Here's my "Top 10" list of Oracularities for which I've written the Incarnation's response, arranged in my own order of preference. Eight of them appeared in "Best Of" compilations, and the other two are personal favorites.
  1. Blind Carbon Copy
  2. Hans und Franz Orakel
  3. The Three Modern Wise Men
  4. Prof. Oracle at Usenet University
  5. El Prisionero T. U. Oracle
  6. "I do not feel lke myself today..."
  7. Oracle's Big Book of Business Card Games
  8. Julius Caesar in the Midwest!
  9. Australian Power Points
  10. Lieutenant Mulhooey
Go to the dsew Netwriting page

1. [Oracularity 582-08]

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

>     So Orrie old chum, what this "Bcc" business in the headers of my
> document.

And in response, thus spake the Usenet Oracle:

} "Bcc" stands for Blind Carbon Copy.  But that doesn't tell you much.
} Sit back and learn a bit of Net lore.
}
} Back in the ancient, cloudy, misty days of the ancestors of the
} Internet, back around 1979, an old, worn-out blues musician used to
} warm his tired bones in the sun on Sproul Plaza at the University of
} California, Berkeley, from time to time putting his old harmonica to
} his mouth and playing a riff or two, and now and then saying "God
} bless you" to some kind soul who had thrown a coin in his battered old
} derby.
}
} Come December it grew cold, even in California, and the venerable
} blues man began looking for a building he could doze in without being
} thrown out.  Eventually he discovered the Computer Center, an ideal
} place because in those glorious days the only people using it were
} True Hackers who worked at night and slept during the day, mostly face
} down alongside their keyboards.  Once our protagonist had rescued an
} old Cal sweatshirt from a trash can and begun wearing it while he
} napped at a terminal station, no one questioned his right to be there.
}
} This old blues man, of course, was none other than Blind Carbon Copy.
}
} He had picked up the majority of his nickname back in the '20s, when
} as a boy he would sneak into the honky-tonks and listen to the sweet
} Delta blues he heard there, then sneak back home and practice what
} he'd learned.  One night when a young Al Jolson was performing, Bcc
} was so caught up in the music that he forgot to wait until he was home
} to practice, and when Al and the boys came out the stage door they
} found a young boy in the alley singing his heart out in a perfect
} imitation of the Master.  "Al, that boy just a carbon copy of you,"
} the bass man said, and the name stuck.
}
} Now Blind Carbon Copy wasn't blind, but did you ever hear of a Delta
} blues man who wasn't nicknamed Blind something?
}
} --Well, after a few days of napping in the Berkeley lab Bcc got
} curious about what all those red-eyed young-'uns was doing there, and
} he started moving from monitor to monitor and reading over people's
} shoulders.  He couldn't make much out of FORTRAN or C code, but every
} now and then he'd come upon someone reading his e-mail, and he'd read
} the message, and make a song out of it if he could, walking off into
} the center of the room and softly accompanying himself on his blues
} harp:
}
}     I've got a na-aasty bug, an' I'm feelin' mighty blue
}     <WaaAHHH-yaaa-yaaa, ya-aaa-aaa-WAAAA-aah-ahh>
}     I said mah code's got a big bug, makes me feel so goddam blue
}     <WaaAHHH-yaaa-yaaa, ya-aaa-aaa-WAAAA-aah-ahh>
}     Mah core's gone an' dumped me, said mah programmin' days was
}     through! <Bumpety-bumpety-bumpety bump bump BUMP.>
}
} His lyrics eventually worked their way into the bleary consciousnesses
} of the Berkeley hackers.  Dumbfounded at first, they quickly warmed to
} the idea of improvisational blues e-mail, and pretty soon got in the
} habit of calling Blind Carbon Copy over--when he was awake, of
} course--when they had received a particularly promising message that
} they wanted him to render.  Some of the more musical of the group got
} Bcc to teach them how to sing the blues too, and began doing their own
} riffs when Bcc was asleep or away.
}
} Well, the Berkeley group split up, as all things will; Bcc went back
} to Louisiana to live with his daughter's family, the hackers
} graduated, or got jobs, or became bums.  But whenever one of them sent
} e-mail to someone working with one of the old crowd, they'd attach a
} header reading, let's say, "Blind Carbon Copy: William Joy", to
} indicate that the recipient should call Bill Joy over to do the blues
} on the message.
}
} Before long the header was shortened to the standard "Bcc" in Berkeley
} sendmail.  But the tradition lives on.  Mostly nowadays the Bcc
} heading is just a ritual gesture, and few are the companies and
} schools where people know enough Net history to call for one of their
} colleagues to come sing their e-mail when they have a Bcc line.  But
} now you know, and you know what to do, and remember, above all, that
} even if you get funny looks when someone's reading over your shoulder
} and laying down that e-mail wail, there's an old Delta blues man,
} lying in a bed in an old-folks home in Baton Rouge now, who hears and
} is blessed every time you sing them.
}
} Blind Carbon Copy--part of your Internet heritage!
}
} (This Oracularity sponsored by the Internet Cultural Task Force, the
} Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Louisiana Office of
} Tourism.)

