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Internet Oracularities #450

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Usenet Oracularities #450    (34 votes, 3.1 mean)
Compiled-By: Joshua.R.Poulson@cyber.Widener.EDU
Date: Fri, 29 May 92 10:41:09 -0500

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Let us know what you like!  Send your ratings of these Oracularities on
an integer scale of 1 = "not funny" to 5 = "very funny" with the volume
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For example:
   450
   2 1 3 4 3   5 3 3 4 1

450   34 votes 2ad72 47b57 138d9 a7953 19ba3 068b9 4g824 2ad72 14ad6 7a773
450   3.1 mean  2.9   3.1   3.8   2.5   3.1   3.7   2.6   2.9   3.6   2.7


450-01    (2ad72 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: CLHP19@vaxb.strathclyde.ac.uk

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

> What's a rathorn?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} (I shall overlook the fact that the customary sniveling and groveling
} was omitted, but only this once;  you've caught me in a good aeon,
} where such glibness causes me no more than minor indigestion.)
}
} It is interesting that you should ask this question, because it is one
} that has rung throughout the halls of history for millenia.  The Roman
} philosopher Seneca had once asked "Quid est cornu ratti?"; Thomas
} Aquinas had attempted to prove the existence of the rathorn;  and even
} David Byrne had his heartbreaking lament:  "Psycho-rathorn --
} qu'est-ce que c'est.  Fuh fuh fuh fuh, fuh fuh fuh fuh fuh fuh."
}
} The answer is quite simple:  The horn of the great horned rat.  But
} this extends into a vast and glorious mythos that you don't want to
} hear, but which I will summarize briefly anyway:
}
} In prehistoric times, before an enormous meteorite had clouded the
} skies, the mammals were first evolving, and had to compete with the
} dinosaurs.  The first mammals were, of course, small furry things, and
} then needed some way to defend thenmselves from the jaws of such
} creatures as the _Tyrannosaurus Rex_.  Thus, there was serious
} selective pressure for the animals to become bigger, and their
} defenses stronger -- thus the advent of the great horned rat.
}
} By the time the dinosaurs began to die, the rats -- over four feet
} tall, and with one unicorn-like horn -- had scampered over the Sahara
} unchecked, dominated the North American Great Plains, and done the
} backstroke in the Indian Ocean.  Their dominance over all of the major
} landmasses was fierce and tyrannical until, by a leap of logic, we
} reach the Middle Ages, where they were slain by such famous
} knights-errant as Gluteus the Half-Assed and Snurfle, the Four-Nosed
} Puce Knight.  The horns of the dead horned rats were removed and
} used as spears, or sharpened and used in hand-to-hand combat.  In
} addition, the tails of these great rats where cut off and used as
} whips, thus the "rattails" that children fashion, nowadays out of wet
} towels.
}
} There is some speculation that Jabberwocky is truly about the death of
} the last horned-rat king, but that is as of yet unconfirmed.  It
} appears that, after the Middle Ages, all of the horned rats were slain
} for glory and prestige, so all that remains are the small ones that
} have, so far, ceased to cause mankind any trouble whatsoever.
}
} You owe the Oracle one plague, any size.


450-02    (47b57 dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: dcharlet@rpslmc.edu (dale charletta)

