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Site du Jour of the Day

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(990501) JustBalls!
http://www.justballs.com

Just Balls
Kingston, New Jersey, USA

This week a Site du Jour of the Day reader made a suggestion based on the fact that she saves the e-mail episodes for future reference. Looking for a specific site in the saved e-mail messages can be a challenge, one that many of us experience on a regular basis. Using the Find feature in an e-mail client can be time consuming and frustrating if the search phrase is not accurate (Search the Site du Jour of the Day Archives). It was suggested that the Subject line might include an actual subject instead of just the title and date. Starting with this episode, they will. Thanks for the great idea Tammy!

While on the topic of finding things, the folks at JustBalls! have more balls than any retail outlet I've ever seen. Billing themselves as the "Single Source for Sports, Toy, Recreational, Exercise, Promotional and Collectible Balls!" this online store has dozens of flavors of balls for everything from Badminton to Wallyball (which incidentally, was invented right here in Southwest Florida). They also carry playground balls, fitness equipment and ball accessories including carts and carriers. If you are not certain what it is you are looking for, the three step search tool here is pretty smart. After selecting a specific category it asks what sport or type of ball you need, who is playing by age and gender, and whether brand or price is more important. With those steps completed, clicking the "Show me the Balls!" button brings up a host of choices and descriptions. With volume discounts and shipping specials, they may well be "The Biggest Ball Store on The Net".  (Back to top of page)


(990502) Top News Photos
http://www.excite.com/photo

Excite Inc.
Redwood City, California, USA

Photographs of people and places in the news are assembled at this portion of the Excite site. Complete with a short description, each of these pictures from Reuters Limited (http://www.reuters.com/) fall into one or more of the following categories; Top News, Business, Disaster, Entertainment, International, and Sports. These are then broken down into sub-categories and in a completely different section, sorted by country. Pointers to the full story and related photographs are included making these pages as good or better than most daily newspapers when it comes to stories occurring during the last few days. The international coverage is excellent.  (Back to top of page)


(990503) ASE - Airport Search Engine
http://www.uni-karlsruhe.de/~un9v/atm/ase.html

Christian Segor
Karlsruhe, Germany

Search for airports around the world using either the IATA-identifier or location. The search can be as broad as country or as defined as the three letter identifier seen on luggage tags. Once the Airport Search Engine has found the particular facility you are looking for you can use the pointers to visit official and unofficial sites where available. For more information about airports large and small in the US, see Paulo Santos' AirNav (http://www.airnav.com/), pointers at the Airport Search Engine are included. AirNav uses FAA data and provides excellent technical data as well as maps and diagrams. Both sites are ideal for pilots, crew, tourists who are interested in what may be the only part of a region they get to see, and aviation buffs. There could be just a little too much information here for some passengers, but it sure is nice to have tools available for finding this stuff.  (Back to top of page)


(990504) A Forgotten America
Photos of Old Barns from America's farming past
http://shop-southwest-ok.com/america/

Oklahoma Online!
Lawton, Oklahoma, USA

There is something mighty appealing about the buildings on an old farm, they have a sort of organic quality about them. Maybe it comes from their original design and purpose, or that as they slowly fall apart they become part of the land again. Agriculture has not been a way of life for most American families for at least a century, and a trip to rural communities can often bring back memories from childhood when seeing a yard full of cows was really something. For people living on the land these crumbling structures represent a fading lifestyle, farm after farm being swallowed up by suburban sprawl, property values shooting up so high that farming the land becomes a money losing ordeal. Farmers in Oklahoma, where most of these pictures were taken remember the dust bowl even if they were born years later. Family traditions and stories telling of days past when the land gave up. It can be argued that farming is a science, but architecture and construction techniques used to build barns and the like certainly qualify as art. A Forgotten America celebrates the homestead and with photographs taken in Southwest Oklahoma along with contributions from other regions. As each year passes, fewer and fewer of these magnificent structures survive, sharing images of them with the world is a grand idea. This site may encourage visitors to take that snapshot seen every day on the way home — the old farm building about to fall over, or worse yet, get knocked over by the Meg-a-Lo Mart construction crew. Submissions are accepted and only add to an already beautiful collection of photographs.  (Back to top of page)


