Welcome to the Site du Jour of the Day Archive for August 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

August 1998














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(980801) Florida Sports Park Swamp Buggy Races

Swamp Buggy, Inc.
Hosted by Cyber Island, Inc.
Marco Island, Florida, USA

The pioneering spirit of early Floridians survives to this day with the Swamp Buggy races held three times a year. Swamp Buggies are hybrid vehicles designed out of necessity for literally plowing through the deep water covering most of the Southern tip of Florida throughout the year. The original purpose of these vehicles with large, over inflated tires was to get hunters to remote locations, away from the then tiny community of Naples. As the Hunting Season approached, individuals would bring out their Swamp Buggies showing off modifications made during the year and as such things go, informal racing started. By 1943 the event began to show a bit of organization and in 1949, the first "Official" Swamp Buggy Races were held. Johnny Jones beat out a field of 50 drivers who participated in a parade through the streets of town. Since that time the races have attracted international attention and are broadcast live on the Nashville Network three times a year. Swamp Buggy, Inc. remains a non-profit corporation and the original spirit of the races is maintained by a policy unique to the world of Motor Sports. While the development of new technologies is encouraged, they must be made available to all parties interested and the tradition of racing for ownership survives. Anyone interested in racing or Folk History should visit this site. If you are anywhere near Collier County during the months of March, May or October a trip to the Florida Sports Park would make for a well spent weekend.  (Back to top of page)

(980802) Sightings On The Radio

Jeff Rense and James Neff
Santa Barbara, California, USA

As fantastic as many of the stories covered by Jeff Rense on the syndicated radio show Sightings are, much of the information comes from reliable and credible sources. This does not mean that everything we get from these sources is true and that fact is not missed by the Producers of Sightings. Too many times pieces about Unidentified Flying Objects and Aliens credit an individual "who wishes to remain anonymous" or later retracts their account after the so called authorities on such matters reveal that probing by Aliens fell out of fashion weeks before Gomer's supposed abduction. Simply stated, far too much of this stuff is just not right. Sightings attempts to present stories without the opinion and has on occasion put several popular myths to rest by talking to the individuals involved or finding someone who has. Available as satellite and regular broadcast programming in certain markets or via RealAudio Streams, the show goes out six nights a week and covers the hottest topics to include UFOs-Aliens, Secret Weapons, Earth Changes, Political Intrigue and Health-Medicine. The archived material here is among the best available on the subjects explored, complete with pointers to original sources and updates when they become available. Artwork and layout by James Neff make this a very nice site to visit and navigate a quality rare with the genre. To paraphrase a relevant theme from a popular Fox television show, If the truth is out there Jeff Rense will find it. If the truth is not out there Jeff Rense will find that too.  (Back to top of page)

(980803) HomeFair.com

Home Buyer's Fair, Inc.
Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

For the first time in the history of the United States over fifty percent of the population lives in a metropolitan area. While that fact may not come as a big surprise to many people it indicates that the agricultural society we once had is becoming a thing of the past. Along with the demise of the family farm comes migration as fewer people are tied to a family business or property. The ability to move to another market and find work almost immediately due to the strong economy has many people doing so. The population shift to the Sunbelt in the 1980s saw an exodus from the failing Northern Industrial economies and set the Information Age into motion. The next step many people anticipate is a stronger Global Economy and that will open up new jobs and careers in many different places. General Motors is a perfect example, specifically the Buick Plant in Flint, Michigan. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement opened free trade between Canada, the US and Mexico many jobs are being moved to places where labor is cheaper. The striking auto workers in Flint (http://www.uaw.org/uaw_near_you/region1c.html) will soon be joining sisters, brothers and old neighbors in Arizona, Texas and Florida if GM decides to close their operations at the birthplace of the automobile. Many of these second and third generation assembly line workers are going to be in for a big shock when there are even fewer jobs in the already devastated Michigan city (http://www.dogeatdogfilms.com/rogerme.html). Used to relatively large annual incomes and the niceties associated with a high paying job, many individuals and families will need to reevaluate the way money is spent. The cost of living in different regions in the US and around the world vary, to maintain a standard of living might require higher or lower wages than previously required and HomeFair.com has several tools available for making those calculations.

