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Welcome to the Site du Jour of the Day Archive for April 1998, companion site for the original e-mail version of Site du Jour of the Day. Episodes are sent out seven times a week to people around the world.

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(980401) Reverse Speech™
http://www.reversespeech.com/

David John Oates
Reverse Speech Enterprises
Bonsall, California, USA

_________________________________

The Dung Beatles - The Best Band in Oxford
http://www.earth.ox.ac.uk/~timw/dung.html

or

The Beetles - Formerly known as The Dung Beatles
http://www.earth.ox.ac.uk/~timw/Beetles.html

Tim Wright
Oxford, England

Claiming to have a trademark on the term Reverse Speech and several techniques of listening to sounds played backwards, Australian Researcher David John Oates has turned the phenomenon of backwards masking into a cottage industry. Oates maintains that human speech contains tiny messages that reveal the inner thoughts of the person saying things. There is a picture of him at this site squinting his eyes really hard with a pair of headphones on and it looks like he listening for something on his Reversing Machine™. RealAudio streams and .WAV files help prove and uncover Reverse Speech™ from President Clinton, the Sonny Bono postmortem press conference and many other examples. Several years ago listening to stuff backwards 800 times until you heard something that sounded recognizable was all the rage. I can remember taking the belt off of a turntable to find hidden messages on a phonograph record for kids by Jim and Tammy Faye Baker from the puppet show period. With a lot of trial and error I was able to find a spot that sounded like one of them saying "we love Satan" over and over again. At least that's what it sounded like at three in the morning. Several SdJotD readers have suggested the Reverse Speech™ site (gracias) so there must something to it. I have always maintained that English played backwards can sound like more English in the same way that New Age music played backwards gets you more New Age music -- for my money it's hogwash in both cases. Visit the Reverse Speech™ site and decide for yourself if there is any validity to it. The section looking at NASA's Secret Space Program and all that has been found in press conferences by listening to them backwards easily explains that the face on Mars is a carefully hidden bunker for mean creatures trying to pick a fight with us. It deserves special attention.

Backwards masking, the intentional use of reversed human speech on tape was best used by The Beatles right around the time that they came forward with the news that Paul McCartney had died. On album after album one can hear John Lennon and the new Paul experimenting with a side-effect of multi-track recording techniques. Feed the tape in backwards for one track and have some fun. As Lennon once said "the old records are there if you want to listen to them" so instead of referencing a site that carries on about how great the Beatles were and that Paul's records might still be great if he hadn't died in that car wreck, why not try something new. The boys from Oxford don't have much up about themselves at their sites but based on the events they perform at it might be safe to say that they are a cover band or at the very least, have a good sense of humor and a clever site. Speaking of New Age music played backwards, put up more info fellas and who knows, Yoko might come over "lookin' for £ove". On second thought, that might explain why they are the Artists formerly known as The Dung Beatles.  (Back to top of page)


(980402) Behind The Name — The Etymology of Names
http://www.behindthename.com/

Mike Campbell
Tofino, British Columbia, Canada

Most of us know a little about what our first names mean. Usually it's a general description without any history or reference to how the name has evolved throughout history. Some names are very old and others, like the one I heard not too long ago are much fresher. It's possible that the name "Cleeshae" will be around in a hundred years, but somehow I doubt it. Mike has done his homework here, providing several sections that go beyond the obvious including Common Elements in First Names, The Top Fifty Names and the splendid Logical Names for Twins. A unique resource where almost everyone can learn something -- particularly about themselves.  (Back to top of page)


(980403) Eric Riback's Home Page
http://www.mapville.com/riback/erichome.htm

Eric Riback
Riback & Company
Charlottesville, Virginia, USA

Eric Riback's father used to be a carnival barker and went on to a career in marketing and public relations. Rather than take after dad initially, young Eric wanted to play records for money. After all, he was an artist. Classically trained and playing Upright Acoustic Bass in Maine with an outfit that specialized in music for Contradancing events and working as a Disk Jockey until FM radio outgrew him, he now sells stuff like dear old Dad. Mr. Riback has a map business. On its own the map site (http://www.mapville.com/) is plenty interesting with pointers to other retail and trade organizations sites, but Eric Riback's Home Page has a great collection of thematic songlists that include songs about Food & Drink, Space and as out of character as it may seem -- Geography Songs! The restaurant list here will be of use to anyone traveling throughout the Eastern United States as well. These additional elements make this personal page worth seeing and if you should need a map...  (Back to top of page)


