Other Cool Stuff

(female(1) = exceptionally cool.)



Facts & figures about every state in the USA, including US territories, with maps, yellow & white pages, flags, capitals, population data ... you name it. Also has many links to international sites. A great online reference.


female(1) Abandoned Places female(1)

The picture at left is of Hank Van Rensbergen, a Belgian airline pilot who in his spare time likes to photograph old, decaying, abandoned buildings and factories. Fortunately for you and me, he has a wonderful eye (not to mention lots of nerve). As a result his website contains some of the most eerie and beautiful images I’ve ever seen. A place to go and get lost. You won’t regret it.



Great online tutor for people having questions about the Web, the Internet, E-mail, and all other things online (including scams). Even though I’ve been online for years, I occasionally drop by to see if there’s anything new, or to brush up on old stuff.


female(1) ACME Product Catalogue female(1)

Hilarious - and a truly great idea.



A one-stop search-all book-buying site - GREAT.


American Rhetoric

An online repository of significant speeches & recordings; lots of historical stuff.


The Atlas of Canada

A great online resource from Natural Resources Canada. Not just road maps, but also population, industry, demographics, and more. Good stuff.


BBC News

A chance for us Yanks to see the world through different eyes.


Best History Websites


Best Information on the Net


female(1) Marylaine Block female(1)

Marylaine is a professional librarian who lives in Iowa, and God bless her, she maintains one of the greatest regularly-updated lists of links I’ve ever seen. Go to her deceptively humble-looking web page, click on “Neat New Stuff I Found on the Net This Week,” and get ready. There’s days and days of fascinating surfing here - with new sites being added every seven days! Truly an oasis for those who think the web has become a wasteland. (Note: some weeks the list is library-geek-heavy, but keep scrolling down ... there’s a lot of general-interest and fun stuff too.)


The Boating Safety Page from the U.S. Coast Guard


female(1) Bob’s World of Liberace female(1)

Even if you never liked Liberace you have to admit the guy was unique. And anyone can appreciate a web site as beautiful and thorough as this one. Here you’ll find tours of “Lee’s” homes (a little scary), the Liberace Museum (ditto), memorabilia, tickets, concert programs, and much, much more. Personally, the decade-by-decade album of career highlights was my favorite.


Brian’s Drive-In Theatre

A well-done site devoted to Hollywood B-movie actors and actresses (who knows? I might end up in the R’s someday). Considering the sometimes kooky subject matter (beach movies, Tor Johnson), it’s done with good taste and often has surprising depth. Well worth a visit.


Bridge Building: Art and Science



Although CamVista is a commercial company this is an excellent webcam page. It’s friendly, fun, and all of the cams work (unlike a few I could name). Well worth a visit. (The thumbnail at left, by the way, is Times Square at twilight.)


female(1) The Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia female(1)

If I don’t make it into Brian’s Drive-In Theater maybe I’ll get into this thing before I croak. Here’s a very nice overview of significant Canadian actors, actresses, venues, companies, playwrights, plays, and more. A great resource and a good read.



Excellent advice from a consumer advocate. Buying & leasing tips, tricks, and more.


The Cave of Magic

This is a very clever online card trick. At first it’s a bit spine-tingling, but in fact there is a very straightforward explanation. If you can’t figure it out send me an email and I’ll tell you what’s going on.



Like an Amazon.com for classical music.


female(1) CNN.com female(1)

A very, very good source of online news. The only place better, in my opinion, is MyWay.


female(1) Comics.com female(1)

One of my favorite ways to relax - I breeze over to this site and catch up on my favorites. It’s especially wonderful because they have a last-30-day archive of most comics, so you can sit back and follow storylines with ease. A real fave of mine.


Computer User Magazine’s Dictionary of Tech Terms

If you can’t tell an AGP from a USB or a protocol from a handshake this is the place for you. It’s quick and easy to use, and gives you a nice capsule definition of what you’re looking for. Definitely one to bookmark.


