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1996 09

From: Randy Martens (randym_lvld.hp.com)
Subject: A Hideous Plot
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/25

Ladies & Gentlemen:

I have stunning evidence of a hideous plot.

Steve Kinzler, whom we all know and venerate, has been replaced - by a woodchuck.

Now, you might ask, how do I know this?

I will attach to this email a photo of the vile Woodchuck putting on his Steve Kinzler mask, and later sitting down at his keyboard. A bound and gagged Zadoc can be seen in the background of the second photo.

Now, people, clearly we must act to ...
Who's there?
I'm online, I don't want to be disturbed.
No, I don't want any Girl Scout Cookies...
AAAIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

<NO CARRIER>


From: Bill Sier (sherlock_ksu.edu)
Ladies and gentlemen, we apoligize for this outburst. We, at our Lady of the Wood.- er, Marmots Psychiatric Ward have been attempting to find this paranoid delusional case for some time. The plot and pictures he referred to are complete fiction, so there is nothing to worry about. We'll make sure he gets proper... treatment...


From: Tom Harrington (tph_longhorn.uucp)
Randy Martens (randym_lvld.hp.com) wrote:
: I will attach to this email a photo of the vile Woodchuck putting on his Steve Kinzler mask, and later sitting down at his keyboard.

I saw this photo; it was rather obviously manipulated by Photoshop or some similar program. If you want to post lies like this, at least learn to use your software, so that you can create a *realistic* fake photo. The Oracle's personal guards will be round shortly to punish you for this.

: A bound and gagged Zadoc can be seen in the background of the second photo.

But Zadoc is *always* bagged and gound, er, gagged and bound, unless the Oracle has let him out. In fact he has learned to bind and gag himself, to save the Oracle the time. This proves nothing.


From: Richard Wilson (Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk)
Subject: Re: A Hideous Plot
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/26

And there's worse to come. We all know, of course, that the defining characteristic of AOL newbies is that they always ask where to find nude pics of Marina Sirtis. Just as we know that the existence of such pics is an urban myth.

And then, yesterday, a well-known degenerate at work rushed into my office and dragged me over to his PC to show me the JPEG a friend of his had downloaded off the Net for him, and it was Marina Sirtis in the fairly nearly altogether! I saw it (them) with my own eyes!

Now my confidence in my beliefs has been shaken to its foundations. What other things that I thought I knew to be myths will turn out to be true? Perhaps there really is a Good Times virus. Kibo really does rule the Net. You *can* GET RICH QUICK. There really are people called Joel Furr and Serdar Argic.

Hmm... No, that's probably going too far.

BTW, there was also one of Dax wearing a fishnet.

Richard Wilson

And, believe me, a giant symbiotic slug wearing a fishnet is not a sight for the faint of heart


From: Paul (zymurge_atl.mindspring.com)
Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk (Richard Wilson) wrote:
>BTW, there was also one of Dax wearing a fishnet.

Yeah! I saw that one. She apparently went fishing with Brent Spiner, and he thought it would be funny to dump her in the water and "help her out" by dragging a gill net over her. Unfortunately, there wasn't a turtle exclusion device installed, and she nearly drowned. She was highly irritated, let me tell you.


From: Tom Harrington (tph_longhorn.uucp)
Subject: Re: A Hideous Plot
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/30

Richard Wilson (Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk) wrote:
: dmescher_csugrad.cs.vt.edu "Dave "RoaE" Mescher" writes:
: > Richard Wilson (Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk) wrote:
: > *snip*
: > : Now my confidence in my beliefs has been shaken to its foundations. What other things that I thought I knew to be myths will turn out to be true? Perhaps there really is a Good Times virus. Kibo really does rule the Net. You *can* GET RICH QUICK. There really are people called Joel Furr and Serdar Argic.

I've considered the possibility of creating a new urban legend based on a couple of usenet plagues. Specifically, tell people that the evil hackers behind the incredibly damaging "Good Times" virus have created a new, even more terrifying attack. And that in order to get this new attack to people who have been tipped off to the whole "Good Times" scare, they're using a different subject: "GET RICH QUICK". Then add that there are several variations on this new, horrendous virus, with names like "MAKE MONEY FAST" and "FAST CASH", etc. One of these days I may just do it. If you see it, you'll know it was me, unless it wasn't.