(980404) The automatic complaint-letter generator
http://www-csag.cs.uiuc.edu/individual/pakin/complaint

Scott Pakin
Urbana, Illinois, USA

Originally Site du Jour of the Day (970410)
April 10, 1997

This is to voice my dissatisfaction with Scott Pakin's values. Let me cut to the chase: Pakin's few positive contributions will continue to be overshadowed by his broader message of hate. Call me old-fashioned, but I disagree with his uncontrollable schemes. Pakin, do you feel no shame for what you've done? To be blunt, he gained ascendancy through monstrous abuse of his thralls. At first, he just wanted to have more impact on Earth's biological, geological, and chemical systems during our lifetime and our children's than all preceding human generations had together. Then, Pakin tried to pander to slaphappy jerks. Who knows what he'll do next? He whines about abusive vagabonds, yet Pakin enthusiastically supports insufferable degenerates. His little world is far from reality. Pakin, get a life! He has gone way too far with his no-compromise attitude. To put it crudely, he uses a rather shameless definition of "flocinauinihilipilification". Let me leave you with one last thought: Enough is enough.

Actually, enough isn't enough -- Something about this site must be written as it would be far too easy to just let a machine do all of the work (not to mention what it would do to that copyright notice at the end). The above paragraph was generated by Mr. Pakin's automatic complaint-letter generator and is a beautiful thing in and of itself. The concept is not unlike that behind the artificial intelligence program called Eliza which "responds" to your input in such a manner that the uninformed might think there is another human actually reading it. Be careful using this generator for anything but entertainment purposes though. It might seem like a good idea at the time, but there are better ways to let the boss know about people who waste company time reading e-mail. For instance, you could always run an automatic complaint-letter through that synthesizer software on your computer and leave voice mail for the entire management team.  (Back to top of page)


(980405) PhoneSpell
What does your phone number spell?
http://www.phoneSpell.org/

Jeremy Grodberg

Originally Site du Jour of the Day (970311)
March 11, 1997

In the early days of commercial telephone service you could only call people on the system you were wired to. You had to crank up the box in the kitchen or hall of the apartment building and ask the operator to connect your call. As the technology improved and longer cables connected towns and cities together, that same operator could connect your call to the operator in Springfield, who would then ring up Abe at his home. Odds are that every home on that party line picked up also. Once the connection was established and the individuals who were supposed to be talking were the only people on the line you could shout into the phone at each other over the static. You needed to be quick and often had to speak in codes so the enemy didn't know what you were talking about if they happened to pick up the phone. That mental image of Mr. Douglas out at Green Acres climbing the pole to place a call is only funny because it's true.

When better switching equipment came along people were assigned telephone numbers and area codes. The exchanges used were determined more often than not by city names or geographic features and even road names. To call Abe you would now dial SPR(ingfield)-1234 (or 777-1234). Mr. Douglas could be reached at PCJ-9876 (or 725-9876). Certain numbers were reserved for area codes (also known a city codes). Letters and words helped people get used to and remember the numbers they were dialing. It was discovered that you could use words other than those used for specific exchanges and many business owners soon utilized this new marketing tool. It eventually gained popularity to the point of words being used up in a given market, so the phone companies began to discourage the use of letters altogether.

Today's voice mail systems would be lost without those letters on the touch tone buttons so it looks like they are here to stay. Even the odd letters out (Q and Z) are starting to make appearances on new phones because of such systems. PhoneSpell can help you to determine what your existing phone number spells, and can even be used to enter a word to find a new number. You can then check with the phone company to see what numbers are available. A friend of mine was trying out a shareware program that did the same thing and we ran my home number through it. From that point on, whenever I use the word version of my number I rarely need to tell a person again.

PhoneSpell is a Service Mark of Jeremy Grodberg and if you use this site often enough be sure to send him a donation because it really is worth the time you save trying to make words from the phone.  (Back to top of page)


(980406) Reflections of a Budget Audiophile
http://www.optimumdc.com/chrisa/reflections.html

Christopher Argiropoulos
New York, New York, USA

Originally Site du Jour of the Day (970321)
March 21, 1997

If you have purchased a computer recently you know how difficult it can be to get the most for your money, especially if it was your first such shopping experience. When that twenty year old console stereo system finally gives up be prepared for an even bigger surprise.

The world of high fidelity audio components has changed drastically in recent years. I was personally amazed by the features available when a ten year old receiver needed to be replaced last year. Miniaturization and video integration are the two most noticeable changes followed by the Compact Disc and other digital formats.