Consumer Guide Magazine Online


Consumer Search Online

Very good before-you-buy advice, with a nice simple layout.



Click on “Brain Candy” for fun stuff.


The Costumer’s Manifesto

This is exactly the kind of niche website that I love. A place dedicated to theatrical costumes, with instructions, advice, historical images, patterns, links, and tons more. A tremendous resource for designers, directors, and performers.


Court TV’s Crime Library

Gangsters and hoodlums, trials and evidence, lawyers and DAs: the pulp nonfiction site of your dreams.


female(1) Craig’s List female(1)

The online community made real. Simple and wonderful.



A collection of over 3,500 links to classical ballet and modern dance resources on the Internet.


The Dead Sea Scrolls


Dino Data

All things dinosaur. Lot and lots of stuff here.


The Discovery Channel Online

This is the home page/hub for a bunch of good stuff, but it’s not obvious what you’re supposed to do. (Flash designers, take note.) First, you have to pick a title from the left side of the screen (i.e., “Discovery Channel”); then click again on the small title/logo “Discovery Channel” in the middle. NOW you’re getting somewhere. My favorite? Go to the Discovery Channel and view “Extreme Engineering.” Wow.


Do It Yourself

Instructions how to do just that. Pretty thorough too. See also eHow.com and Knowledge Hound below.


Donors Choose

Truly a great idea; underfunded teachers put class-project ideas here and a proposed budget. If you like the idea, you can choose to fund it. God bless places like this!


The Dracula Library

They bid you welcome. All things Dracula, from movie gore to historical lore. There are probably plenty of sites out there with this subject matter, but this is a good place to start.


Dramatists’ Play Service

One of the two major publishers of stage plays in the United States. For the other see Samuel French below.



This is an amazing and wonderful web resource for those using MS Windows. What these guys have done is create an interface where it is possible to search for every important (and just about every unimportant as well) device driver your system may ever need. That means if you bought a new Gobbledegook brand modem but the CD inside the package is cracked there’s no need to panic: come here and in two minutes you can locate and download the driver for free. A simply wonderful site, and they get extra kudos for doing it without charging a dime.


The Earth and Moon Viewer at Fourmilab

You can tell this page was created by astronomy geeks because it looks as dull as dishwater. But take the extra two minutes to read it and it quickly becomes an amazing, delightful toy.


female(1) eHow.com female(1)

lk ehowHere’s a site with thousands and thousands of how-to solutions - ranging from fixing your car to throwing a perfect wedding to taking care of your pets. A wonderful resource, and the sort of thing in the past you’d have paid five hundred bucks for in the form of a series of Time-Life books. What did we do before the web brought us such amazing things?


English Language Sites on the Internet

A place from which to begin investigating the English language. Links to pages dealing with etymology, puns, word games. Dictionaries and thesauri. You get the idea.


Eyewitness to History

An online collection of first-hand accounts (diaries, articles, reminiscences) of historical events. Beautifully designed and well-organized. I love sites like this; they remind us that history once was the present, with all its color and detail ... and wonderful eccentricity.


The Family Handyman


female(1) Fark female(1)

Fark is a collection of links to news articles around the English-speaking world, submitted by site members who have an eye for tales of the scary, sad, stupid, or just plain funny. This is a brilliant site full of fascinating reading material and I highly recommend it. Visit often, too - it’s updated every day.


female(1) Find A Death.com female(1)

One of the few websites that I’ve ever actually read from one end to the other. It’s like a great book.

As Scott Michaels puts it, “Just because someone has died doesn’t mean we should forget they were an asshole.” But this site isn’t about ghoulish celeb-bashing (well, not always about ghoulish celeb-bashing). No, seriously, this site has lots of attitude but it also has a lot of heart; it’s witty and well-written and a genuinely informative place that’s become a favorite with quite a few of my friends. Check it out.


