Welcome to the Site du Jour of the Day Archive for June 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.


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(980601) Time for Teletubbies!
Welcome to the Tubbydrome

London, England


Teletubbies on PBS

Public Broadcasting Service
Alexandria, Virginia, USA

During the past month I had the pleasure of experiencing many places and things, some were new to me and others quite familiar. A trip to back to Michigan for an extended stay provided the opportunity to see family and friends again. It isn't until the end of these vacations, once the pace has slowed, that we can reflect on the true value of trips to where you came from. Oddly enough, the single event that stands out above all others during the past 31 days, some of which will be explored in coming episodes of SdJotD, was one I didn't even need to leave home for.

On Memorial Day (May 25), I was home and had the television set on and tuned into the local Public Broadcasting Service affiliate. Having read and heard some of the hype and "controversy" surrounding Teletubbies I figured that a half hour spent watching the show wouldn't hurt. Aimed at young children between the ages of one and three, the daily adventures of Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, and Po captivate the intended audience unlike anything which has ever been shown on television. The BBC TWO show is run in the UK at 10am and again the next day at 7am monday through Friday. In the US you can check your local PBS listings by visiting (http://www.pbs.org/whatson/locallistings.html).

Teletubbies are soft, round, almost baby-talking creatures who live in a strange looking structure known as the Tubbydrome. Described as "four technological babies who love each other very much and live happily together in their own world of childhood imagination," each has a unique personality and features including an antenna that lights up when the huge pinwheel not too far from the Tubbydrome starts turning and shooting out mystery sparks and rays. What happens next is what probably disturbs most adults more than anything else about the show — a gray patch on one of the four turns into a video monitor and shows real human kids at play. Repetition is an important part of learning at that age and since repetition is an important part of learning at that age the Teletubbies all cry out "again, again" and the segment is repeated. Criticisms I have read argue that force feeding television to children so early might not be a good idea but the folks at PBS raise a strong point — 99 percent of all homes in the US have at least one television set. The numbers in the UK and other parts of the world cannot be too far from the US figure. This may be the first show targeting such a young market but the content is certainly more age appropriate than that of other properties. Barney scares a lot of kids (and adults), and while older kids might be able to separate the reality from slightly more violent shows, toddlers are certainly exposed to enough mutant reptiles to last a lifetime. It's good to see a simpler half hour of programming for tots. Numbers for the adult audience the show has would be interesting to see. I tape the local 2:30pm broadcast and watch it instead of the local newscast at 6pm. It helps take the edge off the day.

A quick search on Dogpile (http://www.dogpile.com) (SdJotD 971213) for Teletubbies helped answer the question about how popular the show is. Satirical sites almost out number fan and official sites, some of the adult sites are quite enjoyable in spite of being crude but help round out the cultural phenomenon. Of the two sites listed in this episode, the BBC site is better looking while the content at the PBS site is amazing. For those readers already familiar with the Teletubbies who haven't seen either site, both are highly recommended. If you haven't seen the show and are interested, these sites will help you past the almost instant thoughts of George Orwell's grim futuristic view and Vernes' Murdocks that may strike. Innovations like Teletubbies don't occur very often and rarely have they been this strange. The most unfortunate aspect of this is that the show will quickly be imitated and become commonplace, that is if it ever stops scaring adults.  (Back to top of page)

(980602) Ontario Canoe Routes
(formerly Canadian Canoe Routes)

Richard Munn
Copper Cliff, Ontario, Canada

By this time of the year it's safe to say that most of the ice is gone in Ontario, at least where most of the people are. As a result of the last round of glaciers retreating a few thousand years ago, there are countless lakes, rivers and streams to explore. In that Summer is just around the corner many people are looking for ways to enjoy the out of doors and canoeing is a natural in Canada. As the days get longer and twilight holds on well past 10pm a trip lasting several hours is not uncommon. Casual adventurers and dedicated canoeists alike are sharing the waterways. This site is an ideal resource for anyone who enjoys the sport, particularly people fortunate enough to enjoy the wonder that is Ontario, Canada. Listing routes in this particular part of the country is just the beginning here. Participants in the forums share years of first hand knowledge and experience, reading the posts should prove rewarding no matter where you live and/or canoe. A disclaimer here warns that some of the routes may not have the same conditions now, and that you should never exceed your own skill level and respect your equipment. Descriptions of trips by visitors to the site make up a large portion of the routes listed and contributions of this data helps to keep the site going. If you are in the US anywhere close to Ontario, many of the trips are close enough to make a weekend out of it. If you live anywhere else in the world and are planning a stay in Canada or any of the states/provinces close to Ontario, such an outing is a must. For Canadians, go ahead and live it up. After all, it's Summer again eh?  (Back to top of page)

