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


Site du Jour of the Day

Archive for

March 1998


































Featuring the
Annual Anagram Engine Recommendation

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(980301) New York State Agricultural Experiment Station

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Cornell University
Geneva, New York, USA

Supporting a large part of the economy of New York State, the Agricultural Experiment Station at Cornell University has a full-time staff of over 300 and is also home to The United States Department of Agriculture's Plant Genetic Resources Unit (http://www.ars-grin.gov/ars/NoAtlantic/Geneva/). Established in 1880, the station now has separate departments and fields of study: Horticultural Sciences, Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Food Science and Technology. Programs cover the entire cycle, from genetics to handling and processing of fruit and vegetable crops and much of that research is shared at this site. Buried deep in the site is an item of particular interest: The Geneva Wax Fruit Collection (http://aruba.nysaes.cornell.edu/pubs/press/wax_fruit.html) is comprised of life size wax models complete with weather and insect damage. Created in the period between 1920 and 1942 by two part-time employees, the unique collection started out as a teaching tool but is now a local treasure in Geneva, and for good reason.  (Back to top of page)

(980302) Drew's Scripts-O-Rama

Kale Whorton and Drew Feinberg
Ashland, Oregon, USA

Drew's Scripts-O-Rama avoids the inherent problems associated with copyright violation by not actually housing the text files of popular motion picture and television scripts. Instead, pointers to many other servers are listed. This clearinghouse attitude keeps Drew out of trouble and allows an individuals to pursue a particular script if they so chose. When I first visited Drew's Scripts-O-Rama almost a year ago the thought of using it as Site du Jour of the Day crossed my mind but it went unmentioned. This past weekend a loyal reader suggested the site so I took another look. A film's catch phrases lend to its popularity if not outright fueling it. I looked up the "eleven" scene from This Is Spinal Tap which considering the potential copyright violation, is ironically housed on the server at the University of Economics, Vienna, Austria (http://osiris.wu-wien.ac.at/ftp/pub/info/movies/scripts/this.is.spinal.tap). It was there in all its glory, that is until the copyright holder finds out about it and/or it is removed. Drew's Scripts-O-Rama is ideal for finding that special hunk of dialog, and offers a look at the result of the countless hours people have spent in front of a TV transcribing and recreating scripts. Scripts to movies still in first run and original material are also listed here expanding the number of titles and increasing the usefulness of the site.  (Back to top of page)

(980303) NewsNow

NewsNow Publishing Ltd
London, England

NewsNow doesn't have whole news stories, instead they provide headlines from various sources. The headlines all point back to the original story for that particular bit of news. The arrangement NewsNow Publishing Ltd has with the BBC, Yahoo, Teletext, PCWeek, Sporting Life and TechWire is designed to increase traffic at the larger sites and generate advertising revenue for NewsNow. Fresh items appear every five minutes in such categories as General News, Business and Finance, Information Technology, and Sports. The news here is targeted for readers in the United Kingdom but when large international stories happen the selection often provides a different view than that presented by domestic media. If nothing else it proves that there can be slow news days everywhere.  (Back to top of page)

(980304) Junkyards of North Georgia
Formerly known as the "Virtual Junkyard"

Douglas Campbell Ahern
Athens, Georgia, USA

Almost as testament to the beautiful lines and timeless beauty of certain automobile models, junkyards can be mighty fun places. Far more honest than a hot-rod show or museum, a boneyard visit lets you meet the personalities of old Fords and Buicks in not so great shape. Often rusted out and with major parts missing, these ghosts from a not so long ago past tell a tale of life as it used to be. Ample plush seating surrounded by a shield of steel -- quality construction through and through. Junkyards are also great places to find parts for an old friend still on the road and with vintage parts fast becoming big business the deepest you may get is the retail front of the yard. Junkyards of North Georgia is a collection of commentary and photographs providing a look at the beauty of these places without making the trip yourself. Should you find a junkyard owner kind enough to let you roam around there are a few things to keep in mind: You can tell when a US car was manufactured by looking at the right taillight. Molded into it will be a two digit number, that is the year in most cases. Another tip, and probably the best advice for the task at hand is to remember that dogs can smell fear but aren't so good at climbing trees.  (Back to top of page)

