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(971101) Minnesota School Closings and
West Central Minnesota, USA
It is said that the weather in the State of Minnesota is so rough that people who live there expect nine months of Winter and three months of rough sledding every year. The forecast on November first warned of snow, and when it snows in Minnesota it usually snows a lot. If you ever find yourself in West Central Minnesota during that long Winter they seem to enjoy so much, here is a great page to be aware of.
When the snow is so deep that school busses cannot run, they close the schools. A family with school age children all getting up early to look at the television or listen to the radio for the school closing report is a warm and tender sight. Both the children and parents know what lies ahead -- a day or two off, usually spent outside playing in eighteen feet of fresh fallen snow. By simply loading up a browser and connecting to this site, the anticipation of waiting to hear that schools are closed can be avoided, that is if the storm wasn't so bad as to disrupt power or telephone service.
Also here is a pointer to The Weather Channel's National Snowfall Forecast (http://www.weather.com/weather/maps/forecast/snowfcst_440x275.html) and sites for local stations KCCO and WCCO (station call letters start with "K" West of, and "W" East of the Mississippi River).
If you have never experienced snow, this is where the beautiful photographs end and the reality of living with Winter begins. Have a look and ponder why people live this way. (Back to top of page)
Berlin, New Jersey, USA
Part of the Fuzzeroo site (http://www.cyberenet.net/~fuzzeroo/), Webzee is a nice adaptation of the popular game played with dice. This two player version works quickly and is well laid out despite the lack of instructions (when this was written). If you are unfamiliar with the game Yatzee, the rules are similar to many card games. By rolling five (or fewer) dice three times, you attempt to get/fill certain required combinations, the most valuable is all of the same number coming up. Should this happen you have to shout "Yatzee" or in this case "Webzee" to take the points. The player with the highest score wins. This is almost as much fun as the real game and the two player mode is a nice touch as the game is boring with just one card running. (Back to top of page)
(971103) Frequently Occurring First Names
and Surnames From the 1990 Census
United States Census Bureau
Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Comedian George Carlin performs a bit that concerns the first names used by parents today, and talks about what it will be like when the popular names used for new children become the old lady/man names of the future. If nothing else, it provides a look at how the use of first names tends to snowball and then almost completely stop. The Justins and Jennifers so common today will be like the Ediths and Edsels of days gone by. Both sets of names are almost unique to their generation, and how such cycles run might be fodder enough for volumes. Here is an excellent resource for Americans to see how common a proposed name is. Although this data is not completely representative, the U.S. Census is fairly accurate with this sort of information. Besides, finding another such source would be a chore. Once every ten years, the make-up of the nation is recorded and analyzed, providing among other things, lists like these. Searchable by male and female first names and surnames from information gathered about 377,000 persons living in 165,000 housing units in 5,300 predefined blocks (or block clusters) and matched against previous records from the same areas and an additional 7.2 million census records. Certain changes will be seen after the 2000 Census as the children not tallied or those born after the 1990 Census are counted. Until then, this is a great source to find out how common your name is and/or what names are seldom used. All three lists can be read or downloaded in their entirety in addition to being searched. (Back to top of page)
Gone but not forgotten
(971104) Bowling For Rhinos
American Association of Zoo Keepers AAZK, Inc.
Topeka, Kansas, USA
Fundraisers as individuals and events are so common these days that it is easy to forget how necessary they are. Collecting money for research or educational programs would be a daunting task for organizations which have limited funding so they often hire a director or a whole board of directors, by the time your money makes it to the charity advertised, a salary or two have been paid along with other administrative costs. This funneling may be part of the distaste many people have toward organized charities.
Bowling For Rhinos seems to be a different case. The American Association of Zoo Keepers have raised better than $840,000 in the U.S. and Canada since 1990 with bowl-a-thons. Run by local American Association of Zoo Keepers chapters and organized by volunteers, 100% of all donations go directly to Rhino Conservation Areas: The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, Africa where Black and White Rhinos are protected, in Indonesia at Ujung Kulon National Park, habitat for the remaining Javan Rhinos, and in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, refuge for the Samatran Rhino.