Back to Contents

2. [Oracularity 500-10]

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

> ** TIME PARADOX TURBO E-MAIL **
> DATE : 20th December 2017
> SUBJECT : Operation COUNTERZOT
> FROM : connorj@rebelhq.garbage.dump  (John Connor, Shock Resistance)
> STATUS : URGENT
>
> There are two Terminators trying to blow my ass off right now so I'll
> be brief.  SKYNET has sent back a Series: X9000 Terminator to
> assassinate you! Why?  Well, we've discovered the best way to attack
> SKYNET is by repeatedly sending it variations of the wood chuck
> question by e-mail, thus crossing it's circuits and confusing the hell
> out of it.  SKYNET is convinced that you are the reason the wood chuck
> question was invented.  Boy, does it *hate* you!  We sent back an agent
> to help you, but he was arrested for indecent exposure (why can't they
> invent a time machine that works on clothes ?)  The X9000 can change
> into a series of electrical pulses and travel across the net at twenty
> times the speed of normal e-mail.  Its chief weapon is its <ZIT> ray,
> which afflicts whoever it strikes with such bad acne they commit
> suicide.
> Good luck.  You, humanity and wood chucks are depending on you.

And in response, thus spake the Usenet Oracle:

} Egads.  There's only one thing to do: clone a Schwarzenegger simulacrum
} and teleport my consciousness into it.  With Arnold's brawn and my
} brains the X9000 will be /dev/null fodder in no time.  Here goes...
}
}         %clone -o schwarzenegger
}           fatal error: insufficient body mass
}           attempting to reduplicate with two smaller bodies...
}           _______                                 ________
}                  \       *** RRRRIIIIP ***       /
}                   \_____________   _____________/
}                                 \ /
} Hello!  I am Hans Orakel...      | ... und I am Franz Orakel, und ve
}                                  | are hier to
}                                  |
} WISE *YOU* UP!!                  | WISE *YOU* UP!!
}                                  |
} Ja, Frans, look vot I haf hier   |
} today, a puny little brainless-  |
} Supplicant vot is zo schtupid    |
} he doesn't even know how to      |
} grovel!                          |
}                                  | Ja, he doesn't know how to
}                                  | praise der magnificence of our
}                                  | extremely enormous cerebellums
}                                  | mit his puny little macho-man
}                                  | cranium!
} Oh, und he is so schtupid--      |
} listen now und hear me later--   |
} he vants to know, "Vot is der    |
} meaning of life?"                |
}                                  | Such a pea-brain little macho-man
}                                  | qvestion!  The silly television-
}                                  | watching-person has surely never even
}                                  | read Kierkegaard or Jean-Paul Sartre!
} Ja, aber me and Franz, we read   |
} L'Etre et le neant in French     |
} while ve brush our teeth!  Und   |
} we speak fluent Danish, too!     |
}                                  | Ja, und listen, puny little macho-
}                                  | brain: "Der world is all dat is
}                                  | der case!"  Dat is Wittgenstein,
}                                  | whose name you probably cannot even
}                                  | say mit your big ape-like mouth!
} Ja, und Franz, hear his oder     |
} qvestion, "Hau much vood could   |
} a voodchuck chuck if a voodchuck |
} could chuck vood?"               |
}                                  | Ach, der tiny microbe-brain suppli-
}                                  | cant, der poor baby does not know
}                                  | dat Russell und Whitehead haf
}                                  | answered der Voodchuck Qvestion
}                                  | so long time ago in Principia
}                                  | Mathematica!!
} Ja, zo listen now and hear us    |
} in the future, dachshund-brain:  |
} pump yourself up mit some smart  |
} drugs und do many brain teasers  |
} und read der Usenet until your   |
} itsby-bitsy flabby macho-man     |
} brain has many strong neural     |
} connections!                     |
}                                  | So nau, Hans, hier is another
}                                  | qvestion from a foolish Supplicant
}                                  | in der Futur varning us about a
}                                  | Terminator coming to kill us!
} Ooooh, a Terminator, I am so     |
} scared I might not remember      |
} pi to 10,000 places!             |
}                                  | Ja, vot is der overgrown macho-man
}                                  | Terminator going to do to us, mit
}                                  | all his brains in his massive
}                                  | buttocks?  He cannot even count
}                                  | higher than ten because he has
}                                  | no more fingers!
} Ha-ha, Franz, you forget his     |
} enormous overgrown macho-man     |
} male organ!  I am zo impressed   |
} that he can count to eleven!     |
} But wait until he sees us doing  |
} binary division in our heads!    |
}                                  | Ja, die Terminator will go running
}                                  | back to his macho-man Futur ven he
}                                  | sees our enormous cerebral organs
}                                  | engaged in massif cogitation!  Shall
}                                  | we show der audience hau ve vill
}                                  | terrify die flea-brained Terminator?
} Ja, like ZO:                     |
}                                  |
}    <KNITS BROW FURIOUSLY>        |      <KNITS BROW FURIOUSLY>
}                                  |
}                                  | Zo remember, friends, take many
}                                  | logic und computer science classes
}                                  | und someday you may have big
}                                  | nerdy-man brains like ours!  Until
}                                  | next time, I am Franz Orakel...
} Und I am Hans Orakel, und ve     |
} are hier to.....                 |
}                                  |
}       WISE *YOU* UP!!            |       WISE *YOU* UP!!!