(990505) TheForce.net
Your Daily Dose of Star Wars
http://www.theforce.net/

Scott Chitwood
Darin Smith
Lewisville, Texas, USA

When The Phantom Menace, the prequel to the Star Wars series opens on May 19th it's probably safe to say that movie houses will be selling out everywhere. This long anticipated film will dominate box-office totals all summer and based on the excitement the merchandising has generated after going on sale Monday, the hype has only begun. For news and views about The Phantom Menace and other facets of everything Star Wars, TheForce.net is a must see. Originating as the Star Wars Page at Texas A&M in 1996, TheForce.net came into being during August 1997. Founders Darin Smith and Scott Chitwood have since been joined by eleven other fans who all make TheForce.net a spot worth visiting every single day. TheForce.net does a fantastic job bringing fresh news and views about Star Wars to fans and does so while honoring and protecting the copyright Lucasfilm Ltd. has on the property, something not often seen at fan sites. Even if you only have a passing interest in the Star Wars series, have a look at TheForce.net and the official Lucasfilm Ltd. site (http://starwars.com/). If this early information is any indication of how good The Phantom Menace is going to be we are all in for a treat.  (Back to top of page)


(990506) Answers from the Cologne Guy
http://www.cologneguy.com/

Todd Bennett
Concord, California, USA

Everything you've ever wanted to know about the perfume counter at the mall, but were afraid to ask. No propaganda from the fragrance industry. No special "free" gifts. No stinky teenagers. And contrary to the name of his site, Todd Bennett ain't even from Germany.  (Back to top of page)


(990507) Library Exhibits
A feature of UT Library Online
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/Exhibits/Exhibits.html

The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas, USA

University libraries have always been home to interesting collections and exhibits, as they tend to have highly unusual and specialized collection. Making such collections accessible to visitors via the Internet has helped to not only justify the existence of certain libraries, but has allowed researchers and regular people the opportunity to explore topics like never before. This collection at the University of Texas at Austin certainly qualifies as eclectic and with such exhibits as Border Cultures: Conjunto Music Index, From Printed Text to Digital Image : The General Libraries Preservation Program, projects and items of regional interest can be shared with the world. Of particular note are the documents in the Relaciones Geográficas dating back to the period between 1578 and 1586. A rich source of documentation from the Spanish invasion of Middle America. This collection amounts to a Spanish census and report to the Crown. A part of the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, this treasure is also available in printed form from the University of Texas Press.Public Domain material is also here in the Portrait Gallery. Hundreds of images of historical figures indexed in order by name are available. The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center's Gone With the Wind exhibit is outstanding too. Site du Jour of the Day reader Mike Baker suggested this site and stated that it has held his attention for hours. Have a look and see why.  (Back to top of page)


(990508) Buzzavox Global Voice Messages for Travellers:
stay in touch and create an audio CD travel journal
http://www.buzzavox.co.nz/

Buzzavox International Ltd.
Cambridge, New Zealand

In the old days of adventure and travel it would sometimes be months before the people at home would hear from family or friends on a trip. Postal cards and letter arrived long after the travelers arrived home and the only way to contact someone was to send a telegram or messenger. Telephones helped out but until recently, the cost of such calls was outrageous. E-mail and satellite networks have removed a lot of the sting from communicating with home while on the road but both require sophisticated equipment not always available. Most tourist destinations have telephones though and Buzzavox provides a really cool service without the hassle of coins or phone cards. By calling a toll-free number while visiting Australia, Canada, the Cook Islands, Denmark, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom or the United States, subscribers can leave a voice message for up to seven groups of people. All the recipients need to do is visit a special page on the Buzzavox site. Traditional voice mail messages can also be left for the traveler. Free e-mail messages alert list members of a new audio message from either end and although there is a per-minute charge for sending and listening to messages on the telephone or site, the charges really are not too steep. Depending upon the country the message is made in, current per-minute charges range from NZ$0.88 to NZ$2.65 (US$0.50 to US$1.35, more or less). There are other ways to keep an audio journal of travels, a small tape recorder or even a call home to an answering machine would do the trick quite well, but the broadcast capabilities of Buzzavox are perfectly suited for the spontaneity of travel. Perhaps the most novel aspect of Buzzavox is the availability of a custom Compact Disc containing all of your messages home. Sound files are written to a CD and mailed to you for a reasonable fee and the sound files can also be eventually incorporated into your own site. This is a neat service and the fact that it comes from New Zealand makes it all the more entertaining. Consider it for your next trip.  (Back to top of page)


(990509) All about Yvonne Craig
http://www.yvonnecraig.com/

YC/MC Ltd.
Danville, California, USA

Probably best known as Batgirl from the hit television show Batman, Yvonne Craig has personal appearance and fan club information at this official site. Content here doesn't amount to a whole lot at the moment, but there should be enough to keep visitors interested for at least a few minutes. Two sections have autographed photographs for sale at decent prices. Pictures of Yvonne Craig with the likes of Adam West, William Shatner, and Elvis Presley, all of whom she worked with. Any one of these photographs would make a great addition to your collection and with Father's Day coming up…  (Back to top of page)


