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Best of Internet Oracularities #976-1000

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976-1000, 976-02, 992-01, 1000-02, 984-02, 996-07, 980-01, 979-03, 980-10, 985-05, 998-06


Best of Internet Oracularities #976-1000    (3.9 mean)
Compiled-By: Steve Kinzler <kinzler@cs.indiana.edu>
Date: 13 Apr 1998 07:57:36 -0500

Oracularities are the distilled wisdom and sagacity of the Internet
Oracle, as incarnated in its many anonymous e-mail participants.  This
collection has been compiled from the regular Oracularities postings #976
through #1000 and contains the Oracularities rated by its readers
as among the funniest.

To find out more about the Internet Oracle, send mail to
oracle@cs.indiana.edu with the word "help" in the subject line to receive
the Oracle helpfile.

The regular Oracularities postings can be found in the Usenet newsgroup
rec.humor.oracle.  Open discussion about the Internet Oracle occurs in
the newsgroup rec.humor.oracle.d.  If your site doesn't carry these
newsgroups, contact your news administrator about starting them, or
see the Oracle helpfile about subscribing to the Oracularities e-mail
distribution list.


976-02    (2aakG dist, 4.1 mean)
Selected-By: Mark Lawrence <lawrence.4@osu.edu>

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

> Hey Oracleman, riddle me this!
>
> Expand  (x-a)*(x-b)*(x-c)*...*(x-z)

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

}     "Holy Hofstadter, Oracleman!  That's going to be one wicked
} polynominal!" exclaimed Lisa.
}     "Indeed," I replied, noting that she was already busy scribbling an
} expansion on her notepad, "but the twenty-fourth term is the killer."
}     "Twenty-fourth?" she said, puzzled.  "Um, that would be... (x-x)?"
}     I stared at her until she slapped her head in annoyance.  "Of
} course!  It all reduces to zero!  But why would the Puzzler send you
} something so obvious?"
}     "Because its a clue to something more sinister, chum.  That's what
} we have to find out."
}
}     Normally the Puzzler gives obvious hints about his capers, but this
} one had even my razor-sharp mind boggled.
}     Lisa had all but given up.  She sat in the large armchair in the
} Commissioner's office, fiddling dejectedly with the envelope in which
} the message came.  She stared at it, then sniffed it cautiously.
}     "Smells like chicken," she sighed.
}     Her statement triggered something in the back of my mind.  "What?"
} I asked cautiously.
}     "Oh, this stain on the envelope.  It smells like chicken grease."
}     I practically leaped across the room to snatch the envelope from
} her startled hands.
}     After taking a deep whiff myself, I said, "Not just any kind of
} fried chicken, chum, but *Polly's* Fried Chicken!"
}     The Commissioner marveled at my sensitive nose, but he was still
} missing the connection.  Fortunately, Lisa didn't.
}     "Polly... polynominal!"
}     "Right!" I shouted, glad to be on the track of something.  "And I
} would gamble anything that there's a Polly's Chicken franchise on
} Nominal Avenue.  To the Oraclemobile!"
}     The Commissioner was reaching for the phone book as Lisa and I
} bolted from the room.  "Don't bother checking, Commissioner," she
} called back over her shoulder, "he's always right!"
}
}     Indeed I was.  We entered the Polly's Chicken on Nominal from the
} roof.  Scaling walls is easy; all you have to do is pretend that
} everyone is looking at you sideways and that you're really walking
} along the ground.
}     The store was deserted.
}     "Perhaps it was a coincidence?" my partner inquired, almost
} apologetically.
}     "With the Puzzler, it's *never* a coincidence," I snarled back.
}     As if on cue, all the lights in the store came on, momentarily
} blinding us.  When our eyes undazzled, we found ourselves facing two
} large guys in bowling shirts, each bearing the embroidered name
} "Herb."
}     Also present was the Puzzler!  "Herbs," he shouted, "get them!"
}     The Herbs were no match for our polished fighting skills, so it
} looked like an easy win... until the Spice Girls suddenly appeared and
} started singing.  We tried to hold out as long as possible, but
} eventually the pain was too much and we had to cover our ears.
} Without the use of our arms, the Herbs (who were wearing earmuffs, I
} noted) quickly beat us into unconsciousness.
}
}     I awoke first.
}     "Ah, Oracleman!  I see you're awake.  What do you think of my
} seven secret Herbs and Spices?"
}     "I think you're insane," I muttered.
}     We had been manicled to chairs.  In front of me was a computer
} console.  The handcuffs I wore gave me just enough slack to reach the
} keyboard.
}     Lisa moaned to signal her return to consciousness.
}     "I see you're curious about this setup.  The computer in front of
} you will begin to display logic puzzles.  You have thirty seconds to
} solve each one.  If you answer incorrectly or fail to answer at all,
} the crack in the platform below you will open an inch.  When it opens
} wide enough, you and your lovely companion will be dumped directly
} into the deep fat fryer, and you'll quickly become tomorrow's special
} of the day."
}     "You twisted goon!  Leave Lisa out of this!"
}     "Sorry, Oracleman!  I need to keep the both of you busy while I go
} out and commit the Crime of the Century!  Herbs!  Spices!  Pack up,
} we're moving out."
}     He chuckled evilly as the first logic puzzle appeared on the
} screen.  "Enjoy yourself, Oracleman.  Don't think too hard; you'll
} give yourself a headache..."
}
}     Great Spicy Chicks!  Can Orrie and Lisa escape before they become
} just another Urban Legend?  Find out next week!  Same Oracle time,
} same Oracle channel!