Back to Contents

3. [Oracularity 474-04]

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

> If Jesus were born today, who would the three wise men be?

And in response, thus spake the Usenet Oracle:

} Better you should ask, who WERE they.  Jesus had long planned a second
} coming, and arranged to have himself born to a short-order chef and his
} virgin wife in Needles, California, on December 25, 1977.  Word of His
} incarnation was carried to certain shepherds in Sonora, Mexico, by
} extraterrestrials descending from a UFO that briefly appeared in the
} form of a supernova in the constellation of Cassiopeia.
}
} The shepherds passed word along to their local magi, three Yaqui Indian
} brujos named Gastar, Mejor, and Barato.  They saddled their donkeys and
} set out for the north, taking with them three sacred gifts: saguaro
} fruit, peyote buttons, and a glow-in-the dark Frisbee lost by an
} Arizona State University coed on spring break in Nogales earlier in the
} year, which had been recovered by a street urchin who took it back to
} the village elders.
}
} The Yaqui magi eluded the Border Patrol by travelling at night,
} following the Star, and crossing the border in the middle of Luke Air
} Force base, where they were briefly annoyed by an F-16 on a practice
} run until Barato witched it, turning it into a Mexican freetail bat.
} The three followed the Colorado River safely, sheltered from detection
} by their Cocopa and Mohave Indian brothers along the way.
}
} They very nearly made it to Needles, but their pilgrimage came to an
} abrupt end at the California Agricultural Inspection Station on I-40,
} where a drowsy inspector failed to notice the peyote but was jolted
} sharply awake by unmistakable signs of Mexican galloping mange on
} the donkeys.  In order to prevent the highly infectious disease from
} spreading to California donkey herds, officials impounded and destroyed
} the hapless animals and burned all organic material they carried that
} might harbor the disease.  Only Barato was permitted to keep his
} Frisbee after it had been sprayed with Lysol.
}
} The demoralized brujos consulted and agreed that they couldn't possibly
} greet the newborn King with only one present.  Sadly they turned their
} visages to the south forever.
}
} The infant Jesus was so demoralized by his failure to receive any
} presents that he lost all interest in redeeming mankind and decided to
} grow up as an ordinary boy.  If you're interested, his name is Jason
} Peterzell and he's a sophomore at Needles High, where he is studying
} carpentry in shop class.  Two years ago a vague urging prompted him to
} buy a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee with his newspaper delivery money, but
} today it lies forgotten under the comic books in his closet.
}
} The story has a happy ending, however.  Gastar, Mejor, and Barato
} learned enough from their border crossing to become highly successful
} "coyotes," and after a decade of smuggling well-to-do Central Americans
} across the border they retired to a custom-built house in their native
} village complete with indoor plumbing and satellite TV.  Perhaps the
} only evidence today of their ill-fated quest to honor the Infant King
} is the local superstition, found nowhere else in Sonora, that whenever
} a donkey is lost a horned lizard will be found in its stall--a horned
} lizard that was once a donkey, transformed into a reptile by the angry
} brujo whose path it had foolishly crossed.

