neighbours reported loud noises and a flash of light, } then utter silence. } } Scully: Neighbors. } } Mulder: Pardon me? } } Scully: We're not filming in Vancouver anymore, Mulder. You have } to say "Neighbors" now. } } Mulder: Sorry, Scully, you're right. I wondered why the extras } had stopped saying "aboot". Anyway, the neighbors say } it was some kind of weird cult that lived here, with odd } priests, scantily-clad women, and some geezer who claimed } to be omniscient. } } Scully: Why are we even here? We're off the X-Files, remember? } The pimply adolescent and the Scientologist bimbo took } over. } } Mulder: Sure, but you and I know that it won't last half a season, } and the audience sure isn't gonna tune in to see us doing } paperwork for an hour every Sunday night. } } Scully: All right, all right. So let's investigate already, so } we can get back in time to get our butts chewed again. } } Mulder: I knew I could count on you, Scully. Anyway, there was } a so-called cult here, now their house is empty. } } Scully: Big deal, Mulder. Remember Heaven's Gate? So maybe they } thought their mother ship had arrived, and they all } jumped in a lake. Case closed. } } Mulder: You may scoff, but what if their leader really was } omniscient? } } Scully: Oh, come on, Mulder. What on earth do you base that on? } } Mulder: You ever use the Internet much, Scully? } } Scully: Sure, I tried it once. Nothing but sex-obsessed teenagers } and college students using newsgroups like "alt.binaries. } pictures.erotica.green.alien.chicks" with stupid nicknames } like "FedSchnozz". } } Mulder: Umm... Yeah... Er, anyway, they have this thing called } the "Internet Oracle" that's really good. He is } omniscient, Scully, and he's based out of the University } of Indiana. He hasn't returned any of my emails for the } past couple of days. } } Scully: You believe in this stuff? } } Mulder: Yeah, sure; he's helped me crack several cases, as a } matter of fact. Come on, Scully, trust me on this one. } } Scully: Very well, I will ignore all of my scientific knowledge } once again, but the audience won't mind because I have } full, pouty lips. I believe you, Mulder. } } Mulder: Great. Hey, I wonder what's in this dark room with a } perfectly working light switch which we shall ignore } completely? } } Scully: I think I see a fuzzy white shape on the floor. } } Mulder: It looks like a rabbit. It's moving! } } Scully: It's coming right for us! } } [Fade to black. Well, blacker. Cut to commercial.]
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Hey incarnation! I've looked over the digests, I've looked over > the voting records, and the answer is obvious. The quality of the > question has nothing to do with the quality of the oracularity. > It's the incarnation that makes, or fails to make, an Oracularity. > So, it doesn't matter what I write here, it's all up to you. And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Wow, are YOU a loser.(Just for some historical context, that was the fourth time in a row I had received that particular identical question. After trying three times to come up with funny answers, I finally lost my patience, and this one got Digested. I can only assume that the ten people who voted 5 also received the same question, and that the Priest who Digested it was tired of seeing it as well...)
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > How! Have I got a deal for you! You'll get all these nice, shiny > beads for that small, insignificant island over there! You can't > lose with a deal like that! And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Hmmm, I'm not sure I can let it go for that price. Hang on JUST } a minute, I've got to go talk to my manager about this. } } [twenty minutes of "Spanish Flea" on the Muzak system] } } Well, my manager says we don't have any of the base model left. } But we've got plenty of models with the option packages here in } our showroom. Here, now, THIS one is for you! It's got plenty } of roads, a beautiful nighttime skyline, and tinted atmosphere. } It's only $57,000,000,000 -- a real bargain no matter how you } slice it -- but I can throw in a set of mudflaps and floor mats } for free. Tell you what, I'll even put on some undercoating and } fabric protector at no extra cost. No, don't go away -- how } about I throw in these bridges too? Plenty of historic value, } those bridges, great investment potential, too. Only been } driven on by little old ladies goin' to church on Sundays. And } they're just loaded with modern art, painted by some of the } freshest young talent in the business! } } Look, I want you to come away from this deal happy, so if you } sign right now, you only need to put 5% down, and I'll give you } an incredibly low 1.9% finance rate, compounded diurnally. I } can only give you this deal if you sign right now, though, 'cause } this is one hot property and it could go any minute. } } There you go! Splendid doing business with you. } } You owe the Oracle 2,850,000,000. Preferably in cash.