Welcome to the Site du Jour of the Day Archive for July 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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(980701) Old Radio Digital World
http:// www.oldradio.nu

Enrico Tedeschi
Brighton, England

This site will be of interest to anyone who collects old radios or other vintage electronic devices, especially those people in Europe. Housing more than 25 megabytes of image files, news on the hobby and sections devoted to Sony and Sinclair models to mention a few, a visit to Old Radio Digital World makes your average electronics swap meet seem boring. Databases ripe with articles, product catalogs and books, collectors club information and dates for real swap meets, and classified advertisements make up the bulk of the content here. Because of their personal nature, radios and other small electronic gadgets are ideal for studying the evolution of commercial design. Because of the sentimental value attached to many of these pieces the degree of socialization is high among collectors, a focus of the site. Pointers to the International Vintage Electronics Museum in Hove, other related sites, and a novel look at what goes into maintaining the Old Radio Digital World called How this site is made (http://www.ndirect.co.uk/~e.tedeschi/news/news54.htm) only add to the experience. If radios made from wood are your thing this site will be interesting to you. If thermo-plastics and transistors mean radio then this is the place for sure.  (Back to top of page)

(980702) American Slanguages

Mike Ellis
Fun-ics Company
Wayne, Pennsylvania, USA

Regionalisms in oral and written English are plentiful wherever the language is used, especially in the United States of America where diverse cultural backgrounds have combined to create dialects and unique changes to the language. Every major city in the U.S. can claim at least three or four distinct ethnic population centers within the boundaries of the metropolitan area. The influence is most defined in older cities, Boston, New Orleans, Philadelphia, or in markets where English is not the only language used as is the case in Miami and Los Angeles. Shortened names for institutions, employers or geographic features are all a part of these so called American Slanguages. While not as detailed as Richard Smith's Compendium of Britishisms (http://toronto.planeteer.com/~rsmith/phrases.htm) (SdJotD 970624), this site looks at an ever increasing list of American cities through the ears of a local. American Slanguages is well laid out with a clean look to match. The listings for some of the sixty cities here are slim, but that may have more to do with the lack of visitor feedback than with the fact that a companion book is available for purchase. Pages for Australian, British, Canadian, Irish and South African Slanguages are also available and there is even a chance to win a copy of the book by submitting an item or two.  (Back to top of page)

(980703) Stone Roofing Association

Terry Hughes
Slate and Stone Consultants
Gwynedd, England

Modern construction techniques, technologies and costs have all combined to change our views on stone roofing. What a statement though, "My house is so well built that I'm going to use rocks for shingles!" Structures using this style of roofing are often quite beautiful and seem to last forever, even if they do have literally tons of rock on top. The Stone Roofing Association site provides a brief history of the art and materials used — including a lesson in geology. There are also conservation and restoration hints, listings of manufacturers and suppliers currently offering tilestones and of course, pictures of a really nice looking buildings.  (Back to top of page)

(980706) Past Perfect

Past Perfect
St Aubin, Jersey

"We have an obsession about quality. We like to think we are doing record restoration better than anyone in the world." — Michael Daly

There has been a recent interest in Popular music for Swing — large bands bordering on orchestras playing numbers first performed fifty and sixty years ago, or at the very least influenced by those early recordings. Acting as a sort of bridge between Jazz of the twenties and thirties and Rock and Roll in the late fifties, Swing is the loose term used to describe Big Band material that was performed at a slightly faster tempo making it ideal for dancing. It helped to knock down certain racial barriers common in the record industry during the war years, at least with the record buying public. Recorded on ten inch records played back at 78 revolutions per minute audio fidelity was not a high point but the style worked perfectly within the three and a half minute time constraint associated with the playback medium. Recorded live, the energy level of many of these titles can be attributed to the arrangements and production challenges of recording such large outfits. Many of these records will hopefully be rediscovered by fans of this "new" form.