(980305) Places Of Peace And Power
The Sacred Site Pilgrimage of Martin Gray

Martin Gray
Sedona, Arizona, USA

In an effort to better understand why and who we are, humans have used ritual and mythology for thousands of years. Often in doing so, places are considered sacred. Believers and non-believers alike travel great distances to see and experience such places. Martin Gray, in addition to being a fine photographer, is an anthropologist who's studies and travels have taken him to over nine hundred of these sacred sites. Often taking an impartial view of the spirituality involved behind the pilgrimages to sacred places, Gray is more concerned with the cultural and artistic treatment afforded them and stresses historical conservation along the way. This site takes the visitor on a guided tour around the world to places as diverse as the Holy Grotto of the Revelation and Easter Island. When he does suggest any form of faith it is a grand scale, namely the connections we have with Mother Earth. The photographs here are stunning and the writings provide an insight not often heard about the places mankind holds sacred. The author's touring and lecture schedules along with other commercial information are here as well for interested parties. I would not hesitate to see one of Gray's presentations after seeing this site.  (Back to top of page)

Gone but not Forgotten

(980306) Laurie Anderson's Green Room

Laurie Anderson
The Voyager Company
New York, New York, USA

Performance Art can be many different things. A guy standing on a bare stage acting out some psychological problem he's had for years, making like a giant chicken for 45 minutes until the show ends with him in a kiddie pool dragged out for the sole purpose of swimming around with hundreds of foam letters, ultimately spelling out some surreal cure for the common cold. It can also be a really cool opportunity for an artist to play with new technology for an audience, providing a safe haven for everyone in the house to try on different sizes of thinking caps. Laurie Anderson sort of broke the mold for Performance Art in the early 1980s. At once her recordings were avant garde without being unlistenable. In fact, the songs on her albums are so clever and catchy it's a wonder that she isn't more popular than she is. Laurie Anderson's Green Room is a great place to visit no matter how familiar you are with her work, the date by date road diary from a recent tour at this site should be interesting for anyone curious about world travel and/or seeing places from the back of a concert hall. The use of technology in her show is well documented and the extra stuff suited for this electronic medium steal the show. A must see here is the wonderful project she has been working on with Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel and countless others. Based on Gabriel's Real World ideas, the theme park which may eventually come to see the light of day (at least partially) and Anderson's thoughts on the subject are an excellent and thought provoking read. Even if you have absolutely no idea who Laurie Anderson is, this site is highly recommended. There is no soup in the Green Room.  (Back to top of page)

(980307) The Museum of HP Calculators

David G. Hicks
Portland, Oregon, USA

The Museum of HP Calculators houses photographs and far more technical information than you could shake an abacus at. Early computing devices are looked at, but the main focus here is the line of desktop calculating computers from Hewlett-Packard between the years of 1968 and 1986. A well written explanation of Prefix Notation or Polish Notation goes on to explain how HP set these machines up internally with what eventually became known as Reverse Polish Notation (RPN). Both refer to the inventor of the system, one Jan Lukasiewicz and his 1951 book on formal logic. That solar powered, multi-function, charge card sized calculator so common these days owes its very existence to the people and machines like these -- machines that originally sold for the price of a new car. Information and classified advertising for collectors as well as software downloads are just a few of the pointers here. A special site exploring mathematics, industrial design and consumer products without losing its technical edge or frightening off the technically challenged.  (Back to top of page)

Annual Anagram Engine Recommendation

(980308) Anagrams 'r' Us!! Mr. Nik's Online Anagram Generator

Nik Sargent
London, England

Anagrams 'r' Us!! Mr. Nik's Online Anagram Generator was suggested by a reader who's own name turns into the almost painful sounding "Chicken Reversal". The URL arrived almost a year to the day after the I, Rearrangement Servant -or- Internet Anagram Server from The Wordserver (http://www.wordsmith.org/) was Site du Jour of the Day (SdJotD 970308). Reeking of serendipity far too steep to ignore, the suggestion leads to the creation of The Annual Site du Jour of the Day Anagram Engine Recommendation. Way to go Charlene!

