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Softpanorama 1993, Vol.5 No.1(51) *** HUMOR *** Ñîñòàâèòåëü: Í.Í. ÁÅÇÐÓÊÎÂ *************************************************************************** [This file is from the Sf-Lovers Archives at Rutgers University. It is provided as part of a free service in connection with distribution of Sf-Lovers Digest. This file is currently maintained by the moderator of the Digest. It may be freely copied or redistributed in whole or in part as long as this notice remains intact. If you would like to know more about Sf-Lovers Digest, send mail to SF-LOVERS-REQUEST@RUTGERS.EDU.] - The author of this work is unknown. It was edited and reformatted by Saul Jaffe (moderator, Sf-Lovers) Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net Episode 1 - First Meeting One day, not long after tomorrow, Arnold Lint was busy scrolling through the seemingly infinite reaches of the Net. All of a sudden the news stopped with an abrupt thud, followed by the angry message "YOUR NODE HAS BEEN REDUCED TO A LITTLE BLACK, GREASY SPLOTCH IN MY MEMORY SPACE!!". No sooner had he assimilated this horrendous event when a great suction like noise began to emanate from his terminal. "This is it", he said to himself, "I'm going to die". The screen on his terminal imploded and he suddenly found himself sucked into the terminal... (Arnold Lint regains consciousness, only to find himself in the company of an odd trio. One of the trio is an apparently normal human male (named Rod Perfect) and the second is a voluptuous young woman (named Gillian). The third is also a normal male (named Xaphod Gronklebox), except for a third, mechanical, arm and a 12" CRT on his shoulder that keeps scrolling "Pieces of Eight, Pieces of Eight".) Rod: Evening all! I'm Rod Perfect, awfully rude of you imploding on us this way, you silly twit. Arnold Lint: Sorry. Am I dead? Xaphod: Obviously not, you semi-evolved simian! Are all you net-landers so stupid. If you were dead would I be talking to you? I'm Xaphod Gronklebox, the famous inter-net-al criminal and dog molester - you must have heard of me. Arnold Lint: Actually, no, I haven't. Xaphod: Oh well, your loss. I just hijacked this node! It's called the Infinity, isn't it wild. Just imagine the places we can go in this baby. (Rod notices that Arnold's eyes are transfixed on the young woman) Rod: Her name's Gillian, at least that's what she wants to be called. Actually, her real name is Gertrude Floogie, but she didn't like it, so she changed it. (Arnold Lint detects a mechanical sound to his right. A robot soon walks into view) Robot: My name is Martin. I am sure you will have an absolutely awful time on this node, I always have. I do not know why they insist on trying to do things to change the Net, they can only make it worse. No matter what happens, some one always says something stupid and ruins everything. Then someone else feels obliged to a rebuttal, and on and on it goes. How awful. Still, what do you expect from an imperfect Net. Rod: Martin is a bit, well, depressing. Xaphod: He's a real downer, man! Martin: That's right, ridicule me. See what I care. I'm only an android. Just another example of cruelty in this awful Net. [The "Hitch Hikers Guide to the Net" defines cruelty as having to see constant repetitions of the same salutary comment in more than 20 messages. History shows that a war was fought over the repetition of the statement "If you don't like my name - push off, signed xxxx" appearing in 200 messages from the node of Moronicus. Since that time, any time a salutary message is used more than 20 times, subsequent violators have their pelvis screwed to a cake stand while they are forced to watch repeats of "The Gong Show".] Arnold Lint: Well, what do we do now? Xaphod: We're on our way to Netrothea. (The 12" CRT on his shoulder now starts repeating "Polly want a sedative, Polly want a sedative") There's supposed to be all sorts of wild and amazingly great things in that place! Rod: Martin, set course for Netrothea! Martin: All right, but you're not going to like it. Gillian: What will we find on Netrothea? Xaphod: Well, there's supposed to be a huge stock pile of data there that we can sell to the Net for millions. Arnold Lint: A stock pile of what? Xaphod: Data! Data! You idiot. Knowledge is power in the Net. All that data has been accumulating over the centuries. Just imagine the amazingly amazing philosophical Net-discussions that it stored. I mean, the Net is the focal point of all wisdom. Just think of all that smart stuff! Wow! [The "Hitch Hikers Guide to the Net" insists that the focal point of all knowledge in not the Net itself. Rather, it is the fourth stall in the mens room in Grand Central Station. No one has ever been dumb enough to waste time disproving this wild claim, so the publishers avoided some nasty laws suits.] Xaphod: We'll have millions! We'll by everything! No, we'll have billions, trillions, . . . . (Xaphod begins to shake violently and froth at the mouth, then he falls over backward. A few seconds later he comes to.) Xaphod: Well, lets go! Rod: You all right? Xaphod: Yah, sure. Just the excitement of new conquests. Arnold Lint: Looked more like Flamers-syndrome to me. Xaphod: You should talk, you key-pounding half-wit. Gillian: If we're going to go, lets go already. Martin: Do we really have to? Rod: YES! (Just as the node starts on it's way, a host of flame-shaped vessels became visible on the scanners) Rod: Funny you should mention Flamers-syndrome. Xaphod: Oh, hell! Gillian: What are they? Xaphod: Damn, those are ships belonging the Flamers. They go after anything, no matter how pointless or unimportant it is. If they catch us, we could suffer permanent brain damage, or worse yet - join the Moral Majority Arnold Lint: So this it it, we're all going to die! Martin: I told you that you would like it. Others: Oh Shut Up! End Of Part 1 Will Arnold and his new travelling companions escape the Flamers? Or will they end up playing rock albums backwards at 66.6 RPM? For the answers to these, and countless other pointless questions, tune in next time ... same Net-time ... same Net-channel Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net Episode 2 - The Flamers (The Infinity's scanners are showing the Flamer's ships approaching fast. Arnold Lint and Rod Perfect are frantically scurrying about. Xaphod is trying to figure out how to fly the node, and Gillian is fixing her makeup. Martin the android is off on a corner moping about how he's too young to die.) Xaphod: This is the node Infinity, we are on a peaceful, although a bit mercenary, mission. Hold your fire. (The commander of the Flamer's fleet appears on the screen. He appears to be a normal human, except for a small silver halo stapled to his head.) Flamer: I am Adolf Riteyus, commander of the Flaming Queen. You have violated Flaming space and must be blasted. You will be given a fair and drawn out hearing before you are found guilty. Rod: We didn't know this was Flaming space! Adolf: Ignorance is no excuse. Do you think that just because you don't know something you shouldn't be responsible for it? Why, if we didn't go around blasting people who thought they were innocent, there'd be no order. The whole power structure of the Net is based on the inalienable right to flame. He who flames the loudest and strongest will prevail, for he will have maintained purity of essence by not compromising his principles. It doesn't matter what one flames about, as long as one comes out a winner. Winning the argument for mandatory retroactive birth control is one of our greatest victories. We Flamers always win because we never give up. No, things are either our way or they're WRONG. [The "Hitch Hikers Guide to the Net" lists the Flamers as one of the most argumentative races in the Net. History shows that the Flamers went to war over the right to keep and bear tongue depressors. They also had a violent and bloody discussion over the morality of Odor Eaters. The only time the Flamers can be easily beaten in combat is on Sunday mornings when they all watch evangelist shows, or during Ronco "Mr. Microphone" commercials (their symbol of worship).] Gillian:What should we do? Xaphod: How 'bout evasive actions? Marvin: It won't help. Rod: Oh shut up! Rod: OK, evasive action! Adolf: Where do you come from? Xaphod: Not from around here. Adolf: Where are you headed? Rod: Left. Gillian:That's telling him? Adolf: What is your favorite color? Arnold Lint: My what? Adolf: Your favorite color! Rod: White! Adolf: What is the maximum warp speed of a ladened Swaldrel? Xaphod: Denebian or Rigelian? Adolf: I don't know that... all right, enough evading, if you don't surrender in the next five seconds I'll blast you right out of existence. Rod: Well, now what. Adolf: Five! Arnold Lint: What's this button do? Adolf: Four! Xaphod: That's the Illogical Drive. It propels the node on power from hard drugs and acid rock. It's kind of dangerous though. Adolf: Three! Arnold Lint: Should we try it? Adolf: Two! Rod: Well, let's not . . . Four! Adolf: Four! Arnold Lint: So this is it, we're all going to die. Adolf: Three! Martin: I warned you about this trip. Adolf: Two! Xaphod: All right, all right, engage the Illogical Drive! Adolf: One! (Arnold Lint engages the Illogical drive. Images of the movie "Easy Rider" float across the view port. "In-a-gadda-da-vida" starts coming across the radio. The 12" CRT on Xaphod's shoulder starts scrolling "Wow man, what a trip!". The scanners show that the Flamers couldn't handle the sudden flood of sensory excitation and burst their brains. This only made their reactions a bit slower though as the Flamer's brain is remarkably small. The Infinity, charged up with Liquid Super Duetrillium, was able to make warp speed and turn the corner before the Highway patrol picked them up on radar. This was fortunate for it meant that they wouldn't be caught by Spiny Norman, the 45 foot blue hedgehog that had been following them.) Gillian: We made it. Rod: Yah, where are we Martin. Martin: We're way out man. Xaphod: Oh, he's useless now - it'll take a while before he comes down. Arnold Lint: At least he isn't so gloomy. Martin: Nooo body knows, the trouble I've see . . . have any of you ever contemplated the death of a grain of salt? [The "Hitch Hikers Guide to the