Michael Daly's Past Perfect label has reissued music up to seventy years old. Reissued is a poor term to use in this case. Unlike the nasty "electronically re-channeled for stereo" treatment RCA used for years, Past Perfect remasters from the best possible versions available and in the process digitally restores what may have been lost and removes the ticks and pops that gave 78s their unique charm. The Past Perfect site is part catalog, listening booth, and history lesson. Sound samples and detailed track listings that read more like liner notes make the site something anyone interested in he past seventy years of American music should see. Like other good commercial sites, Past Perfect almost allows the visitor to forget that they are being tempted into buying stuff. It would appear as though Michael Daly has a passion for the performances and packages available on his label and at this site, and that they are being treated as more than just back catalog must be driving the major labels nuts.  (Back to top of page)

(980707) FotoForum

Todd Felmly
Alliance, Ohio, USA

FotoForum is a unique opportunity for amateur and professional photographers alike to view and critique the work of one another. Separate galleries for film and digital photography house thirty images each. These are rotated out after fifteen days giving as many people as possible a chance to be seen and heard. An unlimited number of spaces are available for shots fitting a pre-determined theme. All three galleries give the photographer constructive feedback on what does and does not work about a particular image — visitors can leave remarks and/or vote on a scale of one to ten. The tips others leave are on the same page as the particular photograph, this may help your own skills develop even if you do not leave comments or submit a piece for consideration. Not a contest, rights are not transferred or lost and it's free. There's some consistently nice work here too.  (Back to top of page)

(980708) The short version of My $95,093.35 Adventure

Patrick Combs
San Francisco, California, USA

There have been stories during the last year about individuals being confused by the fake checks many direct mail marketers are using in contest packages. Confused is probably letting them off easy. One gentleman has flown to Tampa, Florida not once, but twice to claim his prize money. American Family Publishers have several suits pending against them for their obviously worthless "if your lucky number is selected we'll say J. DOE you have WON a HUGE SUM OF MONEY" checks. Named in a few of the cases are pitchmen Dick Clark and Ed McMahon. An interesting article about the suits can be found at Media Central's Direct Newsline Archive (http://www.mediacentral.com/Magazines/DirectNewsline/OldArchives/199802/1998021102.html).

American Family Publishers are not alone, this September 1997 press release from the Iowa Attorney General,Tom Miller (http://www.state.ia.us/government/ag/pubclear.htm) warning Iowans about reading the sometimes not so fine print Publishers Clearing House uses. It goes on to say that the office knows of one man who "purchased almost $7,000 in magazines and merchandize, thinking that purchases were required in order to win." Yikes.

The featured site in this episode is Motivational Speaker Patrick Combs' tale about a wild ride he had after depositing a check in the amount of $95,093.35 attached to a piece of junk mail made out in his name. The mailing promised that in three months he could be rich and as it turns out... The multi-page story starts with him at an Automated Teller Machine in May 1995 where as he claims, on a lark he put the check in assuming it would be entertaining for the teller the next morning. It ends several months later with a very nervous bank official. Certainly not advocating any type of fraud and on the level almost entirely through, this account will at the very least encourage many a reader to stand up to financial institutions. National Media attention was high on this story but in case you missed it here it is. As a keynote speaker Patrick Combs is available for this and other programs. He is the author of Major In Success: Make College Easier, Beat The System & Get A Very Cool Job published by Ten Speed Press. Additional information can be found at (http://www.goodthink.com).  (Back to top of page)

(980709) Cassini: Voyage to Saturn

Cassini Program Office
Jet Propulsion Laboratory/National Aeronautics & Space Administration
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California, USA

Launch of the Cassini spacecraft on October 15, 1997 started a mission to Saturn which can possibly run past the scheduled end of its tour in July 2008. The next ten years will be filled with scientific discovery and exploration for the craft. Two flybys of Venus, one of Earth and one of Jupiter will add speed and opportunity for the project. Mission designers used this trajectory, and the gravitational fields to save fuel and time, in effect making the "out of the way" route pay off. The trip to Saturn will take a little over six and a half years with the remainder of the mission spent gathering data about the rings, moons and other properties of Saturn. This site gives details about all aspects of the mission and with ten years left there will surely be new information in the years to come. Long range space exploration is something our grandparents only dreamed about. Through sites like this one maintained by NASA and the JPL we can all enjoy the reality of it.

