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Internet Oracularities #703

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Usenet Oracularities #703    (92 votes, 2.9 mean)
Compiled-By: "Steve Kinzler" <kinzler@cs.indiana.edu>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 14:00:54 -0500

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   703
   2 1 3 4 3   5 3 3 4 1

703   92 votes 7aktq 8wrj6 lAr62 cDqc3 eltm6 9qzi4 8fqte bktq6 8jkxc evvc4
703   2.9 mean  3.6   2.8   2.3   2.5   2.8   2.8   3.3   3.0   3.2   2.6


703-01    (7aktq dist, 3.6 mean)
Selected-By: "Leo L. Schwab" <ewhac@shell.portal.com>

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

> Dear Oracle, who answers every asker with enervating wit,
>
> I have seen a list of questions. The list circulates by email and
> BBS, and contains questions about braille ATMs, Hawaiian
> Interstates, headlights at the speed of light, cargo by ship,
> lox on the doors of 711, singular bra, and so on.
>
> Many of these questions have been seen in your Digest, with answers;
> and yet they continue to be asked agin and again...
>
> What I wonder is, did the list exist first, and people just started
> asking you questions from the list whenever they couldn't come up
> with their own original questions, or was the list culled from your
> Digest?
>
> In other words, which came first, the list or the Digest?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} The true story is actually more complicated than either of the
} possibilities you mention:
} ------------------------------------------------------------------
}
} [Scene: a hidden chamber underneath the Sphinx. The Oracle and Lisa,
}  wearing pith helmets, are standing over a large box, overlaid with
}  gold, and decorated with cherubim.]
}
} Oracle: We've finally done it, Lisa. We've found the List Ark -- the
}     box containing the original list of goofy questions God gave to
}     the ancient Hematites.
}
} Lisa: Oh, Orrie, you're wonderful.
}
} [They embrace. Suddenly, a shadowy figure appears at the door.]
}
} David Feldman, the _Imponderables_ guy: Very touching. [He pulls out
}     a gun.] I'll be taking that, if you please.
}
} Oracle: But that's not fair . . .
}
} Feldman: Fair? Is it fair that you have an entire net groveling at your
}     feet, when all you do is make wiseass remarks, whereas I, who
}     at least attempt to answer the questions I am given, must linger
}     on the "Humor" shelf at Barnes and Noble, hoping that some random
}     passerby will be willing to shell out ten bucks to find out why
}     clocks run clockwise? Now stand aside, friend -- I'd hate to have
}     to put a hole in you.
}
} Oracle: Wait a minute -- you can't kill me. I'm immortal.
}
} Feldman: Hmm . . . true. We appear to be at an impasse . . .
}
} Voice from the door: Not for long. [Two figures emerge out of the
}     shadows: Cecil Adams and his sidekick Ed Zotti. Cecil is holding a
}     pistol, and Ed is carrying some kind of complicated raygun device.]
}     Ah, I see you've noticed my latest invention -- the patented
}     Straight Dope Laboratories Immortal-Disintegrator. One move out of
}     you, Oracle, and Ed here will blow you into kingdom went. Right,
}     Ed?
}
} Ed: Yes, master.
}
} Cecil: I'll be taking the Ark, now. Oh, come now, don't look so glum.
}     After all, I deserve it more than either of you -- I answer
}     questions *and* make wiseass remarks.
}
} Voice from the door: Not so fast. [In one smooth motion, Marilyn Vos
}     Savant leaps into the room, grabs Ed Zotti, and holds a gun to his
}     head.] That box is mine, all mine. Ha -- you have to get up pretty
}     early to outsmart the smartest human being in the world . . .
}
} Cecil: All right, take it.
}
} Feldman: What? Are you nuts? Give the Ark to that --
}
} Cecil: Look, I've still got a gun pointed at you, and I say she gets
}     it. Are you all right, Ed? [Ed nods, bravely. Cecil addresses Vos
}     Savant:] Just whatever you do, don't open that Ark.
}
} Vos Savant: Try to tell *me* what to do, will you? -- You who got the
}     Monty Hall problem wrong! I'll open any ark I want. [She goes to
}     open the List Ark.]
}
} Feldman: Umm . . . I think I'll be going now. [He slips out]
}
} Cecil: Don't look, Ed! Don't look!
}
} [Vos Savant opens the Ark, and a huge Spielbergian light show emerges.
}  Cecil and Ed shut their eyes tightly. Vos Savant doesn't, and turns
}  into a pillar of salt. The Oracle and Lisa, being immortal, get to
}  watch all the pretty lights. Eventually, the light show goes back into
}  the Ark, the Ark closes, and Cecil and Ed can open their eyes again.]
}
} Lisa: That was *so* *cool*.
}
} Oracle: Yes, it was rather entertaining. So, what do we do with the Ark
}     now?
}
} Cecil: Hmm . . . clearly, even I had underestimated the power of the
}     List of Goofy Questions. Clearly, it can't be allowed to fall into
}     anyone's hands, even mine. We must put it someplace where nobody
}     will be able to take advantage of it's awesome power.
}
} Oracle: How about the Internet? Nothing useful ever comes out of there.
}
} Cecil: An excellent idea. [Looks at the salt-pillar.] We'd better ship
}     Vos Savant back to _Parade Magazine_. Fortunately, it looks like
}     she'll still be able to write her column. [Turns back to the Oracle
}     and Lisa:] So, anyone for a game of bridge?
} ----------------------------------------------------------------------
}
} You owe the Oracle a John Williams score.


