} Glad to help! New Incarnations are often befuddled by the complex and
} seemingly contradictory truths that spout from the Muse, and so I
} proudly provide:
} A POCKET GUIDE TO THE ORACULAR RUNNING JOKES
} First, let's introduce the cast of characters:
} The Internet Oracle (also known as The Usenet Oracle)
} The Chief, the C.E.O., the Master, the Fount of Wisdom, the Muse,
} "Orrie." The Oracle is omniscient, which means he knows everything.
} Unfortunately, he is not omnipotent, so he's usually pretty petulant.
} He demands grovels in return for his imparted wisdom. He lives in the
} best house, drives the best car, has the best computer, knows the best
} people, et cetera ad nauseum. He's about as close to perfect as he can
} The Incarnation
} The Incarnation is the human being who actually types in the answers to
} Oracular questions. The Incarnation, unlike the Oracle, is not
} omniscient. According to myth, the Muse of the Oracle descends
} perfectly upon the Incarnation and responds to the questions through him
} or her, but in practice, poor Oracular answers can usually be blamed on
} a bad connection.
} Lisa is the Oracular Companion, She Who Must be Obeyed. She and the
} Oracle have a healthy relationship in which he attends to her every
} whim, and she spends all his money. She spends most of her time
} changing outfits and waiting for Orrie to "pop the question."
} Zadoc is sometimes known as the High Priest, but usually as the Chief
} Worm. His job description is "I do anything the Oracle tells me to do,
} no matter how abasing, dangerous, or embarrassing, and then I thank him
} for it." He is loyal to Orrie and (so he says) loves his job. There are
} those who suggest that Zadoc is simply biding his time for a hostile
} takeover. Zadoc spends most of his time grovelling.
} Og is a Neanderthal. (No, that's not an insult, that's just his
} heredity.) He lives in the Stone Age with his wife Ogwa and their many
} Oglings. The Oracle, by means known only to himself, often accepts and
} answers questions from Og, and occasionally even sends him on small
} adventures in other times and places for amusement's sake. Some of Og's
} contemporaries are Ugh and Thag. Og spends most of his time beating
} things with his spikey club and saying things like "Og here. Og want
} know why mammoth so big! Or-a-kul answer Og?"
} The Priests
} A revered collection of people who work for the Oracle and determine
} which questions and answers will be reprinted in the Digests.
} (incidentally, the best way to get a feel for what kinds of answers the
} Oracle gives is to go to the URL at the bottom and read, read, read.
} Oracularities take time to appreciate.) Some of the Priests that
} occasionally appear in Oracularities have names like Darkmage, Kirsten,
} and Otis. They spend most of their time cursing and wallowing through
} stacks of Oracularities.
} Kendai is the newest character in the Oracularities. He's a work
} experience priest under Zadoc who finds even the wonderments and
} atrocities of the Oracle boring. He's about 16 and his best grovel so
} far is "Yeah, GUV?" He spends most of his time standing around.
} Now that you can recognise some of the characters, here's some themes
} you may see from time to time:
} Any good question begins with a grovel. The Oracle is vain, and
} requires grovelling to really get in the right mood to answer a
} question. The correct formula for a question is:
} Leaving out any of these grovels means an unhappy Oracle, and an unhappy
} Oracle can mean a...
} The Oracle wields one weapon with expert precision: the ZOT staff. It
} comes in many forms, including the ZOT wand, the MEGA-ZOT cannon, and
} the battery-operated PocketZot. A ZOT is a highly-charged arc of
} electricity--not unlike a lightning bolt--that incinerates the
} supplicant in question. Generally the Oracle avoids ZOTing those who
} ask him questions, but some supplicants simply demand it. For
} The Woodchuck Question
} I won't reprint it here, but the woodchuck question--and woodchucks in
} general--are the single most hated subject by the Oracular community.
} Well, perhaps the second most hated... but we'll get to that. Despite
} this fact, the most innovative and hilarious answers are often inspired
} by the Woodchuck question.
} The Juno Incarnation
} Purportedly, there is an Incarnation writing from a Juno account who
} reads lots of questions off the queue and replies with nonsensical,
} monosylabic answers that infuriate the supplicants. Whether true or
} not, it reminds the rest of us Incarnations to make sure we put at least
} as much work into the answer as the supplicant did into the question!
} That's a small fraction of the jokes that whizz through the Digests; for
} more info, go to http://www.pcnet.com/~stenor/oracle/index.html on the
} Web or rec.humor.oracle and rec.humor.oracle.d on Usenet.
} You owe the Oracle a well-Digested submission.