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Internet Oracularities #851

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851, 851-01, 851-02, 851-03, 851-04, 851-05, 851-06, 851-07, 851-08, 851-09, 851-10


Internet Oracularities #851    (102 votes, 3.2 mean)
Compiled-By: "Steve Kinzler" <kinzler@cs.indiana.edu>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1996 13:53:19 -0500 (EST)

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:
   851
   2 1 3 4 3   5 3 3 4 1

851  102 votes 7nurf 78avK 6CCg4 9qwnc ayvj8 2mLo7 4dNme 4rHia 8mxy5 8jgAn
851   3.2 mean  3.2   4.0   2.7   3.0   2.8   3.1   3.3   3.0   3.1   3.5


851-01    (7nurf dist, 3.2 mean)
Selected-By: dsew@packrat.aml.arizona.edu (David Sewell)

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

> Oh honourable Oracle, centre of the universe, who realises why words
> experience spelling warps whilst crossing the Atlantic Ocean, I have
> long been wondering:
>
> I live in a country which is likely soon to be led by a man named Mr
> Tony Blair.  To an American such as yourself, that sounds respectable.
> But in an upper-class British accent, the Labour Party leader's name is
> pronounced vaguely like "bleah" -- something of a cross between the
> French "bleu" and the American "blah".  Now, I understand that many
> upper-class Brits are staunch Tories and have no desire to see Mr.
> Bleah take office, but wealthy Labourites and trendy pro-Blair
> intellectuals pronounce his name the same way.
>
> In this day of global communications, oh Oracle, can any country
> maintain its self-respect if its leader is referred to, even by his top
> aides, as Prime Minister Bleah?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Supplicant,
}
} Take comfort in the fact that you are not an Israeli citizen,
} whose head of state is named after a prominent web site.
}
} You owe the Oracle a collection of "Yes Minister" videos.


851-02    (78avK dist, 4.0 mean)
Selected-By: dsew@packrat.aml.arizona.edu (David Sewell)

