Questions 81-90

Question #81


The question was:

Oracle, please sing me a song about Alviso, the Mud-filled Marina.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

In Sunnyvale did Moffett Field
A stately Air Force base decree
Where Stevens creek, the sacred river ran
Through mud-flats measureless to man
Down to the sunless sea.

You owe the Oracle a cubic foot of "Dumbarton Snow".

Question #82


The question was:

I asked the post office to forward my email after I moved, but they said 
they wouldn't.  It's outrageous!  What makes them think they can get 
away with this ridiculous behavior?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

It's not that they *wouldn't*, it's that they *couldn't*, and it's all
your fault.  You forgot to bring Form 113837591757-xd, Request to Forward
Electronic Messages over USENET.

Fortunately, I happen to have a stack here (just in case those pesky
FBI agents are able to reconstruct the evidence).  Here you go...

                         Form 113837591757-xd
          Request to Forward Electronic Messages over USENET
1)  Name (Last, First, MI): ____________________________________________
2)  Current E-Mail address: ____________________________________________
3)  New E-mail address (All styles required for proper processing)
    3a) Internet form: _________________________________________________
    3b) UUCP form: _____________________________________________________
    3c) BITnet form: ___________________________________________________
    3d) DECnet form: ___________________________________________________
    3e) FIDOnet form: __________________________________________________
4)  Are you directly connected to the Internet? Y/N
    4a) If "No," why the hell not? _____________________________________
5)  Do you plan to read the forwarded mail on a machine running a
    Microsoft operating system? Y/N
    5a) If "Yes," are you willing to admit that to others? Y/N
        5a1) If "Yes," are you actually *proud* of that fact? Y/N
            5a1a) If "Yes," do not complete this form.  Call
                  1-800-555-7726 and report yourself immediately.
                  Special agents will arrive at your home quickly and
                  administer a severe beating.
    5b) If "No," are you willing to jump on the bandwagon and come to
        Washington, D.C. to testify in front of the Senate that Bill Gates
        sucks the bone marrow out of sacrificed infants?  Y/N
6)  Do you plan to send messages that use HTML in the body, knowing
    full well that not everybody on the planet is stupid enough to use
    Netscape as a mail reader? Y/N
7)  Do you plan to send "Virtual Greeting Cards," even though they
    make you appear to be the Cheapest Bastard on Earth?
8)  Do you:
    8a) send SPAM mail?
    8b) naively reply to SPAM with "REMOVE" as the subject?
    8c) send a complaint to the Postmaster on the machine mentioned in
        the "From" line?
    8d) spend your entire lunch hour analyzing the 'Received' header
        lines, carefully backtracking until you are able to nail the
        asshole to the wall?
9)  Do you automatically destroy mail from:
    9a) Hotmail?
    9b) Juno?
    9c) Bigfoot?
    9d) AOL?
    9e) Netcom?
    9f) anyone who sends mail with the subject "Make Money Fast"?
    9g) the Usenet Oracle?
    9h) the Internet Oracle?
    9i) anyone sending an Oracle question mentioning "Zadoc"?
    complete this form.  Call 1-800-555-7726 and report yourself
    immediately.  Special agents will arrive at your home quickly and
    administer a severe beating.)
10) Do you use the Internet to download pornography? Y/Y
    10a) Please list the sites here: ___________________________________
11) Have you ever as a system administrator at a large California
    university become so infuriated with people playing XTrek that you
    routed all the packets between your cluster and the server through a
    machine in Sweden? Y/N
    11a) Would you do it again in a heartbeat? Y/N
    11b) Do you want to work for us? Y/N
12) Do you eat and drink at the keyboard, knowing full well that a
    slip will make the keyboard so gooey that if you ever hit the
    'zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz' key it will stick until you lift the keyboard a
    foot off the table and drop it? Y/N
13) Have you ever been sexually assaulted by the President of the
    United States? Y/N
14) After spending this amount of time filling out this form, do you
    suddenly have a longing for the "good ol' days" when sending mail
    meant sitting down at a desk and putting pen to paper?  Do you
    long for the taste of mucilage?  Do you wistfully sigh when you
    open your mailbox and only find ads from the drug store? Y/N

                                        Signed _________________________
                                          Date _________________________

Question #83


The question was:

Oh most cool one, what do you drive?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

About 240 yards, on my better days.  That is, of course, with no wind.
You owe the Oracle a new set of golf clubs.