Zoos have been doing a great deal in the way of captive breeding programs lately but there is no substitute for habitat conservation and protection. This site offers tips on holding your own event and numerous pointers to other sites about rhinos. The survival of these magnificent creatures relies heavily on programs like this one and short of traveling a great distance to shoot poachers or stop human encroachment, there is little the average person can do to help out. Since very few of us can say we have ever bowled a few games for a rhinoceros, there might be something we can do. (Back to top of page)
(971105) 50 Fun Things to Do in an
by Alan Meiss
Site maintained by Patrick Fitzgerald
Huntsville, Alabama, USA
As the title states, this page lists fifty fun things to do in an elevator. There are some very clever ideas here. As tempting as it may seem, actually doing any one of these suggestions might not be as funny without an accomplice in the car with you. All fifty could be mistaken for signs of mental illness and for whatever reason, people in an elevator can display unpredictable behavior when trapped with a crazy person. Consider having someone who can come to your assistance if you decide to try any of this stuff. Be careful. (Back to top of page)
(971106) The Enabling Garden
Hosted by Suite 101 / i5ive communications inc.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
As Winter in the Northern Hemisphere fast approaches, many of the outdoor activities enjoyed during the past several months are put on hold until it warms up again. One rewarding aspect of this is spending more time in our homes. Indoor container gardening helps alleviate the isolation by bringing Mother Nature indoors. Nothing livens up the day like a tuft of green or other color not normally see in an otherwise dormant view of the world. When the weather begins to improve, these plants can be moved to a window or shaded spot outside. Ms. Pederson weekly column at Suite 101 (http://www.suite101.com) focuses on container gardening for individuals with limited mobility, but the insight and experience she shares could help anyone with even the least bit of green in their thumb get started in this rewarding hobby. Recent articles have discussed such topics as bathtub gardens and carnivorous plants. Combined with pointers to related resources and messages posted by readers about articles both current and past, valuable hints and methods are plentiful. Information this good is so rarely available free that it would be a shame not to see this site at least once. (Back to top of page)
(971107) The Mudcat
The Mudcat Café
Downingtown, Pennsylvania, USA
The Mudcat Café presents The Digital Traditions Folksong
The Digital Tradition
Greenwich, Connecticut, USA
The Mudcat Café explores America's Blues and Folk music traditions with photographs and articles about artists in historical and contemporary perspectives. Of note is an essay titled "Did Robert Johnson Sell His Soul?" by David W. Scotese which explores the influence Voodoo may have played on the man and his music, and the controversy surrounding the theory. Other articles look at the ongoing influence performers like Leadbelly and Muddy Waters continue to have on the genre. More than types of music, Folk and the Blues brought rural traditions into the larger cities of this country at a time when African American traditions were being merged into the National Identity. This art form helps to chronicle a time when things were far from equal, and may illustrate the fusion of cultures in America better than any other.
Also hosted by The Mudcat Café is The Digital Traditions Folksong Database, a huge collection of MIDI files and lyrics for over 6,500 songs collected by Dick Greenhaus and a large number of contributors. Fully searchable and available as downloads for DOS, Mac and UNIX systems, this is an important tool for anyone interested in the history of American music.
Plan on spending several hours at this site, the opinion and information available at The Mudcat Café will make a tremendous contribution to your list of online resources. Regardless of whether you enjoy the music, the historical significance of the information here makes a visit worthwhile. (Back to top of page)
(971108) What's On Stage
Billing themselves as "Britain's National Performing Arts Information Service," What's On Stage presents news and ticket information pertaining to theatre and Classical music performances in the United Kingdom. The lack of Popular music listings helps to expedite database searches for individuals looking for something a little finer or family oriented. Complete with reviews and seating information as well as feature articles similar to the one describing the New Globe, this site could be a useful tool for anyone living in or planning travel to the U.K. (Back to top of page)
(971109) The Gallery of the
Lafayette, Indiana, USA
The Gallery of the Absurd is a collection of those things we often see and recognize as being different enough to make us wonder how they came to be. Advertisements and product labels that should never have been approved, much less printed and distributed. Some are disturbing like the place mat for a chain known as Big Boy Family Restaurants. On this particular item, the copy touts how tasty their breakfasts are and has an illustration of the Big Boy guy himself popping out of an egg shell. Other displays are more subtle like the clown toilet brush holder, that is until you have a closer look. Contributions are accepted, expanding the scale of this project which is a good thing -- it has been my experience that people in general living in the state of Indiana have a high tolerance for things that are strange. By taking items from visitors around the world Mr. Royal has not only expanded the Gallery and made his task somewhat easier, but he has built a sort of shrine/repository for people who appreciate this sort of oddity yet do not have a large enough collection to present themselves. A very popular site and for good reason, the images and commentary here will keep you coming back time and again. (Back to top of page)
San Mateo, California, USA
Designed for both the medical professional and lay person, Outbreak provides accurate and timely information from many sources about diseases threatening the Human race. A large site with over fifty thousand registered members, the data collected and shared here is presented on a global scale. As the name implies, news about emerging diseases and theories can be found here alongside historical accounts and records. With its hundreds of pages and pointers, this site is surprisingly easy to move around in, much to the credit of the software developers at Pragmatica, Inc. Utilizing experience gained with the original Ebola Page, David Ornstein and the folks at Pragmatica, Inc. have turned that page into this very useful site and developed several HTML Authoring tools along the way. (Back to top of page)
(971111) Catalog of Known and Putative
Nuclear Explosions from Unclassified Sources
Compiled by James E. Lawson Jr.
