Welcome to the Site du Jour of the Day Archive for November 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.
Featuring the Second
Annual Site du Jour
of the Day Holiday Shopping Guide,
Son of Bah! Humbug!
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SuperMarkets Online, Inc.
Anaheim, California, USA
Here's a new twist on manufactures coupons, US residents can now print out an area/supermarket specific ValuPage every week for brands and products being promoted. More than just cents off, this program consists of a sheet the consumer prints out and brings to the local grocery store. Purchasing featured items adds to the total value of Web Bucks, credit vouchers that can be used the same as cash for most items on a return visit. The savings realized by shoppers using ValuPages is higher because of lower distribution costs for manufacturers who also see stronger brand recognition as a result. More a rewards program than anything, this is a great idea for consumers beyond visiting the site and printing out a ValuPage the service is free. (Back to top of page)
(981102) National Horseshoe Pitchers
Paul Stewart, NHPA Fifth Vice President
and NHPA volunteers
National Horseshoe Pitchers Association
Statesville, North Carolina, USA
The sport of Horseshoe Pitching goes back to a time when Grecian armies emulated events from the Olympian Games, using worn out hardware instead of the highly specialized discus. Not until 1869 were formal, widely recognized rules set in place in England. Official records and tournaments would show up forty years later, gaining further popularity with civilian populations after the end of the first World War. Since then organizations like National Horseshoe Pitchers Association have gained legitimacy for the game, set definitive rules and arranged major tournaments with sizable purses. National Horseshoe Pitchers Association Online presents information for members and non-members alike, complete with rules, news of competitions, records, sources for commercial supplies and pointers to other related sites. For most people Horseshoe Pitching is an activity enjoyed occasionally at picnics and parks but for members of the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association it is far more than that. Have a look and see what the fuss is about, you might even pick up a tip or two for improving your own game. (Back to top of page)
(981103) Virtual Catalog of Roman
with assistance from Miranda Mathis and Molly Simpson
Classical and Modern Languages
Sherman, Texas, USA
Roman coins survive to tell stories and give us a glimpse of men and women who for the most part, ruled Western society and helped shape government as we know it today. The Virtual Catalog of Roman Coins currently holds pictures and descriptive text illustrating over four hundred years of history. This collection would be difficult to assemble and display in one location, an event not very likely to occur due to the scarcity of the pieces involved and works quite well in this form. Perfect for educators, students or anyone interested in the art and money of an ancient time. Leaders from Honorius back to Augustus are represented here, usually with several examples from each reign. Numismatic information, pointers to other sites and educational materials add to this superb resource originally setup for students at Austin College. (Back to top of page)
(981104) Timelines of History
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
This eclectic site is home to six amazing pages and sub-sets initially titled "Chronology of Events in the History of." Each timeline contains information culled from thoroughly documented sources, with subjects as diverse as Chevrolet Corvettes, Microcomputers, World War II, Canadian Coins, Disney, and A&W Root Beer. A true work in progress, most visitors will be impressed by the degree of detail afforded each topic and should come away from this site having learned a great deal. Pointers to additional timelines, related sites and resources utilized are included as well. Ken Polsson is employed by the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, and performs research in the Forest Productivity & Decision Support section. As the Stand Modelling Analyst he uses computers to model how forests grow and shares some of his work at Polsson's WebWorld (http://www3.islandnet.com/~kpolsson/). Timelines of History is a really good site. (Back to top of page)
(981105) Jesse Ventura For Minnesota Governor
Prepared and paid for by the Jesse Ventura For Governor Volunteer
Woodbury, Minnesota, USA
Not a bad career so far for this man. First he was a Navy SEAL, then a professional wrestler (Jesse "The Body" Ventura), an actor, broadcaster, Mayor of Minneapolis suburb Brooklyn Park, and now the Governor Elect. With the election over and a hard race won, take a few minutes to reflect with Jesse "The Body" Ventura and his many supporters by visiting this site. Based on the following letter it would appear that the old Secret Weapon tactic worked . In fact it worked so well he received 37% of the vote, enough to beat two other candidates:
Jesse's Message To His Supporters And Friends
About Funding His Campaign And Winning The Election
Copy this message and e-mail it to your friends.
(Please, no spamming. Observe netiquette standards.)
Dear Supporters and Friends,
As you know, I'm running for Minnesota Governor. We can win this thing. I can't do it alone, but we can win..., if you do your part.
There are several ways you can help me win. One is more important than all others. I'm asking you to take advantage of Minnesota's Political Campaign Refund (PCR) program. This will help me raise the money we need to buy TV time and pay the expenses of a winning campaign. More on that below.
Let me level with you about money. Even with the PCR program, and even with the public campaign finance money we are likely to receive from the State, we are not likely to raise the amount of money the Dems and Repubs will raise. They may outspend us two-to-one, three-to-one, maybe even five-to-one.
But we can win. We can win because:
(1) it's not always true that the candidate with the most money wins,
(2) my opponents are boring, and
(3) I have a secret weapon the other candidates lack.
It's not really a secret. It's an item of public record. But it might as well be a secret to the Dems, Repubs, press, and pollsters who seem to be blind to it.
My secret weapon is the people who will turn out to vote for me who don't normally vote at all. That's exactly how I won my race for Mayor of Brooklyn Park (by a landslide!), and that's how I'll win this race for Governor.
