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 The

Site du Jour of the Day

Archive for

November 2000

Featuring the Fourth Annual Site du Jour of the Day Holiday Shopping Guide,
Ballad of Bah! Humbug!

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For a wide selection of Music, Movies, and More


(001101) The Official Carol Kaye Web Site
http://carolkaye.com/

Carol Kaye
Canyon Country, California, USA

If you have the opportunity to visit the Experience Music Project (http://www.emplive.com/) (SdJotD 000626) in Seattle on the 3rd or the 4th you are in for a treat. Carol Kaye is scheduled to present a seminar on Friday, and a JBL Soundlab on Saturday. Even if you are unfamiliar with the name Carol Kaye it is more than a sure bet that you have heard her work. Carol Kaye has over 10,000 sessions to her credit. The Bass and/or Guitar parts you hear on many of the classic records by Brook Benton, the Beach Boys, Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Sam Cooke, Johnny Mathis, Nancy Sinatra, and Frank Zappa were performed by Carol Kaye. Motion picture and television soundtrack work has included memorable themes from the Addams Family, the Brady Bunch, Hawaii 5-O, Ironside, Kojak, Mission Impossible, Room 222, and Wonder Woman. The Official Carol Kaye Web Site has audio tracks that will aid listeners in discovering the style and diversity of Carol Kaye's talent, and could help explain why you've always heard a similarity between Ritchie Valens' version of La Bamba and many of the hits produced by Phil Spector. Also included are photographs galore, information about instructional packages and playing tips, plus samples from current projects. Since 1958 Carol Kaye has been an important part of recorded music and this site will be a pleasure for new and old fans alike.  (Back to top of page)


(001102) SendSpot
mail, packages, e-mail, faxes, fulfillment, direct mail and more.
http://www.sendspot.com/

HomeworkSpot
homework help, science fair projects, math, english, foreign languages and more.
http://www.homeworkspot.com/

StartSpot Mediaworks, Inc.
Evanston, Illinois, USA

It's probably not fair to the folks at StartSpot Mediaworks, Inc. to feature both SendSpot and HomeworkSpot in the same episode, but as far as portals go, the two are great. SendSpot is geared toward anyone who sends stuff — packages, e-mail, bills, business or personal letters, gifts, etc. Chock-full of pointers to sites offering free e-mail accounts, electronic greeting cards, moving services, and instant messaging services SendSpot is without a doubt a bookmark that will be accessed many times. If SendSpot is intended for responsible adults, then HomeworkSpot is for responsible children. Primary school students and their parents or teachers looking for reliable and informative sites ideal for research and assistance will find the value of HomeworkSpot immediately. Three main categories offer launching points for elementary, middle, and high school students with a number of subjects from which to choose. Adults too will find things that they didn't know they were looking for at HomeworkSpot, making it an ideal destination to share with the kids. SendSpot and HomeworkSpot are just two of the StartSpots maintained by StartSpot Mediaworks, Inc. — the others are BookSpot (http://www.bookspot.com/); CinemaSpot (http://www.cinemaspot.com/); EmploymentSpot (http://www.employmentspot.com/); GourmetSpot (http://www.gourmetspot.com/); GovSpot (http://www.govspot.com/); LibrarySpot (http://www.libraryspot.com/); MuseumSpot (http://www.museumspot.com/); PeopleSpot (http://www.peoplespot.com/); ShoppingSpot (http://www.shoppingspot.com/); and TripSpot (http://www.tripspot.com/). Each has the same high quality standards and a free newsletter as well.  (Back to top of page)


(001103) NASA Technology Portal
http://nasatechnology.nasa.gov/

CSC - CAPSS Information Management Team
Langley Research Center
Hampton, Virginia, USA

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

This new portal combines headlines and technology resources from every corner of NASA into an often amazing look at the future. Technology is one of the primary reasons for the existence of NASA in the first place, and there are new developments being made every day. Past visitors to the different NASA sites are certain to appreciate the NASA Technology Portal. With pointers to breaking technology news, schedules of upcoming Shuttle launches, video clips from NASA-TV, and of course sites for the various centers, this is bound to become a favorite for a lot of people. Perhaps even a start-up page. Make sure to enjoy it with the kids and grandkids.  (Back to top of page)


(001104) Kingdomality
What is your Medieval Vocational Personality?
http://www.cmi-lmi.com/kingdomality.html

Career Management International, Inc.
Houston, Texas, USA

More cute than practical, The Kingdomality Personal Preference Profile is a series of eight questions designed to give visitors an idea about what line of work they may have followed in medieval Europe. For entertainment purposes only, The Kingdomality Personal Preference Profile is part of the site for Career Management International, Inc. (http://www.cmi-lmi.com/), a firm offering human resource services and solutions. The Kingdomality Personal Preference Profile is "…a fun way to gain a broader understanding of the basic complementary personality styles and types that help determine each individual's vocational interests". There are only eight questions to answer and it doesn't require registration. Thanks to Sally Horstman for the suggestion.  (Back to top of page)