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

>   ___________________________________________
>  |1  |XXX|XXX|2  |XXX|XXX|XXX|XXX|3  |4  |   |
>  |___|XXX|XXX|___|XXX|XXX|XXX|XXX|___|___|___|
>  |5  |   |   |   |XXX|6  |XXX|XXX|XXX|   |XXX|
>  |___|___|___|___|XXX|___|XXX|XXX|XXX|___|XXX|
>  |   |XXX|XXX|XXX|7  |   |   |   |   |   |XXX|
>  |___|XXX|XXX|XXX|___|___|___|___|___|___|XXX|
>  |8  |   |9  |   |XXX|   |XXX|XXX|XXX|   |XXX|
>  |___|___|___|___|XXX|___|XXX|XXX|XXX|___|XXX|
>  |XXX|XXX|   |XXX|10 |   |   |11 |   |   |   |
>  |XXX|XXX|___|XXX|___|___|___|___|___|___|___|
>  |12 |XXX|   |XXX|XXX|   |XXX|   |XXX|XXX|XXX|
>  |___|XXX|___|XXX|XXX|___|XXX|___|XXX|XXX|XXX|
>  |13 |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |14 |   |
>  |___|___|___|___|___|___|___|___|___|___|___|
>  |   |XXX|   |XXX|XXX|   |XXX|XXX|XXX|   |XXX|
>  |___|XXX|___|XXX|XXX|___|XXX|XXX|XXX|___|XXX|
>  |15 |   |   |   |   |XXX|XXX|XXX|16 |   |   |
>  |___|___|___|___|___|XXX|XXX|XXX|___|___|___|
>
> ACROSS                  DOWN
>
> 3. Oracular ka-boom.    1. ____-it-all.
> 5. Usenet ____.         2. iuvax.__.indiana.edu
> 7. Not a question.      4. Oracle, to Lisa.
> 8. How much ____ would  6. O hails from here.
>    a woodchuck chuck?   9. The Usenet ______.
> 10. Steve _______.      11. See 3 across.
> 13. You, for one.       12. Oracle's S.O.
> 15. Priest in training. 14. You ___ the Oracle.
> 16. ___.humor.oracle

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} answer:
}
} 16. CER                 14. EWO
} 15. KREJ A              12. TSIL
} 13. NOITANRACNI         11. TOZ
} 10. RELZNIK              9. ELCARO
}  8. DOOW                 6. ANAIDNI
}  7. REWSNA               4. EIRRO
}  5. SWEN                 2. SC
}  3. TOZ                  1. WONK


450-03    (138d9 dist, 3.8 mean)
Selected-By: nolan@helios.unl.edu (Harold the Foot)

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

> Oh Oracle, thou art so magnificent to behold, so acute in
> thought, so fragrent in oder.  Please answer my question,
> for I really wish to know.
>
> How might I generate a truly random number?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Dear inconsequential mote of a supplicant who foolishly believes
} that the Usenet Oracle really cares a tinker's damn that you really
} wish to know, but who is correct in suspecting that aforesaid Oracle
} possesses the knowledge you seek:
}
} There is a Bad Way and a Good Way of generating random numbers.
}
} The Bad Way is taught in Computer Science departments.  What it
} produces is not random numbers but pseudo-random numbers.  Fakes, in
} other words.  Usually a pseudo-random number generator is nothing but
} an impressively-named bit of mumbo jumbo that produces, say, a sequence
} of 48-bit integer values X according to a linear congruential formula
} like
}           X    = (aX +c)             n>0.
}            n+1      n   mod m
} or some other bushwa along those lines.  Don't even bother.  Trust me.
}
} The Good Way is this.  First, make a chart on a big piece of
} construction paper, say 2-foot square.  Put Roman numerals on it like
} so:
}                     *-----------*
}                     |  1  2  3  |
}                     |  4  5  6  |
}                     |  7  8  9  |
}                     |     0     |
}                     *-----------*
}
} Next, buy a carton of Kleenex at the grocery store.
}
} Then go to your local Education School or Psychology Department and
} get a Human Subjects Study Approval form.  Fill it in, using the name
} and address of your nearest pre-school.  Go down to the pre-school and
} get the Director to sign the approval form giving you permission to use
} as subjects N students from the school, where N is the bit-size of the
} random number you wish to generate.  We'll take 16 for an example.
}
} Round up your 16 children and line them up facing you.  Beforehand you
} will have purchased several dozen pieces of bubble gum; put these in a
} large bowl within sight of the children.  Explain to the children that
} you are going to play a bubble-gum counting game and that everyone will
} get some bubble-gum.  Now show the children your sign, and repeat
} the following verse:
}
}   BUBBLE GUM, BUBBLE GUM, IN A DISH, HOW MANY PIECES DO YOU WISH?
}
} Point to the first child and wait for a response; for example, "8".
} Now, beginning with "1", point to each successive integer as you repeat
} the count "1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 and you get THIS!"  Since the tag adds four
} syllables, you will have pointed to 9-0-1-2 and the child gets not 8
} but 2 pieces of bubble gum.  Give the child the gum and proceed to the
} next child, after writing down the number "2" as the first digit of
} your random number.
}
} (A simple formula for determining how many pieces of gum each child
} receives, should your finger get tired of pointing, is
}
}                  P = ((S+X)+4) mod 10
}
} where "S" is your starting integer and "X" is the child's answer to
} "how many pieces do you wish?"  Realize that use of the formulaic
} derivation rather than the pointer-driven method may subject you to
} protests of "Cheater, cheater, pumpkin-eater!" from the test
} population.)
}
} Now, not even the Usenet Oracle can predict what heuristics a bunch of
} preschoolers are going to use to get the biggest handout of bubble gum
} once they have realized that answering "9" or even "a zillion" is not
} always the best response.  You will have generated a truly random
} number once you're done.
}
} --
} Oh, the box of Kleenex?  To dry the eyes of the kids you don't give any
} bubble gum to when P=0, you lying bastard, you!