: > There is a real person called Joel Furr. He is the one you speak of. He lives in Durham. (Working on a masters, IIRC.) Serdar Argic is a pseudonym, IIRC.

You're confused here; in fact, "Joel Furr" is just one of many pseudonyms used by Serdar Argic. There is no person named "Joel Furr". Argic is, in real life, the author of several cookbooks with delicious recipes for turkey (my favorite is "Turkey a la Armenia", which tastes great but makes enough to serve 2.5 million people).

: Damn! I forgot to post an irony alert again. People are right - this group needs to be subdivided and moderated, with the ironics ruthlessly excluded. Bye, Tom. Bye, David. Bye, the rest of you subversives.

"rec.humor.oracle.fortified-with-eight-essential-vitamins-and-irony", anyone? We'll keep your cell warm until they catch on to you, Richard.


From: David Sewell (dsew_packrat.aml.arizona.edu)
Subject: Re: Digest #857
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/09

John M. Aldrich <fighteer_cs.com> wrote:
>Wow - two Star Trek takeoffs in one Digest! Can this be a coincidence? I think not. :)
>
>Also, I must take exception with #857-05. Despite any humor that may have existed in the question or answer, both supplicant and incarnation totally botched it by using void main() instead of a correct int main(void) or even just main(). Despite the misguided attempts of many C manuals and instructors to confuse the issue, according to ANSI C, main _must_ return an int.

Since I selected this one, Priestly rules requires me to defend the Oracle's honor.

Let me begin with a true story about Star Trek. The application will emerge eventually.

A ST:NG script called "Hollow Pursuits" (the one that introduces Reginld Barclay III) was written by someone whose day job includes teaching medieval literature and linguistics.[1] In one bit of Data's dialogue he was supposed to use the word "metathesis", the technical linguistic term for a transposition of phonemes. (Dialect "aks" for "ask", for example.) Now, the dictionary pronunciation stresses the second syllable, but when Brent Spiner delivered the line he stressed the first syllable, 'met-a-the-sis.

An ordinary viewer, watching this episode, might conclude that the actor who plays Data goofed and that none of the ST:NG people noticed the mistake or thought it was important enough to do another take of the scene. They are forgetting a cardinal rule of Star Trek interpretation, namely that Star Trek Never Makes Mistakes. Particularly not Data.

So at least two interpretations of the pronunciation quickly emerged from Star Trek fandom[1]:

  1. The pronunciation of "metathesis" will have changed by Data's time.
  2. Data was making a joke.

Okay, to the present case. Even the Oracle can't bend the rules of ANSI C to his will, so hypothesis #1 is out. The correct interpretation is the second one. The Oracle, of course, was *parodying* the syntax of his supplicant's wretched code fragment, just as in 857-03 the Oracle was *parodying* the questioner's USE OF CAPITAL LETTERS. Of *course* the Oracle knows main() doesn't return a void. It's FUNNY.

Boy, if people only understood HUMOR, there'd be less PEDANTRY on this newsgroup sometimes.
-----
[1] Cf. http://www.oneworld.net/sf/authors/caves/

[2] To be honest, "fandom" here consisted of two of scriptwriter Sally Caves's friends who phoned her after the episode aired to congratulate her. (Source: I WAS THERE, D00DS!!!! IF U DON"T BELEEV ME U CAN WR1T3 HER & AKS!!!!)


From: Tom Harrington (tph_longhorn.uucp)
Subject: Re: Digest #857
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/11

John M. Aldrich (fighteer_cs.com) wrote:
: Tom Harrington wrote:
: > In a moment of supreme geekdom, I actually tried the code from 857-05 here on a Sun. And while ANSI C may require that main return an int, Sun's ANSI C compiler does not. I don't know about other compilers but it would appear that this rule is poorly followed, at best. If a manual says it's OK, then apparently it's correct, in practice if not in theory.
: Oh, joy. So all manuals are 100% correct now? I'm impressed.

