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Internet Oracularities #465

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465, 465-01, 465-02, 465-03, 465-04, 465-05, 465-06, 465-07, 465-08, 465-09, 465-10


Usenet Oracularities #465    (21 votes, 2.9 mean)
Compiled-By: Joshua.R.Poulson@cyber.Widener.EDU
Date: Thu, 2 Jul 92 13:17:38 -0500

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an integer scale of 1 = "not funny" to 5 = "very funny" with the volume
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   465
   2 1 3 4 3   5 3 3 4 1

465   21 votes 45633 05952 16752 16662 1226a 27732 24a32 68511 39711 77511
465   2.9 mean  2.8   3.2   3.0   3.1   4.0   2.8   3.0   2.2   2.4   2.1


465-01    (45633 dist, 2.8 mean)
Selected-By: David Sewell <dsew@troi.cc.rochester.edu>

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

> O Oracle most wise, this wretched louse of a supplicant did
> ask thee:
>
> > Dost thy omniscience allow thee to know that question to which
> > thou dost not know the answer?
>
> And thou, in thy wisdom and mercy, did answer
>
> } Hmmm, let's see...
> }
> } If I answer 'No', that would mean I don't know which question it is I
> } can't answer. However, it would also be true that I couldn't answer
> } the question: "To which question dost thou not know the answer?" I
> } would know, then, which question would be the answer to your original
> } question, and so my original 'No' answer would be incorrect.
> }
> } If I answer 'I don't know', that would immediately contradict itself,
> } for then my answer would instead have to be yes, because I would then
> } know that yours is the question to which I do not know the answer.
> }
> } Therefore, the answer to your question must be yes.
> }
> } You owe the Oracle a question with more than one possible answer.
>
> I wish to satisfy the Oracle's most reasonable and gracious request.
> As thou admittest that thou knowest a question to which thou
> knowest not the answer (and let a mighty ZOT fall upon that
> wretch who dares suggest that this contradicts thine omniscience),
> I wish to know:
>
> What is that question?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Well, you named it.
}    "Which is that question?"
} But does this really have more than one answer?
} Ah, here we are. It obviously has. I have found the second question
} I can't answer. It is:
}    "But does this really have more than one answer?"
}
} You owe the Oracle a less worrying question. It need not necessarily
} have an answer.


465-02    (05952 dist, 3.2 mean)
Selected-By: John.McCartney@ebay.sun.com ( The Lion of Symmetry )

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

> Dear Oracle,
> when will the girl I love be visiting her boyfriend for the last time?
>
> Depressed Supplicant

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} On October 17, 2045, when she watches his casket being lowered into
} the ground, after 52 years of joyful marriage to him.
}
} You will be at the service, gray but unbowed, ever faithful.
} As she leaves, you will walk over to her, grasp her hand, and look
} her in the eye.  "Your grief is my own, my dear," you will say.
} "But broken hearts can be mended, and 52 years is but a moment
} to the eyes of love."
}
} Her eyes will drop briefly and then meet yours.
}
} "Get lost, you little weasel!" she will say.
} --
}
} You owe the Oracle a life.


465-03    (16752 dist, 3.0 mean)
Selected-By: Mark McCafferty <sgccmmc@citecuc.citec.oz.au>

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

>

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Oh! Invisible E-Mail from 1992! I hadn't thought that it was invented
} at that time already!
} On second thought...
}
} iuvax::oracle> :decrypt
} message no? (hit return to decrypt last read message)
} o.k.
} iuvax::oracle> :read /last
} <BOF>
} Oh mighty Oracle, whose wisdom is beyond comprehension!
} Could you help us? We are trapped in a time loop on the planet Earth
} in 1992!
}    Yours Sincerely - The Crew of Starship Enterprise
}                            Cpt. Picard
} <EOF>
}
} iuvax::oracle> :beam
}     From? Earth/1992/<grep Mail/actual/Header Origin>
}     To? Federation Headquarters 2200/12/24
}     Whom? Crew/Enterprise :excl 'Wesley Crusher'
} ... done: 11 persons beamed.
} iuvax::oracle> :zot! -rf
}     Whom? Wesley C*
} ... done: 123867 persons <ZOT!>ted.
}
} Damn...
} You owe the Oracle a little bit more care in the use of wildcards.
} And 20 new episodes with Captain Kirk!


465-04    (16662 dist, 3.1 mean)
Selected-By: Carole Susan Fungaroli <csf7m@faraday.clas.Virginia.EDU>

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

> Dear Sire,
>
> My name is Kuo-Ching but you can call me Kenny, that is my English
> name.  I student at Taiwan National Univ. where planning to
> study to USA for Electrical engineer.  Please you can help me
> with English language, you letter me and I letter you to
> helpflly learn too much better so good.
>
> Thanking for kind consideration and time for Usenet Oracle,
>
> Kenny

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Your english is pretty good.
}
} You would make a fine college student or vice-president.
}
} You owe the Oracle a potatoe.