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

> Who are Daniel Thurner

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Oracle: Good morning ladies, gentlemen, Kevin. Welcome to the Advanced
}     Oracularities module. As I'm sure you are all aware, there are no
}     course credits to be gained here - I hope to change that next year
}     - but when I've finished with you, you'll have the satisfaction
}     of knowing that you form the vanguard of a new, trained cadre of
}     incarnations who will not only raise the standard of oracular
}     responses generally - and let's face it, it's in dire need of
}     raising at the moment - but are also guaranteed to get into the
}     digests virtually every time their fingers touch the keyboard.
}
}     Now I'm sure you all know me - I'm the Internet Oracle. I'll be
}     taking you through the finer points of providing sensational
}     responses to every question the great unwashed out there in
}     cyberspace can throw at you, from the sublime to the ridiculous,
}     as well as how to deal with spams, woodchucks, lemurs, B1FF,
}     Zadoc the Priest, and a host of other unsavory intrusions. You'll
}     be shown how to construct biblical and Buddhist oracularities and
}     top ten lists. You'll learn the relative merits of prose and verse
}     responses, and how to squeeze the last creative drop out of Star
}     Trek TNG, the X-Files and the Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
}     You'll also find out why Beavis and Butthead should be avoided at
}     all times (if you didn't already know). Finally at the end of the
}     semester, as a special treat, there will be a practical ZOTting
}     session which I guarantee will make Quake look sissy in comparison.
}
}     So, any questions at this stage? Fine. In that case, I thought we'd
}     kick off with a typically obscure question selected from this
}     morning's email bag. See what you make of this:
}
}     > Who are Daniel Thurner
}
}     Any suggestions as to how to answer this?
}
} Kevin: ZOT the little turd for not grovelling!
}
} Oracle: Thank you, Kevin, but you hardly need to be an *advanced*
}     incarnation to come up with that one. Anyone else have an idea?
}     No? Well, what's the first step you would take?
}
} Megan: Uh... find out who Daniel Thurner is?
}
} Oracle: Excellent! A sound first move. And how do we do that?
}
} Megan: Alta Vista?
}
} Oracle: Precisely! Use the Net to help you - that's good thinking.
}     Please try it on your terminal.
}
} Megan: Daniel Thurner returns no hits.
}
} Chelsea: Could it be a typo? Daniel Turner seems a more probable name.
}
} Oracle: Good, good. Megan?
}
} Megan: Lots of Daniel Turners. Hmm... none of them seems very famous,
}     though.
}
} Oracle: Looks like this was a false lead then. Can anyone tell me what
}     was wrong with Megan's approach? No? Was she trying to answer the
}     right question?
}
} Travis: She's trying to find out who Daniel Thurner *is*. But the
}     question asks "Who *are* Daniel Thurner."
}
} Oracle: Brilliant! I *am* impressed. Remember this - as an advanced
}     incarnation you *must* pay strict attention to the precise wording
}     of the question. Otherwise you can end up falling into all kinds
}     of semantic traps and wind up looking rather less than omniscient.
}
}     So, "who *are* Daniel Thurner?" What does this question mean?
}
} Josh: That the supplicant is a moron who can't spell or construct a
}     grammatical sentence?
}
} Oracle: Most of them are. Or else?
}
} Megan: This Daniel Thurner suffers from multiple personality disorder?
}
} Travis: Or he has a doppelganger.
}
} Melanie: How about - Daniel Thurner is really a colonial alien lifeform
}     come to conquer the Earth?
}
} Oracle: Those are all interesting possibilities. There's certainly a
}     lot of scope for imaginative responses here then. What's another
}     approach? Come on - what else could the message be?
}
} Josh: Some sort of code?
}
} Oracle: Right - a code! What sort?
}
} Josh: ROT13?
}
} Oracle: I hardly think so.
}
} Kevin: ROT12!
}
} Oracle: No...
}
} Kevin: ROT11!
}
} Oracle: Thank you, Kevin. I think we've exhausted that particular line
}     of inquiry.
}
} Kevin: I still think you should ZOT the little turd for not grovelling.
}
} Megan: An anagram!
}
} Oracle: Aha!
}
} Megan: Of, er, "lurid earthenware hon."
}
} Melanie: "Hornier adults whine!"
}
} Chelsea: "Worn ariel headhunter!"
}
} Alan: "Loh, Newt insured hair!"
}
} Oracle: Alright, alright, thank you, that's enough. The purpose of
}     this exercise was to demonstrate that even the most unpromising
}     question that the barbarian hordes of AOL can hurl at you can be
}     turned into an entertaining response if you just let your
}     imagination roam a little. Don't react automatically. And never
}     take a question too literally - otherwise you might as well be a
}     walking encyclopedia.
}
} Melanie: But shouldn't we try to give the *right* answer?
}
} Oracle: Certainly, if at all possible.
}
} Melanie: So what's the right answer to *this* question?
}
} Oracle: Simplest thing in the world:
}
}     The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply.
}     Your question was:
}
}     > Who are Daniel Thurner
}
}     And in response, thus spake the Oracle:
}
}     } } ZOT { {
}
}     Look kids, I'm a very busy deity. I get in excess of 1500 questions
}     pouring in every day, on top of taking these classes, giving
}     leadership to the priesthood and having to help Lisa with the
}     shopping. You really think I'm going to waste my valuable time,
}     what little there is of it, trying to figure out the hidden meaning
}     underlying every badly formulated piece of drivel that lands in my
}     in-tray? Anyway, the little turd didn't grovel.
}
}     Now, for the rest of this class, I'd like to turn to the really
}     profound questions that you may find yourself confronted with.
}     You know, like the meaning of life and death, the origin of the
}     universe, and where all the ballpoint pens keep disappearing to.
}
} Kevin: Ballpoint pens? Surely that's not profound!
}
} Oracle: You're not really cut out for this are you, Kevin? ...And
}     don't call me Shirley.


851-03    (6CCg4 dist, 2.7 mean)
Selected-By: dsew@packrat.aml.arizona.edu (David Sewell)

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

> Wise Oracle, whose brilliance is like that of Venus on a starry night:
>
> Just the other day, as I was walking home from work, I saw a woman
> talking on a cellular phone while pushing her baby in a stroller and
> with her dog walking on a leash besides her.  Isn't that just the
> perfect image of life at the end of the millenium?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} She was actually *pushing* the stroller?  Hmph, the least she could do
} is get a motorized one for the little tyke.


851-04    (9qwnc dist, 3.0 mean)
Selected-By: Sid Dabster

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

> Spawn of Evil, thy time has come!