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > O mighty Oracle, whose jockstrap Vladimir Ward cannot even HOPE to > hold.... > > Who would win in a standup fight--a 3025 Rifleman with the 2/4/2 back > armour, or a Goshawk? > Please explain your answer. And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!!! It's the ULTIMATE CAGE MATCH! } } Only on PAY-PER-VIEW, you can see a 3025 RIFLEMAN go HEAD-TO-HEAD } with a GOSHAWK! } } *blip* } } BOB: And here we are for the main event, the cage match between } a 3025 Rifleman and a Goshawk. Two will enter, only one will } leave. Here to provide me with color commentary is Minnesota } Governor-Elect Jesse "The Body" Ventura! Jesse, I'm told } that you haven't allowed your new gubernatorial status to } interfere with your more well-known profession. } } JBV: That's right, Bob, I was getting ready to take on Florida } Governor Lawton "He-Coon" Chiles, but he up and died on me. } I would've KICKED HIS ASS, and he knew it, so he took the } easy way out and keeled over in training! But in three } weeks, I'm gonna open up a tall-boy can of whoop-ass on the } pencil-neck momma's boy who's gonna replace him for the next } four years. } } BOB: That's great, Jesse, and I'm sure Jeb "JEB!" Bush is quaking } in his boots. But today's match is something different } altogether. We've got a battle mech from Robotech, the 3025 } Rifleman, going up against a Goshawk. Any thoughts on who'll } be the winner? } } JBV: Well, as you know, the favorite in this match is the Rifleman, } with his 2/4/2 back armor, which will make him pretty much } invulnerable to attacks from the rear in case the Goshawk } manages to get around behind him. The Goshawk has powerful } legs and claws, and is classified as "wary and difficult to } approach" -- but it's a small one, only about 17 inches long. } } BOB: That's about average for a male Goshawk, I'm told; the females } often reach nearly two feet in length. } } JBV: Maybe so, Bob, but even those extra seven inches wouldn't } help this rainforest-dwelling bird against a Mechanized } Deliverer of Death like the Rifleman here. } } BOB: We'll see if you're right, Jesse. Well, I can see past the } throng of protesting Greenpeace activists to the cage itself, } and it looks like the contestants are entering. The cage } door has been locked shut, the ref has given them their } instructions, and... THERE'S THE BELL! } } JBV: The Goshawk has taken off; it's circling, a common tactic } amongst _Accipiter novaehollandiae_. } } BOB: The Rifleman has fired some kind of particle-beam weapon at } its opponent! The Goshawk seems to have taken it in the wing! } } JBV: HE'S DOWN! HE'S DOWN! The Goshawk is fluttering around on } the floor of the cage, trying to get back in the air, and... } } BOB: OUCH, THAT'S GOTTA HURT! The Rifleman has STOMPED on the } Goshawk! There's feathers flying all over the place, but } no sign of the Goshawk itself! } } JBV: No, I see it; it's stuck to the underside of the Rifleman's } foot! He's scraping it off onto the bars, the ref is giving } the count, and... IT'S OVER! THE RIFLEMAN HAS WON! } } *blip* } } So there you have it, Supplicant. The Rifleman would win, because } it has the Goshawk severely outclassed. } } You owe the Oracle an explanation of why you would ask such a } twisted question in the first place.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Oracle most wise : > > I just started reading Discworld books. I am disturbed by the number > of names the author has stolen from the players on some muds I play on. > Would they have any legal recourse? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } The shadowy figures gathered silently in the back streets } of Ankh-Morpork. Silently they crept through the alleyways, } silently they clambered over the great trash piles and around } the various bodies, sleeping and otherwise, that littered the } thoroughfares of the great city. Like great cloaked rats they } stole through the night, until finally they congregated in a } large cellar. As one, they threw back their great hooded } cloaks, revealing themselves in the flickering candlelight. } } Garish white-painted faces, rosy-red cheeks and jet-black } tears hovered over wide-striped shirts and gaudy suspenders. } White-gloved hands described esoteric figures in the air. } Bodies pressed against invisible barriers and fought for } purchase against gusts of wind imperceptible to all but those } who struggled mightily against them. } } The Secret Society of Oppressed Mimes had called its meeting } to order. } } The Marcel banged an unseen gavel against his invisible } lectern, and the din of pantomime subsided. } } I hereby open the three hundred sixty-sixth emergency } meeting of the Secret Society of Oppressed Mimes, he said by } dint of much hand-waving and tugging on nonexistent ropes. } } Suddenly the door burst open and the Watch flooded into } the room like the Ankh overflowing its banks. "Nobody } move," thundered Commander Vimes. "You have the right," he } said in a grimly ironic voice, "to remain silent. Corporal } Detritus, tie up the prisoners and bring them back to the } station." With that, he swept out of the room, taking most } of his men with him. } } The troll removed his enormous helmet and scratched his } flinty head ponderously. "What's wrong?" asked Corporal Nobbs. } } "Uh... I think I left the rope back at the station," his } partner said ruefully. "How're we gonna tie 'em up without } any rope?" } } The Marcel's eyes lit up. Gesturing frantically at the } two Watchmen, he picked up an invisible rope off the floor } and began tying it into knots. One of the other mimes took } the cue and tried to snatch it out of his hands, and they } struggled over possession of the rope as the puzzled Watchmen } looked on. } } "What do you suppose they're up to?" Nobbs asked out of the } corner of his mouth. } } "It looks like they're playin' tug-o-war, but I don't see } no rope," his partner ventured. } } "Maybe it's elvish rope," Nobbs concluded after a while. } "Hey, you," he ordered, "gimme that." The two men stopped } fighting, and the Marcel placed the rope sheepishly into Nobbs' } outstretched hand. "Definitely elvish," he assured Detritus. } "Lighter'n a feather, it is. Lucky for us we found us some } honest criminals with rope to spare. All right, youse, tie } yourselves up quick now!" } } As the mimes got busy imprisoning themselves, Detritus said, } "You're smart, Nobby. I bet Commander Vimes gives us a medal } for this." } * * * } } "I don't understand it, sir," Nobbs said. "They were right } behind us when we left." } } Vimes