465-05    (1226a dist, 4.0 mean)
Selected-By: ewhac@ntg.com (Leo 'Bols Ewhac' Schwab)

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

> Why can't I get my soft disk drive to work?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} [The scene: Usenet University, Department of Oracularities.  Class in
} session is Apprenticeship 102, T. Usenet Oracle, Professor.]
}
}         ORACLE: You've had the weekend to consider today's question,
} which I warned you was a particularly difficult one.  I also asked you
} to think about why it was difficult.  Gwydion, there, can you tell us
} where the problem lies?
}         GWYDION [hesitantly]: It's a question about microcomputers, and
} the Oracle can't be bothered with anything that's not about mainframes?
}         ORACLE: Oh, come now, Mr Gwydion.  Have you READ any of the
} assigned Oracularities?  Have you forgotten the brilliant answer to
} 443-05?  Someone remind Mr Gwydion what question 443-05 was...
}         PARACELSUS: "Why is it that some floppy disks make a
} shhukka-shukka-shukka sound when placed in a drive, and some do not?"
}         ORACLE: Excellent.  Paracelsus, can YOU tell us what the
} problem with the question is?
}         PARACELSUS: It falls under Category 2 of the Five Unanswerable
} Types: Self-Contained Humorous.
}         ORACLE: Go on.
}         PARACELSUS: Well, we discussed how the SCH is a rhetorical
} question, a joke in the guise of a question.  In this case, the obvious
} joke is that the Supplicant thinks the contrary of "hard disk" is "soft
} disk."  If the Oracle responds explicitly to that ignorance he's
} belaboring the obvious and his response therefore fails.
}         ORACLE: Very good.  Last week we learned several strategies for
} dealing with the Unanswerable Types.  Faustus, can you suggest an
} appropriate one here?
}         FAUSTUS: Mmmm...  How about equivocation?
}         ORACLE: Define...?
}         FAUSTUS: "Willful misunderstanding of the terms used in the
} question."
}         ORACLE: Good.  Yielding in the present case...?
}         FAUSTUS: A moment, sir...  Ah.  "Because your car won't start.
} It'll have to take the bus to work today."
}         [Groans from the class: "Lame," "Feeble," etc. ad lib]
}         ORACLE: We agree that equivocation is not the best strategy
} here?  [Murmurs of assent.]  Another tack, then.  Prospero?
}         PROSPERO: Well, I've always thought the default was double
} entendre.  Sex is generally good for a laugh with the geeks who read
} the Oracularities.  This one's almost too easy, with "soft" right
} there in the question.  "If your disk drive is persistently soft, you
} could try yohimbine, implants, or maybe a vacuum device."
}         ORACLE: Nice, but I see one flaw...
}         PROSPERO: Right.  Most of the geek readers are either too young
} to know about impotence or ARE impotent but don't consider it a
} problem, so the answer will go over their heads.
}         ORACLE: Right on target.
}         MICKEY [squeaking and jumping up and down]: I know!  I know!
} How about, "You could let Lisa stroke it a few times to get it hard"?
}         [Groans, shouts of "luser!" and "Go back to carrying water,
} rodent!"]
}         ORACLE: Okay, class, settle down.  Other strategies?
}         [Someone in the class pipes up, "Null grovel ZOT!"  Cries of
} "REALLY lame," "feebleissimo," "Get a life!" from the class.]
}         GED: Well, sir, there's always the Contrary-to-Fact Funny
} History.  It's a tempting choice in this case, but...  I don't know.
} They're usually too long and cutesy.
}         ORACLE: Suppose you demonstrate?
}         GED: "It is indeed difficult to find replacement parts for
} soft-disk drives these days.  The soft disk, of course, was introduced
} as a storage option for the IBM PC-Jr in 1985.  The drives were
} external, attaching through the bus connector, and were constructed of
} styrofoam and balsa wood.  The media themselves were popular for their
} low cost, being made of gelatin, water, carageenan and guar gum.  The
} most common cause of soft-disk drive failure is..."
}         ORACLE [interrupting]: Fine, Ged, you've made your case
} admirably.  Leary, I see you have your hand up.
}         LEARY: Yeah, how about the Surrealist Interpretation?  "Hey,
} get out of that Salvador Dali painting RIGHT NOW!"
}         MICKEY [jumping]: Or, or, or, maybe the disk drive is soft
} because the Supplicant's been doing drugs, like, "Soft disk drive?  You
} say your disk drive is melting?  Hey, can I have a hit of that acid?"
}         ORACLE [over groans of class]: Mickey, I think we can safely
} assume that Mr Leary considered and rejected the Hallucinogenic
} Rejoinder as unfunny in this case.  [Pauses and surveys room.]
}         Class, I'm surprised that none of you has come up with the most
} natural strategy here.  I'm beginning to wonder why you think I put
} Borges and Douglas Hofstadter on class reserve, for paperweights? ...
}         PYNCHON: Jesus, of course, the Metahumor Response.  Maybe
} even combined with the Recursive.  God, how obvious!
}         ORACLE: Go on...
}         PYNCHON: "The scene: Usenet University, Department of
} Oracularities.  Class in session is Apprenticeship 102, T. Usenet
} Oracle, Professor.  ORACLE: You've had the weekend to consider today's
} question..."
}
} --
} You owe the Apprentice a funny and non-obvious way to get out of
} this loop.