Find A Grave.com

While we’re on the subject, this site finds the grave of anyone of note. Anywhere in the world. With pictures. Utterly fascinating if you’re in the mood.


female(1) FindSounds.com female(1)

This is a great web resource that I use constantly - a search engine for turning up sound effects. It’s not perfect, but it’s saved my butt more than once when I was working under a tight deadline.


Footlight Records and Books

Located in New York City but ready and willing to ship anywhere, Footlight Records and Books is a store run by fanatics who take great pleasure in tracking down obscure soundtrack albums and out-of-print actor biographies and then selling them at reasonable prices. For instance, this is the only place I’ve seen in North America which has in stock the original 1970s London cast soundtrack album of “Destry Rides Again” - a show in which the lovely TV-star Jill Gascoine first met and fell in love with up-and-coming actor Alfred Molina. Who couldn’t love a place like this?


The Fortean Times

The world of strange phenomena is mind-bogglingly large, and the web presence devoted to it nearly as big. Here, however, is a well-done page that doesn’t preach or make its subject matter campy. Well, not too campy. Consider it the tip of the iceberg; but don’t slip and fall - it’s a long way down!


female(1) Found Magazine female(1)

Unique and wonderful. Here is a website devoted to the mysterious, perplexing, strange, funny, weird, and often haunting stuff that people lose and other people find. Go here, click on “Find of the Week,” then browse through the archival list. The first time I visited this site I found myself instantly entranced and often quite moved.


The Founders’ Constitution

A copy of the U.S. Constitution annotated with dozens of historical and contextual documents. Amazingly well-researched and very informative. This is a fantastic starting point for those curious about the political and philosophical ideas that were swirling around at the dawn of U.S. independence. Just about every key revolutionary document, pamphlet, letter and speech is reproduced here.


Free Books Online at the U of Pennsylvania

Like the Gutenberg Project, which I talk about elsewhere, this is an online place where you can download thousands (and I mean thousands) of public-domain books absolutely free of charge. Great titles abound, from the famous to the obscure, and as a book lover I can scarcely contain my awe and appreciation. Or excitement! (Fire up the printer!)


From Language to Language

Not just about translation, but also offering a fast and simple translation-engine featuring lots of languages. Pretty cool.


female(1) Froogle female(1)

A service of Google.com and yet another reason I love those people. Buying something online? First go to Consumer Search (above) to find out what precise model you want; then come here to find the cheapest place to get it. Enter “golf clubs” or “air conditioner” and you’ll get thousands of choices from hundreds of different online stores - with prices clearly listed for quick comparison-shopping. Fantastic site. I hope these guys get rich.


Games Kids Play

A reference site and ultimate-game-rule-book all in one. Brilliant! This URL should be stamped in large letters on every child’s birth certificate.



Let’s not forget that The Police started out as an unknown English reggae-punk band touring the United States in a cheap van and dilapidated equipment truck. Tomorrow’s record deals are today’s garage bands, and this is where a lot of them gather.



A very interesting-looking GPS/Internet activity. Quite unique. Someday if I have the equipment I may try it.


Ghost Town Gallery

The net being the net, I have no idea where this website is located - and the greeting appears to be German. But this is a site devoted to gorgeous photographs of America’s old west Ghost Towns. Some are dolled-up towns for tourists; others are decaying wrecks in the middle of nowhere. All are, appropriately, quite haunting. Well worth a look.


Google Zeitgeist

Statistics from Google: who’s been searching what in the past month. What’s hot. What’s not. Fascinating stuff.


female(1) The Great Ocean Liners female(1)

This website was on my original link-list many moons ago but I had to remove it because it kept disappearing for weeks on end, then coming back, then disappearing again. Now I’m glad to see this site hasn’t “sunk” after all but has solved its server problems and is alive and well, because it’s a truly beautiful, well-designed and thoroughly-researched place that contains a history of every significant ocean liner that ever sailed. Well worth your time.


The Guillotine Headquarters

A distinctive place. And one where your interest won’t be, ah, cut short.


female(1) Hammersound female(1)

Run by Tomas Hammer somewhere in Norway, here is a marvelous online resource for musicians - dozens and dozens of samples, all free, in the Sound Font (.sf2) format. I’ve raided Tomas’s vault (with infinite gratitude) many times; much of the music you can hear here was made with Hammersound-supplied virtual instruments.


