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Oracularities from Digests 900-999

Danger...inside joke994-06

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

> Oh great and mighty Oracle, who often gives the funniest answers to he
> least specific questions:
> What?
> Where?
> How?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

}    The Oracularity you are about to read is true.  Only the names have
} been changed to protect the incarnation.
}                 D  R  A  G  N  E  T  :  1  9  9  8
}    Tuesday, February 3rd.  A cool and cloudy day in Los Angeles.  But
} we were in Bloomington, Indiana.  We were working the night watch out
} of Network Systems.  My partner is Frank Gannon.  My name is Oracle.
} Sgt. Joe Oracle.  I carry a badge.
}    We had just finished up the paperwork on our previous case, in which
} we had finally nabbed the Midnight Queue Drainer.
}    "It's too bad he had to be released on a technicality like that."
}    "That's right.  When are they going to make draining the queue
} illegal?" "Someday, Frank, someday."
}    Capt. Kinzler came by our desk with a thick file folder.  "We've
} been getting all sorts of complaints about plagiarism on the part of
} Oracular incarnations.  You name it, if it's copyrighted, they've
} quoted from it. Everything from science fiction television shows
} to...well, to half-hour televised dramatizations of actual police
} cases."
}    I took the top sheet of paper out of the folder.  It was a Top Ten
} list.   "They're even plagiarizing late-night talk show hosts!  There
} are some sick people out there.  Frank, let's roll."
}    The intelligence unit suggested we start at the offices of the Juno
} e-mail service, which had been acquiring a bad reputation recently.
} They were located in the warehouse district on the east side of town.
}    We spoke to the receptionist.  "Ma'am, you wouldn't know anything
} about any plagiarism going on here?"
}    "I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about."
}    "Oh?  Tell me, what's behind that door?"
}    "Absolutely nothing."
}    "Can you show us?"
}    "I'm afraid I can't do that."
}    "Let's put it this way.  We can do it the easy way, and you show us
} now, or we can do it the hard way, and you show us later, when we come
} back with a search warrant."
}    "What?"
}    At that moment, a deliveryman from Indiana Vending came out with
} several empty cases of pop.  Frank took advantage of the situation to
} stick his foot in the door, preventing it from closing and allowing me
} to look inside.
}    "Monkeys!"
}    "Sitting at little computer terminals, Joe!"
}    "There must be a thousand of them, Frank!"
}    The receptionist broke down in tears.  "That's right!  We're trying
} to see if a thousand monkeys sitting at a thousand computer terminals
} can eventually write a coherent e-mail!  That's all Juno is, I swear!"
}    I picked up a hard copy of their output.  "zot!  you owe the oracle
} xeop skflu," it read.
}    "Well, most of these letters are used in the latest John Grisham
} novel, but that's kind of a tenuous case for plagiarism.  But Frank,
} take her name and phone number in case we need to talk to her later.
} Ma'am, don't leave the county for 30 days."
}    We also had reason to suspect the Hotmail e-mail service.  They were
} located in the warehouse district on the west side of the country.
}    I nudged Frank as we entered the lobby.  There was a sign hanging up