992-01    (985i* dist, 4.1 mean)
Selected-By: MCHEVALIER@WELLESLEY.EDU

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

> SUPPLICANT:
> I am the very model of a grovelling unfortunate,
> I've many questions rude, extemporaneous and importunate,
> I've not a single shred of tact in any of my body's cells,
> Instead I dare invoke thy name, with all the usual codicils;
> I've lurked a bit and read the FAQs, and now I dare to ask a boon,
> Oh please enlighten me, thy humble servant, with an answer soon,
> Thy knowledge doth all things excel, we lowly mortals are surpassed...
>
> Hmmmm.... surpassed...... sur... passed....  Ah!
>
> I hope this grovel's good enough, my knees are giving out at last.
>
> OMNES:
> He hopes this grovel's good enough, his knees are giving out at last
> He hopes this grovel's good enough, his knees are giving out at last
> He hopes this grovel's good enough, his knees are giving out at last
>
> SUPPLICANT:
> I'm stuck out here without a clue, confused, alone and wondering;
> It's taking all my energy just keeping me from chundering:
> In short, in questions rude, extemporaneous and importunate,
> I am the very model of a grovelling unfortunate.
>
> OMNES:
> In short, in questions rude, extemporaneous and importunate,
> He is the very model of a grovelling unfortunate.
>
> SUPPLICANT:
> I tried to do research, because this question is my first, you see;
> I browsed the World Wide Web, to see what Internet could do for me,
> And there, among the JPEG files of "stunning Asian rarities"
> I found the One True Site with all thy great Oracularities.
>
> I've read thy fragrant history, of Zadoc and the staff of ZOT,
> I know that Lisa likes to tie you in a silken scarf a lot.
> Your needs are met by priests who sacrifice each day a dove and bull.
>
> Uh-oh....  dove... and.... bull....  Aha!
>
> And Og as well, Neandertal and primitive, but lovable
>
> OMNES:
> And Og as well, Neandertal and primitive, but lovable
> And Og as well, Neandertal and primitive, but lovable
> And Og as well, Neandertal and primitive, but lovable
>
> SUPPLICANT:
> Now I can vie for in-jokes with wittiest and best of 'em,
> And try for silly geek jokes with the poor pathetic rest of 'em;
> In short, in questions rude, extemporaneous and importunate,
> I am the very model of a grovelling unfortunate.
>
> OMNES:
> In short, in questions rude, extemporaneous and importunate,
> He is the very model of a grovelling unfortunate.
>
> SUPPLICANT:
> In fact, when I know what is meant by "wit", and "style" and "clarity"
> When I can tell at sight an innuendo from a parody,
> When with such tools as irony and satire I'm more capable,
> And when I know precisely what is meant by "inescapable";
> When I have learnt what standards works Oracular require of you,
> When I know more of humour than a stand-up in a dire revue
> In short, when I've a funny bone within my whole anatomy
>
> A... na..... to..... my.........   Hmmmmmm.  Yesss!
>
> You'll say a better supplicant has never sent a "tell-to-me"
>
> OMNES:
> You'll say a better supplicant has never sent a "tell-to-me"
> You'll say a better supplicant has never sent a "tell-to-me"
> You'll say a better supplicant has never sent a "tell-to-me"
>
> SUPPLICANT:
> It's time to ask my question, though I fear that I may die for it;
> How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if ever they would try for it?
> For it seems this silly question, though it's boring and importunate,
> Is *still* the only question from this grovelling unfortunate.
>
> OMNES:
> For it seems this silly question, though it's boring and importunate,
> Is *still* the only question from that grovelling unfortunate.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} TRIO--ORACLE, LISA, and SUPPLICANT
}
} LISA:     When you had asked your question so bold,
}                We thought to ZOT you there and then,
}           According to our custom old,
}                With ZOT staff for your sin.
}           But all in vain to ZOT we tried,
}                Your utterances so novel,
}           It's been so long since we have heard
}                Such a perfect grovel.
} SUPPLICANT:      Perfect grovel?
} ORACLE:   (laughing)     Perfect grovel!
} LISA:     A most titillating grovel!
}           We've praise, flattery and such drivel,
}           But none to beat such a grovel!
}                Lovely grovel, lovely grovel,
}                A most titillating grovel!
}                Ha! ha! ha! ha!  Ha! ha! ha! ha!
} ORACLE:   We knew your taste for extended trips,
}                Into praise most fully sincere;
}           And with the laughter on our lips,
}                We wished you there to hear.
}           We said, "If we could tell it him,
}                The woodchuck answer in our joy!"
}           And so we've risked our old maxim,
}                To tell it to our boy.
} SUPPLICANT: (interested).  Perfect grovel?  Perfect grovel?
} LISA and ORACLE: (laughing)     A most titillating grovel!
}           A most titillating grovel!
}           We've praise, flattery and such drivel,
}           But none to beat such a grovel!
}                Lovely grovel, lovely grovel,
}                A most titillating grovel!
}           Ha! ha! ha! ha!  Ho! ho! ho! ho!
}
}                            CHANT--ORACLE
}
} Now chucking wood, among woodchuck kind, is not a frequent passion,
} In fact it is relegated to just one day a year, in the following
} fashion:
} A woodchuck will, chuck wood you know, only on the date of its birth.
} Yet you ask, and well you may, why this should cause such mirth?
} Through some singular coincidence-- a crazy freak of fate, perhaps,
} Your woodchuck was born in that one-in-four years' lapse,
} Known in to all both near and far, even those in Greenwich,
} As leap year, which leaves your 'chuck in need of Popeye's spinach.
} Most 'chucks, you see, by his advanced age, they should,
} Have chucked a total of their years of age, given in cords of wood.
} Yet by a simple arithmetical process, you'll easily discover,
} That though he has lived twenty-one years, more than many could,
} The cords he has chucked are only five, mayhap a little bit over!
} LISA:    Ha! ha! ha! ha!
} ORACLE:       Ho! ho! ho! ho!
} SUPPLICANT: Dear me!
}             Let's see! (counting on fingers)
}             Yes, yes; with yours my figures do agree!
} ALL: Ha! ha! ha! ho! ho! ho! ho!
} SUPPLICANT: (more amused than any)
}             How quaint the ways of groundhog-kind!
}             To common sense they are quite blind!
}             Though counting in the usual way,
}             Years twenty-one he's been alive,
}             Yet, chucking on his natal day,
}             Yet, chucking on his natal day,
}             He's only chucked cords five!
} ORACLE/LISA:      He's only chucked cords five!
}                   Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
} ALL:        Answer novel, answer novel,
}             Peculiar answer novel!
}             Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! , etc.
}
} We owe Gilbert and Sullivan our apologies.