Since its launch just over four years ago much has been added to a site that was one of the first Real Estate related sites. Text articles and a simple mortgage calculator led way to a loan qualification calculator and within a year of starting up, the relationship with the Center for Mobility Resources was established providing a direct connection to Real Estate professionals. When the Salary Calculator was introduced the focus of the site shifted to interactive exhibits which now include the Moving Calculator, Insurance Professor, Relocation Crime Lab, Free City Reports and the Relocation Wizard. The section containing guides has expanded as well. The site also runs essays by Arnold Kling a noted writer on business and economic issues. This site is not only useful for people living in or moving to the US as data for many cities around the world can be found in the various calculators. Best used as a general guide and not the absolute final word, the only thing missing here is Spanish Language lessons for the folks in Flint who are interested in following their jobs if it goes that way.  (Back to top of page)

(980804) Morbid Fact Du Jour!

Typhoid Mary
Hosted by Shocking.com
Chico, California, USA

Human tragedy is never very entertaining when you or someone you know experiences it but throughout history Mankind has been fascinated by it. Newspaper headlines during the past two hundred years chronicle this fascination perfectly. Natural disasters, war and death in general captivate many people to distraction and Boy Howdy do these things sell papers. The dead Princess is a classic example — the same photographs many claim did her in continue to sell publications, plates, dolls and other cheap garbage all labeled with the word Tribute. Ask an average adult to tell you what Jack Handy did for a living and odds are you'll get a blank stare. Ask that same person about Jack the Ripper and see how much they know. Many of us would not consider ourselves the kind of people who actively seek out tales of carnage and horror. If we should happen upon it, like driving by a bad wreck being cleaned up one cannot help but look. Personally I am a sucker for a good baby in the well story. Of course I would never like to see it happen to someone I know or my own flesh and blood but when it's half way around the world all bets are off.

Morbid Fact Du Jour! works on that very premise. If it happened somewhere else, or better yet a long time ago people will read about it, especially if it is unusual. Every weekday there is a well written account of some moderately horrible event hardly suitable for the entertainment of children. Typhoid Mary's entire site (http://www.shocking.com/~despair/) may be too dark for most but her Morbid Fact Du Jour! is well worth a visit. The history and accurate information presented here combined with an underlying respect for the real people these stories are about could make this site a little too serious for some. A top quality site that comes highly recommended.  (Back to top of page)

(980805) The Dudley Do-Right Emporium

Jay Ward Productions, Inc.
Hollywood, California, USA
Hosted by Montville Data Services, Inc.

Pinebrook, New Jersey

The Dudley Do-Right Emporium is little more than an advertisement for the actual store located on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. The business is operated by the late Cartoonist Jay Ward's family who own merchandising rights to the characters he created. It is the pointers to other sites that make up for the complete lack of biographical information this one should have. A few of these pointers are outdated but the ones that remain are great. The URL they have for The Frostbite Falls Home Page (on the Ward Wide Web!) is incorrect. Of the relatively few Rocky and Bullwinkle sites available it is the best I have seen. The active URL is (http://home.iSTAR.ca/~culrich/index.html) and not (http://mindlink.net/charles_ulrich/).

With some renovation The Dudley Do-Right Emporium could be wonderful source of information and official products. As it stands right now there is much to be done. Maybe a Site du Jour of the Day reader would be interested in helping out the family of the man who gave us the funniest, smartest animated show ever to run on American television. An original cel for the best set of pages perhaps — I think I smell the makings of a contest here.  (Back to top of page)

(980806) Australian Folk Songs

Mark Gregory
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Australian Folk Songs is a collection of over 100 of Australia's best. Many similar archives around the world only list a title which when selected launches a MIDI file but this site is complete with words and printed music. Many do have a MIDI file attached, playable as QuickTime movies. A pointer to downloas the latest version is included in the event that you do not have it installed. After the lyrics, visitors will find historical information about the song plus added help on deciphering the Aussie-Speak. Pointers to other Folk Music related sites Australian and otherwise are also at the site along with a glossary, bibliography, discography and a message area. Fully searchable and fast, Australian Folk Songs is a great place to start exploring the rich cultural history of Australia.  (Back to top of page)

(980807) Faces

Cory Gilbert
Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

Faces is an updated version of the classic book/toy that contains pages split in thirds and has pictures of different adult professions children could some day have. Flipping clown hair on to the politician's eyes and going back to the vampire's nose and mouth may have frightened a child or two through the years. Perhaps it was inspirational, it's hard to say. Faces uses pictures of celebrities to the same end. Several different versions are available depending on the browser being used, all entertaining. Added features allow visitors to submit formulas that have worked for them, chat with other visitors and even send someone a Faces postcard. Either with or without the kiddies this site is a hoot.  (Back to top of page)