(001105) Flags of the Native Peoples of the United States
http://hometown.aol.com/Donh523/navapage/index.htm

Don Healy
Trenton, New Jersey, USA

Originally published by The North American Vexillological Association (http://www.nava.org/) in the third/fourth issue of RAVEN - NAVA's scholarly journal of vexillology, the study of flags, their history, and symbolism, Flags of the Native Peoples of the United States is an attempt by author Don Healy to duplicate the information from that out of print volume. The print version covered 142 tribes and associations and documented 172 flags. This site has a way to go to reach the full number but allows Don Healy an opportunity to spread out and include additional information. Far more than a simple gallery, Flags of the Native Peoples of the United States contains images and background material including groupings by nation and location. International coverage includes peoples from Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, and Australia.  (Back to top of page)


(001106) Dictionary.com
http://www.dictionary.com/

Thesaurus.com
http://thesaurus.com/

Lexico, LLC
Venice, California, USA

It's possible that you have a paper version of a dictionary right there by the computer, but on occasion its easier to go to a site that will help you do the same thing than it is to poke through a musty old book. Dictionary.com and the companion site, Thesaurus.com might be the solution. Both offer a cool set of tools including resources in languages other than English. The free Word of the Day e-mail message looks handy as well. Readers who use Sherlock on their Macintosh computers may be interested in setting up the Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com plug-ins available here as free downloads (http://www.dictionary.com/mac/sherlock.html). Thanks to TheREALJoeyP for the suggestion.  (Back to top of page)


(001107) The Atlanta Roadways Digest (TARD)
http://www.tardsite.com/

Benjamin Chan
Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA

Living in Lee County, Florida where the median age is 60 years-old, driving has a unique set of challenges. You laugh because you know what it's like to drive with them, but we have to drive behind your parents or grandparents should they be here in Florida. I have a rule — if you can see short hair and big ears on the driver up ahead, keep a safe distance. The person in question is either a young and inexperienced punk kid, or some old coot who cannot wait to tell his golfing buddies about the fancy four lane left-turn she pulled off on the way to the proctologist's office. It all comes with the territory, I'm resigned to the fact that the major natural disasters which occur in the state where I live are hurricanes and bad drivers. Some of the old folks would have no independence if they couldn't drive, and the younger kids are still learning. It's the people in the middle of those age groups that should know better yet we often make things worse. Hang up the phone and drive. Don't think that gramps is going to drive any faster if you come up behind him like a bat out of hell, he probably doesn't even see you. And as difficult as it may be, when you are attempting to pull out on to a busy highway please try not to let all of that open space behind the oncoming traffic confuse you. We all do stupid things while driving and maintain that we are better than that, but think twice next time. Better yet, just think.

Now that that's done, have a look at The Atlanta Roadways Digest (TARD). TARD is a fine collection of images and commentary from Benjamin Chan. Benjamin Chan is such a good driver that taking pictures of other cars and situations while driving is no problem whatsoever. Capturing images of bad drivers in and around Metropolitan Atlanta, or any overpopulated place for that matter, is akin to shooting fish in a barrel. What sets TARD apart is that it gives us an opportunity to laugh at the misfortunes and stupidity of others while satisfying that urge we all have to look at bad wrecks every now and then. Bottom line — if you feel that you drive well a visit to TARD will either reconfirm or shatter that belief. If you happen to find the 14½ MPH traffic sign amusing in the Southern Accents section of TARD, rest assured that you'll fit right in when it comes your turn to enjoy the Florida Manufactured Home Lifestyle. Thanks to Phil Konstantin for suggesting this amusing site.  (Back to top of page)


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(001108) Turn Fast : In-Car Video
http://www.turnfast.com/tech_practice/practice_video.lasso

an article at

Turn Fast : Road Racing Resource Center
http://www.turnfast.com/

Greg Willits
Anaheim, California, USA

Yesterday's episode of Site du Jour of the Day looked at Benjamin Chan's The Atlanta Roadways Digest (TARD) (http://www.tardsite.com/) (SdJotD 001107). Unintentionally, I left out an important piece of information regarding the methods used to get pictures of bad drivers. As Benjamin explained in a message, "I am now using a video camera which I mount on a tripod that is fixed in a stationary position inside my vehicle (in the rear passenger area). I just let the camera record continuously as I drive, then extract still photos from the tape using a video capture device on my computer. This is obviously much safer, as I no longer need to manually operate anything (besides the car) while driving".