For my secret weapon to work, everyone in the State must know Jesse Ventura is a candidate for Governor. Many people are not on the Internet. Many people don't read the newspapers. Everyone watches TV. It takes money to advertise my candidacy statewide. That's where I need you to do your part to help me win.
Under the PCR program, you can contribute up to $50 to my campaign and receive a State refund for the amount of your contribution a few weeks later. You'll be out the $50 for a few weeks while your refund is being processed, but other than that, you can contribute up to $50 to my campaign and it won't cost you a dime!
If you take advantage of the PCR program and tell your friends to do the same, we can raise the money we need to broadcast the Ventura message statewide. Detailed PCR program information is available from the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board or on my web site at:
In a nutshell, here's how it works. If you are an eligible Minnesota resident (most adults are), send your contribution to my campaign committee. My Treasurer will send you a PCR receipt and refund form. Send your receipt and form to the State. In a few weeks, you will receive a refund check from the State for the amount of your contribution, up to $50 ($100 for married couples). Of course, larger contributions are welcome. You may contribute up to $2,000 in 1998. A maximum of $50 ($100 for married couples) is refundable under the PCR program.
If we receive enough checks from individual contributors by a certain date, my campaign, like the other campaigns, will qualify to receive a chunk of campaign finance money from the State. With these funds in the bag, we can advertise the campaign and we'll be well on our way to winning in November.
Until our campaign qualifies for the public financing money, individual contributors like you are my only source of campaign funds. My career-politician opponents are sucking up to their big-money contributors. I'm counting on you to help fund our campaign. I don't take money from PAC special interest groups. With Jesse The Body in office, there will be no big-money power brokers behind the scenes yanking your Governor's chain. I'll be there to serve you, not them.
I believe this is the right way to be and it's how I'm running my campaign. But being true to the voters doesn't automatically produce the money we need to win. You must do your part if we are to win.
There is $50 of PCR money with your name on it sitting in Saint Paul right now. The Dems and Repubs are using this refund program to cycle money to their candidates. Don't let your PCR money go to waste. Use the PCR power you have to help elect me as your next Governor.
With Jesse Ventura as your Governor, you'll have a truth-telling, non-career politician serving you in the Capitol. Imagine that..., a Governor who cares about the people, tells the truth, has no obligation to the big-money power brokers, and does not want or need to spend the rest of his life in politics!
Mail your PCR contribution today to help make it happen.
Make your check payable to:
Jesse Ventura For Governor
7060 Valley Creek Plaza #115-101A
Woodbury MN 55125
Your next Governor,
(Back to top of page)
(981106) (981107) Site du Jour of the Day Special Announcement
As a result of Tropical Storm Mitch passing through on Wednesday and Thursday telephone service is down in a few areas locally. Site du Jour of the Day episodes should resume on Monday.
Enjoy the weekend! (Back to top of page)
(981108) The Job Bus Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
The Job Bus Canada is a great resource for people interested in finding a career or planning a move. Probably of more use to Canadian residents, the site has pointers to firms with positions needing to be filled in a multitude of fields and industries. Of particular note are companies announcing openings in advertising, aerospace, communications, government, utilities, and the tourism and hospitality business. Employers are invited to submit a listing or two plus there are articles anyone around the world can use to aid in their search for work. The crew at The Job Bus Canada have strong backgrounds in Human Resources and Technology, both of which are reflected in the quality of the site. In an age of reduced job security it's nice to know that a site like this exists even if you're not Canadian. (Back to top of page)
The Yuckiest Site on the Internet
Susan Mernit and Peter Levitan
New Jersey Online
Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
Designed and written to help students up to grade eight understand subject that include ear wax and earthworms, roaches and retinas. Wendell the Worm is accompanied by Dora the human girl through sections titled "Gross and Cool Body," "Worm World" and "Bug World." These often humorous lessons are presented to give kids honest answers about things adults have been trained not to talk about, or simply don't know that much about. Since 1995 educator Susan Mernit and journalist Peter Levitan have been building upon this site to help parents and students learn about themselves and the environment. Way more than just silly talk about flatulence, through the use of the Parent's Guide Yucky can be used to establish a basic foundation and interest in science for kids of all ages. It's a lot of fun too. (Back to top of page)
(981110) The Seven Wonders of the Ancient
Alaa K. Ashmawy, Principal Editor
Brett Pretorius, Joel Sampaio, Marilyn Shea and Luiz Augusto Nolasco da Silva, Co-Editors
Tampa, Florida, USA
If you can't name them you need to visit this site. If you can you will still want to see this tribute to the monuments and accomplishments of the ancients. Using the list compiled by Maerten van Heemskerck during the Middle Ages, the editors of The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World have put together an excellent collection of images and information complete with references and pointers to other sites. The educational value of this subject and site are both high, especially when you consider the fact that only one of the seven survives to this day. (Back to top of page)
(981111) The HelpDesk Funnies
Computer Humor - True Helpdesk and Technical Support Stories
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
For consumers working their way up the steep learning curve associated with a new electronic device a manufacturer's support line can be a comfortable alternative to reading the documentation. Tasks which are simple to us now were at one point impossible, some may still seem that way. A frantic call to somebody who knows more than we do can be a tremendous boost to our own skills and beats the heck out of reading the book. If somebody is getting paid to answer your questions it's all the better. HelpDesk Funnies looks at some of these stories, and it doesn't really matter which side of the phone you are on when it comes to help desk calls, occasionally you get a real winner. The stories here are funny, at times sad and mostly display a complete ignorance from at least one party of the problem needing resolution. RealAudio Streams of actual calls in one section of this site may violate privacy but could be the funniest things you hear all week. (Back to top of page)
(981112) Archive of Email
Sunnyvale, California, USA
From the Neiman-Marcus Cookie Story to more recent messages, the Archive of Email Forwards has a large collection of such nonsense. These messages are so important that almost everyone with an e-mail address has seen one of the items at this site at least a couple of times some considerably more. Shooting for quality as opposed to sheer bulk, the Archive of Email Forwards is sort of a Hall of Fame for e-mail messages which have taken on a life of their own. Visitor submissions are accepted which is a good thing as there seems to be a new brand of sick kid or save the whatever campaign going out on a weekly basis. The archive provides a benefit on many levels, the least of which is that it acts as a partial reference for individuals tempted to forward yet another message out to everyone they know. If it's here please don't bother forwarding the message unless you honestly belive that the broken "chain" will really lead to a basement full of lemurs. (Back to top of page)
Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
New York, New York, USA
For the last two weeks I've been listening to Resigned, the most recent album from the talented Penn Brother Michael every chance I have. The following verse has haunted me for a good portion of the time in question, to the point of thinking about how funny it might be to answer the telephone with the phrase "Underdog here!"
