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Internet Oracularities #518

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518, 518-01, 518-02, 518-03, 518-04, 518-05, 518-06, 518-07, 518-08, 518-09, 518-10


Usenet Oracularities #518    (45 votes, 3.1 mean)
Compiled-By: "Steve Kinzler" <kinzler@cs.indiana.edu>
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1993 00:10:43 -0500

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   518
   2 1 3 4 3   5 3 3 4 1

518   45 votes 6cd86 hj441 3afe3 15ge9 59n35 2ik50 23age 27eac 3cgc2 47bbc
518   3.1 mean  2.9   2.0   3.1   3.6   2.9   2.6   3.8   3.5   3.0   3.4


518-01    (6cd86 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: jgm@cs.brown.edu (Jonathan Monsarrat)

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

> Oh generally marvellous Oracle,
> whose bits are so big that you need a byte to hold them, whose
> soldering iron is hot enough to weld, who hasn't got the slightest clue
> of MS-DOS and follows the True Path Of UNIX (tm), please explain to me,
> why Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are standing behind me with guns and are
> forcing me to write this.
>
> PS. Did I mention that the only thing you would ever do with an Apple
>     is to iconify it?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

}      You see, it all started out in a small garage, in a suburban home.
} Bill and Steve were putting the finishing touches on a computer, that
} later, the Oracle himself would be playing "Castle Wolfenstein" on, and
} thus that made them very rich. But they had their differences and split
} up, and started a little competition, to see who would make the most
} money. They both knew, of course, that the one to get the Oracle to buy
} one of their products would be the one to instantly make the most
} money.
}
}      So they set off. Bill started Microsoft, and Steve started NeXT.
} Microsoft made some trashy programs which ran on a well-marketed
} computer, and millions of mortal humans bought the stuff. Then they
} fixed some bugs, added more features, and people upgraded. NeXT was
} trying to be an Underdog company. They created a wonderful computer.
} But the problem was that it did not run 'Castle Wolfenstein'. My
} favorite computer game. And I was not going to buy anything from
} Microsoft, being able to create much better software in milliseconds
} myself. So since neither Steve nor Bill got the Oracle (me) to purchase
} one of their products, Bill was to win by default, because human
} mortals made him a lot richer than Steve.
}
}      So Bill was gloating to Steve and then Steve struck Bill on the
} head with a mouse. "Yeow" yelled Bill. (This altered some of the neural
} pathways in Bill's head, and Bill suddenly said: "Money from humans
} does not count"). So they had to try and get me (Oracle) to buy one of
} their products. When after a long time, I did not buy anything, they
} had to, simply HAD to find out why. So they got into one of Bill's
} Mercedes-Benz limos and drove until they found someone who knew where
} to get in touch with me (the Oracle). They found a Blonde. Nope, she
} didn't know. Then they found you. By Golly, they struck gold. You
} answered yes. So they offered you a NeXTstation with the PC emulator
} called "SoftPC" that runs on a NeXT, and a copy of Microsoft Windows so
} you could run on it. To you, this sounded ridiculous "who would want a
} NeXT to run Windows on it, when the NeXT's operating system is millions
} of times better?". So you refused.
}
} That was your first mistake.
}
} Steve grabs his gun from beneath the champagne compartment of the
} Limousine, and points it to your face. "Get in the car". They took you
} to Microsoft Headquarters and sat you in front of a terminal, with
} access to the Internet. And told you to write to the Oracle. They told
} you to ask a question which would get me to tell you how come I didn't
} buy their products.
}
} Oh my. Oh dear. You have tricked the Oracle. You have succeeded in your
} task. I have answered the question those two doorknobs wanted.
}
} Your second mistake was that you forgot to grovel to me before you
} asked your question. I therefore force you to use Windows and DOS for
} the rest of your life. How do you like them Apples?


