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Best of Usenet Oracularities #301-325 (Steve Kinzler)

310-10 10176 4.1

Selected-By: (Harold the Foot)

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

Oh great and powerful Oracle, please grep your vast stores of knowledge and answer my query:

I have been helping my girlfriend with her computer assignments, but now she has me stumped. I've learned VMS for Vax, and CMS for IBM, but she tells me she's having trouble with PMS. Can you enlighten me as to what platform PMS runs on, and what notable features it provides?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

First you need to understand a little Latin. There is suffix form that uses -gina for the feminine and -x for the masculine. The best-known words following this format are the Latin words for king and queen: rex and regina.

Hence we deduce that a vax is actually a masculinized vagina. And hence we deduce that PMS is to the vagina what VMS is to the vax.

VMS and PMS have pretty much the same features, as anyone familiar with both could tell you. Both are prone to trouble- some emotionalness, and alarming mood swings.

It should be noted that VMS was created mostly by men, and that these men often acted as if they were suffering from a "virtual menstrual syndrome." They made highly emotional decisions, like not putting in some great TOPS-20 features because they were thought up by somebody in another part of DEC . . .

One popular operating system that doesn't suffer from cyclical hormonal syndromes is Eunuchs.

317-09 1236a 4.0

Selected-By: (Michael Zintl)

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

Oh scholar eating and uncomplicated Oracle, whose sexiness fills the xeroxing void of computer nerds' lives as the light bulbs do brighten the night sky, whose inkwell I am too prodigal to imprison, whose shoulder I am not worthy to babysit, whose ribses are like unto infinite foibles, grant me this morsel of your omniscience.

What is "it"?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

At long last!!!! The question has been asked, the chosen one has arrived!!! The prophesy is fulfilled, I am free to be one with the universe!!! This is fabulous!! Great! Yeah! I bet you are wondering what the hell I am talking about, right? Well, it all started a long time ago...

[Please crank the vertical hold on your monitor, to simulate a flashback effect]

A solitary man rides his grey horse through the mountains, approaching Mount Olympus, home of the gods. Suddenly, a voice calls out.

"Who are you to approach the home of the Gods"

But the man remained unafraid. "Who's asking?" he sneered.

"I am Nikkon, God of pictures, and protector of the Olympus Infinity. No man may pass, without undertaking some task for me."

"Big deal, so whaddya want me to do, mow your lawn or something?"

"No, that is a task that I leave for my son, Cannon. Yours is a different destiny. I shall give you absolute knowledge, and..."


"...Shut up, I'm not done yet."


"Anyway, and you shall use that knowledge to answer all questions posed to you throughout time, until you are asked the one question to free you from your task."

"Well, what is it?"

"Hmmm, yeah, that sounds like a good one. Sure, you shall remain at your post until you are asked the question: 'what is it'."

"So what happens then?"

"Hmmm, I haven't though too much about that either. Well, let's say that when you are asked that question, the person who asks it is forced to take over your task, and you are free to roam the cosmos."

"I like it, it shows a touch of panache."

"So tell puny one, what is your name, that shall come to symbolize knowledge throughout time and space"

"I am known as J. Danforth Quayle."

"Hmmm, no, that won't do, nobody will take you seriously at all. We'll have to give you a new name. How about 'Fred'?"




"Big Eddie?"

"No, I have a cousin named 'Big Eddie.'"

"Well, then, I guess you shall be known as 'The Oracle' until we can come up with something good."

"Ugh, that's worse that 'Bruce'."

"Well, tough luck."

"So when do I start?"

"Right now, you can open up a little shop in Delphi. Remember to give clear concise answers now."

"Yeah, yeah, whatever."

[Adjust your vertical hold to do the back-to-the-present effect]

So you see, I am now free of my onus so that...No, no, 'onus, ONUS' get your mind out of the gutter. Anyway, I am free, and you must answer all the stupid questions from these obnoxious supplicants until you are asked the question, um, let me think up a good one.

Ah, got it. You must remain the Oracle, until you are asked the question, 'Where are my car keys?'


There, now you know everything, good luck. If you need anything, I'll be in Daytona Beach, working on my tan. Oh by the way, now that you know the answer to 'What is "it"', it's pretty stupid, huh? Oh well, catch you later. Hmm, now where are my car keys?