1000-02    (15jDw dist, 4.0 mean)
Selected-By: Darkmage <DAVIS@wehi.edu.au>

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

> How do I **** you?  Let me count the ways.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Well, you could bribe me with $$$$, or bake me a delicious ####
} cake, or give me a 24-^^^^ ring.  Feed me bran muffins to reduce
} the chances of :::: cancer.
}
} Flatter me - tell me I have no ====. Make yourself more
} beautiful by wearing {{}} until your teeth are straight. Promise
} me you'll be true ~~~~ end of time.  Never ???? me about
} my past.
}
} You owe the Oracle a copy of Bartlett's Familiar """".


984-02    (17kvB dist, 4.0 mean)
Selected-By: Otis Viles <cierhart@ic.net>

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

> I know what you're asking yourself. You're asking yourself, did he send
> four hundred emails, or only one? Well, keeping in mind this is email
> sent from a Cyberpromo account, the most feared spammer on the world,
> and is capable of blowing your account clean away, you have to ask
> yourself, 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, Oracle? Do you feel lucky?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

}   As he rounded the dry clapboard building at the end of the dusty
} street, the man known only as The Oracle paused. It was quiet. Too
} quiet. The town was a deserted, no-account corner of Hell, and he knew
} the Cyberpromo Gang was here someplace.
}
}   The Oracle squinted up at the sun, beating down mercilessly on the
} dead plain, as he relit his cheroot.  Nothing moved but the blowflies
} on the poor dead dawg lying in front of the abandoned saloon. He
} stepped boldly forward, loosening his pistol in its holster. His pistol
} was his only friend; the only one to stand firmly by his side during
} the mess with that dance-hall girl (Lisa? Michelle? the names, like the
} faces, all blended together) and the worm he knew as Zadoc. But Zadoc
} was gone, too, dead as The Oracle's loyal companion Og; dead as his
} horse; dead as the Cyberpromo Gang was going to be. Soon. Real soon.
}
}  "Spamford!" called The Oracle. "I know you're here! I've come to call
} you to account!"
}
}  A feeble gust of wind blew a pathetic dust devil down the street as
} the gang appeared. Skulking like the rats they were, they stepped from
} the alleys between the buildings, slipped out of doorways, crawled out
} from beneath the sidewalks. Spamford was there, and a dozen others,
} faces without names, none of whom would have done anything worse than
} selling used horses without Spamford. Spamford fed their sickness, and
} drove them on, and railed at them. Spamford was the means by which they
} had become more than just the town drunk or a bully in a loud suit. But
} none of that mattered anymore. They made their choice. And, just like
} Spamford, The Oracle would make them each pay for the crimes they'd
} committed.
}
}  "We-ellll," drawled Spamford. "If it ain't T.I. Oracle. Mister High
} and Mighty. To whut do ah owe the pleasure?"
}
}  "You know why I'm here, Spamford," replied The Oracle. " I aim to rid
} the world of you and your kind. You've taken what was once clean and
} pure and dragged it through the dirt. You've turned the inboxes of the
} world into your toilet, and you've dragged these boys into the sewer
} with you. I aim to make you pay."
}
}  "Haw. Haw. Haw." Spamford laughed without humor, biting off each
} syllable. "Clean and pure? Wise up, Orrie, boy. The guv'mint paid fer
} all of it. Men like me built it. And men like me are gonna use it. You
} kin have yer dreams of schoolkids playin' in the open fields. Meantime,
} me 'n my boys are gonna  make a killin' off them dreams. It's already
} dirty. I'm just doin' what you and your kind don't dare."
}
}  The Oracle stood firmly, glaring grimly at Spamford. It was true, the
} dreams of purity and beauty had faded long ago. The dancehall girls and
} the rodeo boys had taken that dream, and twisted it, and Spamford and
} his kind had left a bad taste in the mouths of the honest folk that
} still remained. But a new dream had arisen, one even he didn't quite
} understand. And there was no room on the new homestead for the likes of
} Spamford.
}
}  Into the silence, The Oracle said, "Draw, Spamford."
}
}  Spamford stood, hands clenching and unclenching. Suddenly he shouted,
} "HOW MUCH WOO---"
}
}  A single shot rang from the wooden face of the town. Spamford's
} shirtfront blossomed red, and he looked down, mouth working silently.
} He looked up at The Oracle, and his eyes opened wide, curious, silently
} asking the question he knew he would never be able to ask.
}
}  "Forty-two," breathed The Oracle.
}
}  "Forty-two _what_?" asked Spamford, before he fell face down in the
} dust.
}
}  The Oracle stood, watching the remnants of the Cyberpromo Gang. One by
} one, they slipped quietly away from him, disappearing in different
} directions. When they all had gone, The Oracle knew he hadn't seen the
} last of their kind. Evil fled to the dark corners when it was beaten,
} but one day, they would find another Spamford, and they'd be back. But
} when they returned, they would find him standing tall, defending a
} dream he didn't understand, and answering the question no one can ask
} with the answer no one understands. Because he is The Oracle.
}
}  You owe the Oracle some Louis Lamour, some Kurosawa, and a little John
} Woo.