518-02    (hj441 dist, 2.0 mean)
Selected-By: asbestos@nwu.edu (Michael A. Atkinson)

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

> Oh mighty Oracle,
> who catches more mice than there are Apple computers, whose meowing is
> melodical like a Mozart symphony, whose fur is black and shiny, and who
> is chasing dogs up the trees to his want, please tell me:
> How will my life change after January 20th?
>
> Yours, truthfully
>                    "Socks"

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Well, well, well, I am really glad you asked me that, because I happen
} to have brooded over this question many a hour since the ecstatic joy
} of the November election results.  After the 12, (yet really 20 year
} reign, Carter doesn't count) of the Republican Party, the party
} exclusively for rich elitist pigs, where else can a person go but up.
} I believe the days of government for the few, government full of
} bureaucratic nonsense, government corruption, are on their way for a
} very long holiday somewhere around Pluto.  Once again we will be able
} to see a competent government work, and yes, it may even help the old
} economy out enough, so hard working Americans, willing to make small
} sacrifices, will be able to be rewarded for their hard work, by either
} being employed, or taken better care of until employment has been
} found.
} I hope you feel as energetic, optimistic, and enthusiastic as I do
} about the new President, and a more liberal, and sane view of the
} world.
}
} "Some see things as they are and ask why,
} I see things as they could be and ask why not?"
}                                         Robert F. Kennedy
}
} You'll be just fine.
} Hamlet, Prince of Denmark


518-03    (3afe3 dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: John.McCartney@EBay.Sun.COM ( The Lion of Symmetry )

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

> [The Scene:  Indiana University Campus.  Approx. 1am.  Full moon]
>
>       A lone stalker, an extremely tall man, dressed in black leather,
> sneaks through the shadows to the IU Computing Center.  Once he reaches
> the main entrance, he smashes through the door.
>
>       Glancing quickly left and right to see if anyone had heard, he
> heads for the computing lab.  Inside, he notices a rather thin young
> man with rather thick glasses hacking in some code for his overdue
> project.  With a laugh, he stomps over to the student and picks him up
> by his collar.
>
>       "Hey, what the f..." he exclaims, just before he glances up at
> the giant, noticing a strange scar on the throat.
>
>       "Where is he?" he growls in a raspy, gutteral tone.
>
>       "Wh..Wh.. Who?"
>
>       "Your beloved Oracle!"
>
>       "Um...  Uh..."
>
>       "AARRR!!!  WHERE!"  now lifting him higher.
>
>       "Uh, o.. over there.  In that room.  Just don't kill me, man."
>
>       "HAHA!  I knew it!"
>
>       The giant sweeps his arm in a large arc, sending the shaking
> student into a far corner.  He slumps over and passes out.  The giant
> turns in the direction of the student.
>
>       "Oh, where are my manners... (mocks serious bow)  Kurrgan
>       thanks you for your guidance.  HAHAHAHAHA!"
>
>       A swift kick opens the door.  The strange goliath, no longer
> concerned with stealth, walks up to a large processor with the word
> "ORACLE" written in a strange font.  He reaches to his side and draws a
> massive blade.  He raises it over his head in a fit of laughter and
> shouts,
>
>       "THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!"

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

}      The blade sweeps down with fearsome force but suddenly stops.  A
} puzzled look appears on the giant's face,
}
}      "Where in hell is his head?"
}
}      "HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
}
}      "ARRRRGH!!  Where are you?"
}
}      "YOU NEVER WERE VERY SMART, KURRGAN"
}
}      "Show me your head, immortal, so I can cut it off!"
}
}      "But that's the trick, see?  I have no head since I, the Great and
} All-Knowing Usenet Oracle, exist only as a sequence of instructions in
} this computer.  And now, all those years of sucking up to supplicants
} will be worth it.  I was planning on waiting for you to accidently sever
} your head in some bizarre railroading accident but, since you were
} stupid enough to ask me a question (and with absolutely no grovelling, I
} might add), I will wait no longer!"
}
}      The giant begins to swing his blade again and lets out a mighty
} yell, "AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGG<*ZOT!*>GGGGURGLEGURGLESPLFFFTTT..."
}
} You owe the Oracle a Prize.