(980603) Bizarre Stuff You Can Make in Your Kitchen

Brian Carusella
Houston, Texas, USA

Anyone who has ever lived by themselves for any length of time knows exactly just what sort of truly bizarre stuff can be made in the kitchen. How bread can host a fuzzy rainbow of life or that cow's milk is actually a solid comes as no big surprise. This site takes a different approach to the fun one can have with common household items — basic science experiments that are more interesting to certain adults than most ten year-olds who are forced to participate and only vaguely comprehend the wonders or principles involved. The sixty plus projects contained on the pages here range from crystals which take weeks and all sorts of slime to the seriously dangerous glowing pickle trick where a fused 110 volt circuit is used obtain a strange green light from a food product not normally associated with electricity. The same method can be used to cook hot dogs when Mom is out for the afternoon, I know this for a fact. The kids are out of school soon and there are so many things to do at Bizarre Stuff You Can Make in Your Kitchen you'll hardly even notice. The Cartesian Diver suggestion sent in by Paul Orselli of the Long Island Children's Museum (http://www.516web.com/museum/licm.htm) uses a package of soy sauce, it's a brilliant idea and shows how simple science can be. Guess I know where I'll be going for lunch today.  (Back to top of page)

(980604) Books Out Of Print, Internet Edition

R.R. Bowker
A Unit of Cahners Business Information
New Providence, New Jersey, USA

From the company that is Official ISBN (International Standard Book Number) Agency in the United States comes a handy reference guide to books out of print. While this site may not be of as much use to some as it is for others, having one reliable source for determining the status of a title is pretty exciting. Books Out Of Print on the Internet requires a simple registration, but anyone can use it and best of all there's no fee involved for signing up or using the service. Searches can be performed using fourteen different criteria including Author, Title, Publisher, Subject and even ISBN. R.R. Bowker produces the Publishers Trade List Annual and Books in Print, the same products used in book stores and libraries around the world so even though you may still be able to find certain titles listed here, they probably won't be around long. A great tool to be aware of.  (Back to top of page)

(980605) Alaska's Original Poop Moose - Alaska Novelty at it's best.

Terry Martin
Wasilla, Alaska, USA

A great novelty item only comes along every so often. In certain cases, such as that of Alaska's Original Poop Moose cheap imitations are soon to follow. Terry Martin the gentleman responsible for this unique candy dispenser has attempted to discourage people from stealing his idea by registering the mechanical aspect of this invention with the US Patent Office, and is so sure of the quality in workmanship that he guarantees each and every product he sells for life. What he sells are wooden candy dispensers. Fill the Poplar or Walnut creatures with M&M's or Smarties, lift their heads, and out the back end comes a chocolatey treat! Starting at just under $70 US, each of the Poopers is a unique piece of art. If a moose isn't your thing, how about The Texas Tooter — a Longhorn Bull or The Polar Pooper — a sturdy looking Polar Bear that might be fun to fill with sugar cubes. Photographs at the site give visitors a fair representation of the machines even though grain patterns and oil finishes will vary. SSL ordering is available at the site or you can call 1-800-884-POOP in North America. They might be considered to be in bad taste, but like the mechanical banks of the early 1900s Alaska's Original Poop Moose will become a treasured friend in no time. "Thanks for the gum ball Bullwinkle".  (Back to top of page)

(980606) Sun and Moon Data for One Day

Astronomical Applications Department
U.S. Naval Observatory
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Let's say for the sake of argument that you are planning an event to concur with a natural phenomenon such as the Summer Solstice or even sunset. How would you go about figuring the exact time of the event? The local newspaper might have the data needed, but only for the next couple of days. A printed almanac could help, or maybe not. The U.S. Naval Observatory has a site called Sun and Moon Data for One Day which gives times of sunrise and sunset, the same for the Moon and a whole slew of other useful information. US locations and territories with populations of over 22,000 people are ready to go. Another form can be used for the rest of the world by entering the appropriate latitude and longitude coordinates or in relation to GMT. An excellent tool for planning things like sunrise/sunset fishing trips and/or weddings.