Mr. Argiropoulos has also been through this and has written a very helpful introduction / buyers guide that anyone about to purchase audio components should read. The site is all text with the exception of a small logo, and the complete text version of Reflections of a Budget Audiophile is available as a download. The advice offered here is sound and easy to understand. The purchase of audio gear is a matter of individual taste, and one of the things that stood out at this site is the encouragement to trust your own ears. Highly recommended.  (Back to top of page)


(980407) The Marx Brothers
http://members.aol.com/marxbroths

Stefan Timphus
Düsseldorf, Germany

Originally Site du Jour of the Day (970326)
March 26, 1997

I am willing to bet that the Marx Brothers are due for a resurgence in popularity pretty soon. Merchandizing of the Three Stooges came and went, the same can be said lately for more than a handful of dead celebrities. The sudden rediscovery of Chico, Groucho, Harpo, Zeppo, and maybe even Gummo could be ignited by something as simple as another US postage stamp. It might be spawned by that horrible video technique where new and old footage is edited together, and the estate of an entertainer agrees that the dearly departed cash cow would have endorsed product X when s/he was alive, so why not now. Let's have daddy sell laundry soap!

Before this all happens and we see far too much of them, take a look at this site and the links it contains. Mr. Timphus has done a splendid job of assembling biographical information about the Marx Brothers in this text heavy site. The history of the family is here along with performance information spanning several decades and mediums. The additional links will take you to other sites containing more photographs and lots of sound files if that's your pleasure. For the best of the Marx Brothers start here.  (Back to top of page)


(980408) Project Gutenberg Mirror Site
ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/docs/books/gutenberg/index.html

(a mirror site of)
Official and Original Project Gutenberg Web Site and Home Page
http://www.promo.net/pg/index.html

Project Gutenberg Etext
Illinois Benedictine College
Lisle, Illinois, USA

Originally Site du Jour of the Day (970402)
April 2, 1997

Project Gutenberg was started by Michael Hart in 1971 with his manual entry of the US "Declaration of Independence" as partial repayment for $100,000,000 worth of free computer time. With the help of others has not stopped since. Available through this File Transfer Protocol (FTP) site are countless "Plain Vanilla ASCII" (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) versions of public domain literature.

For example, if the folks at Disney Studios have had a successful movie with a public domain title you will most likely find it here in original form (people die in the story, etc.). Works by Shakespeare, Roget, Twain and many other authors are all available as downloads from sites throughout the world mirroring the main FTP site. Because illustrations are not included in these files (although a few do have companion image archives available), and they are not in "book fashion" you may have to format what you download a little in order to fully enjoy them. It is a fair trade-off for making these documents available to as many different types of machines and people as they are.

A recommended starting point for exploring this collection would be to download one of the many Etext catalogs. Search through the listing(s) with a word processor or text editor and begin your wish list by using the old "cut and paste" method of text editing to compile the titles and file names of the Etexts you find interesting into a new text file. Download using that new list as a reference.  (Back to top of page)


(980409) www.polbox.com
http://www.polbox.com/

free.polbox.pl (Polska)
http://free.polbox.pl/

Polbox On-Line Service
Warsaw, Poland

Free e-mail accounts are a dime a dozen lately and services offering to host sites in exchange for advertising space are also galore. The popularity of these services hasn't gone unnoticed, Hotmail (http://www.hotmail.com) and Tripod (http://www.tripod.com) have both been purchased by larger companies. When Microsoft bought Hotmail they undoubtedly knew what they were doing, likewise with Lycos and Tripod. Polbox.com offers both a free e-mail addresses _and_ two megabytes of server space for any individual or company that requests them for a site. Other providers can claim the same but how many offer the possibility of a Polish address? Should you sign up for a free e-mail address at Polbox.com bear in mind that you can also use an alternate address. In that America Online will not receive mail from Polbox.com so they recommend using a different approach. The example Site du Jour of the Day address is either (sdjotd@polbox.com) or (sdjotd@free.polbox.pl). The "pl" at the end of the second address indicates Poland -- kind of neat if you ask me. (Note: SdJotD related messages should still be sent to me at sdjotd@email.com) Unlike the other free e-mail services, you will need to configure a mail client to send and receive mail, Hotmail for example uses a site that asks for user name and password. Using the instructions at Polbox.com to configure your browser's mail preferences is fairly easy using Post Office Protocol (POP3) settings. Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) include a separate mail client in the package they license to you so why not have a secondary address through a browser and keep the one you already have set up. Always note any information before you change it and write it down exactly as it appears. Losing your mail is never fun but having an address in Poland might be worth looking into. It's free so be careful with anything that you use it for. Adding the additional distance to messages doesn't seem to make Polbox.com slower. I've found it to be quicker than most other free services, probably due to less traffic and time differences between North America and Poland. Cool stuff no matter how you look at it.  (Back to top of page)