996-07    (56ioG dist, 4.0 mean)
Selected-By: Otis Viles <cierhart@ic.net>

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

> Hey, I've been reading through these 'Oracularities' things, and had a
> really hard time finding many of them amusing, much less outright
> funny. I'm guessing it's because of the excess inside jokes and
> references. F'rinstance, who is this Lisa person? What's the problem
> with woodchucks? What does 'Zadoc' mean? What the hell is 'Zot', and
> why does the oracle deem it to be an appropriate response to so many
> questions? What's the deal with Bright Red Siamese Fighting Fish? What
> is Og, and why is it so frequently here? (Same goes for mysterious
> 'Thag', 'Ogwa', 'Oglings', etc.) Why are questioners of the Oracle
> (apparently derisively referred to as 'supplicants') supposed to
> grovel? If you're so omniscient, don't you *know* how (allegedly) great
> and magnificent you are? And who in their right mind thinks a 5:1 scale
> model of the Titanic, filled with garlic flavored cheez-whiz, is
> appropriate recompense for the fifth through fortieth decimal digits of
> pi?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} The key to resolving this issue is to understand the essence of the
} Oracle. Contrary to the image presented in many of the Oracularities,
} the Oracle is not a person -- it is an ethereal awarness, infinite and
} ineffable. However, to communicate with humans, the Oracle has to
} possess an Incarnation -- who is, in the end, human. The guises humans
} assume in time shape their thinking; similarly, the Incarnation chosen
} by the Oracle defines the answers given.
}
} Normally, this wouldn't be a problem. However, throughout history,
} whenever deities have chosen to speak to humans directly, a mythology
} has sprung up, perverting the original ideals. The Oracle is no
} exception. These "inside jokes and references" are the trappings of a
} complicated, gratuitous religious structure obscuring the reality of
} the Oracle. For the purposes of this study, we will refer to this
} religion as Rhodism.
}
} Luckily for you, the Oracle has chosen an atheistic, skeptical student
} of world religions for an Incarnation this time round. (Either that or
} a pathological liar. The Oracle sometimes has a problem telling the
} difference.)
}
} > [W]ho is this Lisa person?
}
} In the mythos, Lisa is the Girlfriend of the Oracle. Note the use of
} "girlfriend", rather than "bride" or "wife", as is more traditional.
} Almost certainly a reflection of the decay of the institution of
} marriage in modern society. Lisa is normally portrayed as beautiful,
} seductive, and lustful; she is sought after by all. It is interesting
} that, despite this, she avoids the "Harlot" label that many religions
} affix to women who express their sexuality. This is attributable to the
} demographics of the Rhoditess; net.geeks fantasize about and desire
} sex. In many respects, Lisa is the Rhodite substitute for the Christian
} Heaven.
}
} > What's the problem with woodchucks?
}
} Historically, the aversion to woodchucks was, in fact, an aversion to
} the question, "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck
} could chuck wood?" Given that this is a fairly obvious question to ask,
} and that the original tenets of the Oracle were rooted in the concept
} of original and creative humour, this aversion is quite understandable.
} Modern Rhodites, however, have ceased using "woodchuck" as a referent
} to the chucking wood question, and have vilified the woodchuck in its
} own right. Now, The Woodchuck stands as the Evil One of Rhodism, the
} Anti-Oracle, the scapegoat for all evils in the world. This is hardly
} surprising; every western religion in history was eventually forced to
} adopt or create a Devil figure.
}
} > What does 'Zadoc' mean?
}
} Zadoc is the High Priest of the Oracle. He is portrayed as a
} snivelling, stupid, grovelling worm; in fact, "Worm" is a common
} pseudonym. One myth tells of the time that Zadoc betrayed and abandoned
} the Oracle, taking Lisa with him; this incident clearly highlights that
} Zadoc is the Judas figure of Rhodism. As is traditional with the Judas,
} Zadoc returned to the Oracle and begged forgiveness. While the Oracle
} did return Zadoc to his original position, it was following this
} episode that the "Worm" persona was fully established. The message is
} clear. Neither forgive nor forget: subjugate. It is one of the uglier
} sides of Rhodism.
}
} > What the hell is 'Zot', and why does the oracle deem it to be an
