In-Joke Event Horizon
"This will be reached when every post consists of a repetition of a previously agreed funny word or phrase, and the postload on any given day will be indistinguishable from that on the day before. After a few months of this someone will write a program to automate the process and we can all go about our lives again." - Richard Wilson, 1999
<word>'er? I don't even know'er!
The origins of this particular in-joke are shrouded in mystery, especially since it's difficult to accurately grep for. The earliest record found indicates that a rhodite named "Tom 'Tom' Harrington " on 27 July 1998 responded to a message with the following:
Bubbler? But I hardly even know 'er!This usage indicates that the in-joke was already in full use by this time, although not necessarily by the rhod community. Indeed, this used to be a common variant of a joke used by slightly popular first-grade English teachers, indicating the difference between verbs and other words. You jump, we jump, they jump, but no one can soccer. You can sock'er, but that's different ...
Rules of Usage: Any word ending in "-er" is fair game, though naturally words with the "-er" removed that indicate something mildly/wildly/entirely sexual are much more widely accepted.
Abbreviation. "And I Mean That In The Nicest Possible Way, Of Course"
Rules of Usage: Not to run this into the ground but, perhaps, maybe, you know, when you mean something in that not-quite meanest sort of way, but rather sort of the opposite.
Records indicate that the first digested reference to the Anti-Oracle was in 750-02, where it was revealed that the diametric opposite to the Great and All-Knowing Orrie is none other than Rush Limbaugh. The Anti-Oracle has made very few cameo appearances, though he does show up from time to time.
The first-ever reference to a being known as the Anti-Oracle, however, showed up years earlier in a Sore Loser post to rhod. The important bit is this:
It is the Balrog, the Anti-Oracle. As the Oracle lives to give wisdom and answer questions, so the Balrog exists to absorb wisdom by asking questions.
This caught the fancy of several rhodites, Ross Clement being one of them. By all reports he attempted to insert this in-joke into the collective incarnating minds of the Oracular populace, but would not see a hint of victory until the digest indicated above.
Rules of Usage: As supplicant or incarnation, and only when appropriate.
Otherwise known as a bar-b-que; common initiation for newbies in rec.humor.oracle.d. Its origin rests in a long-ago thread, where a guy [see DMP] became involved in a joke cannibalism thread, and at some point he was to be roasted and eaten.
Rules of Usage: Whenever a newbie comes into rec.humor.oracle.d.
bright red Siamese fighting fish
The story of the bright red Siamese fighting fish is a long and complicated one, full of pitfalls and conspiracies to overthrow world governments. If you're actually interested in that sort of thing, you might want to check out the truth.
The long and the short of it, however, is this: a rhodite known as Paul Kelly had a bright red Siamese fighting fish that was famous throughout limited parts of usenet, and came up with a neat-o signature line to flaunt them. Other people snagged this line to use towards their own devious ends, using the basic formulae of adjective color nationality verbing animal. To give you something to work with, the original signature was "Paul L. Kelly, whose world famous bright red Siamese fighting fish is, milligram for milligram, the fiercest creature on the planet."
In further and slightly more recent news, Daniel E. Macks currently has semi-sentient ones in his .sig file who will, without provocation, offer their little tidbits of wisdom. A common abbreviation is brsff.
Rules of Usage: Usually limited to taglines and signatures, but, in reality, none. Bright red Siamese fighting fish can do anything they damn well please, and will thoroughly maul and/or devour anyone who says otherwise.
butter-filled hot tub
Water being too tame for the inhabitants of rec.humor.oracle.d, it was determined that the virtual hot tub should be filled with butter, instead. This has the added benefit of more easily luring the newbies into eventual bar-b-que, and nothing quite hits the spot like butter-smothered newbie topped with oregano.
Rules of Usage: None. The tub is always open; just watch your cooler.
Discussion threads have been known to get out of hand; the worst (or best) of these are the cascades, where each participant posts a short message -- usually one or two lines long -- attempting to top the other. Poker cascades are one of the more common types, and of course a cascading thread can never be accurately predicted or planned.
So in step the cascade cops, to make sure it never happens at all. Or rather, to post messages smack-dab in the middle of the furious posting, in desperate hopes to make it all stop. Some cascade cops are serious, believing that cascades contribute to the degradation of our culture; other cascade cops realize that even a good strong cascade needs a straight man or two, and volunteer.
