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Internet Oracularities #1043

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Internet Oracularities #1043    (78 votes, 2.8 mean)
Compiled-By: Steve Kinzler <kinzler@cs.indiana.edu>
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 08:21:09 -0500 (EST)

@@@                           EL ORACULO!
@@@
@@@ I'm pleased to announce here a new Oracle for the Spanish language.
@@@ Run by Carlos Yoder and Joaquin Perez using software by Germano
@@@ Caronni (of the German-language Oracle), this new Oracle is available
@@@ at <oraculo@delfos.canopus.com.ar>.  As usual, send a message to this
@@@ address with "help" in the subject to get started.

To find out all about the Internet Oracle, including how to participate,
send mail to oracle@cs.indiana.edu with the word "help" in the subject
line.

Let us know what you like!  Send your ratings of these 10 Oracularities
on an integer scale of 1 ("very poor") to 5 ("very good") with the
volume number to oracle-vote@cs.indiana.edu (probably just reply to this
message).  For example:
   1043
   2 1 3 4 3   5 3 3 4 1

1043  78 votes lodc8 7osb8 39fvk 7gnp7 Bmc52 aFn22 hplb4 97to9 4kqj9 7iikf
1043  2.8 mean  2.5   2.9   3.7   3.1   1.9   2.3   2.5   3.2   3.1   3.2


1043-01    (lodc8 dist, 2.5 mean)
Selected-By: mchevalier@WELLESLEY.EDU

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> Double-plus good Oracle!
>
> Is it the future yet?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Hmmm. HOI! ZADOC!
}
} [Zadoc the priest comes shuffling into the room backwards on his knees
}  as is his wont. Approaching The Oracle's Throne, Zadoc bows so deeply
}  that his head touches the ground and several large invertebrates
}  scuttle out of his hair and outside to freedom.]
}
} Oh most wise and beneficiant master, before whom I am unworthy of
} assuming any posture that would be conclusive evidence that my backbone
} is in one piece. What golden task is it that thou wishes thy most
} unworthy supplicant to do, and does it invove standing up, as I'm not
} sure I can now?
}
} Zadoc, this supplicant wants to know if it's the future yet.
}
} Then why don't you tell him O master.
}
} That would be too easy Zadoc. Instead of just doing it, we have to have
} a big conversation about it that drags on for over one hundred lines.
}
} It was you! You wrote all those Batman scripts didn't you!
}
} I may have answered a few questions from the script-writers, yes, but
} that's not the topic at hand. Why is it hard to tell the future from
} the past?
}
} I don't know master. But O master, why are you asking me, you know the
} answer?
}
} True, but I only called you in because I knew that you would bang your
} head against the bit of floor with the dirty spot and clean it up, but
} since you're here, I might as well make use of you. You're the straight
} man, and I'm also a straight man.
}
} Shouldn't we have a funny man too O master?
}
} Nope. I'd like there to be at least *some* chance of this being
} digested.
}
} [Assembled minions all mumur "oooohhhhhh, handbag."]
}
} Zadoc, it's very hard to tell between the future and the past because
} the future looks just like the past execpt that it's not quite as good.
}
} Is not your age showing master?
}
} Would you like your bones to be showing to buzzards in the desert
} Zadoc? Or perhaps your fleshy bits to be showing to pirana in the
} Amazon river? I thought not. If it's difficult to tell whether it is
} the future, what should the supplicant do.
}
} Ask The Oracle of course.
}
} Apart from that. Because the future is an unobservable, the supplicant
} needs to postulate an observable effect of it being the future which
} can then be searched for.
}
} Genius. What effect should the supplicant search for?
}
} Zadoc, what is your favourite comic?
}
} Dan Dare, pilot of .... the ...... future?
}
} Yes, if it's the future, then it will be obvious because Dan Dare's
} around. All the supplicant has to do is find Dan, and hey presto, the
} question's answered. Yes, supplicant, search for Dan Dare, pilot of the
} future, master of the spaceways, master of disguise and faster than
} a speeding locomotive.
}
} But master, it's Superman who's faster than a speeding locomotive.
}
} I told you Dan was a master of disguise. Zadoc. Dan Dare, travelling
} through space at up to 1000 miles per hour.
}
} [Both The Oracle and Zadoc roll their eyes skyward at this]
}
} Zadoc, prepare to send the supplicant the full listing of the top 1000
} pornographic web sites.
}
} But why master?
}
} Remember, *I* know where Dan actually is. We've got to corrupt this
} supplicant if he's any chance of finding Dan. Don't forget to include
} some rubber fetish sites too.
}
} Ah, so it *is* the future then if Dan's actually around.
}
} Possibly Zadoc, possibly. Remember, I can see into the future.
}
} And what will happen master?
}
} All those people being cryogenically frozen are barking up the wrong
} tree. It's Monica's dress that super-technological future generations
} are going to be extracting DNA from for re-animation.
}
} But master, the supplicant grovelled with 'Double-plus good Oracle'.
} Surely he wanted a 1984 parody as an answer, not an answer that
} goes off on a tangent about Dan Dare.
}
} You're new at this, aren't you Zadoc?
}
} Yes supplicant, search for Dan Dare. Find him and you have your answer.
}
} You owe The Oracle a Big Zadoc is Watching You poster.


