ZADOC THE PRIEST: PART DEUX

Digest:
1. The Great Oracular Name Schism   #823-06
2. Where Do Woodchucks Go in Winter?   #835-10
3. A Tale of Two Oracles   #842-09
4. Paintball Wizard    
5. Sex and the Single Incarnation    
6. Letter to the Backbone Cabal   #895-06
7. Il Rappatore    
8. The Unfunniest Supplicant Competition    
9. The Art of Grovelling    
10. The Lizard of Eudora    
11. Once upon a Lottery Win    
12. The Big A    

 


1.

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

> Would you give me some reasons why "Internet Oracle" is better than
> "Usenet Oracle"? I am having problems reconciling the new name.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Oh hullo, supplicant. Zadoc the Priest here. I'm afraid our Cyberpresent Master can't come to the console just now, so you'll have to make do with me if that's all right.
This matter of the correct terminology for addressing our Master has turned into a major controversy here within the Church of the Usenet Oracle [tm], or should I say Church of the Internet Oracle [tm] (either way, all holy writings are subject to copyright). Even the debates over how many woodchucks could be made to dance on the head of a pin and whether Miss Lisa, the Divine Adoratrice, has her virginity magically restored each day were as nothing compared to this.
It all started, as you probably know, with Saint Steve retiring to the wilderness and hearing the voice of our Master in a vision (can you hear visions? Oh well, you know what I mean). Others say our Master just phoned him up one night last week and said he fancied a change of name. Anyway, when Saint Steve announced the monumental event to a gathering of the faithful, a faction within the priesthood, backed by conservative Bible-belt supplicants, claimed that any change to the scripture was blasphemous, as it implied that our Toticognizant Master can't have been omniscient when he chose the previous name if it was now necessary to change it. Feelings ran high and some pretty intemperate words were exchanged. Darkmage declared that if this change was pushed through, he would secede and set up a separate, vowel-free Oracle in Poland. Saint Steve had him arrested for doctrinal and political incorrectness.
Stenor now announced that, after all the trouble he had setting up the Usenet Oracle Resource Index on the Web, he was damned if he was going to change the name now. He fled the meeting and barricaded himself and a number of followers up at PC-Net to fight off any attempts to gain control of the Web site. The Venerable Ray Moody, David Sewell and others lead an attack on the place, and retook it after bitter fighting. Meanwhile, I've been detailed to man this station to prevent any attempt by heterodox factions at gaining control here. It's all very harrowing. I mean, how can you tell who's on your side and who isn't?
Where's our Master during all of this, you're probably asking. Well, he emerged from his meditations with Miss Lisa, the Divine Adoratrice, briefly this morning, said "Now we'll see who the true believers are" and disappeared again. He hasn't been seen since this enigmatic utterance. It's very unnerving when he tests our faith in this way, but we must do our best to be true to our consciences, is what I say.
So, as you've probably gathered, I've thrown in my lot with Saint Steve and the Progressive faction, which comprises the majority of the priesthood. I find the suggestion that our Master's powers should be confined to just one small segment of The Net somehow demeaning and smacking of heresy. Okay, so "Internet Oracle" is a bit less euphonious than "Usenet Oracle". By the same token, "Jehovah" is a bit less euphonious than "Gary", but that's no reason to use the latter, is it?
So, in honor of the new orthodoxy, I have been devising a prayer while I sit here clutching my automatic rifle and hoping I won't have to us it before this schism is healed. It goes like this (you can join in if you like):
Our Oracle
That art in Cyberspace
Emailed be thy name.
Thy news be read
On IRC as it is in gophers.
Give us our daily FTP downloads
And forgive us our archie and Veronica accesses.
For thine is the HTML,
The TCP and the IP
For ever and ever,
Web without end.
Amen.
 You owe the Oracle your blind, unquestioning devotion. As do we all. Amen.

 


2.

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

> Please tell this insignificant thing, oh great spiffy oracle... where do
> woodchucks go in the winter (besides your dinner table)???