(990510) Sign Up for Mars!
http://spacekids.hq.nasa.gov/2001/

a part of

SpaceKids - Space Science for Kids
http://spacekids.hq.nasa.gov/

Office of Space Science
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

On or about April 10, 2001 the Mars 2001 Orbiter will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This mission will be the first launch of a planet bound spacecraft from the US West Coast. A rover and lander will follow, being launched in late April or early May of 2001 from Cape Canaveral, Florida to touch down near the equator on Mars the following January. The lander and rover will collect data that are needed to start the process of human exploration of Mars. In addition to its scientific purpose, the lander will carry a Compact Disc with the names of children and adults who have signed up for the mission. Hoping to include several million names on the CD-ROM, NASA officials have put this page up for visitors wishing to send their name to Mars. The last time NASA did this with a Mars bound craft they included a total 932,816 names. You can also download a certificate in PDF format stating that you are on the way to Mars, the certificate is suitable for framing and would make for great fun in the classroom or office — "Hey kids, let's send the boss to Mars!" For more details on the mission, visit the Mars Surveyor 2001 home page (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/2001/).  (Back to top of page)


(990511) What To Do? Paper Projects
http://www.ptialaska.net/~bundyd/paper.html

Diane Bundy
Kenai, Alaska, USA

Designed primarily for educators and parents, Paper Projects is a collection of pointers to others sites that contain craft ideas for anyone who enjoys coloring and making things out of paper. Part of the much larger What To Do? (http://www.ptialaska.net/~bundyd/) site, there is so much available through these pages that keeping the kids busy on a rainy Saturday will never be a problem again. Even adults will find a distraction or two here with the recipes for "Sticky Gooey Fun Stuff." Many of the projects require a printer and adult interaction, but they all beat the heck out turning the kids into little TV zombies. The international sites are probably the best, adding to the adventure and learning possibilities. A big plus is in the fact that sites in other languages always talk about how well behaved the children are in that particular country, even when it's raining.  (Back to top of page)


(990512) Computer Incident Advisory Capability Security Website
http://ciac.llnl.gov/

Maintained by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy
Computer Security Technology Center
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Livermore, California, USA

A good e-mail hoax usually has one of several things going for it — a sad story or sick kid, an almost unbelievable gimmick or story from a reputable but unverified source, and maybe even an offer for something free. This is not to say that giveaways never occur, but in certain cases like the following message that I was curious enough about to visit one of the Miller sites (http://www.millerbrewing.com), nobody gives away the store. If the did they wouldn't use a tracker/counter embedded in a message, instead they would use a respond-o-matic forwarding reply clicker with the new 3811 coding embedded in the message.

_______________________________________

Hello:

We here at Miller Brewing Company, Inc. would like to help bring in the new millennium for everyone. We like to think of ourselves as a progressive company, keeping up with our customers. We have found the best way to do this via the Internet and email. Combining these things, we would like to make a special offer to our valued customers: If this email makes it to 2,000,000 people by 12:00 PM on New Year's Eve of 1999, we will send a coupon for one six-pack of any of our Miller Brand beverages. In the event that 2,000,000 people are reached, our tracker/counter, embedded in this message, will report to us with the list of names and email addresses. Thereafter, each email address will be sent an electronic coupon which you can print out and redeem at any Miller Brand beverage carrying store. The coupons will be sent as soon as 2,000,000 people are reached, so the sooner, the better.

Enjoy, and Cheers,

Gary D. Anderson, Chief Marketing Director
Miller Brewing Company, Inc.
http://www.millerbrewing.com

_______________________________________

Hoaxes like this are just a few of the items monitored and posted for the U.S. Department of Energy at the CIAC site. You will also find information about chain letters and other security related issues at the site along with pointers and sound advice on older virus warnings and scares. The virus section is no longer maintained but still houses a vast database of good information and active pointers to commercial software publishers selling anti-virus software and offering free update files to keep your machine safe.

In case you are wondering what Miller's reaction to the free beer hoax was, here is their press release.

My reaction to the free beer hoax? "Dang, no free beer".

_______________________________________

4/14/99

The recent chain E-mail message circulating through the online world suggesting that Miller Brewing Company will give out a free six-pack of beer to all members of the “chain” if the chain reaches 2,000,000 people by Dec. 31, 1999 is false. Unfortunately, we have been the victims of this online prank.

Modern technology is very powerful, however in this instance the power of E-mail and the Internet has been misused to circulate a misleading and false E-mail that did not come from Miller Brewing Company or any of our employees.