The use of motion picture cameras in automobiles probably goes back to the days when both inventions were new, the advent of video equipment opened up an entire industry. Law enforcement agencies started to use the technology on a regular basis in the early 1990s, recording traffic stops for evidence. Motor Racing has also used the tool quite effectively. Turn Fast : In-Car Video is one of 45 Technical Articles (http://www.turnfast.com/technical.lasso) in the Practice Sessions section (http://www.turnfast.com/tech_practice/practice.lasso) of Turn Fast! Road Racing Resource Center. While the content here is intended for a different class of driver, there are a lot of good ideas for improving your skills behind the wheel. At speeds rarely achieved on the open road, these drivers face a completely different set of challenges each time out. Turn Fast : In-Car Video, like the rest of the articles here, contains several techniques that could be useful for anyone who drives.  (Back to top of page)


(001109) U. S. Electoral College
http://www.nara.gov/fedreg/elctcoll/

Federal Register
National Archives and Records Administration
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

As this is written, the recounting of ballots here in Florida continues making this the most bizarre Presidential Election in the history of the United States of America. At stake are the 25 Electoral Votes carried by the State of Florida. This section of the Federal Register at the National Archives and Records Administration (http://www.nara.gov/fedreg/index.html) was going to be featured as the Site du Jour of the Day yesterday, but I decided against running it. The election was still up for grabs at that point, as it is on Wednesday evening but the importance of the Electoral College has never been more ominous so here it is. The press here made mistakes galore declaring a winner, and the call for reforms in the system are probably going to be loud and clear when all is said and done. The Electoral College will take a fair number of hits to be sure, and this set of pages not only explains the procedures involved in electing a President, but presents a slew of historical data going back to the year 1789. Oddly enough, 1,789 is roughly the number of Florida voters who tipped the balance the first time around. For up to date results and stories about the outcome of this and other races, see the Election 2000 pages at CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com/).  (Back to top of page)


(001110) BBC News | AMERICAS
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/americas/default.stm

a section of

BBC News Online
http://news.bbc.co.uk/

British Broadcasting Corporation
London, England

When we hear about elections taking days, mystery ballots turning up forcing all of the ballots to be recounted we do not usually think of the United States. The saga continues kids, now it's about poorly designed but clearly marked ballots making voters punch their ballots twice. Absentee ballots still in the mail will no doubt change the current 229 vote lead in this race. Another mystery here, where did an astonishing 2,900 votes come from in the recount. Perhaps a second recount is in order just to make sure the numbers are correct. The events of this election keep getting stranger and stranger and it would seem that the world may share the same view. BBC News | AMERICAS covers developing stories and carries in-depth reports about things going on in North and South America, Election 2000 is at the top of the heap. US visitors may appreciate the fresh perspective offered by BBC News Online, especially in light of the fact that there probably will not be much new on this story at home over the weekend.  (Back to top of page)


(001111) AlterNet.org
Independent News & Information
http://www.alternet.org/

Independent Media Institute
San Francisco, California, USA

The AlterNet Syndication Service provides material for over 150 magazines, newspapers, and sites. With the style of content once limited to underground publications, Independent Media Institute is using AlterNet.org to provide equal access to opinions and stories that don't sell soap. Subscription options include reprint rights, private, and institutional research permissions. Many of the top stories are available as either headlines by e-mail or as complete packages at this site. Suggested by Sally Horstman who forwarded a pointer to "Fireworks Fly as Clinton Speaks to Pacifica Radio" (http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=10067). The story by Don Hazen includes an extremely open interview President Clinton gave to Amy Goodman and Gonzalo Aburto at WBAI in New York on Election Day. It's coverage like this that sets AlterNet apart from more tame syndicates, and whether you agree with the opinions and viewpoints or not, it's good to see this level of detail.  (Back to top of page)


(001112) New on The Virtual Gramophone
November 2000
The First World War Era (1914-1918)

http://www2.nlc-bnc.ca/gramophone/src/1e.htm

The Virtual Gramophone:
Canadian Historical Sound Recordings
National Library of Canada
Government of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Originally featured as Site du Jour of the Day on November 30, 1999, The Virtual Gramophone: Canadian Historical Sound Recordings (http://www2.nlc-bnc.ca/gramophone/) (991130) is an audio gallery of pieces from the Recorded Sound Collection at the National Library of Canada. This project explores the finest works from Canadian performers and Canadian record companies and in commemoration of Remembrance Day on November 11, nearly 270 pieces of music have been added as RealAudio streams. The additions include patriotic and parlour songs, sacred music, and novelty numbers, all from the period surrounding the First World War. A high-point of the newly remastered and restored recordings are those from an entertainment troupe popular at the time, the Dumbells. Although the majority of recordings were influenced by events surrounding the war, the collection also reflects stylistic changes that were showing up in popular music at the time. The evolution of Vaudeville routines, Tin Pan Alley numbers, Dance-Band records, and Jazz beginnings are evident. Biographies and artwork from sheet music and records can also be enjoyed. This project continues to improve, especially with major additions such as this. Highly recommended. Thanks to johnnyp for news about the update.  (Back to top of page)


Ballad of
Two snowpeople tugging a banner which reads Bah! Humbug!