It's been my experience that most manuals -- for anything -- are best viewed as existensial works of science fiction/fantasy writing. It's obvious, after all, that they're not describing anything that happens in this particular dimensional reality. When you consider the fact that the manuals are intended to apply not to our world, but to one of the author's imagination, you realize that they are in fact 100% correct with regard to the world they describe. Even when they are internally inconsistent. I have shelves of manuals here which, when viewed in the proper context, rival anything written by any SF/fantasy author ever published.

: a reason why the ANSI standard exists, and the ANSI standard only states _two_ fully correct ways to define main(). Failing to return a value can so easily lead to grief and unexpected program behavior.

So can running any program on most any current operating system. :-)


From: David Hinerman (dhiner_freenet.columbus.oh.us)
Subject: Re: Digest #857
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/13

Tom "Tom" Harrington (tph_rmii.com) wrote:
: Ben Fisher <Ben_Fisher_ccm2.hf.intel.com> wrote:
: > Sir, I protest. As a professional Technical Writer, I resemble that remark. All manuals describe REALITY, it is the engineers who got the PRODUCT wrong.
: Uh-oh. As an engineer, I must point out how wrong this is. The manual is useless unless it describes the functioning of the product *exactly*. The fact that we changed the product seventeen times in the month before release does not exempt you from this. Didn't they test your psychic abilities before hiring you?

Tom,

Doggone it, you know the rules! When speaking outside of the Engineering Department, we are required to blame Marketing for all changes. We never, ever admit that we changed these things willingly.


From: Tom Harrington (tph_longhorn.uucp)
Subject: Re: Digest #857
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/24

Hannu Rummukainen (hrummuka_mu.tky.hut.fi) wrote:
: tph_longhorn.uucp (Tom Harrington) writes:
: >A4 paper comes in squares of something like 4 or 5 inches on a side (I'm sure the standard is actually in metric, but since we all know that the metric system is a commie plot, I won't bother to check on it). It's very lightweight, and is conveniently sold in rolls of several hundred sheets each, with perforations between each sheet.
: It is not a 'commie plot'! Besides, your imperialist attitudes are showing through. The A4 standard is a consensus decision by the democratic peoples of the world. A4 is a progressive way of using paper, a size that allows the oppressed to read and write without capitalist disruption. Any working man can see there's nothing communist about that.

This standard was arrived at as a result of the bloody, violent, Glorious Office Paper rebellion of 1963, right? I still maintain that the metric system is an evil plot to subvert Western society. You've got meters, centimeters, millimeters, liters, milliliters, etc, etc. Who can make any sense out of a measurement system when the names of all the units sound exactly the same? Here in the still-civilized part of the world, it's inches, feet, yards, quarts, gallons, pints, etc, just the way God planned it. If our system was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for us. And if the rest of you want to spend eternity burning in the pits of hell, well then you just go on using metric. I notice that, while you insist that the metric system is a good idea, you nevertheless fail to adhere to the ten-letter metric alphabet required by ISO. Could it be that, since you use more than ten letters, you perhaps realize that what you're doing is evil?


From: Miss Information (misinfo_iso.org.ch)
Subject: Re: Digest #857
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/26

Tom Harrington <tph_rmii.com> wrote:
>I notice that, while you insist that the metric system is a good idea, you nevertheless fail to adhere to the ten-letter metric alphabet required by ISO. Could it be that, since you use more than ten letters, you perhaps realize that what you're doing is evil?

In fact, the ISO metric alphabet (sic) is composed of 1 die-cast platinum letter (the "bet"), which is housed in the basement of the ISO building in Lausanne, just next to the kitty litter. From this, a variety of "______bets" can be constructed; the most popular being the "decabet" (100 letters) and the "kilobet" (1000 letters). At present the "millibet" (1/1000 letter) is significantly underused and a steering committee has been started to try and improve this situation.

Please note that the prefix "alpha" is not a valid metric prefix, and as such will be phased out in due time (maybe faster if the re-education camps are successful).

We thank you for your interest in the metric system.