(980410) Talents and Consciences of Europe
http://talents.mcnet.ch/

Jaydie Putterman
Rosalynde Lesur
Avignon, France

Hosted by
M&C Management & Communications SA
Fribourg, Switzerland

This gallery of portraits taken by the American Photographer Jaydie Putterman looks at 111 members of Europe's Intelligentsia. Putterman, who has lived in France for the past two decades assembled this collection over the course of three years along with Rosalynde Lesur. Offering a glimpse of "the new European humanism" as they put it, many of the individuals featured might be considered the real leaders of Europe during the 20th Century. You'll find no claims in Pascal Avot's accompanying texts of "the fastest selling album in history" or "scored xx points in a single game." The closest to Pop icons here might be Mother Theresa or Peter Ustinov, both reportedly capable of wicked scissor holds in their younger days. Mostly scientists, artists, heads of state and other free thinkers, this site celebrates the people behind the true culture of modern Europe -- a group Putterman himself may very well belong in.  (Back to top of page)


(980411) From Windmills to Whirligigs
http://www.sci.mus.mn.us/sln/vollis/

Science Museum of Minnesota
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

Taking a lesson on Pneumatics and turning it into a trip to North Carolina, Karen, Natalie & Mike visited Vollis Simpson and his huge collection of windmill-powered whirligigs. This wonderful tour looks at the people and gadgets at Simpson's home, a place that could easily become a retirement home for the terminally artsy-craftsy. You'll meet Vollis and his family, the ducks and the dog, plus there's even a recipe for Dump cake. The Making Connections feature of the site is a nice touch, showing how they discovered Mr. Simpson and his creations. From Windmills to Whirligigs is targeted at older elementary school children yet entertaining enough for adults -- I spent nearly an hour here and even learned a few things without even feeling it. A unique look at science, art and social studies that shouldn't be missed.  (Back to top of page)


(980412) Heinemann Hot Topics
Rabbit Virus Spreads Unchecked
http://www.reedbooks.com.au/heinemann/hot/rabbit.html

Rigby Heinemann
Reed International Books
Woburn, Massachusetts, USA

_________________________________

Rabbit Calicivirus News
http://www.csiro.au/communication/rabbits/rabbits.htm

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - Australia
Dickson, Australian Capitol Territory, Australia

These two sites explore a major problem on the Australian continent -- namely rabbits. Introduced from England as hunting game in 1859, by 1995 it was estimated that the population had exploded to over 300 million. With no natural predators, extreme environmental damage caused by diet and burrowing led to the introduction of bio-control with rabbit calicivirus (rabbit haemorrhagic disease). The control went bad and the disease spread rather quickly, speculation has it that Australian Farmers liberated a few carcasses hoping to expedite the process. Rabbit Virus Spreads Unchecked, one of Heinemann Hot Topics contains the history of the situation. As a publisher of text books, Student activities are included along with pointers to other educational resources. Rabbit Calicivirus News from CSIR - Australia has a more scientific explanation and current news. Both sites present a fair analysis of how mankind is changing the world. Material on the Easter Bilby, the Marsupial intended to take over once Peter Cottontail hops down the Bunny Trail one last time is thin here, but may be the most interesting cultural result after all is said and done.  (Back to top of page)


(980413) eM&G
http://www.mg.co.za/mg/

The Mail&Guardian
Johannesburg, South Africa

Last week during a press conference Nelson Mandela made the remark that he sometimes misses the solitude of prison, particularly the amount of thinking he was able to do there. Historically, many great leaders were in positions allowing the time to ruminate. It is seriously doubtful that Mr. Mandela would trade his freedom at this point but he certainly did have time to reflect on things. During his incarceration he would read a South African newspaper known as The Weekly Mail. Published on Fridays, the paper was known for shaking up the establishment with investigative journalism, anti-apartheid editorial policies and coverage of music and the Arts until being all but shut down by the government. Financial troubles in 1995 were averted when The Guardian of London purchased majority ownership. This relationship started back in 1991 when the two publications were able to uncover enough corruption to force the National Party government to resume talks with the African National Congress (ANC).