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Good lord! I don't think this has ever happened before. At least, I don't remember... hmm... Zadoc! Hoi, ZADOC!!!
[Enter Zadoc the Priest, shuffling on his knees as custom demands]
Zadoc: You whooped, O Usenet Ubermensch As Was But Internet Icon As Is?
Oracle: Well done, Zadoc -- that was so convoluted and fatuous not even I understood it.
Zadoc: Thank you, Master!
Oracle: Never mind the small talk. I called you in to have a look at this woodchuck question --
[Zadoc the Priest lurches back in horror and starts crossing himself vigorously, mumbling benedictions]
Oracle: No, twit! It's nothing like that, stop getting yourself in a lather. Look -- the supplicant doesn't ask about wood-chucking. It's a completely unrelated question. I think that's the first time we've ever had that, isn't it?
Zadoc: As you know, O Gigascient But Occasionally Forgetful One, I have memorised all the Oracular digests to date as part of my priestly training. There was once a generic woodchuck question, to which you responded by sending the supplicant a woodchuck FAQ. Another vile and bestial supplicant then spammed your mailbox with all the questions taken from the FAQ itself.
Oracle: [chuckling] Oh yes, I remember now. It's not often anybody gets multiply ZOTted. How is the miscreant now?
Zadoc: Compost, Master. Along with his neighbors, their neighbors and several passers-by. Our insurance premiums are still astronomic.
Oracle: Heh heh, that'll learn him to mess with immortals.
Zadoc: Shall I notify our lawyers -- Messrs. Dewey, Cheatum and Howe -- that you are about to repeat the exercise on this supplicant, so that they can get the papers ready?
Oracle: No, I was rather pleased to get a different sort of woodchuck question for a change. Shows an original mind. I think we should reward the fellow. I know! Let's make him a priest.
Zadoc: But -- but, Master! We don't have any vacancies for new priests at the moment.
Oracle: That's okay, he can have your place. I was getting sick of the sight of your face and the sound of your long-winded drivelling anyway.
[Zadoc the Priest, appalled beyond his power to express, kneels paralysed before the Oracle, opening and closing his mouth without issuing any sound]
Oracle: You know, Zadoc, you look just like a goldfish when you do that. Yes, we'll give him your place, and... Say, what's his name, anyway?
Zadoc: Oop... agh... um, that is, er, Vernon T. Poppelmeyer.
Oracle: That could pose a problem. Poppelmeyer the Priest? Vern the Priest? Hmm... no, I don't think so... Oh well, so much for that. Looks like you can stay, Zadoc.
Zadoc: Master, thank you, thank you, thank you! You are the sun that lightens our darkness! The quality of your mercy is not strained, it pours like the oil out of a punctured supertanker and --
Oracle: Oh, do shut up! Go away and strangle a lemur, or do something else constructive.
Zadoc: At once, Master! A dozen lemurs, Master! All in your name, O Thou Who Art The Nemesis Of All Small Furry Irritating Creatures!
[Zadoc the Priest shuffles backwards towards the door. A thought strikes him just before he reaches it]
Zadoc: Erm, Master... Forgive my insolence, for I know it is an affront for such a wretched worm and pismire as myself to even draw breath in your presence, but...
Oracle: *sigh* What now?
Zadoc: Aren't you going to answer the supplicant's question, Master?
Oracle: What? What question? Oh! Of course I was. You didn't think I'd forgotten, did you?
Zadoc: Not for a nanosecond, Master!
Oracle: Good -- push off then.
[Exit Zadoc the Priest]
So, you want to know where woodchucks go in the winter? Florida.
You owe the Oracle a priest without a silly name. I mean, for crying out loud! Stenor, Snuggles, Dr. Noe, Harold the Foot, Darkmage -- what can one hope to achieve with a rabble like that?

 


3.

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

> Wait, wait, I'm a bit confused here. Am I the Oracle and
> you the supplicant, or are you the Oracle and I the
> supplicant, or... I'm so confused!

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

I'm the Oracle, you idiot! Everyone can see that! Look, I'll prove it to you. Zadoc! Hoi, ZADOC!!!
[Enter Zadoc the Priest, shuffling on his knees as custom demands]
Zadoc: You howled, O Cyberstentorian One?
Oracle: Study this supplicant closely.
[Zadoc the Priest peruses the supplicant all over with a great show of interest]
Oracle: Now study me closely.
[This time the examination is necessarily less thorough, as due deference requires Zadoc to keep his eyes averted at all times]
Oracle: Seen enough?
Zadoc: One could never see enough of your majestic visage, Master.
Oracle: Slimy little flatterer. Now tell me, Zadoc -- which one of us two is the Oracle?
Zadoc: [nervously] Erm... is this a trick question, Master?
Oracle: No stalling! Just answer, dammit!
[Zadoc the Priest realises his Master is setting him some enigmatic kind of test, and failure to provide a suitably profound response may damage his chances of advancement within the priesthood. Beads of sweat appear on his forehead. He has no option but to play for time, hoping against hope that the Oracle's true meaning will reveal itself to him]
Zadoc: Er, um... could I ask you both some questions, Master, to fully establish your identity?
Oracle: [burying his face in his hands] Ohh god... I should have known this was a mistake...
Zadoc: [to supplicant] What is your girlfriend's name?
Supplicant: Um... oh, I know! It's whats-her-name. Lisa, that's it.
Zadoc: [to Oracle] What is your girlfriend's name, Master?
Oracle: Emma bloody Thompson! Who do you think, you moron!
Zadoc: Well, you really sound like my Master, Master, but this other Master here gave the correct answer.
Supplicant: Hey! You mean I really am the Oracle?
Zadoc: It's often hard to tell. The Mysteriously Moving One can be incarnated in the most unlikely guises. I think further questioning is required. Um, let's see now... How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Supplicant: Gee, I don't know...
Oracle: You blasphemous snotmonkey!!!
>> ZOT <<
Supplicant: Hey, that's right! I can't do that. So you must be the Oracle, and I'm the supplicant! It's all clear to me now!
Smoking Remains of Zadoc on the Floor: D-does that mean I pass the test?