What occurrs to the offender is even less clear than the cascade cop's official status. There has been wide conjecture, but most assume it's just something Very Bad ... like, say, being mistaken for a sheep.
Rules of Usage: Limited. The last Cascade Cop left rhod several years ago, and no one has heard from him since. It is rumoured that he is currently locked in a padded room with the worst of the offenders, banging his head against a wall.
A small, usually plastic device, used to carry around hot or cold items. [See DMP]
Rules of Usage: Well, what do you normally use a cooler for? Geez, do I have to tell you everything?
Abbreviation. "Did Anyone Else Read That As ..."
Rules of Usage: If you have misread or would like to pretend you misread a sentence or a word as something that completely changed the meaning for you.
All too frequently, a denizen of the rhod community will mention something or someone that has a name seemingly impossible. Either it has too many consonants, or exists in a long string of improbable combination of letters, or is simply unrecognizable. In this case, at least one brave soul will attempt to rot-13 it, in a vain effort to decipher the mystery.
Invariably, this fails, seeing as how the name was never really encoded in the first place. The proper response to such a failed attempt is "dammit"; the response for a successful decoding is "hey!"
Rules of Usage: Meh. It's gotten old.
Delphic Research, Inc
Deep within the nethereaches of the multiverse, there is an alternate dimension where the Internet Oracle mythos has taken quite a different shape compared to this one. There, the Oracle takes the form of three women who run an investigative research company. They are far from omniscient, but they can get the job done in a multitude of ways.
For no reason that anyone can readily discern, a small group of rebel incarnations was able to open a portal to this alternate dimension and swap Oracular mythos for a short time. The result was chaotic, but at least it was well documented. You can find out about it, if you so desire.
Rules of Usage: While there is heavy resistance from a few of the priests, it's just a different take on the Oracle. If a query you receive would seemed better served by this bout of in-jokes than Lisa, Zadoc and the gang, you might consider using it. Often referred to as "DRI," which can alternately stand for "Delphic Research Incident."
Also known as: Dumpcarat, Dumpie. An (in)famous poster to rec.humor.oracle.d, ranging from about mid-1998 to late 2000, with interspersed cameos dating to the present. "DMP" are his initials, usually pronounced by regulars as "dump", and a typing error resulted in him being called "dumpcarat" on occasion. He is renown for having a piercing in ... an uncomfortable area (for most males), has visited several nude beaches, and has attempted, at least once, to excrete into a cooler. The cooler was not his.
In combination with Hook, it used to be common practice to deny that one was DMP, as he had the questionable habit of appearing under different names. Eventually the overall paranoia of rhod was that everyone was DMP, and in fact still is. This mindset occasionally resurfaces for no good reason.
Alternatively, the Donut Road. A hypothetical infinitely-long road with infinitely-bad donuts on one side and infinitely-good donuts on the other. This introduced several topics of great discussion in rhod, namely the nature of infinity and the utter idiocy in placing an infinite number of doughnut shops all on the same road. Then someone mentions Starbucks, and that's a whole other kettle of fish.
Rules of Usage: Hey, if you find an opening, go for it. I believe a discussion of Turing machines got us talking about this one, though mapping that kind of thread drift is likely to lead into madness.
Where there are cascades, there are cascades gone horribly awry. Upon the mentioning that rhod should have a drinking game, various rules got applied. Eventually, the inevitable: someone (we've [Tom] been [Harrington] sworn [Tom] not [Harrington] to [Tom] say ["Tom"] who [Harrington]) thought it might be a good idea if we just cut out the middle-man and took a drink every time someone mentioned taking a drink. The resulting cascade -- consisting of nothing more than posts with the word "drink" in various formats -- stretched on for days, weeks, and some portions lasted months. To this day no one is entirely sure how it all stopped, though of course there are theories suggesting some mild forms of extreme violence.
Rules of Usage: In jest, if you wish to remind the occasional rhodite of his or her fallibility. But if it starts off another drink cascade ... well, you've got your will written out, right?