Oklahoma Geological Survey Observatory
Leonard, Oklahoma, USA
As part of a Creek Nation Summer Program and using data from widely accepted sources, this set of known and best guess dates/times of nuclear explosions was compiled. The two war-time uses and many tests, along with locations and the associated devices used in over 2,350 events are detailed in this document. Last modified in September, 1996 this work presents a startling glimpse at the amount of testing not only by the U.S. and U.S.S.R., but other countries around the world. Not an official publication of the U.S. Government, State of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Geological Survey Observatory or of the Creek Nation, it is either highly accurate or just ignored by the bodies involved in nuclear testing that have the true information. Either way, it is a chilling look at the research of the past 52 years which stands unchallenged. If viewing this with a browser you may wish to edit preferences to display text using a mono-spaced font such as Courier, the columns will line up as intended that way. (Back to top of page)
As the Holiday Season fast approaches and the smell of gift giving is in the air, Site du Jour of the Day looks at a few retail sites offering SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) transactions. This method of data encryption allows the transmission of charge card information with minimal risk of fraud and sure beats a trip to the mall. None of the sites profiled have sent me presents or grease (yet). The prices listed below were current at the time of original publication and like anything else, are subject to change. Use your best judgment when ordering from a site, don't cross against the light, don't run with that in your mouth, wear your hat, and be good because ending up on Santa's short list is never ever fun.
(971112) Archie McPhee, Outfitters of Popular
Archie McPhee and Company
Seattle, Washington, USA
Nothing says "Love" quite like a bucket of rubber bugs or a tub of Dart Frogs. The folks at Archie McPhee know this and for eleven years have been offering items just a little too cool to be considered trendy. Besides, you're never too old to play with toys. The Wind-Up Hunchback (US$4.95) and Wind-up Hopping Eyeball (US$4.95 set of 3) make for a great variation on the classic Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots if placed on a high table and turned loose. Skull Maracas (US$6.25) and Squeak Lobsters (US$5.25 set of 2) add that certain something missing from the lone bell normally used to entice passers-by to fill the Red Shield Kettle with pocket change. Nobody over the age of ten or with dental work eats candy canes, but try and find someone who'll pass when you break out the Cinnamon Toothpicks (US$8.95 box of 50). The Boxing Puppets made famous by Archie McPhee and Company are here as well -- the Punching Nun Puppet (US$9.50) being the most widely know. The merchandize offered here is very odd and there is lots of it.
For telephone orders, catalog requests or information you can call them at (425) 745-0711 from 8:30am to 4:30pm Pacific time, Monday through Friday.
Readers outside the U.S. or Canada should be aware of the US$75 minimum order, but there are so many fun things available such an amount should not be difficult to hit. U.S. and Canadian orders have a minimum of US$15. Shipping costs are reasonable and they'll throw in a special gift to all orders placed at this site. (Back to top of page)
(971113) The Official Epic MegaGames Web
Epic MegaGames, Inc.