©1996 Michael Penn / Liafail Music
Hey Hey I'm underdog,
I'm Wally Cox
Got no beer in my fridge,
got no gold in my Knox
but I'm eternally grateful
to you for the call
cause some kinds of time
happen once and for all
Realizing how stupid it would be to pick up a ringing telephone and say "Underdog here!" I still managed to tell a couple of people about my secret plan. Underdog generated mixed reactions, some loved the show and greeting while others had nothing good to say about either. Searching for Underdog lead to a few sites that were decent, but not quite enough. A search for Wally Cox, the voice actor who played Underdog turned up one of the best sites about the history of television I've ever seen. TVparty! has articles and images about everything and everyone from George 'Kingfish' Stevens to the Friendly Giant. Billy Ingram's background in the business allows him an insight not often shared with audiences, his commentary along with selected video segments will keep you tuned in for hours at a time. Like Penn's site and album, TVparty! is so rich in detail and quality that you'll be chewing on them both for weeks to come. (Back to top of page)
(981114) A Randomly Generated
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
So you're being forced to cook dinner again. Want to impress the in-laws? Keep your parents away? Scare off a date? Visit this page at Doug Beeferman's site (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dougb/index.html) for a recipes certain to upset even the most indiscriminate glutton. The following example is probably as fun to make as it is to eat!
* 1 lean hamburger
* 6 pounds of bananas
* 6 cups of pink lemonade
1. Fry hamburger
2. Slice bananas
3. Simmer bananas in lemonade
4. Broil for 68 minutes
Should you actually decide to whip up a culinary delight generated here, be prepared to call for a pizza and/or fire truck. Some of the recipes look difficult. (Back to top of page)
(981115) Visa-ATM Locator
San Mateo, California, USA
It's that time of year again kids, when shopping at home can be a pleasant experience if you start early enough. It helps to have an idea what you are looking for and as it happens, last year Site du Jour of the Day episodes looked at retail sites offering SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) transactions. The theme week was so well received that it's happening again. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) transactions are a feature of most recent browsers. Using encryption to transmit data is a pretty safe way to send payment information, safer than calling an order in or submitting it by mail. It's cooler anyway. For a look at last year's picks see the November 1997 Archive (http://members.tripod.com/~SdJotD/9711.htm). None of the sites profiled have a direct affiliation with Site du Jour of the Day so use your best judgement if ordering from them and keep in mind that any prices listed here are subject to change.
(981116) Hammacher Schlemmer
Hammacher Schlemmer Chicago Store
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Since Hammacher Schlemmer opened for business in 1848 selling the best tools available, a lot has changed with the company, the products they carry and the world of retail in general. One thing that remains the same is the unconditional guarantee that accompanies every item Hammacher Schlemmer sells. For over 150 years their stores have been "the place to go for things hard to find." Quality and innovation have been an important part of the product line, Hammacher Schlemmer was the first retailer to stock the steam iron, pop-up toaster, microwave oven and more. Catalog items of interest here are the Only Aerial Photography Model Cessna priced at $119.95, a radio controlled plane complete with a 35mm Kodak Max replaceable one-use camera tucked in the fuselage. Ideal for buzzing parties and other outdoor activities. A Pure Cashmere Robe for $369.95 is not a bad deal considering it's harvested by herdsmen in Mongolia, available in Womens size Medium or Large. My personal favorite, and a gift Santa can't go wrong with this year is the Lighted Bocce Ball Set. $49.95 Is a small price to pay for night Bocce games and it's something they probably don't already have. Hammacher Schlemmer takes great pride in their business and it shows. (Back to top of page)
(981117) The Perfect Purchase
The Finest Indian River Citrus & Gifts
The Perfect Purchase
Fort Pierce, Florida, USA
Calusa River Groves
Calusa River Groves
Alva, Florida, USA
Citrus has been a part of holiday celebrations for centuries, in the Middle Ages oranges were fit for kings and queens because of the difficulty in transporting them from far away lands. Gifts of citrus were a big deal for many people living in temperate climates until the advent of Supermarkets when the importation from Florida, California, and later South and Central America drove cost down and the availability up. It's easy enough to visit the market these days to buy a bag of oranges or a few grapefruits but who knows what you'll get. Indian River Citrus is different though, growing conditions over the past few seasons have been perfect. The right combination of sunshine, rain and even a touch of frost at the correct time have led to bountiful harvests, thus lowering prices and improving quality. Living in Florida I am spoiled in a sense, many people have citrus trees in their yards and end up with so much fruit that they put the excess out on the curb for anyone who wants it. Imagine if you will seeing a box of Ponderosa Lemons sitting there for free take. Ponderosas are literally as big as your head!