Once, long ago in the mists of time, internet access was restricted to a limited few. Those few were, for better or for worse, members of various institutions, from military academies to universities. Every September, when classes began anew, there would be a large influx of brand-new internet users (called "newbies" by the populace) who didn't know the rules. Beatings were swift, effective, and, on the whole, useful in instruction.
But then, in 1993, the internet began gaining the attention of the public eye. As soon as the first relatively cheap ISP opened access to the common man, the flow of newbies has been constant. We are now in the Endless September.
Rules of Usage: The date is currently:
Originally deemed as a misspelling, it has now taken on the form of an abbreviation for "froody group." The definition of a "frood" can be found in just about any bookstore, especially between the pages of one particular book entitled The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Usage and introduction is attributed to Screwtape, though whether before or after the great afda-rhod portal is unclear.
For slightly more humourous answers (though, of course, they'll make far less sense) you might try out the allegedly official afda site.
Rules of Usage: There are newsgroups, like alt.test, and then there are newsfroups, like alt.fan.douglas-adams. Froups surpass the original meaning and purpose of mere groups, and what's more, they don't need to flaunt it. If you're in such a froup, it's considered rude to refer to it as a mere group.
Abbreviation. "Y" stands for "You", and "F" stands for various conjugations of everybody's favourite F word. Somebody mentioned how glad they were that everyone in rhod was so polite and considerate, and so this was taken from a film -- rumour has it that it was "Taxi Driver."
Rules of Usage: Contrary to its meaning, this abbreviation has yet to be used in any way other than affectionate.
Another word for "fish;" "gh" from "rough", "o" from "women", "ti" from "nation." Attributed to George Bernard Shaw, and even used in a Batman episode in the sixties.
Rules of Usage: Aside from pointing out the absurdities of the English language, can also be used to refer to the occasional wandering brsffs.
A Unix/Linux command to search based on given elements (words, phrases, names, etc). Knowing that someone is grepping for a certain word can be useful in summoning.
Rules of Usage: Can be used to refer to almost any search.
A famous poster, unique in that he (or she) is famous for things that he definitely didn't do.
The original incarnation of Hook was a lurker, a person who popped out of the woodwork like we all do in the endless September, and defended the Oracle with his last breath. At the time, there were serious conversations going on about what should and shouldn't be done to improve Orrie, but Hook was fanatical in the demigod's defense (not that anything would have been changed anyway, but talk does strange things to stranger people).
Hook then vanished into thin air, but his name did not. Several people -- or perhaps just one; the jury's still out on that one -- took on variations of his name to troll the froup, or perhaps just pick on specific people for no readily available reason. The real Hook never stepped forward to protest, and those who took on the persona have been reluctant to take the blame. It became standard practice for a short time to deny being Hook at every opportunity, unless ... well, Richard Wilson said it best:
... Unless, of course, you were really DMP because, since everybody was DMP, therefore Hook must be too, and therefore you must be Hook. Some people still can't seem to get their heads around this extremely simple concept.
Rules of Usage: There's still a danger of grepping, but it's not all that realistic. Hook hook hook. See? I can say it without fear of retrib^C^C^CNO CARRIER
IJWTSTAAbbreviation. "I just wanted to see that again."
Rules of Usage: It's a good way to snip all but an out-of context sentence and/or sentence fragment, in a sheer and flagrant waste of bandwidth.
I'm sorry, but there isn't tim
There are a lot of typos in rhod, what with the constant clamouring to be the first to respond to what must be a straight line. Thus it's very easy to leave off an e or two, which, what with the many varieties of Tims about, will no doubt cause a few jokes to run about.
This typo naturally led to various other posts, changing "Time" to "Tim," such as "Tim flies like an arrow."
Rules of Usage: As Thoreau once said, "You cannot kill Tim without fracturing eternity."
As with all great things, this started out as a Monty Python reference (from the Election Night Special sketch) and just continued to grow from there.
Rules of Usage: Usually called upon when permission is asked for something, or a general request is made. Don't worry about it too much; if you don't do it, Dan probably will.
infamous rhod-afda portal
Don't cross the streams.
Ages ago, a young and supposedly innocent member of rec.humor.oracle.d, who also posted to alt.fan.douglas-adams on occasion, was going to go on a short hiatus. Wanting to save himself a little time, he crossposted to both groups with a farwell message, with an introductory note on the end introducing the two froups. At first it was nothing serious: a couple of "hello"s and "we've met"s, but there's really only so long that so much insanity can be kept so close together.
