Home Page Internet Oracle


About Me




Radio Shows

Travel Narratives

Internet Oracle


TV Guide


Contact Me

Oracularities from Digests 800-899

Danger...inside joke894-06 (Made the "Best of the Oracularities")

Note: I spent longer on this answer than any other (most of it searching the archives for "clips" of the nominees).

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

> Oh most wise and grave Oracle, whose macros I am not fit to debug, what
> are the nominees in tonights Oraculary Awards? Will there be a musical
> number?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} ANNOUNCER: Live, from the Stephen Kinzler pavilion in Bloomington,
} Indiana, it's the 69th Annual Oraculary Awards!  Brought to you by
} Microsoft: responsible for more Oracle humor than every other software
} manufacturer combined!  By the U.S. Postal Service:  hey, anyone
} remember us?!  And by Oracle:  we're sorry people think
} rec.humor.oracle has something to do with us!  Now, here's your host,
} Billy Crystal!
} [Applause turns to laughter as Billy walks out wearing a woodchuck
} suit, holding several logs.]
} BILLY:  All right, let's get this decided once and for all!  [Throws a
} log across the stage]  One!  [Throws another log]  Two!
} [Uproarious laughter.  Suddenly, fireworks go off loudly.  Billy lies
} prone on the stage.]
} BOOMING VOICE:  You have just been zotted.  And you owe the Oracle...a
} great awards show.
} [Billy jumps up.]
} BILLY:  Oh, is that all?  That's no problem, big guy.  Welcome to the
} 69th Annual Oraculary Awards, where the question on everyone's mind is:
}  Who will win the Orrie?  Ladies and gentlemen, the Oraculary Awards
} Dancers!
} [Applause.  Eight hundred ninety-three dancers, each one representing
} an Oracularities Digest, come out and perform a truly amazing dance
} number during the following song.]
} Who will win?
} Who will win?
} Who will win?
} It's Oraculary Awards time again,
} Time for us to ask who will win,
} Who out there will be given the honor?
} It's time to let the show begin!
} ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, Bill Gates!
} BILL (solo):  They never stop laughing about me,
} Those incarnations that I adore,
} All those jokes about me just don't matter,
} 'Cause I'm worth a billion or four.
} [Applause.]
} ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, Canter & Siegel!
} CANTER:  They must have forgotten about us!
} SIEGEL:  Well, that really wasn't so hard.
} CANTER:  Because we've been kicked off the Internet!
} BOTH:  Anyone need a green card?
} [The audience boos.  The song continues.]
} ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, the Oracle Priests!
} ALL:  They locked us in a room with a computer,
} And the modem's always humming,
} They say we can come out
} When the questions run out
} OTIS VILES (solo):  But they just keep on coming!
} [Applause.]
} It's Oraculary Awards time again,
} Hearts pound and throats are knotted,
} As everyone wonders who will win,
} And wonders who will be zotted.
} Who will win?
} Who will win?
} Who...will...win?
} [Thunderous applause.  Billy Crystal returns.]
} BILLY:  And our first award of the evening is, as always, Best Starring
} Performance in an Oracularity.  To present the award are head Oracle
} priest Zadoc, and head Oracle girlfriend Lisa.
} [Applause.  Zadoc and Lisa walk to the podium.]
} ZADOC:  You know, Lisa, it's surprising that we're giving this award
} together.
} LISA:  How's that, Zadoc?
} ZADOC:  Because our relationship with the Oracle is so different.  When
} he calls my name, it's usually for punishment.  But when he calls your
} name, it's usually for pleasure.
} LISA:  I wouldn't be too sure about it not being for punishment, Zadoc.
} [Laughter.]
} ZADOC:  The nominees for Best Starring Performance in an Oracularity
} are:
} LISA:  Bill Gates, 861-09!
} > That's pretty amazing!  Nobody at the whole company has either sent
} > or received e-mail for the last 20 minutes!
} [Applause.]
} ZADOC:  John Hallmark, 889-01!
} > Oh Oracle most wise, why is there such a long time between holidays?
} [Applause.]
} LISA:  Zadoc, 883-04!
} } Yes Master. Here you are.
} [Applause.]
} ZADOC:  Lisa, 789-03!
} }  Senator Packwood, when are you going to get it through your
} }  skull that 'Cease and desist' is not a term of affection?
} [Applause.]
} LISA:  And finally, the Internet Oracle, 872-04!
} } Oh, well, time to walk the woodchuck.
} [Thunderous applause.]
} ZADOC:  And the Orrie goes to...[opens envelope]...the Internet Oracle,
} 872-04!
} [The band plays "Theme from 872-04."  The audience gives the Oracle a
} standing ovation as he walks slowly up to the stage.  He embraces Lisa
} and completely ignores Zadoc.]
} ORACLE:  Oh, yeah!  Hey, what is this, 69 in a row?  Well, that's what
} happens when you know who the voters are and have the power to zot
} them. Anyway, I have a few people I'd like to thank.  First of all, of
} course, the lovely Lisa for standing behind me in every way possible.
} I'm sorry you didn't win, honey, but at least we have this to put on
} the mantel.  And I'd like to thank the Association of Computer Monitor
} Manufacturers for making my words look so good all these years.  And I
} can't forget...
} [The band starts playing.  Orrie looks surprised.]
} BILLY CRYSTAL:  That's what happens when you go past the
} 7-and-a-half-line limit with your acceptance speech.  Well, folks,
} that's the 69th Annual Oraculary awards.  Congratulations to our
} winner, and...AWK!
} [Billy falls over.]
} ORACLE:  And this time, it's a real zot, you Shecky Greene wannabe.  As
} I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted...
} ANNOUNCER:  Costumes provided by Acme Taxidermy of Beverly Hills.  This
} has been an Internet Oracle production, in association with An
} Incarnation With a Lot of Time on His Hands, Incorporated.  Stay tuned
} for...AWK!
} [The announcer falls out of his booth.]
} ORACLE:  I was going to say, that I can't forget Zadoc, who took on
} many of the production responsibilities for me this year.  But it seems
} that he's done QUITE a poor job.  Start running, Zadoc!
} ZADOC [offstage]:  I'm already out the door.........