The Perfect Purchase may not offer Ponderosa Lemons, but they do have Giant Navels. These seedless oranges or "Foot-pounders" as they refer to them start at a foot in circumference, weighing about a pound each. Available November 15th through December 31st they make a perfect gift. A quarter bushel sells for $26.95 and a half bushel is $32.95. Mix and match premium Indian River Navels and sugar-sweet Ruby Red Grapefruit for $42.95 a bushel or $36.95 for three quarters. Other offerings include nuts and candy in nice gift packages in addition to live plants. For gift giving in Belgium, England, Republic of Ireland, France, Denmark, Holland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria and Germany be sure to look at the custom packages shipped by air from Florida. Half bushels are $59.95 and will arrive in time if ordered by the end of November.
Calusa River Groves also offers citrus, but from a slightly different climate. The growing season is a little longer and because of a little extra rain, the fruit has a thinner skin and the juice is just a little sweeter. Smaller groves offer the grower more control over the quality of shipped fruit but can limit quantity as well. Prices are basically the same as those listed above but Calusa River Groves offers a full line of honey that is absolutely fantastic. Orange Blossom, Palmetto and Wild Flower honey range in price from $3.95 for a one pound jar to $32.95 for a twelve pound jug, special gift packages are available also. Of particular note is the honey produced on Sanibel Island. Sanibel (http://www.usa-chamber.com/sanibel-captiva/home.html) is a barrier island here in Lee County and is often thought of as Florida's Florida by vacationers looking for a quiet weekend. The Seagrape and Mangrove honeys are a rare treat with a flavor unique to Sanibel. A one pound jar is $4.95 or two for $9.95.
Even if you don't order citrus this year from a Florida company be sure to ask your grocer for it. Pardon my local bias, but there's nothing quite like it in the world. Besides, nothing says "Happy Holidays" like food that prevents scurvy! (Back to top of page)
(981118) The Rainbow Serpent
The Rainbow Serpent Pty Ltd
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
The Rainbow Serpent is a Sydney based company specializing in promoting Aboriginal artists and marketing Aboriginal art and design. It is a family run business which was established in 1991 by Gerry Parnes, Brad Parnes, Helene Rankin and Caroline Friend. With five retail stores in the International terminals of Sydney and Brisbane Airports and a gallery at Rose Bay, Sydney the firm has brought a wider market to Aboriginal artisans such as Pamela Hall, Shane Williams, Leanne Hunter and Jingalu in addition to the works of community art center members. These include Tiwi Designs, Bathurst Island NT, Munumpi Arts, Mellville Island NT, Buku Lanrngay Arts, Yirrkala, and Dimbaloo. Purists may find fault in the company's licensed designs but the royalty return is fairly liberal for the artists involved and the textiles, accessories, giftware, homeware, etc. are all Australia made. Traditional items available for sale here will be of the most interest a full line of Didgeridoos costing between A$46.00 and A$595.00 will give your favorite musician a new challenge. Boomerangs are galore, a 16 inch returning boomerang by Ian Skeen crafted of acrylic paint on brigalow wood is very affordable at A$13.50. Don Nolan's Killer Boomerangs feature designs burnt into mulga wood are a little more serious at A$68.00 and A$46.00. Undoubtedly best thrown out of doors. Other handcrafted pieces include Clapsticks and Bullroarers. The goods available through The Rainbow Serpent represent 10,000 years of cultures, cultures well worth supporting, exploring and celebrating.
On a side note, David Nathan of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies has moved the WWW Virtual Library for Australian Indigenous Languages (SdJotD 980217) to (http://www.dnathan.com/VL/austLang.htm). In addition to the move, this important site has seen a significant update. (Back to top of page)
(981119) The Wind-Up Toy Company
The Wind-Up Toy Company
Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA
Toys that do not require batteries can be extremely entertaining and nostalgic with their bright colors and noises. The folks at The Wind-Up Toy Company have recognized the appeal of these items and offer up over seven hundred different examples. A quick sampling of gadgets priced to play with include the 6.25 inch long Dog on Scooter wind-up by Russ Berrie which sells for $11.50 and features a happy pup zipping across the floor, tail a waggin' and all. The 5.5 inch high walking tin Penguin by Schylling is made in China, as are many of the toys here, it retails for $6.00. Also from Schylling is the Curious George Jack in the Box. Crank up old Curious George to your heart's content for a mere $24.95. The Dancing Turtle is a cute 2.5 inch high plastic wind-up for $2.75. A set of four hard plastic Crawling Soldiers sneak across the floor by moving their upper body side-to-side. Each is half a foot long and you get the entire team for only $12.00.