Rockville, Maryland, USA
Epic MegaGames UK
It's almost funny how the two mythical gifts children wanted during the Holidays up until recently were not only very expensive, but highly impractical. I'd bet that anyone old enough to remember the Chipmunks and Captain Kangaroo would have liked a pony or a pinball machine at one point in their life. Odds are you didn't get either did you? Sadly, you're on your own in the pony department, but Epic MegaGames can help with the pinball machine. Published as Shareware and full retail product, Epic Pinball may be better than the real thing and a whole lot cheaper in the long run. The original set of 12 tables (the CD-ROM version contains 13) play on IBM compatible machines are available for only US$29.95. Not sure if you like the idea of playing pinball on a computer? Try a full demo version free by downloading it from the Epic MegaGames site. The entire set of games play so well that you'll be hooked the first time you play.
The latest version called Extreme Pinball is also available as Shareware, and it utilizes more sophisticated sounds and graphics. This is made possible by faster computers and an obvious love for the game by the designers and programmers. Possibly the sweetheart deal of the season is the combination Epic Pinball and Extreme Pinball CD Pack for only US$39.95.
If pinball isn't your thing but computer games and bunnies get you going try Jazz Jackrabbit. A quick playing, good looking platform game. All 9 episodes are available on 3.5 disks or CD-ROM at US$29.95. The soundtrack and cartoon quality graphics along with well thought out game play make this one game you shouldn't miss. There are 3 different versions of Jazz Jackrabbit you can download and play free, all but one have Holiday graphics and music, Jazz Jackrabbit Holiday Hare '95 and 1994's Jazz Jackrabbit: Christmas Edition should be enough to convince you that Grandma absolutely needs this game. She'll love you for it.
Epic MegaGames publish other titles which are for sale/download here also. Screen shots that barely do justice to the actual games are up for all to see, as are fair and accurate descriptions of what may be the best games available. A special section with classic games are reasonably priced and mostly unavailable through software stores.
A list of International Dealers might make ordering easier (http://www.epicgames.com/dealers.htm) even though shipping from the U.S. is very reasonable. First Class Mail in the U.S. is $5, and International comes in at US$7 within 15 days. The Federal Express option is quite a deal at US$10 Domestic and US$26 for 48-72 hour International delivery. (Back to top of page)
(971114) Walkabout Travel
Brad and Gia Boyle
Walkabout Travel Gear
Moab, Utah, USA
Travel is often hectic during the next few months and international travel can be an adventure in itself. Tourism can be a pleasant experience however as many people usually stay home with family. Retail establishments are filled to the hilt with shoppers and may even be closed depending on when it is and where you are. Finding travel gear to give as gifts or for your own use is best done early. Walkabout Travel Gear offers many compact and useful items for either purpose. It rarely happens in the U.S. that a hotel is without fire alarms yet the Travel Smoke Detector (US$25.00) could save your life in the event of fire. For extended periods outside, Platypus water containers are among the best offered. The 1 Liter Playtpus (US$4.00), 2.5 Liter Platypus (US$6.25) are durable and functional. For anyone bringing electronics or small appliances overseas, the Hi-Lo Combination Converter/Transformer Kit (US$34.00) should handle most situations. The conversion information and guides here will aid with telecommunication issues as well. The perfect gift for the photographer or vagabond on your list might be a Waterproof Travel Journal (US$5.00) which doesn't require special pens to use and the price is right.
Shipping options are too numerous to mention but economical and speedy methods are available to all points around the world. If you are giving a gift of travel that is booked for next year, ground shipping would be the perfect solution. The anticipation of receiving items for use on that trip will keep the individual excited in the months to come as orders arrive. (Back to top of page)
JCPenney Company Inc.
Dallas, Texas, USA
Sears, Roebuck and Co.
Sears, Roebuck and Co.
Hoffman Estates, Illinois, USA
In the days before the large department stores started closing downtown stores it was not uncommon for families to spend the day visiting Santa Claus and shopping. They would pack in the car or take the bus or street car into the city, eating lunch at giants like Macy's, Dayton's, Hudson's, etc. People living beyond a day's travel were content with catalog shopping during the year but made a special trip during the Holidays.