Anagrams 'r' Us!! Mr. Nik's Online Anagram Generator offers three different dictionaries, options for the number of rearranged words allowed to appear in your anagram -- including the "classy" two word anagram and an interface that's as easy to use as it is simple to understand. The engine is quick even with the options blasted all of the way up, but read the directions for best results. Be sure to look at the rest of Mr. Nik's site (http://www.btinternet.com/~mr.nik), especially the other silly things.  (Back to top of page)

(980309) The Insane List Of Words Which Have All The Vowels In Them

Aaron Kearsley
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

From Abevacuation all the way through to Zonuridae, the text file attached to this site has 5,942 words all containing at least one each of the vowels. The letters A, E, I, O, U and of course, sometimes Y are galore in the mostly English words here. Always open for new additions for the list, let's see if we can't help Aaron crack that elusive 6,000 mark.  (Back to top of page)

(980310) My First Page
(note: I like to think of it as Big Hank's Woodburnin' Gallery)

Jim Henry
Boothwyn, Pennsylvania, USA

When he's not hunting, fishing, looking for treasures with his metal detector, or otherwise making the best of the great outdoors, Big Hank is practicing the fine art of Woodburning. Starting with a freehand drawing on local wood, the images of cartoon characters and nature scenes practically spring to life once a simple coat of paint is applied. Many of Jim Henry's skillfully rendered pieces can be seen on the various pages of this new site. Folk Art like this is magical, the poses taken by Popeye and Olive, Tom of Tom and Jerry fame, the early Warner Bros. gang, and everyone's favorite -- Mighty Mouse are fresh and lifelike. Conspicuous in their absence are Disney creatures. This is a good because they'd have Mr. Henry shut down so fast it would hurt. From an artistic standpoint, none of the Disney vermin are all that difficult do recreate anyway so who needs 'em. Kids in the neighborhood like to come by and see Mr. Henry's latest, that should be plenty endorsement enough. One is left wondering though if Big Hank ever teased his own (now grown up) son or even the neighbor's kids by asking "Who wants to make flip-books today?". You won't see work like this very often and certainly not in all one place.  (Back to top of page)

(980311) Free TV Tickets - Television Tickets

Daniel Signer
Beverly Hills, California, USA

Should your travel plans include a stop in the Los Angeles area any time soon and the idea of being part of a studio audience appeals to you, then this site is a must see. Book and print free tickets up to four weeks in advance, avoiding the long lines at the studio gates. Game shows, comedies and talk shows are all included making your visit to Hollywood complete. Seats are limited and most will be gone by the time you look at this site, but diligence and advance planning should eliminate the delay often experienced when attempting to secure tickets in other ways. The reserved tickets you print yourself are supposed to be the best available to the public. There are age restrictions are in place for certain shows, so it may not be something for the whole family. If nothing else, it'll keep you in out of the rain for a while. Another use for this service is to watch for tapings of favorite shows or to see if that certain actor is finally working again. Best part is that the tickets and service are free.  (Back to top of page)

(980312) Live Racing.com

Bekmar Communications, Inc.
Wickliffe, Ohio, USA

When race day comes around and the television is showing the thrills and spills every good NASCAR fan anticipates, there are real people driving really fast cars around race tracks. These men and women behind the wheel need to communicate with support crews in the pits. Two-way radio is the tool of choice for this task. Using scanners and streaming technology, Live Racing.com dishes up the gritty end of Stock Car Racing to your computer. You'll need to download and install the Netshow Player and will experience a 10 second delay from what you see on the tube, but in some respects it is better than being in the stands. Traffic at the site gets hectic during an event so plan on getting there early. Looking at the schedules beforehand is a good idea. Conservative estimates have over 10,000 race fans stopping by on average. Securing sponsors like the McIlhenny Company, makers of Tabasco brand products continues to fund the purchase of better and faster equipment. Pages for Team Tabasco and pointers to other teams on the Winston Cup Circuit can found here if listening to live and recorded streams from selected races isn't enough for you. Motorsports events are enjoyed by more people every year than all other spectator sports combined. This site only adds to that enjoyment.  (Back to top of page)