(980808) Maddog 'n' Miracles — Signs of Texas

Monty Northrup and Carolyn Blankenship
Austin, Texas, USA

Combining photographs and commentary, proud grandparents Monty Northrup and Carolyn Blankenship share images of wildflowers and funny street/advertising signs in a series of pages here. The Texas signs are from around the state, a by product of wildflower safaris. Admittedly not the best pictures ever taken, this only adds to the charm. Maddog 'n' Miracles — Signs of Texas should prove entertaining to most visitors but if you would rather see the wildflowers and other galleries starting at the top (http://www.io.com/~maddog/) would be the way to go.  (Back to top of page)

(980809) Random Monty Python Skit Server!

David Stuart
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

By now nearly every English speaking person over the age of thirty should know about Monty Python. Most know the members of the British comedy troupe by name. Because of television, hit movies and commercial endorsements, we know them by face at least. Certainly one of the most popular subjects available on sites around the world the boys wrote some darn funny material over the years. David Stuart has collected transcripts of these bits and through the aid of a Common Gateway Interface (CGI) script, a random sketch or song will pop up every time the page is loaded. The material is so deeply entrenched in our catch phrase vocabulary that we often forget how good it all is. Have a look see but remember, if you are going to be reading aloud funny voices are mandatory.  (Back to top of page)

(980810) 1000 Tips 4 Trips: Travel Tips Submitted by People Just Like You

Triple One Travel Directory
Hinton, Alberta, Canada

As sort of a side trip from the comprehensive Triple One Travel Directory: Unique International Travel Resources (http://www.triple1.com/), 1000 Tips 4 Trips: Travel Tips Submitted by People Just Like You provides visitor submitted hints for making even the most difficult journey easier. Separated into twenty five distinct categories ranging from Pre-Travel Planning and Tips for the Disabled Traveller to Tips for Travel Operators there is something here for most everyone. Similar to the tips section at Walkabout Travel Gear™ (http://www.walkabouttravelgear.com) (SdJotD 971114), this site takes a broader approach to all aspects of travel and provides visitors the opportunity to share their secrets with others. As airlines in the US are restructuring the commission rates for Travel Agents it is nice to see alternate sources of information showing up. A new site already in great shape. An hour spent reading the submissions now could save many days of inconvenience, not to mention the expense of wasting your precious leisure travel time.  (Back to top of page)

(980811) The Excuse List

TWolf Design

Nobody likes a liar, but on occasion we have all found it necessary to concoct some outrageous tale about why we could not attend a particular function or otherwise commit to some sort of engagement. These "little white lies" as they are called supposedly deduct far less from your account when advancing to the next spiritual plane that the grandmother of them all, "I can't, I have to wash my hair" became so commonplace that it lost its effectiveness years ago. Proper usage and delivery are dependant upon the tone of voice used to deliver a lame excuse. The tenderness of "I'd love to but already have plans that night, maybe some other time" has a ring of truth and sincerity to it the first few times. However, something along the lines of "We can't because the dog ate the whole 64 box of crayons, box and all, and Saturday night is when the Vet said we should be looking for the sharpener" is such an obviously a blatant lie — dogs get blamed for far too many things and we all know this because we've tried to blame them at one time or another for stuff. The perfect white lie/excuse commands respect in that it is neither too true nor too false. Do you think that you would actually tell people you like all of the details about that stupid dog if such a catastrophe were to have occurred? It would be more like "Sorry, we have to stay home and keep an eye on the dog" following that up with "No… it was just something s/he ate."

The Excuse List contains over one hundred and twenty five of these lies, some good, some bad and some just plain silly. To further encourage the growth of the list, TWolf Design accepts contributions, or so they say. This list could eventually come in handy so bone up on it just in case. The Excuse List is only one of the many pages found at The TWolf Web (http://www.twolf.demon.co.uk/), visitors with JavaScript compatible browsers (most are) should see the Resignation Server (http://www.twolf.demon.co.uk/resign.html) which could make leaving your current job that much easier. Not nearly as sophisticated as the automatic complaint-letter generator (http://www-csag.cs.uiuc.edu/individual/pakin/complaint) (SdJotD 970410), the three different strengths are enough to get the job done. Remember that the excuses found at this site are for entertainment purposes only, and that nothing beats honesty as the best policy.  (Back to top of page)