} > appropriate response to so many questions?
}
} A "Zot" is the blast of energy inflicted by the Oracle's "Staff of
} Zot". Zeus had lighting bolts; Thor had Mjolnir; the Oracle has a Staff
} of Zot. Some type of divine punishment of any violoations of the
} precepts of the relgion is common. Thus, a failure to grovel, any
} reference to the Woodchuck, an improper reference to Lisa, etc. can all
} earn a Zot, just as taking the Lord's name in vain will earn a Catholic
} a Hail Mary or two. The irony, of course, is the Oracle was originally
} devoted to original humour -- the constant reusage of the Zot is only
} of the inconsistencies of modern Rhodism.
}
} > What's the deal with Bright Red Siamese Fighting Fish?
}
} Some Rhodites have Bright Red Siamese Fighting Fish. They're cool. They
} have no religious significance. They don't need them. After all,
} milligram for milligram, they are the fiercest fighting creatures on
} the planet.
}
} > What is Og, and why is it so frequently here? (Same goes for
} > mysterious 'Thag', 'Ogwa', 'Oglings', etc.)
}
} Og (masc.; Ogwa, fem.; Ogling, young Og or Ogwa) is supposed to be a
} Neanderthal figure who occasionally petitions the Oracle. Here, Rhodism
} shows its pagan influences in the inclusion of a tribe of beast-people,
} similar to the dwarfs of the Norse mythos. Likely, Og is intended as a
} lesson in humility: to the Oracle, no supplicant is any more than a
} primitive caveman beating lizards with a club.
}
} Thag is rather anomalous. He is an Incarnation of the Oracle who has
} been incorporated into the mythos, in violation of the usual anonymity
} of Incarnations. His origins are misty; likely, he started off as one
} of the first Rhodites. As time progressed, and more converts joined,
} there would have been a tendency to refer to him, jokingly perhaps, as
} a "caveman," due to his longtime presence. The Priesthood, which
} historically has shown little hestitation for manipulating the
} Rhodites, would have seized on this and incorporated stories of "Thag,
} the first Incarnation" into indoctrination, in an attempt to make
} Rhodism seem older than it actually is. The fact that the Incarnation
} Neanderthal is obviously brighter and superior to the supplicant
} Neanderthal serves as reaffirmation that practioners of Rhodism are
} superior to the rest of humanity.
}
} > Why are questioners of the Oracle (apparently derisively referred to
} > as 'supplicants') supposed to grovel?
}
} Requiring explicit homage to the focus of a religion is the simplest
} method to establish the supremacy of that religion. Again, this
} practice was likely encouraged by the Rhodite Priesthood. If you must
} submit to the Oracle, then you must also submit to the Priesthood by
} implication, as they are the Oracle's agents. Using "Fear-of-God" to
} establish secular power is nothing new. The corruption of the term
} "supplicant" is another example of this. Since you are asking the
} Oracle a question, you are, by the definition in the OED, a supplicant;
} but Rhodism has inextricably linked "supplicant" with "cringe",
} "inferior", and "snivel".
}
} > If you're so omniscient, don't you
} > *know* how (allegedly) great and magnificent you are?
}
} See above. As well, since Rhodites are also Incarnations, the
} insistence on grovelling ensures that the Rhodites themselves will
} receive benefits, emphasizing the supposed superiority of Rhodism.
}
} > And who in their
} > right mind thinks a 5:1 scale model of the Titanic, filled with
} > garlic flavored cheez-whiz, is appropriate recompense for the fifth
} > through fortieth decimal digits of pi?
}
} Offerings to the deity are a traditional manner to express worship;
} very often, the offering demanded is one which relates to the essential
} humour of the Oracularity. In many ways, the offering is the facet of
} Rhodism which is closest to the original spirit of the Oracle. However,
} the complexity of the offering demanded has shown a tendency to
} increase as the influence of Rhodism spreads. As mentioned above,
} Rhodism is not a "nice" religion. It draws strongly on the premise that
} the supplicant is strictly less than the Oracle, and always at the
} Oracle's whims. Demanding herculean efforts to repay the Oracle's
} answers is simply another way to highlight the inequality of the
} relationship.
}
} There you have it, supplicant, the mythology of Rhodism revealed. As
} for the true message of the Oracle, it is best summarized as follows:
}
} You owe the Oracle an answer and another question.