} that read, "Hotmail...Now a Proud Microsoft Affiliate!"
}    "May I help you?" asked the receptionist.
}    "No, ma'am, never mind.  Nobody associated with Microsoft could be
} doing anything illegal."
}    It was getting late.  Frank suggested we stop for coffee.  I agreed.
} Frank pulled into the parking lot of a bookstore.
}    "This isn't a coffee shop."
}    "My son told me about this place.  They have coffee."
}    "A bookstore with coffee?  What will they think of next?"
}    We went to the counter of the coffee section and ordered coffee.
} The young man behind the counter looked at us suspiciously.
}    "It's been a long time since anyone's ordered a plain, black coffee.
} Are you sure you don't want mocha, or cappucino, or something like
} that?"
}    "We'll ask the questions around here, mister!"
}    "Geez, sorry!"
}    As he prepared our coffees, Frank and I stood at the counter and
} looked around the store.
}    "Say, that video section over there," Frank asked.  "What are your
} biggest sellers?"
}    "Oh, probably the 'Star Trek' TV episodes."
}    Frank and I exchanged a meaningful, eyebrow-raised glance.
}    "And the music section," I asked.  "What are your biggest sellers?"
}    "The Beatles CD's, I think.  Here's your coffees."
}    "We'll drink them on the way down to the station with you.  Frank,
} cuff him."
}    "What?"
}    "You're under arrest for being an accessory to plagiarism.  You have
} the right to remain silent.  Anything you say can and will be used
} against you in a court of law.  You have the right to have an attorney
} present during questioning.  If you cannot afford an attorney, one will
} be provided for you at no charge.  Do you understand your rights as I
} have told them to you?"
}    "I didn't do nothing!"
}    "Do you understand your rights?!"
}    "Yes, yes, I understand my rights!  Mr. Scott, can you cover the
} counter for me for a while?"
}    Frank and I exchanged another meaningful, eyebrow-raised glance.
}    "The name 'Mr. Scott' is the property of Paramount Pictures,
} mister."
}    "What?  My manager's name is Mr. Scott!  Mr. Leonard
} Scott!" "And the name 'Leonard' is the property of Mr. Bill Cosby!
} Just because a movie doesn't do well at the box office doesn't mean you
} can just quote from it as you please!  You need to pay Mr. Cosby a
} royalty if you're going to do that again!"
}    "What are you talking about?"
}    "You'd better stop talking, young man.  You're in a heap of trouble
} already."
}    Later, Capt. Kinzler came by to congratulate us.  "Congratulations,
} gentlemen.  You found out the what, where, and how of all this
} plagiarism that's been going on."
}    "That's right," I said.  "Now that the ringleader is in jail and the
} plagiarism threat is ended, we'll have a renaissance of original
} thought in the Oracularities Digests, the likes of which hasn't been
} seen since...dare I say it?  Digest Number 1."
}    Capt. Kinzler nodded.  "And this is the right time for it, with the
} numbers about to hit 1000."
}    The three of us exchanged a meaningful, eyebrow-raised glance.
}    On April 13th, trial was held in State of Indiana Superior Court, in
} and for the county of Monroe.  In a moment, the results of that trial.
}    Jason Morris was convicted of being an accessory to plagiarism
} across a computer network.  He was remanded to the custody of Leonard
} Scott, his manager at Borders.