(980812) GASLIGHT electronic text and discussion site

Gaslight Stateside Edition

Stephen Davies and Diana Patterson
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Gaslight is the five year old Internet discussion group/e-mail list which reviews and analyses a different story every week. The site makes the electronic texts available to members and non members alike. Based loosely on the Hounds of the Internet, a similar and earlier discussion list about the character Sherlock Holmes, Gaslight members are Mystery, Adventure and The Weird readers. The material selected has one common denominator beyond genre — it was all written between the years 1800 and 1919. A tip of the hat to Australian reader Peter Fletcher who wrote that Gaslight "is an interesting site if you are into horror fiction," and also compared it to the Official and Original Project Gutenberg Web Site and Home Page (http://www.promo.net/pg/index.html) (SdJotD 980407) because of the available short stories in the Public Domain. For more information about joining the discussion list visit the site and/or send a message to Stephen Davies and Diana Patterson at (Gaslight-Safe@MtRoyal.ab.ca).  (Back to top of page)

(980813) forkinthehead.com

Nick Usborne, Dave Slipp and Cathie Walker
forkinthehead consulting inc.
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

If you have ever visited a site with what might be perceived as serious problems then forkinthehead.com is your kind of place. By sending one of their newfangled fork-a-grams to the person or people who maintain the site you will either get them terribly upset or give them much needed feedback about their site. It can be a time consuming task to make sure that every single pointer is up to date (see special note) and much like the documents that have been created with desktop publishing applications, there is a lot more involved in creating a site than knowing how the software works. Think of forkinthehead.com as a conduit for giving anti-awards if you will. The next time you are tempted to send a message to let someone know what you actually did think of their site, gather up the URL, an e-mail address and scoot right over to forkinthehead.com. Now before you start thinking crazy, be aware that your own name and e-mail address will be required to send a fork-a-gram and that the person on the other end will eventually get this data. When the fork-a-gram arrives it will look something like this:


This email comes to you from forkinthehead.com
Because flawed web sites deserve a fork in the head


You have received a fork-o-gram from ( you@yordomain.com )

Your Name Here is a visitor to your web site and is taking this opportunity to give you some feedback through our fork-o-gram service.

You are encouraged to view this fork-o-gram at:

(a URL will be in this space)


Is a fork-o-gram just an imaginative new way to beat up on you and your site? Absolutely not. This service provides you with a unique insight as to how your site is being seen and experienced by individual visitors.

It will also help to alert you to urgent technical faults such as broken links.

If you have any comments or questions arising from this fork-o-gram, please visit our site at http://www.forkinthehead.com


So just exactly who do these wiseacres at forkinthehead consulting inc. think they are? For starters they are accomplished computer professionals trying to make a little money and attempting to help others out by providing free tips on creating fork-free pages. They do have experience in this sort of thing, especially the girl — Cathie Walker is the mastermind behind Centre for the Easily Amused (http://www.amused.com/) where you'll find Count Floyd's Movie News (http://www.amused.com/cfloyd.html) (SdJotD 971023) and about a zillion other entertaining things. forkinthehead.com Was just launched this week and promises to be a wonderful resource for all.

Special Note — While visiting The Site du Jour of the Day Archives, should you happen to find a pointer changed or no longer working please let me know either through a regular message or one of these snazzy fork-a-grams. People who live in glass houses should get dressed well before the neighbors are expected over, right?  (Back to top of page)