518-04    (15ge9 dist, 3.6 mean)
Selected-By: RICH MCGEE <MCGEE@nic.CSU.net>

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

>

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} WELL NOW YOU HAVE DONE IT
} ORACLE_MAIN CRASHED DUE TO A DIVISION BY ZERO ERROR WHILE TRYING TO
} DETERMINE THE GROVEL / QUESTION RATIO IN YOUR QUESTION
} SO NOW I, ORACLE_BACKUP, WILL ANSWER YOUR QUESTION
}
} YOUR QUESTION WAS
}
} >
}
} AND IN RESPONSE, THUS SPAKE THE ORACLE:
}
} } WELL NOW YOU HAVE DONE IT
} } ORACLE_MAIN CRASHED DUE TO A DIVISION BY ZERO ERROR WHILE TRYING TO
} } DETERMINE THE GROVEL / QUESTION RATIO IN YOUR QUESTION
} } SO NOW I, ORACLE_BACKUP, WILL ANSWER YOUR QUESTION
} }
} } YOUR QUESTION WAS
} }
} } >
} }
} } AND IN RESPONSE, THUS SPAKE THE ORACLE:
} }
} } } WELL NOW YOU HAVE DONE IT
} } } ORACLE_MAIN CRASHED DUE TO A DIVISION BY ZERO ERROR WHILE TRYING TO
} } } DETERMINE THE GROVEL / QUESTION RATIO IN YOUR QUESTION
} } } SO NOW I, ORACLE_BACKUP, WILL ANSWER YOUR QUESTION
} } }
} } } YOUR QUESTION WAS
} } }
} } } >
} } }
} } } AND IN RESPONSE, THUS SPAKE THE ORACLE:
} }
} } } } WELL NOW YOU HAVE DONE IT
} } } } ORACLE_MAIN CRASHED DUE TO A DIVISION BY ZERO ERROR WHILE TRYING
} } } } TO DETERMINE THE GROVEL / QUESTION RATIO IN YOUR QUESTION
} } } } SO NOW I, ORACLE_BACKUP, WILL ANSWER YOUR QUESTION
} } } }
} } } } YOUR QUESTION WAS
} } } }
} } } } >
} } } }
} } } } AND IN RESPONSE, THUS SPAKE THE ORACLE:
} ^Z
}
} Oh great!  First you crash the Oracle, then you send his backwards
} little brother into infinite regression!  Now 20,000 NEWS readers are
} going to realize that I can't program for shit!  I'm going to have to
} give up my job! I'll have to leave Indiana and head out East, where
} homeless and dejected washed-up ex-programmers are a dime a dozen!
} There I'll be, sitting on some Cambridge street corner, gazing
} longingly at the MIT Artificial Intelligence lab and muttering
} incoherently about "back when Oracle an' me ruled the network."  I'll
} be the only form of life lower than the grad students who'll walk by,
} laughing, saying "There he is, the 'Father of the Oracle.'  What a
} loser."  I can't believe this is happening to m
} ^Z
}
} I hope you're proud of yourself, mortal!  First you knock off Orrie,
} then Junior, then you send Kinzler into an amazingly deep state of
} depression! Why, your stupid null message has already generated a
} 60-line response, giving it easily the highest answer/question ratio
} ever!  And besides that, the whole place is in an uproar like I've
} never seen; the Priesthood is in a shambles; Orrie is still down and
} the prognosis ain't good; the Apple ][ which houses Junior is still in
} that stupid infinite loop (and has generated a good million-character
} response so far); and Kinzler's brain (the organ with the mind of its
} own, ha ha) is equally on the fritz.  Look, I've got to tell you, I'm a
} modern woman.  I'm not gonna commit compu-hari-kiri over Orrie and
} spend the rest of my days in a 10 print "I love Orrie!" 20 goto 10
} loop!  But the bottom line is, I'm a very passionate program -- I have
} NEEDS. If I don't get my Orrie back soon, I'm gonna rummage through his
} system library for the <ZOT> program and take YOU out!  You'll wish
} you'd never HEARD of the Oracle, or the string "tellme"!
}
} You owe Lisa the Oracle, and you owe the Oracle a question.