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

> Bill Gates is a father?  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Oh, you haven't heard?  After the release of Microsoft's biggest
} technology advance yet, Bill Gates will be known as "The Father of His
} Country," usurping that other guy, who never even used a Microsoft
} product, much less a computer.
} Next year, Microsoft is coming out with Constitution98 (formerly known
} by the code name "Philadelphia").  Constitution98 features:
} * Dull Preamble replaced by startup screen featuring picture of amber
} waves of grain, oceans white with foam, and purple mountain majesties.
} * Complete "drag-and-drop" support, allowing relevant portions of
} Supreme Court decisions to be easily inserted.
} * Point-and-click access to Cabinet departments.
} * The "Congressional Wizard" greatly simplifies the process necessary
} for a bill to become law.
} * Easy conversions to and from operating systems that are outdated but
} still in use elsewhere, such as MagnaCarta and Iron Fist 4.0.
} * President replaced by "Task Manager" to keep the system running
} smoothly; the population is polled every 5 nanoseconds to determine
} which task runs in the foreground (Education Control Panel, Overseas
} Military Extension, and so on).
} * Amendments available free to registered users at the National
} Archives (www.microsoft.com).
} And, thanks to the "Three-Fifths Compromise," Constitution98 will take
} up only three-fifths of the space in the Library of Congress.
} You owe the Oracle a one-way ticket to Canada.