The resulting explosion was immense, branching off into several more cross-posted threads under different subject headers, making it almost impossible to kill-file. When the offending initiator of this mess came back, he was surprised to find that there was a war between the froups going strong.
The portal was eventually closed (resulting in the sacrificial slaughter of seven sheep, three Linux terminals, thirteen supplicants, and twenty-four copies of the Encyclopedia Galactica), but the fabric between the froups has been thin ever since. Most level-headed individuals will simply kill you outright for mentioning it, and there is one person in particular in alt.fan.douglas-adams who screams in terror at the very mention of rec.humor.oracle.d -- and for good reason.
Rules of Usage: Let's just say that Tim Allen, a.k.a. Screwtape, has become infamous throughout Usenet for mistakenly throwing these two froups together. You may refer to it, in passing, but any attempt to duplicate the process will not only undoubtable fail (being done on purpose, after all, negates the effects) but will end up getting you drawn, quartered, evicerated, and then lightly killed. This may or may not be a good thing.
Just about any priesthood has had a long-standing tradition of celibacy, which has had an equally timeless way of getting around such things. In the Oracular priesthood there are no altar boys, but someone mentioned that there seemed to be an awful lot of sheep delivered to the temple. This of course started discussions on the troubles in keeping lambs still during the ... relief process, so to speak, and so naturally where there are fetishes there are inflatable fetishes. Hence the inflatable sheep, hamsters -- essentially a menagerie of blow-up sex toys.
Rules of Usage: If you want to convince the priesthood to do something for you, offering an inflatable animal or two is a sure way to curry thier favour. Or is that flavour their curry?
The supposed reason for the froup; also (debateably) interchangeable with "Usenet Oracle." The Internet Oracle is an omnipotent -- though not necessarily omnipresent -- deity who answers the questions of various supplicants out of the goodness of his heart. He resides in the Oracular Temple located somewhere in Indiana University along with his girlfriend Lisa, his priests, and a few other loyal followers. He also has a warehouse where he keeps all the tributes he's obtained over the years. See digests 1005, 873, 235 through 654 inclusive and, well, most of the rest of the archive.
Rules of Usage: The very fact that the Internet Oracle is always the topic also means that the Internet Oracle is never on topic, due to the inherent rules of usenet paradox. If you're going to talk about the Oracle, it's usually a good idea to put "OT:" in the subject line to let us know it's one of those on/off-topic posts.
Frequently with crossed-out vowels (e.g. J**l F*rr) to prevent a summoning. Joel Furr was a visitor from the lands of alt.fan.lemur; "Frink!" is the call of the lemur, and mentions of Furr are often accompanied by this sound.
Joel Furr was once a frequent poster to rec.humor.oracle.d, with strict and unwavering opinions on how the Oracle was to be used. Anyone not agreeing with him was lambasted as being a queue-drainer/spammer, depending on their position.
One of his more (in)famous ideas was that the "askme" feature of the Oracle me discontinued, to force everyone who wanted to incarnate to also supplicate (while this is a good idea in theory, it can often lead to poor and/or multiple supplications). In his perfect world, every time an incarnation received a question, they were to answer it, whether or not it was to their liking -- which would only increase the dregs the priests would have to sift through.
Joel Furr was immensely disliked not only because of his opinions, but of his consistent trolls in the rhod population. Eventually he was made the butt of not a few Oracular jokes, then finally packed up and left for points unknown. He was reportedly elected as Kibo during the real Kibo's absence, hence a few jokes about his election to other positions such as Pope, President, etc. Supposedly he's on the long hard road to recovery for his trollish ways
From none other than Jeffrey Johnson himself (or, more specifically, the rec.arts.tv.mst3k.misc Regulars Page):
And, since everybody asks, here's the explanation of JSJITG. JSJITG stands for "Jeffrey Scott Johnson I, The Great". This implies four things for the future:
- Great Monarchy
- Future namesake heirs to the throne
- Future namesake heirs to the throne who nevertheless aren't as great as me. Hopefully, they're not awful, however.
Rules of Usage: You must be Jeffrey Scott Johnson I.