450-04    (a7953 dist, 2.5 mean)
Selected-By: "Stephen C. Miller" <stcmille@copper.ucs.indiana.edu>

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

> Oh Oracle most great etc.
>
> Is it true that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it
} is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh y
} es it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.
}   Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes
} it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  O
} h yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it
} is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh y
} es it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.
}   Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes
} it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  O
} h yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.
}
} Oh yes it is.      Oh yes it is.      Oh yes it is.
}   Oh yes it is.      Oh yes it is.      Oh yes it is.
}     Oh yes it is.      Oh yes it is.      Oh yes it is.
}       Oh yes it is.      Oh yes it is.      Oh yes it is.
}         Oh yes it is.      Oh yes it is.      Oh yes it is.
}           Oh yes it is.      Oh yes it is.      Oh yes it is.
}             Oh yes it is.      Oh yes it is.      Oh yes it is.
}
}     Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.
}    Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.
}     Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.
}    Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.
}     Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.  Oh yes it is.
}
}     O h   y e s   i t   i s .     O h   y e s   i t   i s .
}    O h   y e s   i t   i s .     O h   y e s   i t   i s .
}   O h   y e s   i t   i s .     O h   y e s   i t   i s .
}  O h   y e s   i t   i s .     O h   y e s   i t   i s .
} O h   y e s   i t   i s .     O h   y e s   i t   i s .
}
} You owe the Oracle a new typewriter; the old one's worn out.


450-05    (19ba3 dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: Russell S Porter <porter@bach.udel.edu>

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

> My Oracle, which art in Usenet, hallowed be thy name. Thy questions
> come, thy answers dumb . . . uh, I mean "done" yes "done" . . . on
> earth as it is in Nirvana.  Give me this day an answer to this
> question:
>
> How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
>
> And forgive me my lack of grovelling, as I forgive you for inadequite
> answers, and lead me not into "The Temptations", but deliver me from
> "Devo", for thine is the Oracledom, and the Zotting, and the Glory
> forever and ever. Amen.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Not as many of them as you might think, when you get down to it.
}
} Gabriel thinks he's a hot dancer, but the rest of us think he looks
} even more ridiculous than John Travolta, so he hardly counts.
}
} Raphael's bragged about doing it, but when he wasn't shifting from one
} foot to another next to the punchbowl, he was hiding in the bathroom.
}
} Michael can tap-dance okay, but won't do it until you get him fairly
} buzzed, and by then his sense of balance is thrown.  By the time we got
} him onto the pin, he couldn't take two taps without falling off.
}
} Most of the others simply won't do it.  The seraphim will play the
} harps at dances, provided there are at least eight of them at standard
} union scale at any such event, but dancing isn't in their contract.
} And most of the cherubim skip the dances altogether, and just make out
} shamelessly in the Elysian Fields.  Last Saturday night it was just
} Lisa and me dancing; but mind you, by the time we were through we had
} the whole heavenly choir in ecstasy just from watching us.
}
} You owe the Oracle a spare pair of blue suede shoes.