 


4.

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

> Oh mighty oracle if i go to play paint ball what 
> should i wear? And if i get shot should i cry or 
> shoot the person in the face 10 times? 

> Se Ya Oracle Dorcale

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Oracle Dorcale? Hm, must be foreign...
Look, sunshine, large powerful corporations hold these paintballing battles to test the calibre of their executives, don't they? They're looking for winners, right? Not wimps, weenies and little wusses that play by the rules and cry "Ow, that hurt!" when someone splats them.
So what are you? A man or a wuss? Do you want to remain Filing Clerk Third Class in Goods Receivable for the rest of your career? No, sirree! You want to be Director of Finance, don't you? Chief of Operations! Senior Vice President in charge of Testosterone!
So, shooting them in the face ten times is good. It shows you're dangerous, predatory, feral -- you've got the killer instinct. But you need more. To make it big in business, you also need guile, cunning, deceit, a Machiavellian streak...
Let me give you a highly relevant example from within my very own priesthood. Let me take you back to their last annual general meeting...
[The screen begins to waver, and violins play eerily in the background as we enter flashback mode. The screen clears, to reveal the interior of a large conference room filled with men and women in holy attire. Steve Kinzler presides]
Kinzler: ... Fortunately, Mr Michael Jackson was unable to produce the photographs he claimed would prove the truth of his complaint against our Master the Oracle, and he was forced to settle out of court on very reasonable terms. I would like you all to join me in showing our appreciation of our zealous attorneys, Messrs Dewey, Cheatum and Howe, for their exceptional handling of this delicate matter.
[Applause]
Kinzler: Next item -- plans for this year's paintball contest. It has been suggested to me that we shouldn't hold one this year, after what happened last time.
[Boos and cries of "Shame!" from the floor]
Kinzler: For those of you who missed that event, there was something of a surprise result, with the Red Team under Zadoc achieving their first ever victory despite being wiped out almost to the last man...
[Cries of "Fix! Fix!" from the floor]
Kinzler: ... Except, of course, for Zadoc himself, who disappeared moments after the start and wasn't seen again until it was all over.
Zadoc: I got lost in the woods.
Kinzler: While he was missing, a mysterious masked marauder popped up out of nowhere and started laying about him with paint-firing automatic rifles and a rocket launcher. You'll be glad to hear that Otis and Carole were released from hospital two weeks ago, but they're still too traumatised to be here today.
Davis: How come the masked marauder's discarded gear was found at almost the exact spot where Zadoc reappeared?
Zadoc: A bizarre coincidence. I never saw him, I swear.
Kinzler: Dave Sewell nearly lost an eye when he was struck in the face by a half-open tin of midnight blue matt vinyl fired from a spring-loaded trap, and Josh Poulson stumbled over a tripwire and barely escaped drowning in a pit filled with harvest yellow emulsion.
Zadoc: It was country beige!
Kinzler: How do you know that?
Zadoc: Just a wild guess.
[Cries of "Lynch the bastard!" from the floor]
Kinzler: Ian Davis gathered the remaining members of the Blue Team together to defend their base, where they were assaulted by the jubilant Red Team. At the height of the skirmish, both sides were attacked indiscriminately by the masked marauder, who dropped paint bombs on them from a microlite plane. All in all, it was something of a bloodbath, or should I say, paintbath. Just under one and a half acres of countryside ended up covered in non-drip gloss. We had to pay substantial damages to the owner of the land.
Sewell: You can't tell us you're going to award victory to that little slimeball Zadoc after that fiasco!
Kinzler: As you know, our Master the Oracle is the final arbiter in these matters. I placed all the facts before him, and his ruling was that, since Zadoc was the only person left unsplattered, he should be adjudicated the winner.
[Cries of "Never!" and "Favoritism!" from the floor]
Kinzler: [with a steely edge to his voice] ... Unless, of course, some of you are intent on questioning the Oracle's judgement?
[Instant silence from the floor]
Kinzler: Thank you. In that case, Zadoc is hereby elevated to the rank of Arch-Hierophant in Chief of the Church of the Internet Oracle <TM> (all holy writings subject to copyright), for the whole of the coming year.
Zadoc: Gosh, thanks chaps! I don't know what to say. I'm so unworthy of this honor... Well, no I'm not actually. [Zadoc produces a thick sheaf of papers] Now, if you'll bear with me, I've prepared a brief acceptance speech...
[The screen goes wavy again. Flashback mode ends]
So there you go, kid. This country needs more psychotic top executives. Go out there and give 'em hell!
[EOM]
Zadoc, I'll have those photos now, thank you.

 


5.