Historic Naval Ships - A Visitor’s Guide



Pretty great place devoted to UK history. Links to many other sites, and searchable. Also very well-designed (try the Timeline for fun).


female(1) How Stuff Works female(1)

This isn’t just a manual; it’s more like an online encyclopedia with long, interesting, well-written articles. Often on a day when the news is boring I come here and just read for fun. An amazing breadth of material. Highly recommended.


How To Clean Anything


female(1) Hubblesite female(1)

Here is an online repository of images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Again and again I have come to this site to browse around, only to find the hair rising on my head. The pictures here are truly awesome, breathtaking, beautiful, etc., etc. ... simply beyond words. An absolute gem. Go see for yourself.


female(1) ICDSoft female(1)

Here is the home page of my web hosting company - a group of people I unabashedly admire. Day in and day out, the folks at ICDSoft provide me with rock-solid web hosting at very competitive rates, but it’s their customer service that is truly amazing. 24/7 I can write them an email and be sure of an answer in 30 minutes or less. Try that with your company. With just a written line or two I have in the past accomplished such things as buying more server space, reserving new domain names, and even having all my files transferred from a Tokyo server to one the United States. All seamlessly. ICDSoft is apparently run by people who are both intelligent and care about what they’re doing. I couldn’t a web hosting company more highly.


I Love Languages


The Internet Library of Early Journals

In this case “journals” are magazines, not personal diaries. Very interesting look at publications in the 19th century - so different from today.


female(1) The Internet Movie Database female(1)

IMDB was one of the earliest sites on the world wide web, set up by film enthusiasts as an online reference guide to just about every movie ever made. In the years since it has only gotten better, with in-depth data, photographs, biographies, movie ratings and reviews, and much much more. I know I call a lot of sites in this list “fun” and “wonderful,” but this one really is. It’s not the most beautiful place on earth, but hardly a week goes by when I don’t pay a visit.

By the way, I’m thrilled to have my own entry at IMDB! You can see it by clicking here.


Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics

The title says it all - a site devoted to impossible bullets, unbelievable explosions, too-fast cars, and all the other stuff that movies pass off as factual but could never happen in the real world. This isn’t just a gripe-and-crow site - these guys actually test things they’ve seen on the silver screen to see if they’re plausible.


female(1) Jedimaster.net female(1)

Poor Ghyslain. This kid was just another high school student living somewhere in Quebec who one day was making a video for school with some friends. Then it happened. Alone for a few minutes with the camera, Ghyslain grabbed an aluminum pole, hit the record button, and started making “Star Wars”-type moves. When his buddies got back they saw the tape ... and later, without Ghyslain’s knowledge, gleefully posted it online. As if this weren’t embarrassing enough, the tape became an Internet legend when somebody saw the clip and decided to doctor it with special effects. Then somebody else did the same. Now Ghyslain’s tape, with dozens of doctored versions, can be seen at this website.

The poor kid is probably praying for the day when this will all go away. But it’s not cruel fun, I promise. Some of the altered versions are pretty amazing.


The Kinsey Institute


female(1) Knowledge Hound - Free How-Tos on the Web female(1)

This site bills itself as the biggest directory of free how-tos on the Internet, and that has to be pretty accurate because it’s huge. A great resource to bookmark.



A great one-stop Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, plus much more.


female(1) The Last Word at NewScientist.com female(1)

This is a regular forum in a UK online magazine where questions - sometimes very strange questions - about the world around us are answered. I became hooked while reading a long treatise on whether or not beheading caused pain (answer: probably) and the head lived for a time after being severed (answer: it does). If you’re like me and like to amble through true-life fascinating-fact-piles on a slow afternoon, this is your kind of place.