Catalog sales are still strong for many of the traditional retailers who, like the local stores followed the trend (and dollars) out to suburbia, leaving downtown stores closed in the migration. It seems rather ironic now that people left in the cities are in a position where phone and mail-orders are a shopping alternative. Two American department stores known for their catalog departments offer shopping through web sites -- JCPenney and Sears. The respective sites convey the look and feel of their stores, offering (inter)national brands alongside private label merchandize with the convenience of at home catalog shopping. The JCPenney site has an emphasis on softgoods while Sears shines in that area, the very idea of ordering Craftsman Tools this way is so thrilling it's hard to decide what not to order. For those unfamiliar with the Craftsman moniker you should have a look. The hand tools carry a lifetime guarantee and for the price cannot be beat.
Most shopping malls in America have one or both of these stores as anchor tenants so you can imaging the range of goods available. Not visiting the department stores this year may take some of the magic away from the shopping experience but as long as I can remember neither retailer has ever hosted Santa Claus so you aren't missing all that much. (Back to top of page)
Reno, Nevada, USA
The toys we use as adults have more sophisticated power supplies than those used to make Bongo Chimp go spastic as children. For anyone who remembers testing 9-volt batteries with their tongue, this site is a like walking into a candy store. Laptop computers, cellular telephones, and portable video equipment thrive on rechargeable batteries that often lose capacity over time or simply don't hold enough power. Using make and model information, the handy search tool makes quick work out of finding the correct replacement battery. That's just the beginning, they also offer chargers, conditioners and mobile office accessories. Long gone are the days when you could simply open up the bottom of a device and throw dead dry cells away, today many options are available for powering the tools people depend on. 1-800-Batteries offers many solutions to this problem, providing battery recycling as a public service is a nice touch. (Back to top of page)
(971117) Surplus Direct
Surplus Software, Inc.
Hood River, Oregon, USA
Only during the past two or three years have merchants figured out that sales before the Holidays move merchandize. Sales are not new, the loss-leaders and door-buster sales that bring in the crowds are traditional the weekend after Thanksgiving (the last Thursday of November when Americans give thanks for all we have and celebrate fictional accounts of how the indigenous peoples of the continent liked us so much and how we learned to eat turkey and plant corn). Mark-downs during the height of the shopping frenzy seem to be more and more common, probably due to a sluggish economy and increased competition. Nobody enjoys seeing that fancy toaster oven they gave to a loved one half-off on December 26th or at a fraction of its original price the following year.
With that in mind, and especially with computer equipment, older might be better in some cases. Take the Compaq internal 6x CD-ROM reader Surplus Direct has on special this week for the amazingly low price of US$39.95. A year ago you might have paid three times that amount, but as new models are introduced the old stuff has to go somewhere. Surplus Direct offers bargains like this all year long. By purchasing close-outs, and on occasion factory refurbished hardware, they make a decent profit without charging the consumer a small fortune for slightly outdated technology, not strictly IBM equipment either. The selection is constantly changing, once a week items are changed so giving descriptions and prices for specific items in this episode would be a waste of time -- they may be sold out by the time you can visit the site. Instead, sign-up for the weekly bargain message "Granny" sends out with limited quantity items and special deals or better yet check out the site every few days. The deals are tremendous here on software, CD-ROM readers, sound and video cards, memory, monitors, hard drives, modems and other parts you might be tempted to buy locally. (Back to top of page)
(971118) Adopt A Dog Today
Venice, California, USA
This episode strays from the SSL theme but may end up saving the lives of a few animals in the end.
There's nothing like having a pet around the house and the look on a child's face when s/he receives a kitten or puppy is amazing. In many cases though, the magic wears off after the first thirty times Spot needs to be taken out or a litter box needs to be cleaned. These animals who turn out to be "not such a good idea after all" end up in shelters. In fact, most shelters stop adoption services as the Holidays draw near because so many of them end up being returned. The shelters do take requests and will call when a type of animal an individual or family is interested in arrives. By mid-January or February the shelters are near capacity, the selection is vast and unfortunately, the fate of these cats and dogs who go unadopted is grim.