1043-02    (7osb8 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: Mike Nolan <nolan@celery.tssi.com>

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> Most secretive yet oddly accessible Oracle;
>
> What if any connection is there between pancakes and flying saucers?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Can you keep this to yourself?  OK, then, the connection, at least in
} the case of Lisa's pancakes, is that they are both hard disk-shaped
} objects with properties more aerodynamic than comestible.  I'll tell
} you--oops!
}
} Nothing, dearest one--just preparing to ZOT this impertinent
} supplicant. He dares impugn your cooking!  Yes, I'll be down to
} breakfast in a moment. My taste buds frolic at the thought!
}
} Sorry, Supplicant.  I have an unfortunately pressing engagement.  On
} your way out I advise you to avoid that cloud of smoke coming from the
} kitchen window.
}
} You owe the Oracle a starving dog that will fit under the breakfast
} table.


1043-03    (39fvk dist, 3.7 mean)
Selected-By: MCHEVALIER@WELLESLEY.EDU

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> Mr. Oricle my name is Adam I'm 4 years old and I want to know why I
> didnt get a new byke for Christmas this year?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} <picks up phone, dials 1-800-KRINGLE>
}
} Santa: This is Claus.
}
} Oracle: S.C.! What up?
}
} Santa: Ho, Orrie. What can I do y'for?
}
} Oracle: Got a question from a kid named Adam. Wants to know something
} about a bike he didn't get.
}
} Santa: Adam? No last name?
}
} Oracle: Sorry.
}
} Santa: Let me see what I can come up with on the database.
} Okay...typing FIND "ADAM" AND "4" AND "BIKE". Well, I'm getting about
} 9,000 hits here. You're going to have to be more specific.
}
} Oracle: Try "bike" spelled B-Y-K-E.
}
} Santa: Byke? Who the hell spells "byke" with a Y?
}
} Oracle: C'mon, c'mon, just do it.
}
} Santa: Okay. Hmmm...nope, spelling it with a Y just gets me zero hits.
} Hey, I've got an idea. If this kid's got some kind of spelling problem,
} do you suppose his letter to "Santa" got sent to "Satan" instead?
}
} Oracle: Possible, I guess. That's a good idea.
}
} Santa: Ho, ho! Yeah, you wouldn't believe how many mail screw-ups the
} two of us get. I have a whole room full of torture devices that
} mistakenly got sent here instead of hell.
}
} Oracle: Yeah? Well if they aren't yours, why are you keeping them?
}
} Santa: Well...um...well...see, there was this Elf Union work stoppage
} in early '92...
}
} Oracle: Ah, never mind. I gotta split.
}
} <hangs up>
}
} <dials 1-800-EVIL-ONE>
}
} Satan: Prince of Darkness.
}
} Oracle: Meph, it's Orrie. What's up, baby?
}
} Satan: Hey, how's it going?
}
} Oracle: Say, listen, I was just talking to Claus.
}
} Satan: Claws, the Eternal Tormentor of the Fifth Nether Plane?
}
} Oracle: No, Claus with a "u," as in Santa.
}
} Satan: Oh. That fat jackass still owes me a "Midget Twister." What do
} you want with him?
}
} Oracle: Would you have mistakenly gotten a "What I Want For Christmas"
} letter from a 4-year old named Adam?
}
} Satan: Oh, yeah. Stupid kid wrote "Satan Claus" on the envelope, and
} asked me for a "byke."
}
} Oracle: Ah. Mystery solved. So I take it you didn't give him a "byke."
}
} Satan: Please! Who am I?
}
} Oracle: Master of Evil.
}
} Satan: Naturally. I gave him something else?
}
} Oracle: What would that be?
}
} Satan: A cursed "Hooked on Phonics" kit. Works just like the regular
} kit, except the kid'll *really* get hooked on phonics, to the point
} where you just can't shut the kid up.
}
} Oracle: So? The kid'll be a little talkative. Big deal. You call that
} evil? I think you're slipping a little, Meph.
}
} Satan: Au contraire. Do you know who the last kid I gave the cursed
} "Hooked on Phonics" kit grew up to be?
}
} Oracle: Who?
}
} Satan: Pauly Shore.
}
} Oracle: Ooooh...you heartless, evil S.O.B.! I'm hanging up on you now.
}
} Satan: Too-da-loo, U.O. Hahahahahaha...
}
} <click>
}
} Okay, Adam, here's the deal. I can tell by the way you spell that you
} haven't delved very deep into your "Hooked on Phonics" kit. Please,
} please, just *ditch* the thing immediately, and I'll put a good word in
} to Claus for you. Until then, just stay in pre-school and DON'T LET
} YOUR PARENTS RENT "BIO-DOME!"
}
} You owe the Oracle your lunch money.