(980313) Welcome to the festival of... well, nevermind.
Jim's Page

Dirt - Jim
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

Not quite sure how to describe this site. Odd is a good word to use, an odd collection of textural strings and images resembling one of those dreams you wake up from just before reaching the punch-line. Pointers that act as little snooze bars are scattered about and will take you to equally strange sites. If you are in the mood for something different and unexpected take a look.  (Back to top of page)

(980314) CBS - The Late Show with David Letterman

For a locally specific version follow the pointers at

CBS, Inc.
New York, New York, USA

David Letterman turned late night television on its ear in February 1982 with the debut of Late Night with David Letterman. His zany Indiana farm boy delivery and a fresh approach to creating a talk show changed the industry. A writers strike almost meant disaster for the show which relied on an incredible amount of comedic material every night but Friday when the time slot catered to a different, often younger audience. Of the two vehicles Letterman got by with, The Top Ten List has gone on to become a hallmark of the program leaving the other segment titled Network Time Killers to whither and die once the labor dispute was ended. The Top Ten List followed the show to CBS after Johnny Carson retired and the Tonight Show was handed over to Letterman rival Jay Leno. The deal with CBS allowed Dave to renovate the historic, albeit cold, Ed Sullivan Theater in New York where the show is taped a few hours before broadcast and twice on Thursdays. The second hour long show that night is aired on Friday. The name of the program and a character or two have changed since the early days at NBC, but the Top Ten Lists remain as hilarious as ever and can be found at this site. The archive goes back to the beginning of the CBS run of the show, and daily versions are up at the main page in case you missed the broadcast from the night before. Often imitated yet never duplicated, Letterman has singlehandedly changed the way many people think about television comedy and variety. Like him or don't, there's no question that the Top Ten List ranks among the funniest of bits ever written.  (Back to top of page)

(980315) The Dollar Stretcher
Living Better ...For Less

Gary Foreman
The Dollar Stretcher, Inc.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

The Dollar Stretcher is a weekly newsletter available via e-mail, at this site, on paper and as a newspaper column. Through the collection of nearly 500 articles, tips for every imaginable consumer application can be found. Everything from budget costumes for the kids to do-it-yourself auto maintenance. The extensive Subject Index will take you to pieces written by Gary Foreman and a host of readers/contributors. A subscriber base of 24,000 people could easily turn these contributions into a nightmare but the site remains easy to use and so full of time and money saving ideas it'll be hard not to save a few bucks after your very first visit. In the spirit of the subject, the site and e-mail subscription are both free. Show me a person who enjoys spending too much money for something and I'll show you a fool.  (Back to top of page)

(980316) Two Lane Roads

Loren Eyrich
Hill Country Products, Inc.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

"Skeeter Davis on the radio, and bugs on my windshield, like I died and went to Heaven!"
-Loren Eyrich

Avoiding the busy turnpikes and Intersate freeways of North America has become a lifestyle and business venture for Two-Lane Roads Editor Loren Eyrich. Not satisfied with a career with the largest car dealer in the country, life as Comptroller was traded in for a recreational vehicle and the wide open road. Sterile motorways gave way to the more scenic secondary and tertiary highways, exposing the remaining culture bypassed by the larger ribbons of concrete. His quarterly newspaper looks at the things which made travel exciting in a more simple time. Strange attractions, local museums, signs designed more to entertain than to sell stuff and local cuisine. Most importantly, the people he meets while touring in a hybrid motor bungalow called COW make for conversation and insight not often experienced by modern-day travelers. On the road a month or two at a time, Eyrich hasn't forgotten the things that make this kind of journey worthwhile and returns home to publish the quarterly paper. The Two Lane Roads site is constantly updated and makes for good reading, the pointers and images are quality stuff. This site takes a wonderful look at how one man listened to his own desire and lives to tell about it.

