Brave New World
By David O. Dabney
July 21, 1997: In the spirit of having to endure a New Mexico summer, with temperatures approaching and often busting 100 degrees, I offer this week's selection of Web sites to keep you cool. So turn on the swamp cooler, kick back with some iced tea and fire up the Web browser.
Frozen Treats: The amazing thing is that the Popsicle people probably spent thousands of dollars for the cool graphics on this site and about zero looking at their target audience: kids. Sure, kids like brightly colored Web pages, but they definitely don't like having to fill out several forms about their likes and dislikes before they get to the good stuff later on. I recommend answering "asdf" (the first four letters in the middle row of the keyboard) to all their prying questions; like would you eat a Popsicle called "Martian Madness" or "Comet Vomit?" When asked for my suggestions on a new flavor I helpfully suggested "Fudge from Uranus." Look for it in stores soon.
Anyway, once you get past all the prattle, there are some interesting things to keep you occupied. One of the weirdest is the Riddle Library containing a collection of those smirking riddles that come printed on the inside of Popsicle sticks like what do you call a guy who is always laying on the floor? Matt. There's also one of those puzzles that shows a picture with one square missing. The site lets you take a look at it, scrambles it up and then you have to put it back together again, shifting one square at a time. Nothing on this site is exactly brain surgery, and some of the text sounds like baby talk in places; but the graphics are amazing, and the games, even if they aren't particularly complicated, can certainly waste 30 minutes or so on a hot day. (www.popsicle.com)
The Truth is Out There: What a site! Chock full of photos, stories and links to the coolest weird stuff around, this is definitely not simply another example of "We have a Web site because the marketing people said everyone has a Web site." Art Bell is a radio talk show host who is broadcast live usually six days of the week, interviewing the most out-there people around. And the great thing is that for every picture of a supposedly "alien" saucer that a guest talks about, they can stick it on the Web site! There is even a Web cam with three views so you can see him while he's broadcasting the show and a chat room where you can trade secrets about that saucer base in the mountains. It's a really big site that is constantly changing, and it can take a while to get where you want to be. But, it's always worth it. (www.artbell.com)
What They Think About You: Ever feel like telling Microsoft to go to hell? According to Seabrook Jones, a member of the Fringeware e-mail list, the music that's played during the commercials promoting Internet Explorer is Mozart's Requiem. During the final bit of music that accompanies their tag, "Where do you want to go today?" the accompanying words are "Confutatis Maledictus, Flammis Acribus Addictis ... ." Apparently, this means: "The damned and accursed are convicted to the flames of hell." Any more questions, smart guy?
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