1043-04    (7gnp7 dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: "Joshua R. Poulson" <jrp@pun.org>

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> WAKE UP INCARNATIONS! FOUR AM RISE AND SHINE WIMPS EVERYONE DROP AND
> GIVE ME FORTY TOP TEN LISTS NOW!
>
> It's hard work sure, I ached in parts of my brain I didn't even know I
> had, but my dad had been an incarnation and his dad before him and damn
> it, I was going to be one too. If only I lived thru boot camp with
> Sgt. Lisa.
>
> I CAN'T HEAR YOU! AND YOU CALL YOURSELVES IN-CAR-NATIONS?!  I DON'T
> THINK SO! EVERYONE OUTSIDE NOW, OBSTACLE COURSE BEFORE BREAKFAST!
>
> I've never been so tired, I musta looked at 27,000 lame replies
> yesterday alone. Some of the others had cracked up already, but not
> me.  I am going to be an incarnation if it kills me trying.
>
> MOVE IT MOVE IT MOVE IT! IT'S GOING TO BE SEPTEMBER BEFORE YOU KNOW IT
> IN-CAR-NATIONS!
>
> The obstacle course is hell. First there was the remailer bog, gooey
> juno crud mixed with hotmail and yahoo stuff, it was more tiring that
> difficult to get thru. Then there was the morality leap, some real love
> questions and poignant pleas, you had to leap over them and land right
> on a joke without anyone getting hurt. Then the writer's blockwall...
>
> MOVE IT IN-CAR-NATIONS, THAT WORM ZADOC COULD DO IT FASTER!
>                       + + + + + + +
>
>         Do you have what it takes to be an incarnation?
>
>       Anyone can say askme, it takes guts to get digested.
>
>         Consult an Internet near you for information.
>                       + + + + + + +
>
> Well, Mr. Oracle? We think such an ad campaign will help your bottom
> line. Better incarnations equals happier supplicants equals more
> questions equals more tributes pouring into the Temple coffers.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Well now, a campaign to lure more incarnations isn't a bad idea, but I
} think you're not in touch with the needs of the current generation of
} our target audience. They want it _easy_ not _hard_! Here's what I
} think will work better:
}
} [Scene: Paradise Island, sun, wide shot of the bay, white sand, palm
} trees. On the water: a big yacht. Camera zooms in on yacht. On the
} foredeck is a wisened old gentleman, with a surprisingly muscular
} bronzed body. There's a sleek laptop lying next to him, and he's
} holding a martini. Ten half-naked nubile young firm-bodied girls are
} lying around him]
}
} Oracle: Can you believe this? Yesterday, I was a spotty kid in
} Birmingham, surfing the net. Today, I am an omniscient God and I have
} all this!  Sounds impossible? Well it isn't. You, too, can have all
} this and more! Just become an incarnation. Point your cybersurfboard to
} www.internet-oracle.com, and start writing! You know you want this!
} [fondles left thigh of nearest babe and winks playfully at the camera]
}
} You owe the Oracle a shoot on location


1043-05    (Bmc52 dist, 1.9 mean)
Selected-By: MCHEVALIER@WELLESLEY.EDU Wed Aug 19 09:53:07 1998

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> Class, Tate! Knuckle pressups ichi ni san shi go roku shichi hachi qyuu
> juu. Situps, ichi ni san shi (continue for about half an hour).
>
> OK Class, we've got a special class tonight. Og-sensei has graciously
> agreed to come along and demonstrate Bou-dou, the use of a big spiky
> club. Has everyone brought along a taped rolled up newspaper like I
> asked? Good. OK, I'll pass you over to Og-sensei.
>
> Og here. Og show class how use big spiky club. Og ask all make pair. Og
> ask one black belt come front of class.
>
> [An eager black belt does so]
>
> Og de-mon-strate first tech-nique. Og ask all pair do same Og.
>
> [Then what happened?]