Sincerely,


Ms. Information (ISO PRD)


From: Admiral Jota (jota_laraby.tiac.net)
Subject: Re: Anyone for a riddle?
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/25

Your question was <on rhod>:
> I got this one from a friend today:
>
> You're driving around England trying to find a certain castle. You come to a fork where the road splits and goes in two different directions. You don't know which one to take, but there are two brothers standing in the middle of the road, and they can tell you where the castle is.
>
> You can ask them only ONE question to find out which way to go, BUT one of the brothers is a liar, and the other one is truthful, so you don't know which one will answer and if it will be the truth!
>
> What do you ask them?

Thus spake the Oracle <on rhod>:

} I've been driving around this foraken little island for three days now, and I *still* can't find that foolish castle. Lisa, hand me the map. Oh, dang, another one! (*HONK* *HONK*) What is up with these people here? Every single car I've seen has been driving on the wrong side of the road!
}
} Ah, here we go, maybe these two guys can help me out. Hey, you! You there, with the funny hat! Fine, either one of you, I don't care. I'm looking for this castle here, you see, the big one on this map. I need to know which road to take. Uh-huh. I see. Thanks.
}
} Nice chap. Lisa, remind me to Zot him if it turns out that he was lying.


From: Joseph Hines (jhines_csugrad.cs.vt.edu)
I would ask them, <"If I asked your brother, If I take the left road will I get to the right castle, what would he answer?"> (Protected, in case you want to solve it yourself. -Hetta.)


From: Ariel Scolnicov (ariels_bagel.cs.huji.ac.il)
Subject: Irony on rec.humor.oracle.d
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/19

In recent weeks there's been a great increase in the amount of irony on RHOD. This is clearly offensive to the majority of participants. I shall not name the worst perpetrators, but I think everyone knows who these people are.

It is against the tradition of Usenet to censor such people, and, indeed, against the tradition of the Oracle, Who answers all questions put to Him in perfect faith and seriousness.

Clearly, the time has come to split this group into rec.humor.oracle.d and rec.humor.oracle.irony.d. Hopefully, even "ironists" will exercise sufficient restraint to direct all ironic messages to the second newsgroup. Otherwise, we may need rec.humor.oracle.d.moderated to keep them out.

The dangerous trend has been spreading to the actual Oracle as well. Kinzler would do well to set up an alternative service (using a different address, or different helpme/tellme/askme/eatme commands) for the small minority who insist on insulting the vast majority of us.

For the time being, I can only point out to these people the error of their misguided ways.


From: iddavis_vms.cis.pitt.edu (iddavis_vms.cis.pitt.edu)
Subject: Re: Irony on rec.humor.oracle.d
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/19

Ariel Scolnicov <ariels_bagel.cs.huji.ac.il> writes:
> In recent weeks there's been a great increase in the amount of irony on RHOD.

[The Priest hurriedly hides the basket of washing he had brought in to be done having misunderstood the header]

Quite right, and Something Must Be Done About It. This type of elemental chauvinism cannot be allowed to continue. First it was the self-styled "noble" gases. Now this ferromagnetic business. It's enough to make a man take his transuranics and go fission.

Ian Davis, having clearly partaken of too much aluminium.


From: Paul (zymurge_atl.mindspring.com)
Subject: Re: Irony on rec.humor.oracle.d
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/21

sperlman_ezo.net (Seth Perlman) wrote:
>I also find it ironic that some people will not understand that this post is a joke, and they will post some more ironic drivel on this formerly pristine newsgroup. Please set all followups to soc.culture.bangladesh or some other forum where irony may be appreciated in its truest form. Such trash does not belong in rec.humor.oracle.d.

Ouch! Dang! You mean it was a troll? Golly.


From: Tom Harrington (tph_longhorn.uucp)
Subject: Re: Irony on rec.humor.oracle.d
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/30

Paul (zymurge_atl.mindspring.com) wrote:
: tph_longhorn.uucp (Tom Harrington) wrote:
:><lelandhl_gulftel> wrote:
:>>In Barnes and Noble's technical section today I saw a manual titled "AOL for Dummies". Somehow I find lots of irony there.
: >I had the same feeling about that book. The title sums up the situation succinctly. But then I looked around and saw that the publisher was describing dozens of things as "...for Dummies". When I saw "Sex for Dummies" (and I swear I'm not making that one up) I decided that the publisher had a distinctly negative attitude about life, and stopped listening.
: Now this could get REALLY entertaining. How about "Gross Stupidity for Dummies" or "Frontal Lobotomy Procedures for Dummies?"