The following is what to expect:

U.S. Naval Observatory
Astronomical Applications Department

Sun and Moon Data for One Day

The following information is provided for (longitude E0.0, latitude N0.0):


1 January 2001 Universal Time


Begin civil twilight 05:37

Sunrise 06:00

Sun transit 12:04

Sunset 18:07

End civil twilight 18:30


Moonset 22:40 on preceding day

Moonrise 11:03

Moon transit 17:13

Moonset 23:23

Moonrise 11:46 on following day

Phase of the Moon on 1 January: waxing crescent with 36% of the Moon's visible disk illuminated.

First quarter Moon on 2 January 2001 at 22:31 Universal Time.  (Back to top of page)

(980607) Tripod

Tripod, Inc.
Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA

In addition to hosting the Site du Jour of the Day Archive site, Tripod provides an amazing eleven megabytes of space each to over a million and a half members. Broken down into Pods, these "communities" and areas of interest include a full range of topics and categories. When the Archive site was first put up in July, 1997 these numbers were a lot smaller — the space available was only two megabytes. To date, SdJotD pages only occupy about half of that original amount. Earlier this year when Lycos acquired Tripod, they more than doubled each members space to five megabytes. Last week they went over the top by increasing the offer to a whopping eleven megabytes of FREE space just for the asking. For a low monthly fee members can eliminate the pop-up box at their site and get a handful of additional goodies in the bargain, including even more space. If you have no experience in writing Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) code, there are special tools available for the specific purpose of creating pages you'll be able to see and modify in no time. The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) site for sending files to Tripod is usually quite quick if putting pages together is something you are comfortable doing on your own.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) often give you a set amount of space with your account. Space is sometimes limited on a local level and the idea of being able to have a fixed home for a site is always appealing, I looked at several alternatives that included more than a few of these free services before putting up the Archive site and highly recommend Tripod. Now that they are offering eleven megabytes of space free I strongly recommend them to anyone interested in putting up a site or thinking about expanding one already in place.  (Back to top of page)

(980608) ModemHelp: Support for modems

BVRP Software
Westminster, Colorado, USA

Upgrading a machine can be a relatively easy task depending on exactly which components are being replaced. Quite often, a newer software or driver version makes all the difference in the world. In the case of modems lately, a quick download and subsequent install could improve the performance by leaps and bounds. ModemHelp is maintained by BVRP Software (http://www.bvrp.com) a publicly traded company on the French Stock Market: Nouveau Marché under the symbol: BVRP. BVRP has been a developer of communications software frequently bundled with modems and PCs from the likes of Dell, Gateway, 3Com/US Robotics, and Hayes. The site offers forums to share tips and tricks for the variety of packages a modem is used with to include fax software, browsers, etc. Updated on a daily basis, ModemHelp also lists pointers to the latest drivers and news about the industry. The tutorials for installing a new modem are fantastic, anyone interested in this kind of inexpensive upgrade should have a look. Modems have dropped in price to a point that this site may be better at answering your questions than the company that put their name on the box. If the solution you seek isn't here, the technicians at BVRP Software are eager to help out by either telephone or e-mail. If they can solve your problem, and you are satisfied, all they ask is a $10-20 donation. A Windows 95 utility available as a free download allows you to gather system configuration information which will come in handy when trying to fix a problem. Not a bad idea to have this information around anyway, just in case. Like any upgrade, always perform a full system backup before changing a thing. Write settings down before throwing any switches, etc. Upgrading a modem is as rewarding a project as changing the spark plugs in your car and in most cases just as easy.  (Back to top of page)

(980609) History House: Books, Stories, and Historical Trivia

Sebastian Good, Ian Quigley and David Rodriguez
Houston, Texas, USA

History House offers up a weekly look at the events and circumstances leading to events that changed the world. Written mostly by Ian Quigley these days, the site has been up in one form or another since late 1996. The stories are presented without the formality normally associated with historical accounts. A great deal of effort goes into each piece and attempts are made whenever possible to use the viewpoint of the common man — this approach to history gives a glimpse of real life during the period in question. Opinions presented may not always mesh with established theories or beliefs, and political correctness is sometimes thrown out the window to bring a point home. The trio of Rice graduates serve up a "funky fresh" helping of how things were without being too outrageous. Book recommendations, pointers and letters only add to an already terrific site. It's good to see history being treated this way.  (Back to top of page)