sighed. "Well, we have bigger problems to worry } about right now. Apparently, nearly half the population of } Ankh-Morpork are being sued by some people called Mudders. } They claim we've stolen their names." } } Nobbs pulled out a blackjack. "Well, where are they? Let } me at those Mudder-f--" } } "Calm down, Nobbs, I think they're somewhere on the } Counterweight Continent. Leastwise, I never heard of them } before the Patrician showed me this summons." Vimes held out } a roll of parchment, from which depended a ponderous seal. } Nobbs shrank back from it like a rat from a snake, a metaphor } which was greatly aided by Nobbs' rodent-like appearance. } } Suddenly, the door burst open and strangely-dressed people } flooded the room. "Nobody move," one of them ordered. } } "Who are you?" demanded Vimes. } } "We're copyright attorneys. We represent one Terry } Pratchett, whose interests are being violated by this } Oracularity. You will cease and desist immediately, and we } have here an ex parte seizure order to make sure it doesn't } continue. We also have an arrest warrant for 'The Internet } Oracle', who has perpetrated this copyright violation." } } You owe the Oracle the name of a good lawyer. Hurry! } }  Or, in the secret gestural language of the mimes, hand } pressed to head, then moving away in waves. } }  Which, given the generally non-liquid consistency of the } Ankh, meant that the Watch shambled in at the pace of } chilled treacle.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > None is so fierce that dare stir the Oracle up! > who then is able to stand before him not quaking > at the mere hint of a zot? > > Is fear more powerful than love? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Well, let's see: } } Fear makes you act differently than you normally would. So does love. } } Fear can make you focus on one thing, excluding all others. So can } love. } } Fear gives you sweaty palms and an odd feeling in your stomach. } So does love. } } Fear can make you wet your pants. As to love... there are newsgroups } about that sort of thing... } } Okay, this is quickly getting out of hand. In brief, fear and love } are merely two different faces of the same coin. } } You owe the Oracle a CD compilation of "The World's Greatest Fear } Songs".
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Oracle, Sport of The Universe, Goalie of Knowledge, Referee of > Wisdom, You Who has Never Been in the Penalty Box of Life, > > What new kinds of pets will we see in the new millennium? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } A very good -- and timely -- question! } } You see, a sudden viral plague will wipe out the world's population } of cats and dogs in just a few months (about two months shy of the } start of the Third Millennium [where applicable; void where } prohibited by Judaic, Islamic or Chinese calendars]). } } Realizing that cows' docile nature would qualify them as excellent } replacements for the vanished pets, scientists genetically engineer } them to be smaller (about the size of a large greyhound), give them } actual hands with opposable thumbs, increase their intelligence, } and market them as the ideal pets (and domestic laborers). } } Several years later, a circus owner, having hidden away and raised } a calf born of two bovines from the future who traveled back to the } year 2000 (accidentally bringing with them a viral plague which } wipes out all cats and dogs), will bring his ward into a major } city, where the two will be separated by the apprehension of the } circus owner by fascist cops. } } Mistaken for a common pet, the calf will be captured and herded } into a training center where he will be taught to do the menial } tasks assigned to young bulls -- but he will organize a revolt } which will turn society upside down, with bovines the dominant } species, keeping humans as pets and laborers (except for Gary } Larson, whom they will consider the only intelligent human). } } And then the apes, still chafing from the last time their noble } history was so savagely parodied and perverted, will kill everyone, } cow and human alike, and in the interest of safety, resurrect the } "Pet Rock" fad, forbidding all other pets. And if they ever catch } a rock speaking, then it will quickly meet with the business end } of a pickaxe. Ook. } } You owe the Oracle a banana.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Oh great Oracle, who invented capitalism, > > What do you do about copyright infringers of yours like > (http://www.searchgateway.com/shopping.htm)? Does Stephen B Kinzler > take care of stuff like that for you? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } No, I consider legal action to be beneath me. } } Whenever some company decides to use my name to sell their } products, I merely instruct my Supplicants to place phony } orders, using fake names, addresses and credit cards, until } the company is driven out of business due to the shipping } and return charges. } } And then I use the Wand of Tonker Removal to make the usurpers' } genitalia fall off. } } But I don't bother with a lawsuit; that's just a petty act of } retribution.
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Yes, but is it Art? And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Look. If Marcel Duchamps can stick a toilet on a pedestal and } call it sculpture, and John Cage can compose a work consisting } entirely of rests and call it music, then I can damn well show } a collection of ZOT burns and call it art. } } Now, will you give me space in your gallery, or would you like } to contribute to the collection?
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Oh Askme! Tellme! And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } All right, which one of you Priests ordered the Queue Porn channel?