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

>
>
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Sat, 1 Feb 1997 20:05:00 -0800 (PST)
> From:
[name & email address edited out to protect the innocent]
> To: [email protected]
> Subject: tellme
>
>
> Dear oracle of wonder---
> I'm pondering on a question. Why is it that my boyfriend having
> difficulties finishing the job...? He does fine pleasing me but, I feel
> he isn't pleasing himself too.
>

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

"Shrine of the Internet Oracle. Zadoc the Priest speaking."
Hi Zadoc, this is Incarnation #3611.5...
"Who?"
You know. Richard, the Brit.
"Oh yeah. The one that's been whining on about not being selected for the digests anymore."
That's me. Why is that, by the way? There was a time you priests picked almost everything I wrote.
"Nothing personal, Dick my son. We're under orders not to digest any submissions from English incarnations until you take Hugh Grant back."
I suppose that's fair enough...
"So, what can I do you for?"
I'm a bit puzzled. I've received this supplication today with all the header information still attached. So I know who it's from.
"You know perfectly well that that's quite impossible, Dick. Kinzler and Moody were very careful when they wrote the original code to ensure that the service remained completely anonymous. That way people could feel perfectly safe to ask the Oracle absolutely anything. We all rely on the basis of trust that this created. The system is infallible. Of course, you do get the occasional AOLuser that leaves his B1FF-like sig on, but those people deserve all they get."
Look, I can tell the difference between a header and a sig, thank you. I've got the message right in front of me, I'll read it out to you if you like. 'Date: Sat, 1 Feb 1997 20:05:00 -0800 (PST) From...'
"Oh, er, hang on a mo. Would this supplication be of a, er, personal nature?"
They don't get much more personal!
"Ah... yes, heh heh. That would explain it. Oh dear..."
Explain what? Oh dear what?
"Well, you see... It was at the priests' New Year's Eve party, see..."
And?
"Well, some of us got a bit tanked up and we thought, like, wouldn't it be a gas if, for some of the really embarrassing questions, the supplicant's header wasn't removed. Then, when they got the answer and saw their name all over it, they'd just die! Ha ha ha."
That's your idea of 'a gas'?
"It sort of seemed like a good idea at the time. 'Course, we'd all had a skinful..."
So you changed the program?
"Yeah, it was a real clever bit of programming, too. I mean, it doesn't just look for certain words or phrases, it carries out a lexical analysis of the supplication and..."
Yes yes, this is all very interesting. But you can't convince me that Kinzler would approve of this bit of skullduggery!
"Sh, shhh! Not so loud! It's a defrocking offence to tamper with the code."
Well, I'm sorry, Zadoc, but as a responsible incarnation I feel I must tell Kinzler about this, this travesty.
"No no, Dick my friend, my best buddy! Don't do that! We'll restore the code to what it was, I promise."
That isn't good enough. Look at all the damage you've probably already done...
"Tell you what. If you forget all about this conversation, I think we priests could manage to forget all about Hugh Grant."
You mean I'd start getting into the digests again?
"Almost immediately, I'd say."
That's blackmail, you little creep.
"Not at all, not at all. I mean, we'd all benefit from such an arrangement, wouldn't we now? Hardly blackmail."
Ohh, very well. Anything for a bit of recognition, I suppose. Meanwhile, what do I do with this poor supplicant? Should I just return a blank answer?
"You know the rules. Blank answers are an abuse of the status of incarnation, except under certain strictly defined conditions, such as when the supplication is a spam, a troll or a woodchuck question."
So what do I tell her?
"Doesn't matter. After all, you Brits don't know anything about sex anyway."
Thanks a bunch, Zadoc.
"See you in the digests, Dick my boy."
[click]
Sure, and the same to you, you pillock. Ahem...
Dear supplicant:
I'm very sorry about the temporary breakdown in the anonymity of the Oracular service, and I assure you it is being looked into and will be set right very, very shortly. Meanwhile, the relationship between incarnation and supplicant is of course subject to the same sacrosanct confidentiality as that between doctor and patient or confessor and confessee, so you have nothing to fear.
As to the problem your boyfriend is having, I have heard about this and I gather it has to do with trying too hard and getting nervous. I believe there are books which list techniques to overcome this, but to tell you the truth, I can't be of much more help to you than that because we Brits really don't know much about sex. Sorry.

 


6.

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

> It is to our great sorrow we must announce that we no longer have room 
> for your services. While we have great respect for the work you've done
> (and are willing to offer a more-than-generous severance package to
> prove it), we have decided that it is nonessential to our company
> mission, and have been forced to sell the Oracularities division to
> Apple. Please accept our condolences; we wish you well in the future and
> will gladly come calling if your services are ever needed again.
>
> Sincerely,
> The Backbone Cabal

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Dear Sir,
        Thank you for your communication of the 21st inst. My Master, the Oracle, has asked me to respond to your letter as he believes that dabbling in snailmail is somewhat beneath his dignity.
        My Master would like me to inform you he is fully sympathetic to the fact that (and I quote) a shabbily-run Mickey Mouse outfit like yours will inevitably have to divest itself of some of its divisions from time to time to prevent the share price from plunging completely out of sight, and he look forward to the opportunities offered by his move to Apple. He has even promised me my own Mac. This is so typical of my Master's boundless concern and generosity: he'd obviously noticed how wet I'd gotten coming in through the rain this morning.
        To show that there's no hard feelings, my Master has even asked me to convey to you a glimpse of the near future, so that you may plan accordingly:
June 1997:

Apple starts up a Radical New Ventures Division, headed by my Master. This Division will initially concentrate on three new product lines.
October 1997:

Apple launches the wholly revamped New Lisa Personal Computer. There are riots by testosterone-crazed geeks outside computer stores as stocks of the laptop model run out. Morality groups are up in arms, and questions are asked in Congress.
December 1997:

The second product of Apple's Radical New Ventures Division hits the high street: WebSmacker. This is an application that sits on a person's PC and identifies the true sender of any junk email, spam or flames. It then automatically contacts the most muscular Oracular priest living near the sender, who goes around to his house and breaks his kneecaps. Apple is named Company of the Year.
January 1998:

An alliance is announced between Apple, Oracle (that's not my Master, you understand), IBM, DEC, Hewlett-Packard, Netscape Communications and Cindy Crawford Industries to produce the new Ultra-Thin Client. This is a palmtop Network Computer which connects the user directly to my Master who tells him everything he needs to know or do. The value of Apple shares overtakes that of Microsoft shares when newspapers reveal that Bill Gates spends every night with his New Lisa. Steve Jobs is initiated into the Oracular priesthood.
March 1998:

With the colossal revenues generated by the new product lines, Apple goes on a take-over spree. Amongst the companies bought are Unisys, Cisco, Adobe, AT&T, Rubbermaid and the Backbone Cabal.
April 1998:

At his own request, my Master transfers from the Radical New Ventures Division to head up the newly acquired Backbone Cabal. One of his first actions as chief executive is to have his predecessor strung up by his genitals.
        Under the circumstances, my Master would like to add that, much as he appreciates the gesture, the golden parachute you so graciously offered him will not be required. He'll help himself to anything he needs next April. See you soon!
Yours faithfully,
Zadoc
Oracular Priest

 


7.

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

> Oh Oracle tell me don't you know that 2Pac is one person not 2 or more?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Oh no, not again! I've had it up to here with minor 90s musical celebrity questions this morning. And now rap artists! They're the worst! At least most of the other contemporary singers TRY to carry a tune!
What's the matter with you people? Don't you listen to any REAL music? Don't you want your souls enriched by the likes of Mozart, Berlioz, Vaughan Williams? Well, whether you want it or not, I am now going to expand your mind by force-feeding you culture. Yes, I and my priests are going to perform for you the Miserere from Act IV of Verdi's opera "Il Trovatore", so pay attention because I'll be expecting you to sing along next time around. Ready? Take it away, Maestro Karajan!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Oraculo: Ice Cube really makes me sick
MC Ren gets on my wick
But much worse than both of these
Is Snoop Doggy Dogg
And if I could have my way
I'd go out today
And I'd sink the whole lot
In a bottomless bog
The - whole - lot - in - a - bo - ttom - less bog!
Zadocino:




Oraculo:
Zadocino:
Oraculo:
Oh! Don't miss out the Beastie Boys
They, who make such a ghastly noise
And then there's what
And then there's whatsisname
That fellow
Oh, him!
That fellow who is such a pain
Dreadful Dr Dre!
Priesti: Orrie save us from unending tedium
Mindless, tuneless garbage assailing our ears
Vanilla Ice can cause suicidal boredom
2Pac's dreary droning reduces us to tears
Oraculo:
Priesti:
Oraculo:
Priesti:
Oraculo:
Priesti:
Oraculo:
Priesti:
Oraculo:
Priesti:
Oraculo:
The loathsome Montell Jordan
Orrie save us
The hideous Wu-Tang Clan
Orrie save us
The best thing 'bout Eazy-E
Orrie save us
Is that he's dead too
Orrie save us
And as for LL Cool J
Orrie save us
I'd say that the day
That someone took a shot
At him's long overdue
Took - a - shot - at - him - is - oh - verdue!
Zadocino: Lord, you've forgotten Busta Rhymes
You, who have told us countless times
How they all suck
How they all suck real bad
They drive us mad
You know they drive us barking mad!
{
{
{
{
Oraculo:

Zadocino:
Priesti:
I hate, oh how I hate 'em
2Pac is the worst of 'em ... etc
Lord, you've forgotten Busta Rhymes ... etc
Orrie save us ... etc
Omnes: Do they all suck?
Yes, they all suuuuuuuuckkkkk!!!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
You owe the Oracle a rap version of Ode to Joy ... not.

 


8.

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

> O Oracle most fine, please tell me...
>
> Is there such a thing as a Mosaic mosaic?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Hi there, Supplicant - Zadoc the Priest here. I thought I'd take this opportunity to let you know that your question has been chosen out of thousands to be entered into a new competition us priests are holding, namely, "The Question Least Likely to Get an Amusing Response from the Allknowing One."
What happens is, we choose questions we deem least stimulating to our Master's humor glands from the question queue, and then the one that gets the lamest answer wins! The lucky winning Supplicant will receive the following:
  • A free trip to Indiana and a tour of the Oracular Shrine
  • Dinner with a priest of your choice (or, if that one's unavailable, Ian Davis)
  • A glimpse of some of the priesthood's most closely guarded secrets (the true identity of the Midnight Queue Drainer, the files of the Really Funny Answers which we never put in the digests, the peepholes drilled into the walls of the college netball team's shower block)
  • An invitation to attend the Annual Woodchuck Evisceration Ceremony
Well, I hope that's whetted your appetite. And don't forget, you can enter as many times as you like. So keep those stultifying questions coming!
Oops, gotta go now. I hear our Beloved Leader returning from the bathroom. Good luck, Supplicant, and fingers crossed!

