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September 1997

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(970918) The Lee Atwater Invitational Dead Pool

Zachariah Love, Greg Hicks and Drew Scharlatt
Hollywood, California, USA

Several years ago while working for a daily newspaper I was introduced to a game known as Dead Pool. During the first week of January, everyone from the Editor to the Janitor would submit their own list of celebrities they thought wouldn't live to see another year. Of course there were easy names on the list, old folks barely hanging on to dear life at the time. There were no prizes and no glory to be had, but the diversity of the lists often added to conversations around the board where the lists were posted. "Isn't s/he already dead?" was common.

The Lee Atwater Invitational Dead Pool is that same game on a web site. Not only can you get the name of the latest passing but a feature called THE SICKTICKER provides the news about who is on their way out. The best thing about this site might be that you can play from home. Submit your own list of who you think will soon be gone and watch as they drop like flies. At the very least, you will never be embarrassed by talking about how great a performer is only to learn that s/he died a month ago.  (Back to top of page)

(970919) Thomas Jefferson on Politics & Government
Quotations from the Writings of Thomas Jefferson

Eyler Robert Coates, Sr.
Metairie, Louisiana, USA

"The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest."
--Thomas Jefferson: Rights of British America, 1774. Papers, 1:134

When the government of the United States of America was in its infancy, Jefferson helped to nurture it by supporting it. The founders and revolutionaries might have seen a different outcome if it were not for his effort and vision. This site celebrates the principles of the man and the republic with over 1,800 quotations. Selections have been hand picked by Mr. Coates as they represent the man more than what the government has become although a few prophetic utterances can be found here.

A well laid out site with special download options and pointers to related sites pertaining to Jefferson, democracy and 18th century America. Thomas Jefferson on Politics & Government is an important site that should be seen by every American citizen whether they participate in the democracy or not!  (Back to top of page)

(970920) Friends Of The Reef

Maryse Fleurant
Friends of the Reef
Isla Mujeres, Mexico

To bring attention to the current state of coral reef systems around the world, 1997 has been the International Year of the Reef. Sixty countries have made a concerted effort to preserve a habitat that may contain 25% of all marine life yet only covers 0.2% of the global ocean floor. Working in cooperation with the non-profit ReefKeeper International organization, Friends of the Reef is selling tee-shirts with marine designs. This site is more than just a catalog, informative pages about the various species represented help to balance out the commercial aspect of a site selling reasonably priced nature graphics. Three versions are available; English, French and Spanish, accessible from the splash page. Pointers to ReefKeeper International provide an opportunity to learn more about the daily efforts of people involved in protecting coral reef systems.  (Back to top of page)

(970921) Mark's Word Search Page

Mark Morley
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Mark's Word Search Page is an interactive word search puzzle creator. By selecting the size of the puzzle and types of words used, one can search for words in a field of letters. The words will run up, down, sideways or diagonally. Beat the clock and see your name in the Top Ten. If interested, you can enter twenty of your own words and have a puzzle made around them, making this site that much more entertaining. Drummer Mark Morley is part owner of an Internet Service Provider (ISP) called Island Net ( "Vancouver Island's Premier Internet Service Provider" and by the looks of this and other pages he has created/written (, it seems obvious that he enjoys his work.  (Back to top of page)

(970922) Science Made Stupid

Tom Weller
Berkeley, California, USA

Site created and maintained by Keith McCaffety
Flying Squirrels Entertainment
Houston, Texas, USA

There is a tremendous difference between bad science and funny science; Jeff Goldblum is the current Hollywood spokesman for bad science. It seems that every picture he is in lately contains big chunks of the stuff. Jurassic Park, Independence Day, etc. Hollywood once knew how to produce funny science, when the Three Stooges or Groucho Marx started talking medicine or science, you knew you were in for hilarity. Science Made Stupid is the title of a book written and illustrated by Tom Weller. It takes the idea of funny science to the extreme found in old movies and cartoons. Weller's understanding of real science was helpful in making his book funny, recognizing the fact that Uranus is an unfortunate name for a planet was just a start. The conversion to HTML by Keith McCaffety is nicely done and may provide you with an idea of what the rest of the book is like as the site contains an abridged but healthy version. Some of the jokes may be lost on certain people, but others will find this site so interesting that they'll buy the book for Holiday gift giving.  (Back to top of page)