The Library of Congress - Map Collections 1500-2003


The Lifestyle Optimizer

Really more of a what-U.S.-city-would-suit-you-best picker. Fun.


The U.S.S. Ling and the New Jersey Naval Museum

If you go visit my Acting Timeline you’ll see that in May of 1987 I acted in The Red Herring, a short film set aboard a World War II United States Navy submarine. Well, here’s the submarine - the USS Ling - a boat I still remember with great affection. Back in 1987 the Ling was a humble museum in Hackensack being run by WW2 vets with plenty of enthusiasm but only modest facilities. I’m pleased to see that, all these years later, it’s grown into a flourishing memorial and museum with a wonderful web page. Salute, guys! Great job!


The Longest Burning Light Bulb in History

You’ve heard about the light bulb that was installed a hundred years ago and has been burning ever since? It’s not a myth. It’s hanging in the main garage of Fire Station Number 6 in Livermore, California. And there’s a ‘bulb cam’ pointed at it 24 hours a day.


The Maps Area

Maps and more maps, from around the world.


Math and Physics Applets

Fun little java applets that illustrate mathematical and physical principles in a lively way. So you can see and play with interfering waves, electrostatic fields, a virtual hydrogen atom, and much more.


Medline Plus: Health Information



An overview site for the magazines The Army Times, The Navy Times, The Air Force Times, and The MarineCorps Times. Like Stars & Stripes below, a fascinating inside look at today’s US military from the troops’ point of view.


The Museum of Broadcast Communications

Think of this as the museum of TV and radio, and all the cool things that that implies. Unfortunately you have to pay for some stuff, but on the good side there’s plenty of other things to gawp at perfectly free. And gawp you will. A fascinating place!


female(1) My Cat Hates You.com female(1)

This hilarious website is devoted to photographs of different people’s cats looking disdainful, annoyed, angry, murderous, or downright psychotic. It has actually made me laugh out loud. Go, click on “Cats,” and prepare yourself for some seriously silly pictures. (Not to mention droll captions.) Utterly unique.


female(1)  MyWay.com female(1)

If you only surf the web for news occasionally then there are many sites that do the job just fine. But if you surf for news regularly then I can’t recommend any site more highly than this one. MyWay.com takes news, weather and photo feeds from most major news sources - including Reuters and AP - and presents them in a simple format with no pop-up or graphic advertising whatsoever (instead they rely on paid links to make money). The result is a superclean, superfast news page that is simply unbeatable. This and CNN are my current favorites.


Name Statistics

Very interesting. Easy-to-search data on how common or uncommon a given name is, plus other statistics too.



Whoever Nancy is, she appears to be selling buttons. You may want to buy one but that’s only half the fun. The real treat here is to simply browse through the catalogue and enjoy the many slogans you can choose from. Some are pretty witty; get ready to grin immoderately.


”Documents Online” at The National Archives of Great Britain

Normally I wouldn’t post a site where you have to pay for stuff, but this one is great and there’s lots of free stuff too. Britain’s National Archives makes a breathtaking amount of material available here, and it’s fascinating just to roam around for an hour. Like the ultimate window shopping.


National Historic Landmarks: A Guide from the US Parks Service


female(1) Netflix female(1)

This is a commercial site but, lo and behold, it’s a good idea so I’m actually going to plug it. I’m a member and it works like this: you pay a flat fee per month (their cheapest plan is less than $15). For this you get to browse their movies (all DVD) and add the ones you like to your ‘rental queue.’ They will send you the top three (or more depending on your plan) from your queue via mail. You get them and keep them as long as you like, no late charges. When you’re done you pop them in the prepaid mailer back to Netflix, and they’ll send you the next batch. In my case the average turnaround is one week, which means I get three new movies on Friday, watch ‘em on the weekend, mail them back to Netflix Monday, and get three more the next Friday. That makes twelve films per month for $15 - or less than $2 per movie. It’s a great deal and there are no hidden extras. And no, I don’t work for them either. They’re just a service that really works.