Another mission, scheduled for a February 1999 launch is called Stardust. It will be the first mission by the United States to study a comet and the first to return extraterrestrial material from beyond the orbit of the Moon. Stardust will encounter the tail of Wild 2 during January 2004. Also expected in the harvest are ancient pre-solar interstellar grains and nebular condensates left over from the formation of the solar system. Of immediate interest is the chance visitors to the mission site have to include their names on a microchip to be launched with the craft. The chip will return in 2006 with the samples collected. From now until August 15, 1998 you can Sign Up For A Round Trip On STARDUST! (http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/). Ah, the joys of a civilian Space Program.  (Back to top of page)

(980710) Diefenbaker Web
Links and information on Canada's 13th Prime Minister

Glen Gower
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

John Diefenbaker played an important role in the Canadian government both as Prime Minister from June 1957 until April 1963 and in subsequent years as a member of the Opposition. Never one to keep his opinions to himself, John Diefenbaker helped shape the national identity of a country by example. Stuck almost literally between a rock and a hard place during the Cold War, his conversations with Kennedy and Khrushchev may have swayed the outcome of several key events. Maintaining a neutral position was probably the best thing Canada could have done at the time and it did wonders for the newly autonomous country.

Diefenbaker Web is a collection of images, sounds, pointers, articles and other assorted items pertaining to the man who arguably was one of Canada's greatest leaders. Navigation options and the layout of the site are about perfect — the gray scale/black and white images and text including the extensive collection of quotations help add a sense of time and place and in certain cases are somewhat funny. An ideal resource for Canadians or anyone else interested in the history and people of Canada.  (Back to top of page)

(980711) World Flag Database

Graham Bartram
The World Flag Database
Middx, England

The World Flag Database is an up to date source for images and information about flags from around the world. Mostly the work of The Flag Institute (http://www.flaginst.demon.co.uk/), governments and organizations are represented here in fantastic detail. Technical data pertaining to colors and dimensions, display protocol, flags used by armed forces, a glossary of vexillological terms, and pointers to other flag sites make this an authoritative and useful tool. The liberal usage allowances of the copyright protected material takes some of the work out of preparing non-commercial research and if you maintain a site of your own the use of four images from the database is granted for that purpose. Also available is a CD-ROM of images in the collection. In the event such a need should arise, The Flag Institute sells Flag Specification Sheets for manufacturing specifications.  (Back to top of page)

(980712) Water Towers of the World

AnythinGoes Web Site Design
Norcross, Georgia, USA

When the crew of the Real Entertainment / FOX television show COPS (http://www.COPS.com/) rode with the men and women of the Sheriff's Department here a few years ago they recorded a particularly ironic call. It seems that two kids were high atop a local water tower armed with spray paint cans and bad attitudes when somebody called and told on them. This sort of vandalism is nothing new, water towers have attracted individuals interested in leaving their marks for years. Often an important part of a municipal or commercial water system, water towers hold hundreds of thousands of gallons and supply pressure to gravity fed systems. Water Towers of the World is a gallery of beautiful photographs and text about decorated/ advertising towers, historic towers around the world, those new fangled spherical and columnar styles, and a section with pointers to sites of companies currently building water towers. The ironic part of the COPS broadcast was that one of the young punks caught on the water tower became too frightened to climb back down. The Fire Department was called out with a ladder truck and that's where the story gets funny. The identity of the boy went unknown until the Fire Chief went up in the bucket to pick him off — turns out it was the Chief's own son.  (Back to top of page)