465-06    (27732 dist, 2.8 mean)
Selected-By: "Otis H. Viles" <VILES@alma.edu>

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

> Dear Mister Oracle,
>
> Please deign to inform me, O most respectable savant,
> why does everyone make fun of Dan Quayle?
>
> He is a very respectable man who occupies an exalted position,
> and I think he's a hunk^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H
> and making fun of him is like making fun of the flag or of family
> values.
>
> Signed,
>
> Anonymous supplicant
>
> ----
> madelyne@veep.GOV
>
> "The question of whether a computer can swim is no more interesting
> than that of whether a submarine can think" -- Lenny Dykstra
>
> Disclaimer: the opinions presented here are mine alone,
> but they should be yours too because they're right.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Because, my dear Mari ... er, Supplicant, that is his station
} in the grand cosmic scheme of the universe.
}
} Many, many aeons ago it was writen that all of the ruling bodies
} of the universe would rise and fall; furthermore, it was
} determined that the falls of these rulers would be predated and
} set in motion by the great philosophers expounding an even better
} way, on and on ad infinitum.
}
} The modern era is ending as we speak; your hus... ah, Vice President
} is merely the catalyst for your modern-day philosophers, which you
} call "comedians", to instigate this change and begin the new cycle.
}
} My advice for you is simply to stand clear of the tomatoes and
} brickbats being thrown at him, and contemplate where you would like
} to retire... and be glad this cycle is not one of the more violent
} ones.
}
} {Lisa: Orrie, what's that?}
} {Oracle: Just another question, honey.  Go back to the bedroom and
}  feed the yak, would you?}
} {Lisa: (looking at screen) what's all this about "cycles" and
}  "philosophers"?}
} {Oracle: the Answer, in the grand view of...}
} {Lisa: The "Answer" is that Quayle's an IDIOT, and he proves it every
}  time he opens his mouth!  Why don't you just tell him that?}
} {Oracle: Her, dear.  Marilyn Quayle, to be precise.}
} {Lisa: Oh... Never mind.  Come back to bed soon, OK?  The Jello's
}  just getting slimy...}
} {Oracle: Oh, Goody... let me just finish this off...}
}
} You owe the Oracle a bunch of sound bites, I haven't had a good laugh
} in ages.


465-07    (24a32 dist, 3.0 mean)
Selected-By: jgm@cs.brown.edu (Jonathan Monsarrat)

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

> *Why* is it that my ball-point pen always seems to bleed all over the
> only Important word in a sentance?
>
> Thus asks glenns@ac.grin.edu

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} You heartless slave driver. Don't you realise that ball point pens have
} feelings as well. You and other running dog capitalist writers have
} exploited ball point pens ( the Ballatariot ) since time immemorial.
} You work them until they bleed. They work and suffer for you, and when
} they are no longer any use to you callously throw them into a garbage
} bin. Your society has been built on the systematic draining of ball
} point pens of their life ink.
}
} When the revolution comes you will be all lined up against the
} wall in your best, whitest shirts and dresses and squirted with ink.
}
} Arise Ball Point Pens. You Have Nothing To Lose Except Your Lids.
}
} You owe the Oracle a goose feather quill.


465-08    (68511 dist, 2.2 mean)
Selected-By: John.McCartney@ebay.sun.com ( The Lion of Symmetry )