We operate in a very regulated environment where state and federal laws prohibit such a giveaway as the E-mail suggests. The Internet and E-mail has allowed us to do a lot of things, but checking ID’s and making sure someone is 21 isn’t one of them.

As much as any beer aficionado would enjoy a free six-pack of some of the world’s finest beer, we hate to disappoint the participants in the chain E-mail.

_______________________________________

 (Back to top of page)


(990513) Shel Silverstein's Adult Works
http://www.banned-width.com/welcome.html

Carol A.
Banned-Width
San Jose, California, USA

On Tuesday my buddy Soopafresh sent me a message which was a little upsetting. The message contained the URL for Shel Silverstein's Adult Works, the words to "I'm So Good I Don't Have To Brag" and also informed me of Shel Silverstein's death. Shel Silverstein's writing was an important part of childhood for many of us and his books "Where the Sidewalk Ends" and "A Light in the Attic" remain favorites to this day. What saddened me was the reminder that Shel Silverstein didn't just write for kids — his work for adults was always crafted with the same precision and wit he gave to kids. Sure the themes are far more mature, but by now we should be too. Shel Silverstein's Adult Works at Banned-Width.com is an unofficial site celebrating the man and his talent with lyrics, words, pictures and a slew of added surprises. I can remember the first time I read a Shel Silverstein book and how amazingly different it was from other things. That I still feel the same way about the author as a grown-up makes me hope he is in a good place. A forty foot high monument doesn't sound like such a bad idea.  (Back to top of page)


(990514) Red Wings Suck
http://www.redwingssuck.com/

Jeff Dobbs
Englewood, Colorado, USA

As the hockey season draws to a close and teams like the Detroit Red Wings are getting pounded with scores that look more like baseball than hockey it's a wonder that fans in Detroit still care. The Red Wings go years without even making it to the play-offs and then all of a sudden they win the Stanley Cup, hockey's big prize. The city and suburbs embrace sports teams when they are winning and all but ignore the teams who are not. It's a hoot to see people so caught up in the excitement, and what's more amazing is this anti-fan page making fun of fans and the team. You don't really need to know that much about the game to enjoy this site, hockey fans are rarely subtle about much. If you find humor at the eighth grade level acceptable then waste no more time reading this. A Top Ten List of why Red Wings Suck and a hilarious photo gallery are just the beginning. Not following the game or the team, a fair amount of the material here was wasted on me, but like watching someone fall on the ice, it's hard not to laugh at least a little bit. Red Wings fans and most Detroiters probably hate this site, all the more reason to visit. Thanks to TheREALJoeyP for suggesting it.  (Back to top of page)


(990515) Online Hieroglyphics Translator
http://www.quizland.com/hts/hts?hiero.hts

Robert Sherman Productions
Chatsworth, California, USA

Last Saturday night Jenni and I went to see The Mummy at the picture show. Aside from the couple behind us and their talking back and forth (he was translating from English for her) and the woman three empty seats away from them who just wouldn't shut-up, we had a good time. The house was packed so we couldn't move (really), and not to be too crabby about the whole distraction thing, I could have handled either of them alone but together it just bugged the heck out of me. Half way through the movie I realized that it could be worse — some geek could have brought a laptop computer with a cell modem in for the sole purpose of sharing with us all whether or not the Hieroglyphics were correct. Go see the movie, it wasn't half bad and take my word for it, bringing a gauze bandage to drape over your wife's shoulder at just the right time might sound like a great idea now, but you'll be in big trouble later on. Of course I did not do this but I did think about it. Jenni found it as amusing as I did when I told her about it after the show. Although her response would have been perfectly clear in any language. Do not do this! Think curse!

Online Hieroglyphics Translator is a part of QUIZLAND (http://www.quizland.com/) home of "The Best Quizshows, Puzzles, Fun and Games on the Web!" and unfortunately it only translates to Hieroglyphics. More useful for entertainment purposes than serious study, the translator is an interesting introduction to the form. Completely lacking details about the literal meaning of the Hieroglyphics might come as a disappointment to some, but other visitors will find the pictures fun. Either way it beats the stuffing out of hearing a mummy on the screen speaking ancient Egyptian and then having it translated to English for the people in the story and the audience not familiar with the language. I wonder how well this thing handles Spanish language words.  (Back to top of page)


(990516) 100 Canadians
Maclean's ranks the famous--and the forgotten--who most inspired the nation
http://www.macleans.ca/newsroom070198/cov1070198.html