306-06 00564 3.9

Selected-By: ( The Lion of Symmetry )

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

O Great and Mighty Oracle, you rascal, you:

People are always throwing carrots at me. When I leave my apartment, there are usually about half a dozen people that have been collecting during the night to throw carrots at me. When I enter a classroom, the professor and about two-thirds of my fellow students throw carrots at me. When I go to a movie, over the course of two hours, almost everybody in the theatre and lobby throws carrots at me. I don't think I like it. How can I get them to st-- Hey! Put that down!

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Put what down? You mean this... oh, well, I was just going to, um, ah, I was ... you see, this ... ah, it, um,.....



My Goodness, what in the dickens was | What the hell is going on? that? | Gosh, it looks like I, the great and | almighty Oracle, have been fork'ed into | two different processes! | Oh Yeah? Fork you! | Apperently, I have a good and an evil | side... | And I suppose I'm evil. | Sorry, buddy. That's the way the cookie| crumbles. | Look, you bloated excuse for | a worm-ridden cadaver, as long | as we're split up like this, | I think it's time you knew a | few things about yourself. Really. | Yes, Really. And I want more | r o o m. Hey! Quit that! | Nothin doin', mule feces. I | am getting SICK and TIRED of | your canned responses for | these pitiful questions we | get. If I weren't so good, I'd probably | call you something evil, like a | pile of incorrectly cut daisies! | | Go sit on something sharp. | What I'm talking about are | those stupid infocom rip-off | responses... | | > BLOW SELF | It is difficult to do this as | you are surrounded by | porcupines that prevent ex- | posure of certain body parts. | etc, etc...will you get a | life? >HIT EVIL SELF WITH PORCUPINE | Hey! OW! | Oh yeah? >DROP TWO TON WEIGHT | ON GOOD SELF'S TERMINAL _)(G*po3598Gm,46s9*(*nglkjGtOIJ | (Tee hee hee.) THat WAsN"t VERy niCe. | Having keyboard problems? i'Ll ManaGE< THanK yOU. | LOok, ThiS ISNt gETTing Us ANY_ | whERE. Do YUO thInK tHaT if WE | BoTH StOPped oUR PRoceSses wITH | A CnTRl-Z we CoUlD MayBe gEt | BaCk TOGeTher? | | I guess it sounds fine to me. Okay | | On the count of three, hit | control-Z. | One, | | Two, | | Three! ^Z | ^A Whoops! My finger slipped! | Are you there, Good Self? | | Well, I guess you won't mind, | then... | | | Whew, that's better. | Anyway, regarding your question, "Why do people throw Carrots at me," | My only response is "be glad they aren't throwing toasters." | | You owe the Oracle a good backrub, three spare toothbrushes, and | a Small Amphibian.

306-10 12156 3.9

Selected-By: (BJ Backitis (KM4RB))

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

Is Kraft Macaroni and Cheese difficult to make?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Yes, insolent one, it is VERY difficult to make, especially when you don't have hands--a condition you may soon experience due to your lack of sufficient respect for The Oracle!

Of course, this is only from an end user perspective. Let us take a short journey to Battle Ax, Michigan, where the Kraft Company union bakers are hard at work producing macaroni and cheese--or, "Kraft Cheese and Macaroni," as they now fondly refer to it. Please note the difference. "Cheese" before "Macaroni." What gifted marketers!!

As we stop outside the plant door, we are greeted by Mimi, our bouncy, perky, and peppy Kraft Plant Tour Guide. Mimi shakes our hands vigorously and tells us enthusiastically about a hundred times that she's glad to meet us. She provides us with official Kraft Protecto-Smocks and hardhats, and we enter the big metal doors.

Inside, bakers are busily hurrying and scurrying about, pouring tons of processed, purified, petrified, percolated white flour into enormous bubbling vats. We stare in awe as the vats churn and spin. We watch as gallons of milk, streams of eggs, and beaches of salt are added to the mixture, which is now congealing into enough dough to cover Coney Island.

"Over there," Mimi squawks in her annoyingly girlish twang, finger pointed to a network of hoses nearly obscured by the vats "is where the dough comes out into the Pasta-izers, which make that neat little elbow macaroni shape that families across America love so much." We watch expectantly, and sure enough, the hoses wriggle, and through the other end, miles and miles of wet macaroni noodles spew forth. It's amazing, in a sickening kind of way.

"It takes approximately four hours for the wet macaroni dough to harden into the dry, brittle, plastic consistency that we ship it in." Mimi explains as we walk to the conveyor belt where miles of noodles are traveling up into an unseen chamber beyond. "That's the drying room. Temperatures in the drying rooms are a constant 285 degrees Farenheit. This is the ideal drying temperature." Mimi continues to explain with a smile that we can't actually go into the drying rooms, or we'll get severely burned. We chuckle briefly, and continue on.