Every year at this time retailers gear up for the holiday rush, both in their stores and at their sites. This theme week, titled Ballad of Bah! Humbug! looks at sites offering goods and services. For the first time in this annual series, certain featured sites have been suggested by Site du Jour of the Day readers. Site du Jour of the Day does not have a direct affiliation with any of the businesses featured in this series so as always, use your best judgement if ordering from them. For a look back at Bah! Humbug! sites from years gone by, see the Site du Jour of the Day Archives for November 1997 (http://sdjotd.tripod.com/9711.htm), November 1998 (http://sdjotd.tripod.com/1998/9811.htm), and November 1999 (http://sdjotd.tripod.com/1999/9911.htm).

 

(001113) BestBuy.com
http://www.bestbuy.com/

Best Buy Co., Inc.
Eden Prairie, Minnesota, USA

For consumer electronics, music, computers, and software, Best Buy stores have taken the US market by storm. Operating 350 retail stores in 39 states, these large and sometimes loud stores carry brand names, deep music catalogs, and a wide variety of items at highly competitive prices. Over the past few months, BestBuy.com has been ramped up to include many of the same departments as the physical stores. Like the stores where certificates are printed for consumers at the registers, manufacturer rebates are available and clearly marked in the descriptions accompanying items available at the site — you'll need to print the forms yourself though. Orders placed this season receive free ground shipping in the US, a trend many retailers will be using to get business. A nice feature for shoppers at BestBuy.com is the option to pick up orders placed at the site at the store of your choice. Ideal for people with gift-giving confederates across the state or across the country or if you would like to just stop by the local Best Buy store to pick up an order and avoid the masses. My personal experiences with Best Buy and BestBuy.com have been pleasant, the deals have sometimes been outrageous (lots of loss-leaders), and rebates swift. Because of the size of the stores and the current mentality of minimum-wage troopers everywhere, a clerk isn't always immediately available, so having a good idea of what it is you're after helps. Best Buy recently opened a location here in Fort Myers, Florida, which saves a special trip to the Sarasota or Tampa area stores. Even without the new location I shop BestBuy.com on a regular basis, especially now that the newer stores do not carry and have lost the draw associated with overstock/out-of-print (cut-out) Compact Discs. BestBuy.com is open all of the time and has become the perfect solution for consumers who would otherwise have to travel to shop with Best Buy. If you couldn't tell, I like these stores.  (Back to top of page)


(001114) Worldwide Internet Music Resources
Retail Music Products, Stores, and Services

http://www.music.indiana.edu/music_resources/retail.html

William and Gayle Cook Music Library
Indiana University School of Music
Bloomington, Indiana, USA

You'll need to do a little bit of work to use this site for your shopping, unless a serious education is on someone's list this year. The Indiana University School of Music (http://www.music.indiana.edu/) would certainly be a good choice for that. As part of the Worldwide Internet Music Resources (http://www.music.indiana.edu/music_resources/) at the site for the William and Gayle Cook Music Library (http://www.music.indiana.edu/muslib.html), the Retail Music Products, Stores, and Services page is an incredible tool for turning up the unusual. The annotated list of over 450 music retail sites includes such gems as John M. DeVries' 102 Trombone, Trumpet, French Horn Quartets and Jazz Books (http://idt.net/~jonra19/); Daddy's Junky Music Stores' Used Gear by Mail (http://www.ugbm.com/); Fred's Records (http://www.freds.nf.ca/) specializing in music from Newfoundland and other parts of Canada; and Jewish Music Tapes and CDs (http://www.jerusalembooks.com/tapes.htm) from Mount Zion Books in Jerusalem. From the smallest of specialty sites to the giant retailers, this is an impressive collection. Be sure to see the rest of the Worldwide Internet Music Resources pages while you are here.  (Back to top of page)


(001115) Coldwater Creek
http://www.coldwatercreek.com/

Coldwater Creek, Inc.
Sandpoint, Idaho, USA

Specializing in women's apparel, women's accessories along with home and gift items, Coldwater Creek carries items that are both rustic and sophisticated at the same time. Site du Jour of the Day reader Diana Britt wrote in with a number of good things to say about Coldwater Creek, especially the convenience of a tool called Instant Help. Diane described Instant Help as "a sort of 'instant messaging' feature that allows you to interact with a real live customer service representative to get more information on a product or help selecting the right item". Adding that "The quality of their merchandise is very high, shipping is prompt and returns are handled with no hassle". (The order I placed was delivered in two days with standard shipping! - Ed). The well organized site is a pleasure to navigate, visitors will know almost immediately if the Coldwater Creek product line holds the right gift — narrowing down the choices is another subject. Bargain hunters will appreciate the Outlet @ the Creek where items can be as low as 40% of their original catalog prices.  (Back to top of page)


(001116) FragranceNet.com
The World's Largest Discount Fragrance Store
http://www.fragrancenet.com/