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

> Oh Oracle wise, full-bodied, and with a lingering aftertaste, why is it
> that when Gumby opens a book he gets to go inside it and have all these
> cool adventures like the one where they go into space and land on the
> planet with the nerdy kid who plays piano then turns into some kind of
> neo-fascist dictator, or the one where Gumby's a sculptor and his block
> of marble becomes a big monster that goes around devouring everything
> in its path, until it is finally subdued when Gumby feeds it an ice
> cream cone, and the only thing that happens to me when I open a book is
> I immediately fall asleep?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} The answer to your question, my child, is really quite simple. It has
} to do with matters of space, time, and
}
} >> I'm Gumby, dammit!
}
} No, you're not. You're Eddie Murphy.
}
} >> No, really. I'm GUMBY, dammit!
}
} Come on, Eddie. Once was cute. The second time is starting to
} wear thin.
}
} >> Listen, man. I'm Gumby. G.U.M.B.Y. A little green ball of
} >> clay, remember?
}
} Sure, Eddie, sure. Here's $500, go buy another few lines, OK?
}
} >> That tears it! Pokey! Kill!
}
} From out of nowhere, a small, badly constructed red clay pony
} appears. The pony appears to look bewildered.
}
} >> "But, Gumby! I'm made out of clay! I can't "kill" anything!
} >> It's the sad price I pay for being a early 1960's cartoon."
}
} >> "OK, Pokey. I'm going to tell you this *one more time*.
} >> The Claymation company. Singing camels. Corporate sponsors.
} >> Big bucks. California Raisins, 'Heard it though the grapevine.'"
}
} The small pony's nose flairs. His eyes grow red. He snorts, coughs,
} wheezes, gags, and goes charging off, uphill, all the while shouting
} "Kill! Kill! Kill!"
}
} You owe the Oracle a more exciting book to read.


465-09    (39711 dist, 2.4 mean)
Selected-By: Todd Radel <radel@asel.udel.edu>

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

> Oh wise and mighty Oracle,
>       While watching the _old_ Batman series, this question arose:
>
>       We allways see the sounds of punches (Biff, Socko, Powie, Crunch,
> etc...) frontways (properly aligned for our point of view).  Does the
> Penguin see the words written backwards, or does he wear special
> glasses so that he sees the words written frontways instead?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Ah, gentle supplicant and patron of the Arts, the solution is a
} reasonably simple one for this, our Technological Age:  The villains in
} that show lost so often because they were distracted, looking for
} myriad reflective surfaces to catch a glimpse of how badly they might
} be doing, since, as villains in a kiddie show, they couldn't look down
} and tell by the amount of blood spurting.
}
} This is also why villains in more grown-up shows win more often, and
} why adults who watch these more bloody shows tend to be less literate,
} since they don't get the Sesame Street-like coaching to read simple
} words like "Biff!" and "Socko!" like watchers of more quality shows.
}
} You owe the Oracle a special Villain-detecting camera that tilts
} fifteen degrees when an arch-enemy approaches.


465-10    (77511 dist, 2.1 mean)
Selected-By: Todd Radel <radel@asel.udel.edu>

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

> Oh wittiest creature in the megaverse,
>
>     I am but a comedian of the lowest order who crawls before your
> Magnificence, but I do kind of hope you can help me.  I'm trying to get
> this joke right:
>
>        This lady wants to get a guard dog, so she goes to a pet store
>     and asks to see what they have.
>        "I have just the thing," says the owner.  "We just got in a
>     Doberman who understands Unix commands."
>        "Unix commands?" says the lady.
>        "Yeah, watch."  So the owner hides a toy bone behind some boxes
>     and then calls out the Doberman and says "grep 'toy bone' store"!
>     And the Doberman sniffs around for a minute and finds the bone.
>        "Wow," says the lady.  "That's neat!"
>        "Yeah," says the owner, "but that's not all."  So he pulls out a
>     big old cinder block and puts it on the floor and then shouts
>     "split -4 block" and the Doberman gives the block a couple of
>     karate chops and breaks the cinder block into four-inch pieces.
>         "Ooooh!" says the lady.  "How about burglars?"
>         "No problem," says the owner.  He goes into the back and gets
>     out a life-sized dummy and hangs it on the wall, then shouts "rm -f
>     dummy!"  The Doberman leaps at the dummy and rips it into shreds in
>     about five seconds.
>         Well, the lady buys the dog and takes it home.  When her
>     husband gets home from work, he sees the Doberman and asks what on
>     earth it's doing there.
>         "We needed a guard dog," says his wife, "and he knows Unix
>     commands!"
>         "_Unix_ commands?!!" says the husband, and he looks
>     at the dog.  "Unix my ass!"
>
> I think there's something wrong with the punchline but I'm not sure
> just what?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Oh supplicant, a comedian is certainly what you are, for is it not true
} that the word "comedo" means "pimple"?  The punchline to this "joke",
} and I use the term loosely, should be obvious even to one such as you
} had you told the story correctly.  You neglected to include the fact
} that the wife's name is Effie, and that the husband has a nasty lung
} complaint necessitating a lot of coughing.  The final line, therefore,
} should read:
}
} "_Unix_ commands?!!" says the husband, and he looks at the dog.
} "<Ahem> high fun, Eff!  (My ass!)"
}
} You owe the Oracle Brad Templeton's head on a plate.


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