Known today as The Mail&Guardian the paper is still a weekly but the Internet version, eM&G is updated three times a day and covers news in Africa, specializing in Africa south of the Equator. The 1994 launch of the electronic version was the first of its kind in Africa. Now you can read the latest news and features before most people living in and around Johannesburg can even pick up the paper. With that in mind there is no question that this version will soon outgrow the print edition as the Editors predict maybe even if the paper version goes daily.  (Back to top of page)


(980414) Around the USA in 150 Days
(Or how we toured the USA on a budget)
http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Cabana/3320/index.htm

Graham Daniell & Family
Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Around the USA in 150 Days is a brand new site. A chronicle of one man and his family and their trip to the United States. With a promise of more coming soon, the Daniells have arrived at LAX so far in the story. After spending a few hours in Hawaii without getting the obligatory Hawaiian lei, they successfully get a jar of Vegamite through Customs. This promises to be a charming tale -- many people who live in the US never get the opportunity to see the whole country, only parts of it. Here is an opportunity to read what one Australian family experienced during the five months they toured and perhaps gain a different perspective on America, Americans and possibly even a few Australians.  (Back to top of page)


(980415) Pagoo, my smart pager
http://www.pagoo.com/

Pagoo Communications, Inc.
Santa Barbara, California, USA

Dial up Internet connections can make a person extremely popular with family and friends attempting to use the telephone as a form of communication, especially when there is only one line involved on the receiving end. Many times the caller doesn't have e-mail to send messages with and a busy signal can be very frustrating. When the news is urgent it can be downright maddening. Pagoo, my smart pager is a novel solution to this dilemma. Windows 95 users can now download a free client that allows them to hear voice mail from callers who dial a special number and enter a user selected identification number (the end user's phone number is suggested). WebTV, Macintosh, Unix, OS/2 and Windows 3.x users receive an e-mail message alerting them that a voice or text message is waiting them at the Pagoo, my smart pager site. For the first fourteen days anyone in the US or Canada can call a toll free number to get in touch with you, after that the service can still be reached at a regular number in California. Pagoo Communications, Inc. is hoping that after the trial period you will sport for the US$29.95 two year subscription that allows unlimited use of the toll free number, longer messages, etc. International readers may want to look into the possibilities for Pagoo, my smart pager. If you get short calls from the US or Canada on a regular basis from people without e-mail they will probably help you cough up the thirty bucks just to save long distance charges. It might also be an excellent way to check in with folks back home while traveling in the US.  (Back to top of page)


(980416) Las Vegas Wedding Pranks
http://www.mbw-nv.com/weddingpranks/

Mark Miller
Miller Barron Winslow Family
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

The Las Vegas Wedding Pranks is a series of four pages chock full of ideas submitted by visitors to the site, ideas that suggest ways to help the Bride and Groom "celebrate" the big day. Pranks of varying degree are here, ranging from tissue dragging from the back of the getaway vehicle to the remarkably clever "newlyweds" sign on the inside of the gas cap. What might be the best reading of are the letters from the men and women on whom these pranks were pulled. You'll almost feel sorry for the pair who almost returned home from their honeymoon to find a bathtub full of moldy Jell-o brand gelatine, and whoever put the random four year-old up to running down the aisle crying "daddy, daddy" should be mighty careful. Funny Stuff.  (Back to top of page)


(980417) Osmonds Second Generation Homepage
http://www.osmond.com/2ndg/

2ndG
Osmond Network LLC
Lindon, Utah, USA

You knew it was just a matter of time until this happened. 2ndG is comprised of six Osmond brothers, the sons of Alan Osmond. For five years they performed shows with their famous father and uncles at the Osmond Family Theater in Branson, Missouri in addition to touring in support of two albums and a chart single. That they followed in the family's musical footsteps is enough to make any dad proud. The fact that all of the brothers are Eagle Scouts says volumes. Their site has pictures, touring and fan club information for the next generation of Osmond fans. Imagine if this sort of thing continues -- it's not too far fetched and Tito Jackson has been mighty quiet lately.  (Back to top of page)


(980418) Space Environment Center
http://sec.noaa.gov/index.html

Space Environment Center
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Boulder, Colorado, USA

"The apparent void between Sun and Earth is actually a maelstrom of wind and storm, with interludes of calm, always bathed in the harsh glow of ultraviolet and x-ray light. So strong is the outpouring solar wind that Earth's magnetic envelope is distorted, quivering even as it protects the fragile life on our planet."