(980814) 101 Beer Links

The Shareware Place
SPAK Dynamics
Gainesville, Florida, USA

101 Pointers to beer on this page, 101 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 100 pointers to beer on this page — 100 Pointers to beer on this page, 100 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 99 pointers to beer on this page — 99 Pointers to beer on this page, 99 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 98 pointers to beer on this page — 98 Pointers to beer on this page, 98 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 97 pointers to beer on this page — 97 Pointers to beer on this page, 97 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 96 pointers to beer on this page — 96 Pointers to beer on this page, 96 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 95 pointers to beer on this page — 95 Pointers to beer on this page, 95 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 94 pointers to beer on this page — 94 Pointers to beer on this page, 94 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 93 pointers to beer on this page — 93 Pointers to beer on this page, 93 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 92 pointers to beer on this page — 92 Pointers to beer on this page, 92 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 91 pointers to beer on this page — 91 Pointers to beer on this page, 91 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 90 pointers to beer on this page — 90 Pointers to beer on this page, 90 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 89 pointers to beer on this page — 89 Pointers to beer on this page, 89 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 88 pointers to beer on this page — 88 Pointers to beer on this page, 88 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 97 pointers to beer on this page — 87 Pointers to beer on this page, 87 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 86 pointers to beer on this page — 86 Pointers to beer on this page, 86 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 85 pointers to beer on this page — 85 Pointers to beer on this page, 85 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 84 pointers to beer on this page — 84 Pointers to beer on this page, 84 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 83 pointers to beer on this page — 83 Pointers to beer on this page, 83 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 82 pointers to beer on this page — 82 Pointers to beer on this page, 82 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 81 pointers to beer on this page — 81 Pointers to beer on this page, 81 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 80 pointers to beer on this page — 80 Pointers to beer on this page, 80 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 79 pointers to beer on this page — 79 Pointers to beer on this page, 79 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 78 pointers to beer on this page — 78 Pointers to beer on this page, 78 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 77 pointers to beer on this page — 77 Pointers to beer on this page, 77 pointers to beer, visit one and go back when you're done, 76 pointers to beer on this page… you get the idea.  (Back to top of page)

(980815) Homer Laughlin China Company Plant Tour

Steven A. Beals
Paradise Pottery
Los Angeles, California, USA

Fiesta dinnerware was introduced in 1936 and quickly became popular because of its clean design, durability and that it was affordable. The line was discontinued in 1972 and then reintroduced in 1986 by the Homer Laughlin China Company. Contributing factors for the reintroduction included a high demand by both restaurant owners and collectors. This site is the result of a special tour conducted of the plant in November 1997 for a few lucky members of the CSM Online Fiestaware Forum. Almost every step of the manufacturing process, from raw materials to shipping is detailed here with creative photographs and a well written narrative. The contrast between the seventy year-old equipment and current technology used at the works will prove interesting for most visitors. For collectors and potters it's the next best thing to being there.  (Back to top of page)

(980816) RMS Titanic Commemorative Chocolate Bars

M&J Dollar Enterprises
St. Albans, Vermont, USA

If he were alive today Elvis would probably approve.

"Capture the Romance, Capture the Feeling, Capture the Elegance of a Time Gone By with R.M.S. Titanic Commemorative Chocolate Bars."  (Back to top of page)

(980817) They Still Draw Pictures

Mandeville Special Collections Library
University of California, San Diego
San Diego, California, USA

This unique collection of drawings dates back to the Spanish Civil War (1938) and contains over six hundred pieces created by school aged children. Collected in Spain and refugee centers in France by the Spanish Board of Education and the Carnegie Institute of Spain, the American Friends Service Committee published them in book form twice in 1938. When they were republished during 1939 by The Oxford University Press (New York) the images were brought to an even wider audience, raising that much more money for relief efforts. Currently back in print, the drawings are a part of the Southworth Spanish Civil War Collection, Mandeville Special Collections Library, and are available for viewing at this site. Much of this collection provides a view of war from the viewpoint of a child, fear of the unknown and a sense of innocent optimism lend to the beauty of these often crude depictions of a world lost. The historical value this collection holds is remarkable and the potential for education unparalleled. When children are learning about war and/or art these drawings could be used with great success. Kids today draw the same as they did sixty years ago but maybe the emotional content of these pictures would be a far more effective teaching tool than any text book or newsreel ever could.  (Back to top of page)

(980818) The Coolest Robots

Paul Vinter
Lincolnshire, England

This site celebrates some of the most interesting mechanical marvels ever to grace large and small screens. While some of the selections here where pleasant surprises, there were a few missing that should eventually be added if visitors make suggestions to that end. A brief description accompanies a photograph of each robot making this a quick visit. The potential for this new site is great and as the content increases it will be that much more fun to visit.  (Back to top of page)

(980819) The Adventures of Pinocchio

InterGO Communications, Inc.
Plano, Texas, USA

For those who don't know the story of the boy who runs away from home, travels far and wide, convinces people that he is good, finds himself involved with a bunch of donkey boys, ends up crying because he told a few lies, and is full of images of big noses then you should visit The Whistleblower Newswire (http://www.queencity.com/whistleblower/) (SdJotD 980128). They have been having more fun with President Clinton's battles for months now.