FragranceNet.com, Inc.
Hauppauge, New York, USA

The purchase of fragrances can be a daunting task at times, and all the kids playing at the perfume counter at the mall can make it unbearable. When seeking a fragrance out for presentation as a gift, it's really quite easy to find the right flavor and dosage. The trick is to look at the nearly empty bottles wherever s/he keeps them. The bold can ask what the scent is but that's dangerous — and now it's far too late to even try. If the gift is intended for someone special, say a significant other or a parent not only do you need to get it right, but their favorite fragrance is something you should have committed to memory. That's where FragranceNet.com comes in handy, they carry over 3,300 brand name fragrances. Suggested by Joanne Traeger who wrote, "They have the largest selection of fragrances of any fragrance site I have found. They also stock hard to find perfumes (even some that are not available [here] in Australia!)". Not only is the selection wide, FragranceNet.com will beat any competitor's price by 5%. A nice feature is the Reminder Club, enter a few details and when the special event is on the horizon, FragranceNet.com sends you a message. The product line and site contains women's fragrances, men's fragrances, scented candles, and a section for gift sets and specials. Joanne adds that, "Their customer service department is also very good. One time the wrong item was shipped to me but with one e-mail everything was attended to immediately. Very impressive! I love this site (and I love Perfume!!)". Offering free gift wrapping and a bonus gift with every order, FragranceNet.com also makes e-mail gift certificates available for the uncertain. How romantic. No imitations or knock-offs here, and the free standard shipping to addresses in the US is a nice touch.  (Back to top of page)


(001117) The Onion's Online Store
http://store.theonion.com/

The Onion | America's Finest News Source
http://theonion.com/

Onion, Inc.
Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Before the Internet was ever invented or the Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers there was this little newspaper published in Madison, Wisconsin that kept university students amused. The content of The Onion then was very much like it is today, the stories all make fun of stuff. Headlines at The Onion during the past week and a half have been remarkably clever, "Recount Reveals Nader Defeated," "NBC News Reverses Earlier Report Of Gore's Death," and the story that may be one of the funniest pieces of the entire year, "Serbia Deploys Peacekeeping Forces To U.S. — BELGRADE--Serbian president Vojislav Kostunica deployed more than 30,000 peacekeeping troops to the U.S. Monday, pledging full support to the troubled North American nation as it struggles to establish democracy…". Ripe with satire intended for readers over the age of 18, The Onion is smart enough to replace those humor publications that have come and gone before them. In the hearts and minds of modern-day wiseacres everywhere The Onion rules.

Many Site du Jour of the Day readers are already familiar with The Onion, and may be wondering why they are being mentioned in a holiday shopping guide. The answer is simple, have you ever considered giving a gift subscription of the print version of The Onion to grandma? While there may not be a Large Print Edition (yet) it's the perfect time to give a subscription. For a mere $39.95 you'll get one full year of The Onion. That's 46 issues at less than 87¢ a piece! The regular US subscription rate is $50. Unfortunately, The Onion isn't running their Holiday Subscription Special for Canadian (US$110) or International (US$200) orders, but all new subscribers will receive a spiffy Onion logo Tee-shirt. Other Onion branded merchandise is available for gift-giving as well. If not for grandma, maybe a subscription for the office, a sibling, or even your local public library would be in order.  (Back to top of page)


(001118) Fairytale Brownies
The Greatest Brownies In All Of Fairyland
http://brownies.com/

Fairytale Brownies, Inc.
Chandler, Arizona, USA

Combine "Belgian chocolate, fresh eggs, real creamery butter, fluffy cake flour and just enough sugar for the perfect sweetness" using a fifty year-old recipe and you come up with Fairytale Brownies. Eileen Spitalny and David Kravetz have been friends since childhood, and after stealing an old family recipe from David's mother back in 1992 the two have turned a love for chocolate into a thriving business. Food is a wonderful gift idea, especially for business, and a visit to the Fairytale Brownies site is enough to send blood glucose levels racing. This year, instead of the usual meat log or popcorn boat one of Fairytale Brownies' "Dozens" packages might be the way to go. Flavors include the classic Original, Amaretto, Caramel, Chocolate Chip, Espresso, Mint Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Pecan, Raspberry Swirl, Toffee Crunch, Walnut, and White Chocolate Chunk and although the prices may be a little steep, there really is no compromising allowed when it comes to giving quality food gifts. The packaging used by Fairytale Brownies reflects the care of the brownies inside, custom gift options include personalized cards and solutions utilizing a corporate identity. All Fairytale Brownies products are certified Kosher, not just the Chanukah line as with other companies. The unconditional guarantee offered by Fairytale Brownies is also unusual and says a lot about the company. These brownies are delicious.  (Back to top of page)


(001119) Combined Charities Christmas Shops
Christmas Cards
http://www.christmas-cards.org.uk/