Back to Contents

4. [Oracularity 465-05]

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 Usenet 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.

Back to Contents

5. [Oracularity 638-08]

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

> Oracle,
>
> Since you are at an .edu address, I assume that you had spring
> break some time recently.  So, what did you do?

And in response, thus spake the Usenet Oracle:

} AVISO: !El prisionero T. Usenet Oracle no se permite recibir
} correo electronico! Usted puede escribirlo a la dirrecion:
}
}               T. Oracle
}               Prisionero no. 42
}               Carcel Municipal de Cancun
}               Cancun, Mexico
}
} Para su informacion, Sr. Oracle esta acusado de los crimenes
} siguientes:
}
}       * Disturbio de la paz
}       * Manejando un automovil sobre la influencia del alcohol
}       * Defecacion publica en la playa
}       * Solicitacion de prostitutas
}       * Vomitando sobre un agente de policia
}       * Indecencia publica con un burro
}       * Imitaciones miserables de Cantinflas
}
} Usted debe al Jefe de la Policia 50,000 pesos para liberar el
} Oraculo...

Back to Contents

6. [Oracularity 602-08]

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

> Oh Oracle. I do not feel lke myself today. What on earth should I do?

And in response, thus spake the Usenet Oracle:

} Buy a piece of fossilized Pleistocene mammoth dung, then take it
} to to your local veterinarian's and tell the vet in a high state
} of agitation that you're worried about the stools your German
} shepherd is passing.  Unscrew the mirror from your bathroom medicine
} cabinet and take it with you to the downtown public library; go up
} to the help desk and ask whether they have any reverse-print books.
} Throw a major hissing fit when you are told they don't.  Go to the
} art museum, set up your easel in front of a Rembrandt, and begin
} painting a copy of Picasso's "Guernica."  If anyone points out the
} discrepancy, hit yourself on the forehead and say "Geez, you're
} right! GEEZ!!" Find someone with a "Will work for food" sign, then
} drive past him at 12 mph as you hold a Big Mac out the window and
} shout, "It's yours if you can catch it!"  Find a meter-maid and
} then jog down the street just in front of her van, putting nickels
} in every expired parking meter you see; do this for several hours.
} Rent a doorman's costume and stand out in front of the fanciest
} doorman-less hotel you can find.  When anyone passes, tip your cap
} and say, "Tickle your ass with a feather!"; when they gasp "WHAT
} did you say?!" sweetly reply, "Particularly nice weather!"  Go down
} to the airport, find a spot beneath outgoing planes, and watch
} every takeoff with a rapturous gaze; if anyone is standing next to
} you as a plane passes overhead, turn to them and say, as you point
} to the plane, "I can see its wee-wee!"
}
} I guarantee you'll feel MUCH better.
----

Back to Contents

7. [Oracularity 624-10]

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

> Are there any good card games one can play with business cards?  Or,
> more specifically, are there any solitaire games one can play with
> business cards?