The Adventures of Pinocchio on the other hand is a translation by Carol Della Chiesa of the classic story of a wooden puppet who is eventually granted his wish. Florentine Journalist Carlo Lorenzini wrote this "accidental masterpiece" using the name Carlo Collodi in an attempt to raise money lost gambling in the 1880s. Uncle Walt all but ruined the tale with his version released in the 1940s by completely eliminating the part where Pinocchio kills the talking cricket after throwing his shoe at insect and  by leaving out other major plot devices. Those who have never read the original story should see this electronic version. There are several editions available as real books, some with the original illustrations and most with the slightly twisted humor that made the The Adventures of Pinocchio an instant hit a hundred years ago.  (Back to top of page)

(980820) Subterranean Glasgow

The Milk Crate Gang
Glasgow, Scotland

Some tend to think of this form of urban exploration as nothing but trespassing, but there are informal groups around the world, in older cities mostly, who spend their leisure time in abandoned subway tunnels and stations. The Milk Crate Gang is one such group, formed after communicating with each other on the uk.railway newsgroup. A conversation about new tunnel construction led to talk and speculation about older sections of the system under Glasgow and then to rediscovery. In addition to an interest in the unknown or forgotten, the people who get together for these day-long adventures often have a deep interest in architecture and history. Explaining not only what is left of structures, they will describe and marvel at building techniques used during the glory days of steam transportation. Subterranean Glasgow might benefit from archival images being placed alongside the modern photographs on display but this is a minor point really. Currently posted are pages full of observations and well shot photographs from trips into and through parts of the former Glasgow Central Railway line. Pointers to other sites and a section on the important subject of safety can be found here as well. The individuals who participated in the construction of these tunnels and bridges are all but gone and the Milk Crate Gang attempts to capture as much of the lost glory as possible. That they can share their underground hobby with the rest of us probably makes it all the more enjoyable.  (Back to top of page)

(980821) Sno-Info
Australian snow reports and ski conditions

Leisurenet Aust. Pty. Ltd.
Newcastle West, New South Wales, Australia

The skiing season in Australia runs from June to early October and although conditions are rarely fantastic, people still manage to enjoy the sport. Sno-Info takes daily input from skiers and posts them for all to see. As variable as the conditions are at any given resort, so too are the reports sent in. Managing accurate data can be difficult so this information should be used as a general reference only. Calling ahead for the latest conditions/propaganda remains the best plan. Sno-Info's Interactive Snow Reports share the site with Sno-Info's Australian Sno-Cam Network, Official Resort Reports, Cross country snow reports, Voice Reports, and pointers to weather sites, etc. Travel and lodging information can be obtained from the sponsors of the site as well. If you have never thought about it snowing in Australia have a look — it is Winter after all.  (Back to top of page)

(980822) Vanity License Plates

Leon Poon
College Park, Maryland, USA

Vanity license plates can be an ego extension for a driver, saying in effect "Hey look at me, I'm totally awesome," a stupendous display of bad taste as in the case of the hearse with the plate RM41MR or amazingly funny like a plate once seen on a horse trailer that read OFCOURSE. At the very least they provide an opportunity to personalize an otherwise random and highly visible element of your vehicle. By paying extra when registering that vehicle, the license plate can tell others a little or a lot, all the while working with the six to eight characters allowed. Decency is often an issue but sometimes things get by. A driver in England once had the plate 3MTA3 until a member of London's finest was driving in front of the guy and put an end to that.

Leon Poon's Vanity License Plates is an excellent collection of over one thousand of these gems. Listed alphabetically with explanations, there is enough material here to keep visitors occupied for a while. If you have ever thought about buying such a plate the time spent reading what others have done would be well worthwhile. Pointers to other sites and book recommendations about the culture of vanity plates add to the content. Most of these plates are real and suggestions are always welcome.  (Back to top of page)

(980823) Adventures in Cassettes
Your Internet Source for Vintage Radio Shows & Products

