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Internet Oracularities #1055

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Internet Oracularities #1055    (84 votes, 3.0 mean)
Compiled-By: Steve Kinzler <kinzler@cs.indiana.edu>
Date: Sat, 10 Oct 1998 11:18:44 -0500 (EST)

@@@ Happy Birthday, Internet Oracle!
@@@
@@@ The Internet Oracle celebrated it's 9th birthday Wednesday, 8 October
@@@ 1998.  Best wishes to all the supplicants, incarnations, priests
@@@ voters, and readers -- you are the Oracle.

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:
   1055
   2 1 3 4 3   5 3 3 4 1

1055  84 votes 7omla cezf8 6kzj4 2oqo8 8oqk6 7brli kfsf6 8jvm4 9mui5 9ddqn
1055  3.0 mean  3.0   2.9   2.9   3.1   2.9   3.4   2.7   2.9   2.9   3.5


1055-01    (7omla dist, 3.0 mean)
Selected-By: mchevalier@WELLESLEY.EDU

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

> Dear Oracle (who is great and stupendous),
>
> How many hicks does it take to get to the engine block center of a
> pickup truck?
>
> Sincerely,
> Manny, Moe, and Jack

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} I'm glad you asked Me that, Supplicant. That owl has been getting more
} than his share of attention lately, if you ask me.
}
} So let's see:
}
} One,
}
} Hick1: Hey, whut happined? How'd I git here? Who are you?
}
} Two,
}
} Hick2: Whut!? Vern! How you bin you ol corn dog? Whut's happenin here?
}
} Three,
}
} Hick3: Yee-Haw! What a ride! Better than NASCAR! Hey, mister, whut you
}   wearing that robe fer?
} Hick1: Hey, yer right, he is wearing a robe. Whut's that git-up for? I
}   sure do luv NASCAR too!
}
} Four,
}
} Hick 2: Hey, he done teleported in Uncle Jesse!
} Hick 4: Now round about this time the Duke boys...
} Hick 1: Indiana! I never thought I'd see a town this big! Does that
}   temple have two stories?
} Hick 3: Hey! You take back whut you said about Dale Earnhardt!
} Hickette 1: Abner! You get them shoes off orn you'll wear em out!
} Hick 5: Yee-haw! Jack Daniels all 'round!
} Hick 6: Hillary! Make them reporters leave me alone!
} Hickette 2: Anybody seen mah Soap Opera Digest?
}
} They're multiplying. This is bad.
}
} ZOT!
}
} So there you are, Supplicant. By the time you have enough hicks to get
} to the center of a pickup truck, you have more hicks than you ever
} wanted.
}
} You owe the Oracle something to get the stains out of the furniture.


1055-02    (cezf8 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: "Alyce Wilson" <berlin63@hotmail.com>

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

>

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} I'm keeping your boomerang, but here's a little plastic whale's tail.


1055-03    (6kzj4 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: "Leo L. Schwab" <ewhac@best.com>

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

> There once was a miserable Supplicant
> Who wants to do better, but prob'ly can't.
> He forgets to grovel,
> His questions are awful,
> And his poetry is rather inelegant.
>
> So he wrote to his neighborhood Oracle,
> Hoping for some kind of miracle,
> Saying "Send me your thoughts,
> But please, no more <ZOT!>s,
> On how I can wax more poetical."

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Supplicant,
} feel not compelled
} rather be freed
} of structure
} limericks, sonnets, haikus,
} the pentameter
} restrain you here
}                                             when you should be here.
}
} You owe the Oracle
} some blank verse
} mine's been written
} on.


1055-04    (2oqo8 dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: MCHEVALIER@WELLESLEY.EDU

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

> Oh, great Oracle, who can predict when the universe will suffer heat
> death,
>
> Is it time yet?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Patience my precious. Even now, events are unfolding, momentous changes
} are occuring, mysterious actions and reactions rebound.
}
} The event grows near as the fullness of time unfolds and flowers like a
} dark bloom in the desert. Nations have risen and fallen in order to get
} to this point in history, kings lived and died. The universe swirls on,
} seemingly indifferent to the affairs of humankind, yet from the
} standpoint of eternity one could say that the entire cosmos revolves
} around you, Supplicant.
}
} In about a minute your rye toast will be ready.
}
} You owe the Oracle a butter knife.