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

> Dear and wise oracle for which to find I travelled lots of kilograms!
> Please answer me this very simple question:
> Now that there's the posibillity of suitcase nukes being used by
> terrorists - which city is going to be the first to be nuked?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Either Atlanta or Denver, since, thanks to the airlines, that's where
} the suitcases are going to end up.
} You owe the Oracle 20,000 frequent flyer miles.


Note: I liked this answer a lot more than the voters did. (It got a below-average 2.9 out of 5.) But I actually got to effortlessly slide in some true facts ("David Seville" really was a pseudonym for Chipmunks creator Ross Bagdasarian, for example). Maybe people just thought it was too long. I could have gone on much longer.

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

> O great Oracle,
>     Who can see the far side of the moon,
>     Who can count the spelling mistakes in the dictionary,
>     Who can sleep through sex education,
> Hear now this pitiful supplicant
>     unworthy to bathe you with my tongue,
>     unable to read a menu without assistance.
> Please answer my feeble questions:
> How many light bulbs does it take to change a wet baby?
> How many chipmonks does it take to change a wet chipmonk?
> Why didn't Alvin and the Chipmonks ever do live concerts?  Or Bugs
> Bunny?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} It's interesting you ask me that second-to-last question, because I've
} just finished writing the liner notes for a six-CD box set to be
} released later this year, "Walla Walla Bing Bang:  40 Years of the
} Chipmunks."  Here are some excerpts that may help to answer your
} question.
}    ...Fortunately, he was able to brake in time.  It was only then that
} he realized that the object which the chipmunk had run out in the
} middle of the road to get was a drumstick that had rolled away.
}    [Ross] Bagdasarian rubbed his eyes.  Here along this
} lightly-traveled gravel back road through the forests of Washington
} state, three chipmunks were performing an impromptu concert....
}    ...[H]e swore the studio crew to secrecy, opened the door, and in
} came Alvin, Simon, and Theodore.  The crew's mouths were agape.
}    And so Bagdasarian and the Chipmunks recorded "Witch Doctor," to be
} released with the credit "David Seville and the Chipmunks" (David
} Seville being Bagdasarian's stage name).  The record company, however,
} inadvertently dropped the "and the Chipmunks" portion of the credit,
} angering the Chipmunks, especially Alvin...
}    ..."We refuse to remain a stupid novelty act!"
}    The shouting match went on for almost half an hour, with Theodore
} serving as mediator in between bites of a ham sandwich.
}    Of course, it was pretty much hopeless for the Chipmunks.  With the
} ever-present threat of government scientists who would certainly want
} to examine the highly developed brains of these chipmunks, Bagdasarian
} had the upper hand.  Not only could he rule the Chipmunks with an iron
} fist, he could go on national television and radio programs and "joke"
} with the host about using real chipmunks to sing his novelty hits, with
} everyone "knowing" it was just vocal tracks speeded up through
} electronic trickery.
}    Bagdasarian also refused to let the Chipmunks play live.  Not so
} much because of the "threat" of government scientists, but because he
} was afraid that they would chuck the entire set list and play some of
} their own compositions....
}    ...The lawsuit having been successful, the Chipmunks were finally,
} after almost 35 years together, ready to perform live.  They chose to
} make their debut on an eagerly-anticipated, brand new talk show with a
} well-known comedian host.
}    They were scheduled two months in advance for the October 22, 1993,
} episode of "The Chevy Chase Show," promoting their new album of all
} original songs, "Acornucopia."
}    A critical and ratings disaster, "The Chevy Chase Show" aired its
} last episode on October 15th.
}    That same day, Alvin found out that "Off the Chipmunk End" was going
} to be released on the BMG Kids label.  Two years later, Simon told the
} story to BBC Radio One:
}    "He went ballistic, basically, after finding out that they were
} going to release it the same way they'd released previous Bagdasarian
} albums, on their 'Kids' label.
}    "He and Theodore drove to their offices, tore up their contract,
} and, took back the master tapes of the album.
}    "Then, on the way back, it happened."
}    "TANKER TRUCK COLLIDES WITH RUNAWAY CAR," read the headline in the
} Los Angeles Times.  Although the charred bodies of Alvin and Theodore
} were found in the wreckage, since very few people knew the "secret" of
} the Chipmunks, the entire situation ended up being stamped "unsolved"
} by the LAPD.  For example, the driver of the "runaway" car was never
} found; it was registered to "A. CHIPMUNK," which the police
} investigators took to be someone's joke that wasn't picked up on by the
} DMV.
}    Because of the fire, all that survives of "Acornucopia" are a few
} fragments of alternate takes of songs that were on one tape reel that
} was still in Simon's possession.
}    BMG sued Simon and the estates of Alvin and Theodore for not living
} up to their recording contract and won; in order to pay the award, Simon
} had to sell the rights to the Chipmunk name back to Bagdasarian, Jr.,
} who notified Simon that his singing and keyboard-playing skills would
} no longer be necessary.  Bagdasarian, Jr., put out a "Chipmunks" album
} of cover versions of country songs within six months, made by speeding
} up vocal tracks sung by Bagdasarian, Jr., himself.  It was the
} worst-selling Chipmunks album ever....
} [ end excerpt ]
} So there you go.  Those liner notes represent a lot of investigative
} work, so I'm very proud of them.
} By the way, the answers to your other questions are as follows:  none,
} if you're good enough to do it in the dark; only one, to hold the
} towel; and Bugs actually suffered from horrible stage fright when he
} had to act in front of real people, not just the crew making the
} cartoon.
} You owe the Oracle the license plate from Alvin's car ("THE MUNK").


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

> Oh Oracle most green,
> Got stuck behind a rusty pickup with blown rings today. It had a bumper
> sticker that said "jesus is the answer".
> So what was the question?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} "Who does the owner of this vehicle pray to every year at state
} inspection time?"
} You owe the Oracle a lube and filter job.

927-03 (Made the "Best of the Oracularities")

Note: This is the highest-scoring Oracularity I've written (4.0 out of 5.0). I guess there's a lot of sysadmins voting on them...or astronauts.