Net" points out that the life and death of a grain of salt can have amazing importance in the course of life on the Net. One particular grain of salt (named Nigel) was responsible for the overthrow of an entire government. Nigel gave his . <- Nigel life by falling into the barrel of a shotgun that was aimed at the planet's dictator. Thanks to lousy marksmanship on the part of the rebels, only Nigel was able to hit the dictator. The rest of the buck shot killed the dictator's pet salmon, Eric. Nigel, however, penetrated the dictators eye and eventually killed him 8 months later just before a firing squad cut the dictator in two.] Rod: Shut Up! Xaphod: Well, lets get back on course. Arnold Lint: What are those? (The scanners now show a dozen ships shaped like the number one heading toward the Infinity.) Xaphod: Those are Singularan ships. They're worse than flamers! Rod: Oh yeah, they're worse than a visit from an insurance salesman. Gillian:They're normally mild mannered computer scientists. But when they get on the Net, they become endowed with a superhuman ability to talk about incredibly personal things, things they couldn't otherwise discuss. Arnold Lint: Sounds awful. Martin: That's what I keep telling you. Rod: Shut up! Xaphod: If we don't get out of here fast, we'll end up debating which finger a divorced person should wear his or her ring on when going to homosexual orgies - or worse, have to go to a Pot Luck Dinner where all that the people do is talk. End Of Part 2 Will the crew of the infinity avoid the clutches of the Singularans? Or will they end up exchanging recipes for onion dip. For the answers to these and several other amazingly unimportant questions ... tune in next time ... same Net-time ... same Net-channel. Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net Episode 3 - The Singularans (Arnold Lint and the crew of the Infinity are trying to decide what to do now that they are being faced by the deadly Singularans.) Xaphod: Oh wow, just when we got past the Flamers, we have to run into the 'Singles'. The Illogical drive won't work this time. Rod: No, and neither will evasive actions. They all talk that way! Gillian: What will we do then? Arnold Lint: I'll tell you ... we're all going to die. Xaphod: Shut your cake-hole! Martin: I tried to tell you this trip would be a real downer, but would you listen? Rod: Quiet! Xaphod: I guess we should see what they want. (Xaphod switches on the two way video telecommunicator and RadaRange. The face of the Singularan captain appears on the screen. He is a normal human wearing a T-shirt which says: "Have you ever really listened to Manilow?" He is also sporting glow in the dark pants and 10 pounds of silver and gold chains around his neck.) Singularan: Hey, like I'm Dirk Thawtphull. We were cruising by and saw your node. Interested in some meaningful relationships, free from the moral depravity that otherwise infects the net. Xaphod: Well, I kind of like depravity. Rod: Yah, me too. Dirk: Wow, you'd love our S & M encounter group then, fershure! Arnold Lint: Your what? Dirk: S & M encounter group. We get together twice a week and exchange recipes and beatings. Arnold Lint: How could a group like that command such a strong node? Xaphod: Well, the sudden popularity of Jogging induced widespread adoption of the principles of Single-ism. The subsequent rise of the sport of 'Joggering' reduced the numbers of Singularans to normal size. It appears that they may be making a come back though. [The "Hitch Hikers Guide to the Net" defines 'Joggering' as a sport originated in Australia to combat the sudden drop in productivity caused by having everybody jogging. Australian champion Bruce Karnage describes the sport: "Well, there is a different way of catching both male and female joggers. If it's a male, you flush him out into the open with cigarette smoke, then chase him down in your 4 x 4 Land Rover. When he's tired, bump him with the fender to stun him momentarily. Then get out and with your driver pick him up by all fours and run him head-first into the side of the truck. If it's a female, bait a likely spot with designer jogging wear and then wait for a flock to arrive. When one becomes interested, sneak up behind her, very quietly. Then when you are about two feet away, and you can see the sun dancing on her richly tanned flesh caressing her well toned figure into a visual symphony of delight, split her skull with a handy two-by-four. It's a lovely sport!" The sport later became known as 'Walkmaning'.] Rod: We were on our way to Netrothea to pick up some ... uh ... fuel, yah that's it. Dirk: Well, we've got plenty of fuel, come on over and we'll let you have it. Xaphod: No, it's OK. Dirk: I insist! (The Singularan ship lets out a pink and purple polka-dot ray that engulfs the Infinity. Arnold Lint and company find themselves in a room on the Singularan ship. It is decorated right out off the floor of a K-Mart. K-Tel's "Feelings" album is playing "You light up my existence" in the background, on the ceiling is a gigantic mirror, and in one corner is a gigantic mood-bean-bag chair.) Gillian: How awful! Martin: Actually, I kind of like it, in a depressing sort of way. Rod: Quiet. Arnold Lint: Where are we. Dirk: You're aboard the Singularan vessel "Sincerity". You will remain here until you learn to develop meaningful relationships over the Net. Meaningful relationships based on honesty, truth, and having nothing to do with physical appearance. Relationships which will grow as you and your partner, or partners, share, or don't share, things you have, or don't have, in common. You will learn how to have every other sentence include the words 'special' or 'meaningful relationship'. Xaphod: If he says "meaningful relationship" once more I'll have to pray to the porcelain buddha. Rod: Sickening, isn't it. Dirk: Right, enough of this. Wait here and we'll start programming you for meaningful relationships. (Xaphod bends over a nearby table and vomits, the 12" CRT on his shoulder starts scrolling "Uuuggghhh") Gillian: What did you mean about "programming" us? Dirk: We'll have to make you compatible with the environment and take away all your inhibitions when discussing your personal life on the Net. You'll be subjected to countless sessions watching repeats of "The Dating Game", "The Newlywed Game", and "Celebrity Wife Swapping". And that's only Stage 1! [The "Hitch Hikers Guide to the Net" points out that the three old Earth TV shows just mentioned were actually the basis for a huge inter-conglomerate stock monopolizing scheme started by The Phone Company. The questions asked on these shows were actually coded messages issued by The Phone Company to the conglomerates it was working with. These messages told the associated conglomerates about which stocks to buy based on information gained by The Phone Company by listening in on the phones of important companies. The client corporations paid The Phone Company 1 million dollars for each such message. The seemingly idiotic contestants were, more often than not, government agents trying to break The Phone Company's code. Chuck Barris, the originator of the shows, was later found to be a financial genius, rivaled only by Howard Hughes.] Rod: We gotta get put of here! Xaphod: Yah. Rod: You know what really gets Singularans put off? Rudeness and crudeness! Arnold Lint: What? Rod: Rudeness, if we act real crude and rude, they'll beg us to leave! Xaphod: Great, let's try it! (Dirk returns with three gorgeous women and one well built female model android.) Rod: (To the first girl) Wow, look at that pair! Xaphod: (To the second girl) That's a lovely grab! Rod: (To the third girl) OK love, drop 'em! Martin: (To the female android) I wave my private parts toward approximate vector coordinates. Gillian: (To Dirk) Say Dirk, if you get some Saran-Wrap and chicken wire, I'll get the honey and the plunger. Dirk: Get out of here you disgusting filthly maladjusted perverts! (The three women and one android exit with great haste. The crew of the Infinity is beamed back to their node.) Dirk: Good riddance. Put on the flip side of "Feelings" and pass the cheese dip. It's their loss, for only we know what true meaningful relationships are. Only we know the feeling of wholeness that comes from showing, or not showing, what one feels, or doesn't feel, with someone special we care about. We aren't hung up on physical things, we are spiritualists. At least, that's what we tell everyone else. Xaphod: Right, now on to Netrothea, nothing can stop us now. End Of Part 3 Will the crew of the Infinity reach Netrothea, or will Nothing stop them? For the answers to this, and other useless questions ... tune in next time ... same Net-time ... same Net-channel. Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net Episode 4 - E.C. (The Extra Commercial) (Arnold Lint and the crew of the Infinity are on their way to Netrothea. They have successfully escaped both the Flamers and the Singles.) Xaphod: How much longer till we reach Netrothea? Martin: Too soon. Rod: Quiet! Gillian: I can't wait to get there! Arnold Lint: I'm just glad we're still in one piece. Martin: It doesn't take much to make you happy, does it? (All of a sudden, a blinding light fills the bridge of the Infinity. When the light fades, a small, sickeningly adorable creature is revealed. He is wearing a cap which says "I'm cute, buy me!") Gillian: What's that? Xaphod: That's E.C. - the Extra Commercial! Arnold Lint: The what? Rod: The Extra Commercial. The most commercialized being since Santa Claus! ["The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Net" lists Santa Claus as a being from Pluto who suffered severe brain damage when his space ship crashed on Earth. Every year the silly old twit tries to fly an old sleigh and a flock of equally stupid reindeer back to Pluto. Unfortunately, his reverse gravity modulator is not 100 percent so he never quite gets out of Earth's orbit. This is just as well as the jerk lost all his deep space gear. Many people on Earth have mistaken the boxes of Kentucky Fried Chicken he carries on his unlikely space craft (as rations for the trip to Pluto) for presents to be distributed to children. In actuality, the only reason Fred Glarn (his real name) ever climbs down chimneys is because he is totally wasted on Selurian Brandy