The print version of Two-Lane Roads is available by subscription only (US$14 annually - $18 in Canada). A sample of the latest issue is also available (US$3.95). For more information, visit the site, write to Two-Lane Roads, PO Box 23518, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33307-3518 or in the USA call 1-888-TWO-LANE.  (Back to top of page)

(980317) The "Confessio" of Saint Patrick

One of The Robot Wisdom Pages
Home of the new, conservative-left Responsible Party

Maintained by Jorn Barger
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Once again it's Saint Patrick's Day. A day when, in many Western countries, we celebrate a man and a culture for the better part of a day by drinking excessively. The trend toward green beer is growing, perhaps because of the novelty and maybe because it is just another reason to drink beer. What many people do not know is who this Patrick cat was. Sure he led the snakes out of Ireland a bunch of years ago, invented leprechauns, and like that. How quaint. The "Confessio" of Saint Patrick might change the way you think about the legend and the man. This translation at The Robot Wisdom Pages is of his autobiographical confession and dates back to the year 450. Originally written in Latin, the fact that this text has survived is remarkable. A tale of slavery and escape, prophesy and daring missionary work from a time when Christianity was still new and not very popular with the establishment. Religion aside, the message here is one of bravery and dedication that should be required reading by anyone who intends to celebrate the Feast Day of old Saint Patrick. Instead of drinking beer so good they have to add food dye to get you to buy it, have a Guinness Stout instead. Be sure to look at some of the other Robot Wisdom Pages while you are at it, they look at hundreds of topics and like The "Confessio" of Saint Patrick, have additional ASCII maps created by Mr. Barger. An interesting idea and an excellent site.  (Back to top of page)

(980318) Andover.Net Internet Traffic Report

Andover Advanced Technologies
Acton, Massachusetts, USA

The Andover.Net Internet Traffic Report is generated by checking a big handful of sites and servers in Asia, Europe and the Americas once every hour. Representations of that traffic and the elapsed time required to hit every stop on the list are presented in the form of a traffic signal and line graphs, along with a numeric value. Perfect for checking conditions before starting large downloads or just to see what sort of reliability and/or delays to expect with everyday connections. A visit or two will help you identify normal patterns that occur throughout the week. That knowledge could lead to increased productivity and enhanced enjoyment and without question, is better than a poke in the eye with a stick. Andover.Net (http://www.andover.net/) is currently comprised of The Andover News Network, Cool Tool of the Day, Dave Central, FreeCode, MediaBuilder and Slaughterhouse, combined they present technical information and opinion for users at every level.  (Back to top of page)


(980319) The Broadcast Archive

Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer
Tucson, Arizona, USA

The task of assembling a concise history of broadcasting is often tainted by propaganda from the very stations being looked at. A clear picture of the sequence of events leading to what we now know as radio and television is difficult to get. Countless books available on the subject all share one common element -- a local bias on the part of the author. Hoping to eliminate these half-truths and manufactured histories, Barry Mishkind maintains The Broadcast Archive. Information from credible sources like the Federal Communications Commission, recorded lectures given by radio pioneers, reputable documents and publications combined with almost constant feedback from visitors all add up to a tremendous resource for everyone from students to industry types. The noteworthy Frequently Asked Questions File provides detailed answers to questions about a wide variety of subjects including why there is no Channel 1 on the TV and who really invented radio. Many of the firsts are open to debate, this uncertainty only contributes to the evolution of this site. For an industry so very full of hype, outright lies and self-promotion it's refreshing to see a site this good.  (Back to top of page)

(980320) The Official Mavericks Website

The Mavericks
Nashville, Tennessee, USA

The Mavericks are sitting on the doorstep of a monster crossover hit with their latest album Trampoline. The band's fourth release on the MCA Nashville label since 1992 is a uniquely refreshing blend of Country and Caribbean that sounds, at times, like the Tito Puente Experience playing the Hank Williams Songbook -- but without all that banging. The comparisons to Chris Isaak and Roy Orbison will continue to follow Vocalist and Guitarist Raul Malo until he stops sounding as good as he does. Much has been learned by the band since the early days in Miami and that maturity glows on this latest release. Dream River, the last track on Trampolineshould turn out to be a classic dance floor ballad with the same appeal that makes Patsy Cline's Crazy and The Righteous Brothers' Unchained Melody the favorites that they are. The Official Mavericks Website offers tour dates including upcoming television appearances, biographical information and of course, merchandize. The pointers to audio streams available complete the value of this site. I won't often use Site du Jour of the Day episodes to rave about my favorite new albums, when a label or band site gives visitors the opportunity to hear the material and offers a clear look at the act it might happen. When they are as solid as The Mavericks are on Trampoline expect it.  (Back to top of page)