1055-05    (8oqk6 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: Rich McGee <rmcgee@csusb.edu>

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

> Would you like to go out sometime ?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} From the home office in Eerie, Indiana, here are the Top 10 answers to
} the question: "Would you like to go out sometime ?"
}
} <insert drumroll here>
}
} 10. I came out a long time ago.
} 9.  Can I bring my girlfriend?
} 8.  Sure, I get paroled in 3 months.
} 7.  Mom, can't we just be friends?
} 6.  Dad, can't we just be friends?
} 5.  With you? This is a joke, right? Am I on Candid Camera?
} 4.  What will your husband/wife/significant other think?
} 3.  Of course. $3.00 for the first minute, $0.95 for each minute
}     thereafter.
} 2.  Look, I'm just here to babysit your kids...
}
} And the #1 answer to the question 'Would you like to go out sometime?'
}
} 1.  Sure, Mr. President!


1055-06    (7brli dist, 3.4 mean)
Selected-By: "Joshua R. Poulson" <jrp@pun.org>

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

> Oh etymological, entomological, lexicographical, lexloutographical
> Oracle,
>
> what is an epigram?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} When examining a word for etymological clues to meaning, it is
} important to break the word into its component morphemes.  F'rinstance,
} 'epigram' can be decomposed into 'e', 'pig', and 'ram':
}
}    e:  a mathematical constant, equal to the limit as n increases
} without bound of the function (1+1/n)^n, or approximately
} 2.718281828945.
}    pig:  Middle English word for "a container for wine" or "wineskin"
}    ram:  acronym for Random Access Memory
}
} Clearly, then, 'epigram' is a word used by medieval theoretical
} computer scientists to describe the storage of base-e floating-point
} numbers in random-access arrays of wineskins, a common practice in
} those days, though it died out with the invention of core memory, which
} could store arbitrarily large integers in lg n space using
} strategically arranged piles of fruit leavings, and therefore had none
} of the space constraints that limited earlier attempts.  Unfortunately,
} the resulting decimation of the world's orchards in the race to solve
} the Wandering Minstrel problem (the prize for which was a Papal
} knighthood) led to a massive incidence of scurvy which killed off most
} of the population of Europe and western Asia; the technology that had
} brought about this horror was therefore suppressed to the point of
} nonexistence, and the whole thing blamed on the rats.
}
} In between, however, history advanced at an unprecedented pace.  For
} example, William Henry Portals, a Cambridge dropout who at one time
} headed the monopolistic London Glaziers' Guild, was pecked to death in
} Manchester by puffins widely believed to be under orders from a cadre
} of Swedish lumberjacks.  The lumberjacks were wroth with Portals for
} attempting to surround their forest with impenetrable walls of glass,
} despite his desperate claims that the "windows" served to protect the
} axmen from the trees, while allowing them to look upon their beauty
} from a distance (and eliminating both the need for and the possibility
} of the haphazard sky-scraper-construction that had been their joy and
} livelihood in the past).
}
} One of the many ironies of the core fiasco was the fact that, by the
} time the fruit supply had been exhausted, core memory had been made
} obsolete by DRAM, in which bits of information were stored in large
} arrays of small measuring vessels of the sort used by chemists.  Dram
} technology allowed even more compact storage than cores, and was much
} cheaper, too.  The drams were destroyed with the cores, however, so
} that future generations would be spared terrors like the Scurvy Plague
} of 1237.
}
} You owe the Oracle a paper on medieval network routing techniques, and
} an Esperanto - Proto-Indo-European dictionary containing the etymology
} of the word 'foo'.