I'm hoping I can merge the "... for Dummies" line of books with the "Idiot's Guide to..." books. Then we'll have the ultimate self-help book for the cerebrally challenged, "Idiot's Guide to Dummies". I'll make millions.


From: Richard Wilson (Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk)
Subject: Re: Creating an alternative Oracle: A suggestion.
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/10

tph_rmii.com "Tom "Tom" Harrington" writes:
> Richard Wilson <Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> > Legless again, eh? I just can't take him anywhere. Still, what can you expect from a race that buys their tinnies by the slab instead of by the sixpack as the good lord intended?
> Tinnies? I'm not familiar with this particular nugget of Britspeak.

Britspeak? *Britspeak*? What is this - Bush week? Jeez, ya Yank drongo! Ya raw prawn! I was addressing Ian in his native tongue, ya rinky dink Strine, wasn't I? Slabs of tinnies is what ya fill ya esky with, any Joe Blow will tell ya that. Tinnies is what ya fill with the amber nectar. Britspeak, indeed!

No offence intended. Ga day, ya bastard! (I understand this is a term of endearment)

Richard Wilson

May ya chooks turn into emus and kick ya shithouse down


From: Tom "Tom" Harrington (tph_rmii.com)
Subject: Re: Praise for 860-03
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/24

Jason Stokes <j.stokes_student.anu.edu.au> wrote:
> Are there punishments for Oracles who steal their oracularities from (gak) other sources?

How do you think Zadoc got where he is today?


From: Tom "Tom" Harrington (tph_rmii.com)
Subject: Re: I don't get it
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/22

David Hinerman <dhiner_freenet.columbus.oh.us> wrote:
> Richard Wilson (Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk) wrote:
> : Summer is over, the nights are drawing in, the cold weather is causing the car's starter engine to act up again, my carpal tunnel syndrome's getting worse, the departmental psycho at work is directing her latest attack of paranoia at me, the back lawn is a sea of moss interspersed with islands of fairy-ring toadstool, I'm

Toadstools? And you haven't posted any recipes yet, or even good phallic puns about them? How do they taste? And what, exactly is the Biblical significance of them? Try this: carefully map the toadstools, and then connect the dots to form words. Translate these words into ancient Sumerian, and see what you get.

> : not sleeping well, the bank statement hasn't had any black ink on it since May, my daughter is very 14, and my wife is starting to take singing lessons from some bloke with a beard called Willard.
>
> ...and your hound dog drove off with your shotgun in the back of your pickup truck.

In the rain, on the day your momma got out of prison, and found you in a bar slow-dancing with your sister-in-law, drunk and unemployed again...

> Sounds like country music to me.

Either that or a new daytime talk show.


From: Richard Wilson (Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk)
> Either that or a new daytime talk show.

Sadly, we don't daytime talk shows on the phallic significance of mushroom recipes over here.

I joined up the dots as you suggested. I don't think it's Sumerian. The meaning eludes me:

                                 \   \  /                \ /               \  / /               / \\  /----------\______________                 /---|           |      ___--/     ------------| . |  .       /____---__/      \---_______\__/=\--------/____----        \--/        ===          \          /         \ /           \  --\    \  /--|---        |         \ |     \     \/    \--_____--/ \--_____--/     /    /   /  ||       ||       \             /   ||       || \  \   \            /  / ||/--|--\||  \                 |/   |   \|   \             /    |       |                   \_____/

This is one for Agent Mulder.


From: David Sewell (dsew_packrat.aml.arizona.edu)
Subject: Re: I don't get it
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/19

Richard Wilson <Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>the back lawn is a sea of moss interspersed with islands of fairy-ring toadstool

And this is grounds for complaint?