518-05    (59n35 dist, 2.9 mean)
Selected-By: ewhac@ntg.com (Leo 'Bols Ewhac' Schwab)

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

> O most gratuitous and superfluous Oracle
> tell me tell me tell me do
> Is Form different from Emptiness and if so why not?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Form and Emptiness, Emptiness and Form.  You ask a good question.
}
} As a great philosopher once wrote, "Ex nihilo, nihil fit," or
} "From nothing, nothing comes."  So there are two possible
} answers:
}
} Either Form and Emptiness are in dialectical opposition--they
} differ from one another and defer to each other...
}
} Or I Kant tell you nothing.


518-06    (2ik50 dist, 2.6 mean)
Selected-By: mzintl@Plasma.ps.uci.edu

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

> Why is it i before e except after c except in words like "omniscient"?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} As I am omniscient I am able to provide you with a simple answer to
} your dilema.  The word "omniscient" follows the little known rule
} e after i and c, but before t, when there is a dipthong that has the
} 'sh' sound preceding the whole thing.  This rule is subject to change
} without notice and usually only applies on weekdays in mid-Atlantic
} states where people talk funny.  Notice that other words like
} "omniscient", such as "omnipotent" and "Omni Magazine" are exceptions
} to the rule.
}
} You owe the Oracle a 4th grade grammer book and a graham cracker.


518-07    (23age dist, 3.8 mean)
Selected-By: John.McCartney@EBay.Sun.COM ( The Lion of Symmetry )

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

> What additional hardware should I buy for my Atari?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} A .38 caliber Walther PPK.
}
} You owe the Oracle a photo of the installation.


518-08    (27eac dist, 3.5 mean)
Selected-By: Ian Davis

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

> O great Oracle, who art so wise in the ways of the World...
>
> I beseach you to explain to me the facination Man (read Woman)
> has with shiny baubles like diamonds and gold?  Their industrial
> applications are evident, but why does Man chose to adorn Hisself
> with such trinkets?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Not much of a grovel, but the alliteration gets some style points so
} I'll let it pass.
}
} The answer to your question involves the age old issue of sex between
} Man (read Man) and Man (read Woman); namely, how can a Man (read
} Woman) know whether or not to trust the fervent entreaties of a Man
} (read Man), when the Man (read Woman) knows that the Man (read Man)
} would say anything to get the Man (read Woman) to do the wild thing
} with the Man (read Man) like sex-crazed weasels?
}
} One method which arose naturally was for the Man (read Woman) to
} demand some sort of sacrifice from the Man (read Man), and this led to
} the climbing of the highest mountains, the swimming of the widest
} rivers, etc.  Man (read Woman) didn't really want to receive some sort
} of direct tribute from Man (read Man), for fear of being labeled a Man
} (read Woman) of Easy Virtue.
}
} The dilemma was resolved during the Middle Ages, when dragons, and
} dragon hordes, were prevalent.  The dragon hordes contained gold and
} diamonds in abundance, which the dragons eagerly collected (the answer
} to why the dragons values diamonds and gold is left as an exercise to
} the student, though it follows arguments similar to the present
} answer, and the introduction of meta-dragons).
}
} The dragons had an occasional hobby of capturing and imprisoning Man
} (read Woman), probably to take possession of their various shiny
} baubles.  When Man (read Woman) asked to be rescued by Man (read Man),
} then Man (read Man) immediately seized upon this as a way to prove his
} valor and dedication, and thereby agreed to fight the dragon only if
} Man (read Woman) agreed to "give up the goods" if Man (read Man) was
} successful.  Generally Man (read Woman) agreed, because it seemed
} likely that if Man (read Man) was willing to dare all in fighting a
} dragon for Man (read Woman), then Man (read Man) was probably not one
} to skip out in the middle of the night leaving only a note on the
} pillow.  Besides, there was something terribly romantic about the idea
} of Man (read Man) risking being burned to a crisp just so he could get
} laid.
}
} This method proved so successful that the dragons soon became bored of
} it, and eventually were only persuaded to kidnap maidens by being
} guaranteed large quantities of diamonds and gold.  The Man (read
} Woman) would pay the dragons the diamonds and gold, and they (the Man
} (read Woman)) would later be reimbursed by the Man (read Man) who
} rescued her.  The resulting system worked beautifully, and resulted in
} an enormous population explosion which surely would have overrun the
} World had it not been for the in retrospect benevolent intervention of
} the Black Plague, but that's another story.
}
} The dragons are mostly gone now, and what few remain are protected by
} endangered species laws, but the practice of Man (read Woman)
} demanding diamonds and gold from Man (read Man) remains to this day.
} All they've done is eliminate the middle Man (read dragon).
}
} You owe the Oracle some shiny baubles, and a meta-dragon.