(980713) The I Can Eat Glass Project

Ethan Mollick
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

I have always believed that for an individual to be considered adept at speaking a given language s/he must be able to successfully create humor in that language. Not to repeat a one liner or like that, but to have the ability to make people laugh intentionally. The I Can Eat Glass Project seems to be aiming for just the opposite effect. To spew out "I can eat glass, it doesn't hurt me" and not much else in any one of over a hundred and ten tongues could prove to be an important skill for even the most seasoned traveler. Complete with the written version and in certain cases transliterations and sound files, the tools needed to let the locals know that you would rather be left alone are here. Even though he graduated and moved on in 1997 Ethan Mollick keeps the project going with the assistance of the Immediate Gratification Players. Suggestions, translations and sound files are still being requested. The whole thing has worked out quite well for a project never intended to be taken seriously.  (Back to top of page)

(980714) Levittown: Documents of an Ideal American Suburb

Peter Bacon Hales
Art History Department
The University of Illinois, Chicago

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Levittown: Documents of an Ideal American Suburb is just one of the Cultural History Projects (HTTP://www.uic.edu/~pbhales/culthist.html) Peter B. Hales is involved in. Levittown started out as the ultimate consumer community shortly after the end of World War II. Capitalizing on the desire many had to leave New York City, William Levitt created a new version of the sub-urban satellite town. Literally transforming greener pastures into a middle-class suburbia where trees and toddlers could grow up together and the dream of owning a home could be easily realized. What made Levittown unique was standardization. Tales of people going into the wrong house on the wrong street were common because of the limited number of floor plans available and probably just a few too many drinks at the driveway cookouts popular with residents. Ridiculed by some and praised by others, William Levitt was remarkably successful making and selling his plan. A slice of family life at Levittown from the early days is explored here using photographs provided by Charles Tekula, Jr. These photographs of his family and the first hand narrative along with recent shots of Levittown on another page may help those of us who have never seen the community understand the experience a little better.

Other parts of the Cultural History Projects (HTTP://www.uic.edu/~pbhales/culthist.html) include Atomic Spaces: Living on the Manhattan Project, Public Arts in Public Spaces: Contests and Spectacles on Block 37, Outside the Gates: American Landscapes from Eniwetoc to Woodstock, Gates of Eden: Americans and the Land, plus The Chicago Imagebase Project which looks at the city and its structures as natural features. After a while it becomes quite clear that Peter B. Hales thoroughly enjoys his work and might even pack it all up some day to make that move to Levittown.  (Back to top of page)

(980715) The Guardian: Pass Notes

Guardian Media Group
London, England

The Editors at The Guardian, in particular those responsible for Pass Notes offer the following suggestions for reviewers and critics interested in writing about the daily column:

Don't say: "Pass Notes is ample evidence, if any were needed, of the bankruptcy of contemporary journalism. It is relentlessly fatuous and downright misleading. To distinguish it with a website of its own would be an affront to all right-thinking people and folly of the most extreme sort."

Do say: "Pass Notes is a triumph of elegant satire, as illuminating as it is entertaining. If Swift were alive today he would write Pass Notes."

They are correct, this is good stuff. Cross gossip columns with real news, making sure the outcome is shorter and far more interesting. The Guardian has warmed up to New Media, but this is the type of thing that might help newspapers avoid extinction. You'll see.  (Back to top of page)

(980716) Wayne-Dalton's Garage Door SAFETY Page

Wayne Dalton Corp.
Mt. Hope, Ohio, USA

I can clearly remember the Summer when about six kids, myself included, would take turns holding on to the inside of one of those rigid metal garage doors. A few of the kids would also take turns throwing the door open from the outside without any warning or countdown for who ever's turn it was. Sure it was dangerous but it was a whole lot of fun until one of us got hurt. As we discovered, the brackets holding the tracks to the wall aren't engineered for the added weight of children. We weren't nearly as surprised by this failure as the neighbor kid who quickly became part of a garage door, snow tire and rake sandwich. As one would imagine, his dad was fit to be tied that weekend putting up the new door.