and he is merely looking for a likely spot to sleep it off. (Why else would his nose always be red?).] Xaphod: I've never met E.C. before, I always though he was just some massive advertising ploy. Gillian: (To E.C.) Hello, I'm Gillian. E.C.: (In a heavy New York - Jewish accent) Oy vey, vhat a trip. Say goylie, you're cute. Xaphod: Huh? E.C.: Don't call me E.C., it's a meshugina name. My real name is Phil Moskowitz. Arnold Lint: Phil Moskowitz? Phil: Yes!, Vhat did you expect - Ricardo Montalban? Rod: You're the Extra Commercial? Phil: Don't laugh, my brother Saul owns Jordache Jeans! ["The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Net" states that the Jordache Jeans Company was actually a very clever marketing ploy by the makers of Preparation H. It was their intention to boost the sales of their rectal paraphernalia by inducing Americans to stuff their gludius maximus into overly confined garments. The ploy did not succeed.] Gillian: What are you doing here? Phil: I'm on my vay to the Net Christmas Special. This year it's being hosted by Johnny Arson and Bud McMolson. Vhen you're a purely commercial item like me, you have to travel a lot. Xaphod: But you're Jewish, what are you doing on a Christmas special? Phil: Believe me, it vasn't my idea. Some people out there actually think I'm Christ reborn. I knew a kid in Brooklyn name Jesus Martinez, but that's as close as I ever got. Anyvay, I'm hot right now in the market, so I go on any show they can get me on. Arnold Lint: That's unbelievable! How'd you get started in the business? Phil: Vell, I tell ya'. One day I'm sitting there, eating a lox on rye, and some movie man comes up to me and says: "I'm gonna make you are star". Next thing I know I'm in some nutso movie vith a bunch of little kids. I hate little kids. No sooner does the movie hit the screens than there are E.C. video games, clothing, silverware, contraceptives, books, posters, and kinky undergarments. You name it and I was on it. Then came the TV shows and all the publicity events - I actually cut the ribbon on the Jimmy Carter Memorial Brothel and Pro Shop! Then I had to appear at the opening of "Nukes are Us" - a store for budding nuclear powers. Xaphod: Wow, that's wild. Phil: Vell, I gotta run. Gillian: Bye! (The bright light once again fills the bridge, it fades and E.C. is gone.) Arnold Lint: That was incredible! Martin: If you say so! Rod: Quiet! Xaphod: Well, we're here ... Netrothea! Martin: Oh joy and yummies. End Of Part 4 What will Arnold Lint and the crew of the Infinity find on Netrothea? For the answer to this spine-tingling question ... tune in next time ... same Net-time ... same Net-channel. Also, be sure not to miss the BIG NET CHRISTMAS SPECIAL starring Johnny Arson, Bud McMolson, Richard Nixon, Barry Manilow, Richard Simmons, and Teddy the Wonder Lizard. Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net Episode 5 - Netrothea (The Infinity is about to land on Netrothea. It is here that Xaphod hopes to find a wealth of data to sell back to the Net for immense profits.) Rod: Okay Martin, let's land. Martin: Do we have to? Xaphod: Yes! Martin: Very well. Gillian: Cheer up Martin, maybe you'll meet a nice lady android. Wouldn't that be nice? Martin: Not really. Arnold Lint: How 'bout a nice male android? Martin: That's right more abuse, aren't things bad enough already? Besides, how can an android be homosexual? Come to think of it, we can't be heterosexual either! How dreadful. Rod: Quiet, we've landed. Xaphod: How fantastic! Gillian: How wonderful. Martin: How awful. All: Oh shut up! Xaphod: Right, lets go! (The door to the Infinity opens to reveal the landscape of Netrothea. It is indeed a strange landscape. The ground has the consistency of a partially frozen waterbed covered with rich Corinthian leather. Flames spring forth from the soil in primordial splendor, displaying brilliant patterns of red and green. Off in the distance, great orange hills reflect the light of the purple sun. Polka-dotted polygram clouds move swiftly in uneven patterns across the blue and grey striped sky. The hills seemed to have been polished by the winds of time into huge reflective mounds which make light dance on the valleys below. Great forests of trees are off to the right. The trees are only 4 feet tall, but 20 feet wide. Stainless steel leaves hang from their bubble gum branches as pink and black steam spews from their exposed roots. The air stings with the scent of stale oysters and rotting, 3 day old, MacDougals BigMuck's. There is still no sign of civilization. The 12" CRT on Xaphod's shoulder starts up: "This is David Halfmind. Tomorrow on 'Good Morning Idiots', we'll discuss herpes, the death penalty, and aerobics at the office. We'll also be talking with Yassir Arrafat about fashions for hot climates . In addition, we'll have some wonderful holiday recipes from the Ayatollah Khomieni. Also, don't miss our special feature, 'A trip to the Police Morgue', which we'll show right after the weather report."] Gillian: Ugh, how awful. Martin: That's what I keep telling you. Xaphod: Wow, what a great place for a vacation. Arnold Lint: Yah, if you enjoy misery. ["The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Net" lists Netrothea as being in the top 10 places frequented by masochists. The wretched climate and unfriendly people (who used to inhabit the place) made Netrothea about as much fun as a spinal tap performed with a boat hook. Netrothea's popularity waned as more and more places of vastly inferior quality were either discovered or created. When these new, modern, haunts-for-the-very-sick hit the market, old establishments (like Netrothea) were doomed. The Netrothean government tried to boost tourist trade by offering 'Club Mud' vacations to Netrothea's famous 'Bile Bog', but it was to no avail.] Martin: I can't even enjoy misery, I hate this place too. Rod: Quiet! Xaphod: Let's go over there. (Arnold Lint and crew make their way around the 20 foot wide trees, past the 40 foot tall monolith, under the stop watch draped over the towel rack, and over the 10 foot diameter pimple. They finally arrive at a door set into the ground. A stuffed penguin stands by the door, on it's head is a button labeled "Ring for Verbal Abuse". Etched into the door are the words: "X = 101010 Copyrighted by Deep Thought, so bug off".) Arnold Lint: One-Zero-One-Zero-One-Zero? What does it mean? Xaphod: I don't know? Gillian: Should we press the button? Rod: Might as well. Xaphod: (Trying to open the door) Yah, the door's locked anyway. Arnold, why don't YOU press the button. Arnold Lint: Thank you very much, I think not. Martin: All right, I'll do it. (Martin presses the button, the door flies open, and a man pops out to great the Infinity crew. He is dressed in a business suit and sports a "Stupidity is its own reward" button on his jacket.) Man: Well, what do you want you smelly, squirming insignificant vermin? Rod: We wanted to get in the door . . . who are you? Man: Oh, I'm Flarg Brittashik, awfully nice to meet you. Xaphod: (Confused) You're names' what? Flarg: FLARG BRITTASHIK, what are deaf as well as stupid? What a bunch of mindless, horrific oafs! Arnold Lint: Look you, just let us in the door and then push off!! Flarg: Why didn't you say so, follow me. (Flarg descends down the stairs, the rest follow. The stairs form a spiral, with a half-gainer twist, descending at an incredible rate to the interior of Netrothea. The stairway is lit by the glow from halibut fished out of the sea around the nearby nuclear power plant.) Rod: Where are we going? Flarg: WHERE ARE WE GOING?! What a perfectly stupid question. We're obviously going down you sickening, malodorous pervert! Gillian: Do you realize that you're insulting us, and then the next moment being polite to us? Flarg: Oh, am I? I hadn't noticed. Rod: Well it's bloody annoying, mate. Flarg: Well, tough rocko's if I do, you wiper of other people's behinds! [The act of wiping other peoples behinds, according to "The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Net", was once considered a quite honorable profession in certain areas of the Net. In fact, many of the old regimes went so far as to have Royal Behind Wipers (or RBW's for those readers used to TLA's - three letter acronyms) whose sole task it was to walk around behind his or her appointed monarch with toilet paper in hand and perform the specified duty. Although this may seem an unpopular job, the pay was quite good. As such, positions as Royal 'Pooper Scoopers' were often granted based on tournaments. These tournaments resembled the Earth's olympics except for two facets. First, all events (actually, they only lasted for one event) were fought to the death. And second, any event thought up had to involve the creative use of human excrement. ] Martin: You know, I would have thought any place as awful as this might have been amusing to me. But it's just as bad as the rest of the Net. Good thing I'm just an android and don't have to ponder the reasons why the Net is as it is. I can just be content knowing that it can only get worse. Xaphod: One more word out of you, and I'll go at your memory banks with a chain saw!!! End Of Part 5 What will Arnold Lint and the crew of the Infinity find in Netrothea? Will Flarg Brittashik insult them to distraction? Or are they already distracted? Will Xaphod end up doing a lumber jack-job on Martin's memory banks? In the off chance of being told the answers to these, and other, ad-libed questions ... tune in next time ... same Net-time ... same Net-channel. Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net Episode 6 (Flarg Brittashik is leading the crew of the Infinity down the contorted stairway toward the interior of Netrothea.) Martin: What an awful place, why do we bother to go on? Xaphod: Quiet! Flarg: Actually, he's right. One of the things we Netrotheans proved was that the Net does not actually exist. It therefore follows that nothing we do really matters at all. Arnold Lint: What? Flarg: Is that all you can say you mindless, facial emation! Rod: What do you mean "we don't exist"? Flarg: Well, first we approached the problem assuming that we were a unique Net. There is none other like us in the entire domain of space, right? Rod: Right... Flarg: Well, if we are alone, how do we know we are? Without another Net to tell us we are, we may not be. We could just be the figments of our imaginations. How do you KNOW that that cat over there does in fact have 5 legs? You see it, but what's to say that it is actually there. Do you follow? [What Flarg Brittashik was pointing out was the famed five-legged cat of Felix Major. The "The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net" indicates that the myth of the five-legged cat was actually the result of the heavy drinking done on Felix Major. You see, the female of the species on Felix Major is covered with a blue slime which eventually dissolves her mate if contact is maintained for too long. Because of this, the men on Felix Major spend a lot of time in bars discussing the differences between being Kosher and being a Cannibal. They tend to drink an awful lot while discussing this topic. In their usually intoxicated state, it is not difficult to mistake a cat for having a fifth leg if viewed side ways (or as having one eye if viewed from the rear). The "The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net" also points out that the favorite drink on Felix Major is called the 'Intesto-rout'. It is mixed as follows: Mix equal parts of gin, whiskey, rye, vodka, rum, bourbon, and brandy. Add a cup of beer that has been left in a gym locker for 3 days. To this add 5 Ex-Lax pills, 1 Valium, 2 No-Doz, and half a lid of grass. Mix it well in a Hamilton Blech mixer. Now add a rotten egg, a decaying guppy, the spleen of 10 freshly killed frogs, and about a fist full of goat brains. Again mix it all up. To add a bit of zip to the mixture, add some Drain-O. Now put the whole mixture under a dead horse for 37 hours. After it has aged, filter it through the right kidney of a rabid llama and serve it in a slightly soiled bed pan with an olive. Felix Major, quite obviously developed quite a drunk driving problem. The solution arrived at was simple and logical. They simply ground up offenders and added them to 'Intest-rout's. Rumor has it that this extra ingredient gave the drink the full bodied taste it had always been lacking.] Arnold Lint: It's the old "Does a falling tree make a sound if there's no one there to hear" story, right? Flarg: Ooo! 'The falling tree makes no noise!' Aren't we the smart-behinded little cretins! Xaphod: No, you idiot! It means ... uh ... Flarg: Actually, he's quite correct. We were not happy with finding out that we may be alone, so we then assumed that there was the possibility for an infinite number of varied Nets. Gillian: How nice. Flarg: Yes, well, it now became apparent that our one little Net was entirely insignificant in the scope of things in general. Mathematically, our percentage of existence amounted to 1 over infinity, which is too small to even consider. Worse yet, since no other Net has ever contacted us, we may REALLY not exist after all. We could REALLY be mirages of the cosmic mind. Xaphod: Wow, that's heavy! Flarg: Quiet, you drugged out excuse to evacuate my stomach on the table! Rod: Go on already! Flarg: Well, after taking many heavy drugs, we finally arrived at a solid decision. Gillian: What was it? Flarg: We agreed that our existence was so insignificant that anything we did really wouldn't matter. Hence our national slogan changed to "Who Cares". After all, in light of everything I've revealed to you, it must be perfectly obvious that it just doesn't matter what you do or say on the Net. Arnold Lint: Boy, I hope the rest of the Net doesn't hear that. Flarg: Oh, they did. That's why they attacked us and wiped out most of Netrothea. They just couldn't accept that all the fuss they were making really didn't amount to a damn thing. ["The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net" points out that the Netrotheans were somewhat renowned for exploding the faiths of others. Prior to their non-existence fetish, they published a series of treatises titled: "Who is this guy God anyway?", "Everything you always wanted to know about the benevolent Lord, but were afraid to ask.", and "Well, that's it for God." The Netrotheans had no fears of being wiped out for their bizarre views. They believed that since what we call 'death' is theoretically infinite, and what we call 'life' is so finite and miserable (what with everybody wearing digital watches and coveting thy neighbor's bits of green-dyed, processed plant matter), we must surely have gotten things backwards. They therefore had no problems dealing with the after-life.] Xaphod: Wow, that's wild! Flarg: Now if you really want to blow your mind, consider this: If the Net doesn't really exist, do we exist? If we exist, what is the point of our existence? What is the medium of our communication if there really is no Net? What does it all mean? Arnold Lint: I don't know? Rod: That's obvious. Martin: I'm kind of relieved that nothing really exists. It's sort of reassuring to know that all the misery I've endured on the Net really doesn't affect anything anyway. Gillian: Quiet Martin. Don't you know what this all means! It means that the constant day to day struggle to keep up with the Net is all pointless. Posting news is futile, reading news is futile, thinking about news is futile - because wherever the news came from or goes to, whatever thought up the news - none of it exists - and neither do we! Rod: Yah, just think. We may have been posting news to a void! Xaphod: Wait a minute! We get replies to our news! Flarg: We thought of that too. But consider the odds against our actual existence. They could be considered random at best. The odds of other beings also existing comes down to the same random probability. It follows that any communication would have to be a random coincidence. Now, consider that the only communication we see is simply processed electrical impulses. Consider the quantity and speed of the impulses. The odds against them coming together in a logical combination are astronomically bad. It follows, then, that what we mistake for communication with other beings (which don't exist either) are simply galactic burps in our faces, if we existed. Xaphod: Wow! Flarg: Well, you wastes of space, I've got to go and kick my dog through a hedge. (With that Flarg disappears in a burst of purple smoke. When the smoke clears, only a can of "Putrina Rat Chow" remains.) End Of Part 6 What other fantastic things (which don't exist) will be revealed on Netrothea (which also doesn't exist). To find out ... tune in next time (a bizarre concept, time) ... same Net-time ... same Net-channel. Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net Episode 7 (Xaphod, Gillian, Rod, Martin, and Arnold Lint continue their descent into the heart of Netrothea. Flarg Brittashik has vanished leaving only a tin of Putrina Rat Chow in his stead.) Xaphod: Wow, that was far out! Martin: If you say so. (All of a sudden, the 12" CRT on Xaphod's shoulder starts up ... Star Wars type music kicks in ... Once upon a time, in a Net far, far away, a band of steadfast hackers are fighting a gallant fight. Vast swarms of nauseatingly repetitious messages are swamping their news. They must retaliate. This is their story ... This is Zar Wars ... All the nodes beginning with the letter Z have banded together, they are tired of always being last because the Net does everything alphabetically. They decide to stage a bold attack and make their presence known! to this end they devised a cunning scheme to echo their news articles across the known Net several multiple times each posting. In this way, they would be assured the attention they feel they deserve. Net.landers are at this moment preparing for a counterattack. They are preparing massive Photocomplaint rays, Gargantugripe bombs, and the ever deadly Superplasmicautor- everberatingmegamoleculozapperdingledangledonglehyperintensified- newandimprovedtimewarping complaint field generators. The last device is one of the most feared (and hardest to pronounce) in the known Net. Its power is so incredible that grown men have been known to pull out their own livers rather than be subjected to its awesome force.) Rod: Turn that off! Xaphod: (Doing so) Yah, what a drag. Arnold Lint: Well, what do we do now. Gillian: I guess we keep going. Martin: Do we have to? All: Yes! Arnold Lint: Sure could go for a cup of tea. Xaphod: (Mumbling to himself) Stupid git! Martin: Do you people really think this is necessary? Why can't you be satisfied with things as they are? Must you always try to change them - things can only get worse. Xaphod: Look you morose metal moron, we're going on so shut up. Look upon this as an adventure into a whole new life. Martin: Oh no, not another. (The stairwell they are on leads into a huge room. So huge that it defies commentary, only to say that it is, in fact, bloody huge. Off in the distance there is a faint light. Arnold Lint and company head for it. Two weeks later they arrive. The light is being emitted from a strange kind of TTY. There is a plaque nearby which reads: "For the answer to Life, the Net and Everything, type in 'Help'. For dirty books or leather goods, ring bell for service. The Inter-Net Megamind Exchange and Novelty Shoppe thanks you for your patronage of our establishment".) Arnold Lint: Wow, the answer to Life, the Net, and Everything! Xaphod: Who cares, lets get at the dirty books! Rod: Yah! I wonder if they have "Advanced Necrophilia for Scientists and Engineers" or "Yes, you can be a Toad-Sexer"? Arnold Lint: Dirty books, way out here? Xaphod: Of course, depravity is the universal language. Pornographic material is generally considered legal tender anywhere in the Net. I once lived for a whole year on Carnolea, just on trading my old "Gland" magazines and lubricants for supplies. Gillian: (Disgusted by the antics of Rod and Xaphod) Let's see the answer already - boy what sicko's. Xaphod: OK, but then can we get some dirty books. (Xaphod types in 'HELP' to the keyboard. Strange hummings and buzzings start to emanate from the TTY. The cryptic characters "101010" appear on the screen.) ["The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net" points out that the number 42, when viewed in it's binary representation is in fact, quite revealing. There are many theories for what it actually means. The adult magazine "Spurt" suggests that it is the perfect pattern for an orgy, three males and