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

> Oracle most wise and wonderful,
>       I am at a career crossroads; should I become an astronaut, a
> fireman, or a sysadmin?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} This is the kind of question that these "handy comparison charts" were
} just made to answer:
} Astronaut:  Advancing scientific knowledge for the good of humanity.
} Fireman:    Saving lives and property.
} Sysadmin:   Assuring uninterrupted access to alt.binaries.erotica.sheep.
} Astronaut:  "Study science and math and eat your vegetables."
} Fireman:    "Study science and math and eat your vegetables."
} Sysadmin:   "DON'T DO IT!  RUN AWAY!"
} Astronaut:  "Where do you go to the bathroom?"
} Fireman:    "Do you really slide down a pole when the alarm goes off?"
} Sysadmin:   "Can't you do anything about all this spam I've been
}              getting?"
} Astronaut:  Yes!
} Fireman:    Occasionally.
} Sysadmin:   Only MSNBC's "The Site," which doesn't technically count as
}             TV.
} Astronaut:  As computers get more and more advanced and able to control
}             more of the functions of the space vehicle, yes.
} Fireman:    As more and more people install smoke detectors in their
}             homes, yes.
} Sysadmin:   As more and more clueless newbies discover the Internet,
}             absolutely not.
} Astronaut:  "The Right Stuff"
} Fireman:    "Backdraft"
} Sysadmin:   Uh...gee, I'm really drawing a blank here..."Wargames"?
} Astronaut:  Fairly long days during the mission, but lots and lots of
}             time between missions to relax.
} Fireman:    24-hour shifts, but 48 hours between shifts to relax.
} Sysadmin:   Not really "work hours" or even "work days"...more like
}             "work millenia."
} Astronaut:  Lots of good stories to tell to impress members of the
}             opposite sex.
} Fireman:    Lots of good stories to tell to impress members of the
}             opposite sex.
} Sysadmin:   You get ALL of the jokes in "Dilbert."
} Astronaut:  A few, from people who think the government should be
}             spending its money in different ways.
} Fireman:    A few, from people who think you take too long to arrive
}             following a 911 call.
} Sysadmin:   You'll have to learn what comes after "trillion" to be able
}             to count them all.
} Astronaut:  Multimillion-dollar space vehicle atop multimillion-dollar
}             rocket.
} Fireman:    Big red truck with flashing lights and siren.
} Sysadmin:   1978 AMC Gremlin.
} In conclusion, if the sysadmin option has seemed the most appealing in
} even one of these categories, you should become a sysadmin.
} Can't you do anything about all this spam I've been getting?

Danger...inside joke913-02 (Made the "Best of the Oracularities")

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

> Oh mighty Oracle, who could make *every* answer appear in the
> Oracularities, but apparently doesn't want to, please tell me...
> At the top of every Oracularity is a spiel about how to score the
> Oracularities.  Quite apart from the fact that mere mortals are
> actually *rating* your answers, what the heck does the first
> line *mean*?
> 906 106 vote 9jwzb 4eADd 5lAue axsob LBf70 2jnBp 4xDka azCh6 ckysc 4ovkr
> 906 3.0 mean  3.2   3.4   3.3   2.9   1.8   3.6   3.0   2.8   3.1   3.4
> At a wild guess the second is the average for each oracularity, but
> the first line is just line noise to me.  What does it all *mean*?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} That's the special "Oraclespeke" that the priests have to use to
} communicate with me.  (Why?  Because I can, that's why.)  Here's what
} they were trying to tell me this week:
} 9jwzb...9 jerks were zotted, boss.  [The priests have some authority to
}         zot people without having to get me involved.]
} 4eADd...4 e-mail addresses were added to the spam filter.
} 5lAue...The 5th line in this oracularity contained an unusual epithet.
} axsob...Please terminate the employment of a certain crying person.
}         [Or maybe this priest meant the other meaning of "sob."]
} LBf70...Los Angeles beat Florida 7-0.  [I have one priest assigned to
}         send me baseball scores.]
} 2jnBp...June 2nd is before Passover?
} 4xDka...This is the 4th time this supplicant has used "deka" instead of
}         "deci."
} azCh6...There's an attractive anchorwoman on Channel 6 in Arizona, so
}         swing the satellite dish in that direction.
} ckysc...Check your stun control.  [The zot staff has been acting up
}         again.]
} 4ovkr...I have 4's over kings, right?  [I've been teaching this priest
}         how to play draw poker.]
} By the way, your "wild guess" is incorrect...the numbers are an
} indication of how much of a priority I put on each one of these
} messages, with the lower numbers being a higher priority.  For example,
} I gave "LBf70" a high priority because I need to call my bookie about a
} few things; I gave "2jnBp" a low priority because the priest asked a
} stupid question which could have easily been cleared up by using a
} calendar.
} You owe the Oracle a translation of "A Tale of Two Cities" into
} Oraclespeke.  (I'll even get you started:  "8wBst, 8wWrs....")