703-02    (8wrj6 dist, 2.8 mean)
Selected-By: Alan M. Gallatin <amg@pinetree.com>

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

> the meaning of life.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Indeed supplicant your have deciphered one of the most perplexing
} questions to face mortal man:  What is the meaning of life?  The answer
} is as you have indicated is ">".  Because you have been the first to
} deduced this universal truism I will impart to more truisms to you as a
} reward.
}
} > the meaning of life
} < the meaning of death
} = the meaning of purgatory
} ( the meaning of Alfred Hitchcock
} ) the meaning of Rush Limbaugh
} & the meaning of Twister
} # the meaning of a stalemate
} % the meaning of being hit right between the eyes
} ^ the meaning of wearing a hat when it is cold
} ! the meaning of sex
} | the meaning of frustration
} \ the meaning of partial success
} / the meaning of defeat
}
} You owe The Oracle the meaning the conjugate: #@%&!@#%


703-03    (lAr62 dist, 2.3 mean)
Selected-By: buck@integ.micrognosis.com (Jesse Buckley)

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

> Why does the human have so much trouble changing his character? Oh
> Master you have only begun to give insight now make it clear.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} I'm afraid you're at the mercy of your DM, especially if you're right
} in the middle of a game. Face it, it really isn't fair to go around
} tweaking your character to suit the situation at hand just because your
} party needs a female half-elf carrying a mace.
}
} You owe the Oracle a really nice dagger.