Sheila Hallas
Combined Charities Christmas Shops
Cheshire, England

Extremely popular in the UK, the sale of holiday cards benefiting charities is big business. There are dozens of sites brokering the sale of such cards, all passing along a different percentage of proceeds. Of all the sites I looked at while researching this episode, Combined Charities Christmas Shops was the only one to pass on 100% of all card sales to intended charities. Certain unmentioned sites only donate 10% of the net sales siphoning off the rest for a profit. Started in 1971, volunteers for Combined Charities Christmas Shops maintain charity Christmas card shops in Altrincham, Great Moor, Hazel Grove, Macclesfield, and Wilmslow. This site lists over 55 organizations that benefit from the sales of holiday cards. Additional items sold at the shops and donations to Combined Charities Christmas Shops help cover the expense of doing business. To date, over £1,000,000 has been raised through the program and returned directly to UK and international based charities participating at no cost. Many of the card packages are only available for shipment in the UK, but a number of them are available for world-wide delivery. Many people prefer to send cards purchased through traditional commercial outlets and donate directly to a charity but if you are in the UK or are fond of a UK-based charity, the Combined Charities Christmas Shops may be the way to go.  (Back to top of page)


For Bah! Humbug! picks from years past, see the Site du Jour of the Day Archives for November 1997 (http://sdjotd.tripod.com/9711.htm), November 1998 (http://sdjotd.tripod.com/1998/9811.htm), and November 1999 (http://sdjotd.tripod.com/1999/9911.htm)


(001120) John Fahey
American Guitar
http://www.johnfahey.com/

Melissa Stephenson
Petaluma, California, USA

It must be 12 or 13 years ago that I had the pleasure of seeing John Fahey in concert. It was right about this time of the year, a few days before Thanksgiving. There were only a couple of John Fahey records in my collection at that point, and a buddy was real keen on seeing the performance so I went along. It was a solo acoustic show held in a converted garage on a plywood riser in a long gone store called Bluegrass Central in downtown Fort Myers. For almost three hours the crowd of about a hundred people watched and listened in amazement. Taking a few minutes between numbers to explain what he was about to play, knocking off a couple of 2 liter bottles of diet soda along the way, John Fahey took his audience that night on what can only be explained as an odyssey. Songs from a repertoire rich in Blues and Folk tradition made up the first part of the show, and then things changed. To run the risk of sounding really corny here, John Fahey changed my life that night. It wasn't just his guitar playing which was unlike anything I'd ever seen, or the way he held the attention of the audience. It was the holiday numbers he played for more than half of the show, explaining the history and evolution of each one. Shooting off into a few bars of an obscure or ancient arrangement and then heading off in a different direction without taking his hands off of the strings. My interest in holiday music was to become an obsession that night. I realize this all years later of course and while I cannot blame John Fahey for creating a monster, I can thank him.

This official site looks at the career of John Fahey, who is currently promoting his book How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life (http://www.johnfahey.com/hbmdml.htm) and has recently released an album called Hitomi. Highlights at the site include writing by and about John Fahey and one of the best the discographies I've ever seen at an artist's site. Listing recordings dating back to the late 1950s, the discography displays original and reissue album art, liner notes, and comments from John Fahey and others on the individual songs and recordings. Originally released in 1968, John Fahey's The New Possibility Guitar Soli Christmas Album is probably his most widely known and best-selling album. Included below is passage from the discography about a song on that album, and an example of what visitors to the site will find.

Auld Lang Syne

• JF 1982: "It's one of my favourite songs. I like to play it when I'm by myself, makes me feel real nostalgic. I put it on my Christmas record. It's not a Christmas song but it's the song I like the most. I just love it."

The tune first appeared in an altered form in 1687 under the title "The Duke of Bucclugh's Tune". In subsequent years it was known by a variety of titles: "The Miller's Wedding", "Sir Alexander Don's Strathspey", "The Lasses of the Ferry", "Roger's Farewell", "I Fee'd a Man at Martinmas", and so forth. In 1783 it was used as the overture to the opera "Rosina" by William Shield. The words now commonly sung are commonly ascribed to Robert Burns. That view has been challenged by some authorities.

It's this type of knowledge being passed along that makes a John Fahey show so enjoyable and this site serves as a decent introduction. Not nearly enough RealAudio clips punctuate the discography but a quick search at another site selling Compact Discs should prove to fill the gap for those who are interested. John Fahey is easily one of the most underrated, if not important champions of American Music. The Best of John Fahey 1959-1977 would be a fine place to (re)start a collection, but with such a vast library to choose from almost any album will do. The New Possibility Guitar Soli Christmas Album might be the easiest to find right now.  (Back to top of page)


(001121) A History of the Guitar
1000 Great Guitar Sites on the Web
http://www.guitarsite.com/history.htm

Hitsquad.com Ltd
Dutton Park, Queensland, Australia

An instrument so common in music of the second half of the Twentieth Century that we almost never think about its origins. The guitar has a splendid history and this set of pages takes a basic look at the developments which brought us to where we are today. Part of the much larger GuitarSite.com (http://www.guitarsite.com/), formerly known as 1000 Great Guitar Sites. It's the original content and incorporated pointers to other guitar sites that makes GuitarSite.com interesting. Available by e-mail subscription or at the site is the Guitar News Weekly, a lengthy e-zine that brings interviews, product reviews and more to readers in a well written format. The section on Australian acts is very nice to see. There is a tremendous amount of information here for anyone interested in the guitar — regardless of genre.  (Back to top of page)


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(001122) ZoneAlarm
http://www.zonelabs.com/