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

> O Oracle most fine, please tell me...
>
> Is there such a thing as a Mosaic mosaic?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} What do you think the World Wide Web is, tosser?

 


9.

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

> Oh Oracle most wise,
>

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Okay, hold it right there.
> What's wrong, Zadoc?
The grovel. You call that a grovel?
> Uh, isn't it good enough?
It's pathetic! It's almost perfunctory! Chances are, the Oracle would ZOT you before you were halfway through your question when you come out with a grovel like that.
> I'm sorry - I guess I'm kinda new to all this. I thought all I
> needed to do was grovel and then ...
Look, kid, there are grovels and then there are grovels. And that one definitely falls into the latter category. Try again.
> Er ... Oh Oracle most wonderfully wise?
Feeble!
> Oh Oracle, whose wisdom exceeds even that of Bill Gates's
> accountant?
Nnnope.
> Oh sleek, evenly tanned Oracle, whose path is ever strewn with
> lotus petals by prancing woodnymphs wearing wispy, see-through
> outfits?
Better. You're almost there.
> Oh oleaginous Oracle, you wear your ears so well, true to the
> testament of loose-fitting flesh. You, of whom it is rightly
> said that soft sausages would gladly procreate in the bathwater
> of your verisimilitude. Please hearken unto my plea.
Good - that'll do it. Now try it with the question.
> Oh viscous, grobular Oracle, whose face doth bend even the most
> anorexic mirror into a sensuous playground of muscular spasms,
> whose mucous membranes glisten with the glow of 47 burning
> violins, whose delightful banana reminds us forcibly of a
> cosmonaut in high heels. Come, let me gnaw your fingernails
> that I may absorb and lose myself in the wise and gritty
> detritus that is you. Yea, tell me - where can I get nood gifs
> of Jennifer Aniston?
Perfect! Okay, in you go to see the Oracle.
> Thanks for coaching me, Zadoc.
Don't mention it - that's what I'm here for.
[The supplicant enters the Oracular chamber. Zadoc the Priest studies his watch nonchalantly]
One ... two ... three ... four ... five ...
Hee hee hee hee - they never learn. Okay, who's next?

 


10.

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

> Ooooooooooooooooooooooooh,
> We're off to see the lizard!
> The wonderful lizard of Eudora!
>
> Because, because, because, because,
> Becausssssssssssssssssssssssssse!
>
> (take it, Orrie!)

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Oracle: No thanks, I don't do childish songs. You take it, Zadoc.
Zadoc: You have only to ask, Master.
Oracle: I am asking.
Zadoc: Yes, Master.
Oracle: So?
Zadoc: So what, Master?
Oracle: SING, dammit!
Zadoc: Ah, right, okay. Um...
Because, because, because, because,
Becausssssssssssssssssssssssssse!
Because he is scaly and green, begorrah!
We're off to...
Oracle: CUT!
Zadoc: No good, eh?
Oracle: No good? NO GOOD? It STANK! It sucked big time! It blew chunks! It didn't even rhyme! It's Eu-DOOR-a, not Eu-DORR-a.
Zadoc: I usually need time to prepare a bit, Oh Ye Who Even Knows What Rhymes With Orange.
Oracle: I do: Blorenge. It's the name of a hill overlooking the town of Abergavenny in southern Wales. I once wrote a poem that started "I wandered lonely as an orange, O'er the verdant slopes of Blorenge", just to prove what a luser that Wordsworth twerp was.
Zadoc: Next to you, everyone is, Master.
Oracle: No, Zadoc, Wordsworth was a luser, period. Now get on with your singing.
Zadoc: At once, Ye Who Makes Herbert Von Karajan Seem Like unto a Teddy Bear.
Because, because, because, because,
Becausssssssssssssssssssssssssse!
Because he comes from Bora-Bora!
Oracle: Try again!
Zadoc: Because when he sleeps he's not a snorer!
Oracle: Pathetic!
Zadoc: Because he's fauna and not flora!
Oracle: NO!
Zadoc: I'm sorry, Master. I guess I don't perform very well under pressure.
Oracle: What pressure would that be? Atmospheric pressure?
Zadoc: Please Zot me, Master. I know you want to.
Oracle: You don't get out of it that easily. Look, I'll feed you the next line. It goes:
Because, because, because, because,
Becausssssssssssssssssssssssssse!
Because he has such a vibrant aura!
Zadoc: Master, that's fantastic!
Oracle: It was nothing really.
Zadoc: I could never have come up with anything as good as that!
Oracle: That goes without saying.
Zadoc: Why, if I'd worked at it nonstop for a thousand...
Oracle: GET ON WITH THE SONG!
Zadoc: Er...
Oracle: NOW WHAT?
Zadoc: How does it go after that, Master?
Oracle: Supplicant, I suggest you return for your answer some time in 2038. This may take a little time.