--Barbara Poppe

Global weather is comprised of much more than the movement of water and air. This is becoming far more evident as our reliance on artificial satellites for communication applications increases. Solar flares alone disrupt telephone and television signals emitting from ground based sources and at times, completely overpower satellites for hours. The Space Environment Center (SEC) is a joint operation of NOAA and the U.S. Air Force and has developed technologies for forecasting solar events and other geophysical occurrences. As space travel increases, information similar to that presented at Todays Space Weather (http://www.sel.bldrdoc.gov/today.html) will become commonplace to the point of being included in local newscasts. Meteorologists will most likely get their data from the Space Environment Center in the same way they use the other departments of NOAA now.  (Back to top of page)


(980419) Ragge & Willow's International Balloon & Airship Calendar of Events
http://ragge-and-willow.com/rnw2/calendar/

Ragge & Willow Enterprises
Bovard, Pennsylvania, USA

Ragge & Willow Enterprises provide balloons for corporate events and sell lighter than air craft. Their calendar of events lists shows and competitions for balloons and airship around the world and they accept listings too. Ideal for finding something special to include in upcoming travel plans or even for day-trips. Nothing matches the majesty of a sky filled with balloons in the morning sun and airships hint of travel during a time long past. Both generate awe in most people, something that's fun to share with folks you care about, especially children. Be sure to visit other sections of this site for images of commercial shape balloons and other more traditional bags, the LTA Gazette, and of course the Balloon Boutique.  (Back to top of page)


(980420) Visit St. Vincent and the Grenadines
http://stvincentandgrenadines.com/

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Department of Tourism
Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Sporting a name that sounds more like a hot Jazz outfit than a set of Caribbean islands, Tourism is big business in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Archeological sites dating back thousands of years and more recent forts provide interesting destinations for those seeking tourist attractions. Diving charters and beachcombing opportunities abound as well. Part of the Windward Islands, the historical influence on the nation's 107,000 residents is reflected in the dining establishments which offer West Indian, Creole, and Chinese cuisine, even pizza pie. This site provides contacts and pointers for travel and hotel reservations, a large photo gallery and all of the propaganda normally found at Department of Tourism sites. As far as countries go it has a cool name too -- not the first place that comes to mind for a tropical vacation perhaps making it a much more enjoyable destination.  (Back to top of page)


(980421) A Plea From A Sick Little Girl
http://www.omnigroup.com/People/cirocco/plea.html

Kim Rollins
Seattle, Washington, USA

_________________________________

Mark Eats AOL
http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/6660/

Mark Rosen
Fort Myers, Florida, USA

_________________________________

Nikki's 1997 AOL CD Present Collection
http://www.neosoft.com/nikki/default.html

Nikki
Houston, Texas, USA

In the mail last week was an America Online trial CD with 50 free hours attached. Whenever I get another one of these floppies or Compact Discs that line Steve Martin said in The Jerk is always paraphrased, "Look, an AOL disk/disc, I'm somebody now!" always comes to mind. This time it was different. The blister packed CD urging me to "TRY THE NEW AMERICA ONLINE VERSION 3.0!" was addressed to CURRENT RESIDENT at the Post Office Box I've maintained for 10 years. The marketing geniuses at AOL are desperately carpet bombing, so keep an eye on the mailbox and enjoy the following sites.

A is for Amazing

This trio of sites starts out with a desperate plea to help Little Kimberly Anne collect enough of these installation disks to make the record books, you may have received it already but here it is anyway:

A plea from a sick little girl

Little Kimberly Anne is dying of a horrible tropical brain disease, Owa-Tafu-Liam. Her goal, before she passes into the Great Beyond, is to collect as many free America Online disks as she can, to make the Guiness Book of World Records. Her project is being sponsored by the Wish-Upon-a-Star Foundation, which specializes in fulfilling the final wishes of such sick little girls.

So, next time you get an unwanted AOL disk in the mail, don't throw it away! Think of the sparkle it will bring to the eye of a dying child.

Also, remember her when you open a magazine and find one of those blow-in cards that offers a free AOL disk. The card is postage-paid! Fill it out with little Kimberly's name!

Please copy this message and circulate it to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Only you can make a child's wish reality!

God bless you from the Wish-Upon-a-Star Foundation!

The hoax spread across the world getting many people involved, some of them were even upset with Kim Rollins who instigated the whole thing. Read about her experience with the prank and about the fictional Wish-Upon-a-Star Foundation.