Question #84


The question was:

O Oracle most oracular, who is the most oraclacaceous being there be, whose
oraculacity is beyond puny human ken,

After years of observing squirrels, I have noticed that they have an uncanny
resemblence to each other. I believe that there are only in fact two squirrels
on earth. Is this true?  And how have they managed to pull off this illusion
so well?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Close, supplicant, close.  It is a strong possibility that there is
only ONE squirrel in the universe.  How can I say that, seeing that
there are numerous eyewitness reports of large congregations of
squirrels in parks?  Quite simple, actually: according to the theory,
gray squirrels are simply brown squirrels going BACKWARDS IN TIME.

                      THE SINGLE SQUIRREL THEORY

Naturalists have long reported two unique phenomena dealing with
brown/gray squirrel interaction.  The first happens when a gray
squirrel collides with a brown squirrel:  they disappear and emit a
nutron (NUT-ron) particle.  This is known as "annihilation."  The
other happens when a nutron suddenly becomes a brown/gray squirrel
combination.  This is known as "pair production."  Traditionally, the
gray squirrel is known as the antisquirrel because it appears less
frequently than its brown counterpart.

The Single Squirrel Theory (SST) says that these collisions are not
creating and destroying squirrels, but simply changing their
chronological momentum.  Take a look at the following diagram, of
actual squirrel activity along a sidewalk in Central Park, New York

   ^               N     N
   |          N     \    |
   T         /       A   A           N = nutron
   I        A       / \  |\          B = brown squirrel
   M       / \     /   G B G         G = gray squirrel
   E      B   G   B     \|  \        A = annihilation event
   |     /     \ /       P   \       P = pair-production event
        /       P       /     \
       /        |      N       \
      /         N               \

        <--- SIDEWALK --->

(Forgive the crudity of the drawing, time-space diagrams are difficult
in ASCII.)  In our time frame, it appears that two pair-production
events generate two gray/brown squirrel pairs, which are annihilated
moments later, some through interactions of browns and grays already
on the sidewalk.

But if we take a static time-space view, we can visualize a completely 
different process.  One can follow an unbroken path, going forward (up)
with brown squirrels, and backward (down) with gray squirrels.
Annihilations are simply the conversion of a brown to a gray (with the 
nutron carrying the forward time momentum away) and pair-productions
are the reverse effect (with the nutron leaving the event in reverse

The SST is our best theory yet for dealing with the exotica of Quantum 
Furrydynamics, but there are still some bugs to be worked out.  For
instance, how do squirrel quarks (e.g., roadkill) fit into the theory?
What about strong evidence for the existence of proto-squirrels?  It
is my hope, that with lots of government funding, I can solve these

You owe the Oracle a government grant and a supercollider.

Question #85


The question was:

PINKY: So what are we doing here?

BRAIN: I've told you! We're filling in for the Usenet Oracle for a 
week, so he can go on vacation.

PINKY: Erm, OK. But what do *you* get out of it, Brain?

Get Your Private, Free Email at

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

BRAIN: See that logo annoying splashed on the bottom of our mail
message?  It means we are using HotMail, a recognized leader in the
generation of unsolicited commericial missives.

PINKY: Oh, you mean SPAM!  Poit!  Narf!  Spam, spam, loverly spam...


BRAIN: That's enough of that.  Now, I've compiled a list of the most
irritating features of an unsol... er, spam message, and combined them
into the most irritating message of all... the ultimate spam!