Not just limited to wind-up toys, they also carry things like the Giant Ant Farm from Uncle Milton. This classic comes with everything you need to grow an ant colony in the house, including a coupon for live ants for $24.00. You'll also find a huge collection of keychains and other collectibles at reasonable prices at The Wind-Up Toy Company. This kind of stuff is great fun no matter what time of the year it is. (Back to top of page)
(981120) Bowling Shoe Depot
Bowling Shoe Depot
Moorpark, California, USA
Bass Pro Shops Online Products
Bass Pro, L.P.
Springfield, Missouri, USA
Sporting goods always make great gifts as they are usually something we don't splurge on for ourselves. Good gear helps out much like improved skills. When it comes to bowling, sure footing can add extra pins the first time out and the Bowling Shoe Depot offers discounted prices on models from Dexter and Linds. They carry a wide selection for both men and women and shipping is free to addresses in the continental United States!
Bass Pro Shops Online Products has tons of goodies for folks enjoying the great outdoors. No matter what type of activity, there is something here. Not just fishing tackle and sticks, but hunting and camping accessories, marine and water sports items at better than average prices. A few things caught my eye just like a rusty old hook a perfect gift for the angler is the Monopoly® Game: Bass Fishing Edition at $34.95. The Lohman line of game calls is here too, who can resist breaking out a Lohman Squirrel Calling Kit or Lohman Antelope Challenge Call Kit for the amusement of the family during the holidays? This next item screams "Family Get-together" and brings to mind the image of more than one of our fathers. There he is now, outside first thing in the morning, knee deep in the snow making it all work. The Complete Turkey Package is such a unique product that it would be a crying shame to try and improve the description presented at Bass Pro Shops Online Products:
Complete Turkey Package
All you need for succulent, deep-fried turkey in one convenient package. Large, 26-qt. aluminum turkey pot easily holds up to a 16-lb. whole turkey and cooks completely in only a short time (approximately 3-1/2 minutes per pound). Complete kit can be easily set up and ready to go in minutes. Propane tank sold separately.
* 170,000 BTU portable propane outdoor cooker with special recessed top for extra safety * UL-approved adjustable high-pressure regulator * UL-approved LP hose * Lifting Rack * Lifting Hook * Deep-fry thermometer * King Kooker Cajun seasoning * Soft-nosed POL nut and adapter * Instruction/recipe booklet * 18-1/2"x15-3/4"x25-3/4". Made in USA.
A buddy of mine sent an image scanned from a catalog of a similar kit this week but that one was slightly different. Not different enough to justify spending $40 more than Bass Pro Shops Online Products' $89.99 price tag.
If footwear still seems like a good gift idea but going bowling doesn't happen all that often be sure to check out the Boot Bonanza, a part of Uncle Buck's Bargains at Bass Pro Shops Online Products. You'll save the same 25% to 50% Bowling Shoe Depot offers but remember, you shouldn't wear boots bowling unless you bring the manager some turkey. (Back to top of page)
(981122) Holiday Music
Compact Discs and Cassettes available (among other places) at
Wallingford, Connecticut, USA
Music during the holidays becomes special and for many of us the songs popular during the month of December are among the first we learned to sing or play. Holiday songs are probably the closest thing to an oral tradition we know as a modern society. Recorded music has all but eliminated this tradition of passing songs down through the generations but it has also been responsible for several classic titles the genre and even Popular Culture would be soory to lose. As a collector of Christmas music I am especially aware of the many different packages and collections available for sale. As holiday titles are announced and begin to appear in late August I start planning my attack, looking at track listings and budgeting funds for a new release. The following sets are either in my extensive collection, or are albums that I have enjoyed listening to. Some are from a single act and others are compilations for either a special cause or represent a label's stable. They all come highly recommended and should be readily available at most record stores in your area. CD Universe is not the only site selling music but they are I recommend for several reasons; they were already Site du Jour of the Day way back in August 1997 (SdJotD 970801), their overall attitude and selection appeals to me, and they have these Compact Discs and Cassettes in stock.. CD Universe carries all sorts of entertainment at good prices. In order to keep a distance from any commercial gain, Site du Jour of the Day is not enrolled in The CD Universe Partners Program, an arrangement whereby a sales commission of 5% is given to the referring site or individual. What I might suggest however, is that if you purchase any of these titles at a local retailer please take the money you will save in shipping and donate it in the spirit of the season to a worthy cause.
You won't go wrong with the following albums:
You Sleigh Me!
Atlantic Records will donate a portion of the proceeds of this title to Hale House. This agency provides for children born of women with substance abuse problems, and children infected with HIV. The lineup is wonderful and has covers and original material by artists such as Tori Amos, Collective Soul, and Juliana Hatfield. The real standout here is Jill Sobule's version of Robert Earl Keen's Merry Christmas From The Family.
A Very Special Christmas Volumes 1, 2 & 3
This series originated with the late Jimmy Iovine, producer of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and countless others, it benefits Special Olympics. Some of the recordings are only available on these three packages while others have or do show up elsewhere. Artists on the different sets include Bruce Springsteen, Eurythmics, The Pretenders, U2, Bob Seger, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Bon Jovi, Randy Travis, Frank Sinatra & Cyndi Lauper, Boyz II Men, Ronnie Spector & Darlene Love, Bonnie Raitt & Charles Brown, Smashing Pumpkins, Natalie Merchant, Sheryl Crow, Blues Traveler, Jonny Lang, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, Steve Winwood, Tracy Chapman, and Patti Smith. With the recent demise of A&M Records these three albums may go out of print or get pared down in the next few years so if you like what you see it might be wise to pick them up.