876-09 (Made the "Best of the Oracularities")

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

> Oh Oracle most wise, what, exactly, must be done for the United States
> to launch atomic missles?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Hmmm...well, I guess I'll assume you're asking this question for purely
} academic reasons, not for malicious intent.  Here goes:
} 1. The President consults with his advisors.
} 2. Following the meeting, his advisors race to the phone in an effort
} to be first to call in to "Larry King Live" and claim they, personally,
} had absolutely nothing to do with it.
} 3. The President asks the Air Force officer who always follows him
} around to open the locked briefcase carrying the authentication codes.
} 4. Several moments of consternation when the Air Force officer is
} nowhere to be found.
} 5. The Air Force officer returns from the restroom.
} 6. The briefcase is opened.
} 7. The President picks up the phone and presses the speed-dial button
} for Strategic Air Command headquarters in Nebraska.
} 8. The President reads the authentication codes, then repeats them.
} 9. The guy at Domino's tells him he pressed the wrong speed-dial button
} again.
} 10. Annoyed, the President calls Directory Assistance to get the SAC
} secret phone number.
} 11. The Directory Assistance operator tells the President that the part
} of Nebraska that contains SAC headquarters has been split off into
} another area code, so he'll have to call Directory Assistance for that
} area code.
} 12. Just as the President is about to call the whole thing off, SAC
} calls him because they were concerned about something they just saw on
} "Larry King Live."
} 13. See Step 8.
} 14. SAC realizes that the missiles aren't pointing in the right
} direction, and it will take over 2 hours to aim them correctly.
} 15. They try to call the President back, but he's busy activating the
} Emergency Broadcast System.
} 16. NBC refuses to interrupt "Must See TV" for something as trivial as
} nuclear war.  ABC and CBS also refuse because they need all the ratings
} they can get.  UPN agrees to activate the EBS, but only if the
} President will call back on a night when they actually have some
} programming (Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday).
} 17. Finally, the President calls the Home Shopping Network, which
} points out to him that the Emergency Broadcast System was just recently
} replaced by the Emergency Alert System, which has a completely
} different procedure for Presidential activation.
} 18. The President throws up his hands and tries to call SAC back to
} cancel the whole thing, but gets a busy signal because SAC is still
} trying to call him.
} 19. The President gets very nervous and decides to take off for his
} secret hideout in Virginia.
} 20. SAC finally gets through to the Oval Office, and gets the Vice
} President, who becomes enraged at the fact that the President never
} tells him anything.  He tells them to just forget about it.
} 21. Larry King chalks the whole thing up to prank phone callers and
} gets on with his hard-hitting interview of Mary Tyler Moore.
} 22. Three days later, the President pokes his head out the door of the
} secret hideout.  Finding the world still there, he spends the
} helicopter ride back to the White House thinking up a good excuse to
} tell the First Lady.
} 23. The House of Representatives launches an ethics investigation.
} There are some who say we must remain forever vigilant to make sure
} this scenario never occurs.  There are others who say this scenario has
} already occurred.  Several times.
} You owe the Oracle some iodine pills and a lead-lined jacket.


Note: I have a soft spot in my heart for this Oracularity. After I finished writing it, and sent it off, I asked [email protected] for another question a few minutes later. The question I got was, "Who wrote the wonderful answer I just received (it concerned keyboards and operating systems)?"

I had had things make my day before, but this made my month, at least. I passed up that question because I thought it would be funnier if someone else answered it...and their answer also made it into Digest #873.

This was also my first appearance in the Oracularities Digest after I had graduated college and lost my Internet access; after I got a new account and started writing answers again, it took me a while to get back into the swing of things.