PINKY: Naaaaaaaaaaaarf!

BRAIN: Yes, ahem, narf.  Then we'll...

PINKY: No, no, let me, let me!  We'll spam them and suggest they join
the Narf of the Day mailing list!  They'll laugh so hard that they'll
fall off their chairs and twist their ankles!  Then, when they're all
in the hospital...


BRAIN: YOU'LL be in the hospital if you keep this up.  And don't ever
mention that Narf of the Day mailing list again!  How can anyone find
any humor in... never mind.  This is the plan: We'll send out a
message so annoying, so offensive, so utterly obnoxious that people
WON'T be able to throw it away.  They'll try to respond to it, they'll
try to dissect it, they'll forward it to abuse complaint lines and
postmasters all over the globe, effectively paralyzing the global
information infrastructure for hours, in which time we'll TAKE OVER

PINKY: Amazing, Brain!  Stupendous, uh, oh, no, wait...  How are we
going to get that message to so many people?  Isn't there a limit on
how many recipients you can send a message to?

BRAIN: Yes, there is.  However, we are-- that is, I am-- going to use
one of the numerous security holes in Windows NT to break in and
remove that restriction.

PINKY: But Brain, ...

BRAIN: Quiet, Pinky!  Give me a hand with the door to the server vault.

PINKY: But Brain, ...

BRAIN: I said quiet, Pinky!


BRAIN: Excellent!  Now, hand me the floppy... What is this!?!

PINKY: It's what I've been trying to tell you, Brain.  They couldn't
get Windows NT to handle all the mail messages going through HotMail,
so they had to use Solaris.  It was covered in the Narf of the... uh,
you know.

BRAIN: This is so... so annoying!  My perfect plan for world
domination, fouled by the limitations of Windows NT!

PINKY: I think Bill Gates has the exact same feeling.

BRAIN: Close the door, Pinky.  We need to go back to the lab, to get
ready for tomorrow night.

PINKY: Why, Brain?  What are we doing tomorrow night?  Hacking into


BRAIN: No, Pinky, it's the same thing we do EVERY night... Try to take
over the Internet!

You owe the Oracle a subscription to the Narf of the Day mailing list.

Question #86


The question was:

Of course, you realize this means war!!

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

OK, let's do it!
                     +---+                  +---+
                     |   |                  |   |
                     | 7 |                  | 7 |
                     |  +-----+        +-----+  |
                     +--| @@@+---+  +---+@@@ |--+
                        +----|   |  |   |----+
                             | J |  | 8 |
                             |   |  |   |
                             +---+  +---+
I win!  And look, I got one of your aces!  You're toast now, monkey
You owe the Oracle a better way of killing a rainy afternoon.

Question #87


The question was:

Oracle most measureless and cherished,

Are there still dwarves mining the depths below our feet?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Dwarves underneath our feet, mining away?  Preposterous.

Although.... it *has* been a while since I've checked my mines.  I mean,
there's a steady stream of gold from the Lost Indiana lode (one of the
best kept secrets in this country, BTW), so I really don't need to keep
tabs on the lot...

Come along, supplicant.  I shall give you the tour of the mine.  Watch
your step there... it's a bit rough here... heads up! oh, sorry, should
have given you this hardhat earlier... careful, that shaft looks ready
to collapse... need to replace these timbers one of these days... oh,
look, quartz!  I'll add this to my rock collection... yes, it is a bit
stuffy, one of the circulating fans must be off-line... and here we are!
Let's ask this fellow about dwarves...  You, good man!


Do you know anything about... wait a minute, you look familiar.

"No I don't.  Trick of the light.  You have dust in your eyes!"

Wait, now I recognize you!  You're Michael Dukakis!

*sigh* "Yes, you caught me."

But what are you doing here, down in my mine?