703-04    (cDqc3 dist, 2.5 mean)
Selected-By: Pitr Dubovich

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

>  Greetings Oracular one.
>
>   A few years ago I heard the following joke.
>
>       The Pope, President Reagan, and a Boy Scout were all on a plane
>     trip when the plane suddenly had engine problems.
>
>       The pilot ran out of the cockpit, grabbed one of the 3 parachutes
>     and leaped out the door, leaving only 2 'chutes.
>
>       The President got up and said "Seeing I am the leader of the
>     greatest country in the free world, I must be saved", grabbed a
>     pack and leapt out the door.
>
>       The Pope said to the Scout, "I have had a full life, and done
>     much of my work, take the last chute my son, and jump to safty".
>
>       To which the Boy Scout replied, "No need to sir, the President
>     grabbed my backpack".
>
>   My question is why were they all on the same (apparantly small) plane
> to start with?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} It is symbolic.
}
} It resembles a game of chess:
}
} The pilot is the player, that runs away in fear, as Kasparov eats away
} on his pieces.
}
} The president is the King, that in a rush of panic believes to control
} his own game tries to switch places with the queen, and thereby exposes
} himself to a pawn, something that would never have happened, had the
} player stayed, since he MAY have known the rules.
}
} The Pope is a Bishop, and the Scout is a pawn, and none of them will
} have to die in THIS game of chess.
}
} Also, you never know where you end up, searching for your luggage in
} Bangkok airport.
}
} You owe the Oracle a Deep Thought or two...


703-05    (eltm6 dist, 2.8 mean)
Selected-By: cep@best.com (Christophe)

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

> I keep trying to write makefiles such as the one appended below.
> I'm on an Ultrix system.  No matter whether I use the executing
> or nonexecuting (-n) mode, only the first command seems to
> be executed.  Below is the file followed by some typical output.
>
> # George's makefile for experimental HOOPS programs
> #     C compiler options
> FFLAGS = -cpp
> #     Hoops library specification on link command
> HOOPS_LIB = -lhoops
> #     Libraries other than Hoops specified on link command
> LIBS = -lX11 -lm
> #     command to set original working directory
> TEMPDIR = /tmp/gea
>
> $(TEMPDIR) :
>       mkdir /tmp/gea
>
> $(TEMPDIR)/testfield.c : testfield.c
>       cp testfield.c /tmp/gea/
>
> $(TEMPDIR)/drawcol.f : drawcol.f
>       cp drawcol.f /tmp/gea/
>
> testfield.o : testfield.c $(HOOPS)
>       $(CC) $(CFLAGS) -c testfield.c $(HOOPS_LIB) $(LIBS)
>
> testfield : testfield.o drawcol.o
>       f77 -o testfield  testfield.o drawcol.o $(HOOPS_LIB) $(LIBS)
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> Sample output:
>
> % make -n -f make.testfield
> `/tmp/gea' is up to date.
> ------------------------------------------------------------

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} I'm very sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but your
} university has been using second hand computers purchased from South
} Africa, from before the change of government (if you want to know
} why when a budget for a CRAY-XMP was allocated, ask your ex-Rector
} whose present address is c/o Central Post Office, Bogata, Columbia).
} These computers work with a slightly different and subtly different
} operating system to your normal Ultrix machine, namely that Fortran
} and C programs must never be linked together. I.e. the system of
} 'Apartlink'.
}
} There is, as you can probably guess, quite a bit of international
} outrage about the design of these computers, especially at the way
} in which Fortran programs (which existed on the system before any
} C programs) are discriminated against, both in terms of processor
} time and memory. The Fortran programs themselves have little say in
} this matter, as strict laws have ensured that the kernel of the OS
} is solely written in C.
}
} The version you have is even worse. Not only is Fortran code
} specifically excluded from the corridors of the kernel, but all
} the Fortran source code has been allocated to specific areas on the
} hard-disk, the so-called 'Homeblocks'. Not only are these homeblocks
} much smaller than the areas allocated to C programs, but all the
} buggy, corrupted blocks have been picked out, easily observable by
} the otherwise random selection of blocks across the disk.
}
} Supplicant, remember that if you aren't part of the solution, you're
} part of the problem. You should instantly refuse to use the computer
} in question until the operating system is changed and incorportates
} large amounts of Fortran code, like mine does SEGMENTATION ERROR
} UNRECOVERABLE ERROR IN CORE SYSTEM GOING DOWN.....
} > >>>>
} &^"^#"#"
} System Halted


703-06    (9qzi4 dist, 2.8 mean)
Selected-By: dsew@packrat.aml.arizona.edu (David Sewell)

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

> Remember that shampoo commercial where the girl said "Tell two
> friends.  Then they'll tell two friends.  And so on.  And so on.  And
> so on..." where after every sentence, the number of pictures of this
> girl doubled, therefore the number expanded geometrically.
>
> So why wasn't everyone notified of this shampoo within 33 iterations?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Because, being Valley Girl-types, all of them promptly forgot the
} shampoo advice. In some circles, this is called the Charlie's Angels
} rule, a theory which postulates that for the truly beautiful, so-called
} "rational" rules of the universe are subject to change on a whim.