Kid in Toronto died of that
A nod to the urban legend where an unidentified youngster in Toronto, usually a boy, is the subject of various (and often rather gruesome) deaths at the hands -- or flippers, or gears, or, well, you can well imagine what else. There is no kid from Toronto. Well, there are children in Toronto, I'm sure, but none of them have died in just that sort of way. Well, not documented as fact, at any rate.
Rules of Usage: Anytime anything halfway odd or strange is mentioned.
NTTAWWT,OCAbbreviation. "Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course." Taken -- no, ripped from a Seinfeld episode in which Jerry and some other character I don't care to remember continually discuss homosexuality. They are appalled by the concept, but must, for some reason or another, remain politically correct. Hence the statement.
Rules of Usage: Far be it from us to recommend using something from American television, but there you have it. Implemented when something you don't particularly agree with is going on regardless, in a sarcastic tone or, less frequently, not.
Ever since the cannibalism thread, oregano has held a special place in the hearts (and pockets) of all rhodites as the supreme spice for newbies. It has been the subject of many poems, songs, and all-out diatribes, and rumour has it that quite a few even grep for it. Its popularity rests in a long-since-lost but seldom-lamented thread about how to pronounce not just "oregano," but also such impossibilities as "rhodite" and "throatwragnlermangrove."
As to its actual taste ... well, that depends on the tongue. Try it in some spaghetti or macaroni or other dinner dish, and see how you like it.
Rules of Usage: Every newbie is asked to bring their own sprig of oregano to more easily move along the initiation process. Saying the word "oregano" is also known to bring about a jellyroll or two.
Ah, the wonders of diverging cultures. For reasons no one is likely to make clear, the American colonists and the British empire diverged when referring to underwear. The British called such under-things "pants,", while the Americans called it "underwear." Not wishing to leave it at that, the Americans also called jeans, trousers, and all other outer-wear leg fittings as "pants," seemingly for the sole purpose of making American tourists make unwitting fools of themselves -- something to which American tourists are extremely adept at doing.
In an international forum like Usenet, these kinds of differences are bound to show up on occasion, and are usually laughed at (especially by the former British Empire's citizens). Not too long ago, a site was presented that "improved" many of the more popular lines from Star Wars films by inserting "pants" at various intervals, which resulted in peals of laughter erupting all over Europe. America, however, was filled with the sounds of various clueless individuals -- of which there are many -- scratching their heads. And then laughing anyway.
Rules of Usage: It has become common practice that, if a thread has become too boring and/or longwinded, to change a word or two to "pants" to lighten the mood. The occasional reference to pants and/or underwear, along with the occasional accidental mix-up of the two, is a great way to keep rhod entranced for hours on end.
From the mind, twisted or otherwise, of Screwtape:
Some hardy fool wanted to start a non-sequitur cascade, but someone else responded with "I'll see your whatever and raise you a something else." There is nothing a predator-raptor loves more than a pattern to reply with, with a place to be creative. The canonical poker cascade looks like this:
I'll see your object1 and raise you an object2
I'll see your object3 and raise you an object4
...where object3 is derived from object2 by mis- or re-interpretation, and object4 is derived from object3 by some inversion or magnification.
Where there is a large group of people gathered together, there is analysis, and where there is Usenet, there is a twisted analysis that is so right in so many ways that it borders on the deeply disturbing.
For there was a site, and on this site was a breakdown of all the different types of posters on Usenet, from the lurkers to the caffeine-chugging wonders who won't let five minutes go by without posting something. In between these two extremes is the predator-raptor, who loves taking apart someone else's message and flaming it to pieces -- sometimes in jest, but mostly because it's fun for him.
Naturally, we found that rhod is full of predator-raptors.
Rules of Usage: You might try accusing someone of "predator-raptoring" to get them to back off, but most folks wear it as a badge of honour ... at which point they'll rip you a new one anyway. Just remember that it's all in fun, even if it's not necessarily your fun.
Almost all newsgroups have a Frequently Asked Questions list, a place where newbies can go to get caught up on all the current topics and discussions and thus easily acclimate themselves to the culture of the group. Rec.humor.oracle.d, being, at best, an amalgimation of various types and discussions melded together with no singular direction or purpose, is the very antithesis of the type of froup that needs a FAQ. And yet one was created anyway.