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

}      Uhh... Sorry, I think you have the wrong number. This is
}      1-500-999-950. Bill Gates is on 1-500-666-095 (possibly). However,
}      you may find a few problems, as you'll be passed along several
}      times, as follows:
}
}      First, you are put on Hold for 20 minutes listening to that tacky
}      music from the Windows 95 gang screen. You finally get to talk to
}      a secretary, who asks for your registration number. When you are
}      unable to give one, she refers you to customer services, who put
}      you on Hold again. You could wait, but they're all busy playing
}      Minesweeper '95. No-one has ever got through. You hang up.
}
}      Second attempt:
}         You get the same secretary as before, but manage to bluff your
}      way through by pretending to be Linus Torvald, the man who gives
}      away a stable, usable OS with regular updates and no excuses. Bill
}      Gates would really do well to talk to this man. So you are passed
}      on to the secretary whose secretary the previous secretary was.
}      She puts you on hold for no discernable reason, and you hear the
}      "Windows 95 Sound". Repeatedly. After 30 minutes of this, your
}      brain is starting to turn to mush. Fortunately, the 'phone is
}      answer. It's a Microsoft accountant. He talks very slowly to you
}      in attempt to find out wheter you are worth enough to warrant "Mr
}      Gates"' time. Fortunately, he's easily fooled, and passes you on.
}      The call is then taken by a Lawyer after 13.95 seconds (they're
}      sharp, aren't they?). He tells you that you are infringing
}      Microsoft Copyright by using this number without a license, and he
}      doesn't like the look and feel of your voice (don't ask). After a
}      4 month court case, he agrees to pass you on. You are requestd to
}      give your Windows 95 username and password. As you don't have one,
}      you invent a new name, and it lets you in anyhow. Trumpets play.
}      Choirs sing. You are nearly there!
}
}      Unfortunately, at this point the entire telephone network stops
}      responding. You frantically stab at the receiver, but it won't
}      respond, and you have to pull the 'phone out of the wall. Better
}      luck next time.
}
}      You owe the Oracle a stable 32 bit OS. Oh, thanks Linus...


851-05    (ayvj8 dist, 2.8 mean)
Selected-By: cierhart@mail.ic.net (Otis and/or Jane)

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

> Are we there yet?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} No, Senator Kennedy, you're about 3 miles from the Compound,
} laying in a small patch of grass near an oak tree. You've been
} there for the past 4 hours since you left the country club.
} You can get back home by walking about 400 yards to your right
} and catching a public bus.
}
} I won't demand anything as payment, but next time, Ted,
} PLEASE don't mix Daniels and vodka, okay?


851-06    (2mLo7 dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: dsew@packrat.aml.arizona.edu (David Sewell)

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

> Why is it important to have clean underwear handy at an accident scene?
> And how would I use it in such an emergency?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Think back to your first aid classes.  Remember how you learned to
} bandage wounds, splint broken bones, and so forth?  Well that's all
} well and good, but in a real accident, it's unlikely that you'll
} actually have a complete, industrial, OSHA-approved first aid kit
} just sitting around waiting for you.  So you have to improvise,
} and that's where clean underwear comes in.
}
} Underwear is great stuff.  You can tear off the waistband, and you
} have a nice constricting band, perfect for use in snakebite cases.
} The cotton part of your briefs or boxers can be torn into strips for
} use in tying on splints, or as a substitute for bandaging gauze.
} And a bra makes a fine surrogate sling.  It goes without saying,
} however, that a bandage should be sterile, and that's why it's
} important for your underwear to be clean.
}
} Remember also that the accident victim is probably also wearing
} underwear, so you can use the victim's underwear if additional material
} is needed.
}
} QUIZ:  You owe the Oracle an explanation of how a clean set of
} underwear can help you in performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation.


851-07    (4dNme dist, 3.3 mean)
Selected-By: dsew@packrat.aml.arizona.edu (David Sewell)

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

> You know all these mystical and religious things.  Please tell me
> everything about the Pope.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} popi vaticanus (colloquially known just as "The Pope") is a bipedal
}               mammal, probably of the primate order. As all known
}               examples of the popi genus have been male, how this
}               creature reproduces has been a matter of debate
}               among biologists for years. Recent studies suggest
}               that perhaps it is asexual, spawning one and only
}               one successor before passing on. This is substantiated
}               by the fact that, with the exception of one point in
}               the middle ages, only one popeus has been known to
}               exist at any one time (certain scholars argue that
}               these exceptions are irrelevant, as in these cases one
}               of the popes was of the popi francais sister species).
}               The vaticanus is noted for its shock of white hair
}               and high domed head. Its use of tools is well-known,
}               and ranges from the somewhat primitive crossed hunting
}               stick it caries everywhere to an apparent grasp of
}               network technologies as demonstrated by
}               http://www.vatican.va/. Much further work must be done
}               on the vaticanus to truly understand this rare and
}               possibly endangered species.
}
} You owe the Oracle a biological study of the supplicanti non-gratus.