Maclean's Magazine
Maclean Hunter Publishing Ltd.
Toronto Ontario, Canada

This piece from Maclean's Magazine (http://www.macleans.ca/index.stm) dates back to July 1, 1998 and profiles The 100 Most Important Canadians in History. Broken down into ten different categories, the list is an important document for and about Canadians.  (Back to top of page)


(990517) Sony Music Licensing
http://www.sonymusic.com/licensing/

Sony Music Entertainment Inc.
New York, New York, USA

Designed for people involved in the licensing of music for television and film, Sony Music Licensing makes quick work out of doing the research so often required to secure the use of a title. The Sony catalog includes recordings from such labels as Columbia, Epic, Sony Classical, Sony Music Nashville, Okeh, and Brunswick, to name a few and the diversity of talent is amazing. Searching the database is made all that much easier in that Thinkmap® Technology from Plumb Design is utilized in the same fashion as in the Plumb Design Visual Thesaurus (http://www.plumbdesign.com/thesaurus/ ) (SdJotD 990217). Select a single word subject and related subjects form around the original in what is best described as spokes. In another part of the page a list of titles and artists come up allowing further exploration or selection for licensing. Sound clips are even available for some of the tracks. In a press release, Kathe Malta who is Vice President of Music Licensing, Sony Music Entertainment said, "We are confident that we are offering the most innovative licensing interface designs together with the world's most extensive music catalog. We are very excited about the potential of this service." The ease of use at this site makes it ideal for people who work in the Entertainment Industry and retail conssumers as well. Pointers to the store@sonymusic.com (http://thestore.sonymusic.com/thestore/music.asp ) make buying Sony product easy. The Sony Music Licensing site is very cool.  (Back to top of page)


(990518) Golf Courses in New Jersey
http://www.state.nj.us/dca/njgolf.htm

State of New Jersey
Department of Community Affairs
Trenton, New Jersey, USA

_________________________________

Double Coupon Stores Across The U.S.
http://www.fluffynet.com/doubles/

Sherry Dedman-Sherritt
Redmond, Washington, USA

_________________________________

New Jersey State Legislature
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/

New Jersey Office of Legislative Services
Trenton, New Jersey, USA

_________________________________

Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses (elaws)
http://www.dol.gov/elaws/

United States Department of Labor
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

It's not terribly often that a reader requests a certain flavor of site, but that's exactly what happened in a recently received message. The subject line read "requesting help for the following 3 items" and the short, but adequately demanding unsigned message read in whole:

I need:

1. a site on the net that gives maps for various golf courses, especially New Jersey

2. a site on the net that lets consumers know when supermarkets in their area are having double or triple coupon sales for the week

3. a site on New Jersey labor laws

Not one to pass up a challenge, or the opportunity to do something different with Site du Jour of the Day, I decided to run the risk of becoming Mr. FindItForMe. Ten minutes later I knew more about New Jersey than some of the people who live there do. Using my current search engine of choice, Google! (http://google.com/) (SdJotD 990408), I was able to find the sites listed above using only a few key words and phrases.

Golf Courses in New Jersey is maintained by the State of New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and lists public and private golf courses and driving ranges by county. No maps to speak of, but included are telephone numbers for calling to get things like, say, directions. Search submitted — golf courses and new jersey.

Double Coupon Stores Across The U.S. is a part of Sherry Dedman-Sherritt's FluffyNet (http://www.fluffynet.com/), a site dedicated to pets and their well-being. Not only did I learn that all stores in Gloucester and Camden counties double all of the time up to fifty cents, but I also discovered that the Super Fresh store will only double three coupons per visit — it's probably best to pick good ones. The site covers the rest of the US just as well. Search words submitted — double coupons and new jersey.

The final two sites will require a little digging for specifics. The New Jersey State Legislature site has a section on Statutes, and Labor Laws unique to New Jersey will be there. Federal laws affecting New Jersey residents and the rest of us in this country can be found at the United States Department of Labor's Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses (elaws) site. Here visitors can locate information on a specific law or regulation using an interface that starts by asking about particular situations. The entire Department of Labor site is worth a visit (http://www.dol.gov/welcome.html) when you are done with these. Search words submitted — labor laws and new jersey.  (Back to top of page)


(990519) Beekeeping in New Zealand
http://www.beekeeping.co.nz/

Nick Wallingford
Wellington, New Zealand

There are a lot of things we don't often think about, and Beekeeping is probably one of those things. Beekeeping in New Zealand never once crossed my mind before finding this site, but then again, I'm not now, nor have I ever been a Beekeeper. For that matter, I've never been to New Zealand either. If any of us were one of the nearly 5,400 Beekeepers in New Zealand, we'd most likely know about this site and maybe even know that there were almost 300,000 colonies of kept bees in the country in 1998. That's plenty of bees if you think about it.