The New York Post Online

If you want to experience the tang of New York once in awhile, forget the Times; this is the place to go.


female(1) NK News female(1)

lk nk newsHonestly, when you see a website like this you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Here is a mind-altering collection of North Korean propaganda, indexed and searchable (for maximum weirdness) by one devoted guy with a love for the off-kilter syntax of the DPRK. Be sure to check out the Random Insult Generator, where you can sample such gems as: You reckless beast, we will mercilessly crush you with the weapon of singlehearted unity! But honestly, the real stuff reads just the same. The Dear Leader would be pleased.


The Online Digital Catalog at the New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is starting to put their assets online and the results are amazing. Among their unique digital image collections you can explore categories like the American West, a Hudson River portfolio, New York City down through the years and, one of my favorites, Treasures of the American Performing Arts (1875-1923). And much, much more. Click Here to go straight to their free catalogue of over 30,000 public domain images. Incredible.


“On This Day” from the New York Times

I have a soft spot for sites like this; probably because I’m a history buff. Enter a date and the New York Times will tell you what else happened on this day in history. Comes with links to relevant NY Times articles. Very good.


female(1) The Onion female(1)

This fantastic humor newspaper has a great website where you can get to know their beautiful brand of deadpan satire. The Onion is so good, in fact, that they are regularly quoted in other publications, on news broadcasts, and even in Washington policy speeches because people take their reportage to be real. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.


The Oxford Museum of the History of Science


Places Online

A gateway to websites that are devoted to, or based on, places that either now have or once had a real physical presence on earth. So here you’ll find historical locations, geographical sites, famous cities and towns, and much more. A virtual travelogue. Wonderful.


Poisonous Plants Reference Page

Before-you-bite advice from Texas A&M University.


Popular Science Magazine Online

Yeah! I loved this magazine as a kid and I’m so glad I can surf it now. Always interesting.


Postal Rates Info Around The World

Note: this isn’t merely rates “to” anywhere in the world, but literally to or from anywhere on Earth (or just about anywhere). So if you’re curious about the cost of sending that Krumhorn back to Australia from Switzerland, here’s where you can go to learn just how many pfennigs it’ll cost you. An award-winning site, and it’s easy to see why.


Power Reporting.com

A page designed for journalists to do research, but useful to anyone digging into nearly anything.


Project Gutenberg

This is one of the older publicly-available sites on the Internet and so it has a bit of a clunky interface ... but it’s well worth it. Project Gutenberg is also one of the world’s great internet resources.

This is because at P.G. you will find a large (and growing) number of the world’s great written works, available absolutely free for the taking. Yes, you read that right - free. Simply show up and start downloading books from Aristotle to Webster, in both plain-text and html format. The list of titles alone is several thousand lines long, and you could easily spend a day (as I have) just reading what’s available. My hat is truly off to the creators and curators of this remarkable web site. A place of oh-my-God proportions.


PSIGate Timelines of Science

Historical timelines of scientific discovery and achievement, broken down by category. (Hey, you either dig this stuff or you don’t. I do!)


female(1) Rand-McNally female(1)

Very nice alternative to MapQuest.


Resources for Readers and Writers

Marylaine Block strikes again. The woman who I laud so highly here is also responsible for this list of must-see sites for those who love literature.


The RMB Cafe

Unofficial (yet much-loved) website of the rec.music.beatles newsgroup. Good for a smile, but be patient ... this site has wa-a-ay too many advertising pop-ups. On the other hand, if you click on the members’ photos you may see a familiar face.


Whois and other Tools at Sam Spade.org

It’s easy to adopt fake internet identities because the Net was originally designed by a small, self-policing community of trusting scientists; it was never meant to be a worldwide free-trade zone. But since that’s what it’s become you occasionally need friends like SamSpade. Go to SamSpade.org whenever you need help finding out more - including real-world information - about any Internet thing, person, or place. You can enter an email address, a domain name, a URL (even a garbled one), an IP number and (usually) come back with something useful.