O is for Open Wide

Mark found something to do with all of the disks he has received -- he eats them. Mark Eats AOL is a humorous collection of Before, During and After pictures of Mark ingesting AOL disks. Mark's parents probably worry that the lad isn't normal. I'd bet that he's plenty regular though.

L is for NOËL

Nikki found many things to do with the AOL CD's sitting around, just in time for the Holidays. In 1996 and then again in 1997 she made beautiful gifts and decorations using standard craft items and those durable, festive and highly reflective AOL CD's. Nikki's 1997 AOL CD Present Collection is a gallery of the wondrous ideas she has developed, complete with supply lists, instructions and estimated costs. There are some very clever gifts here.  (Back to top of page)


(980422) SOAR: Searchable Online Archive of Recipes
http://soar.Berkeley.EDU/recipes/

The SOAR Team
Berkeley, California, USA

Here's something that almost everyone who eats can use, a searchable archive of nearly thirty nine thousand recipes. The Ethnic Foods section covers fifty three distinct groups plus there are breads, soups, side dishes items for people with diet restrictions and even stuff for pets. Not everything here is as delicious as Deviled Smelt (http://soar.Berkeley.EDU/recipes/appetizers/deviled-smelt1.rec) but you're bound to find a recipe or two to try even if you hate to cook. Submissions are accepted making SOAR that much larger every visit. A great idea and a tremendous resource.  (Back to top of page)


(980423) Old Jokes
http://www.needymeds.com/oldjokes/oj.index.html

Rich Sagall
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

I knew a girl from Buffalo once. It's a shame she didn't have normal parents.

That one-liner is one of my favorite jokes and probably the oldest bit of humor I know, certainly among the first I can remember hearing as a child. It most likely goes back to the days of Vaudeville, if not some time during the 19th century. Rich Sagall has assembled a collection of these vintage groaners that are a minimum of fifty years old at the Old Jokes archive site. Like a visit to an old-folks home without all the senility, this site helps preserve an art form in danger of disappearing. At the very least, it will have you laughing at things our parents and grandparents might have found funny without the embarrassment of forgotten punch lines and excessive drooling. For those so inclined, there is a mailing list you can join for a fresh old joke or two sent out every day.  (Back to top of page)


(980424) Pitsco's Ask an Expert
http://www.askanexpert.com/askanexpert/

Pitsco, Inc.
Pittsburg, Kansas, USA

Pitsco is a supplier of learning tools -- the toys that get students learning. Their Ask an Expert site has been set up primarily for educators who have exhausted the usual research avenues. Combined, the twelve categories list over three hundred e-mail addresses and URLs to the sites and experts who can provide answers to difficult questions. It is highly recommended that visitors see the site listed under a particular topic if there is a URL, more often than not answers show up in a Frequently Asked Questions file at the site saving time and effort on the part of all involved. The experts offer their wisdom free of charge and it would be safe to say that the folks at Pitsco, Inc. would welcome new experts whenever they make themselves available. Consider this site an ace in the hole.  (Back to top of page)


(980425) EurekAlert!
Your Global Gateway to Science, Medicine, and Technology News
http://www.eurekalert.org/

American Association for the Advancement of Science
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Since 1996 EurekAlert! has posted press releases from more than 450 institutions, organizations and researchers. A superb source for stories that will eventually be picked up by traditional media and buried somewhere on page 37 or used as a teaser all day long in order to lure viewers into looking at commercials punctuated by a television broadcast. Updated daily with over a dozen fresh releases, EurekAlert! is a source Science Editors around the world probably don't want you to know about. A recent piece here announced the results of a study using core samples from ancient trees in the Southeastern US to see if climate had anything to do with the difficulty experienced by the early settlements at Jamestown and Roanoke Island. The study conducted by the College of William and Mary and the University of Arkansas and published in Science Journal concluded that there is a correlation, and extended drought conditions may have played a large role in the tensions within/between native and colonial populations, and affected crops to a larger extent than previously thought. Nearly every scientific discipline imaginable is represented here, and the list registered of news organizations that utilize the service is huge. Contacts for stories are included if additional information is required. This site might make an excellent choice for having your browser open up to on startup. EurekAlert! is among my top ten favorite sites, have a look see why.  (Back to top of page)


(980426) Dutch Submarines: The Submarines of the Royal Netherlands Navy
http://www.dutchsubmarines.com

Bram M. Otto
Rotterdam, Netherlands

The Dutch Submarine Service will celebrate 91 years in operation on June 18, 1998. While this will not generate much interest outside of the Netherlands, it will not be ignored at home. The history of the Submarine can be traced back to one Cornelis van Drebbel who in the 1620s built and piloted the first practical sub-marine craft in the world. That he did so in England isn't nearly so important as the fact that he was Dutch.