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

}       Og say, "Club to the head" Nyeah Nyeah


1043-06    (aFn22 dist, 2.3 mean)
Selected-By: Mike Nolan <nolan@celery.tssi.com>

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> Oh, mighty Oracle, grander than a canyon, greater than a lake, more
> incredible than a hulk or a shrinking man, please tell me --
>
> I've heard something about a new geological theory -- maybe you can
> explain it for me.  It's called "commemorative plate tectonics"...ever
> heard of it?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Bow before my superior knowledge, puny one.
}
} This is how it all started. A few years ago, two eminent Geologistic
} brother, Doctors Franklin and Pobjoy Mint, discovered a revolutionary
} method of predicting tectonic activity, and saw an oportunity to make
} lots of money.
} Pobjoy (who was never in the best of moods after finding out that he
} was named after a despicable and sickening sexual act popular in
} Belgium) postulated that the survivors of earthquakes and eruptions
} would be inclined to buy plates commemoration the event (presumable
} because all their own plates would have been shattered into a million
} pieces.
}
} Franklin thence set about gathering a host of artists skilled in
} rendering volcano scenes and collapsed freeways, and before
} long the pair were making money hand over first.
}
} You owe the Oracle the original "Dogs Playing Poker".


1043-07    (hplb4 dist, 2.5 mean)
Selected-By: "Julianna Avedon" <SOteric2@email.msn.com>

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> O wise Oracle, thou who always let's Harry Harrison parodies go back
> into the queue if thou hasn't read the book in question.
>
> "Trooper! HALT!"
>
> "Bowb!" Bill the Galatic hero raced up the road, cursing his new
> foot which seemed to be that of a small rodent, perhaps a woodchuck.
> In any case, it was much smaller than the other one which cased
> certain problems with balance as any student of Newton's laws of
> physics could predict.
>
> "Bowby MPs, can't a fella go AWOL occasionally?" Seeing the MPs
> closing on him, Bill fired with his teeth-fur ray, and was granted
> a few seconds respite while the MPs picked at their gums. Seeing a
> door to a palace open, he dived through it barrel rolling across the
> floor, and coming to a halt in front of a large throne. Actually Bill
> could have just walked through the door in time, but he always barrel
> rolled into palaces just in case there were any ravishing princesses
> around that he could impress.
>
> Looking around, Bill saw four figures, a wormlike creature in Priest's
> robes, a ravishing beauty who looks just a bit too knowing to be
> an innocent princess if you know what I mean, some sort of caveman
> carrying a large club, and a majestic form sitting on the throne,
> wearing glowing robes.  Summing up the situation he turned his
> attention on the majestic being, at least until who he figured out
> if any of them had the hots for the babe and had any better weapons
> than what Bill was carrying. Which was pretty likely since Bill's
> weapons had been raided from a travelling dental cream salesman and
> only seemed to make people's mouths feel unhygenic.
>
> The godlike being spoke. "Nice tusks."
>
> "I got them from my drill seargent."
>
> "Deathwish Drang."
>
> "You know? You know Deathwish Drang?"
>
> "Of course, I know everything."
>
> "Listen, I'm in a bit of a tight spot, could I hide out here for
>  a bit.  And if you had a spare foot,  it'd be greatly appreciated."
>
> "Fool! Grovel before The Oracle" said the worm.
>
> "Why?"
>
> "Because if you don't, he's going to Zot you into your component
>  molecules and mix your ashes with rodent droppings before watching
>  them swirl clockwise down the bathplug."
>
> The worm's logic convinced me. I grovelled. I kissed his feet.
> I polished his throne with the tip of my nose, I made a brush from
> my nosehairs and cleaned his shoes with them. I produced a scapel
> and cut all of my mucous membranes from my digestive tract to fill a
> pillow for him. I had just started aiming my tongue at his sensitive
> regions when he spoke;
>
> "That enough. You may rise."
>
> [Then what happened?]