851-08    (4rHia dist, 3.0 mean)
Selected-By: Darkmage <IDDAVIS@vms.cis.pitt.edu>

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

> Have you got any job openings?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Oracular Enterprises are hiring forward-looking young talents
} to enter the exciting world of Oracular Priesthood where You can be the
} guard of eternal wisdom, soaking in the fountain of eternal wisdom.
}
} Oracular Enterprises is a group of hyperreal metareligious business
} partners originally founded in eternity B.C. by Mr. T.I. Oracle, our
} ever-so-young and dynamic executive dicta^H^H^Hrector.
}
} We are a leading provider of high hopes and obfuscated tautologies in
} an entertaining format, providing all this at a low cost through the
} Internet for millions of happy customers each month.  In fact, as a
} proof of our unselfish dedication to quality of service, Mr. Oracle
} himself takes personal care of any unhappy customers!
}
} The following qualities are expected of supplicants for the job:
}
} - first class groveling skills
} - thorough knowledge of human and inhuman behaviour
} - for male applicants, a lack of sexuality (eunuchs are preferred);
}   must still be able to praise Lisa on occasion
} - for female applicants, prior experience in modeling
} - a willingness to offer oneself to the cause of greater good without
}   asking for whom the greater good is intended
} - years of prior experience in serving omniscient beings
}
} Send your application by Internet e-mail to
}
}       The Internet Oracle <oracle@cs.indiana.edu>
}
} as soon as possible.  Please enclose a brief CV and a copy of your
} birth certificate.
}
} You owe the Oracle your services for the next 50 years.


851-09    (8mxy5 dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: perkunas@juno.com (Frank J. Backitis Jr.)

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

> AAAARRGH!!!
>
> Oracle, your messages are getting intercepted again.  I think
> it's the same guy from yesterday.  His so-called answers all
> start like this:
>
> } You wrote:
> } >The Internet Oracle requires an answer to this question!
> } >
> } >> [question quoted here]
>
> Please, great Oracle, if you're going to allow this goon to
> get away with this, can't you at least send him a copy of
> the oracular help file, which he obviously hasn't read?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} *** This is an automatically generated message ***
}
} The Internet Oracle, in order to serve you better, has started to
} use filters on his mail before reading it.  Unfortunately, your mail
} contained one of the regular expressions requiring a ZOT:
}
} />.*The Internet Oracle requires an answer to this question!/
}
} Here are the regexps not matched in your message:
}
} /meaning of life.*?/i
} /woodchuck(\W\w)*?/i
} /MARINA SIRTIS/
} /warez/i
} /#include "grovel.h"/
}
} The original line is included below:
}
} > } >The Internet Oracle requires an answer to this question!
}
} We hope you will learn from this experience.  Expect to receive your
} ZOT in the mail within 4-6 weeks.  If you feel as if you have been
} incorrectly ZOTted, call tech support at 800-STOP-ZOT, or send the
} Oracle a batch of yummy chocolate chip cookies.  This is all done
} so that the Oracle may better serve you, the Internet community.
} Following is a randomly selected payment:
}
} You owe the Oracle a message with "help" in the subject line, with
} a forged return address.