(980321) Health Iowa

Student Health Services
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa, USA

Aimed at the student population of the University of Iowa, Health Iowa attempts to answer questions about good health. Subjects range from nutrition, mental health and fitness to cover topics sometimes frank in nature at this colorful site. College years are still a time of exploration and inexperience -- the consequences of sexual behavior and substance abuse are not always known and are discussed at this site in a clinical nature. Basic advice and a handy form for asking physicians, nurses, and prevention specialists questions not already answered add to the ground covered by the University of Iowa Student Health Services Department. Once the answers are put up they are available for all to read. Information useful for all ages is here, most notably the section on time management. As with any medical advice of this kind, the content at Health Iowa is general, individual diagnosis from a trained professional is highly recommended.  (Back to top of page)

(980322) Smithsonian Without Walls -- Revealing Things

Smithsonian Institution
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Still in its prototype stage, Revealing Things is the first exhibit specifically designed for the Internet by the Smithsonian Institution. This experimental site uses common objects as the first step to exploring individuals and cultures, and what these material items mean to them. Not a new idea by any stretch of the imagination, but looking at people and their stuff can be remarkably interesting. Java and sound contribute to the experience and it is highly recommended that you use the latest version of the browser you like, Shockwave Flash is used a little as well. Here's an opportunity for visitors to make suggestions and help test what is bound to become an extremely sophisticated site. It might even provide the motivation to update your browser.  (Back to top of page)

(980323) Ugly Lamp Contest

Great Stuff
Medford, New Jersey, USA

A speech for an eighth grade English class and the results of a neighbor's freshly cleaned garage ignited my love for ugly table lamps. Not being all that sure about a barely prepared speech I had, finding one piece in that curb-side bonanza waiting to be hauled off to the dump changed my life. It was a horrible thing, a stack of coffee cans on a wooden base with a bare 100 watt bulb in the socket on top. It disassembled quickly enough, giving me the confidence I needed to ace this presentation. That morning in class, a five minute assignment turned into a fifteen minute demonstration about how to turn things into lamps and a thirty student discussion about what unconventional items could be used.

More recently, a local dime store was closing its doors and among the discarded fixtures was a lucite stocking display. Four clear flat legs poking out through an opaque gray base that easily held a string of those really hot Christmas tree lights. Everyone who ever saw it plugged in marveled at the sheer beauty of it. Another artifact from those glorious days a decade ago bears mentioning as well. A set of bronzed baby shoes with the optional lamp in the back purchased at the Red Shield store for a dollar and a half and sitting on the television. Not knowing a thing about the previous owner, a story about how they were given to me by the parents of a girlfriend who died in some horrible yet unlikely and otherwise humorous way was cooked up. After telling this story to a guest (and current SdJotD reader (hey Buffy J.)) the bi-metal switch decided it was time to turn itself off as it had many times before. The shock and horror witnessed right after telling such a sad story was funnier than you can imagine.

For those who appreciate and even own such pieces of bad incandescent art the folks at Great Stuff have a site and contest for you. This exhibition is bound to evoke memories and might just send you scampering up into the attic. Coupled with a brief history of each lamp, thea quick click of the mouse reveals an often wretched image that either delights or offends. Submit an entry or two yourself or just sit back and enjoy the show. Thank you Mr. Edison, may I have another.  (Back to top of page)

(980324) The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Space Shop

Delaware North Park Services of Spaceport, Inc.
Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA


TANG Instant Breakfast Drink

Kraft Foods, Inc.
White Plains, New York, USA

Last week I had a hankering for a healthy glass of TANG Instant Breakfast Drink. In addition to having 100% of the Vitamin C in every glass, it also provides five other essential vitamins (10% A, 8% Calcium, 10% Niacin, 10% Riboflavin, and 10% B6). To further fuel my desire for a delicious Natural Orange Flavor (with other natural flavor) drink, the thought that the guys at NASA used to drink it all the time, if they could take it with them to the moon I could certainly get my tail in the car and go up to the grocery store. After mixing some up and sitting down at the computer I was surprised not to find a single mention of Astronauts at the Kraft Foods, Inc. site (http://www.kraftfoods.com/). Instead they are using The Outrageous TANG Orangutans to pitch what was once the pride of the U.S. Space Program. It's mighty tasty but someone should look into Kraft's treatment of those poor orangutans, in particular why the creatures have gone orange.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Space Shop at Cape Canaveral was the place to turn for good old space food. To have been the person responsible for freeze dried ice cream must have been a hoot, "Look fellas, let's see those fancy fly boys figure out how to eat this". It was comforting to find more than just ice cream in the Freeze Dried section (http://nasa.viamall.com/nasa/freezdried.html). The other merchandize available looks like the quality you'd expect from the gift shop at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (http://www.KennedySpaceCenter.com/). Mission patches and other items available from the site will save you a trip to Florida but if you ever get the chance to see the Kennedy Space Center you should. Right now I'm thinking about getting one of the flight suits they are selling. It'll be great for mixing up a pitcher of John Glenns (vodka and TANG) when they shoot the 72 year-old up in the Space Shuttle this October.  (Back to top of page)

(980325) The Comics I Don't Understand Page

Bill Bickel
Hillside, New Jersey, USA

Being a cartoonist must be a rough gig. Not only to you need an ability to draw, but you've got to come up with material that a general audience will understand and find humor in. I can honestly say that there have been only two panels, both Far Side pieces, that have left me boggled. Near as I can figure the punch line had to do with micro-biology, often a favorite subject of Larson's work and a decidedly weak point in my own experience. A strip can be funny without the reader knowing everything about its topic, but occasionally one comes along that has such a narrow audience it leaves hundreds, if not thousands of normally bright people wondering just what the heck is going on feeling sort of like Henry, that mute boy suffering from some flavor of mental retardation in the Sunday paper. The Comics I Don't Understand Page is a collection of just such items. New comics are presented from both nationally syndicated strips and local publications on a weekly basis that Mr. Bickel has a problem understanding. The pointers and credits at the site are a nice touch and probably help avoid copyright trouble. They lead to a site that has additional comics from the various artists who often have work that shows up here. Some are not too difficult to figure out while others are a bear. Feedback is welcomed from visitors, especially the kind that explains what was meant by the strip's creator. A great site for all ages and degrees of intellect.  (Back to top of page)

(980326) The Dysfunctional Family Circus

Greg Galcik
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA

While on the subject of cartoon strips that people don't understand it would be a shame to gloss over one of America's favorites. Drawn for the past 258 years by Bil Keane, The Family Circus is just so remarkably lame on such a regular basis that it cries for this kind of abuse. Why people find it funny is just one of those questions probably best left unanswered and not understood. The Dysfunctional Family Circus offers an opportunity for visitors to write their own captions to accompany the single panel posted every week. Turning authentic drawings of the family that could be the model for the Flanders (neighbors to The Simpsons) into something bordering on obscene has never been more fun. Not for die-hard fans of the strip or individuals who object to the occasional four letter word, this collection of captions can be the funniest thing you'll read all day. It can also come across shallow like the two dimensional drawings it pokes fun at. Either way, the option is always there to contribute a line funnier than the original. At least that's the plan.  (Back to top of page)

(980327) Runaway - The Whole Story

Daniel & Amy Dawdy
Ribbon Rail Productions
Chicagoland, Illinois, USA

This section of the Cyberspace World Railroad (http://www.mcs.net/~dsdawdy/cyberoad.html) tells the tale of Wesley MacDonald who was trapped in a runaway Canadian National Railway train as it reached speeds of nearly 70mph. Engineer MacDonald was attempting to add 23 mine cars to the two locomotives and 30 cars already connected. By the time all was said and done, the whole train ended up derailed with the two engines 100 feet from the tracks. Runaway - The Whole Story contains a RealAudio stream of the taped radio conversation between MacDonald and the dispatcher. There is also a transcript of that tape along with press releases from the railroad and documents pertaining to the Government investigation in New Brunswick. If surviving an out of control train and subsequent derailment wasn't enough, company officials nearly ended the man's 43 year career and almost didn't pay his pension. The information presented gives a nearly unbiased account of a widely publicized incident. Nearly is the operative word here, the documents and recording are intended for rail aficionados and other interested parties, allowing a much closer look at the circumstances than would otherwise be possible. The Cyberspace World Railroad is gigantic, making Runaway - The Whole Story an ideal introduction to this excellent site.  (Back to top of page)