Wayne Dalton Corp. like other manufacturers have taken garage door safety a long way since the good old days of our acrobatic Summer. Their Garage Door SAFETY Page extends the commitment and might even help them realize a break when it comes time to send in that product liability insurance premium. The 15 point safety test, the free Safety Kit and the pointer to a special site for kids, Wayne-Dalton's Safety Kids Web Page (http://www.safetykids.com/default.html) hosted by Richard Karn of Home Improvement fame should help bring home the point that big doors can equal danger. A quick visit to Wayne-Dalton's Garage Door SAFETY Page could help prevent a serious accident and could possibly extend the life of the largest moving part of your house.  (Back to top of page)

(980717) Adobe Magazine

Adobe Systems Incorporated
San Jose, California, USA

Originally Site du Jour of the Day (971007)
October 7, 1997

Adobe Magazine is more than just the standard propaganda catalog many software publishers send out. It has decent articles and how-to sections for users of Photoshop, PageMaker, Illustrator, Streamline, etc. It also contains work-arounds for problems their products have. Customer support and product information in a nice package that is available either free, or for money at your local newsstand. Whether you use Adobe products or not, you are bound to find something in this quarterly magazine you can use.

So how do you become a registered user of an Adobe product and qualify for a free subscription in North America? You can download an Acrobat Reader at (http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/acrobat/readstep.html). The Acrobat Distiller is a product they sell which allows publishers to send out files allowing end users to view documents as intended, no missing fonts (substituted or rendered maybe), compact graphics and portable — hence the extension used; PDF. Portable Document Format files are used to send out files from almost any application which supports PostScript (another Adobe product) printers. The registration process after installation of the Reader will qualify you and enter your subscription.

The Adobe Magazine section is almost as interesting as the actual magazine in that the pages are there in PDF files and the files and tricks mentioned in articles can be found here also. The entire Adobe site is worth looking at (http://www.adobe.com/), in particular the download page (http://www.adobe.com/supportservice/custsupport/download.html) with patches, trial and beta versions galore.  (Back to top of page)

(980718) Find Your Name In Kanji

Tokyo, Japan

Software Publisher TEGLET has translations of over 1,800 names available as GIF images. Enter your name and within seconds it appears in a hieroglyphic. The unique part of this service is that most non-Japanese names are translated to Katakana, a syllabic alphabet. Use of phonetic translation as in this case makes for mistakes and variations so use the tool for entertainment purposes only.

The site also offers a trial version of TEGLET EsabaTAD, a hybrid word processor/database. Available for Windows in either Japanese or English the product is full of useful features. You can order a hand made fan with your name written on it for about 2,000 yen and see a rather eclectic product line after the novelty of translating names wears thin.  (Back to top of page)

(980719) Oh, the Humanity! The Worst Movies on Earth

Rob and Alan
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

Really good reviews of some mighty stinky pictures. The outstaning part is that these two guys really enjoy bad movies — the ones that made drive-ins so popular and current dollar shows don't even bother with.  (Back to top of page)

(980720) Almost Amazing Turtle Cam

San Antonio, Texas, USA

Live cameras on the Internet continue to hold the fascination of millions. People have them on day and night in their offices and homes and some of these sites have become hugely popular. Frankly, I just don't want to know that much about your life or business or lack of either. Technically speaking, uploading image files at a specific interval is not that tough and the thought of living around people seeing my surroundings 24 hours a day is a bit over the top. Wasn't public access cable television supposed to satisfy these urges? Pets and views of places far away fit in the useful live camera category for me. Keeping live turtles in the house seems a bit cruel and unnatural but if somebody else finds it OK then have at it. Sometimes it would be nice to see a reptile or two enjoying the day — the Almost Amazing Turtle Cam fits the bill. Four turtles swim around and do what turtles do, oblivious to the fact that the world has an updated view of them every minute. It's relaxing to watch and certainly not something most of us see every day. For school age children it may be the only chance they ever get. After looking at the page detailing how the whole setup works at the Almost Amazing Turtle Cam, the Toledo Zoo at Toledo, Ohio (http://www.toledozoo.org/) comes to mind. The zoo started out with a badger in a box and as far as zoos go isn't all that bad. Assuming the same progression, today's turtle tank could become the zoo of tomorrow. As sterile as it sounds it could eliminate the harm zoo visitors inflict on captive animals by feeding them human food and spare the lives of a few large beasts participating in the process of natural selection like when some idiot decides that going into a display is a good idea. The cages could be eliminated and as evidenced by the turtles, the animals wouldn't even know they are being watched. Unless a few large zoos take the lead on this idea we will be forced to watch the live cam zoos evolve and that unfortunately takes us from reptiles through weasels and badgers before any of the real fun stuff happens. The turtles look healthy and happy which is a good start.  (Back to top of page)