450-06    (068b9 dist, 3.7 mean)
Selected-By: DAVIS@licr.dn.mu.oz.au

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

>       What should I do about Sara's boyfriend, Oh great Oracle, who
> is greater and wiser than all the men who ever lived put together,
> and who could, if I was really nice, just ZOT! him for me?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Due to a grammatical ambiguity in your question, we are providing a
} total of four answers.  Please select the one which matches the intent
} of your question as written:
}
} 1)  Sara's boyfriend is greater and wiser than all men put together,
}     and you would like for the Oracle to ZOT him;
}
} 2)  Sara's boyfriend is greater and wiser than all men put together,
}     and you would like for him to ZOT the Oracle;
}
} 3)  The Oracle is greater and wiser than all men put together, and
}     you would like for him to ZOT Sara's boyfriend;
}
} 4)  The Oracle is Sara's boyfriend, you are wiser than all men
}     put together, and you would like to ZOT the Oracle.
}
} Answer #1:
} Well, let's see:  If Sara's boyfriend is the greatest and wisest of
} all men who ever lived, that would make him Solomon (986 - 932 B.C.).
} Why Sara is interested in a man who has been dead for 3,000 years is
} a matter perhaps best left to the local authorities, but at any rate
} the Oracle sees no reason to ZOT the deceased.
}
} Answer #2:
} Again Solomon is dead, making it extremely unlikely that he would
} be able or willing to ZOT the Oracle.  If he were capable, however,
} this might explain Sara's interest in him.
}
} Answer #3:
} The Oracle in his wisdom believes that ZOTting Sara's boyfriend
} would not help, in that Sara would be a grieving wreck for months
} and would then start dating someone else (not you).  Your groveling
} is noted, however, and will be credited to your account.
}
} Answer #4:
} Your frustration is understandable, mortal:  Even the wisest and
} greatest of all men is no match for the sexual prowess of the --
}
} "Orrie?!"
}
} On second thought, this is clearly not what you intended to say.
} The Oracle has no interest in Sara whatsoever, and is completely
} faithful to his beloved Lisa.  Always.
}
} You owe the Oracle a dozen long-stemmed roses (for Lisa).


450-07    (4g824 dist, 2.6 mean)
Selected-By: Karyanta

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

> Mighty Oracle,
>
> I've been having a lot of problems lately with my boss.  He's pushy
> and overbearing, constantly paranoid that I'm after his job (and
> his girlfriend), and is always looking over my shoulder criticizing
> my work and making my life miserable.  What should I do?
>
> Signed,
>
> Harold the Foot

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Dear Harold,
}
} before I answer your question, let me ask you why you have come too
} late this morning by half an hour. Is it something with Lisa?
} You'd better see that your project gets finished in time. The deadline
} is in two weeks and I haven't seen you working too much on it during
} the past few months. Instead you keep mailing 'askme's to the Oracle.
} Say, do you want to replace me?
}
} (I think, I'd better <ZOT!> this supplicant. But then, who knows if it
} isn't only a trap set up by Kinzler to finally get rid of me... I know
} it! They're only waiting behind the next corner to catch me in the
} act!)
}
} To answer your question: Just ignore him. Soon enough he will ignore
} you, too.
}
} You owe the Oracle a reasonable (and fashionable!) alternative to
} paranoia.