1055-07    (kfsf6 dist, 2.7 mean)
Selected-By: "Joshua R. Poulson" <jrp@pun.org>

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

> Oh oracle most wise, lord of vertabrates and invertabrates, a
> humble supplicant wishes to know - what is the difference between
> Mega-mealworms and mealworms?  Is there a test they have to pass?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Flour made with Mega-mealworms is more nutritious.
}
} Thesis: http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/iiin/mealworm.html
}
} Mealworms are common, widespread insects that occasionally
} infest stored products. The larvae are elongate and cylindrical
} ("worm-like"), hard-bodied and yellow to golden brown in color.
} The mealworm adults are nocturnal, black, hardshelled beetles about
} one inch long. Mealworm adults and larvae are usually found in moist,
} dark, undisturbed places. Typical habitats include accumulations of
} stored grain, damp or damaged grain residues, or stored grain products.
} They may also be found in accumulations of moist organic matter.
}
} Antithesis: http://www.xara.com/gallery/usergallery/food/megameal.html
}
} (Computer graphics image of a MegaBurger, fries, and drink.)
}
} Synthesis: http://www.eatbug.com/recipes.htm
}
}                             How to Eat Insects:
}
} First, before you can eat any animal, you must kill, clean, and cook it.
}    There are many people in other countries who prefer to eat insects
} live and raw, and while it is true that you could probably get the most
}     nutrients that way, I prefer food that won't crawl off my plate.
}
}   The easiest way to kill a batch of crickets or mealworms is to take
}  a quantity, make sure there are no dead ones, rinse them off and then
}  pat them dry (This is easy to do with mealworms, but fairly hard to do
}  with crickets. To do crickets, pour them all into a colander and cover
}  it quickly with a piece of wire screening or cheesecloth. Rinse them,
}   then dry them by shaking the colander until all the water drains.).
}   Then put the crickets or mealworms in a plastic bag and put them in
}    the freezer until they are dead but not frozen. Fifteen minutes or
}    so should be sufficient. Then take them out and rinse them again.
}  You don't really have to clean mealworms, though if you want, you can
}   chop off their heads. Cricket's heads and hind legs must be removed.
}  Then you are ready to use the insects in all kinds of culinary treats!
}
}  A good recipe to use when introducing others to the wonderful world of
}                            insect eating is:
}
}                     Mealworm Chocolate Chip Cookies
}
}                              1/2 cup butter
}                           1/2 cup brown sugar
}                           1/2 cup white sugar
}                                  1 egg
}                           1/2 teaspoon vanilla
}                         1 cup all purpose flour
}                            1/2 teaspoon salt
}                         1/2 teaspoon baking soda
}                               1/2 cup oats
}                         1/2 cup chocolate chips
}                          1/4 cup mealworm flour
}
}   Cream butter well, then mix in sugar, egg, vanilla flour, salt, baking
}   soda, chocolate chips, oats, and mealworm flour. Drop batter by the
}   teaspoonful on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375. I
}   often make this upon request to bring to parties. Most people will eat
}   it (especially if they are not told the ingredients till afterwards.
}   Of course, you're not mean enough to do that, are you?).
}
}                            To make insect flour:
}
}    Spread your cleaned insects out on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
}     Set your oven 200 degrees and dry insects for approximately 1-3
}   hours.  When the insects are done, they should be fairly brittle and
}    crush easily.  Take your dried insects and put them into a blender
}   or coffee grinder, and grind them till they are about consistency of
}    wheat germ.  Use in practically any recipe! Mealworm flour tastes
}    and smells like dried bacon.  Try sprinkling it on salads, add it
}    to soups, your favorite bread recipe, on a boat, with a goat, etc.
}
} You owe the Oracle five pounds of Mega-mealworm flour.


1055-08    (8jvm4 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: "Forbes, Michael Scott (Scott)" <trans@lucent.com>

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

> Oh Great and financially savy Oracle, I decided to put some money
> in the stock market, and I *tried* to do what everyone says to do.
> I waited until I was extremely depressed to decide what stocks to buy.
> Then I smoked several joints before I decided what to sell.  Even so,
> I lost all my moey.  But everybody tells you to "buy low and sell
> high," so what went wrong?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

}      Very ingenious, but you missed the most important part.  Do your
}      buying while in, for example, Death Valley, then move to,
}      for example, Mount McKinley before placing those sell orders.
}      Those examples will give you the best results in North America,
}      but any large change in altitude will do.  If you can get the
}      phone to work, you can double your profit by selling from an
}      airplane.
}
}      You owe the Oracle a golden parachute.