980-01    (45gyr dist, 3.9 mean)
Selected-By: Christophe <xof@chanticleer.com>

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

> O Oracle most wise, whose phone never rings with unwanted calls,
>
> how can I get phone solicitors to stop calling?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Oh, this is a tough one. Unsolicited sales pitches are as old as man.
} Let's take a look at the history of this phenomenon before we start
} discussing possible solutions:
}
} 1,000,000 B.C., OLDIVAI GORGE
} OG:     Og have club! Og have *good* club! Og give Thag club, Thag give
}         Og big lump of meat.
} THAG:   Thag no want club. Thag have good club now.
} OG:     Og club better club! Og club spikey.
} THAG:   Thag *no want club*! Thag eating now, not want Og to come to
}         Thag cave, bother Thag while eating.
} OG:     Og have *good* club!
} [f/x]   WHACK!
} THAG:   Thag have Og club anyway. Thag also have more meat!
}
} CHINA, 2,000 B.C.
} LI CH'IN:       Excuse me, most wise one, but whould the honorable
}                 scholar wish to examine my wares?
} KUNG FU TZE:    I am honored by your willingness to take the time to
}                 discuss your wares with me but, as you see, I am in the
}                 middle of eating my meal.
} LI CH'IN:       Ah! Just so! Therefore, you will be interested in this
}                 remarkable set of jade chopsticks! These were brought
}                 at great expense from the south, where such precious
}                 stone is mined...
} KUNG FU TZE:    Indeed! I am aware of the source of jade. Also, I am
}                 sure that these instruments for eating are exquisite,
}                 but I wish to return to my meal before the noodles
}                 become cold.
} LI CH'IN:       Indeed! Cold noodles are a problem for many busy
}                 scholars!  Therefore, I also offer a special charcoal-
}                 heated warming plate! This will keep any meal...
} KUNG FU TZE:    I have a saying.
} LI CH'IN:       Yes, lord?
} KUNG FU TZE:    "May you live in interesting times." [aside] Guards!
}                 Please take this honorable person to the prison and make
}                 sure that his life is interesting, indeed... for about a
}                 month.
}
} ROME, 35 A.D.
} ANTONIUS:       O great one! May I show you these priceless scrolls
}                 showing how you can learn the wisdom of the ancients? It
}                 is a 20-scroll set and is available for such a low
}                 price...
} CALIGULA:       Can't you see that I'm in the middle of an orgy?
} ANTONIUS:       Oh, yes, sir! And a fine orgy it is, too! And here, in
}                 scroll 16 of this set, you can study the 14 positions
}                 for, um, orgying, plus an additional 16 practiced by...
} CALIGULA:       Guard!
} GUARD:          Yes, Cesar?
} CALIGULA:       Have the lions been fed lately?
} GUARD:          No, sir. I'm afraid not.
} CALIGULA:       Oh, good.
}
} THE STEPPES OF CENTRAL ASIA, 1137 A.D.
} LI CH'IN:       Great lord! Have you ever noticed that your swords
}                 become dull after hacking off a few thousand heads?
}                 Would you like to see how to keep them as sharp as
}                 razors after 10,000 beheadings?
} ATTILA:         I'm trying to rape, pillage and loot, here! [Shouting]
}                 No, no, no! How many times do I have to tell you men?
}                 *First* you pillage, *then* you burn!
} LI CH'IN:       But great lord!
} [f/x]           *WHACK*!
}
} ROANOKE ISLAND, 1608 A.D.
} JAMES:          Hello, pagan savages!
} GREY OWL:       Who are you?
} JAMES:          I'm an Englishman, here to offer you a once-in-a-
}                 lifetime opportunity to convert to Christianity! In
}                 return, all we ask is for all your land. What a great
}                 deal!
} GREY OWL:       Um, right, sure... Look, I'd be happy to talk to you
}                 about this some other time, but we're in the middle of
}                 torturing a captive from the Leni Lapi tribe and so we
}                 don't really have the time...
} JAMES:          Oh, this won't take a minute! All you have to do is
}                 kneel down, swear allegance to the King, sign this
}                 document handing over all your land to the king and...
} GREY OWL:       Spotted Deer?
} SPOTTED DEER:   Yes, Grey Owl?
} GREY OWL:       Do we have an extra stake?
} SPOTTED DEER:   You bet.
} JAMES:          No, no, please don't bother. I just had steak last
}                 night.
} GREY OWL:       I insist. Our treat.
}
} MILWAUKEE, 1991
} BILL:           Mr. Dahlmer?
} DAHLMER:        Yes?
} BILL:           Hi! This is Bill from the Thousand Lakes Insurance
}                 Company?  Do you have a minute to discuss life
}                 insurance?
} DAHLMER:        Well I was just having somebody over for dinner...
} BILL:           This won't take a minute! Mr. Dahlmer -- may I call
}                 you Jeff?
} DAHLMER:        Uh...
} BILL:           Jeff, we live in such uncertain times that it is
}                 *vital* to have full medical, dental, hospitalization
}                 and life insurance coverage. What would happen if you
}                 happened to eat something that disagreed with you...
} DAHLMER:        That happens all the time...
} BILL:           There you go! See? Now, with our super-coverage policy,
}                 you'd have no worried about any long-term
}                 ramifications...
} DAHLMER:        I wonder if we could discuss this in person. Say, at
}                 my house?
} BILL:           What a great idea! I have your address here in the
}                 computer.  When should I come over?
} DAHLMER:        Why not now? You can talk while I have a bite to eat.
}
} So, I'm afraid to say, Supplicant, that unwanted solicitations are an
} ingrained part of humanity. There will always be some s.o.b. who will
} pester you at the worst possible time to try to sell you something you
} don't need and don't want. If you think it's bad now, just wait until
} 2104 A.D., when the brain-implant esp-mail units become available.
}
} You owe the Oracle a spikey club, a torture chamber, some hungry lions,
} a sharp sword, a wooden stake and a cannibal.