A Rock n Roll Christmas 2
A budget package of some rather odd bedfellows which consists mostly of cover versions. It's not often that acts as diverse as Bryan Adams, Chris DeBurgh, The Beach Boys, Dave Edmunds, Bob & Doug McKenzie, Squeeze, Paul & Paula, and Stevie Wonder show up on the same album.
Yet another eclectic package, the kind that only holiday programmers can get away. There's something on this album for everyone in the family. From David Bowie & Bing Crosby singing Little Drummer Boy to Eartha Kitt getting filthy with Santa. Other artists include The Alarm, The Clancy Brothers, Roy Orbison, The Ventures, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Cocteau Twins, The Temptations, and Dean Martin. That terrible Elmo & Patsy thing is here too.
Funky Christmas - James Brown
It's been released and re-released several times under a few different titles, but if you enjoy the work of the Godfather of Soul you need this album. Funky up-tempo numbers and slow groove readings include Merry Christmas Baby and Santa Claus (Go Straight To The Ghetto).
This Is Christmas - Luther Vandross
Luther Vandross has writing credit on all but three of the songs on this album making it one of the best R&B/Soul albums available. With a fantastic voice and serious songwriting skills, This Is Christmas will be with you for years to come. Luther Vandross wrote a song called This Christmas which is finally gaining the recognition it deserves, the man has talent.
Blue Yule: Christmas Blues & R&B Classics
Premiere re-issue label Rhino Records (http://rhino.com/) (SdJotD 980909) put this album out in 1991 and it has remained in print ever since. Lightnin' Hopkins, Louis Jordan, John Lee Hooker, Charles Brown & His Band, and Canned Heat are only a few of the acts on this collection of excellent sides. Some of these tracks do show up on other labels, but the sound quality and liner notes make this one a must-have for anyone interested in American Music.
Charlie Brown's Holiday Hits - Vince Guaraldi Trio
The original recordings from the CBS Special Presentations we all know and love.
Snoopy's Christmas Classiks on Toys
Although this set includes the voices of Peanuts characters they are not the original voice actors from television. This album focuses on titles being played with toy instruments which come across as very charming. Of the sixteen songs here, Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy and Ça Bergers, Assemblons-Nous are my favorite performances. Until the band Pianosaurus regroups and releases a Christmas album, this is the next best thing.
Christmas with the Chipmunks
Using the stage name David Seville, Armenian-American Russ Bagdederian came up with a warped trio of singing rodents through the use of variable speed tape recordings. In print since 1962, it's amazing how well this album holds up especially without the pops and ticks from scratches. Sure it's annoying after about the thirtieth time, but lighten-up it's the holidays!
Country Cares for Kids: A Holiday Album
A benefit for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, this album has original songs by Clint Black, Travis Tritt and John Berry as well as Sammy Kershaw's joyful version of Tex Logan's Christmas Time's A Comin'. Lorrie Morgan sings Up On Santa Claus Mountain and N. Fort Myers, Florida's own Mindy McCready contributes a version of Let's Talk About Love, making it a local favorite here in town.
Sugar Plums: Holiday Treats from Sugar Hill
Bluegrass/Traditional lovers will want to check out this roster sampler which includes performances by Jerry Douglas, Doc Watson, Tim & Mollie O'Brien, The Seldom Scene, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Robin & Linda Williams, and Red Knuckles & The Trailblazers. This label is doing a great job lately and it shows with this title as well.
Come on Christmas - Dwight Yoakum
For my money, Dwight Yoakum released the definitive version of the Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller penned Santa Claus Is Back In Town a few years back as a Christmas single. Come on Christmas was later built around that one record, but you'd never know it. The originals Santa Can't Stay and Come On Christmas plus covers of Here Come Santa Claus, I'll Be Home For Christmas and Run Run Rudolph make this album perfect in every way.
Gene Autry Christmas
Another album with material that has been released in various forms and with greater or lesser degrees of quality, Gene Autry brought us the original version of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and did as much for the industry during the holidays as Bing Crosby. A required part of any collection. Guests on these songs include Rosemary Clooney, The Cass County Boys, and the Mitchell Choirboys.
Christmas Favorites From the World's Favorite Tenors
Carreras, Domingo, and Pavarotti have been the critics pets and sell out show after show. This album is part of a budget series that should be explored even after the holidays. Tenors this talented don't come around that often, and it's nice to hear them working together. Traditional vocal pieces mostly.
Christmas Spirituals - Odetta
This was a landmark album when it was released. Spirituals a century or more old performed in a unique style. Not for everybody, a cappella and Gospel afficianados should have this title.
Bells of Dublin - The Chieftains
Burgess Meredith, Elvis Costello, and Ricky Lee Jones all helped out to make this one of the twenty best holiday albums ever. Traditional material and a whole bunch of surprises make this package one that you will treasure and eventually purchase again to give as a gift.
Festival of Light
Contemporary Chanukah music is difficult to find and this set fills a very strong need. Artists include Marc Cohn, Peter Himmelman, Jane Siberry, in addition to others.
Rugrats - A Rugrats Chanukah
This isn't a music item but it bears inclusion. Rugrats are characters who have a very popular television show on cable television's Nickelodeon. They are also starring in a feature film which opens just in time for the holidays. For children who celebrate Chanukah, this VHS program is ideal. For others it might just be the perfect introduction to the reality of other cultures, especially during this period of Peace on Earth, etc.