1055-09    (9mui5 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: "Forbes, Michael Scott (Scott)" <trans@lucent.com>

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

> Intrepid Oracle, this is your exceptionally trepid supplicant.  Last
> time I asked you a question, a large ZOT came out of my computer screen
> at me.  Can you please tell me where I can hide to avoid future ZOTs?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} You again! Why I oughta... no, wait, wait, wait. (Deep breath, count
} to ten..........)
}
} Sorry about that. I'm trying to cut down on caffeine. It makes me a
} little testy.
}
} Okay, I'll try to explain this again. You CAN'T hide from a ZOT.
} Period.  Your research project is just plain doomed to fail - it can't
} be done.  Everything you've tried, every insulation, every location,
} every method of shielding, is useless against a ZOT. Give it up,
} and go write a thesis about something you actually have a prayer
} of succeeding at. Like maybe getting into Heaven. Then you'll be
} His problem. Who knows, you two may even get to like each other.
}
} The fact that you found it necessary to goad me into ZOTting you to
} test your schemes hasn't helped my mood, you understand. I'd have
} been happy to give you all the ZOTs you needed at no (ahem) charge,
} had you only asked.  And no, I wouldn't have sent only small ZOTs
} because you were nice - The Oracle doesn't pull punches for anybody.
}
} But for now, since I'm trying to be a nice guy about it, I'll let
} you go without having to dive for cover (and failing) again.
}
} You owe the Oracle that transparent gelatin bodysuit from Experiment
} #308. In Lisa's size. And fix that burn first.