979-03    (35oFm dist, 3.8 mean)
Selected-By: "Forbes, Michael Scott (Scott)" <trans@lucent.com>

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

>      If the Oracle were a coffee drink he'd be even better than a
>      double decaf hazelnut mocha. He'd be lighter and fluffier than a
>      latte (Is that good?  I hope that's a good grovel and not an
>      insult.)
>
>      Please tell me: If I can go to the lunch room and pour a FREE hot
>      chocolate mix into my coffee cup, and then pour FREE coffee into
>      that cup, and then make a bunch of "whosh whosh" sounds (again,
>      for FREE) then why are my co-workers walking down to the food
>      court to pay $3.50 for a Cafe Mocha from Starbucks?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Good grovel. 87% for originality, although you did skate a *little*
} close to the edge with that "light and fluffy" comment. I'll overlook
} it this time.
}
} In answer to your question: For the same reason that
}
}         - some people pay $18.00 for Wild Turkey, when they could
} get the same effect from a $6.00 bottle of Old Overholt and a FREE
} length of lumber
}
}         - people pay $20.00 for a hand-rolled cigar when they could,
} for FREE, simply wrap their mouths around the exaust pipe of a city bus
}
}         - they buy gym shoes at $150.00 a pop, when they could get
} something just as good for $12.95 (or even FREE if they can run
} real fast)
}
}         - they pay $100.00 for a dinner of blackened redfish in a New
} Orleans restaurant when they could get (again, for FREE) the crumbly
} bits of fish left in the deep-fry oil at Poorboy's Fish Restaurant
} over in Arkansas
}
}         - they stand in line all night to buy the latest Windows
} version for $99.00, when they could get the same thing FREE by simply
} smashing their monitor and then jamming their hand into the mass of
} broken glass and grabbing the power cable where it attaches to the
} cooling fan
}
}         - they pay $7.50 to go see "Titanic" when they could have
} a much better time, for FREE, by checking "A Night To Remember"
} from their public library and read it while taking a cold shower
}
}         - they pay $85.00 per hour to talk to a psychiatrist when
} there are churches (available FREE of charge) on practically every
} block
}
}         - they pay hundreds of dollars a year to United Way when
} they could volunteer FREE of charge to work at a local homeless
} shelter or battered women's shelter
}
}         - they spend tens of thousands of dollars sending their
} children to Ivy League universities to gain knowledge when they
} could get all the wisdom they can stand by simply asking the Oracle
} FREE... um...
}
} You owe the Oracle a case of Wild Turkey, a box of good Havana cigars,
} a Saville Row bespoken suit, a steak dinner at Trader Vic's and the
} home telephone number of Monica whatshername.


980-10    (2ddvr dist, 3.8 mean)
Selected-By: Rich McGee <rmcgee@wiley.csusb.edu>

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

> Does the president have any openings for an intern?  If so, what are
> the qualifications?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} The great John F Kennedy once said: "Ask not what your country can do
} for you, but what you can do for your country!"
}
} Therefore, the oracle suggests you ask yourself a simple question. Do
} you have any openings available for the President?
}
} You owe the oracle exclusive rights to your post-scandal interview.


985-05    (3alrv dist, 3.8 mean)
Selected-By: "Michael A. Atkinson" <m-atkinson@nwu.edu>

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

> In a grudge match between Hanson and the Spice Girls, who would win?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Humankind.


998-06    (b7cuD dist, 3.8 mean)
Selected-By: "Forbes, Michael Scott (Scott)" <trans@lucent.com>

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

> Hey there Orrie, let's write a story together!
>
> I'll go first.
>
> "Once upon a time, there was a bright red Siamese fighting fish..."
>
> Your turn!

