Oracularities from Digests 800-899
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.
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.
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.
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: } CAN'T ZOT YOU TWICE } (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) } ------------------------------------------------------------------------ } YOU'RE A CRISPY CRITTER } (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 } ------------------------------------------------------------------------ } A ZOT IN THE LIFE } (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.
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Page Last Updated: May 26, 1999