Adopt A Dog Today is part of a site run by Francis, a rescued half Great Dane and half Black Lab. The site is called Francis's DogHouse (http://www.caryn.com/francis-index2.html) and this particular page lists resources for finding shelters and adoption alternatives for dogs. Mostly listings for the U.S., there are several Canadian and international pointers -- Francis welcomes additional sites all of the time too. If a pet isn't in your future the listing can still be used to find a shelter in your area which could certainly use a cash donation, supplies or some of your time. Not one of the first charities thought about at this time of year, but certainly a worthy cause. (Back to top of page)
Gone but not forgotten
The Myriad Agency
New York, New York, USA
To bolster sagging sports card sales in the mid-1970s, the Topps Card Company (http://www.topps.com/) hired a group of illustrators and had them create parodies of popular household and consumer products. By their very nature Wacky Packages have become highly desirable in collectors circles -- they are stickers. The product was an instant hit, a few stickers and the usual foul tasting chewing gum to stick on everything in sight including dressers and lockers. It stands to logic that there may have been a few trademark infringement suits and angry parents by the time production ceased. Even though this site is not affiliated with Topps, everyone who remembers the joy and laughter Wackypacks provided should have a look. There is very little factual information here about the product, but clear and quick loading scans more than make up for it leaving the visitor's own curiosity/memories take over. Highly reminiscent of certain MAD Magazine drawings from the same period, this site is worth a visit for the quality illustrations alone. The sarcasm and parody is just an added bonus. (Back to top of page)
(971120) Matchstick Rockets
Dennis and Nellie Cronin
Oxford, Ohio, USA
When I was ten years old I got in so much trouble for making these things that it took my buddies and I several years to discover the unpredictability of bare "C" model rocket engines in flight. Matchstick Rockets are a lot safer, and loads cheaper -- matches, aluminum foil and a paper clip is all it takes. Follow the instructions here and you'll be the coolest adult on the block come Saturday afternoon. Be certain to explain the real science principles to the neighborhood children as they gather 'round. When their dads come by to ask just what the heck you think you're doing, make sure to demonstrate a launch or two for them. (Back to top of page)
(971121) The Gallery of Regrettable
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
By the time children born in the bleak economic conditions of the late 1920s and '30s grew up, lived through World War Two and settled down to raise children of their own much had changed in the way of foodstuff. Manufactures aware of the "make life better than we had it as kids" mentality created and then cashed in on American's desire to live high on the hog. Lard producers couldn't keep up with the demand for a while, but once they did the stuff was everywhere. The Gallery of Regrettable Food celebrates the odd food items of the period by looking at magazine advertisements and propaganda disguised as recipe books. After spending some time at The Gallery of Regrettable Food it could be argued that the cultural phenomenon known as the Woodstock Generation might just be a simple result of Sam Cowling's pitch, complete with recipe for "Sam's Beet 'n' Bacon Sandwich".
In addition to this site, James Lileks also maintains The Weekly Bleat (http://www.lileks.com/), writes a column for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, hosts a radio show, has four books out, and enjoys listening to the recordings of Elvis Costello and Carl Stalling. He mentions a fondness for Lucky Charms but offers no opinion about the new Blue Diamonds. (Back to top of page)
Gone but not forgotten
(971122) The Museum Of Natural
M.O.N.G. Bennett/Lederman, Ltd.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Museum Of Natural Gas hosts the works of Earl F. Bennett a.k.a. Sir Frederick Gas. Billing themselves as the 87th-largest fine arts museum in Canada, the collection of paintings offers a unique look at the artist's work. Perhaps the most interesting gallery at the museum houses photography from Bennett's off-time out on the road with Spike Jones' City Slickers. Traveling as a comedian and musician with the band allowed him the opportunity to capture images unlike any others. A must see for anyone interested in The City Slickers. (Back to top of page)
(971123) An American's Guide to
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
An American's Guide to Canada offers an overview of Canadian life for people in the United States and other countries around the world. Mainly populated within a hundred miles of the common border with the U.S., Canadians share many things with its neighbor to the South but because of English and French influence much is different. Subjects covered include sports, language (including regional and nationalisms), immigration and Popular Culture. A great deal of the material which this site once contained was lost due to a hard drive crash in July but without seeing the site before this happened one would be hard pressed to notice. Contributions will eventually be accepted again allowing visitors to this site who have spent any amount of time in Canada the opportunity to share experiences and impressions of their visit. This site could also be of interest to Canadians curious about how Americans perceive them and the place they call home. (Back to top of page)
(971124) TheTrip.com: theFlight
The Trip Online, Inc.