(980721) The Inflatable Reindeer Puzzle Page!

Karl Xydexx Jorgensen
Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Guess how many adorable four foot high vinyl inflatable reindeer Karl Xydexx Jorgensen crammed in the hallway of his apartment and win a toaster oven!*  (Back to top of page)

(980722) The Ultimate Bad Candy Web Page

Mark Mahoney and Ben
California, USA

If you have ever experienced the pleasure of making a piñata (http://www.nacnet.org/assunta/nacpinat.htm) and the let down of seeing it busted to shreds then this site is for you. Having only once been a participant in the creation of an unconventional, yet good looking piñata I had the added duty of cutting the thing open. As I now know, starting with a gallon plastic milk container is not the way to go — no matter how well the sides have been cut away. Eight layers of paper maché would have been enough if they had been applied to a toy balloon or some other less durable frame. If the situation ever presents itself again and I have any say in the matter one solid whap will be all that is needed to open the thing. On the other hand, filling it with salty, downright nasty goodies like those the guys at The Ultimate Bad Candy Web Page love to hate seems like a good idea. The rating scale used by Ben and Mark is clever and the site gives first hand accounts of attempts to eat candy and other snacks not normally thought of as being yummy by those of us with a palate tainted by so much processed sugar. Tread lightly if you decide to fill your next piñata with the untraditional — at the very least be prepared to grab the big stick before anyone realizes what you have done.  (Back to top of page)

(980723) Vermont SIRI Material Safety Data Sheet Archive - Site One

Vermont SIRI Material Safety Data Sheet Archive - Site Two

Daniel Woodard, MD and Ralph Stuart, CIH
Hosted by the University of Vermont
Burlington, Vermont, USA

Site du Jour of the Day episodes are occasionally full of stories and suggestions, not to mention pointers about things that carry a potential hazard if safety rules are not followed. Adult supervision and/or common sense are usually enough to keep trouble at bay. Safety is an important factor of survival, part of that is knowing the risks associated with things before trying or using them. For example, many of us have used the chemical solvent Benzene bare-handed for years, completely unaware of any of the potentially serious health risks that come with the product. Manufacturers in the US and several other countries are required by law to provide Material Safety Data Sheets for such products but as Dr. Woodard explains, "This website was started because in fifteen years experience as an emergency physician, I have found that no one exposed to a potentially hazardous material ever has a paper MSDS for that product immediately available, and the cost of purchasing this information from commercial providers is simply not justifiable when many of my patients can't even afford to fill their prescriptions." Employers must make this information available for products used in the work place and this is great if you are looking for something to read at lunch or in the event of an emergency, but for residential reference a visit to Vermont SIRI MSDS Archive could save the time or expense involved in contacting companies for Material Safety Data Sheets or worse yet, calling Poison Control. Bookmark this site, visit and become familiar with the interface used to search the database. It's free and could someday save a life. For that reason it is probably the most important of all sites so far explored by SdJotD.  (Back to top of page)