Growing up in southern California, I was surrounded by Anglophiliac Tolkien fen who were firmly convinced that when they died and went to heaven, they would wake up in the very backyard you describe.

Don't shatter my illusions. Don't tell me you consider toadstools a *weed*.

(By the way, do any of them have interesting psychotropic properties, or at least look like a willy?)


From: Tom "Tom" Harrington (tph_rmii.com)
Subject: Re: Very silly web site FREE
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/22

TheScooper <thescooper_aol.com> wrote:
> Celebrity breasts

Do you have Marlon Brando?


From: Richard Wilson (Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk)
Subject: Re: Why do women wear underwear?
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/02

tph_rmii.com "Tom "Tom" Harrington" writes:
> (Hee, hee! Got one!)

A few more than one, evidently. It's rather disconcerting that in a group devoted to discussing a humorous deity, and where most of the participants are presumably incarnations of said deity, satire goes unrecognised even after the author explains it.

This is a sign, you know Tom, of the impending end of the Oracle as we know it. I'm sure it's mentioned somewhere in Revelations:

"...and it was as though a great mountain, all on fire, had been dropped into the sea, and a third of the sea turned into blood. And smoke poured up out of the Abyss, and out of the smoke dropped locusts like unto scorpions. And a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, dragged a third of the stars from the sky. And in my vision, I heard an eagle, calling aloud as it flew overhead, 'How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?' Whereupon I spoke unto it, saying, 'Sorry, can't answer now - Lisa's waiting.' But it did not get the joke, and there was war in heaven, and nation fell upon nation, and Lisa dumped me for an air-conditioning repairman called Ralph, and there was wailing and gnashing of teeth in Babylon."

Richard Wilson


From: David Sewell (dsew_packrat.aml.arizona.edu)
Richard Wilson <Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>and there was wailing and gnashing of teeth in Babylon."

Richard, are you serious? The woodchuck is Marmota monax and is found only in North America. It is extremely unlikely that it would have been mentioned in any ancient version of Revelations, even assuming the non-canonical passage that you seem to have uncovered. Even if we grant that the Biblical reference may have been to another species of Marmota, to my knowledge the range of European and Asian marmots is well to the north of the geographical sphere familiar to the authors of scripture. Of course Israeli archaeologists have been doing a good deal of work analyzing fossilized bones and pollen from the early to mid Holocene to chart climate changes, rise and fall in the Dead Sea level, and so on--perhaps you're aware of some Marmota finds that I hadn't heard about?

If you're being ironic somehow, I'm afraid it went over my head.


From: Tom "Tom" Harrington (tph_rmii.com)
David Sewell <dsew_packrat.aml.arizona.edu> wrote:
> Richard, are you serious? The woodchuck is Marmota monax and is found...

David,

This particular passage has indeed been somewhat confusing to scholars. After much debate, the consensus seems to be this: The passage does not refer to any specific characteristic of woodchucks, but rather refers to a certain evil question which has plagued mankind and dieties through the ages. It's now generally believed that the Eagle's call was not, in fact, translated, but was in fact transcribed phonetically, and remains more or less unchanged from the original. You'll note that when Revelation was written, the English language had not yet been invented. It now appears that the Eagle was speaking an obscure Sumerian dialect, saying "Haum auch wooedwod awould juck-juck eefa woold juck kudjuck woode" (sorry for the approximate transliteration; I'm no expert in this area). Interestingly, this translates to English as "Why did the chicken cross the road". It's been theorized that the ancient Romans tormented Christ with this question in much the same way that idiots now torment the Oracle with a similar-sounding question. So the passage refers not to any species of Marmota at all, but rather to the tendency of idiots to annoy people. Got it?

> If you're being ironic somehow, I'm afraid it went over my head.

Well, now, *that's* no surprise. :-)


From: Richard Wilson (Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk)
tph_rmii.com "Tom "Tom" Harrington" writes:
> translates to English as "Why did the chicken cross the road".

I really *must* take issue with this, Tom. I've read a book on ancient Sumerian which explained beyond any fear of contradiction that everything they wrote had to do with the phallic symbolism of mushrooms. Thus, the correct translation must be "Why did the frog smile?" Chickens are a red herring.