Englewood, Colorado, USA
If you have ever wondered where a plane is once you have arrived home or back at the office after dropping someone at the air terminal, this site will be pure magic.Offering real-time flight tracking for current flights within the U.S. The Trip Online, Inc. uses information from the FlightView® Data of RLM Software, Inc. to give departure and estimated arrival times, airline and flight information, distance to arrival and closest cities, altitude and speed and even the type of aircraft being used. Not waiting for Grandma to call and say she made it? Look up a random flight or find an old ticket and figure out which city it was you flew over at this time last week, or at least what state it was in. Certain international flights are included and a Java version is in beta test stages right now for an effect similar to that seen in old movies where a plane is dragged across the surface of a map by a magnet on the back. This is why we use computers. (Back to top of page)
(971125) The Finnish National Road
The Finnish National Road Administration
The Ministry of Transport and Communications
Finnra is the agency started in 1973 to reduce the number of Finnish traffic fatalities to half of the previous year's 1,156 by the end of the decade. Having succeeded in that task they have continued to increase awareness and safety on the roads in Finland. Working to develop new technologies and methods in surfacing and break-away lighting they have not only saved lives, but worked within budgets set for specific projects which in itself is a difficult task when road work needs to be completed.
Of special interest are the still video images updated twice an hour from two boarder crossings into Russia. Traffic to and from Russia at the Nuijamaa border crossing point (http://www.tieh.fi/evideon.htm) and Traffic to Russia at the Vaalimaa border crossing point (http://www.tieh.fi/evideo.htm) each show road surface and air temperatures and humidity data. Located 80 kms away from each other it's interesting to see the differences in weather and traffic conditions at any given time. Sometimes you can see people walking by the camera (which looks into Finland) and most of the traffic is commercial. Even though these people are used to driving in the snow, you might even witness the odd wreck. It's reassuring that some things are universal. (Back to top of page)
Westport, Connecticut, USA
While Netscape and Microsoft battle it out for dominance in the browser wars it's becoming more and more difficult to keep up with the newest releases. Add plug-ins for audio and video streaming, and the whole idea of getting the most out of your computer and the Internet seems like a losing battle. Here is a solution; BrowserWatch!® is a collection of pointers to sites offering the latest and greatest. Categorized by platform and operating system (including Amiga and Atari) they even offer a healthy portion of leaked information. A highly recommended resource for anyone comfortable with installing new software on their own. (Back to top of page)
(971127) Dr. Seuss's Seussville!
Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P.
Random House, Inc.
New York, New York, USA
Thanksgiving Day marks the official kick-off of the Holiday Season in the United States. Football games, newspapers filled with advertising circulars, department store parades and a big turkey dinner all contribute to the day we give thanks for all we have and celebrate family and friends. Nearly fifteen years ago, and for two years in a row, it meant something different for me.After eating a large dinner almost every adult orphan in the neighborhood contributed to, we fought off the need for a nap just long enough to witness the man who I had the (mis)fortune of living across the road from decorate his yard for Christmas. It was a relatively quick affair, there was only one decoration but it meant that the evening hours during the following weeks would not be silent nights. This decoration was a five foot tall plywood cut-out of Dr. Seuss's Grinch, the character who's heart is two sizes too small. This tradition originated with the popularity of the animated version of the story and to the best of my knowledge, continues to this day. For an hour and a half each night the creator of the Lawn Grinch would sit in the front room of his house or on the porch waiting for cars to stop. Some would honk their horn, others were polite and simply waited. The wonderment and anticipation on the faces cannot be accurately described as the rope running from the house was pulled, swinging the Grinch's right arm skyward to display a clenched fist with the middle digit raised. Merry Christmas from the Grinch!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (ISBN 0-394-80079-6) has been in print for forty years and Dr. Seuss's Seussville! has a special section including activities and contests for children of all ages. To commemorate this special anniversary, a new video with narrated by Walter Matthau is being offered with the purchase of the book. Different than the animated classic starring the voice of Boris Karloff, the two are only US$14. Cable network TNT will air the original video program several times, a listing is provided. Explore the world of Dr. Seuss during the rest of the year at this site but remember the Grinch has a proprietary interest here for the remainder of the year.
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Copyright 1997, 1998 Edward J. Pelegrino. All rights reserved.
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Updated December 6, 1998
This Archive has been opened times since November 9, 1997.