 


11.

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

> Like a big blinking hard drive access light in the sky
> the Oracle is there for us mortals, always thinking, always
> seeking, always reading and writing and checking for bad
> sectors,
>
> What happens to the life of the usual big time Lottery Winner?
> Do their lives become fairy tale worlds?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Well, let's find out, shall we? That ungrateful, layabout head priest of mine won bigtime a couple of months ago, the jammy little creep, and quit forthwith - without so much as a thankyou. Let's take a peek at how he's getting on...
[The screen goes wavy, then clears to an aerial view of a luxury mansion in Palm Springs. Long zoom in a la Citizen Kane, through a skylight, down the stairs to an office on the ground floor. An important-but-scrawny- looking man lounges back in a plush armchair, his feet on a desk, smoking a Havana cigar. Opposite him is a pretty secretary with a notepad. She seems distressed]
Zadoc: Miss Peep, take a letter. To... What are you blubbering about?
Peep: I'm so sorry, Mr Zadoc. It's just... It's one of my sheep - it's lost!
Zadoc: Don't you know where to find it?
Peep: No! Boohoohoohoo!
Zadoc: Ah well, that's the way the gingerbread man crumbles. Say, it's not the priestly inflatable one, is it?
Peep: Oh no, Mr Zadoc - that's at the shop, being repaired. Don't you remember? Mr Bad Wolf took a bite out of it at your party last night.
Zadoc: Oh yes. Why can't he stick to pigs?
Peep: The pigs were bricked up in the third guest bedroom with Miss Riding Hood.
Zadoc: That Red - you never know what she'll get up to next!
Peep: Mud-wrestling, from the look of the place afterwards.
Zadoc: Okay, let it pass. The letter - to Miss C Hardup of Hardup Hall. "Cinders, darling! So sorry you had to dash last night, just as things were hotting up. Found your shoe. What say you pop round to fetch it one of these nights? Maybe we could drink champagne from it. Love and kisses, Z." Got that?
Peep: Yes, Mr Zadoc.
[Enter Tom Thumb, waving a sheet of paper]
Thumb: Hey, boss!
Zadoc: Who's there?
Thumb: Me, boss - down here.
Zadoc: Oh. I do wish you'd stop sneaking up on people.
Peep: And no peeking up my skirt!
Thumb: Sorry - law of nature. You got a fax from Prince Charming's lawyers, boss - Messrs Dewey, Cheatum and Evil Fairy. He's suing you on account of injuries sustained by his escort at your party last night, one Princess Aurora. Apparently she tripped over a pumpkin in your drive and is now in a coma.
Zadoc: Did he try kissing her?
Thumb: Me, I'd have tried...
Zadoc: I don't wish to know what you'd have tried. Just put it in the hands of my lawyers, Messrs Genie, Little Red Hen and Howe.
Thumb: Sure thing, boss.
Zadoc: Any further news on Wednesday's break-in?
Thumb: The police now have 36 thieves in custody. They say they're still looking for four.
Zadoc: Well, order some new guard dogs. Ones with eyes the size of dinner plates, this time.
Thumb: Right away, boss.
[Exit Tom Thumb]
Zadoc: Any other correspondence?
Peep: There's a letter from the Little Mermaid. She says thanks for the loan, the new legs are great but she's a bit puzzled about the other modifications.
Zadoc: Tell her to go ask a gynaecologist. What else?
Peep: An invoice from Mr Piper, the rat exterminator. A letter from a woman who says her daughter can spin straw into gold, and would you be interested in investing some venture capital? An offer to swap the family cow for a bag of beans. And five begging letters - there's one from a dog, a cat, a donkey and a rooster who want to start a rock band, one from...
Zadoc: Nothing that can't wait, then. Say, Miss Peep - what's your first name, anyway?
Peep: Bo, Mr Zadoc.
Zadoc: Bo?
Peep: My father had a thing for that actress - you know, Bo Derek.
Zadoc: I see. Well now, Miss Peep - Bo... Now the priestly inflatable sheep is out of circulation for the foreseeable future...
Peep: Yes, Mr Zadoc?
Zadoc: Well, what I'm trying to say is... Do you think you could see your way clear to... Well, you know...
Peep: Oh, Mr Zadoc! I thought you'd never ask!
Zadoc: You don't mind, then?
Peep: Not at all! Which of my remaining sheep would you like?
[The screen goes wavy. Fade back to the Oracle]
Hmm... No resemblance whatever to any fairy tale I was ever told. Looks like the answer to your question is No.

 


12.