703-07    (8fqte dist, 3.3 mean)
Selected-By: Ian Davis

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

> Oh Oracle most wise.  Your knowledge surpasses that of all humanity.
> Heck, you know more than even my Grandmother and she's been around a
> while.
>
> My question is kind of odd.  You see, my dog died.  He was a wonderful
> half black lab, and great with the children.  Well my problem is that
> since it is winter here, the ground is frozen solid, so we can't really
> bury him until the spring thaw.  Currently we have him in our freezer
> so he doesn't start smelling or anything like that, but he takes up a
> lot of room.  Can you give me any ideas of what we can do with him
> until we can bury him in the spring?
>
> Thanks,

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} You can bury him now.  All it takes is a really, really big fire.  A
} bonfire will thaw the ground for quite a respectable distance down, and
} once the fire's out, you simply shovel the ashes aside and start
} digging. True, it'll kill the grass, but it's winter anyway so not much
} grass will be growing on most lawns.  When spring comes the natural
} fertilizing effect of a decomposing body will nicely rejuvenate your
} lawn.
}
} In fact, for a nice, even green all over, you may wish to have a black
} lab die every winter.  Perhaps *several* of them.
}
} Alternately, you could just waylay strangers in your community and bury
} them.  True, the nightly bonfires will seem a trifle odd to some of
} your neighbors, but it might prove a welcome change from those damn
} Christmas light displays on peoples' lawns, and then too, you can
} always give your neighbors all the marshmallows they can eat.
}
} You owe the Oracle a s'more.


703-08    (bktq6 dist, 3.0 mean)
Selected-By: Ian Davis

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

> Will my business survive?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} I'm afraid the signs are not good.
}
} Red Sunday (the takeover of the world stock markets by the Russian
} marketing empire) will give controlling interest in your enterprise to
} Enid Von Stuffen ne Brezhnev (great-great-etc. grandson to a distant
} uncle to the Brezhnev with whom you may be already familiar); after
} driving it nearly to the ground, his family will eventually sell it to
} McXerox.
}
} Shortly thereafter, when PAWNS (Pax Africana World Nation State) is
} established, the harsh exchange rates to Pygmy Poison Dart Currency
} Standard will come very close to putting you out of business (the
} punitive $1200 dollar to *1 PygPoi conversion rate will shut down your
} North American operations completely [note that one PygPoi buys only
} one Quarter McCopier with Cheese]).  Fortunately, your exclusive
} license to the Imported Genuine Simulated Ostrich Feather African
} Headdress-like Headware Stuff (tm) will prove to be a real bonus.
}
} The invasion of the Volp-Chus Amzun Warriors from Space will cause a
} brief depression in demand for your products during the ensuing
} scuffle; however, a skunkworks within your conglomerate will have come
} up with the Vulp-Chus VunderBru (with X-Your-Heart protection!), which
} will be enough not only to shift the tides of battle to your home
} planet, but afterwards establish a lucrative trade with the Amzuns
} (until they are destroyed to a Vulp by the Rabid Nasties a millenium
} later).
}
} Later, after the North American plate is completely subsumed by the
} Pacific plate, your business will have lost critical resources without
} which it will be impossible to produce para-bilin (the highly addictive
} office furniture which will have become the staple of your business).
} Fortunately, you will be able to scrape on for another century or so on
} the back-ordered VunderBru sales the Rabid Nasties will be forced to
} honor (by the Planetary Conquest Clause in InterGalac Concorde, ruling
} IVXVIIMVIXXIV. (Interestingly, since one key ingredient in the
} VunderBru is the human nasal excretion ["snot"], which is one of the 14
} substances which has fully resisted artificial manufacture, it is
} believed that this contract is the only thing that stopped the Rabid
} Nasties from taking the Earth and exterminating everyone on it).
} During that time, there will be a resurgence in interest in Simulated
} Ostrich Feathers across the galaxy, and your business will rapidly
} become one of the largest and most well known in the Milky Way.
}
} However, after the Earth's sun goes nova, your enterprise will no
} longer have a stable trading base from which to manufacture the
} Imported Genuine Simulated Ostrich Feather African Headdress-like
} Headware Stuff (tm), and will certainly no longer receive the wide
} audience it would need to compete for the long haul in the Universal
} Economy.  So, your business will slowly be declining towards the
} twilight years.
}
} After the Big Suck (best described by the renowned
} AstroPhilosophBizperson of the time Ross "BHA" Perrot as "All the
} Billyuns and Billyuns of Stars COLLIDING with a Huge Sucking Sound to
} the Universal South") it is difficult to determine the fate of your
} company.
}
} So no, I am afraid your business will not survive.  I am sorry.
}
} You owe the Oracle a backrub and a Quarter Cholesterol with Cheese.