I'm sorry to get so pedantic and off-subject in what is essentially a group devoted to humour, but some misconceptions really do have to be checked at source.


From: Tom "Tom" Harrington (tph_rmii.com)
Richard Wilson <Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> I really *must* take issue with this, Tom. I've read a book on ancient...

Either their mushrooms had a very different shape than the ones with which I'm acquainted, or this is some extremely bizarre phallic symbolism. Who wrote this alleged book, anyway?

> Thus, the correct translation must be "Why did the frog smile?" Chickens are a red herring.

Um, Richard? Chickens are birds. They live on land. The Red Herring is a fish that lives in the Red Sea. I'd have thought that you'd know the difference. And to think that the press over here is always whining about how awful *American* schools are in comparison to nearly everyone else in the universe, including garden slugs. At least we know a chicken from a fish.


From: Richard Wilson (Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk)
tph_rmii.com "Tom "Tom" Harrington" writes:
>Who wrote this alleged book, anyway?

Let's have a look in my notes. Rustle, rustle, rustle. Ah, here we are: March 1982. A good year, was 1982. I learnt that Jerome K. Jerome's middle initial stood for Klapka and that pigs can laugh (they find running between a farmer's legs particularly funny) (I wouldn't). The relevant book was "The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross" by John Allegro. A reputable scholar, was John Allegro. He helped translate the Dead Sea Scrolls, it said on the dust jacket.

Anyway, the books shows that most of the Bible, when translated back into Sumerian, consists of puns on mushrooms or sexual organs, or both. For instance, Cain's "Am I my brother's keeper?" becomes "sh_om_er _akh_i" which retranslates as "Am I the crown of the womb-favourer?" or, in modern parlance, "What kind of dickhead do you take me for?" Put like that, it's all blindingly obvious really. The New Testament is mostly recipes for frying mushrooms. Worth a trip to the library any day.

> Um, Richard? Chickens are birds. They live on land. The Red Herring is a fish that lives in the Red Sea.

Sorry, Tom. I was being ironic again without warning. You must be the same height as Dave Sewell. It's not a major stigma. Napoleon was short. Admittedly, he had to conquer most of Europe before he could pull any birds, but there are more important things in life. Like, um...

Richard Wilson


From: Tom Harrington (tph_longhorn.uucp)
Richard Wilson (Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk) wrote:
>or, in modern parlance, "What kind of dickhead do you take me for?"

This explains much. Any word on how the commandments re-translate? And, have you posted this explanation to talk.religion? I'm sure people there would find it interesting.

: Put like that, it's all blindingly obvious really.

Well, it's blindingly _something_, anyway. I don't recall things being explained this way back in Sunday school, but they may have been using outdated methods.

: The New Testament is mostly recipes for frying mushrooms. Worth a trip to the library any day.

This would explain the apocryphal _Gospel_According_to_Julia_Child_. Apparently someone thought that Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Julia sounded wrong. And then there's the _Necroshroomicon_.

: Sorry, Tom. I was being ironic again without warning. You must be the same height as Dave Sewell.

At least *I* have never been caught behind a burro.

: It's not a major stigma. Napoleon was short. Admittedly, he had to conquer most of Europe before he could pull any birds, but there are more important things in life. Like, um...

Speaking of Napoleon, is it true that when a toilet overflows in Britain, the owner is said to have a "Waterloo"?


From: Richard Wilson (Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk)
tph_rmii.com "Tom Harrington" writes:
> Any word on how the commandments re-translate? And, have you posted this explanation to talk.religion? I'm sure people there would find it interesting.

Rustle, rustle, rustle. Hmm... yup, here it is. "Honouring parents" comes from "mash-balag", "committing adultery" from "li-kur-balag-anta" - it's all a bunch of mushroom puns in Sumerian. The early Christians were, apparently, so obsessed with sex and mushrooms (according to Tacitus and Suetonius) that the Jews dissasociated themselves because it was giving their religion a bad name. I don't think I'll take all this to talk.religion; there's probably an electronic way to tar-and-feather people.