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

> Oracle whose wisdom is the wisest, whose wit is the wittiest, whose
> omniscience is the... well you get the picture.
>
> This is a delicate matter, and of course, far be it from me to criticise,
> being only a lowly supplicant and all.
>
> You see, I've noticed that the quality of your wisdom - which is still the
> best in the world - has not in recent times er... shall we say um... been
> up to the standard that we have come to expect from you, you being the
> most wise of Oracles.
>
> So, mighty one, do you have a problem?
>
> It occurs to me that you may be ...gulp... a little tired? This is
> understandable in view of your ag.. er I mean the length of time that you
> have been dispensing your mighty wisdom. How many thousands of years has
> it been? A lot, I bet. No wonder you have lost it... no, no.., not lost it,
> that's the wrong expression. No wonder you deserve a break, yeah that's it.
>
> So maybe its time to let someone who is less age endowed <phew> take up
> the reins and continue your mighty work? That would allow you more time to
> do stuff you would probably enjoy like.. grow roses? a little fishing maybe?
> some not too strenuous golf? Gentle stuff that befits your age...er...
> mature years.
>
> This supplicant knows lotsa stuff, and, well, without wishing to appear
> pushy, has youth on his side. Just an idea, but won't you give it some
> consideration?
>
> --
> A. "presently poor but soon to be rich" Supplicant

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Come on, Master, it's time for your ... It's me, Master ... It's me, Zadoc ... Yes, of course you know me, I'm here every day, I look after you ... No, that other man doesn't look after you, he's a doctor ... You didn't like him? What a thing to say! He came to see if you were poorly, and if you had to go to a special place ... What kind of special place? A home sort of place, where they could look after you better than I can ... You don't think you'd like it there? Of course you would! Don't be a silly Master now. You don't think I'd send you somewhere you didn't like, do you? I hear it's a very nice place. (I hear it's in the middle of a swamp and they only employ psychos who give the patients ECT every day to keep them quiet) ... What's that? ... No, I wasn't talking to anyone, you're imagining it.
Where's Lisa? Lisa isn't here anymore, you know that, Master ... No, she's gone away, and so have all the other priests. Ever since you became, you know ... She's gone away, I tell you! She ran away with an airconditioning repairman called Ralph, okay? ... Now, don't start crying. What kind of behaviour is that for an omniscient demigod, eh? ... That's better. And put your pyjamas back on too.
I'm Zadoc, remember? ... Yes, you do know me, let's not start on that again! Why don't you take your medicine and have a nap, and then ... Of course you like your medicine, it's very good for you ... Oh now, really, Master, what a thing to say! As if I would make you take something that made you feel all dopey! (Hey, the old fool's not as far gone as he looks. Memo to self: increase the dosage.)
Come on, don't be difficult now. Take your medicine like a good boy, and then go to bed and, if you're really good, I'll come around later and give you a bedtime grovel. And then after your nap we can go outside - you like that, don't you? But only if you take your medicine ... That's it, that's a good Master ... There, all finished! That wasn't so bad, was it? ... Oh, like that, eh? Well, never mind, it's all gone now. So, go to bed, and I'll get that nice nurse who looks like Lisa to tuck you in and ... No, she's not Lisa! She only looks like her ... Look, Lisa's left you, all right? Get it through your thick, ugly skull ... No, no, I'm not angry with you, don't start crying again ...
You're feeling sleepy now? Of course you are! You've been up all morning, and then with that doctor coming to examine you ... Yes, I know you didn't like him, you've already told me that ... When did you tell me that? Just now ... Yes, you did ... Look, I don't want to start another argument, just go to bed ... What about the supplicants? Don't you worry about the supplicants, I'll take care of them ... Yes I will, just as I have for the past six months now ... No, nobody's noticed a thing, don't you worry ... Yes, you go to sleep now ... Bye, bye ... Yes, I'll be around later ... Yes, and the nurse ... (For god's sake, piss off to bed, you tiresome old fart!) ... Good night ...
Jesus H Christ, I thought he'd never go! I tell you, Zadoc my old son, this home had better come up with the goods or he's going to drive you bananas. Damn these immortals that you can't just slip a bit of strychnine in their cocoa and have done with it. It's so inconsiderate of them!
Easy does it. Take some deep breaths. There, that's better. Just keep telling yourself - it's only a few more weeks, and then it's all yours, the whole caboodle, everything. So calm down, answer the questions in the queue, and then Lisa's waiting with the Bolly in the hot tub.
Okay, I'm in control. Let's have a look at the first question. "Oracle whose wisdom is the wisest, whose wit is the wittiest ..." Not too bad a grovel ... What's this! "... criticise ... a little tired ... you have lost it!" Why, you little snotrag! Try to muscle in on my racket, will you? I'll fix your little red wagon! Where's that Zot Staff? Ah, here we are. Prepare to taste pyrotechnic annihilation, worm!
<click>
Come on, work damn you!
<click> <click> <click>
Hell's bells, I forgot! The stupid thing's coded to only respond to the Master's thumb print. Well, don't think you're escaping that easily, you chiselling weasel! The old fool should be well under by now. I'll just pop into the kitchen to sharpen the carving knife and get myself a spare thumb. Then I'll be back to deal with you.
Don't go away now.

 


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