three females being the supposed ideal. The actual shape of the characters of '101010' seem to bear this out. Also the fact that it does go 'boy-girl-boy ... ' also helps. The religious magazine 'Modern Moral Majority' (MMM) suggests that it is in fact a message from God. The pattern indicates that two of the same sex shall not have intercourse. The fact that there are equal numbers of both male and female indicates that monogamous relationships are the thing to do. Also the fact that, when read, left to right, the man always comes first, really gave them an edge on the ERA (who really didn't listen anyway). Most other people simply wondered why everyone thought the binary sequence had anything at all to do with sex.] Rod: That's it? Xaphod: Apparently. Gillian: There must be more than just 42. Martin: I certainly hope not. Xaphod: Well, let's try to get some more info! (Xaphod once again starts typing at the TTY. Characters flash and buzzers buzz. The TTY finally gives up, it types out: "All right already, if you really want the answers, take the service elevator to the 127,366,247th floor, then follow the green line till it meets the blue line till it meets the orange line till it becomes the slightly off white line. Then climb out the window, jump off and ask for Ralph. He'll tell you the whole story. Now push off, I've had a bad day. (To itself now) Where did I put those Valliums. Crap, I need a drink ... ") Xaphod: Oh well, what do we have to lose. Martin: Not much really, just our lives. Of course, my life means so little already, I doubt I'd mind if it were lost. Rod: Quiet. End Of Part 7 What is the actual answer to Life, the Net, and Everything? Will Arnold Lint get his tea? Will Xaphod get his dirty book? Will the net sponsor a Pot-Luck-Orgy? For the answers to these and many other pointless questions ... tune in next time ... same Net-time ... same Net-channel. Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net Episode 8 - The Flamers Return (The crew of the Infinity are proceeding to where the TTY directed them. A place where they would find out more about the answer to Life, the Net, and Everything.) Arnold Lint: This is sure a long trip. Martin: Why even bother to travel through the Net. All that happens is that you are bombarded with countless meaningless messages from Singularans about how they feel, and how they feel they should feel, and how others feel they should feel. You just get over that and some droning Flamer gets on about how drunk drivers should be allowed to retain their licenses only if they have oral sex with a diseased Yak, and they go on, and on, and on, not even realizing that no one is really paying attention. Just when you finally get up nerve to post something, some jello-brained fanatic gets on your case about how you should spell things correctly and "we always do things proper where I work", and then someone else gets on trying to correlate the right to spell terribly with the constitution. And you never know how people will take things, either they're offended when they shouldn't be, or they take insults as just good conversation. And if you try to keep personalities out of what you post, some half wit from a fabled crappy state on the eastern sea-board comes along and starts getting personal with the insults, not realizing what he is really getting into. And then some emaciated loony starts posting 150 line complaints about people posting 150 line articles, which they don't have to read anyway, but feel obliged to comment on simply because their minute egos need the boost of ragging on someone they've never met. And then some deranged cat-molester starts some boring discussion about the role of contraception in the development of the ball point pen, which goes on, and on, and you find that before long your 'n' key has lost the printing on it from over use. And then people start sending endless messages about stopping the endless messages of the ongoing debate. And then your brain bursts from frustration and even if you try to contribute something worthwhile to the Net, someone's always getting his rear out of joint about something ... Xaphod: Will you shut the @#$% up! Martin: Sure, why not, you weren't really interested anyway. Rod: You're bloody right about that. (All of a sudden, the hall they are travelling darkens. Twenty-two Flamers beam into view. They are noticably ticked off.) Commander: Look you, we told you to take your mindless drivel off the Net. Number 1: Yah! Number 2: Yah! Rod: Yah! ... yah, yah, yah. Xaphod: Since when. Commander: Well, it was in a different time, we boarded your vessel, acted like the mindless, malodorous, sodomistic necrophiles that we are, did a lot of shouting, and told you to forever leave the Net. Xaphod: Oh yeah, you must be the Flamers from Kekraphoon, you're the ones with the delusions of representing the consciousness of the Net. Rod: What a pack of twits, don't you know that the HHGttN has received almost overwhelming support from all over Netland? Number 1: We'll have to blast you. Xaphod: You had your chance torch-head. You should have spoken up when we started. But now we have a loyal following. Number 2: But you are taking up valuable space. Rod: You must be kidding, with the vast quantities of stuff that are considerably longer than HHGttN that go out on the Net, and ignored totally, you have the narrow mindedness to use such a worn out argument. Commander: What do you expect! Gillian: Haven't you noticed people asking for missed episodes? Number 1: Well ... we choose to ignore that. Commander: Now hold it, we want you OFF. You're upsetting the balance. Time was when we Flamers had the run of the Net. Those were the good old days, pouncing on innocent people posting messages for no reason at all. People cowering in their offices, wondering if we would cut them to ribbons for spelling errors. Now you've ruined it. We just can't deal with ... satire (Dinsdale?). Our weak attempts to counterattack fade quickly. No, you've got to GO, so we can retain our purity of essence and have no contamination of our precious bodily fluids. Xaphod: PUSH OFF you stiff! You aren't the bloody consciousness of the Net, you aren't even conscious. If you don't like the stuff, nobody is forcing you to read it. What are you, one of those Moral Majority types. Yah, that's it, you don't like what people say, so you try to make sure that nobody hears it. That's censorship, mate. Just because you don't appreciate or understand something, doesn't make everyone who does wrong. Commander: Uh, uh ... Rod: Why don't we start throwing insults at the guy who sent the Flamers. We could kick around his childhood and stuff like that. Xaphod: No, let's not go down to that level. Gillian: Yah, let's keep our values. [The editors of "The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net" point out that every attempt is made NOT to name names or point fingers. The HHGttN is a compendium of commentary intended to help understand what goes on in Netland, a place often billed as a "wheatfield of mental disorders". The editors also point out that all episodes are intended purely in the spirit of comedic-satire. Any insults to any individual's religion, political views, or anything like that is either purely accidental, or definitely intentional. The HHGttN complaints department is open at all hours, but has so far only received one (well intended) complaint, which was kindly accepted and acknowledged to the sender. The editors remind all Netlanders that there is no evil spell forcing them to read HHGttN (even though it makes perfectly good sense to do so)!!! ] (In a fit of frustration, the Flamers depart, muttering something about "We shall return".) Arnold Lint: Well, that was exciting. Xaphod: Now let's get going and find the answer. Rod: Yah, and the dirty books. Gillian: (Looking at a huge mural on what could be considered the wall) Look over there, it looks like a whole new Net! Martin: Oh no, not another. End Of Part 8 Will the crew of the Infinity ever find the answer, or will they get interrupted again, to find out ... tune in next time ... same Net-time ... same Net-channel. Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net Episode 9 .-----------. ! _ _ ! .-! /* *\ !-. \! O !/ ! ! ! .-----. ! ! ' ` ! `-----------' !! !! Martin (The crew of the Infinity is continuing on their way to find the explanation to Life, the Net, and Everything. It is an unbelievably long trip. It is also notably nasty as Martin insists on droning on and on about what a waste of time it all is and how it will probably be quite depressing once the destination is reached and so on. Off in the distance, they hear pounding type noises. The sounds appear to be getting closer.) Gillian: What do you think it is? Arnold Lint: I don't know. Xaphod: Maybe it's some new and amazingly interesting people. Martin: I hope not. Rod: It's definitely getting closer, let's duck out of sight just to be safe. (Rod and company duck behind a nearby paperweight. The pounding sounds can now be identified as the sounds of people running. Mixed in is a metallic clinking sound and various shouts and yells. As the sound gets closer, Arnold discerns that there is also a splatting type of sound mixed in.) Arnold Lint: What is that? Xaphod: Could be a Rigelian Megapede. Rod: Or a Richard Simmons show. (The source of the sound now comes into view. The first thing seen is a group of seven joggers, of various ages, sexes, and creeds, running for all they are worth. Close on their heels are two blokes in a Land Rover, they each wield a large club and a large can of beer. They are, in fact, none other than Australian Joggering champions Bruce Karnage and Bruce Bludletter.) Bruce: Here Bruce, get closer and I'll get another. Bruce: Right Bruce. Bruce: Naw, closer, Bruce. Bruce: Pass me a beer, Bruce. Bruce: Right Bruce. (The Land Rover approaches the slowest jogger and Bruce pockets him in the corner with a polo-like shot to the head, causing little bits of brain to spurt out his ears.) Bruce: That was lovely, Bruce! Bruce: Thank you, Bruce. (The joggers and the joggerers depart, the racket follows them, as well it should.) Rod: That was great, what a shot. Arnold Lint: That was awful, how vicious and cruel. Martin: I don't know, I almost enjoyed it. Gillian: What do they call