703-09    (8jkxc dist, 3.2 mean)
Selected-By: Mark McCafferty <markm@tenmail.mincom.oz.au>

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

> [appropriate grovel here] Please answer my humble query:
>
> Am I right in thinking that there is a real frog in here?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} No, it looks to me like your blender is empty.
}
} [Suddenly, a pair of federal agents burst into the room.]
}
} Agent Scully: Hold it right there. We represent the Senate
} Appropriations Committee, and we're here to investigate that grovel.
}
} Incarnation: But-- But I appropriated it, just as the supplicant said!
}
} Agent Mulder: I suppose you do anything that a supplicant suggests? So
} if the supplicant told you to take a ride in a UFO, you would?
}
} Incarnation: Actually, I don't believe in UFOs.
}
} Scully: A wise guy, eh? Let's get back to the grovel. What did you do
} with it?
}
} Incarnation: Well, I appropriated it for myself, so I could use it on a
} question of my own.
}
} Mulder (looking through the incarnation's e-mail box): He's telling the
} truth, Scully. Here's the grovel. Look at this askme:
}
} > Oh most thundrous Oracle, with eyes of cobalt blue and
} > full soft lips that just won't quit, will you deign to
} > answer this humble supplicant's query?
} >
} > Is it true that the producers of the new movie "Ready to
} > Wear" changed the title to that from the original
} > "Pret-a-Porter" because they thought that the title would
} > remind non-francophones of "Port-a-Potty"?
}
} Scully: Well, I guess that _was_ a good use of a grovel. But we've got
} to take it back, anyway.
}
} Mulder: And next time, think before you appropriate a grovel.
}
} [The agents leave.]
}
} You owe the Oracle (incarnated as g. t. <an53711@anon.penet.fi>) a
} lifetime supply of grovels. And I sure hope you find your frog.


703-10    (evvc4 dist, 2.6 mean)
Selected-By: "Alyce Wilson" <AMW108@PSUVM.PSU.EDU>

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

> Why doesn't Domino's pizza guarantee delivery in a half hour or less
> any more?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

}   Domino is not as young as he used to be. There was a time when Domino
} thought nothing of a quick sprint to anywhere on the globe - he could
} run from Italy to Australia in just 25 minutes! However, Domino is
} getting older, and chubbier. These days, he gains more enjoyment from a
} can o' beer and a corny soap opera.
}
}  It is important to note that he still guarantee delivery in under half
} an hour for his next door neighbour Gino.


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