Now before you get excited, SamSpade won’t give away private information about celebrities or anything like that. What SamSpade does is comb through public information that is maintained in the registries of various worldwide Internet organizations. These databases are required by law in order to keep the Net honest; but the thing is, their lookup interfaces are about as friendly as a scientific calculator. Enter SamSpade.org, with relatively easy tools to help you perform searches. Make a few entries, push a button, and presto - you can find out who’s the registered owner of ‘microstore.com’ before buying that refrigerator; or learn what country joe@whoami.net is in before buying those concert tickets. And a whole lot more.

I love sites like this; and I think they’re necessary. They keep the Internet open and honest.

P.S.: Be sure to visit their home page too and read more about this group. They’re worth it.


Samuel French, Inc.

When actors get the call to go out and audition for “Death of a Salesman” tomorrow it is often the dismaying case that they discover that Arthur Miller’s saga of the Loman family is not a current resident of their home bookshelf. Disaster? Hardly. This is merely where Samuel French has been stepping in for the past hundred-odd years. Welcome to the newly-revamped web site of the world’s largest play publisher including all of their thousands (and thousands...) of scripts, monologue books, how-to manuals, and all other things thespian. If I were a kid this would be my candy store, you betcha.


Sand Castle Central


The Seattle Times: Ax and Tax

Wanna play government? Here’s a fascinating budget-balancing sim. Fun and a real education.


Seeing Stars in Hollywood

What lies at the spiritual and emotional heart of Los Angeles more than movie and TV stars? Answer: nothing. So whether you’re planning to visit the land of tinsel sometime soon, or you’ve lived for years in the land where celluloid meets cellulite, this is a site for you: an in-depth, well-organized, fun-to-read guide to all things star-related. Find out where the famous hang out, work, play. Even where they’ve kicked the bucket. And speaking of that, there’s an excellent cemetary-by-cemetary guide to their graves. This is, really, an amazing site and I wish I’d known about it years ago; it would have saved me a lot of time when I was trying to give my mom a quick tour around town.


female(1) The Smoking Gun female(1)

This site was created by an ex-Village Voice reporter who couldn’t cram his sometimes-fascinating background material into his articles. Instead it’s all landed here: the arrest reports, lawsuits, photographs, and other celebrity (or just fascinating) whatnot. This isn’t a tacky site, though - it’s mostly to do with human foibles. For instance, be sure to visit two of their most popular sections - arrest photos of the rich & famous (including a young Bill Gates) and the outrageous tour riders of famous musicians (requesting all kinds of silly stuff for their dressing rooms). Definitely eye-opening.


female(1) Snopes.com female(1)

Like the prolific Snopes family of Steinbeck’s various novels, urban legends pop up everywhere. This incredible website is devoted to investigating them with an eye to finding the truth - and along the way it has become probably my number one choice for coolest site on the whole darn web. It’s certainly one of the four or five sites that I (eagerly) look forward to visiting and reading each week.

What makes Snopes.com so wonderful is not just the breadth of its material but also the obvious care and attention to detail that each article has received. From the woman with spiders in her hair to the cocaine in Coca-Cola, you’ll find discussions here of just about every truth, half-truth, legend, ghost story, old wives’ tale, fake news report, election lie, scam, bogus email and more in past or current circulation. Yet while debunking myths, Snopes.com also often takes the time to provide fascinating, in-depth (and quite witty) articles into how a tale got to be quite so tall - covering, along the way, a lot of pretty eye-opening cultural history (as an example, check out the evolution of Santa Claus under ‘Cokelore’). So not only do you learn the truth here, but you also get to learn how and why the truth came to be. Just fantastic.

I cannot say more, nor praise this site more highly. Go, read, and enjoy.


Software Downloads - Various Reputable Sites

I often hear people say things like “I wish I had a little app that would” do this or that - kill spyware, organize recipes, clean the Windows registry, print folder contents, etc., etc. I always send them to one of my favorite sites on the web, www.download.com. Download.com is a great place that has an abundance of cheap or free software, plus nice features like clear product descriptions, editorials, and easy-to-understand consumer ratings - so you can get a sense of what you’re downloading before you take the plunge.