The Songs of Solomon - Salamone Rossi
Important both culturally and historically, this music dates back to around the year 1600. Pieces contained on this two volume set were composed for service and the Sabbath. Another fine gift item.
Available at the following sites are other titles previously featured in Site du Jour of the Day episodes:
Dynamic Recording Studios (http://www.dynrec.com/) (SdJotD 971215) in Rochester, New York has several holiday releases available including Carousel Christmas, Tramper's Dynamic Christmas a three CD benefit for the Humane Society of Rochester and Monroe County, and Many Voices, Many Visions combining the material of twenty eight Rochester acts.
Recently Site du Jour of the Day looked at Ben Franklin & The Armonica (http://www.gigmasters.com/armonica/) (SdJotD 980921), look for Cecilia Brauer's The Angelic Sounds of Christmas release here. The Armonica is perfectly voiced for traditional holiday music, and should not be missed.
If you do pick up any of these albums during the next few days or weeks please let me know what you think. I'd like to hear from you. (Back to top of page)
(981123) The John F. Kennedy Assassination
Almost anyone you talk to has an opinion they'll share with you about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In the thirty five years since that fateful day in Dallas, Texas much has been written and theorized about the events surrounding November 22, 1963. A lot of the material available on the subject is weak, but occasionally a site like Ralph Schuster's The John F. Kennedy Assassination Homepage makes up for the others. Not by any means the only site devoted to conspiracy theories, this one is well designed and contains crucial information that is easy to read and understand. It was nice to see the full text of The Warren Commission Report at this site. Worth a visit no matter which explanation you subscribe to, be it the work of a lone gunman, a big CIA conspiracy or even my personal thoughts on the matter that it was Ken Starr's eighth grade science fair project. (Back to top of page)
(981124) Canadian Turkey Marketing
Canadian Turkey Marketing Agency
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Established in 1973 on the recommendation of the Canadian Turkey Co-ordinating Committee to the National Farm Products Council and a series of public hearings, the Canadian Turkey Marketing Agency is made up of turkey producers throughout Canada. Provincial organizations/members include the Nova Scotia Turkey Producers' Marketing Board, New Brunswick Turkey Marketing Board, La Fédération des Producteurs de Volailles du Québec, Ontario Turkey Producers Marketing Board (http://www.ont-turkey.on.ca), Manitoba Turkey Producers (http://www.turkey.mb.ca), Saskatchewan Turkey Producers Marketing Board, Alberta Turkey Producers, and the British Columbia Turkey Marketing Board (http://www.uniserve.com/bcturkey). Not represented are Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland, mainly due to limited turkey marketing concerns.
The Canadian Turkey Marketing Agency has helped to stabilize the industry, and through a combined effort, promote domestic sales and awareness. This site serves several purposes as a source for Canadian consumers and international visitors alike it offers nutrition information, turkey recipes for Summer, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and everyday menus. Other sections have cooking times and tips, food safety guidelines, pointers to other turkey related sites plus special Canadian turkey trivia. For those in the industry the site has news on regulations, current and historic market data and a forum for talking turkey.
As Thanksgiving Day fast approaches in the United States there are a few things to remember that I'm sure even the Canadian Turkey Marketing Agency would agree with. Buy your bird early enough to allow thawing (if it's frozen), having too much is better than running out, and most importantly turkeys often ship as kits, make sure to take out all of the parts before putting it together! (Back to top of page)
(981125) What did you do in the war,
An Oral History of Rhode Island Women during World War II
Written by students in the Honors English Program at South Kingstown High School
Linda Wood, Judi Scott
and Brown University's Scholarly Technology Group
Computing and Information Services
Providence, Rhode Island, USA
An important part of family gatherings during the holidays and during the rest of the year are the stories passed down from the elders. For many of us, these events are the only opportunity we get to spend time with grandparents, aunts and uncles and even parents. In the days when three generations of a family lived under the same roof, tales of times gone by were a part of daily life. What did you do in the war, Grandma? can serve as a model for visitors interested in compiling a family history or at the very least, act as a living history book about the Second World War. Interviews conducted in 1989 by students at South Kingstown High School have been put together by Linda Wood, an oral historian, and the school's librarian. In 1995 the project was first put up as a site, and two years later enhanced with additional features including RealAudio Streams of the taped interview with Naomi Craig. This is a fantastic site about an interesting subject. A subject where firsthand accounts will be all too soon out of our reach. Ask grandma and/or grandpa if they'd like to visit this site with you odds are they will. (Back to top of page)
Irving, Texas, USA
Bambi's mother probably said it best, "If you can't say something nice don't say anything at all." But sometimes you just can't help wonder if people have any sort of self-image whatsoever, especially when it comes to putting pictures of themselves up for the world to see. The folks at FUGLY cater directly to those of us who appreciate the funniest line Red Foxx ever said "She's so ugly I could press her face in dough and make gorilla cookies." Sarcastic, judgmental and honestly hilarious commentary paired with some of the goofiest looking portraits of men and women you'll ever want to look at. Real people who should know better but don't, and yes, they certainly can help it. An example from the site which accompanies a tastefully cropped photograph reads:
"Never mind that this man is beat-in-the-face-by-God-himself ugly. Let's ignore that for a moment. Let's also ignore the creative use of backlighting to emphasize that fuzz of oh-so-attractive back hair over his left shoulder. As well, we should forget that this man's hairline has decided to recede in an incredibly crooked manner, casting off the usual devil's peak of old age in favor of random degradation. In fact, let us just direct our attention to the picture's most outstanding feature:
This man is naked ...