(980610) John Skilton's Baseball Links

Skilton Technologies
Bear, Delaware, USA

With the All-Star game ballots everywhere, the following thought crossed my mind — what if, in a show of solidarity, the people who vote for their favorite players in this game that pits Major League Baseball's shining stars against each other all opted to write in the lowest paid individuals this time around? The business that is baseball might possibly get a message loud and clear. Sure, the factors that lead to a player making tens of millions of dollars are complex, team owners make huge sums of money as well so it's only right that the roster should split some of that bounty a little. It's the fans who suffer though when ticket prices have jumped to fifty dollars each at certain parks, and the time has come to either express concern or better yet, look elsewhere to enjoy the game. Minor League baseball teams in the US and Canada are well represented here and although they are often part of large farm systems for the Big Leagues, the game play is frequently more exciting and these kids are hungry so and tickets are cost effective. Money has become a permanent part of the sport and who can blame the folks involved. However, there are still plenty of other opportunities to see a good game without busting the bank. John Skilton's Baseball Links contains over 4,100 pointers to all things baseball. From high school teams and sandlot stuff to college ball and international sites, this is the place to find out more. A better name for the site might be John Skilton's Everything Baseball, because it is. If you are even a casual fan of the game take a look, you'll be amazed by this grand resource.  (Back to top of page)

(980611) Reel Ice

The Model Factory, Inc.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

I stumbled across this site for The Model Factory not too long ago and even though there isn't much here it's worth seeing. For ten years the company has been making props for advertising photo shoots. Props used for those beverage commercials and liquor ads where everything is perfect right down to the ice in the glass. They make the fake ice in addition to the spills and pours which hold up for hours under the brightest of lights. Reel Ice is available in several shapes and size and must be pretty good product based on how much the individual pieces cost. If you are in the advertising, film or television this site could lead to another vendor. For the rest of us, it's something that we don't really think we see that often but do. Rarely though in this manner — up until now.  (Back to top of page)

(980612) We'll Always Remember

Joh Lang
Hot Shot Productions Ltd.
Auckland, New Zealand

There are countless sites that pay tribute to dead Rock stars, especially after another one passes away. Most of these tribute sites gush on about how great so and so was, how they changed a life or two and then the sites simply languish away after a few months, abandoned once the individual who put it together finds another (hopefully alive) hero. We'll Always Remember is different from the rest in that an obituary is posted along with biographies and discographies of the artist/act. An objective memorial accompanied by a few photographs, RealAudio streams and occasionally, a pertinent document or two like the Will of Elvis Presley. Coming from New Zealand helps out, slightly more obscure names get the same treatment here as world famous dead guys even though the bulk of what is here is Rock History 101 stuff. Visitors interested in writing about people Joh Lang is unfamiliar with are encouraged to do so. A CD ROM with original songs and a slide show is heavily advertised at the site, proceeds from the sale of this homegrown title go to Child Cancer Research and help support the site. I couldn't find any information here about the beneficiary, but the package does look like a good deal. As time goes by it is certain that more voices of the Rock Era will die, they will surely be missed — and remembered.  (Back to top of page)

(980613) Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

NASA, JPL, CSIRO Australia, and British Aerospace Australia
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex has been the eyes and ears of NASA in the Southern Hemisphere since 1965. The first pictures of Neil Armstrong on the Moon in 1969 were received by the facility and then broadcast around the world from local television stations. Without the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex or a similar complex, such missions would have been impossible. Current projects include real time tracking of missions and deep space research, outlines and schedules are posted and updated on a regular basis at the site. Pointers to other space sites are numerous and include the agencies and governments involved at Canberra. This is the closest many of us will ever get to such an important part of space exploration, the images and text provide a guided tour of the major components which make up the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. Pages for the gift shop and restaurant along with information about the staff are here also.  (Back to top of page)

(980614) La vue de Paris
TF1: livecam

Television Française 1
Paris, France

Live camera cameras at sites have been around for a while but are still an incredible application of modern technology. This one on the broadcast tower of Television France 1 in Paris is available 24 hours a day and the detail it provides is very good. An extremely entertaining application for this existing system, and its high resolution would be live vacation pictures for the folks back home. Paris is a big European vacation destination in the Summer, at least when the transportation system is working. Prearranged times and/or locations, this site and willing participants are all you need to capture a few snapshots of people visiting the French capital. TF1 recommends seeing Paris through their site between the hours of 7:00am and 9:00pm GMT. What a view it is too. As the only French television concern actively exploring and utilizing the Internet, the entire TF1 (http://www.tf1.fr/) site is worth looking at and is available in several languages

If anyone is planning a trip or lives in Paris and would be willing to participate in an experiment to test out the instant vacation pictures theory please send me a message. For that matter, if you know of a live camera near your home or future destination that is accessible through a site and would like to say hello to other SdJotD readers drop a line.  (Back to top of page)