Adventures in Cassettes
A Division of Metacom, Inc.
Plymouth, Minnesota, USA

Listening to recordings of programs and serials from Radio's Golden Age can be very rewarding, for the most part shows went out live and unlike television, required the listener to work a little. Sound effects and exaggerated characters combined to paint an aural picture for the millions who would gather around their sets every night. More a piece of furniture or fine art than the low fidelity delivery devices they actually were, the soft glow transported audiences to the Yukon with Sergeant Preston, to Texas with Ranger Jace Pearson or to far away cities like New York where soap companies sponsored and produced variety shows. Fortunately, many of these hour and half-hour long segments were captured on records and wire for posterity and are available today on handsomely packaged cassette tapes. Adventures in Cassettes is mail-order company with over 500 items in their current catalog, all dealing in one way or another with vintage radio. Offerings include a huge selection of six hour, six cassette sets, books and video tapes. The Adventures in Cassettes site has RealAudio Streams from selected titles, a complete catalog listing and pointers to other sites like the Humongous Old-Time Radio Search Engine (http://www.old-time.simplenet.com/cgi-bin/miva?humong2.mv). Although ordering directly through the site is not an option, telephone (US 1-800-328-0108), e-mail and mail-order instructions are available. Set to issue catalog number one hundred in September 1998, Adventures in Cassettes is a great source for learning more about classic American radio shows or rediscovering a part of your childhood swallowed up by the television set.  (Back to top of page)

(980824) The 80s Server

Metropolis Systems
Overland Park, Kansas, USA

This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the local shopping mall during the height of the Back to School frenzy. On my way to look at Levi's Dockers, a sensible trouser, and passing through the Juniors Department at JCPenney (http://www.jcpenney.com/) (SdJotD 971115) I couldn't shake the feeling that it was all one giant thrift store and that the 8-Track bin would be right around the corner. The hottest of fashions were on the racks and flown on the walls — tank tops and racing striped shirts, bell-bottom dungarees and the dreadful shoes all modeled after the hideous garments popular in the 1970s. At that point the Retro-'70s craze had me wondering if perhaps when the whole thing ends and the marketing types latch on to the '80s, that maybe they'll get it right. Pant legs and neckties will get much narrower and even though we have to work through the whole A Flock of Seagulls/Duran Duran hair thing again, kids will stop looking so sloppy. An interesting decade the 1980s, music that gave birth to the format now called Alternative still scared the heck out of Program Directors and record companies, woman who should have been doing so all along started wearing brassieres again — even if they did show up on the outside, and attitudes became a lot less self indulgent than they had been. It's probably still too early to tell how important any of this will become, but the folks at MacroMusic, Inc. have assembled a decent look back with The 80s Server. Even if you were too young or too old to have enjoyed the richness of the decade have a look before it comes up again. Many sections stand out here but one in particular should be seen by anyone who knows Moon Zappa's big hit single. Valley URL (http://www.80s.com/Entertainment/ValleyURL/) is a filter that turns almost any site you can throw at it into like, a blast from the past. Something tells me that I'm getting too old to hang out at the mall anymore.  (Back to top of page)

(980825) Amusement Park Physics

The Annenberg/CPB Project
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Amusement Park Physics looks at the mechanics of your favorite rides and can be the first step in comprehending the complexity of physics. Big, fast and furious, roller coasters become little more than a two minute joy ride once it is discovered that people falling out would be very bad for business. The loops in a coaster use some of the same forces and principles as swinging a pail of water over your head, both without spilling a drop. Here you can work step by step through the process of designing a roller coaster, learn how bumper cars and carousels work plus a whole lot more. A great site to visit before your next trip to a park. On a side note, carousel fans might want to visit the Dynamic Recording Studios site (http://www.dynrec.com/) (SdJotD 971215) for audio samples of a 1926 Wurlitzer Band Organ Military Style 165.  (Back to top of page)

(980826) IBM Patent Server Home Page

IBM Corporation
Purchase, New York, USA

Originally Site du Jour of the Day (970612)
June 12, 1997

This site allows you to browse and order information from the United States Patent & Trademark Office through IBM. Originally used to facilitate their own lab searches, this server can provide patent descriptions and images for almost all patents going back the 27 years they can last, and not just those held by IBM. This may seem like an odd way to spend an hour or two, but say for example you have an idea that you would like to develop or maybe just ponder. With this tool you can bypass spending a small fortune with a patent attorney (at least initially) who probably end up telling you that someone else had the same idea and now holds the patent. Searching by number or keyword for patents back to 1971 or 1995 couldn't be easier with this server — do we expect anything less from IBM? Look up patent 5595449 for a sample of the strange and interesting things awaiting you here.  (Back to top of page)