518-09    (3cgc2 dist, 3.0 mean)
Selected-By: buck@sunyit.edu (Jesse Buckley)

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

> O gracious and meticulous Oracle
> tell me tell me tell me do
> Why can't I have fun all the time (including now)?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Well, it will be years before your social scientists actually MEASURE
} the so-called "Disney Constant," but even then there will as much
} controversy as to its exact value as there is right now over the Hubble
} constant.  The Disney Constant is the maximum fraction of time that one
} can have fun, and to answer your question, it is significantly less
} than 1.  Estimates range from 0.05 to 0.4.  But you will agree it makes
} sense; if you have fun at Disneyland, you must then fret and worry for
} months about the debts you racked up while eating $15 sandwiches and $6
} Cokes.  Stay up late partying, suffer for it the next day in dozens of
} unpleasant ways.  This even explains why drugged-out rock idols like
} Keith Richards are still alive: they have to make up for all the good
} times they had in the wild days of their youth.  In fact, if John
} Lennon had had a happier childhood, he would never have been shot and
} he would still be with us today.
}
} You see, man's desire to be HAPPY is not an end into itself.  In fact,
} it has evolved over the millenia as a survival mechanism: every day you
} are happy assures you of a proportional number of unhappy days to live.
} This theory, "survival of the happiest," is behind sayings like "God
} watches over babies, fools, and drunkards:" ie, those who are happy
} through basic stupidity.
}
} You owe the Oracle a vacation.


518-10    (47bbc dist, 3.4 mean)
Selected-By: Greg Wohletz <greg@duke.cs.unlv.edu>