(970923) ADEC : Art Auction Databank

Art Price Annual
Saint-Romain-au-Mont-d'Or, France

The international Art market has been a busy one during the past decade, with famous (and not so famous) pieces fetching auction figures that could build hospital wings. From the standpoint of collectors and museums this has been a costly trend but if you were to ask the auction houses and maybe even living artists they might hope that it continues. Heck, if a work I had created sold for a fraction of some of these sales I would be encouraged to make more even if it meant that money would come my way only once. The folks at Art Price Annual have been tracking the sales results for ten years and have compiled data from 750 public auction houses, including over 137,000 pieces and 1.3 million prices paid. ADEC : Art Auction Databank is a searchable database accessible with your browser in either English or French, and while you get what you pay for, the free information available is extensive. For a small fee you can acquire additional facts and figures regarding a certain piece or for more money, purchase a CD-ROM with everything. An auction calendar coming soon to this site should prove to be another useful tool for the Art professional, expert or casual observer.   (Back to top of page)

(970924) College Of Railway Technology

The College of Railway Technology
Clapham, Crewe, Derby, Illford and York, England

Up until the time when I first visited this site I had never given the subject of Rail Education much thought. I knew it wasn't as simple as being the luckiest hobo at Stockyard Recruitment Day, "Hey you throw a decent switch fella, ever thought about going pro?". Maybe that's the draw to this site, here is how you learn to become a railroad employee. In the early days over 150 years ago when they were just making it up as they went along there could have been men lucky enough to get a job offer out of the blue, but those days are long past. Trains travel at high speed with increased regulation and the certification courses in different parts of the world probably vary tremendously.

Formerly The Railway Engineering School operated by British Rail and opened over 60 years ago, the College transferred to the private sector in 1996. The College offers better than 120 training modules in addition to custom programs. Increased competition and new technologies have changed the thinking and operating methods of the Rail industry. The College Of Railway Technology and its site can provide the information and training one needs to enter this fantastic line of work. Have a look.   (Back to top of page)

(970925) Barbara's Tales of the Wooden Spoon

Barbara and David P. Mikkelson
Maintained by The San Fernando Valley Folklore Society
Mountain View, California, USA

Recently I heard a marvelous story. It was about a friend of a friend who was out in the desert one day and saw this cute cactus. This person took the cactus home, planting it in a nice little container. About a week later the cactus started dancing. It should go without saying that the cactus owner was surprised by this and "called a really smart plant guy." "Dancing?" he asked, "you better take the whole pot outside right now, it contains the eggs of a very deadly spider and soon thousands of tiny poisonous spiders will be everywhere in your house."

Not being one to leave well enough alone, I told the person who passed this tale on to me about the time when I was a kid and the neighbors had a poodle. "Not one of them little noisy ones, but a big smart one. This poodle one day started getting all disfigured and bulging in the tummy" I said. "You'd think worms right?" to an individual who was nodding yes, "Nope, puppies."

Urban Legends are everywhere, always happening to a regular person one or two steps too far away to verify the story. And great stories they are too. Barbara's Tales of the Wooden Spoon is full of just such nearly-believable things we have all at one time or another heard and even passed along. Part of the much larger San Fernando Valley Folklore Society site, Tales of the Wooden Spoon will keep you coming back again and again. Be forewarned,* if you send an e-mail message to Barbara and she replies her message might contain an e-mail virus that will not only erase your hard drive, but will emit an ultra-sonic tone from your monitor hatching every last spider egg in your home or office.

*E-mail messages are harmless (even Barbara's). A file attached to a message could contain a virus though so a virus protection utility is always a good idea to have working on your computer.   (Back to top of page)

(970926) Worlds Fastest Talker

Steve Woodmore
St. Mary Cray, Kent, England

Mr. Woodmore is the current World Record holder for fast talking. In 1990 he was able to speak 595 words in just over 56 seconds. This feat and television appearance led to a series of radio advertisements for a grocery store chain in the U.K. The site explains a lot about how fast the English language is usually spoken, plus you can download audio files of The Worlds Fastest Talker doing his thing. There is also information about various bulletinboard systems, including Woddys BBS, a Fido Net board.