Rules of Usage: The old usage was that a question would be posed, and someone would say "it's in the FAQ," and then laugh up their sleeves as the newbie struggled with the concept. But you can't do that anymore! Ha! So there! Nyah nyah nyah!
Another term for the average denizen and frequent posters of rec.humor.oracle.d. Also fairly popular are "rhodite," and "rhododendron" (although less commonly used).
Rules of Usage: Whenever referring to the population of rhod as a whole. Or as a hole, for that matter.
Daniel E. Macks shared the opinion that perhaps SETI would have been far more popular, and thus recieved more funding, if it had been known as the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence And Hot Girl-Girl Action.
Rules of Usage: All we ask is that you don't use it in spam.
This joke's so old it's got cobwebs from Jurassic spiders on it. "Surely" sounds just like "Shirley", a female name. The age-old response is "Don't call me Shirley."
Rules of Usage: Well, it's always good for a few cheap laughs.
When the Usenet Oracle first came about, Stephen B. Kinzler wrote a small script to append an attribution line to the end of every incarnation's response. This usually delt with how many packets of soy sauce the supplicant owed the Oracle; no one but Kinzler knows why it was soy sauce, or what the Oracle did with the thousands of packets he no doubt received.
The attribution line script has long since been destroyed, and with it any records of it ever existing. Even a peek at the complete Oracularity archives reveals nothing, though there are a few incarnations who entered it in manually in later digests.
Rules of Usage: Status of this in-joke is largely inactive; many of the current users of the Oracle wouldn't know what you're talking about, anyway. Unless you want to do an Andy Kaufman-esque joke, don't even bother.
Due to a terrible error in judgement, an observation was posted to rec.humor.oracle.d that there had never been any published oracularity with both the words "squid" and "herpes". Needless to say, that's all rhod needed to hear; both lurkers and regular posters alike began to work the two into any and all supplications and, more frequently, incarnations.
Rules of Usage:Due only to statistical probability, yes, there are now some published oracularities with those very words. But it's probably not wise to challenge rhodites in a vaugely similar way ever again.
A technique by which to catch the attention of someone in Usenet, usually by stating their name in casual conversation in the hopes that they are grepping.
Rules of Usage: Carefully. The ability to summon (some people just have the knack) is a dangerous skill, and it must be used cautiously. Some people grep only for certain key phrases, others grep on their name, and still others are just lurking about, ready to pounce once announced.
Abbreviation. " She Who May Not Be Named." In reference to the One True Evil, a likeness of Cthulhu himself, a female poster whose name, when known, causes cringes of terror amongst the rhod community. The starter of all terrible cascades, the fright of the froup, the horrid ignorance of her posts ... her name is never to be written down, lest an inadvertent summoning take place. Not even here will her name be revealed.
Rhod lives in fear of the day she might dare to return, hoping against hope that, when she does, she will have grown up -- at least a little bit. It's a faint hope, however.
Rules of Usage: To refer to she who may not be named.
Far more common in alt.fan.douglas-adams, teh (pronounced "typo") is the chosen nickname of a Usenet persona named Motti. Seeking a name that would cause havoc with spell-checkers and wreak vengeance on all those seeking to oppose the natural distribution of typos and other Freudian slips through froups, "teh,", a misspelling of "the," was of course the natural choice.
Rules of Usage: "Teh" can be used in place of "the" without fear of retribution for a spelling error. This kind of behaviour is usually limited to alt.fan.douglas-adams, but for the infamous rhod-afda portal.
that's what *she* said
Good ol' sexual innuendo. There's nothing quite like it.
Rules of Usage: There used to be a rule for this, involving anything with size, shape, etc, but this has long since fallen by the wayside. Almost any post can have this follow-up line, instantly introducing sexual misconduct where there was none before. And really, isn't that what Usenet's all about?
there is no footnote six
A Monty Python reference (the Australian Philosophers sketch), where Rule Six is that there is no Rule Six.
Rules of Usage: Footnotes are a way to get on with what you're saying while going off in a tangent, which is just how some minds work. If the footnotes stretch on long enough, it's nice -- but not necessary -- to skip over number six and then reference the in-joke.