"After failing so miserably in 1988, I decided to go into hiding rather
 than be ridiculed for the rest of my life.  It's not Palm Springs, but
 I get three squares a day and there's no chance of 'Spy' magazine
 finding me here."

Anyone else of note?

"Well, the fella over there doing the pie chart of mineral yields is
 Ross Perot..."

Well, thank you for your time.

I guess you were right, supplicant.  There are dwarves still mining
beneath our feet... if not in stature, in character.

You owe the Oracle a replacement "Bill 'n' Opus-- Why Not the Worst?"
bumper sticker.

Question #88


The question was:

Oracle, you are more musical than Apollo, more muscular than
Hephaestus, stronger than Heracles, longer than--Hades, I don't have
to spout this dreck--you and I were in grade school together.

 Anyway, I have this problem.  On a whim, I got a permanent.  Boy, was
that a mistake.  I wanted body and bounce, but my snakes became limp
and lifeless.  I figure that, if you can't help me, then Lisa can.
Any ideas?

Love and kisses to you both,

The Gorgon Stheno

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Long time no see.  Isn't it a wonder how the Internet gets old friends
back in contact?

Anyway, I'm not sure how to answer your question as I've never had to
deal with a limp snake.  Nope, never, not me.  But if I were you I'd
go over to Dionysus's place and ask his son Priapus for some advice.
If there's anyone who would know how to add bounce to a lifeless snake
he'd be the one.

You owe the Oracle some Viagra.  Er, it's for a friend.  Really.

Question #89


The question was:

Wise Oracle,

Why doesn't the USA buy Baja California?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

July, 2000:     Mexico's foolish investment into "dot-coms" surfaces.
                Peso crashes.
August, 2000:   US agrees to buy Baja California for $12 billion.
October, 2000:  Deal finalized.  Baja California is annexed onto
January, 2001:  Los Angeles, always so appearance-conscious, complains
                that the newly annexed territory makes state look
March, 2001:    Emergency measure passed to create 51st state from the
                region previously known as Baja California.  New
                states will follow prior convention and be known as
                North and South California.
March, 2001:    San Francisco claims that "Northern California" has
                always been associated with class and sophistication,
                so Los Angeles shouldn't be allowed into the new North
April, 2001:    Los Angeles says "that uppity city of fruits" has no
                right claiming they lack class.
June, 2001:     In a surprise move, Fresno claims "it is sick of BOTH
                those losers" and wants its own state.
August, 2001:   NBC news reveals secret tapes showing the mayors of
                Sacramento, Bakersfield, and Fresno planning a
                secession from the state of North California.
November, 2001: San Diego, sick and tired of the whole thing, applies
                for political amnesty in Mexico.  Says the mayor:
                "It's not like anyone would notice, right?"
February, 2002: Talks break down.  Los Angeles and San Francisco agree
                to form a loose alliance against the Inland Empire.
March, 2003:    The US attempts to sell the Californias back to Mexico
                after it is discovered that they invested the entire
                Federal Budget in "Pokemon: The Second Movie."
April, 2003:    Mexico refutes the offer, with a snicker and the
                comment "You wanted it; well, now you got it."
May, 2003:      The LAPD invades Bakersfield.
June, 2003:     In retaliation, 400,000 tons of raisins fall on
                downtown San Francisco, paralyzing the city.  San
                Francisco responds with "Rice-a-roni" bombs.
August, 2003:   The area previously known as Baja California is now
                officially renamed "California."  The area previously
                known as California is now called "the radioactive
                wasteland formerly known as California."

You owe the Oracle a box of raisins, a ride on a cable car, and the
destruction of Kevin Costner's next post-apocalyptic movie before it
hits the theaters.

Question #90


The question was:

Oracle Most Wise,

Is it wrong to read alt.binaries.nudism?

Thank you.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Yes, it is very wrong to read alt.binarines.nudism.  You should be
decoding the pictures and looking at them instead.

begin 644 oracle.txt