The Beekeeping in New Zealand site has all sorts of interesting information for Beekeepers and regular people. Visitors interested in the many clubs and associations for Beekeepers will find all sorts of things here including contact information for hundreds of Beekeepers around the world. Of interest to honey eaters is the section titled Sensory Profiles of New Zealand Monofloral Honey Varieties and just in case you were curious, the Rules of the National Beekeepers’ Association of New Zealand (Inc) are here too. A unique site and fantastic resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the people and bees who contribute in a big way to agriculture around the world.  (Back to top of page)


(990520) What To Do Before and After You Win the Lottery
http://www.note.com/note/pp/jackpot.html

Rob Sanford
Prosperity Partners, Inc.
a division of Note Worthy Service, Inc.
Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, USA

Lotto Fever is starting to show up again here in Florida this week. The big jackpot is estimated at 66 million dollars for the person or people who have the lucky numbers at 11pm on Saturday night. The prize may roll over as it has the past few weeks, and that would excite the folks who run The Florida Lottery (http://floridalottery.com/) to no end. Last week nobody won the 33 million dollars, the sum would probably pass 100 million if there is no winning ticket. Odds against picking the 6 numbers in the 1 through 49 game are almost 14 million to one. Nonetheless, people play like made when the 30 year payoff gets this high. The Lottery Commission has adopted a lump-sum payment method this year after watching firms like Prosperity Partners, Inc. buy the annuities from winners at serious profits. What To Do Before and After You Win the Lottery offers a great deal of interesting information and opinion about playing lotteries and investing/spending potential winnings. The company never offers legal advice or direct solicitation at the site, but they do present food for thought. Even if you never win a lottery there is quite a bit to be said for dreaming about it, even if it does cost a buck or two.  (Back to top of page)


(990521) The Obscure Store and Reading Room
http://www.obscurestore.com/

Jim Romenesko
Obscure Publications
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

Last week was an enjoyable news story week for me. Right along side the gloom and doom the wire services reported were two of my favorite types of stories. Either one of them would have been good enough, but to have them both happen in the same week was extra special. Many of us enjoy a particular type of news event, the sort that jump off the page for us or bring a smile when the morning drive radio news person reads them while pretending to be a real news reporter. For me, a good baby in the well story just makes my day. Sure it's a little morbid, but what fascinates me is how often this happens. Just what the heck is going on? Why do parents keep a big, wide-open hole in the yard when there are toddlers scooting around? A baby in the well story from last year gave me a little insight — an eight year-old boy was being tormented by neighbor kids and climbed up a tree to get away from his peers. In the rock throwing that ensued, the tree climber lost his balance from the mighty oak he was in, and crashed through the plywood cover which had up to that point saved him from falling in the well. The story went on to tell about how the family had lived in that house for a hundred years or more, and nothing like this had ever happened to them. It was bound to happen sooner or later, natural deselection had been patient for generations. The tree was about half as old as the well, so who in their right mind would let a tree grow that close to a perfectly good well? The second story is one that has been going on since the end of World War II — it may seem hard to believe, but Italy has a new president! On average this happens once a year, and although the exact count escapes me right now the number is up to something along the lines of fifty six. I've never taken the time to work out a correlation between the two events, but that they both continue to occur indicates that the grand cycle of the universe is working.

Jim Romenesko obviously has his own favorites, and they show up every day at The Obscure Store and Reading Room. Culled from various sources, pointers to news agencies, other publications and even stories about people and the odd situations they often find are here. Jim Romenesko has been responsible for more than a few of these glorious stories during the end of his stint as a police reporter, and currently as publisher of a periodical that looks at the culture of fanzines. Working for a real newspaper doesn't give him the opportunity to print the fun stuff every day, so he shares it here. Serious news addicts may find this material a little too fluffy but if you automatically start reading Section A from the back then you should take a look at The Obscure Store and Reading Room.  (Back to top of page)


(990522) Just Ask Jim!
Free advice and more.
http://www.justaskjim.com

Jim Dever
Seattle, Washington, USA

Sarcasm and traditional media have rarely ever meshed. Confusing people with smart doesn't play well with advertisers and individuals like Jim Dever are forced to use other outlets in their spare time for that purpose. Just Ask Jim! is a humorous stab at the advice column format made popular by such Grand Dames as Miss Manners and the Van Buren Sisters. As Co-host of a show for teens called Watch This! and segment reporter for Evening Magazine on Seattle's KING 5 television, the material here isn't quite as acrid as it could be. It'll do though. In addition to answering letters, the site also hosts such nutty sections as The Weird Holidays Web Site, Sean Connery's Standup Act, The Sexy Jim Web Site (gabba-gabba-hey!), Winged Vacuum Cleaner, plus Bill and Monica's Secret Phone Call. Similar in style (without all of that serious content) to The Obscure Store and Reading Room (http://www.obscurestore.com/) (SdJotD 990521), Just Ask Jim! is the perfect opportunity for visitors to ask those pesky questions piling up in the back of the brain.  (Back to top of page)