that. Xaphod: That's joggering, lovely sport. Rod: Let's go already. Arnold Lint: What a savage Net we live in. ["The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net" indicates that one of the most savage races in the known Net are the Incindarans. These types make the normal Flamers look like choir boys. These types liked to censor shows like "8 is Enough" due to it's immoral plot lines. They even went so far as to publish 'G' rated versions of the Old, New, and Video Testaments (blessed be the Holy Box). Legend has it that their system was kept off the Net for a long period of time. Their system lords felt that this would be best in light of the tendencies of those in the system. Things got so bad in Incindara that the system lords decided they better find someone else to fight before they wiped themselves out. So the Incindaran system was let onto the Net. They were so busy fighting amongst each other that nobody noticed the portal to the Net. An errant message found its way to Incindara which made them all realize that they were not alone. They selected their most learned scholar, Clyd Noeitall, to investigate the wondrous Net. It was the first time Incindara had taken enough time out from fighting to do anything. It was indeed a great day. He and his colleagues than set out and talked with the Net for the first time. Unfortunately, they came in right in the middle of the debates over Big Mac's. Upon seeing this, Clyd turned to his colleague and said: "No, it's all got to go". Following this they began to systematically torch almost every place in the Net. A long war followed in which the Incindarans lost badly. The Net, being a bit ticked off, decided on a punishment that suited the crime. They took away all the 'n' keys on every terminal in Incindara. Unfortunately, they forgot to make Incindara a read-only location, allowing the Incindarans to verbally flame. The few Incindarans who survived can still be found flaming at will about everything they read (which is everything as there are no 'n' keys). The once proud and feared Incindarans have been reduced to ranting about Burger King, drunk drivers, sterilizing non-supporters of ERA, and so on. "The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net" warns all Net travellers that when such types are encountered, the best course of action is to abort the debate, as it is probably pointless anyway.] End Of Part 9 What is the explanation of Life, the Net, and Everything? How did Bruce do? Did Bruce get his beer. Is Brooke Shields an Alien? To find out ... tune in next time ... same Net-time ... same Net-channel. Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net Episode 10 (Xaphod, Rod, Gillian, and Marvin are still on their way to find out more about Life, the Net, and Everything. From off in the distance they hear a hollow roar punctuated by gunfire. Before they have a chance to grasp the situation, a huge battle tank screeches to a halt in front of them. It is a fearsome device with great nasty teeth painted on it. The cannon looks as if it could punch a hole through a small planet. A hatch opens and a rightly uniformed man steps out, crushing a passing cat under his boot.) Cat: (splat) Rod: Wh . . . who are you? Roarin' George: I'm General Roarin' George Pahton. I heard there was some Singularans around here. Thought I'd do some American style joggering. Xaphod: Oh yeah, they went that a way. Arnold Lint: Why does everyone pick on the Singularans? They only seek meaningful personal relationships with people they find special. Roarin' George: Right, that's it, we're gonna have some order around here. No more of these damn cliches. From here on out, the following rules will apply: Anyone who uses the phrases 'special', 'personal relationship', or 'meaningful relationship' WILL be fined twenty dollars for the first offense. Subsequent offenders will have their genitalia removed with a sharp rock. Anyone who corrects the spelling of another, WILL be fined 100 dollars. I won't stand for any namby-pamby intellectuals checking spelling when there's so much to do. Anyone caught agreeing with anything an oppositely gendered personnel says in an obvious attempt to make points, WILL have both kneecaps shattered with a ball-pean hammer. Likewise, anyone saying things which are right out of soap operas with the intentions mentioned above WILL also have his (or her) kneecaps shattered with a ball-pean hammer. Remember, this is the NET, it's tough out there. Keep your emotions to yourself, do you want a bunch of commies to read that gooey crap? Why they'll think we're wimps, then they'll invade. They've started infiltrating already - ever been to one of the dating service places? They're all commies, draining away our precious bodily fluids. Now, get back to work! (With that, he climbs back into the tank and drives off, casually blowing a 4 foot hole in a nearby wall. Just then, the 12" CRT on Xaphod's shoulder springs to life. On it is a man in a white suit with a Bible in one hand and a microphone in the other. He speaks: "Friends. Why are we here today? We are here to hear the words - (Amen) - to hear the holy words from the Holy Box - (Amen). Oh blessed be the Holy Box, and it's disciples: Prophet Ronko, Prophet K-Dul, and the Prophet Popeel - (Amen Amen Amen). Yes, they lead is to immaculate spending. We here at the Church of the Divine Vision believe in Johnny and Merv and Mike. TV is the reflection of life, and life is a reflection of reality, therefore TV IS REALITY. Yes, Mrs. Olson may be a Nazi, but if you buy Foljers, you can bake just like her. And Robert Yung may have multiple personalities and a penchant for farm animals, but if you drink his coffee, you can remain calm in the midst of a nuclear explosion ... ") Rod: Shut that OFF. Xaphod: Bloody religious fanatics. Arnold Lint: What an odd religion, worshiping a TV, seems hard to believe. Martin: Not really, just another awful attempt to deal with this miserable Net. It's all a cop out. You can't understand something so you pretend that there is something else in control. It's all rubbish. Gillian: Quiet. Of course there's a supreme being. Martin: If you say so, but if God didn't already exist, he would have to be invented. Rod: It's hopeless talking to him. ["The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net" indicates that the members of the Church of the Divine Vision are basically agnostics. They prefer to believe what they see on the tube to what some half starved people wrote about over 2000 years ago. They can't meet God, but if the TV gives them trouble, they can always replace it. Their belief led to the writing of the Video Testament, which is the gospel for all believers in the Holy Box. Although it seems unlikely, the Church of the Divine Vision was supposed to have formed some amazing concepts as to how the Net exists.] Gillian: Let's go. Martin: Do we have to? (They all ignore Martin and press on. Two days later they arrive at their destination. In front of them is a rather bug-eyed looking lizard.) Xaphod: Hey man, are you the one with the dope on Life, the Net, and Everything. Lizard: Yes, I am Teddy the Wonder Lizard. I know all there is to know about Life, the Net, and Everything. Rod: Well, tell us! Gillian: Please do! Teddy: You won't like it. Martin: (sarcastically) Now that's a real surprise. Teddy: Are you sure you want to know? Arnold Lint: Yes, what is it, got to more than forty-bloody-two. Teddy: Yes, that was the answer we told the Net. We figured that the real answer was so awful, they'd rather get something vague and argue about it forever. Xaphod: Well, out with it. Teddy: It's all here, in the Video Testament! (He hands Xaphod an old looking book, pops about a dozen valiums, and then switches on a nearby TV set. He is watching 'Real People'.) Xaphod: Well, that should finish him off. Arnold Lint: The drugs? Rod: No, 'Real People', lowers the IQ so much that the brain just packs it in and you die. Gillian: Find the answer already! Xaphod: Okay, now lets see . . . End Of Part 10 What is the answer to Life, the Net, and Everything? Why are we here? Are we here? And why is it that vampires never attack Jewish neighborhoods? For the answers to some of these questions ... tune in next time ... same Net-time ... same Net-channel. Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net Episode 11 - Life, The Net, and Everything Part 1 (Xaphod, Rod, Gillian, and Arnold Lint have just received the 'Video Testament' - a scripture said to contain the answer to Life, the Net, and Everything.) Rod: Well, go on, read it. Arnold Lint: Do you think we should? Xaphod: Yah, why not. Martin: I can think of a few reasons. Gillian: Quiet, we're going to find out what it all means. Aren't you the least bit excited? Martin: (droning sarcastically) Oh yes, I can hardly contain myself. Xaphod: Never mind him, lets read this amazingly amazing book. (They open the book and it speaks to them.) Book: Hark, who goest there. Rod: Uh, who are you? Book: I ... am the Video Testament. The compendium of all knowledge and smart stuff from the mythical age of Kubla Konthemasus. You may call me ... Ralph. ["The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net" has this to say about the mythical ruler Kubla Konthemasus: He was reported to be from Austria or Germany. He was supposed to be short and have a funny little mustache. He was supposed to have died in 1945 and then be reborn in Argentina. His followers looked upon him as a sort of Messiah, who would lead them to the land of Silk and Money. All of this is, of course, purely hypothetical; as were Konthemasus' friends Herman (Hermie) McGoering, and Crazy Joe Stalinson.] Xaphod: Ralph? Ralph: Well, what do you expect? Rod: Well, not Ralph. Gillian:Can you tell us ... Ralph: The answer to Life, the Net, and Everything. Gillian: ... why yes. Arnold Lint: That's amazing. Xaphod: To you it would be. Rod: Tell us what it all means. Ralph: You won't like it. Martin: That's no surprise. Xaphod: Just ignore him. Ralph: Well, it all began sometime in the 1950's. A group of very wealthy and powerful men assembled in Argentina under the guidance of a man calling himself Kubla Konthemasus. This group of magnates were from various political affiliations - Nazis, Communists, Capitalists, and Urologists. They all liked money