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

>Oracle most wonderful,
>Why is it that when I hit the Escape key on my computer keybooard,
>I *don't* get transported to a world where Scheme is the programming
>language of choice, my wrists don't hurt, I can get a date for Saturday
>night, and eating chocolate cookie dough ice cream doesn't make you fat?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Actually, "ESC" doesn't stand for "escape." That's just a common
} misconception. Here's how it came about.
} The first computer with a keyboard, the Dohrstop 2000 (named for its
} inventor, Gerald Dohrstop), took its keyboard from an Olympia manual
} typewriter. However, the operating system used on the Dohrstop
} ("DOS," the Dohrstop Operating System) required that subtraction
} operands be enclosed in brackets, which were not to be found on the
} typewriter keyboard.
} However, there was a key just to the right of the "P"...on the
} typewriter, it produced the fractions "1/2" or, when shifted,
} "1/4." The Dohrstop character set didn't include either of these
} fractions--they would have been unreadable at the small font size
} necessitated by the tiny amount of video RAM (none, actually). And so
} that key became the left bracket or, when shifted, the right bracket.
} It wasn't until two days later that a friend of Gerald Dohrstop's,
} Todd Nurter, discovered the fatal flaw in the Dohrstop 2000: there
} was no way to move the blinking square that showed the text insertion
} point (this item would not be named until a few years later, when
} Frank Cursor gave it its familiar name of "insertion point") to the
} next line down. This had always been accomplished, on typewriters, by
} moving the carriage that held the paper. Clearly this wouldn't work
} on computers, which didn't have carriages. Nurter had a brainstorm:
} a completely new key, never before seen on any sort of keyboard,
} which would accomplish this feat. After a few trials and errors,
} Nurter settled on a location for this key: just to the right of
} the apostrophe/quotation mark key. Nurter also named this key after
} himself, although in the form of an anagram. Nurter thought the Nurter
} 740 would revolutionize computing--however, at first, the only people
} who were really interested were typewriter manufacturers, who used
} Nurter's "Return" key on a brand new kind of typewriter: the electric.
} The major problem with the Return key was that it stuck out awkwardly
} on the right side of the keyboard. Clearly, something would have
} to be done about it, and the person to do it was Deidre Leit, an
} early female computing pioneer, who decided the Return key needed a
} companion, a key which would move the insertion point to the left.
} As Frank Nurter had done with his key, she named this key after
} herself--her last name and first inital, actually. Gerald Dohrstop,
} who was working on his Dohrstop 3000, paid her for the rights to use
} the D. Leit key.
} Dohrstop purchased a new typewriter, intending to use its keyboard
} for the Dohrstop 3000. He added the D. Leit key, but was then
} short a key for the row between the Return key and the D. Leit key.
} He went back to the brackets from the Dohrstop 3000, but this time,
} added a new key to the right of his original bracket key. Now there
} was one key for the left bracket, and another for the right bracket.
} Meanwhile, however, the typewriter manufacturers had struck back
} against the computer threat by adding another key--to the left of
} the 1, they had added a key that produced the fraction "3/4" or,
} when shifted, the symbol for "degrees." As with "1/2" and "1/4,"
} neither of these would work correctly with Dohrstop's character set,
} so he merely removed that key.
} Three days later, Wayne Macintosh began advertising his new "Macintosh
} LC," which meant "Lotsa Characters." The main selling point was 
} that his keyboard was just like Dohrstop's, with the addition of
} some special, curly brackets on the keys above the regular brackets.
} These curly brackets were necessary to "brace" certain equations in
} Macintosh's operating system.
} (Since this was the second time a computer made by Dohrstop had become
} obsolete in just a few days after its introduction, he gave up the
} computer business and turned his attention to the hardware industry;
} not only is his name synonymous with computer equipment that becomes
} obsolete quickly, he also gave his name to a very common piece of
} hardware found in many homes around the world.)
} At any rate, this operating system didn't have a name until Macintosh
} came out with the LC II, which introduced a new feature added to
} the D. Leit key--it not only moved the insertion point to the left,
} it erased the character that was in the way. Macintosh changed the
} spelling of the key and began advertising his computer by asking
} the question "What Interface Now Deletes Out Weird Spellings?"
} His operating system became known by the initials of this question
} that was on every American's lips for a time.
} But getting back to your original question...the original Macintosh
} LC had the space at the upper left of the keyboard filled with what
} looked like another key--but wasn't--that read "ESC," an acronym for
} "Extended Set of Characters." It became common among Macintosh users
} to, whenever a program quit working (since the first program with a
} propensity to do this was a flight simulator, this became known as
} a "crash"), to jab at the "ESC" and complain that, if it weren't for
} the extended set of characters, the program would still be working.
} It took Frank Cursor, after returning to his hometown of Pittsfield,
} Massachusetts, to finally make the "ESC" what it is today--on
} his Pittsfield Cursor computer (or "PC"), in a subtle jab at the
} Macintosh computer, he made the "ESC" an actual key that would let 
} users get out of a program whenever they wanted, before it crashed.
} ("Which of course it won't," he assured PC buyers.)
} It wasn't long before the PC was outselling the Macintosh, a lead
} it would never relinquish, despite gimmicks by Wayne Macintosh such
} as prominently labeling one model the "Macintosh IIsi" (Immoral,
} Indecent Stuff Inside) and including a live animal for the kids to play
} with in each computer box (sometimes a gerbil, sometimes a hamster,
} usually a mouse). Finally, in desperation, Macintosh made the "ESC"
} on his keyboards into a real key, just as Cursor had done--but added
} an "option" key, and required option and ESC to be used together
} to quit a program, since the user would get a message giving him
} or her the option of quitting the program or not at that point,
} something he thought would give him an advantage over Cursor's PC.
} It didn't, of course, and Macintosh sold the rights to his computers
} to the Beatles' record company.
} The PC had turned many ordinary citizens into computer users, who
} didn't remember the original Macintosh meaning of the "ESC," so they
} just assumed it stood for "escape," since they could use it to escape
} from whatever program was in progress.
} Now, aren't you glad you didn't ask about the "F" keys? (Oh, all
} right. In brief, there was an early music program for the PC that
} had a "jukebox" mode requiring the purchase of a keyboard add-on.
} F1 played "Your Cheatin' Heart," F2 played "Good Vibrations," and
} so on.)
} You owe the Oracle a keyboard with a Zot key.