(980724) WorldClimate.com

Robert Hoare
Buttle and Tuttle Ltd.
Ramsey, England

WorldClimate.com has assembled general weather information from thousands of places around the Earth and combined it into a huge database. Find high and low temperatures, rainfall, etc. for a given station, averaged out by month over the historical course such information has been gathered. Missing are table after table of data one would expect to find. While this puts limits on the usefulness of the site from a research standpoint, the Chamber of Commerce flavor the readings have is probably enough for most people. Over 85,000 records from a vast array of sources give a fairly accurate idea of what to expect visiting a certain city. Search by location name or within one degree of a known place. The additional information given with each report includes latitude and longitude, elevation and in most cases a pointer to the source of the original data. For a part-time, one man operation this is a great site.  (Back to top of page)

(980725) Instrument Jokes

Jeff Bigler
Nahant, Massachusetts, USA

Recently a buddy of mine was telling drummer jokes, they were hilarious. Poor drummers, like catchers and goalies they take a lot of heat — some of it is deserved but the majority of it is just because they are drummers, catchers and goalies. Today while scouting for Site du Jour of the Day episodes I looked at the special section of the Magellan Internet Guide called Voyeur (http://voyeur.mckinley.com/cgi-bin/voyeur.cgi). Voyeur shows twelve randomly selected searches other people are conducting. Mostly what you will see are poorly spelled words from the raging hormone constituency although occasionally an interesting real topic shows up. If you use Navigator 2.0 or higher, the page automatically updates every fifteen seconds, with other browsers simply hitting the reload button does the trick. Right about the time I was getting bored and thinking about heading elsewhere somebody somewhere keyed in "Bad Jokes" and it showed up. Following the pointer to the Magellan Internet Guide, what should be the first listing under the category of Bad Jokes but Instrument Jokes. As it happens, Instrument Jokes is chock full of very funny material categorized by instruments in and out of an orchestra. The following joke from Instrument Jokes brings us full circle:

Q: Why do bands have bass players?

A: To translate for the drummer.

 (Back to top of page)

(980726) Storm Chaser®

Warren Faidley and the ISSI Chase Team
Tucson, Arizona, USA


Great Mobile Homes of Mississippi

Doug Kelley
Columbus, Mississippi, USA

Warren Faidley has turned severe weather into big business. As an author and photojournalist, storm chasing provides a lucrative source of income, allowing him the distinction of being the World's only person doing what he does on a full-time basis. Every Spring he and his crew head out to America's Heartland to purposely get in the way of tornadoes and large storms. It's worked out so far for him, picking up consulting work on the movie Twister, a popular book and stock weather photographs being used by major publications around the country. The Storm Chaser® site offers a look at what it takes to be a storm chaser and is yet another outlet for making money. This is all well and good, but perhaps they should be working smarter and not harder. Ask Doug Kelley of Columbus, Mississippi what he thinks of the theory that trailer parks are God's special brand of bowling alley and he might just give you an answer. His Great Mobile Homes of Mississippi site looks at the cultural phenomenon of the Mobile Home in and around his home town. Based on the letters he has received pertaining to this gallery, there may be some credence to the theory. While waiting for the pictures to load up visitors are treated to the feedback a few folks have sent in. Of particular note is the response generated by his observations and photographs of the Southern Baptist Church were services are held in a smart double-wide. One is left with the thought that the Storm Chaser® might be wasting valuable resources out driving around in the middle of nowhere. Next year all he may need to do is visit Columbus, plant his bad self in a Trans-Camaro and wait it out.  (Back to top of page)

(980727) GameGrabber

Computer Currents Publishing
Berkeley, California, USA

GameGrabber puts the latest demonstration, Shareware and Freeware games in one location and unlike similar sites (http://www.shareware.com), games are their business — tips and tools included. One of the nicest things about this site is that the selection is not overwhelming. New titles are featured on a regular basis with accurate descriptions and reviews making for a clean interface without excessive technospeak or too many options. Fanatical game players may already be aware of most of the files available, but for the casual player this is an ideal arrangement. I particularly liked that PC and Mac offerings are matched up whenever possible. Download times are short and quality selections abound, the wicked shoot 'em up games are here along side more mild entertainment. Major publishers and smaller developers are all represented here, there's bound to be something for you at GameGrabber even if game playing isn't a priority.  (Back to top of page)