(980615) Everglades National Park

The Miami Herald
Miami, Florida, USA

This section of The Miami Herald Online (http://www.herald.com/) offers a local view of the events, projects and people effecting the third largest of the US National Parks. Land use that included development and agriculture in Florida led to the preservation and creation of Everglades National Park a little over fifty years ago. This growth continues today and both Federal and State plans to increase the size of the park and perhaps restore natural watershed conditions are being implemented. The Herald articles in this archive are mostly the work of staff writer Cy Zaneski, an outspoken conservationist who writes about these issues in his Herald columns (http://www.herald.com/florida/archive/environment/). While there are many other sites that celebrate the park, this archive may provide insight and opinion on a more intimate level. The people for whom this material is intended and those who wrote it live on the edge of the 'Glades.  (Back to top of page)

(980616) BOOM!: e-zine for baby boomers

Marcia Brown Rubinstien and Eytan Rubinstien
West Hartford, Connecticut, USA

When Pete Townsend had a band he wrote a song about being young, and how he hoped to die before he got old. Before John and John made a band out of They Might Be Giants, they wrote the line "It's a long, long rope they use to hang you with I hope, and I hope that I get old before I die." The difference twenty years can make is amazing. BOOM! is a perfect example of the differences. E-zines, or electronic fanzines are plentiful beyond belief today. What was once only available on mimeographed sheets or photocopies can now be distributed around the world at a mere fraction of the cost. Rolling Stone (http://www.rollingstone.com/sections/home/text/default.htm) started out as little more than a radical outlet in print for the music and drug culture of the late 1960s, during a time when Babyboomers born between the end of World War II and about 1963 were coming into their own.

Since that time, the magazine and generation have matured and have become the establishment they themselves rallied against. BOOM! on a much smaller scale parallels the current state of Rolling Stone, at least in the respect that money has become a motivating factor in the publication. They didn't sell out or become all that conservative, they just saw a good thing coming. The Rubinstiens and Rolling Stone. Editorial content in BOOM! takes a humorous look at what it means to have survived as long as many Babyboomers have. Although her work doesn't appear here, Erma Bombeck is now funny to many members of the generation and with children through college and on their own it's time to kick back and enjoy life — before they get old.

Content is of a light hearted nature at this site and much of the material has hyper links to the large commercial book and music sites. The Rubinstiens get a percentage from every title visitors buy through these pointers. Sponsorship of a site built into the content is a good idea and works well here compared to other examples I have seen. Some will find the reading here more suitable for their parents, too commercial, or both but there's enough to keep the average Boomer occupied for a while. At least until it's time to get up and change a side or wind the Victrola again.  (Back to top of page)

(980617) The Rhubarb Compendium

Dan Eisenreich
Baltimore, Maryland, USA

As the subtitle states, there is "More than you ever wanted to know" about rhubarb at The Rhubarb Compendium. An amazing single subject site.  (Back to top of page)

(980618) The National Register of Historic Places

National Park Service
United States Department of the Interior
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Growing up, Summer vacations with the family always meant taking what Mom and Dad called the "Scenic Routes." Every hundred or so miles led to another stop along the way that bored my siblings and I out of our skulls. As my sense of history began to develop after about the age of twenty five I came to realize that my parents were not stopping for our immediate benefit. They wanted to see these places and things even if it required taking the whole family along for the ride. Much to their credit, it rubbed off on each of us and we now find ourselves visiting historical places — reading historical markers at a bare minimum. At the age of ten or twelve if someone would have told me that I'd eventually be extolling the virtues of The National Register of Historic Places my mouth would have been washed out with more soap than you have in your house.

Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register has helped to preserve and protect important cultural and historic elements ranging from ballparks to battle fields. Administered by the National Park Service, nearly 70,000 such properties are listed. The National Register of Historic Places site contains information on how to get a listing, a searchable database of the Register, travel tips and itineraries published by the Register and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers plus teaching tools for Educators and parents. Special pages with images and detailed text about specific places on the Register are available and might be the most interesting part of the entire site.