Zone Labs, Inc.
San Francisco, California, USA

If you are running a Windows system and are connected in any way to the Internet without a firewall, ZoneAlarm or ZoneAlarm Pro is a must have. Free for personal and most non-profit use, ZoneAlarm is a relatively small download that installs easily to protect your system from intruders on the other end of the wire. Not only can mischievous computer users have a look at your machine and all it contains, but it is possible to include code in program files that requires your machine to report back to a server with data including passwords, directory contents and more. If one of those newfangled DSL or Cable Modems is connected to your system, you are essentially live and in living color around the clock, and your machine may have already been noticed by someone who has no business knowing about it. ZoneAlarm is a new product that steps in where normal virus scanning software can fail — programs that use a backdoor to give their agents a peek at you and your machine. ZoneAlarm and ZoneAlarm Pro offer a combination of personal firewall protection and monitoring combined with antivirus protection in highly configurable packages. Zone Labs Inc. has partnered with Trend Micro to market the business version of this and other packages. ZoneAlarm provides "…rock-solid protection against Internet thieves, vandals and hackers - stopping them dead in their tracks. If you can't be seen, you can't be attacked!". Compatible with Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000, ZoneAlarm is reliable, easy to install, and probably the most important piece of software you can have on your computer next to the operating system. For a detailed article that'll help you install and use ZoneAlarm, read and/or print David Raikow's Installing ZoneAlarm (http://www.zdnet.com/zdhelp/stories/main/0,5594,2610364,00.html) at ZDNet's Help & How-To pages (http://www.zdnet.com/zdhelp/). Thanks to Soopafresh for suggesting this extremely important tool.  (Back to top of page)


(001123) AWS WeatherBug
http://ww2.weatherbug.com/

AWS, Inc.
Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA

More cost-effective than a weather center up on the roof connected to your Windows machine, the AWS Weatherbug gathers data using the Worldwide School WeatherNet Program. Download the desktop WeatherBug and after a quick setup, get live reports from the weather center closest to the ZIP Code entered. Weather Alerts from the National Weather Service show up when threatening conditions develop as well. This network is used by schools and television stations in over 4,000 communities throughout the US and as the program grows, the usefulness and reliability of data increase. Additional features include national forecasts, radar, and live cameras from participating locations. Cooler than an old-fashioned weather rope, the AWS Weatherbug is a must-have utility for anyone with an interest in current and future conditions. Supported by advertising, the AWS Weatherbug is available free from the AWS, Inc., participating schools, or branded with the logotypes of any number of participating television stations all at their respective sites. Thanks to TheREALJoeyP for the suggestion.  (Back to top of page)


Site du Jour of the Day Radio at Live365.com (http://www.live365.com/cgi-bin/directory.cgi?autostart=sdjotd ) has a new format, it's now All Christmas, All of the Time. With something for everyone who enjoys holiday music, the playlist at Site du Jour of the Day Radio includes favorites by Alabama, Chuck Berry, Shawn Colvin, Perry Como, John Fahey, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, Benny Goodman, Brenda Lee, Arthur Lyman, Aimee Mann, Michael Penn, Elvis Presley, Lou Rawls, Leon Redbone, Bobby Sherman, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Jimmy Sturr, The Temptations, Dwight Yoakam, and many more. No special clients or downloads are required to listen, the streaming audio works with most Internet connections and existing media players. Launched on Thanksgiving Day to coincide with the start of the 2000 holiday season, Site du Jour of the Day Radio (All Christmas, All of the Time) will be up and running year-round. Enjoy!


(001124) Dancin Dubya
http://www.dovewinds.com/dubya/index.htm

Creative Web Designs, llc
Midlothian, Virginia, USA

Could be ants in his pants, could be having spastic fits because of all the "mischief" here in Florida, could be because he got that Monica girl's telephone number — difficult to say. Dancin Dubya is pretty much what you'd expect, animated images of George W. Bush made to look like he's a dancing fool. The art here is good and it's not quite clear if the folks at Creative Web Designs, llc are poking fun or cheering Dubya on. Personally it doesn't make a difference. I had such disdain for all of the candidates on the ballot this time around that I gave each of them a punch. Thanks to John Hoh for the suggestion. If you know of another dancin' candidate site please send the URL so they can get equal time before this whole thing blows over.  (Back to top of page)


(001125) Bush - Gore Dance @ TVdance.com
Featuring George W. Bush, Al Gore, and some other guys!
http://www.tvdance.com/bush-gore/

Web-Sense
Olathe, Kansas, USA

Thanks to Site du Jour of the Day reader Dorothy Alexander who was quick to respond to the request for additional dancing candidate pages, suggesting this little gem at TVdance.com - TV and Movie Animated Dance Pages - Featuring Britney Spears and Chris Farley (http://www.tvdance.com/). Highbrow entertainment it ain't, but mixing heads of politicians with bodies of television and movie stars as animations is pretty funny — kind of like the Reagan years. Particularly amusing is the treatment afforded Mr. Unsafe At Any Speed. Other dancing pages at TVdance.com include the Beatles, Drew Carey, the Flintstones, and Austin Powers. Now that that's all out of our systems….  (Back to top of page)