[For the benefit of people joining this thread for the first time, I should make it clear I am not stating personal opinions but reading from my notes on a book I once read. It was lent to me by a man who had been in a Japanese labour camp in Indonesia during the war. He used to sneak out at night, when the guards were cowering indoors for fear of tigers, to raid the nearby pineapple patch. At least, that was his explanation for the fact he now had remarkably few teeth. People in this group could learn something about WEIRD from him.]

> At least *I* have never been caught behind a burro.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ^^^^^^
Just careful, eh?

> Speaking of Napoleon, is it true that when a toilet overflows in Britain, the owner is said to have a "Waterloo"?

Or in Oz, a runny dunny?

Richard Wilson


From: David Sewell (dsew_packrat.aml.arizona.edu)
Subject: Re: Creating an alternative Oracle: A suggestion.
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/10

Richard Wilson <Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>Let's not forget 840-05 in the most recent "Best of" list, which I believe is the highest scoring this year to date, one of the longest, mentions both Lisa and woodchucks, and ends in a juicy ZOT. Modesty prevents me from hazarding a guess at the incarnation responsible, but I believe it was David Sewell behind that burro.

Wasn't *me* behind no burro. Man, you got a dirty mind! Must be all that New Testament scholarship you been reading, or else you been chewin' on the Amanita muscaria again.


From: David Sewell (dsew_packrat.aml.arizona.edu)
Subject: The first Woodchuck Question, AD 1607
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/10

With all the recent complaining about the infamous "woodchuck question" and mock scholarship involving the same, I thought this would be a good time to repost its first appearance in print. (This should probably be in the FAQ...) As you'll see, things haven't changed much in four centuries, and some of the Oracle vocabulary has a long lineage.

It's in Captain John Smith's "A True Relation of ... Virginia", his 1608 pamphlet describing the early fortunes of the Jamestown settlement. The relevant passage is from the second section, and needless to say the episode didn't get included in the Disney version of "Pocahontas":

...After wee had exchanged Civilities, chief Powhatan by signs conveyed to us, that he wished to shew us the succes of his Corn planting. ... Circuit made of the feeld, our Companie was startled at the sudden apparition of a Creature heretofore unknown to us: in semblaunce a Rodent, in size much like a Terrier dogge, but fat withal and of ambling gait that put us rather in mind of some smal Bear. Percieving from our Visages that this Creature was a Noveltie to us, Powhatan gestur'd to it and so pointing said Ouachuk, Ouachuk.

Now there was in our companie one Browne, a light fellow who fancied himselfe a Wagge, and would let slip no Occasion to bait the Indians and teaze them with Vulgaritie, calling them Whoreson Sottes at every turn, of which they and we both were much weary'd. So this Browne steps forthe and says to the Chief, 'Sblood, Wood-chucke sayest thou, this beeste be sir Wood-chucke? To which Powhatan returns Haugh, as much to say, Yes. On a sudden then Browne leaping before the Chief, puts arms akimbo as he were a Court Jester, and with taunting voice cries Nay then, how much Wood woulde yon Wood-chucke chucke, if yon Wood-chucke coulde chuck Wood?

Powhatan stood thus a moment as a man astonied, as who should disbelieve all the Witness of his Senses. And then in sudden fury he launches forth the Englisshe word he learned at that same Browne, crying Sotte! and withal raises his great Tomahauk and lightly cleaves Brownes skull as it were naught but a hollow gourd (as in truth perhaps it were), so that Braines and foule matter spewed on all sides and Browne fell dead as any stone. Whereat my Companie made shift to draw their Swords, but with a word I halted them, alledging the great Provocation offered unto the Chief, and the justice of seeing an evil tongue stilled, the Biter Bitten, and verily the Sot Sotted.


From: Richard Wilson (Richard_molerat.demon.co.uk)
Subject: Re: The first Woodchuck Question, AD 1607
Newsgroups: rec.humor.oracle.d
Date: 1996/09/11

dsew_packrat.aml.arizona.edu "David Sewell" writes:
> [Quoted extracts from Captain John Smith, sounding unconvincingly unlike Mel Gibson, snipped]

...And he accuses _me_ of overdoing it with the fly agaric.



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