And in response, thus spake the Usenet Oracle:

} My forthcoming THE USENET ORACLE'S BIG BOOK OF BUSINESS CARD GAMES
} contains many more multiplayer than solitaire games.  Of course
} you'll want to buy the book, but in the meantime here's a sampler
} of three games, including the most popular solitaire variant.
}
} Game 1: Business Card Post Office
} ---------------------------------
} Party game, most fun with a large mixed-sex group.
}
} Everyone puts their own business card face down into a pile.  The cards
} are shuffled and each player draws a card at random.  One at a time,
} each player reads the name and job title on the card he has drawn and
} then says, "I have to put a stamp on <NAME>!"  If NAME's job title is
} more prestigious than Player's, Player must kiss NAME on the butt or
} drop out of the game; otherwise Player can either pass or kiss NAME
} on the mouth.  If Player chooses to kisses NAME, NAME can either accept
} the kiss, or call out "Harrassment!" while throwing his or her own
} business card in the air.  If the card comes down heads, Player is
} "guilty" and must sit out a turn; if it comes down tails, NAME is
} "fired" and is out of the game.
}
} If a Player has drawn his or her own card, everyone calls out "Pee-Wee
} Herman!" and Player is out of the game.
}
} The game ends either when only one player is left or when the remaining
} players are too busy kissing to choose cards; this is called
} "Corporation" and counts as a draw.
}
} Game 2: Business Card "War"
} ---------------------------
} 2 players
}
} Each player plays with his own personal business card collection.  Both
} players put their cards in a pile, face down.  On each turn, both
} players turn over a single card from their pile.  The player with the
} higher-ranking card shouts "I beat!" and adds both cards to his winnings.
} Play ends when one player has turned over all of his cards; the winner
} is the one with the most cards.
}
} In a friendly game, players may agree in advance to limit themselves to
} the same initial number of cards.  In tournament play, however, each
} player always begins with as many cards as he has.
}
} Ranking: Companies and job titles are ignored except when two cards
} rank the same, in which case the usual rules of corporate precedence
} apply. Otherwise, cards are compared by going through the following
} series of test:
}
}     Custom-printed       BEATS      $2 Do-It-Yourself Mall Machine
}     Color                  "        black-and-white
}     Embossed letters       "        flat letters
}     Times Roman            "        artsy-fartsy fonts
}     Hand-set type          "        machine printed
}     Halftone engraved
}       portrait of owner    "        photograph of owner
}     Hologram company logo  "        embossed logo
}     Internet address       "        Bitnet, MCI mail, or Fidonet
}                                       address
}
} Cards with any of the following are "wild" and automatically win:
}
}     UUCP bang-path addresses; workplace address with no numbers
}     (e.g., "Manor House, Sutton-Under-Barrow, Hampstead, England");
}     typesetting by Kibo
}
} Cards with any of the following are "jokers" and automatically lose:
}
}     handwritten corrections; company "Slogan in Quotes Like This";
}     dried boogers; Internet address @aol.com
}
} Game 3: Business Card Hangman
} -----------------------------
} a solitaire game
}
} Shuffle all the business cards in your collection and draw 13 at
} random. Place twelve of the cards face up in two rows to form the "jury
} box." Then place the thirteenth card face up below the others, saying
} as you put it down, "Behold the Hanged Man!"
}
} Write down the fax numbers from the 12 cards of the "jury."  Send each
} of the jury members a fax with the following text, signed by the
} "Hanged Man" with his fax number as the return address, after having
} scanned in his corporate logo to make a convincing fax cover sheet:
}
}         TO:  <Jury Member>
}
}         Since you didn't respond to my last fax I can only assume that
}         you are a miserable, cowardly excuse for a professional who
}         doesn't give a damn if his company goes down the tubes.  Well,
}         I wouldn't do business with you if you were giving away ice
}         cubes in Hell.  And don't even bother replying to this fax, now
}         that it's too late, because *our* janitor keeps enough paper
}         in the john for people to wipe their asses with.
}
}         <Hanged Man>
}
} Scoring: Consider yourself a winner if Hanged Man loses a job, files
} for bankruptcy, or commits suicide.  Consider yourself a big loser if
} you're not smart enough to hack the fax so your own return number
} doesn't show up on the messages you send.

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8. [Oracularity 462-01]

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

> Ohe magnus Oraculus, qui identibus anticus frustrum magnum spinaciae
> hab es (id tibi praebet speciem lepidissimam), ell-tay e-may:
>
> Hostes alienigeni me abduxerunt. Qui annus est?

