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Tucson Weekly Media Mix

AUGUST 10, 1998:  POP GOES THE WEB SEARCH: What do you do if you hate actually watching television, but want to keep abreast of all that glitters in the most ubiquitous medium on the planet? Same with movies: Most of them aren't worth the two-hour life investment, but you'd like to know what's worth missing, what's worth renting, and who're the writers, actors and directors to watch. Don't even get us started with music: How can you embrace new music without wasting a small fortune on CDs destined for trade-in credit, or a pile of mostly unread (because they're unreadable) music magazines?

Check out Salon Magazine (http://www.salonmagazine.com), a one-stop online overdose of interviews and reviews of television, books, movies, video releases, comics, news, record reviews, and related features. You can't buy a single magazine on the newsstand that offers the variety and originality of this free entertainment daily.

In addition to up-to-the-minute news and reviews, the site hosts regular features including "Media Circus" (a trenchant look at the world of the media elite); the intriguing travel section "Wanderlust" (currently featuring an interview with Into Thin Air author John Krauker); "Mothers Who Think," a multi-faceted read on family, education and mothers' lives (nothing trite or boring here, so far); and the interactive "Table Top Forum."

Salon tackles the same territory as other pop-culture magazines (adorning the August 4, 1998, edition are a retrospective on Salon's Princess Di coverage, Susie Bright's views on Viagra, and the essay "How Many Stained Dresses Are in the GOP's Closet?"), but it's mostly written by and for the educated observer with iconoclastic sympathies (Camille Paglia on elitist liberals, Tuesday, August 4, 1998; and the July 31, 1998, Money section, featuring "Olestra: Are the Calorie Savings Worth the Anal Leakage?"). What's more fun than that?

Salon isn't new--it was founded in 1995 by David Talbot (formerly Arts & Features Editor for the San Francisco Examiner), and earned a write-up in Time Magazine for "Best Web Site of 1996." It's been a Webby Award-winner for Best Online Magazine for the past two years. Sign on once, and you'll be hooked.

Another great place for media minutiae is www.mania.com, a site rife with online comics, celebrity tidbits, and news and views on television, movies and toys. The Mania Magazine link will take you to the "Out of This World" page featuring interviews and articles with a fantasy or sci-fi bent. But our favorite thing here is the "Daily Buzz," our primary source for such essential entertainment trivia as Silver Spoon Ricky Schroder's runaway toy train ride onto the set of NYPD Blue this fall; debut of the Alfred Hitchcock postage stamp; the J. Peterman Catalog's line of Avengers outerwear (Uma's catsuit is yours for a paltry $2,000); and the fact that the first Titanic doll is scheduled to crash full-keel into stores this October.

POST HASTE: Forgetting special occasions has never been easier (or more easily avoided) now that we have a variety of online greeting-card sites at our disposal. Unfortunately, the electronic options are often as lacking in warmth and originality as their drug-store counterparts.

But at http://www.retroactive.com/ (a website dedicated to all things "retro"), you can send someone a beautiful, vintage postcard over the web. Click on "Postcard Depot" at the bottom of the homepage, and then guide your mouse to the "card rack." Among the eclectic offerings are C.M. Coolidge's Poker Dogs series; '20s-era sheet music artwork; pulp magazine covers from the '30s; the Bill Clinton collection (featuring a nudge-nudge-wink-wink collection of ribald, '40s-era humor); and elegant, architectural details from demolished buildings, rendered by St. Louis artist Salvatore Ventura.

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