In high school I ran a Fidonet node, 1:204/1154, "The Angevin Empire." (I was very interested in medieval history at the time.) I came up with this Usenet Oracle question in 1992. Of course, I don't know who wrote the answer.
It was not published in the Oracularities, but I liked it. Missing the point about the "secret code" was rather irksome, though.
The Usenet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > O Usenet Oracle, whose wisdom is even better than unequalled, please tell me: > > I was doing a little comparison shopping and so I asked one of your > competitors the following question: > > > From: Supplicant User > > To: Fidonet Oracle Msg #15, 27-Jun-92 00:05 > > Dest: Oracle HQ (1:125/1.0) Olympus OL > > Subject: Tell me > > > > O Fidonet Oracle, whose wisdom is unequalled, please tell me: > > > > How can I get an A on my philosophy exam? > > And he responded, > > > From: Fidonet Oracle > > Origin: Oracle HQ (1:125/1.0) Olympus OL Msg #16, 27-Jun-92 00:28 > > To: Supplicant User > > Subject: Here is the answer you requested: > > > > 13, 156 388 897. 49: 20 456, 26 34 5/89 233. 14? 38 17 3. > > > > 543 38 87. > > Can you please elaborate for me? > > Also, since I got this answer I've been wondering if you farm questions > out to subcontractors, especially questions about Life, the Universe, > and Everything. > And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } } The Usenet Oracle regrets that it cannot take offer any service for } equipment or answers supplied by foreign contractors. } Please note par. 1 of your contract which states: } 'Thou shalt not have any Oracle besides me nor shalt thou grovel before } them!' } This applies in particular for the so-called Fidonet Oracle. } As everybody knows, Fidonet is nothing but a bunch of would-like-to-be } wiz-kids wondering if Mummy will give them another new MS-DOS computer for } next christmas. (Otherwise they're mostly harmless.) } As a partial answer to your question, the Usenet Oracle in its infinite } mercy however provides you with the following statement: } You want to get an 'A' in your philosophy exam and still believe } in Oracles? Ha ha ha ha! } You owe the Oracle a pocket calculator. } } (A very angry-looking Oracle has finished typing the answer to the supp- } licant's question. He then takes his Oracular phone, all marble with a } platinum dial and a golden receiver, muttering "E-Mail is to good for } them!") } } Oracle (dialing 999-FIDO-RACLE): Hello? Hello? Yes, this is the Usenet } Oracle. Yes, I'd like to have the Fidonet-Oracle on the phone. } Quick. I said Quick! } ... } Yes. Hello? Well, Mr. Fidorallici! Can you guess, why I'm calling? } That supplicant... Yes. Have you ever read your contract? Would } you mind reading over pages 7237465 to 7237488? It states expli- } citly, that *never* and under *no* circumstances are you allowed } to answer questions on your own! } And not enough, you had to give him the true answer in our secret } code! You were just lucky that he didn't manage to decrypt it! } ... } No, we cannot allow a 'single case', Mr. Fido! It's strict company } policy, and you know what happened to that poor guy called 'Bitnet- } Oracle'? You remember him? 'Biffy' as we called him? Well, I guess } that he's still where the guys put him... It's *very* difficult to } swim away with a block of concrete at you feet... Sicily, yes. } Well, you know, I'm still fond of that mediterranean region. Would } you prefer Venice or Athenes, Mr. Fido? Oh, yes, at the moment we } have got Split as a special offer! } ... } Well, Mr. Fido, I'm glad that you seem to become reasonable! I } really wouldn't want to have to send the guys round again! They're } always so *rough* with people, understand what I mean? } ... } Fine, Mr. Fido. Fine! All I can say! Ah, and before I forget - } you will have to answer twice as many questions for me from } now on. } ... } No, it is *not* impossible, Mr. Fido! A few nightshifts will do, } I guess... And you see, somebody's got to take the questions poor } Biffy isn't any longer able to answer! And the guys are always } *so* nervous all the time... } ... } I knew that. Good-bye, Mr. Fido! } } Lisa! Lisa! Pack a few things, we're making a trip to the mediterranean! } Yes darling, you remember I promised you that once these dudes do all } this answering for me, we'd go on holiday! How 'bout Delphi, for example? } And Vice, Venice, Sicily... Meet old friends, you know? Great! See you in } ten minutes at the car! } } On second thought, you also owe the Oracle a truckload of concrete.
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