851-10    (8jgAn dist, 3.5 mean)
Selected-By: Christophe <cep@best.com>

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

> Forgive me, O Oracle who is mighty and all-knowing and whose disdain
> for Woodchuckery is rivalled only by... well, it's unrivalled I guess.
> I have no question, but rather a riddle.  And actually, it's a rather
> bad riddle since it comes with its own answer.
>
> In any case, I humbly send you this TRUE chain of events which did
> take place last night.  Having heard of your hatred for the furry
> beasts, I know you will appreciate it.
> --==--==--
>
> Q: What's brown and furry and feels like a bag of jello and pretzels
> when you run over it with rollerblades?
>
> A: A woodchuck!
>
> No, this is not a normal oracular question, since I have answered
> it myself, but I feel lucky that it didn't have to start out with
> "What's red and furry" instead.
>
> So there I was, cruising down a rather steep hill, a regular blue
> streak, and I notice it about 7 feet ahead on the grass between
> the sidewalk and the road: A woodchuck, snurfling through the lawn,
> looking for whatever the heck those things look for while not playing
> chicken with fast-moving objects. Spare change, maybe?  Leftover clues?
>
> Then it noticed me coming - in one of those moments you've only
> dreamt about, my eyes locked with those of a football-sized rodent.
> Time stood still and I swear I could read its evil mind: "Foolish
> human. You will now pay the ultimate price for daring to intrude on
> my solitude! I have waited long and patiently for this opportunity;
> after I have killed you, I and my minions will dance upon your corpse
> and offer your blood to the great goddess of all things Woodchuck!"
>
> (At least, that's the only reason I can think of which would make
> it suddenly decide to take me out.  "Duh, must go weeds," just makes
> me cringe.)
>
> But in the same instant I saw this beast, I knew it was going to make
> a break for it, and shore 'nuff, a second later it was underneath my
> wheels and a second after that my mouth was blazing hot death toward
> all things woodchuck, their goddess be damned. I mean, if she was as
> mind bogglingly stupid as this presumably prime specimen, I've got
> nothing to fear.
>
> Fortunately, I was able to keep my feet!  For those curious, running
> over a woodchuck turns out to be not unlike running over a sack of
> (see above) jello and pretzels.  Which is about as challenging as your
> average ramped sidewalk curb.  (I stress: fortunately!  I suspect that
> just about anything else available to run over would be more solid.
> As it was, I didn't even break stride.)  Had I had more presence of
> mind (beyond thinking, "Oh, damn. A woodchuck.") I could've tried to
> jump it, I suppose.  Ah, well - hindsight is always 20/20, eh?
>
> I looked back as soon as it occurred to me (my first impulse being
> to want to check my boot for gore) but it was gone - for better or
> for worse, it had shambled off into the weeds.  I assume it found
> safety there; god knows WHAT harm could have befallen it had it
> remained in the grass while I glided by.  (Charles Darwin had nothing
> on woodchucks.. I marvel that these things are still around.)
>
> And it turns out there was no gore on the boot.  No blood, no tufts
> of fur, no ears or feet.  I'm thinking it got away bruised but clean,
> and thankful that I wasn't riding a bicycle on just rims.
>
> 'Course, after stowing the blades in my trunk, this morning there
> was a funny smell in my car.  Maaaaayybe I'll just scan them once
> more for random woodchuck bits.  ...
>
> And so life goes on, in Ann Arbor.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Ah, yes. Another woodchuck sighting. How droll.
}
} Well, seeing that you've sent me a story, I will not require of you any
} payment this time. (You still haven't sent me those other seven maids
} a-milking I requested late last year, though. Don't think I've
} forgotten.)
}
} Nevertheless, I believe that you did have a question in that story,
} since you sent it to me under a subject line reading "please tell me
} this, O great Oracle". Ah, here it is: You asked "hindsight is always
} 20/20, eh?"
}
} Actually, that turns out not to be the case. I can onl--%%%%%%%%%%%%%
}
} THIS ANSER HAS BEN TAKEN OVER BY THE WUDCHUCK GODESS. YOU HAVE INGURED
} ONE OF MY LOYAL SUBJUCKS. HOW  DO YOU PLEAD? YOU KNOW YOU DID IT, DON'T
} TRY TO DENY IT. DO YOU THINK IM STUPID OR SOMETHING? WELL, IM NOT. IM
} NOT.
}
} DO YOU WANT ANY LENEANCE FROM THIS CORT? WELL, YOU CANT HAVE ANY. WHAT
} DO I LOOK LIKE TO YOU? HEY! WHAT   DO YOU MEAN BY
}  "ENYAS LATEST CD BUT NOT SO CUTE"? WELL, IM NOT.
}
} I NEED TO PUNISH YOU FOR ROLLERBLADING OVER ONE OF MY WUDCHUCKS. NO, I
} DON'T WANT TO EXCEPT YOUR OFFER OF A DINNER OF JELLO AND PRETZELS. DO
} YOU THINK IM THAT KIND OF GODESS. WELL, IM NOT.
}
} OKAY THEN. I SENTENSE YOU TO ANSER TEN QUESTIONS EVERY DAY AS THE
} WUDCHUCK ORACLE FOR  FOURTY DAYS. THATS NEARLY A MONTH. THAT WILL TEACH
} YOU TO MISTREAT MY WUDCHUCKS. HERE"S YOUR FIRST QUESTION.
}
} Subjuck: Anser #Ka19714, the Wudchuck Oracle gots to have an anser.
}
} !!! The Wudchuck Oracle's question que is getting kinda full.  Help
} !!! make things go more better and try and anser some questions,
} !!!! insted of just asking for ansers all the time, okay?
}
} The wudchuck Oracle requires an anser to this question!
}
} > how much wood could I chuck if I was chucking wood, even though
} > I'm not chucking wood cause I cant.
}
} NOW YOU FEEL THE RATH OF THE WUDCHUCK GODESS.
} %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%--
}
}                                 Wow.
}
} That was trippy.
}
} I've changed my mind. You owe the  I n t e r n e t  Oracle (incarnated
} as g. t. <na53711@anon.penet.fi>) Enya's CD "The Mystery of Trees". AND
} those seven maids a-milking.


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