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

> Oracle, Oh Oracle of Oracles of Oracles and that sort of grovelly
> stuff, tell me...
> I'm attempting to slavishly imitate the style of the author Douglas
> Adams, but I'm not having much luck, especially with the clever bits.
> Should I continue, or should I try to imitate the style of *Scott*
> Adams, whose style is as easy as a cheap whore with a sex addiction?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Why not try combining the two?
} "Your boss's brain is small.  Really small.  You just won't believe how
} minimally claustrophobically mind-bogglingly small it is.  I mean, you
} may think it's a short way from the elevator to the receptionist's
} desk, but that's the distance from here to Alpha Centauri to your
} boss's brain."
} You owe the Oracle the royalties from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the
} Cubicle."

Danger...inside joke901-07

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

> Oh Supercalifragiliciousexpialligocious Oracle, who is so brilliant
> that he probably can tell me how to correctly spell that word,
> While reading Digest 898, I couldn't help but notice, embedded inside
> #898-09, the following:
> [Steve: the
> Just two insignifigant words. However, they speak volumes, don't they?
> I can make an educated guess that "Steve" is probably Oracular Priest
> Kinzler. Now, who would make a request to Steve Kinzler and then get
> cut off after typing only two words? More importantly, why did this
> aborted message show up in #898-09?
> I believe I can form a hypothesis. A supplicant had angered you. It
> doesn't matter what he did (although I do have an interesting guess.
> See below.) In retaliation, you embedded him forever inside Question
> #898-09! Apparently his crime was quite heinous. Instead of mercifully
> ZOTing him, you forced him to read a question (about, of all things,
> null questions) for eternity! (Maybe the subject matter of #898-09 had
> something to the supplicant's crime? An ironic punishment like this one
> seems somehow fitting, if the supplicant in question did indeed bombard
> you with endless null questions!)
> However, the supplicant, the tortuous walls of Question #898-09 closing
> in around him, was able to cry for help. Apparently believing that
> Kinzler would help him, he attempted to send Priest Kinzler a message.
> Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately,) he had hardly gotten two words
> out when the walls of Question #898-09 snapped shut forever, and he
> was forced to live for all eternity with a question asked by one of
> the poor supplicants who recieved one of his null questions! A fitting
> end!
> Then again, it might have been a typo. What do I know?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Here's what you know:
} 1. The corn flakes are in the cabinet above the refrigerator.
} 2. The car keys are hanging on a hook next to the front door.
} 3. Get in the left lane as soon as possible after the Oak Street
}    intersection.
} 4. Advance the rubber date three days if today is Monday, one day
}    otherwise.
} 5. The illustration showing which way to insert the dollar bill into the
}    vending machine is upside down.
} 6. Lite FM always plays that annoying Celine Dion song at 3:06 PM, so
}    that's a good time to take a coffee break.
} 7. Check the order twice after leaving the McDonald's drive-thru window.
} 8. Over-the-air channel 13 is cable channel 14.
} 9. Garbage goes out to the curb Monday and Thursday nights.
} 10. Don't swallow the Listerine.
} 11. Check to make sure the alarm is set before going to sleep.
} A short list, true, but enough to get you through the day.
} [Steve: the supplicants I've trapped in the questions are going to have
} to be watched more closely.  And make sure this supplicant gets trapped
} in 906-04, please.]

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Page Last Updated: May 26, 1999