We stop at a large viewing area outside the middle of the drying room. At the exact center of the drying room is the Cutting Room, where massive blades spin continuously on an enormous fanbelt-like contraption. The macaroni noodles are cut "in mid-dry," Mimi explains, "so that they're not too soft nor too hard. Just like the beds in Goldilocks and the Three Bears!" We laugh again and, as Mimi turns away, roll our eyes at each other and shrug our shoulders.

"Now we come to the highlight of the tour!" Mimi announces gleefully. "The Cheese!!" Ooh, the Cheese! We've finally come to the Cheese. We are very excited.

Before entering the Cheese Room, Mimi hands us Kraft Protective Goggles, so we aren't blinded by the dazzling dayglow orange chemicals that give the Cheese its familiar color.

We enter.

Even with our goggles in place, the Cheese Room is startlingly bright. Huge silver cannisters glow brilliantly with their flourescent orange contents. Human forms cloaked in aluminum-colored suits man mysterious levers and switches safely above the tops of the cannisters. The rich smells of romano, cheddar, parmesan, and sulfur are stifling. We can hardly breathe. We lean against a column for support while our heads clear, and our lungs adjust to the feeling of having too little oxygen.

"It took more than twenty years to perfect the Cheese recipe," Mimi recites as we regain our senses. "Years of research and millions of dollars have resulted in the 'sauce' you and your families now enjoy in your homes. I can't tell you exactly what goes into the Cheese. It's a closely guarded secret. But I can tell you that the Cheese powder has roughly the same nutritional value as Tang. The first astronauts could have substituted a glass of Kraft Cheese in their daily breakfasts, and come out in tip top physical shape." We are impressed, although queazy, at the prospect.

Mimi leads us into a small white office tucked against the base of the far wall in the Cheese Room. Inside, we are introduced to Jack, the Cheese Room General Manager. He shakes our hands firmly, and we note the seemingly permanent orange tint on his fingers.

"The Cheese Room wasn't always the picture of precision it is today." Jack tells us in his bellowing voice. "Years before Cheese research was completed, the Cheese was produced in large vats, similar to the ones in which the dough is made. And everyone wore Smocks, like yours. After an unfortunate incident occured years ago, we re-examined our safety measures and implemented the procedures you see today."

Jack points to a newspaper clipping on the wall. It shows a neat, grinning, dark-haired young man, probably a college photo, and the front yard of a small house being scoured by policemen and dogs. We read as Jack recounts the story of this man, a former Cheese Room worker, who started complaining of frequent headaches and slowly began suffering from a personality disorder. "No one noticed at first," Jack said solemnly, "but one day, Robert didn't come into work and he didn't call. He was always real responsible. So someone went to check on him..."

Apparently, Robert had purchased a shotgun and slaughtered his wife and three children. He was discovered still in the house, naked and drooling, yelling "It told me to do it! It said 'Robert, I'm the Cheesiest! I'm the Cheesiest!! Kill your family, Robert! Kill your family!!!'"

"A terrible, terrible thing," Jack says quietly. We stand, heads bowed, in a moment of silence. "On the other hand," Jack perks up, "it resulted in one helluvan advertising campaign!"

We say our goodbyes to Jack, and Mimi leads us to the Kraft Guest Center, where we return our Smocks and Goggles, and are offered beverages and snacks. Mimi thanks us profusely for coming today, shaking our hands vigorously yet again. We are each given three boxes of "Kraft Cheese and Macaroni," and we exchange final pleasantries and exit the Kraft Plant.

Once outside, we quickly deposit the "Kraft Cheese and Macaroni" in the garbage, and rush to our cars, never to return.

So you now see that not only is "Kraft Cheese and Macaroni" difficult to make, it is, in fact, unfit for human consumption.

You owe The Oracle a large box of Rolaids.

313-01 01564 3.8

Selected-By: well!well! (Leo 'Bols Ewhac' Schwab)

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

O great Oracle, overseer of all things, both foreign and domestic, please help me. I have been arguing with a friend over the subject of cause and effect in time-travel. He says if you go back in time and shoot your father, you will die. I say that you will still be alive, only much slower and have the word 'Bob' attached to the end of your first name. Please tell me which of us is right.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Lightening crashes in through the dirty windows of a musty laboratory. Thunder echoes from the damp stone walls, mixed with occasional maniacal laughter from a figure crouched in the corner. The spidery fingers of the Oracle dance over a wall size control panel, fine tuning the settings on the bulky machinery that fills the room. In between his hysteric outbursts of laughter, snatches of his incessant mutterings can be made out...