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Please.  You call that a beginning?  <crumple crumple>  Let's try this:
}
}                                 MOBY DORK
}
} Call me Fishmeal.  Some years ago--never mind how long precisely --
} having little or no sense in my head, and nothing particular to
} interest me at work, I thought I would surf about a little and see the
} newsgroups of the world.
}
} There I met up with Og, a huge man of a primitive sort who took a
} liking to me and soon became so firmly attached to me that I could not
} shake him even when I wanted to.  We signed aboard a promising little
} newsgroup known as The R.h.o.d. in search of adventure.
}
} And what a crew we had fallen in with!  The chief mate was a lively man
} named Zadoc, who drank only overpriced coffee from Seattle.  Og was
} delighted to find a pair of fellow spiky club carriers named Thag and
} Zog. Various shady characters busied themselves, bustling back and
} forth with askmes and tellmes.  And a clan of dark, brooding men known
} only as the Priesthood kept watch over us all.
}
} After a good while of surfing together, with no purpose apparent, I
} asked of the good chief mate where we were bound.  "We have a mission,"
} says he, sipping of his mocha latte, "to go where our captain decrees."
}
} "This lot has a captain?" says I, not a little surprised.
}
} "Aye," says Zadoc grimly.  "Have ye not noticed the thing that
} interests us all more than anything else?"
}
} "You must be speaking of Siamese fighting fish," I says with a chuckle.
} His icy glare alerts me that it is no laughing matter.
}
} "Aye, and not just any Siamese fighting fish, lad," says Zadoc.  "We
} surf for the bright red Siamese fighting fish!"
}
} "Bright red!" says I.  "That fish is but a legend!"
}
} "Nay, not a legend!  I have seen it, and it is, milligram for
} milligram, the fiercest creature on the planet.  The captain wants --"
}
} But I was not to hear yet what the captain wanted, for at that moment,
} he made his presence known.  He was a dark and incomprehensible man, a
} man feared and avoided, known only as The Oracle.  With a slow and
} seething stride he approached the crew, but seemed to look through us
} and beyond to a far place where his unfathomable anger was focused.
}
} "Have ye seen the bright red Siamese fighting fish?" he called to
} Zadoc.
}
} "N-no, captain!" cried Zadoc, suddenly subservient, his latte spilling
} into his lap.
}
} The Oracle's face began to darken in fury, and the crew and Priesthood
} recoiled in terror.  As The Oracle lifted his hand, every man of us
} cried out, and then, suddenly -- the cabin door burst open and a
} gorgeous blonde in a pink bikini bounced down the deck to stand beside
} him.
}
} "Oh, Orrie!" she squeals.  "This is so romantic!  What a wonderful
} idea!" She turns to Zadoc and tweaks his ear playfully. "Mr. Zadoc,
} what about that bright red Siamese fighting fish?"
}
} "Hmm?" says Zadoc.
}
} "The fish is not here!" thunders the Oracle.  "The crew will continue
} to search night and day, with every muscle in their blasted bodies, as
} if their very lives depended on it!  Now, Lisa, come with me, and we'll
} we'll visit the buffet and do a little sunbathing."
}
} "Cool!" coos Lisa, and accompanies the Oracle back up the deck.
}
} "Who was that?" says I, when the cruising couple passes out of sight.
}
} "Hmm?" says Zadoc.  "Oh!  Her!  That was Lisa."  He says her name as if
} waking from a dream.  "She it was that inspired this voyage."
}
} "How so?"
}
} ... "One day, upon perusing the happenings aboard The R.h.o.d., she
} heard the sad request of a small child.  It seems that Alex Kelly,
} whose father of course owns a very famous Siamese fighting fish, had
} herself obtained a similar fish, and, in the way of young girls,
} earnestly desired that hers might become even more famous than her
} father's.  Lisa, hearing the dream of young Alex, took it upon herself
} to, er, persuade the Oracle to search for a bright red Siamese fighting
} fish whose photo they might take, thus scanning it into a merry JPEG
} file, which could then be posted on the Internet, whereby Alex's fish
} might have its own web page, and thus, satisfy her dream (Alex's, not
} the fish's) of becoming more famous than her father's fish."
}
} "I see!" says I, not completely certain that I did, but unwilling to
} hear the tale explained in greater depth.  "And that is why we now hunt
} for--"
}
} "The bright red Siamese fighting fish!" cried the lookout.  "Off the
} port bow!"  He waved wildly to indicate the fierce creature.
}
} At once the crew rushed to the gunwale to catch a glimpse.  Then, as
} one, our attention was drawn to the rear deck as the Oracle, wiping
} suntan lotion from his hands, strode purposefully forward.  As if by
} magic, a space cleared from before him as he approached.  Without a
} word, he stood steadfast and drew slowly from its scabbard a camera
} with a telephoto lens.
}
} "Bearings, Mr. Zadoc!" the Oracle shouted.
}
} "Bright red Siamese fighting fish at 280 degrees, captain!  It's in
} the, um, small fishbowl next to the lamp."
}
} Slowly, unerringly, the Oracle raised the camera, patiently focusing
} and re-focusing, aligning the sights with infinite care.  Time and
} nature seemed to stand still as we all watched him, standing, waiting
} for the perfect moment.  As if it were the heart of the universe at the
} very moment of creation, we watched his shutter finger close, down,
} down, down until with a resounding click, the photograph was taken, and
} the instant was over.
}
} "Get this developed," muttered the Oracle, tossing the camera to Zadoc
} and turning back up the deck.  "Scan it, slap it on a web page, and
} make sure Lisa can find it for a couple of days.  Let's get out of
} here."  Then, with a slam of his door, he was gone.
}
} "Wait a minute!" says I.  "What about the foreshadowing of death and
} evil? What about the heavy hand of fate?  What about the final battle?
} What about the ultimate defeat of the Oracle?"
}
} With a gasp, the others drew back from me.  Before I could comprehend
} what was at work, the door flew open again and I was zotted by a burst
} of energy until I was no more than a crisp black spot on the deck.
} Without a word, the Oracle once again closed his door, and the crew
} swept my ashes overboard.  And now you know why they call me Fishmeal.
}
} You owe the Oracle the movie rights.


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