Mom and Dad were right, we didn't know what was good for us.  (Back to top of page)

(980619) Learn2.com - The ability utility

Panmedia Corporation
Sausalito, California, USA

I have often found How-To books relatively useless. Here's this self proclaimed expert attempting to tell me the correct way to learn a new skill or ability, completely forgetting that I know absolutely nothing about the subject. Certain skills require years to master, and the disappointment and frustration of not understanding something immediately often leads to disdain for the author and task alike. We have all experienced that "Cut to the chase and give me something I can use now" feeling. The 87 billion How-To books published every year almost always miss that angle, even with the little things. Keep the instructions for things I should already know very simple, don't remind me that I'm an idiot, and most importantly, give me my fifteen dollars worth. Oddly enough, it's those little things that make the biggest difference. Knowing how to avoid frostbite may not seem that crucial right now but who knows when it will come in handy. Learn2.com - The ability utility is a source of step-by-step instructions called 2torials for activities as diverse as changing the oil in your car and installing snow chains to making a bed or spinning a basketball on your finger which incidentally is rather difficult after a bout with frostbite. My first visit to Learn2.com - The ability utility was for new ways to tie a necktie. The information was there and since then I've picked up better ways to do even more. The service is free and sometimes that's the best kind of advice you can buy.  (Back to top of page)

(980620) AmeriCom Long Distance Area Decoder

AmeriCom Inc.
Sandy, Utah, USA

As more and more telecommunication devices are being used, the need for new numbers increases. During the last ten years in the US and Canada new Area Codes are being introduced to accommodate for the unexpected demand. Large metropolitan areas that once used one easy to remember Area Code are now split up into four or five. Recognizing the need many people have for new codes, Long Distance provider AmeriCom has developed the free Area Decoder. Not limited to North America, the Area Decoder database contains City and Country Codes worldwide. The site is easy to use and quick, the sales pitch for long distance service is subdued which is far from the norm. One of the long distance services offered is known as International Callback, an interesting idea that uses a callback feature allowing calls from international locations to the US and even other international locations at US rates. Site du Jour of the Day in no way endorses any long distance carrier or provider, but advocates saving money whenever possible, especially when monopolies are involved.  (Back to top of page)

(980621) Welcome to Brandano Displays, Inc. On-Line
America's Decorating Professionals

Brandano Displays
Syracuse, New York, USA


Ed's Lighted Yard Art

Ed and Mary Ann Mosley
Llano, Texas, USA

There's almost always a house in every neighborhood where Christmas lights are kept in place year-round. They don't tell us how to live, so who are we to criticize? If for some reason the motivation to take down strings and strings of lights should overtake these people maybe we'd say something. It's only a matter of six months before they're back up and it's hot outside. Fathers Day is no time to be performing chores you've successfully avoided to this point, take the family to the lake or a ballgame, and here's enough for a couple of beers Pop. Enjoy yourself. Conversation might turn to putting up additional decorations what with the longer daylight hours and reasonable outside temperatures. Where to turn though, who has decorations and lights for sale in June? Christmas specialty stores will have them and so do people like the Brandanos and Mosleys, it's what they do all year. These two sites are for decoration suppliers to the trade — shopping centers, office towers, non-profits, and in certain cases enthusiastic, albeit wealthy residential accounts. The photographs of jobs they have done are beautiful and no matter how you celebrate the Winter Solstice there's no denying the joy such displays bring. Now is the time to start thinking about large commercial displays and even those at home. If you are fortunate enough to be able to, sit down with Dad or even someone else's dad this Fathers Day and put together the holiday battle plan. Start with a visit to one or both of these sites and then get ready to go out looking for chicken wire and stuff, the laughter you hear driving by the lake will be your own.  (Back to top of page)

(980622) Mika's Down Under Miniature Golf Course

Matt and Mika Wall
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

One of the great things about being an adult is that if you want to turn the basement into a miniature golf course you can. See how Matt made Mika an 18 hole, par 44 course for Christmas using common items around the house. Sure he spent a few hundred dollars on the project but it looks like a lot of fun. The images on this page are numerous and take a while to load, tough it out and let them — it's worth the wait. The hole by hole description of how the course plays and the offer of encouragement and/or tips by return e-mail for anyone interested in building a similar amusement are mighty nice. This could be a fun couple of rainy days for kids of all ages just so long as they remember that the garage is not a driving range no matter how well that big metal door reports a good shot.  (Back to top of page)