(980328) Japanese Engrish

A part of Steve's World
Tokyo, Japan

Steve lives in Tokyo and not unlike many people, finds the misuse of English so common in Japan very funny. Similar in many ways to the Klein Dytham Architects site (http://www2.gol.com/users/zapkdarc/index.html) (SdJotD 970818) in that consumer product labels are displayed, both are in Tokyo and oddly enough, share the same Internet Service Provider (ISP). The examples of "Engrish" here are hilarious and the pointers to other sites which look at the phenomenon in a serious light make this more than just an excuse to poke fun at a culture. It's probably safe to say that poor translation can be a marketing tool in isolated cases but many of the instances found at Japanese Engrish appear to be mistakes made in the scramble to foist a product upon the market. Mistakes that are darn funny and quite often unfortunate in nature.  (Back to top of page)

(980329) New Scientist Planet Science: Weird Tales from New Scientist

New Scientist
Reed Business Information Limited
London, England

The electronic version of New Scientist Magazine offers a healthy sample of the contents of the world's leading science and technology news weekly. Topics covered span almost every aspect of science as it affects people on a daily basis yet will hold the interest of the most sage professionals. Well written and informative, the editors rarely take New Scientist Planet Science too seriously -- which is not meant to say that they don't put their best into it, but rather that they make science amusing. For a bigger slice of pure science you would need to seek out more specialized sites or simply follow a few of the pointers available. A very nice site.  (Back to top of page)

(980330) Big Ozzie's Carp Catching Tips

Adrian Osmant
Bristol, England

Ah, Springtime in the Northern Hemisphere. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and once again the fish are biting. Take a trip with Ozzie down to the old fishin' hole and maybe he'll share some of his Carp nabbing secrets with you. Visit his Gallery and take a gander at some of the biggest fresh water fish you'll ever see. He's kind enough to bring the family along on his adventures and shares some obviously effective bait recipes, strategies and even a few choice locations for dropping a line around Bristol at this site. Visitors are encouraged to send in their own stories and suggestions, and that hospitality should make this new site worth seeing again and again.  (Back to top of page)

(980331) PV Net

Prairie Valley Internet Services
Prairie Valley School District
Gowrie, Callender & Farnhamville, Iowa

For anyone interested in where members of the next generation are headed and how they have embraced New Media look no further. It has become a fairly standard procedure for school districts around the world to have sites for students, but PV Net is different. In Webster County, Iowa it's the students who are the local Internet Service Provider. With clients such as White Mountain Natural Products, Webster Calhoun County Cooperative Telephone Association, Iowa Association of School Boards Iowa FFA, Webster County Development Corporation, Gowrie Development Commission, Heartland Bank, Security Savings Bank and Zion Lutheran Church, Prairie Valley Internet Services provides real life training and management skills to students at Prairie Valley Schools (http://www.gowrie.k12.ia.us/). All that you will see here (other than faculty pages) is the work of young people involved in this fantastic program. Not content with simply creating fan pages for acts on American Bandstand or that newfangled MTV thing, these residents of the Heartland are building commercial sites and learning what many of us could only dream about at their age. Probably the most interesting thing about this whole venture is that the communities in the Prairie Valley School District have an agriculture based economy. Not the sort of place that immediately comes to mind if you stop and think about such high tech things. It will be interesting to see what becomes of this project that goes way beyond traditional vocational education., most importantly what the participating students go on to do.  (Back to top of page)

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Copyright 1998 Edward J. Pelegrino. All rights reserved.
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Updated  March 31, 1998

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