Danger...inside joke872-04

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

>What happens if I press this switch?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} The one marked "Alternate Universe?" It couldn't do any harm...why
} don't you go ahead and try?
} Hmmm, looks like it didn't do anything. Must not be hooked up.
} Oh, well, time to walk the woodchuck.
} The Oracle owes you a million dollars.

Danger...inside joke825-04

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

> I love him, yeah, yeah, yeah
> I love him, yeah, yeah, yeah
> I love him, yeah, yeah, yeah
> But does he love me?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} (from the album "A Hard Night's Zot")
} I'd zot you in the dark of night
} And in the light of day
} I've never missed a supplicant
} So you'd better start to pray.
} I can only zot you one time
} I can't zot you twice.
} Can't zot you twice
} Can't zot you twice
} Can't zot you twice
} Can't zot you twice.
} If I zot you once, my dear
} It'll give me such a thrill
} But if I zot you twice, my dear
} That's what I call overkill.
} I can only zot you one time
} I can't zot you twice.
} (Repeat chorus)
} ------------------------------------------------------------------------
} (single version)
} How does it feel to be
} One of the supplicant
} Whiners?
} Thinking your song's original
} Blissful in what you thought
} And you've forgotten to grovel
} Now I say taste my ZOT!
} You're a crispy critter
} You're a crispy critter
} You've been violently squashed flat,
} At least you didn't ask about the woodchucks
} Thank God for that
} Thank God for that
} ------------------------------------------------------------------------
} (from the album "Sgt. Oracle's Lonely Band of Priests")
} I read a question on my screen
} About a lonely girl who fell in love
} And though the question was okay
} I had to get my sta-aff
} I couldn't help but la-augh
} She had forgotten to grovel
} Perhaps she was just a clueless newbie
} But she had taken out her sig
} And so I realized
} I was going to have to zot yet another supplicant
} I see the question in my mind
} No grovel, does he love me, I love him
} A mortal might let it go by
} But I have zots to lob
} And that is my job
} I need to zot this one
} Hovered
} Over land
} Held the staff in my right hand
} Found the supplicant
} And raised my arms
} About to harm someone who didn't grovel
} Lightning flashed
} And thunder roared
} This never leaves me bored
} Swung my arms out wide and finished it
} And somebody else can take care of the ash
} I heard a question yesterday
} The lovely Lisa read it out to me
} And though she begged me not to zot
} My ears were burning hot
} So I grabbed my staff and then I let loose with a deadly shot
} I need to zot...this...one...
} (Orchestra crescendo, piano chord that fades out for several minutes)
} ------------------------------------------------------------------------
} These songs and many more are on the new "Oracle Anthology 2,"
} available wherever fine Internet Oracle products are sold.  (And
} remember, all Usenet Oracle merchandise is at least 40% off until we
} empty the warehouse.)