Bram M. Otto's site looks at the history of this branch of the Royal Netherlands Navy in great detail. Photographs and a descriptions of the various classes of submarines used during the past 91 years along with pointers and special reports in the News section titled Location of Dutch Submarines this Week as well as reviews of books and videos make this site ideal for Naval enthusiasts everywhere. Others might be interested in who buys submarines from the Dutch and news about who the Royal Netherlands Navy is on maneuvers with. Not an official site, but it's in English unlike De Onderzeedienst (http://www.mindef.nl/marine/ozd.htm), the submarine pages from the Royal Netherlands Navy which are appropriately all in Dutch.  (Back to top of page)


(980427) Titanic The Fragrance - perfume, after shave balm, cologne
http://www.ncparfums.com/

Nouveau Couture Parfums, Inc.
Naples, Florida, USA

If only I were making this up:

"The name TITANIC encompasses many things and reflects many emotions - history, intrigue, academy awards and some of the worlds most powerful love stories. Designed to capture the very essence of the intrigue that surrounds the name it bears - TITANIC THE FRAGRANCE® was developed to offer its customers something "new and unique" to add to their "fragrance wardrobe"." (Back to top of page)


(980428) Home Office Annual Report 1998
http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/hoar1.htm

Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury by command of Her Majesty April 1998
London, England

The amount of money it takes to run a government is staggering, even for a small country. When it is the United Kingdom the figure becomes astronomical. On Saturday, April 25, 1988 the Home Office Annual Report was presented to Parliament with an expected cost of £6,864m. This figure will be spread across the many departments crucial to maintaining law and order in England and Wales in addition to certain charity and health programs. The whole report is here and offers a unique opportunity for British citizens and those of us in the rest of the world to see exactly what goes into an annual budget. Tables and Annexes are available in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) and the entire report can be had for £22 from The Stationery Office (http://www.hmso.gov.uk). From Criminal policy to UK Presidency of the European Union it's all here right down to the pound and pence in an easy to understand format. (Back to top of page)


(980429) El Vez -- The Mexican Elvis
The Official Unofficial El Vez Web Page
http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Hills/5017/

El Vez Co.
Hollywood, California, USA
Last seen in Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA

El Vez is a veteran of the Punk era, working with such memorable bands as the Zeroes and Catholic Discipline until 1988 when the next step in his musical evolution came around. In an interview found elsewhere, El Vez explained how the persona was developed. Sparked by a misconception that went back to childhood, "Elvis wore continental slacks and had slicked-back hair and dark good looks. He looked like my uncles. So I thought, Oh, Elvis must be Latino, too." Being the curator of an Elvis themed exhibit at a Mexican folk art gallery in Los Angeles might have helped a little also. El Vez -- The Mexican Elvis, The Official Unofficial El Vez Web Page is almost void of this sort of information but makes up for it with images. As you view the pages here it becomes quite clear that El Vez was not only influence by the King, but by many different facets of Popular culture.

This site does offer a few noteworthy items like that of the upcoming El Vez release titled A lad From Spain?......no Mexico! The 6 cut, 10 inch vinyl EP will be released on Cinco de Mayo (May 5th this year). It is an obvious nod to David Bowie, and proviess solid proof that the influences affecting El Vez and his music run deep. Sure this site leaves visitors wanting more, but if a picture is worth a thousand words then 5,000 El Vez fans can't be wrong. There are so many things right about this site that it shouldn't be missed. (Back to top of page)


(980430) Autopilot
http://www.mit.edu:8001/people/mkgray/autopilot.html

Matthew Gray
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

For those times when you just don't know what you are looking for -- Autopilot will direct your browser to pull up a URL in the database configured by Gray. It will then load another in either the standard twelve seconds or a period otherwise specified before launch. At one time the list had over 8,000 sites but has since been trimmed back considerably. Mainly because he is a Graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology there are quite a few MIT and MIT related sites included, but there's nothing wrong with that. The Autopilot Periodic Message pops up on a regular basis and offers users a chance to bail out which is a very nice touch. For more information about the man who wrote this useful utility visit the Home Page of Matthew K Gray at (http://www.mit.edu:8001/people/mkgray/). (Back to top of page)


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Copyright 1998 Edward J. Pelegrino. All rights reserved.
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Updated  April 29, 2000

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