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} "After all, Angeli...ehhh...Lisa wouldn't be amused."
}
} With that, there was *BOOOOM* as a towering form, perfect in all
} ways appeared in a flash of ZOT.  Next to him was an even more
} ravishing woman, wearing what she termed a swimsuit, and what
} most men would term dental floss.  The figure entoned, "I take a
} little vacation, and this is what happens?  No one has ever
} dared to impersonate me.  There is only one possible
} punishment."  With that, the form raiseded his mighty Staff of
} ZOT.
}
} Slippery Jim Di'Griz, realizing when a con has ended, gave his
} wife a knowing nudge.  The pair nimbly jumped, tumbled, and
} generally dodged the volley of ZOTs the Oracle sent after them,
} before escaping out the back to their waiting spaceship.
}
} "And you, Zodac, have a lot of explaining to do," the Oracle
} boomed.
}
} "Well, umm, you see, the, and, but, of course, and he, well,
} seemed..."
}
} "Silence worm.  I'll hear it later."
}
} Bill, realizing that the situation had changed, muttered an
} inaudable "Well then, I'll just be going..."
}
} Just as he started to creep away, he felt the Staff of Zot stick
} into his back.  "Not so fast.  You come into my temple, you owe
} me a grovel.  And a good one this time.  Maybe Jim is willing to
} take that easy stuff you just did..."
}
} You owe the Oracle the same grovel and a new Stainless Steel Rat
} book.


1043-08    (97to9 dist, 3.2 mean)
Selected-By: "Forbes, Michael Scott (Scott)" <trans@lucent.com>

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> Springer: "And wellcome back to y'all. Today's subject is: I ZOTTED MY
> LOVER'S LOVER. We've been hearing some rather disturbing stories today.
> Here's my next guest..."
>
> (Looks at card he holds, turns card, lifts his glasses, again looks at
> card.)
>
> Springer: "..., the Internet Oracle, known to some as the Usenet
> Oracle. Mr. Oracle, I must say, that's a really neat outfit..."
>
> (Laughter and hissing from the public.)
>
> Springer: (still grinning) "So. Mr. Oracle. You say you zotted your
> lover's lover. What's your story?"

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} TIO: Yes. There he was, swimming up the fallopian tubes when ZOT!, the
}      bottom feeding scum was dead.
} Springer: Wait, you zotted a sperm?
} TIO: Yes.
} Springer: What, are you suggesting that a sperm was your lover's lover?
} TIO: No. But he would have been.
} Springer: He would have been? Are you not, perhaps, being just a little
}           paranoid?
} TIO: Not at all. That sperm would have grown up to by my lover's toyboy
}      in about eighteen years time. Besides, zotting the sperm saves a
}      lot of trouble. It's not illegal for a start. Who, apart from my
}      lover of course, is going to miss one sperm out of millions?
} Springer: That doesn't sound very brave. I mean a big man like you
}           against one tiny sperm. I think you're a coward. Why don't you
}           pick on someone your own size?
}
} (boos and hisses from the audience)
}
} TIO: Let me assure you, I'm no coward. Who else apart from me is
}      prepared to bare-handed wrestle the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex?
} Springer: Hah! Big man picking some great 'brave feat' that of course
}           is completely impossible to prove. You fraud!
} TIO: Not in the least. Knowing you would say that, I brought one along.
} T-Rex: SKREEEEEEEKKK!!!!!
} Springer: HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL. GET HIM OFF ME GET HIM OFFF ARRRGGHHH!!!
} T-Rex: <Crunch> <Munch> <Munch> <Munch>
} TIO: Good boy Craggie. Here's the bar of chocolate I promised you.
} T-Rex: (nudges The Oracle familiarly as TIO scratches under his chin)
}
} You owe The Oracle (incarnated as clemenr@wmin.ac.uk) an explanation
} of who this 'Springer' character is.


1043-09    (4kqj9 dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: MCHEVALIER@WELLESLEY.EDU Thu Aug 20 11:25:50 1998

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> O Oracle, whose transportation gets more than 100 MPG in the city and
> well over 150 MPG on the highway, this poor misbegotten supplicant
> grovels helplessly in the presence of your arcane genius,  in hopes
> that you can answer this question...
>
> I live in a city that just got one of those computer cable hookups that
> gives you really, really fast speeds.  I hooked it up to my Commodore
> 64, but it doesn't make it go any faster.  In fact, I can't assess the
> World Wide Web at all.  Not to be beaten, I hooked up my cable modem to
> my Chevy Nova, thinking that it would make it run smoother and faster,
> because I know that TCI is much more dependable than that Texaco dealer
> down the street.  But the other day, I was on a major street at a
> stoplight, and one of those new VW Beetles beat me off the line and
> embarrassed me.
>
> Why doesn't anything work?  Is there something I'm doing wrong?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