(980623) ABC's Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher

Follow Up Productions, Inc.
ABC, Inc.
New York, New York, USA

This site for the television show Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher offers polls and feedback opportunities for visitors and viewers. You'll also find a listing of scheduled guests for the coming week. Guests and conversation make the show if you are unfamiliar with it — people you wouldn't normally associate with each other having vibrant, often frank discussions about subjects including current events, politics and more. Professional image is checked at the door when people like Jerry Falwell and Rick James get together (June 22, 1998). In many US markets the show is buried in the late night schedule making it difficult for all but night owls to enjoy, a small price to pay for the producers. The audience is larger since ABC picked it up from cable channel Comedy Central not too long ago. To experience PI you can set the VCR after checking for your local station through the database here, or just visit the site for transcripts from the past few shows. The transcripts are the best thing going for the site. The title may put some people off — it's accurate to a point. By no means is the program a forum for Stars, and because it is shown on regular broadcast television the use of colorful language is discouraged. If nothing else, the level of respect you have for people who have been on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher will change. It's about thinking and speaking with a pinch of wait your turn thrown in for good measure.  (Back to top of page)

(980624) The Dialectizer

Samuel Stoddard
Durham, New Hampshire, USA

The URL for this site is making the rounds in forwarded e-mail messages with mountains of past recipients in the body of the message. The version I received today was only in its second generation but contained enough e-mail address to start a pyramid scheme with. In this message was a block of text which had been run through the dialect filters at The Dialectizer: Redneck, Jive, Cockney, Elmer Fudd, Swedish Chef, Moron (very close to Redneck, imagine that), and Pig Latin. Rather than repeat the same experiment for this episode it seemed like a better idea to send out simple instructions for copying and pasting text, a skill very handy to have for The Dialectizer as it will run text you supply or translate another site you point it to by entering the URL.

>>>It also helps avoid quoted message strings which tend to detract from
>>>the original message and can so easily be avoided when sending messages
>>>on to other people.

Step One:

Position your cursor (that flashing bar | that type comes out of) in front of the text you wish to forward. Hold the Shift key down and use the arrows to select (or highlight) that text. Once you have the text selected use the mouse or key combinations suitable to your machine/software to select the menu option Edit. From that menu select Copy. The text that you have selected will be stored in the memory of your computer. You can then Paste (in the Edit menu again) that text into a New message. This can all be done using the mouse alone — don't laugh, you didn't always know this. This copied text can also be pasted into The Dialectizer for very funny results or used for many other purposes as the Copy/Paste thing is fairly standard in most applications.

Step Two:

Instead of putting the e-mail address of everyone you normally send mail to in the To: space, try the Bcc: space. This Blind Carbon Copy or Blind Computer Copy option usually only shows the person who gets the message his or her own e-mail address. This helps avoid sending your mailing list to the world — not a bad idea these days.

With that out of the way, have a look at The Dialectizer and prepare to find yourself talking to the monitor again. Start with text you are already familiar with and go on from there for the full effect. While not the sole creator of these public domain filters, Samuel Stoddard claims responsibility for The Redneck and Moron dialect translators. He has also added to and improved upon the others with programming help from Nick Donaldson. Nice work indeed.  (Back to top of page)

(980625) Optimized For WebTV Ring

Sandro Padin
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Note: This site may not be working

Web Rings have become quite popular lately, they are sites with connecting pointers to each other and usually have the same subject matter. This site is the home for a different type of ring. The content of the sites differ but all follow one common thread; they are optimized for people who use WebTV. WebTV is just what it sounds like — a browser that shows up on a television set and shares a few of the features found on regular computers except the price is much lower. E-mail (hey WebTV readers!) is made possible by network and internal storage and the cool wireless keyboard. Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) used for WebTV sites may not work for standard browser configurations so this site isn't for everybody. If you are not using WebTV be careful looking at this ring as it may eventually crash your browser. Anyone who maintains a site of their own will want to look at the tutorial on writing HTML that will work for WebTV visitors.  (Back to top of page)

(980626) Hypermedia Brazil FAQ

HTML by Hyunsuk Seung
Brazil FAQ Compiled by David S. Cowen
Hosted by Erik Braun
Jena, Germany

Terry Gilliam's 1986 film Brazil has all the elements of a classic — a grand futuristic vision filled with low-tech devices, internal struggles the main character must deal with, a difficult battle with the system and a surprise ending. This was just to get the picture released in the US. Those unfamiliar with Brazil may know Gilliam better for his with Monty Python. The animation seen in Monty Python's Flying Circus and in several of their films is his work. He also wrote and directed Time Bandits, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, going on to direct The Fisher King and 12 Monkeys most recently. This site is a version of the Frequently Asked Questions file set up to include stills from the film and could be easier to navigate for some. The latest version of the all text FAQ can be found at several File Transfer Protocol (FTP) sites including (ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/movies/brazil-faq). I normally do not read FAQs about films I enjoy for "not wanting to know that much about it" but this one was different. If you have never seen Brazil rent or buy the video tape especially if you have enjoyed Gilliam's other work. If films like Blade Runner, Mad Max, Life Boat or that guy on Network XXIII called Max Headroom (has anyone seen The Truman Show by the way?) appeal to you then Brazil is a must see at least a few times before reading the FAQ file.  (Back to top of page)