and wanted to rule the world. They also realized that TV was going to be the tool that would give them the leverage they needed. Xaphod: I don't like the way this is starting to sound. Rod: Me neither. Ralph: I warned you. Martin: You should have listened to him. Arnold Lint: Go on. Ralph: Well, they began to infiltrate the TV industry. Soon they not only owned huge percentages of each network, but had also emplaced their own people into many of the creative positions at each network. Then they began to manipulate things. They decided to cast the world in an image that they could easily control. So each little kid on TV was either predictably (and sickeningly) nice and helpful, or predictably always getting into trouble. Women were either predictably aggressive or predictably obtuse. You see, they set up patterns of behavior that they could count on. Once they could predict and control how the public would react to something, they could do whatever they wanted. Whenever they wanted to do something really tricky (like when they took over the Mid-East oil fields in the late 70's and early 80's) they made sure to get the country thinking their way before hand with a massive TV bombardment. If it was a topic that they knew nobody would go for no matter how they publicized it, they flooded the airways with those sickening human emotion type TV-movies. Things like "Plight of the Forgotten Children" or "Why is Daddy always angry?". The kind of stuff that makes you want to blow lunch. Rod: Wow, that's amazing. Xaphod: Yah. Ralph: Their greatest triumph was getting a president elected. Their plan was simple. They made sure that the east coast was for their candidate, leaving the west coast alone. Then, on election day, the TV 'predictions' claimed their candidate to be a sure winner. Due to the time difference, all the people on the west coast thought the election was over anyway and didn't even bother to vote. Xaphod: Wow, imagine getting a president elected by manipulating the media. Ralph: And guess what ... he was an actor! Gillian: What a coincidence. Rod: Yah, imagine that. Martin: Doesn't surprise me ... I expect such things from humans. Arnold Lint: But what does all this have to do with the Net? Gillian: Yah, controlling TV is great but most people in the Net are far too dedicated to their work to partake of anything as tacky as TV. We're all thoroughly dedicated professionals. (If it were possible for an android to suppress a burst of uncontrollable laughter, that is what Martin could now be described as doing.) Rod: Yah what about the Net!? Ralph: Well ... End Of Part 11 What are the interests of this Neo-Nazi-Communist-Capitalist organization in the Net? The answer will surprise you - unless you're a great stupid twit. To find out more ... tune in next time ... same Net-time ... same Net-channel. Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net Episode 12 - Life, The Net, and Everything Part 2 (Ralph, the 'Video Testament' is just about to explain Life, the Net, and Everything to the crew of the Infinity) Gillian: Tell us, what does all this neo-Nazi stuff have to do with the Net. Arnold Lint: I don't think I want to know. Martin: Me neither. Rod: Quiet. Xaphod: Go on . . . Ralph: Anyway, Kubla Konthemasus' followers were doing great. Anything they showed on TV was immediately accepted as truth. Disco became an overnight sensation, and then was phased out when the profit wasn't great enough. It was soon realized that there was a significant group of people in computer related fields who possessed considerable wealth. It was also realized that these people were not being taken in by the video blitz. Arnold Lint: Good for us! Martin: Not really, I'm afraid. Ralph: Very perceptive, robot. Konthemasus' research showed that hackers do not believe what they see or hear, unless it comes across a computer terminal. It was fast becoming apparent that computers would be vital to the power of the new regime, so it was vital that anyone who worked with computers could be controlled. Gillian: Yes, but what does that have to do with the Net? The Net is an exchange of ideas and ideals between computer professionals! (Martin starts coughing sarcastically) Ralph: Kubla Konthemasus, in a brilliant stroke, figured out a way to not only carry out an experiment in behavioral psychology on the computing professionals, but also to put into action all his findings. He created the Net. You see, there are a few key links in the Net controlled by his men. At first they tried a variety of topics and tested reactions. Then they started trying to bend the opinion of Net-landers. First by trying to get everyone to like current trends in music, then by trying to create the impression that North Dakota does not exist. Anyone who rejected the ideas they tried to push, and was fool enough to say so, was put onto a list. This list will be used to purge the society of all those who would corrupt the purity of essence of Konthemasus' new order of conformity and religious fulfillment. Xaphod: Wow, that's unbelievable. Rod: Yah, I don't think I do believe it. Arnold Lint: Me neither ... An actor in the white house? ... No North Dakota? ... Couldn't happen! Gillian:I don't know, maybe ... Ralph: Well, that's about it. I've got to go, lots to do. Rod: What could a book have to do? Ralph: About an ounce of cocaine! (With that, Ralph vanishes into thin air. The crew of the Infinity is left standing, dumb founded by what they have heard. They start to leave and come to the door. There is a moment of hesitation.) Gillian: If anyone of you open the door for me, I'll put the boot in. Arnold Lint: What's with her. Rod: She's an ERA. Arnold Lint: A what? Xaphod: ERA - An Extra Rights Activist. [According to "The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net", the Extra Rights Activists group was started by a group of women who were quite upset by their station in life. They didn't just want equality, they wanted superiority. They figured they could get all the privileges of equality with men, and yet retain all the conveniences regarded them as women. They wanted equal pay for less work, lower taxes for women, shorter work hours. After all, the fairer sex shouldn't have to work so hard, but they do deserve the same pay. They didn't want to join the army though. They felt that in some cases, where it was convenient, men could still have it all. The one thing you could do to make an ERA mad was to hold the door for her. They took it as a sign of harassment ... no one knows why. Other acts of courtesy were also mistaken as antagonizing the ERA movement. Helping an ERA with her coat was the same as telling her she smelled like bathroom at the National Food Poisoners Convention. Helping an ERA with her chair in a restaurant was tantamount to clubbing her about the head with a moldy Albatros. In response to this threat to male dominated society, the all-male anti-ERA faction MCP (Male Counter-ERA Pact) circulated a pamphlet explaining what a man could do if the woman he was with gave any indications of trying to open the door before he could open it for her. It read as follows: ** How not to hold the door for an ERA ** If the woman you are with starts to race for the door so she can open it for herself, and this upsets you, here are a few things you can do to make sure it won't happen again. * Just as she gets up to speed, trip her from behind. * When she has a large enough lead, and has the door open, stop to tie your shoe. * If there is a convenient doorway (like a men's room) nearby, wait until she isn't looking and duck in as she opens the door. * If she is holding the door, take hold of it as you enter the doorway and close it behind. Locking it is a sure-fire clue to her that you are displeased. * If there is a long corridor before the offending door, and she starts to speed up, keep pace with her. When you both hit a dead run, body check her into the wall. A well timed 'Ooops' will make it all look innocent. This is dangerous if you are with a lady roller derby player. * If you really don't care about offending her, give her a quick feel just as she turns away from you to head for the door. Of course, she may never turn her back on you again. Remember, there is nothing wrong with being courteous. But if she won't take it gracefully, make it bloody inconvenient for her to keep doing so. The ERA movement, surprisingly, took no action against the MCP. Rumor has it that they settled the debate in some non-violent manner. History notes that there followed a sudden increase in the sale of plastic drop clothes and corn oil followed by a sudden increase in births about 9 months later.] End Of Part 12 Will Arnold Lint hold the door for Gillian? Or will he become a soprano? To find out ... tune in next time ... same Net-time ... same Net-channel. Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net Episode 13 (When last we left Xaphod and company, Gillian was preparing to put the boot into the first one who held the door for her - this being an act of harassment to the Extra Rights Activists movement.) Martin: Look, I'll solve the problem. (With that, Martin blasts the door away with his built in Ultra-Zap gun.) Gillian: You shouldn't have done that Martin, blasting the door away is the same as holding it. You are threatening my rights. Rod: Forget it. Xaphod: Yah, besides, putting the boot into old Martin wouldn't accomplish anything. Martin: Well, at least I there will be no Martin Jr.'s who have to endure this miserable life. Others: Ugh. Arnold Lint: Well, what do we do now? Gillian: I guess we'll head back to the Infinity. Xaphod: Yah, I guess so, this place is getting dull. Martin: GETTING dull!? Rod: Shut up! (Xaphod and the others make their way back to the Infinity. They are just about to take off when two strange people appear on the Infinity's bridge. One of them is dressed in a business suit and is carrying a brief case with a "Jesus Saves, But Only If You Make A Deposit!" sticker on it. The other is dressed up as a Nazi SS Captain.) Rod: Who are you two? Business Man: We represent the Church of the Holy Profit and Divine Purity. We believe in the Word of Adolf. Xaphod: Do you cats have names. Nazi: Names!? I'll ask the questions here. Rod: Could you tell us about this 'Word of Adolf'. Business Man: Our faith is based on the works of Hitler. When he rose again in Argentina, it was the sign of our upcoming dominance. Gillian: But, how can you worship such a man? Nazi: Quiet, the Fuhrer was a great leader. Business Man: Actually, we realized that his goals were not that much different than those of our previous affiliation - the Pay The Lord Club. He believes that our religion is best, he believes that all others will rot in Hell. But what makes him really different is that he did what all other God-fearing evangelists only dream of doing - KILLING THE NON-BELIEVERS!!! Arnold Lint: They're crazy! ["The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net" points out that there was in fact a plot conceived in the late 1970's by Jerry Foulmouth and Oral Rectal to set up mass extermination camps under the guise of 'Religious Interface Centers'. Fortunately, The plan was never carried out as it would have interfered with the football season. Project 'Clean Slate', as it was known, was rescheduled for 1984. It was felt that the coincidence with the book of the same title would lull the masses into thinking that all the strange happenings were just the result of a few people just took a book a bit too seriously.] Xaphod: They may be crazy, but they're right. Have you ever heard those guys on TV on Sunday morning. I don't half expect them to put all the blacks and Jews up against the wall and shoot 'em. Nazi: Ah what a wonderful thought. Business Man: We would like you to join our congregation. Our scanners indicate that you could be useful additions to our 'Flock of Power'. We need people to go out into the Net and spread our beliefs. It is best when they know the Bible and can cloud our intents with a lot of biblical quotes. You'll have to brush up a bit on that stuff. Remember, you'd be better off joining us now, than serving us later. First, we will have a short prayer to our beloved Adolf ... everybody now ... Gillian: What will we do? Nazi: It's simple - pray ... or DIE. Business Man: In light of that, we would accept a LARGE donation from you. How much do you feel your lives are worth. (With that, the Nazi pulls out a WWII vintage MP40 sub-machine gun. Martin, shakes off his usual bustling disinterest and zaps the Nazi in the groin with 1000 volts. The Business man takes off and is also quickly laid to rest by Martin's electro-gun.) Xaphod: Nice shooting Martin! Rod: Yah, really 'trific. Martin: I have a cousin who's Jewish - and a sister who's black. Arnold Lint: Yah ... right. Gillian: Hard to believe a religion based on taking in money and bigotry. Must be a billion to one shot. Xaphod: Well, where shall we go now? Rod: How 'bout Micro-Ways!? Gillian: Yah! Arnold Lint: What's Micro-Ways? Martin: It's the restaurant at the end of the Net - you won't like it. End Of Part 13 What will be found at Micro-Ways? Will they have BigMacs and Whoppers? How about Egg McMuffins? To find out the menu ... tune in to the upcoming RatEotN (Restaurant at the End of the Net). Seen on many of these Net stations in a few weeks. The Restaurant at the End of the Net Episode 1 (Xaphod, Rod, Gillian, Martin, and Arnold Lint are on their way to MicroWays: The Restaurant at the End of the Net.) Arnold Lint: What's this MircoWays place like? Martin: It's awful. Xaphod: Shut up, it's a wild place. What they did was place a restaurant at the exact time in the continuum at which the Net ends. It's all very complicated, but you can dine while watching all the nodes and news groups you've come to know and despise vaporize in a great apocalyptic blaze. ["The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net" points out that the Net did actually cease due to over population. The volume of stupid and useless comments (and their associated authors) got so compressed that all activity stopped due to the immense amounts of time required to sort through this black hole of mental ineptitude. A few die hards kept on, however, in the hopes that the loyal followers would again return. Legend has it that they followed the writings of some mystical female netlander from the Valley (fershure!). This has been widely disclaimed as gnarly to the max and highly unlikely.] Rod: Yah, it's lovely! Gillian: Sounds fun. Arnold Lint: You mean the Net isn't forever? Marvin: Fortunately not. Arnold Lint: Gee, it seems kind of pointless to go to so much trouble on the Net, knowing that it all is going up in the end anyway. Marvin: Same with everything else in this seemingly endless lament we call life ... why bother. Xaphod: Quiet. (A buzzer sounds and the Infinity's sensors show a squadron of ships approaching. It's the Flamers!!) Rod: Oh heck, it's the bloody Flamers again. Don't those mindless oafs ever learn!? Xaphod: Guess not. Flamer Commander: Right, I thought we were rid of you lot. Push off or else. (The Flamer commander looks a lot like Phil Donahue.) Gillian: Ah, go intercourse a leprous elk! Arnold Lint: Don't Flamers ever stop? I though they were under control a while ago. Rod: They were, but they've started another uprising. Flamer Commander: Right, assigned topics for discussion WILL be adhered to. Anything said which sounds like it might be important WILL be ignored. Full frontal lobotomies WILL be required. Martin: I don't think he's too well. Xaphod: That's an understatement. Rod: We better get out of here before they start up. Flamer Commander: First, let's discuss the social and political effects of shirtsleeves. Should they be rolled up? Left down? Or made a felony? Suppose if every American rolled up his shirt sleeves and every Commie didn't - where would we be then? If you are interested in having an incestuous relationship with your illegitimately pregnant sister, what impact will the length of your shirtsleeves have on her opinion of you? Is the shirtsleeve a phallic symbol? How many engineers does it take to sew a shirtsleeve? Xaphod: STOP! STOP! STOP! What do you want from us? Arnold Lint: Wait, I was just getting interested. Rod: We better get ourselves out of here quick. Flamer Commander: Next, what about people who type in all lower case - does this make them homosexuals or ocelots? Gillian: Aaaarrrrgggghhh!!!! End Of Part 1 Will the crew of the Infinity once again escape the clutches of the Flamers? Or will they start to question the sexual significance of candle pin bowling? To find out ... tune in next time ... same Net-time ... same Net-channel. The Restaurant at the End of the Net Episode 2 (Arnold Lint and the crew of the Infinity are once again faced by the dreaded Flamers. The Flamers are bombarding our heroes with an infinitely pointless diatribe on the legal points of rolling up ones shirtsleeves.) Gillian: What can we do to stop this? Martin: Why bother, it's all hopeless anyway. Rod: Look you, I've had just about enough of your lip. Martin: I don't have lips, I'm afraid. My assembler must have been in a bad mood and forgot them ... ah well (sigh). Gillian: Well, we better do something!! Xaphod: We've tried everything else, why don't we try to out-stupid them? Arnold Lint: Don't you need at least a Master's in Computer Science to attempt that? Rod: Yah, but let's try anyway!! Xaphod: Right, what's the most idiotic topic we can throw at them? Gillian: Spelling mistakes in Net submissions? Xaphod: No. Rod: Profanity on the Net? Xaphod: No. I'm afraid this won't work. Arnold Lint: What will we do? Flamer: Now, let's turn our attention to the psycho-sexual ramifications of user's having to hit the 'n' key repetitively when reading Netnews. Does this form a non-compliant attitude that is reflected in the individuals sex life? If Netnews becomes too dull, will we all go sterile from the 'n-key' complex? Gillian: I can't take it. Rod: There's one last hope. If we pray to the goddess of the Net, we may be saved. Arnold Lint: The what? Martin: You really don't want to hear this. Xaphod: Quiet. The goddess of the Net - Laedeyarh-wehn-kenobi. Legend has it she is from the Valley and has amazing powers over some denizens of the Net. Arnold Lint: What kind of power? Xaphod: I don't know, but her followers even chipped in for air fare so she could sing "Let's get physical" at the Superbowl half-time. Rod: (Seeing Arnold Lint's look of disgust) Yah, a pretty sick bunch. Gillian: Well, it's worth a shot. Xaphod: Okay, when I signal you, chant 'fershure' three times. Others: Right. Xaphod: Oh Laedeyarh-wehn-kenobi, protect us from these grody-to-the-max flamers. Others: Fershure! Fershure! Fershure! Xaphod: Oh Laedeyarh-wehn-kenobi, vanquish these flamers with a totally awesome laser blast. Others: Fershure! Fershure! Fershure! (From out of nowhere a high pitched, whining voice is heard to say "Oh wow, flamers. Like, gag me with a spoon." The flamers ships then implode into nothingness. The voice then says "Far out! Like, may the force be, like, with you, you know." Arnold Lint and the Infinity crew are left standing on the bridge looking into the newly empty space before them.) Rod: That was amazing! Xaphod: That was amazingly amazing. Martin: Wasn't all that great. Arnold Lint: That has to be the most impressive display of power in the Net! ["The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Net" points out that the most impressive display of power in the Net was the result of the actual cooperation of subscribers of net.singles, net.flame, AND net.religion. According to the story, this unholy trinity was capable of twisting even the most simple of statements into states of uncomprehensibly circuitous illogic. The group went their separate ways when the net.religion group called the net.singles group immoral sexual deviants and the net.flame group blaspheming agnostics who would all burn in hell. The net.flames group fried the net.religion group, but agreed that the net.singles group were real sick. The net.singles group had an orgy.] Rod: Well, lets get going to Microways. Arnold Lint: Yah, I'm getting hungry. Gillian: I hope the food is good. Martin: I'm sure it will be awful. We'll all get food poisoning and die in convulsive fits, spitting up bits of intestine and semi-digested fruit cup. End Of Part 2 What will be on the menu at Microways? Is the roast beef purple? To find out ... tune in next time ... same Net-time ... same Net-channel. That's All Folks ;
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