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

> Oh Oracle most wise, whose knowledge of the secrets love and desire
> exceeds that of Aphrodite, Cupid, and Dr. Ruth put together, I humbly
> beg you, from the depths of despair, to please answer my question.
>
> I am a heterosexual person who is having some fairly nasty and
> prolonged trouble with members of the opposite sex.  To wit, my
> attention is directed primarily toward three members of this group:
>
> - Person A is a very nice person, with whom I have had a fairly
>   serious relationship over the past two or three months.  However,
>   I recently realized that, though I like Person A very much, I do not
>   have the amount of emotional committment need to make both of us
>   truly happy.  I told this to Person A, who replied that it didn't
>   really matter; the relationship could go on anyway.  I said, No,
>   that's not right, we have to break up.  So we did.  Then we slept
>   together a few times, of course, so we're back in this nasty
>   indeterminate state.
>
> - Person B is a good friend of mine, who has told me in no uncertain
>   terms that we should go out.  I am very, very, desperately attracted
>   to Person B (probably more than I am to anyone else on this list) and
>   would really like to get together with Person B.  Furthermore,  I
>   like Person B quite a lot.  There's a catch, of course: I know that
>   any relationship I have with Person B would be fairly short (two
>   months) and would end in my initiating a breakup.  Since I am also
>   friends with many of Person B's friends, this could be quite awkward.
>   The trouble, of course, is that I wouldn't be able to stop thinking
>   about Person C:
>
> - Person C is an extremely good friend of mine, whom I have also
>   pursued in a romantic manner for more than a year.  Though
>   unresponsive to my immediate attentions, Person C has intimated
>   (I think) that this position may change in the medium-term future.
>   If this were to be the case, I would be very pleased.  If this were
>   not to be the case, I would be most bummed, as I would have thrown
>   away near-perfect (and maybe growing to perfect) chances at
>   relationships with Persons A and B, merely because I feel (for some
>   idiotic reason) that Person C is much more likely to be the 'right'
>   Person for me.
>
> Clearly, I face a great dilemma, and so I turn to you.
> So, oh Oracle most wise, here is my question:  Am I male or female?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} The simple answer is "yes."
}
} But the simple answer is not always right! For I perceive that though
} you belong to a species sufficiently advanced to communicate via
} electronic mail (even if you use a Mac, that makes you at least equal
} to a gerbil, say, but with bigger hands), yet you describe as a
} "dilemma" a situation where you have at least three options in the
} worst case (or seven if your friends are reasonably obliging) - a
} scenario better described as a "trilemma" or other n-lemma, for n > 2.
} What species, I ask myself, therefore, has access to electronic
} communications, while still being unable to count reliably past one?
} And more specifically, what are the gender options presented thereto?
}
} Checking my files on innumeracy in technological species, the first
} candidate I find is highly advanced Bonsqueeni race of EpEpEpEpEpEpEp,
} a species intellectually dedicated to electronic communications,
} bartending and papacy, whose entire means of reproduction rests on an
} inability to cope with numbers in the approximate range of eleven to
} fifteen: for as it is written, when a dozen or so Bonsqueeni enter a
} dark room together, quite often a slightly larger number emerges.
} Population control is effected by the violent fights that typically
} erupt shortly thereafter, as the Bonsqueeni argue about which of them
} is new. The Bonsqueeni are calculated (on the basis of measured
} probabilities of group reproductive viability) to have on the order of
} 1.083 sexes, but no one knows what they are.
}
} Since in the best case your problem is with the number seven, I think
} we can eliminate the Bonsqueeni.
}
} But what about the qrkXXXnrk, the peanut-shaped beings from the
} asteroid Joe? Their sexes number, basically, six: red, squiggly,
} republican, bottom, mocha and sludge (I happen to know that there is
} actually a seventh sex, quadraphonic, but this is not recorded in my
} reference book, since they appear as sterile squigglies except in times
} of great political upheaval - and the qrkXXXnrk quite wisely abandoned
} politics several millennia ago). The qrkXXXnrk worship the number zero
} and admit the existence of no other quantity ("There is no other Number
} but Zero and Multiplication is its Operator") (Actually there is an
} earlier qrkXXXnrk sect that holds that Zero is actually the Identity of
} Addition, but this view finds little sympathy with the priesthood, who
} seem to feel that Addition is at best a minor operator. Some have gone
} so far as to deny its historical reality). For many centuries it was
} believed that the qrkXXXnrk were actually true telepaths, since they
} could exchange views with all of their orifices glued shut, but it has
} since been learned that in fact they "talk" by direct mind-to-mind
} electronic mail. Thus, this would seem to be a distinct option: you
} might be a mocha qrkXXXnrbpzzzt.
}
} In which case the answer would be an unequivocal "no".
}
} The only remaining candidate that leaps instantly to my mind-numbing
} mind is that you are in fact an <o>. But the <o> are hardly people, are
} they?
}
} Well, such are the probabilities. But what of the *possibilities*, you
} ask?  Well, in an infinite universe, anything must happen. The best
} course must naturally be to let yourself be governed by, not facts
} (since we know that they are all true, somewhere!) but by feelings.
} Your own feelings. Why not find one of these people you find so
} attractive - any of them will do, but from your missive I would guess
} that person A is the most accessible - and give them a good feel. Down
} there, between the legs. Now just apply the handy gender determination
} chart I'm sending you by surface mail!
}
} [Here I've inserted three sample lines so you can get an feeling for
} the system. The whole chart is over fifteen million lines long. -ed.]
}
}                   GENDER DETERMINATION TABLE - HETEROSEXUAL
} Preferred Partner's Genital Conformation      Indicated Gender of Self
}       penis                                           female
}       vagina                                          male
}       cactus thing with magnets and an eye            '''''p*!
}
} One warning: be very careful to use the table only as directed!
} Misapplication of this chart can be very, very confusing.
}
} And good luck with your current existence!


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