450-08    (2ad72 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: buck@sunyit.edu (Jesse Buckley)

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

> What is it with university administrators, anyway?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Here you've touched a sore spot with me.
} I can't stand universe administrators.
}
} They think they're such hot stuff because they have so much power in
} one small area, and none of them are fit even to be an apprentice
} Oracle.
}
} Who needs them, anyway?
} One of these days I'm going to ZOT one of them, and,
} you'll see,
} the stars will continue to shine,
} the galaxies to revolve in their appointed courses.
}
} These petty beureaucrats are always --- Oh.
}
} "University". Oops.
}
} "It" with university administrators is a pronoun.
}
} Didn't you already know that?


450-09    (14ad6 dist, 3.6 mean)
Selected-By: Russell S Porter <porter@bach.udel.edu>

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

> To: ORACLE
>
> Yo, like Mr. Oracle dude/ette, the most bitchin' being in all this
> bodacious universe, like, I have this question for you.  I know you're,
> like, totally awesome and stuff, but I hope you can answer this for me.
>  I mean, like, you're so triumphant, and I'm just slime - NOT!  I mean,
> like, I'm worse than slime compared to you, most excellent one.
>
> Anyhow, who's more important:  Bill and Ted or Wayne and Garth?  And
> also, like, I know Wayne is superior to Garth, but who's better:  Bill
> or Ted? They're both god-like boneheads, but is one superior to the
> other?
>
> Like, thank you dude/ette.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Well, let's do a comparative list of some of the things that Bill and
} Ted have done, compared to the things that Wayne and Garth have done.
} Then maybe you'll be able to decide for yourself which pair is
} superior... dude.
}
} ------------------------------------------------------------------------
}            Bill and Ted...           |          Wayne and Garth...
} ------------------------------------------------------------------------
} Appeared in the movies in the late   | Appeared in the movies in the
} 20th century                         | late 20th century
}                                      |
} Appeared in TWO feature films        | Appeared in ONE feature film
}                                      |
} Had a cartoon show patterned after   | NOT!
} their adventures                     |
}                                      |
} Made EXCELLENT!, BODACIOUS!,         | Made NOT! a household word
} and RADICAL! household words         |
}                                      |
} Like to play air guitar, dream of    | Like to play air guitar/drums,
} being able to play for real          | dream of being able to play for
}                                      | real
}                                      |
} Learned how to play while bopping    | Never learned how to play, and
} around time for two years            | never will
}                                      |
} Appeared on television all around    | Appeared on a local basement
} cable the world, on every TV set in  | public access TV show
} every country                        |
}                                      |
} Saved the world from the clutches of | Got trashed every weekend
} the evil villians, while still pass- |
} ing high school and winning the      |
} Battle of the Bands                  |
}                                      |
} Spend half their time dreaming of    | Spend all their time dreaming of
} babes, the other half actually       | babes...
} getting babes                        |
}                                      |
} Hang around with cool people like    | Hang around with... each
} George Carlin and Death              | other...
}                                      |
} Met the greatest historical beings   | Fainted after touching Madonna's
} of all time                          | sleeve
}                                      |
} The actors who play Bill and Ted are | The actors who play Wayne and
} actually quite well respected on the | Garth are actually quite well
} Hollywood scene - they have each     | respected on the Hollywood scene
} been in a number of quality films,   | - they have each been in a
} and they each have quite a good act- | number of quality films, and
} ing career ahead of them...          | they each have a good acting
}                                      | career ahead of them... NOT!
}
} Any questions?  Didn't think so.
}
} You owe the Oracle Death's autograph.


450-10    (7a773 dist, 2.7 mean)
Selected-By: David Bremner <bremner@cs.sfu.ca>

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

> Should I bring her flowers? And which ones?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} You were caught alone with a vat of whipped cream, Nancy Reagan, and a
} hippo, and you think flowers might help?  Jeez.
}
} You owe the Oracle a photo essay of the whole sordid event.


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