(990523) STAR WARS
See it again, for the first time!
http://www.fortunecity.com/tatooine/lucas/339/page1.html

Simon Jansen
Auckland, New Zealand

Presented in stunning ASCIIMATION, Simon Jansen has put together an impressive interpretation of the first Star Wars movie. Best viewed with a Netscape browser supporting Java 1.1, this wide-screen (1024x768) extravaganza will have you looking at regular text in a completely different way once you've seen it. The hype surrounding the new Star Wars movie has left more than a few of us longing for a simpler time, a time when our imaginations were used to fill in the holes left by character graphics and the technique of blue screen photography was marvelous. In his spare time, Simon Jansen has assembled over 9,000 frames of ASCII text which play back at 15 frames per second giving the world nothing less than stunning ASCIIMATION. Thanks to Soopafresh for suggesting this chunky slab of low-tech cinema.  (Back to top of page)


(990524) EscapeArtist
http://www.escapeartist.com/

Escape Artist.com Inc.
Panama, Republic of Panama

EscapeArtist is a site and magazine geared toward individuals interested in investment and employment opportunities outside of the United States. Emigration information, world newspapers, and communication tools are just the beginning at this site. Peter Fletcher, a reader in Australia suggested EscapeArtist's Stock Markets of the World Listed by Country in Alphabetical order (http://www.escapeartist.com/stock/markets.htm) and wrote that it "…does seem to contain links to every stock exchange in the world, which is quite fun if you're into finance". Even if offshore investments are not a strategy you are currently utilizing, a visit to this section alone will present an eye-opening look at the global economy. EscapeArtist looks at other aspects of international trade from the viewpoint of the individual. Corporate giants have armies of people specializing in international trade, but someone without the vast resources and contacts will fare poorly on his or her own. EscapeArtist attempts to work around that limitation, helping fortune seekers and expatriates alike. EscapeArtist is an excellent world resource for anyone even remotely toying with the idea of relocation.  (Back to top of page)


(990525) Prevention of Choking in Young Children
http://www.cps.ca/english/statements/AP/ap90-01.htm

Injury Prevention Committee
Canadian Paediatric Society
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

During the weekend, a woman my wife Jenni works with was babysitting. While watching her 16 month-old nephew, Laura (her real name) had a scare that will last the rest of the year. Laura's young charge started choking while doing whatever it is curious 16 month-olds do on rainy Saturday afternoons. Quickly taking a course of action saved the child's life. Performing the Heimlich Maneuver on a young child can be dangerous, but in this particular case it worked. Prevention of Choking in Young Children is a part of the huge Canadian Paediatric Society (http://www.cps.ca ) site and this section details First Aid techniques. Even more importantly, steps which can be taken to avoid choking hazards all together. For adult choking victims, the Heimlich Maneuver has saved countless lives since being developed by Henry Heimlich, M.D. in 1974. An informative piece on learning the life-saving squeeze can be found in 2torial #0723: Learn2 Perform the Heimlich Maneuver (http://www.learn2.com/07/0723/0723.html) at Learn2.com (SdJotD 980619)

To hear Laura tell the story about saving her nephew's life is something else. Imagine telling your own sister that her child was choking while she was out. Imagine further the look on your sister's face when you tell her that the child would have choked to death had you not performed the Heimlich Maneuver on him. When she finally asks about what he was choking on, try and keep a straight face — "Well, you see, somehow he had a tree frog stuck in his throat".  (Back to top of page)


(990526) Andy's Amazing Card Trick
http://members.tripod.com/~andybauch/magic.html

Andy Bauch
Traer, Iowa, USA?
hosted by Tripod, Inc.
Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA

With the help of Sparky the Las Vegas goldfish, Andy's Amazing Card Trick will leave you astounded. When you are done here, shuffle on over to Andy's Page Of Funny Stuff (http://members.tripod.com/~andybauch/) for a full house of crazy lists and humor. Andy's Page Of Funny Stuff is where a lot of the stuff that has been forwarded in e-mail messages ultimately lands.  (Back to top of page)