One of the favourite pastimes of the denizens of rec.humor.oracle.d is the sharing of the odd bits of the internet. This usually takes the forms of either explained or unexplained URLs that can lead to just about anything you can imagine -- and several things you wouldn't want to.
What has now been deemed as The URL started out as an unexplained sharing, and has since taken the role of legend. It featured ... well, it's best not to go into detail as to what it featured, just that it was something you could wrap your mind in, but not around. With plenty of ick and oogy on the side.
Rules of Usage: While URLs can be freely distributed in rhod (and archived for later perusal), it's best to mention in the occasional explained deliveries that it's nothing overly oogy. If it is oogy, give us fair warning. Please. Our minds still have to cope with the remnants of that image ... brrrr. In fact, it's highly suggested that you don't follow any URLs in rhod without a good, long explanation as to what it's all about. At the very least, wait for three or so folks to post follow-up messages about it first, then go see for yourself. If you dare.
Abbreviation. "There Is No Secret List/Digest." Due to the occasional complaints of the quality (or lack thereof) of the Oracular Digests, some incarnations, "knowing"" their answer was better than anything that was digested, began the rumour that the priests had a secret digest of all the best answers, which would then get passed around only within their cabal. The priests vehemently denied this, for a variety of reasons, but the best was probably this: they spend so much time and effort on the real digest that they simply wouldn't have time to create much else.
Whether or not you believe them is up to you.
Rules of Usage: Most often used by the priests to deny accusations whenever a terrible digest gets published, it can also be modified for a limited number of occasions, as long as the beginning is "There is no secret ..."
The very first rendition of the Internet Oracle.
Rules of Usage: Unnecessary. The two names are virtually interchangeable, as many resisted the altering of the Oracle's identity. Some have even gone so far as to say that the Usenet Oracle is the only true Oracle, and the Internet Oracle is nothing but an impostor whose time will come (most likely on 1 October 1993). Such people are, naturally, quite mad, as the Usenet Oracle is completely dea -- er, that is, it's just not true.
Also, w**dc**cks or w**dch*cks. Supposedly, the most frequent question the Internet Oracle gets is "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck would chuck wood?" This has driven Orrie to the point of insantiy, and thus any mention of woodchucks whatsoever, in any form, is just asking for a zotting. The Oracle has gotten very good at noticing subtle variations, and attempts to hide or smuggle woodchucks into the Oracular temple through use of rot-13, rhymes, trousers, or any other means could result in death.
Rules of Usage: Not wise.
Throughout the ages, many an individual in technical support has heard of the all-powerful LART, which fries (l)users on command. The Internet Oracle has such a beast, and calls it a Zot Staff for reasons that are sure to never be revealed in the near future -- though you may be sure that infantile minds and sexual innuendo have a lot to do with it. Depending on who you ask, the Zot Staff has a variety of settings, from "Zap" to "Deep Fat Fry" and is used on woodchucks and those petty supplicants who would dare to offend the Oracle.
Rules of Usage: The Zot Staff, though amusing to the incarnation in its own way, has fallen to the wayside, as many priests have tired of it and see nothing original in its use. An occasional zot may find its way in rhod, however, for those instances when a hearty thwap just isn't enough. Since almost all rhodites are incarnations, the zot staff is within easy reach.
Help from the following people is directly or indirectly responsible for the exhaustive list above, and we give them our thanks (and cookies, if we happen to have any when they're nearby): Ken Adams, Tim Allen (a.k.a. Screwtape), J.R. Conlin (a.k.a. TechnoAtheist), Tim Connors, Jim Evans (a.k.a. JIM, JIMbot), Richard Fitzpatrick, Tom "Tom" Harrington, Dave "is it gonna fly in this group, or not? " Hinz, Rich Holmes, Hook, Brantley Hudson, Jeffrey Kaplan (a.k.a. Gordol), Steve Keller (a.k.a. ~steve-o, Robot Karate Man), Paul Kelly (a.k.a. Fierce Y. Cookie), Hetta Kress, GW De Lacey, Daniel E. Macks, Jim Menard, Jellyroll Papadopoulos, Al Sharka, Viki Super, Donald Welsh, and well, pretty much everyone in rec.humor.oracle.d. Information revealed here isn't so much copyrighted as viciously protected by rabid (and, naturally, bright red) Siamese fighting fish, so yous takes your chances.