And in response, thus spake the Usenet Oracle:

}                     JULIUS CAESAR APPEARS IN MIDWEST!
}                   Roman Emperor Abducted by Space Aliens!
}                       WEEKLY WORLD NEWS Exclusive!
}
} By Sweeney Todd, Special Correspondent, 20 June 1992
}
}    Students at Indiana University thought it was just another
} fraternity prank.  But the man wearing a toga and a crown of bay leaves
} was no frat brother--he was the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, kidnapped
} by space aliens and released in the year 1992!
}    According to students, the bewildered emperor first appeared on the
} quad at IU around noon last Thursday.  "People started to gather around
} him, laughing and shouting 'To-GA!  To-GA!'" said coed Allison Walker,
} 19. "But when someone threw a beer can at him and he pulled a short
} sword out of his belt and started shouting in some weird language,
} like, everyone freaked!"
}    Luckily, one member of the crowd was Horace Dimsdale, 20, a junior
} computer science major and third-year Latin student.  "I understood
} what he was shouting, but I couldn't believe it at first," said
} Dimsdale.  "I think it was 'Ego Caesar Imperator sum, osculate culum
} meum!' I don't like to say just what it means, but he was pretty
} angry."
}    Dimsdale managed to rescue the hapless Emperor from the crowd and,
} using his fluent Latin, find out how he had arrived in Bloomington.
} Although Caesar lacked the vocabulary to describe some of what he had
} seen, it was clear from his description that he had been abducted from
} the Roman Forum by space aliens in a large pulsating UFO in the year 48
} B.C.!  "They communicated with him using their ESP and told him that
} they wanted to study his brain because he was known to them as one of
} the great military minds of the Galaxy," said Dimsdale.  "They were
} running some kind of probe when they were interrupted by an enemy
} attack, and to save Caesar they had to drop him off at the nearest
} space-time continuum."  Which happened to be Indiana in 1992!
}    IU officials arrived, but as soon as Caesar realized where he was he
} insisted on being taken to "the Great Oracle."  "We didn't get it at
} first," said Prof. J. W. Halporn, head of Classics at IU.  "He kept
} saying, 'Ubi Magnum Oraculum?'  I knew that wasn't Latin for 'take me
} to your leader,' but luckily Horace here figured out what he meant."
}    The betoga'ed ruler was in fact asking for the "Usenet Oracle," a
} massive super-secret Artificial Intelligence project housed at Indiana
} University, whom the space aliens had told Caesar was the ruler of the
} greatest empire on the planet in 1992!  "We took him to the nearest
} VT100," said Dimsdale, "and he sat down and began typing right
} away--after making a sarcastic comment about how the space aliens used
} more sophisticated Dvorak keyboards!"
}    The Emperor's current whereabouts are being kept secret by IU
} officials as they work feverishly with their Oracle software to
} discover a way to return Julius Caesar to his own time.  "We know he
} has to have gotten back somehow," said Halporn, "because we asked the
} Oracle what would happen if Caesar had disappeared and never been
} assassinated, and the Oracle got real mad and said, 'Look, even my
} Supplicants have gotten tired of these old-hat alternate reality
} questions,' and assured us that the technology to return Caesar was
} well within his grasp."
}    But the Weekly World News has learned from sources among the
} students that the famous author of "et tu, Brute?" is now enjoying
} American beer, pretzels, and reruns of I Love Lucy!

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9. [Oracularity 629-10]

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

> Oh mighty wise Oracle, who is more
> honoured than the Simpsons,
>
> Why do Australian power points have three
> holes? 

And in response, thus spake the Usenet Oracle:

} Long ago I was approached by a seeker of wisdom, a young anthropology
} student named Carlos Cacahuete, who had spent many years studying
} mystic paths and transformations with medicine men and witches, and
} who sought to enter my Priesthood to complete his training.  Because
} he could never master the arcane use of the ESC key in vi he was
} unable to become a true Man of Humor, but before he left Indiana he
} told me the story of his own quest for the secret of power points.
}
} "It was Don Guano who taught me how to use two-hole power points,"
} Carlos said.  "During the early stage of my apprenticeship, I was made
} to sleep in a cramped storage room in his house.  It was July, and
} dreadfully hot; finally I could bear it no longer.  Don Guano saw my
} suffering, smiled, and brought me an old, rusty electric fan.  Only
} then did I notice the outlet in my tiny room: its two holes matched
} the two prongs of the fan plug perfectly.
}
} "That night I plugged in my fan and turned it on, but the blades would
} not move.  In the morning Don Guano simply smiled and said, 'A man of
} power must know many things.  To know the failings of the plug, you
} must become as a plug.  Come.'
}
} "Don Guano handed me his shovel and led me outside.  About thirty feet
} from his house he told me to dig two holes, shoulder width apart and
} knee-deep.  When done, I was to strip myself naked and stand with my
} two legs in the holes and my arms raised overhead, hands clasped: in
} this way I would 'be' the plug.  I was to gaze at the house,
} unblinking, until Don Guano called me inside--or until I had learned
} what illness possessed the fan and how to purge it.
}
} "Morning passed, then noon.  Don Guano sat on his porch drinking
} pulque.   He offered me none.  Suddenly I felt seized by a power
} beyond speaking, by a flame of pure knowledge.  I passed out.  When I
} awoke, Don Guano was pouring a Corona on my head to revive me,
} muttering mystic words in the ancient Yaqui tongue: 'Chingado
} gringo, no puede tolerar un pocito de calor...'
}
} "'Don Guano!' I shouted.  'I know why the fan does not work!  He has
} been cursed by a powerful brujo who has put a demon inside!'  Don
} Guano merely pointed at a spot in space some twenty feet behind the
} house.  Curiousity overcame me, as usual.  Don Guano cut off my
} question: 'I am pointing at the telephone pole.' 'But honored master,
} I see no pole!' 'True. For there are no electric lines between here and
} Hermosillo.  That is why the fan would not run.  Such wisdom must one
} possess who would be a man of power.'
}
} "I had failed my master.  In humiliation, I left and returned to
} California.
}
} "Some months later, I was walking on the lawn at UCLA when I saw a
} vision I thought at first was trickery of Senor Peyote.  But no: it
} was a man breathing into a great tube that rested upon the ground,
} never ceasing to breathe, and as he breathed out the tube spoke:
} 'BwAAA-yaaa-yaaaaaaaa-BWAAAAAAAAA-yaaaaa-yaaaa-BLEAHHH-yaaa-yaaa...'
} For many minutes I studied with this new master and learned of the
} 'didgeridoo,' the Instrument of Power of the Australian wise men.
} Suddenly, I knew what I must do to become a Man of Power.  To trade my
} secret Telephone Calling Card numbers for the magical instrument was a
} matter of moments.
}
} "I flew to Australia.  Long did I wander the outback seeking the spot,
} my Spot of Power.  Near Ayer's Rock I found it, next to an ancient
} songline and a weathered sign with the mystic word 'Qantas' upon it.
} This time I dug three holes: two for my legs, one for the didgeridoo.
} Even as I had seen the three power-points in my hotel room in Adelaide
} the first night: a design borrowed from the aboriginal shamans, who
} dreamt the power that Europeans foolishly imagined they had brought.
} I placed my legs in their two holes and my instrument in the other,
} filled my lungs with air, and blew.
}
} "I was seized with vision.  Power flew into me and filled me.  My head
} expanded and I was flying--over Ayer's Rock, then down, down into the
} Dreamtime.  I saw all.  I knew all.
}
} "I awoke.  A jet-black man stood over me: a shaman!  He spoke a few
} words of benediction in his ancient tribal tongue: 'Stupid bugger,
} hyperventilatin' into a bleedin' hole in the ground...'  I fainted once
} more.  When I awoke my didgeridoo was gone; also my wallet.  It did not
} matter.  I knew the secret of the three power-points.  No one could
} ever take it from me."
}
} --You know the rest.  How Carlos went on to write "Electric Breath,"
} became a multimillionaire; his 900 Dial-a-Didgeridoo line; his marriage
} to Latoya Jackson.  And to this day, Australians call an electric plug
} a "Cacahuete" (or maybe a "billabong," I always get those mixed up).
}
} You owe the Oracle an extension cord.