(980827) My Word's Worth:
a weekly column by Marylaine Block

Marylaine Block
Davenport, Iowa, USA

My Word's Worth started out in the London Mall Magazine back in July 1995 as the result of a contest the publication held to find an American columnist. Corporate greed and a subsequent change in editorial content for the magazine were factors in the creation of this site. Since January 1997 the weekly column has been delivered electronically and Marylaine Block talks about many of the same subjects explored in Site du Jour of the Day episodes. Her qualifications and insight are impressive, a former English teacher who now works as a librarian, Block has found the fine line between rant and essay. With a passion for such musical acts as XTC, They Might Be Giants, REM, Beautiful South, Captain Sensible, and del Amitri, Marylaine Block could easily be called the Rock and Roll Librarian, a fact evident in her columns almost immediately. In addition to My Word's Worth, her work can also be read at Fox News Online were a semi-weekly column called Observing US (http://www.foxnews.com/views/) runs. Both sites deserve a look.  (Back to top of page)

(980828) The Voice of Russia

The Voice of Russia (World Service in English)

The Voice of Russia
Moscow, Russia

Situations in Russia are bound to get rather interesting during the next couple of weeks, if not days. Changes in the government there have already grabbed world headlines and affected financial markets, so what better place to get the official word on things than The Voice of Russia. World service in English for seven distinct regions can be heard at this site through RealAudio Streams and over conventional shortwave broadcasts. Radio programming goes out in many other languages as well, the dial locations and times can be found for the respective places and languages. Celebrating twenty years on the air in October, World Service in English has not always been so liberal with domestic news and information. As changes take place in Russia this may not be the purest source of news but it certainly is an authentic one.  (Back to top of page)

(980829) NOAA National Weather Service, Tallahassee, Florida

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Florida State University
Tallahassee, Florida, USA

As a part of the National Weather Service Southern Region (NWS) (http://nwselp.epcc.edu/elp/sregion.html), the NOAA office in Tallahassee is in a unique position geographically speaking. Situated in Florida's Big Bend on the Gulf of Mexico, and close enough to the Atlantic Ocean that tropical activity can come from several directions. The 1998 Hurricane Season is off to a big start and this site offers a relatively large and accurate picture of conditions critical to which direction storms will eventually take. The feature most interesting here for tracking storm conditions may well be the Interactive Marine Observation page (http://www.nws.fsu.edu/buoy/). Live data from World-wide Weather Buoy Stations at points in the US, Canada, the Southwest Pacific, and the British Isles can be accessed directly. Readings are not limited to saltwater sites, useful for visitors not usually threatened by tropical storms and the weather generally associated with such systems — The Western Lake Superior buoy reports as frequently as the identical 6 meter NOMAD buoy off the coast of Cape Canaveral. The data here is compiled and issued as Statements and Advisories by the National Weather Service and is a much better source than the local television weather announcer ever has time to give on the air. An understanding of how weather works is very useful but not necessary for getting the most out of this site. Current forecasts and pointers to other related sites make this a great starting point for finding out what is going on outside.  (Back to top of page)

(980830) Food History Café

Applewood Books
Bedford, Massachusetts, USA

Food History Café is a message board where visitors can ask and answer questions about the origins of food and other food related items. Should you find yourself in need a menu for a theme party or curious about the evolution of a cooking tool it is possible that the answer is already here. Nowhere near as comprehensive as the newsgroups looking at food, Food History Café is a bite sized helping that may be better suited for casual readers. Hosted by Applewood Books (http://www.awb.com), a firm specializing in the republication of titles with "an unusually modern nostalgic appeal" including the original Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and The Adventures of Superman.  (Back to top of page)

(980831) Hexaword Hexagonal Crossword Puzzle

Ian Tresman
Knowledge Computing
Borehamwood, England

Originally published in 1978, Ian Tresman's Hexaword can be played in six different directions due to its hexagon shape. Best bet here would be to print out the grid and clues then play it on paper unless you have a grease pencil handy. Answers are available as an image file on another page for those who cheat when working crossword puzzles. It would be nice to see a new puzzle up here every week or so, with old ones archived — Ian Tresman has an obvious talent for making them if this is a typical example. Visitors may also wish to check out The Multilingual PC Directory (http://www.knowledge.co.uk/xxx/mpcdir/index.htm), a guide to software for use in multilingual and foreign language applications on IBM compatible machines. It is available as a printed book, or without cost as a Windows Help file and/or HTML pages.  (Back to top of page)

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


Updated  August 31, 1998

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