}   Dear supplicant,
}
}   The problem is not with your cable modem. The problem is with the
} devices you are trying to connect it to.
}
}   Solving the problem with your Commodore 64 is relatively easy. Type
} in and run the following short program:
}
}   10 POKE 1024,63
}   20 POKE 197,0
}   30 POKE 828,PEEK(49152)
}   40 SYS 64738
}
}   It is important to make sure that Compute!'s Gazette's "Automatic
} Proofreader" is running before you run this program. This will
} configure your C-64 to accept the greater speed from the cable modem.
}
}   The problem with your Chevy Nova is more difficult to solve, but it
} can be done. You will need a 220V generator, an electrocardiograph
} machine, a coin-operated gumball machine, three boxes of baking soda,
} two cups of vinegar, and a Macintosh LC III. You can substitute your
} Commodore 64 if you don't have a gumball machine.
}
}   Unfortunately, I cannot give you detailed instructions here, because
} the process involves chemical reactions that create a precursor to
} crystal meth, which means that it is illegal. I will upload these
} instructions directly to your C64, so be sure the cable modem is
} connected for the next few hours. You will need to have a terminal
} program running that uses the Punter file-transfer protocol. The file
} will be in Lynx compressed format, and as a special gift to you, my
} faithful supplicant, I will include a few custom-designed "Jumpman Jr."
} levels. Enjoy.
}
}   You owe the Oracle a cable modem hookup in Baltimore, you lucky
}   bastard.


1043-10    (7iikf dist, 3.2 mean)
Selected-By: Dr. Noe <drnoe@primenet.com>

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> Most Laodicean Oracle and Master of Laputa! You are our Lupercal
> of Knowledge!
>
> Which state will be the first to successfully split off and leave
> the USA?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} President Conner slammed his fists on his desk, again.  Not many people
} were still awake to be bothered by it, though, and those who were knew
} better than to complain.  He paced around the war room for several
} minutes, and finally sat back down.  He shouted over the intercom for
} another coffee.
}
} He stared at the 3d map hovering in front of him.  There really wasn't
} anything on the map he hadn't seen a hundred times before; as long as
} the war had been going, he had spent the better part of each day
} looking at this very map.  But he looked at it anyway, spinning it
} around to see the familiar views from every side, checking and
} rechecking his plans.
}
} There was no doubt about it, the war was not going well.  It was
} certainly not lost -- the newspapers had, in fact, been rather
} optimistic recently -- but it was still far too close for comfort.
} Every piece of the plan was crucial: every attack, every feint, every
} defense.  The President started pacing agian.  After the disaster in
} Spain, there was really no more room for error at all.  If anything
} went wrong now...
}
} Katie burst into the room with the requested coffee and a few sheets of
} paper.
}
} "Where have you been?" inquired the President.  "I called you ten
} minutes ago!  Don't you know we're at *war*?"
}
} "I'm sorry, Mr. President."  It had not been ten minutes, or anything
} close, but there was no point in making the President any angrier.  He
} had a job to do, and the country depended on it.  "I'll be quicker next
} time."  She set the coffee down and turned to leave.
}
} "And what are those papers you're holding?" he asked, irritably.
}
} Katie sighed.  "Nothing important.  I wasn't even going to show you
} these until tomorrow.  It's nothing that needs your immediate
} attention.  You should stay focused on tomorrow's plans."
}
} But the President had already snatched the papers out of her hands.
} "Notice of Secession?"  He flipped quickly through the pages.  "One of
} our own states is *seceding*?  At a time like *this*?  What do you mean
} this isn't important?  Which state?  You know we can't afford internal
} trouble at a time like this!  This could cripple the war effort!  Why
} weren't you going to tell me about this?"
}
} "Really, Mr. President.  Read the second page.  It's--"
}
} He went on, ignoring her.  "This war relies *critically* on every part
} of the country!  Name a state, I'll tell you what we would happen
} without it." He paused, but only for effect.  "Florida?  We need the
} missile sites for the launch Tuesday.  Montana?  We couldn't possibly
} do without the covert bomb facility.  Even Idaho--"
}
} "Mr. President, it's Canada."
}
} The President paused.  "Oh.  Why didn't you just say so?  We have a
} spare platoon in Washington, don't we?  Have Johnson annex Canada back
} first thing tomorrow morning.  And don't bother me with things like
} that any more. Can't you see I have a war to run here?"


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