Few people are able to speak articulately at a sustained speed above 300 words per minute. At the rate he broke the World Record he could recite this whole episode of Site du Jour of the Day in about 10 seconds. Go Cat Go!   (Back to top of page)

(970927) The Smoking Gun

The Smoking Gun
New York, New York, USA

Looking at The Smoking Gun is like having a friend working for the government or a scandal sheet. Twice a week you get to see scans and transcripts of documents and other dirt about people who have put their names and faces in public places either by getting in trouble with the law or doing something outrageous in the public eye. Often compared to the tabloids, The Smoking Gun works within the laws of the United States of America to show court evidence and other items from credible sources. Unlike other outlets, these documents are hard to find on other sites unless they have been lifted from this site. The accuracy and near lack of editorial content often make for dry reading, so if it's entertainment you seek try watching a television tabloid show instead. You'll get some nearly stupid, extremely good looking individual reading something to a camera s/he barely knows about and miss some of the best parts.

Of course it is all silly, and who really cares about Tim Allen's arrest record, the ransom note found with the dead little beauty queen or even how the F.B.I. spent our parents tax dollars? Obviously enough of us do to support a site like this one -- a site that is quick loading, informative and so rich in detail that it makes a perfect bookmark.

Out of curiosity, has anyone ever seen a photograph of sportscaster Marv Albert and "truly funny for a mime" Mr. Bean together?  (Back to top of page)

(970928) A Visit To Yesterland

Werner W. Weiss
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Nostalgia sites are quite popular lately with the whole Retro trend in high gear. Music, clothing and other aspects of Popular culture are experiencing a commercial revival. Our memories from childhood feed this more than anything. Designers and consumers alike find comfort in things we knew as children and family vacations are no different. When Walt Disney produced Fantasia he intended for it to be a conceptual piece, re-released every so often with new segments. This film was probably his inspiration for "A place where adults and children can both enjoy a day out" -- Disneyland in Southern California. As the first theme park of its kind, Disneyland revolutionized the amusement park industry and as anyone who has ever been there can tell you, he succeeded. By constantly changing the attractions from season to season there is always something new to bring visitors in for the first time. This change has kept the park fresh but has also caused confusion with adults who would like to go back and share a fond memory with their own children. Some of the most memorable features are long gone.

Yesterland has changed that to a point, the site acts as a memory album with photographs and descriptions of past rides and shows, plus first hand accounts (often describing some level of trauma). Opened in 1995, Yesterland is also constantly updated but instead of removing obsolete elements of the original park Mr. Weiss and readers around the world continue to add old pictures and regain a lost part of their past making Yesterland more magical maybe than what used to be.  (Back to top of page)

(970929) A Photo Gallery Digital Photo Snapshots

Martin Kurz
Frankfurt, Germany

Get yourself a digital camera, in this case the Olympus C-800L, set up a domain and then start shooting. Martin Kurz has done just that with German Gesamtschule teacher Herr Kurz posts a new snapshot of everyday life as Digital Snapshot of the Day on this English language site. There is nothing out of the ordinary here which makes the site perhaps that much more appealing; a simple look into the lives of people in a place that is not near the viewer. Mostly portraits of people Kurz knows there are landscapes to be seen as well. A gallery of Digital Snapshots of the Day and personal information help round out this site making it a pleasant visit for all who stop by. More than just a personal home page, the daily images add a very special touch to this site and probably have helped to justify the purchase of the digital camera.  (Back to top of page)

(970930) Northern Light Search

Northern Light Technology LLC
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Boasting a library of over a million articles not found elsewhere, Northern Light Search is more than a standard search engine like those used by Excite and Yahoo. Using an extensive collection of journals, magazines and other periodicals plus a web crawler known as Gulliver, you can locate information on plenty of subjects not normally found using the usual tools. After viewing an abstract from their Special Collection, one can purchase the full text of the original article at the average price of one dollar. The return policy on a document which is not what you were looking for is quite liberal and the monthly subscription fee of less than five dollars for fifty articles is very reasonable. The free aspect of this utility/site is equally appealing; the results of a search are presented in "so clever we use it as a trademark" Custom Search Folders. These custom folders are set up to give you alternate methods and information still highly pertinent to the search you initiated. Hits are listed by Subject, Type, Source and Language -- all helpful in furthering a search, containing URLs to other sites and a brief description of each resource. With its clean, quick loading interface plus a logical method of displaying what is found, Northern Light Search may just become your search engine of choice. As an introductory bonus, Special Collection texts are free until the fifth of October -- have a look see.  (Back to top of page)

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Copyright 1997 Edward J. Pelegrino. All rights reserved.
Trade and Service Marks used herein are the property of their respective owners.
This Archive has been opened times since October 6, 1997.

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