1055-10    (9ddqn dist, 3.5 mean)
Selected-By: mchevalier@WELLESLEY.EDU

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

>

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

}     Inspector Lisa Lovelace of the Yard looked out of the flat's window
} onto the London cityscape spread out below. From twelve storeys up, it
} was a spectacular view. But what had caught her attention was much
} closer to hand. She bent down until her nose almost touched the
} windowsill. There was no mistake: it was a V-shaped notch, about
} quarter of an inch deep. How had the SOCOs missed that?
}     "Sergeant Zadoc," she called out, "take a look at this, will you."
}     "At once, She Whose Breath Is Like a Heady Perfume from Far Araby!
} Whose Every Syllable Is a Note in a Symphony by Mozart! Whose Perfectly
} Apportioned Features..."
}     Lisa made an exasperated noise in the back of her throat. "Zadoc, a
} simple 'Yes, Ma'am' is sufficient deference for a sergeant to show to
} an inspector. And, for God's sake, get up off your knees - you won't
} see anything that way! That's better. Now, look at this windowsill -
} what do you see?"
}     Zadoc studied it closely for a long time. "Needs dusting?" he
} ventured. "How about the notch?"
}     "Oh, ah. Needs dusting and mending."
}     "A notch made by a nylon rope, wouldn't you say?" Lisa prompted.
} "The kind mountaineers use? For lowering a heavy object, judging from
} the depth? Say, for instance, a tied-up supplicant? Hence the fact that
} he was not seen leaving the building by the CCTV cameras in the lobby?"
}     "Absolutely!" Zadoc agreed heartily. "That's precisely what I would
} say."
}     "Would you, indeed? On the basis of what?"
}     "On the basis that it's what you just said, She Whose Breasts Are
} More Voluminous than Ripe... erm, Ma'am."
}     Well, it answered one question. Wherever the Oracle's supplicants
} were disappearing to, it looked like they weren't going voluntarily.
}
}     The Internet Oracle had contacted Scotland Yard two days
} previously. He was getting worried about the gradual disappearance of
} his British supplicants. More and more, all he received from this side
} of the pond was a deafening silence. It looked suspicious. Not that he
} was bothered about a few supplicants going walkabout - he had far too
} many already. But these supplicants doubled as incarnations and, as
} everyone knows, British incarnations are distinguished by...
}     "Sergeant," said Lisa, "remind me of the results of your analysis
} of the recent digests."
}     "At once, She Who Must Be Fawned upon Incessantly!" cried Zadoc.
} "As you instructed, I counted the occurrences of certain key words and
} whether or not they were spelled correctly. I have no idea why this
} should be significant and most people would have refused on the grounds
} that it was a complete waste of time, but since I only live to obey
} your every whim in the most abject and servile manner I can conceive
} of..."
}     "The results!" shrieked Lisa, momentarily losing her characteristic
} sangfroid.
}     "Ahem, the results: humour - 57 yes, 9 no; axe - 12 yes, 1 no;
} dialogue - 4 yes, none no; programme - 6 yes, 3 no; lift, as opposed to
} elevator..."
}     "Yes, yes, yes," the inspector interrupted impatiently. "And what
} does all this tell you?"
}     Zadoc considered the possibilities. "That the Americans are finally
} learning to spell?"
}     "How about: British incarnations are naturally gifted in this
} sphere and, despite their relatively low numbers, get selected for the
} digests more often?"
}     "Ah yes, that too."
}     "So let's assume for a moment," said Lisa, "that this supplicant
} was indeed kidnapped, as were the previous eight that have gone missing.
} Let's also assume that the only common factor is that they are all
} eminently digestable incarnations. Who, then, would want to kidnap a
} bunch of proven comic writers?"
}     "Prince Charles!" Zadoc exclaimed.
}     "No."
}     "The editor of The Times!"
}     "No."
}     "Peter Mandelson!"
}     "No! Why should he?"
}     "I don't know, but I wouldn't put anything past Peter Mandelson."
} Lisa tried a different tack. "Okay, how about this: what are the
} funniest shows on TV at the moment?"
}     "That's easy!" cried Zadoc. Here, at last, was a question he felt
} fully competent to answer. "Friends, Frazier, Seinfeld, Cybill, Third
} Rock, Caroline in the City..."
}     "Which are all American, are they not?"
}     "Seinfeld's American!?!"
}     "Take my word for it," Lisa assured him. "In short, whereas the BBC
} used to have the whole world wetting itself with mirth at masterpieces
} like Steptoe and Son, Dad's Army, The Good Life, Porridge, Only Fools
} and Horses, Yes Minister and Blackadder, now all the good stuff is
} imported from abroad by Channel 4 and the best the BBC has to offer -
} God help us - is Birds of a Feather and Keeping up Appearances."
}     "I always watch Keeping up Appearances!" Zadoc protested.
}     "Zadoc, you'd watch the test card if someone didn't switch the set
} off," said Lisa kindly. "Come, dear boy - let's pay a visit to Auntie
} Beeb. I think we can wrap this business up quickly."
}
}     And so it was that Sir Cyril Burt, Chief Executive of the British
} Broadcasting Corporation, was arrested for multiple kidnapping and
} unlawful detention. And nine students of Computing Sciences and
} part-time incarnations of the Internet Oracle emerged blinking into the
} daylight, freed from the bowels of Broadcasting House where they had
} been forced to co-operate on the writing of a new sitcom entitled "I
} Dream of Slobodan". A show which, incidentally, would have been so
} hysterically funny it could only have been broadcast accompanied by a
} government health warning, for fear that people would die laughing. As
} it was, all the scripts were impounded as evidence by the police, so it
} was never produced.
}     And, finally, a grateful Oracle invited the arresting officers to
} come and visit his shrine in Indiana, at his expense.
}
}     "Sergeant, what have you got in that suitcase?"
}     "Forty-six jars of Marmite, She Who in Her Infinite Wisdom and
} Playful Eccentricity Prefers to Be Addressed as Merely Ma'am. I heard
} they haven't got it over there."
}     "We're only going for a week."
}     "It pays to be prepared."
}     Lisa made an exasperated noise in the back of her throat. "Zadoc,
} do people ever tell you that you get on their nerves?"
}     "Frequently!"
}     "And you don't read anything into that?"
}     "I always thought they meant it in a purely affectionate way."
}     "Yes, I can see why you might think that."


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