The Usenet Oracle is an Internet question-and-answer system developed first at Harvard University in 1976, but made popular by a derivative installed at Indiana University in 1989. Users would submit questions via email which was then sent to another user to answer anonymously when he/she asked their own question. Humor abounds within the Oracle.
Sometime back in 1990, the following question was posed:
“Is I really hard playing rock?”
The Oracle responded as follows:
Dear Sir or Madam:
The question you have submitted requires extra time to parse due to improper grammatical structure. Please bear with us a few moments, and the Oracle will address your question as soon as possible.
O.K., I’m done. My parser routine has come up with four possible interpretations of your question:
- Is it really hard playing rock ‘n’ roll music?
- Am I a really hard rock who likes to play?
- Am I really hard when I play with my rocks?
- Am I really hard when I play rock ‘n’ roll music?
The responses, in order, are:
- In the words of my hero, Bob Geldof, “Maybe get a blister on your little finger, maybe get a blister on your thumb.”
- A simple test. Play with a friend by getting him to throw you into the water. If you sink to the bottom forever without drowning, you’re a hard rock who likes to play.
- A simple test. In the privacy of your own room, stroke, lick, or otherwise play with your testicles while using sexual aids to assist you (K-Y, whips, pictures of Zsa Zsa Gabor or Leona Helmsley). If you can break the headboard of your bed with your pënìs, then you’re really hard when you play with your rocks.
- A simple test. In the privacy of your own room, bang your skull against a wall while using sexual aids to assist you (Ozzy Osbourne, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, etcetera, and a cassette player, phonograph, or CD player). If you can break the headboard of your bed with your pënìs, then you’re really hard when you play rock ‘n’ roll music.
You owe the Oracle a rock and a hard place. Or at least a rock and a place to get hard. Or a place to get hard playing rock music. Or a place where they play hard rock. Hëll, give me all of the above; you biffed your own question, not me.
While many questions and answers are lengthy, there are some great one-liners in the archives.
- Q. Why is a cow?
This answer is particularly brilliant because “mu” (無) is Japanese for “nothing”, “non-existent”, or “non-being”. The term is often used or translated to mean that the question itself must be “unasked”. Additionally, Discordians define “mu” as “Your question cannot be answered because it depends on incorrect assumptions.”
- Q. What does Dan Quayle eat for breakfast?
Oracle: Dan Quayle prefers Vice Krispies.
- Q. When, where, how, why, and what?
Oracle: Now, here, massive coronary, no grovelling, your imminent demise.
- Q. How do you make holes in a fire?
Oracle: With a fire drill.
- Q. What if this wasn’t a hypothetical question?
Oracle: Then this wouldn’t be a rhetorical answer.
- Q. Win95
- Q. Hey buddy, can you spare a minus sign?
- Q. What is the purpose of zero-ohm resistors?
Oracle: Resistance is useless!
- Q. Mmm… monkey.
Oracle: There’s no wrong way to eat a Rhesus.
Long live the Oracle!