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10. [Oracularity 491-09]

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

> The news cameras and reporters had already gathered at the scene.
> "Vultures," Mulhooey thought as he pushed his way through the crowd.
> The reporter from the City NewsCam crew stepped in his path and
> asked the question he'd come to expect.  "So, Lieutenant, will this
> be ANOTHER unsolved one?"  Mulhooey was considering whether it would
> be worth ending his 15-year career for the pleasure of decking her
> when a blue uniform appeared in his field of vision.  "This way,
> Lieutenant."  Saved by the bell again.
>
> The upstairs apartment wasn't a pretty one, but then, he knew that
> already.  He knew it from the moment the phone rang.  He wondered
> again why that kind of call always seemed to come right when he and
> Kay had found a few precious moments for intimacy.  The scene in the
> room brought him back to reality.  He'd seen it all before: a
> typical grad-student hole in the wall, some posters, a few sticks of
> Salvation Army furniture, the blackened computer, pieces of a cheap
> 2400-baud modem, and the charred, contorted form on the floor,
> barely recognizable as having once been human.  A rookie patrolman
> stepped in, and quickly stepped back out again.  Mulhooey counted to
> five.  A retching sound came from the hallway.  "He'll learn," he
> thought, "maybe."
>
> By the desk, the lab boys were still at work.  "Anything?"  "Looks
> pretty much the same as the others, LT."  Evans, the lab tech,
> always called the officers by the initials of their rank.  It
> irritated Mulhooey, and Evans knew that, but Evans was good at what
> he did.  "How about that little idea of yours?"  "Worked like a
> charm, LT."  Mulhooey gave a curt nod.  He felt a grudging respect
> for the man, but would rather die than show it.  "So what can I tell
> those buzzards outside?"  Evans showed a nasty smile.  "Let 'em
> stew.  Say we'll have more in an hour."  "Will it really take you an
> hour?"  The smile got nastier.  "Not even close.  I just think we
> should let them enjoy standing around in the rain for a while."
>
> Mulhooey was smiling, too, as he stepped outside into the glare of
> the TV lights.  "I have an announcement," he shouted above the
> babble of questions.  He gave them a minute to settle down, then
> continued.  "As you all know, there have been numerous unexplained
> homicides involving computers, the so-called Usenet Zot Killings.
> I'm sure you are all eager to find out how our investigation is
> proceeding."  He was enjoying himself thoroughly.  "In cooperation
> with the FBI, the Secret Service, the Indiana State Police, and the
> phone companies, this department has set up a monitoring system.
> The system activates only when an abnormally high voltage is
> detected, so the ACLU can rest easy.  The route is then traced back
> to its origin, something happening even as I speak.  In about an
> hour...."
>
> He broke off as Evans unexpectedly appeared next to him.  His usual
> cockiness had evaporated; he looked scared.  So scared, in fact,
> that he forgot to be irritating.  "Lieutenant, I'm done with the
> trace.  It's ... it's ... "

And in response, thus spake the Usenet Oracle:

} Mulhooey grabbed the scrap of yellow memo paper that Evans was holding
} out to him.  There was nothing on it but the number "42" written with
} a soft pencil, several thick strokes to each line.
}
} "I don't get it.  What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
}
} "It's the telephone number," stammered Evans.  "We triple-checked the
} results and ran it through the line deoscillator a dozen times.  The
} originating call is coming from 42.  That's our Zotter."
}
} "42?  Just 4-2?"  Evans nodded.
}
} "What kind of bullshit number is that supposed to be?  Hell,
} that isn't even an area code.  Joseph and Mary and the papoose, man,
} have you lost it entirely?  Look here..."
}
} Mulhooey pulled the handset of a cellular phone out of his squad car
} and angrily stabbed at the "4" and then the "2."  Scowling, he held the
} phone up as if to flaunt the silence, but suddenly he froze as he heard
} the click of a connection.  He slapped the receiver to his ear, cutting
} its sound off from the onlookers.
}
} What was this nonsense he was hearing?  Answers to all your questions?
} "Look, Mac," Mulhooey barked, "I don't give a pig's left ball if you
} can tell me how much woo--"
}
} "NO, Lieutenant!" Evans screamed as his boss began to mouth the rounded
} vowel.  Then everything happened at once: the TV cameras shorted,
} the NewsCam reporter shrieked, and the pungent odor of burnt gumshoe
} filled the air.
}
} If Mulhooey could have counted to five, he would have smiled just then.

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