(980627) Kevin's Oddly Different Story Time

Kevin Kelm
Boulder, Colorado, USA

I've always thought that Curious George visits The Disease Control Center in Atlanta would make a great addition to the Curious George series and was pleased to find this small part of Kevin Kelm's 73% Shinier Page (http://www.xvt.com/users/kevink/). Kevin's Oddly Different Story Time pokes fun at several popular titles for children. Among the selections, James and the Giant Roll of Barbed Wire and Curious George and the High-Tension Power Line are complete with crudely hilarious illustrations and story lines not suitable for prudes or pre-teens. Good parodies are hard to find and these are excellent.  (Back to top of page)

(980628) Lightning Strikes !!

Graeme Caselton
London, England

Lightning Strikes !! is a collection of impressive lightning photographs. London doesn't see many thunderstorms throughout the year, so capturing these images can be difficult. Tips on what film and film speed to use along with other technical information accompany the images. Pointers to other storm and lightning sites are available as well. While not an expert on the subject, these pictures are great. The area of Florida where I reside is often called the Lightning Capital of the World, with almost daily thunderstorms occurring from June through November. During these storms it is not uncommon to hear the continuous roar of thunder for hours on end and the lightning is galore. For a look at current conditions, see the NBC 2 First Alert Doppler Radar Image (http://www.nbc-2.com/wbbhradarfr.htm) from the local NBC affiliate, WBBH-TV. Between the hours of 2 and 7pm (-5:00 GMT) the activity is highest. Eat your heart out Lightning Boy!!  (Back to top of page)

(980629) SloWWWenia
A Guide to Virtual Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, Slovenia has seen many changes in this century alone. Once a part of the Kingdom of the Serb, Croats and Slovenes and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia until June 25, 1991 when the Republic of Slovenia declared its independence. Two days later the Yugoslav army declares war on the independent state and the war lasts ten days ending in victory for Slovenia. The nation has a population of three million people, making a site solely about Slovenia relatively large yet extremely comprehensive. SloWWWenia, A Guide to Virtual Slovenia is primarily the work of eight individuals who write about topics that include the history and culture of the country and much more. There is so much information here that it would be difficult not to spend at least an hour or two reading and learning. Articles are written in the Slovene and English languages, included for the ambitious is Slovene Language-Learning Materials for English Speakers — An Annotated List (http://www.ijs.si/slo/country/visiting/language-learning.html) compiled by Marc L. Greenberg, University of Kansas. Pointers to outside content are also available. A piece called The oldest musical instrument in Europe discovered in Slovenia? (http://www.zrc-sazu.si/www/iza/piscal.html) by Ivan Turk, Janez Dirjec and Boris Kavur answered a question I've wondered about but could never track down. If you can't find something at SloWWWenia, A Guide to Virtual Slovenia there is a section with pointers to completely unrelated sites called Slovenia - What's new (http://www.ijs.si/cgi-bin/new) which provides a daily listing of new sites in Slovenia. The listings go back to October 1994 and include the URL and a brief description of the site. If a resource like this can be considered a national treasure this one would certainly qualify.  (Back to top of page)

(980630) Inconstant Moon: multimedia tours of the lunar surface

Kevin Clarke
Solihull, England

Kevin Clarke's Inconstant Moon offers up a nightly tour of the surface features visible on the Moon. Once outside, a decent pair of binoculars or a telescope will help you see the landmarks referenced. Every day of a given month is listed, and all twelve months are available. This is a useful tool in that it uses detailed photographs of what you can expect to see on or around a specific date. Of course the view isn't the same everywhere on Earth, tips explain how to make the best of Inconstant Moon and your viewing position. If you grow weary of just looking at the Moon, see The Celestial Times (http://www.minervatech.u-net.com/celestial/index.htm). These pages also maintained by Kevin Clarke take on the entire Solar System and in turn are a portion of Minerva (http://www.minervatech.u-net.com/), A Tour of the Arts and the Sciences. All come highly recommended.  (Back to top of page)

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Copyright 1998 Edward J. Pelegrino. All rights reserved.
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Updated  June 30, 1998

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