... and he's holding a dog."
Definitely one of the oddest and funniest sites we've looked at to date. (Back to top of page)
The North Pole
with help from
Pollak Levitt & Nel, Inc.
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
As the big Thanksgiving Day meals are digested here in the US, Santa Claus becomes a central figure in the minds and hearts of children who believe in him. His arrival in the big Thanksgiving Day parade made it official. Designed to be visited primarily by children, Claus.com is packed with activities and opportunities to explore Santa's workshop. Check your Naughty or Nice rating, and meet the locals by selecting an Elf Buddy. Don't miss Santa's Magnetic Kinetic Hulla-Ballu toy-making machine, a device that answers any question we might have about what Mick Jagger has been up to these days. Make a point of enrolling in Elf School and be sure to print out an Honorary Elf Diploma, you never know when that might come in handy. This fun site also allows visitors a chance to e-mail Santa Claus, track the old man in his sleigh and even get the skinny on how many cookies he eats when he goes out every year. The graphics are fun and quite imaginative. Based on the corporate sponsors this year, Santa is probably expecting a lot of traffic so visit early for fast loading times.
For readers interested in the history of Santa Claus watch for episodes exploring the subject during the next few weeks. In the mean time have a look at the Walkabouts section of Walkabout Travel Gear (http://www.walkabouttravelgear.com/) (SdJotD 971114). The current feature is titled The Santa Claus Trail (http://www.walkabouttravelgear.com/santa.htm) and it looks at the modern day area of Turkey where Saint Nicholas was neither old nor terribly jolly. (Back to top of page)
(981128) Done Deal
Los Angeles, California, USA
As the Motion Picture Industry releases its holiday fare and box office totals start climbing in the last few weeks of the year there are plans brewing for seasons to come. A major feature makes big bucks for a studio during the initial screenings, where in most cases the theater screening Uncle Walt's latest venture doesn't see a dime from ticket sales, relying instead on concessions. These first few weeks can be crucial for a property, and more importantly the kinds of films the studios will make during the next year or two. Done Deal provides an insiders look at the business. Reports such as Recently Sold Scripts by J. Wolf give a movie fan the scoop on who has bought what, complete with basic premise information, the names of individuals signed for production and talent positions plus any important history of the scripts mentioned many times a script is never developed or gets knocked around from studio to studio in the hopes that it will/will not eventually be filmed. Interviewer World Wide Will talks with people in the industry, this time around it's Levy Antal, the Project Executive for Alliance Pictures, Los Angeles. For anyone interested in what happens on the other side of the projector these interviews are a good read and they will provide an additional view into the highly competitive business of movies. Other sections include rather complete listings of agencies and production companies, a book store, contests, archives and pointers to related sites. Less concerned with stars and actors, Done Deal is an excellent site to visit for the freshest industry news and word on projects still a long way from "Opening Soon." (Back to top of page)
(981129) Search Engines Worldwide
Search Engines Worldwide is part of Toyo Takakuwa's Home Page of Coal Mining Engineer (http://www.twics.com/~takakuwa/) and includes pointers to over 560 search engines in 112 countries. From Afghanistan to Yugoslavia, this comprehensive collection is one of the best around. The only problem with a site like this is that you are trapped in a frame, but for fast access to a multitude of search engines it works. Opening another window would certainly be an alternative to be considered for the Search Engines Worldwide interface. By sliding the left frame over you can maximize your view and conduct a search. Many engines list the URL of sites listed, a simple copy and paste into a new window will put Search Engines Worldwide into the background until you need it again. Worthy of a Bookmark for sure. (Back to top of page)
(981130) Radio Australia
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Originally Site du Jour of the Day
April 8, 1997
Before there was the Internet or satellite television, the best single source for international news was short wave radio. For many people in remote areas this is still the only way to receive news and entertainment without a great deal of effort and expense. As with the Internet, English was established as the "official" language of world radio due mainly to the BBC in London, the ABC in Australia and Americans phoning in reports from around the globe.
What you will find at this site is news from the Pacific Rim to include Japan, China, Thailand, Australia and all points in between, written in plain good English. For those of us living in the Western Hemisphere this is the place for Australian/Pacific news and information. Not just because it originates in Australia, but because it is part of the much larger Australian Broadcasting Corporation and is non-commercial. This source of public information is similar to PBS here in the United States and incidentally, is also facing the woes of budget cuts brought on by the Federal government.
The news is updated frequently at this site, sometimes as often as every five minutes. When I was last looking at the Australian news section (written April 8, 1997), a story about the resolution of a Federal court case over the ownership of intellectual property rights attached to the Aboriginal flag had just been posted. I would have never heard about this story with traditional newscasts in the USA, much less ever learned of the judgement. Indigenous artist Harold Thomas it was decided, does hold the copyright on the flag he created in 1971. The international coverage here is also unbiased and outstanding.
If you are interested in hearing these reports, ten minute (plus) RealAudio versions are available along with the schedules, programming information and short wave frequency listings for the world. (Back to top of page)
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Copyright 1998 Edward J. Pelegrino. All rights reserved.
Harpo, Trade and Service Marks used herein are the property of their respective owners.
Updated November 30, 1998
This Archive has been opened times since October 8, 1998.