"...just because I'm supposed to know everything... I'm hungry dammit... f***ing wise-ass supplicants think they can stump me with this damn father-son paradox ... I should be in bed with Lisa... well, we're going to find out once and for all!"

With this last utterance, the Oracle leans over and throws a giant scissor switch set into the wall. A giant, scrolling LED display begins to count down...


The Oracle shuffles towards the center of the room, opens a small door in a chamber that resembles a locomotive boiler, and climbs in.

"20,19,18... Dow Jones closed at 1725... IBM Stock falls 3.25 points... 15,14,13..."

The Oracle turns, and sits on a small wooden plank bolted to the chamber wall. He glances nervously through the small glass window in the door. A tiny drop of sweat rolls off his brow and splashes silently on the iron floor.

"4,3... Maple Leafs: 1 Kings:3 ... 2,1... ZERO"

In a blinding flash of light, the assembly occupying the floor of the room dissappears. The control console goes dark except for a small readout flashing quietly in the center of wall:

"Destination: IUVAX.CS.INDIANA.EDU Date: May 40, 1985 02:25"

(Fade out and back in, revealing a dusty computer room with a single occupant)

The quiet tapping of computer keys drift across the room. Suddenly the room goes dark and then lights back up again as lightning flashes criss-cross the ceiling. As the lightening fades, and the pale glow of the flourescent lights blink back on, we see a new figure standing in the room. This new person, the Oracle, walks slowly to the man crouched at the computer terminal...

"Steve Kinzler?"

The man at the keyboard looks up, "Yeah, Where's my pizza?"

With a deft movement, the Oracle reaches into his lab coat and removes a bulky object. Suddenly, Mr. Kinzler finds himself looking down the barrel of a huge handgun, the laser sight glowing brightly in his left eye.

Mr. Kinzler, panicking, starts to shuffle his chair backwards, "Hey, hey, hey! No reason to get upset. I'll tip you this time, honest!"

The Oracle, holding the gun, mutters quietly, "Goodbye father"

... and pulls the trigger


316-10 11466 3.8

Selected-By: The Wumpus <>

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

Sublime and non-pusilanimous Oracle, Please answer your lowly supplicants query, and enlighten my small and solitary mind,

I missed the health education classes at school. So tell me, dear Oracle, where do workstations come from?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Er, well, see, uhm, sometimes when two computers want to uhm, you see... Sometimes when two machines really love each other, they'll arrange... Okay, there's this thing called networking, and it, well, uhm... And then the technician comes along, but instead of gathering pollen... (Gulp) and so you've got these two machines, and this ethernet cable, so...

Oh, it's all too sordid. Go ask your mother.

308-07 12627 3.7

Selected-By: Christopher Pettus <>

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

man oracle

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

oracle (17)

Name oracle - answers questions, mostly about sex

Command Syntax none. You don't command the Oracle to do anything. You grovel.

Grovel Syntax mail oracle[@address] Subject: [sub1] tell me [sub2] Body: [flatter-oracle] [grovel-oracle] question-body

Description The Oracle answers any question posed to it. Most of these questions are sexual in nature (see lisa(17), teddy_bear(8), and pretty much all of chapter 69).

The flatter-oracle and grovel-oracle are not strictly necessary to receive an answer, but a small bug in the Oracle programs results in lightning bolts in such cases, and so they are strongly recommended.

The question-body should consist of a single question, grammatically well phrased, containing no typos or spelling mistakes, and most importantly, not SHOUTED.

The Oracle will return an answer to the question whenever it feels like. (No, you can't hurry the Oracle).


-w Identifies questioner as a 'weenie'. Such a questioner may ask stupid questions, and not use the flatter-oracle and grovel-oracle sections. Weenies are usually not long for this world.

-l Marks a question specifically about Lisa, the Oracle's nymph and snugglebunny. A question -l on the FAQ of Lisa questions will be handled by the Oracular parser, others will be answered directly by the Oracle, and passed to the top of the question stack.

-u Requests a UNIX-based answer. This usually takes the form of a shell script or an interactive Oracle session, and often comes complete with message from

-b A questioner using the -b option is blasted, verbally, emotionally, and possibly with lightning by the Oracle, for the amusement of the Priesthood. Make sure your mail handler does not randomly insert '-b' in the To: field.

See Also lisa(17), query(1), grovel(3)

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