(001126) Hats of Meat
http://www.hatsofmeat.com/

Carsey-Werner Prods.
Hollywood, California, USA

If crowded shopping malls or long lines at the checkout counter get you down this time of year, perhaps this site holds the key to solving your problem. Put on a meat hat and the world is your oyster — people will give you plenty of room to pass by, some even stopping to admire your head gear. Shopkeepers will see to it that you are taken care of promptly, often moving you to the front of a long line of other patrons. All without a single objection. Better suited for out-of-doors use in northern climates where a hat is a necessity, meat hats are slowly coming back into fashion. The ideal do-it-yourself gift for that hard to shop for individual on your list, meat hats come in a variety of styles and flavors. Hats of Meat looks at the history of these accessories, contains a striking gallery of photographs, and even contains a list of frequently asked questions for those new to this phenomenon. Thanks for the suggestion to Paul from Naples, who discovered almost by accident that putting on a meat hat and walking into the mall pet store can be a real hoot.  (Back to top of page)


(001127) Amazing and fabulous SPAM site
all SPAM FUN, prime SPAM LINKS from ModernSurf.com
http://modernsurf.com/spam/

Juan Nollar
Modern Surf
Fort Myers, Florida, USA

We all know the Monty Python bit and song, most of us have at least tried SPAM, but few know what's behind the magic of SPAM. Site du Jour of the Day reader Juan Nollar does, and sent along the URL to this chunk of shameless self-promotion for his site design company, Modern Surf (http://modernsurf.com/). For those who are curious about the origins of this culinary delight there is a brief history of SPAM plus pointers to the official Hormel Foods Corporation site and over thirty other SPAM and Monty Python sites. While SPAM does not work well for making Hats of Meat (http://www.hatsofmeat.com/) (SdJotD 001127), it could possible make some darn sexy dangle earrings if cubed and shellacked just right. This is a fun site, and if you were to liberate the background it would make for real spiffy computer wallpaper.  (Back to top of page)


(001128) Am I HOT or NOT?
http://www.amihotornot.com

Eight Days, Inc.
Mountain View, California, USA

Before completely leaving the subject of meat, this suggestion from Goof in Dallas shows that new ideas will never cease. The idea is a simple one — send your picture in, let others vote on how hot they think you are based on one image, using a 1-10 scale. The target audience would seem to be teens and young adults still developing a sense of self-image on the one side, and teens and young adults interested in looking at total strangers who want to know how good looking you think they are on the other. The site will be sure to spawn imitators with demographics other than this and I can see them now. The names might include such things as Groovy Dude/Chick, Stone Fox, and possibly even Does S/He Draw A Decent Pension? If you find this site amusing, check out Fruitless Enterprises' FUGLY (http://www.fugly.net/index.html) (SdJotD 981126) and remember that the people at Glamour Shots (http://www.glamourshots.com/) and Hamburger Helper (http://www.hamburgerhelper.com/) both spend lots of money every year on advertising.  (Back to top of page)


(001129) George W. Bush or Chimpanzee
http://gwbchimp.8m.com/

explosionbob
hosted by
Direct Connect
Provo, Utah, USA

Site du Jour of the Day reader Rik Malone sent a site suggestion that couldn't be resisted, even though I was attempting to steer the ship away from politics. Rik wrote, "As long as we're being political, (and ostensibly non-partisan), try this one…". It's not really nice, but if George W. Bush gets his wish this site could be just the beginning. It's the eyes that make it so easy to poke fun at the man this way.  (Back to top of page)


(001130) Wilson Snowflake Bentley - Photographer of Snowflakes
http://snowflakebentley.com/

Jericho Historical Society
Jericho, Vermont, USA

In 1885 Wilson Bentley made the first photograph of a single snow crystal and went on to capture the beauty of at least 5,300 more. A pioneer in the field of photomicrography, the life work of Wilson Bentley included innovations in the art and science of photography still in use. Images on glass plates, both at the Jericho Historical Society collection and scattered throughout the world are incredible even by current standards. This site explores the techniques used and the results gained in images and words. A collection of pointers to articles written by and written about Wilson Bentley, two electronic galleries of photographs, a gift shop where visitors can purchase prints and a Compact Disc of images, and more. Be sure to read the Wilson Bentley Digital Archives Newsletter, in particular the article titled Is Each Snowflake Unique? by Duncan C. Blanchard in Snow Crystals Vol. #5 September 12, 2000.

For more snowflake fun, see George the Gnome's Snowflakes You Can Make (http://members.surfsouth.com/~rlogue/snowup.htm) and Maddy and Maverick's Paper Snowflakes - Free Instructions (http://www.highhopes.com/snowflakes.html) (SdJotD 981216).  (Back to top of page)


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Copyright 2000, 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 November 30, 2000

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