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

> O mighty Oracle, whose sun always shines and whose sheets are always
> April fresh...
> Who is your pick to win this year's Superbowl?  I would really like to
> know so I could make an, um...investment.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} The Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
} Stop laughing.  Bet on them to win Super Bowl XXX (at ONE QUADRILLION
} to 1 odds).  But then save your receipt.  Here's what's going to
} happen.
} Jan. 28--The Dallas Cowboys beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 41-17.
} Jan. 29--Dallas is discovered to have gone $83 million over the salary
} cap (mainly as a result of paying Deion Sanders both $15 million and
} $20 million in a case of life imitating pizza commercials), and are
} disqualified.  Pittsburgh is declared the NFL champion.
} Jan. 30--The 14 other NFC teams file a grievance, complaining that an
} NFC team was destined to win the Super Bowl, since they ALWAYS win the
} Super Bowl, and it doesn't matter that Pittsburgh was one of the 1966
} NFL teams, they're in the AFC now and any NFC team can always beat any
} AFC team in the Super Bowl.
} Jan. 31--In an unusual move, the NFL announces Super Bowl XXX.V will be
} held instead of the Pro Bowl in Hawaii.  It will feature the NFC
} runner-up Green Bay Packers against another 1966 NFL team, the
} Cleveland Browns.
} Feb. 4--Green Bay wins Super Bowl XXX.V by forfeit when the Cleveland
} Browns completely fail to show up for the game.  It turns out they
} completed their long-threatened move to Baltimore without even leaving
} a forwarding address.
} Feb. 7--The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announce a move to Cleveland.
} Feb. 8--A federal judge rules that the name "Cleveland Browns" belongs
} to the city of Cleveland.
} Feb. 9--The NFL rules that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, soon to be the
} Cleveland Browns, will play Green Bay in Super Bowl XXX.VI, which
} everyone hopes will be the last one until next season.
} Feb. 11--Tampa Bay/Cleveland (still playing as the Buccaneers) and
} Green Bay tie 3-3 in Super Bowl XXX.VI, henceforth known as "The Worst
} Football Game Ever."  It goes to quintuple overtime, lasting until 2:57
} A.M., until everyone just gets tired and agree to look up the
} tiebreaker rules in the morning.
} Feb. 12--The never-before-used tiebreaker rule for this situation
} states that the previous meeting of the two teams will be used to
} decide the winner.  In this case, Tampa Bay beat Green Bay 13-10 in
} overtime on December 10.  Tampa Bay is declared the Super Bowl XXX
} champion.
} Feb. 13--The Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers announce that
} they sold 45,000 seat deposits for a new stadium in the last 24 hours
} and are staying in Tampa Bay.
} So, as you can see, this is truly a lesson that anything can happen in
} the world of sports.  My advice is to bet $100 on Tampa Bay, so as of
} February 13, you'll have all the money in the world, which should be
} just about enough for a luxury box at the new Tampa Stadium.
} You owe this long-suffering Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, a.k.a. The
} Oracle, a wild-card playoff berth next season.  At least.

Back to Top

Page Last Updated: May 26, 1999