(990527) The Official French Fries Pages
http://www.tx7.com/fries/

select ware, inc.
Astoria, New York, USA

Call 'em whatever you like, French Fries have almost gained the distinction of having their own food group by now. Potato slices fried up nice and crispy in animal fat or vegetable oil (or both), the average person eats enough French Fries in their lifetime to say they ate a whole lot of French Fries. Through The Official French Fries Pages you'll learn about everything from the hotly debated origin of the tasty treat to the crazy way they cook French Fries in Quebec. Similar to Dan Eisenreich's The Rhubarb Compendium (http://www.rhubarbinfo.com/) (SdJotD 980617), here's a set of pages that will give you more than you've ever wanted to know about a single food item. Thanks to Site du Jour of the Day reader Mike Baker who suggested The Official French Fries Pages. Mike knows even without trying it why you should never stand on the fryer to clean the hood.  (Back to top of page)


(990528) The Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave
http://www.culture.fr/culture/arcnat/chauvet/en/gvpda-d.htm

Regional Department of Archaeology
Regional Direction for Cultural Affairs - Rhône-Alpes region
French Ministry of Culture and Communication
Paris, France

Rediscovered in 1994 by Mr. Jean-Marie Chauvet, Mrs. Eliette Brunel-Deschamps and Mr. Christian Hillaire, the cave in the Ardèche region of France at Vallon-Pont-d'Arc contains over 400 works of Paleolithic art. Dating back almost 32,000 years, the paintings and other images remained untouched until recent times. This section of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication (http://www.culture.gouv.fr/) site has a photo album plus information about the study and discovery of these important artifacts, pointers to related sites are here as well. This look back in time may prove to shake up what we as a society think about primitive man, and ultimately what we think about art in general.  (Back to top of page)


(990529) Dr. Excel
http://drexcel.com/

Jason Szumlanski
Fort Myers, Florida, USA

Through examples and articles, Dr. Excel brings his knowledge and skills in using Microsoft Excel (http://www.microsoft.com/excel/) to the world. Excel is powerful spreadsheet program used by many people and mastered by few. Intimidation is probably the largest factor people face when learning how to use the program, through tips and downloadable examples Dr. Excel can help. The motto "Impress your boss… Impress your peers… Impress your clients…" is used here and while the sentiment is sound, the opportunity to learn the program for your own good might be the best reason to visit Dr. Excel. Sign up for the free Dr. Excel e-mail newsletter if you like what you see here.  (Back to top of page)


(990530) International String Figure Association
http://darsie.ucdavis.edu/string/

International String Figure Association
Pasadena, California, USA

Members of The International String Figure Association gather string figure lore and methods for entertainment and preservation. Founded in 1978 by Hiroshi Noguchi and Philip Noble, the ranks continue to grow, sharing new techniques and information along the way. This site has pointers to other string figure sites, discussion groups and a lot more. If you remember playing Cat's Cradle and are ready for additional fun then this is a great starting place — it's good to see this ancient tradition as vibrant and fresh as ever.  (Back to top of page)


(990531) Impressions: 250 Years of Printing in the Lives of Canadians
http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/events/twofift/eimprint.htm

Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada,
as represented by the National Library of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

It has become almost impossible for us to view the printed page with the sense of importance once bestowed upon it. With all of the marvels of modern technology, the composition and reproduction of information has become so common that grade school children can assemble small books and distribute them in one day. The task of writing this episode, sending it out around the world, and having every recipient print it out would make a typesetter of a century ago ill. Manually setting each letter into a frame was the largest delay, imagine the challenge of eliminating an entire paragraph from a book just minutes before a press deadline. This freedom and flexibility have lead to a greater sum of printed material, but what of the actual content? Impressions: 250 Years of Printing in the Lives of Canadians explores the art and technology of Canadian printing in an incredible exhibit. Significant innovations, ranging from the use of wood pulp for paper to the very idea of giving children literature which they themselves could read are on display here. Similar to the Melbourne Museum of Printing (http://yarra.vicnet.net.au/~typo/) (SdJotD 970729), this exhibit at The National Library of Canada (http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/ehome.htm) contains many more historically important documents and examples of printing. Since 1751 printing has been a major industry in Canada, and this text heavy site celebrates that heritage. Anyone who is interested in communications regardless of the form should spend time reading this material, a visit to The National Library of Canada in Ottawa would be that much better. A big paper cut of thanks to johnnyp for suggesting this one.  (Back to top of page)


 

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Copyright 1999 Edward J. Pelegrino. All rights reserved.
Harpo, Trade and Service Marks used herein are the property of their respective owners.

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Updated May 31, 1999

This Archive has been opened counter times since May 9, 1999.

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