(980728) The New England Rail Photography Archive

Jeff Morris
Quincy, Massachusetts, USA

Rail fans seem to enjoy that same sense of team pride normally associated with sports. Model railroaders sometimes specialize in collecting engines and rolling stock from a specific rail line much like a sports fan who will root for a team thousands of miles away from where s/he lives. Maybe it's the equipment they run or colors used or perhaps just the history of the company which allows for a vast array of choices. Most scale rail fans appreciate the life-sized machines and take pictures of trains whenever the mood strikes — these images can come in handy when it comes time to fine tune or paint a model. The New England Rail Photography Archive currently houses 190 photographs mostly from locations and lines in the North Eastern US and a few from Canada. A pointer to the UseNet archive for alt.binaries.pictures.rail newsgroup (http://nerail.xensei.com/wickednews.html) is here along with four different methods to browse or search this collection. There are some extremely nice pictures here and visitors are encouraged to contribute new shots. As rail travel continues to decline in the US this may be the best chance for many people to see so many of these different trains and configurations. (Back to top of page)

(980729) Louisa's World

Edited by Dale McClare
Brook House Press
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

The full title of this site, in the style of the period is:

Louisa's World

The 1815 Diary of a Nova Scotia Farm Girl Louisa Collins, of Colin Grove, Dartmouth.

with Genealogy in Context and a Look at Country Life in the Regency Period

From the middle of August 1815 into the first month of the following year a young lady named Louisa Sarah Collins made almost daily entries in a diary she kept. She lived with her family, and was the second of eight girls who ranged in age from twenty years to nine months. This annotated diary provides a unique window into her life on a large farm not too far from the capital of Nova Scotia in the early part of the last century. Dale McClare has done a wonderful job editing the volume, also adding images and footnotes to help readers gain a better sense of the time and place. Brook House Press sells a paperback version of Louisa’s World, entitled The 1815 Diary of a Nova Scotia Farm Girl available for $14.95 Canadian. What makes the site unusual is the fact that it contains more information than the book, normally the situation is reversed. The value of this site goes beyond the diary. Showing how the farm and area near Halifax Harbour has been developed between 1773 and 1972 only adds to the quality.  (Back to top of page)

(980730) LingWhat?

Deerfield, Wisconsin, USA

LingWhat? is a tool for determining what language a document is written in. A series of questions help to isolate unique characters found in that document, and in a specific language. The folks at IDRIS like to call it their "language decipherer thang!" Related pointers to Tyler Chambers' The Human-Languages Page (http://www.june29.com/HLP/) show up at appropriate places during the process and resulting jumps can be mighty interesting, a must see in fact. The system has a few obvious limitations but on the whole it is one of those handy utilities that makes life a lot easier every now and then.  (Back to top of page)

(980731) Bad Fads
The fads you wished would stay forever (or never come back)

AdScape Communications
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Never overtly nostalgic, Bad Fads digs deep into the dusty corners of Popular Culture to retrieve the novelties and crazes of days gone by. A short description complete in many cases with the events leading to the rise and demise in popularity accompany each image of items such as the D.A. haircut and silly behavior like the ironing of hair. Divided into four categories of fad, this collection is quite good. While there is plenty of room for expansion the site should keep most visitors occupied for a half hour or so — not unlike many of the fads on display. Mix equal parts of ancient history and marketing 101, throw in a nice layout and this is what you'll get. Kids from eight to eighty will love Bad Fads if for no other reason than it smells a lot better than a flea market.

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* There is no prize, just the satisfaction of correctly guessing how many inflatable reindeer Karl Xydexx Jorgensen crammed in the hallway of his apartment — the toaster oven stuff is made up. 

Copyright 1998 Edward J. Pelegrino. All rights reserved.
Trade and Service Marks used herein are the property of their respective owners.


Updated  July 31, 1998

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