Download.com is my personal favorite, but just the other day I was reading an article about good sources of software on the web in PCWorld magazine, and they included their own must-visit list. The names are intriguing so I thought I’d pass them along for everyone to see. These sites have not all been visited by me - but they are endorsed by the editors of PCWorld (itself a trustworthy publication) as being spam- and spyware-free. That means they won’t try to fob off on you a piece of lousy software in exchange for a chance to bury you under junk email.



Stars & Stripes

This is the venerable old magazine for America’s soldiers - in its new, online form. There’s one for Europe and one for the Pacific. Just like what daddy used to read! Fascinating stuff, actually; a look inside the world’s biggest military machine from the human level. Often surprising.


Swingin’ Chicks From The Sixties

A shrine to the originals, in all their swingin’ glory.


Time and Date.com

How many seconds have you been alive? How many days until New Year’s? How many minutes left until next summer’s vacation? If you like to play with clocks, counters, timers and calendars, here’s the place to go.


female(1) Today’s Front Pages female(1)

At this site you can view today’s front page from over 150 newspapers around the world. The world village made real! I don’t know about you but I find glimpsing all these morning editions incredibly cool.


Travels in America: 1750-1920

More from the good ol’ Library of Congress: first-hand accounts of journeys through America by various writers over a 170-year period. Very eye-opening stuff at times.


TV Acres

This site bills itself as “The Web’s Ultimate Guide to Television Program Facts.” And it might just be. It’s certainly someplace to go if you want to settle that argument about who played Mr. Ed, where the Brady Bunch house is, when All In The Family first aired, or what the lyrics are to the I Dream of Jeannie theme song. As Mr. Spock would say, “fascinating.”


United States Historical Documents Online


United States Newspaper Archives available on the Web

A good one-stop-shop, although be prepared: most of these archives aren’t free.


Units of Measurement

You’ll never confuse cubits with kilos again.


The Unofficial U.S. Navy Site

A fan site devoted to the U.S. Navy ... hosted in Germany? Still, this is one of the better places I’ve seen to find out information (often with photographs) on every ship that serves, or ever served, in the U.S. Navy. Pretty impressive.


female(1) Urban 75 female(1)

I don’t know the meaning of the title but this is a very cool, amazingly varied e-zine located in London, England. I’ve been coming here for months and I still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface.


The Vatican Museum Online



The Virtual Museum of Canada

A fun place to romp around, with nice online exhibits.


A Walk Through Time

The history of time measurement through the ages - including ancient celestial calendars, Stonehenge, Mayan calendars, and modern atomic clocks. Plus time-related resources such as world time scales & modern time zones. Wonderful stuff.


What’s That Stuff?

Short little page explaining what different stuff is. Pretty darn good, too. In fact, this would be a great theme for a much bigger site. That’s my only wish.



Capsule biographies of the famous and near-famous - and not just movie or rock stars. A good place to start if you’ve heard vaguely of, say, Anne Sullivan Macy but haven’t got a clue who she was.


female(1) Wildlife Online female(1)

Wow! If you have broadband and a decent-speed computer, visit this beautiful site in Germany (be sure to select English as your language after you arrive). A group of conservationists have a remote webcam that they trek around a wildlife preserve in Germany’s beautiful Black Forest. At various times the cam has been strategically placed to observe deer locking antlers during the rutting season and a large clan of wild boar rearing their young. Fabulous site, and the forest with its chirping birds and rustling leaves is gorgeous and beautiful.


female(1) Worth 1000.com female(1)

Anyone who’s ever despaired for the fate of creativity in our modern world should come to this site and (1) gape at the amazing images, most of which were created in 48 hours or less by mostly-amateur Photoshop enthusiasts; (2) read the incredible stories and essays, written under similar circumstances by gifted people around the world; and then (3) join in the fun. It’s an open club and could well become your new obsession.