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Odder websites

Banzuke of the weird

by Mike Lloret

Publisher and Publicity Officer Justin Gardiner and I were recently discussing how to find material for the newsletter...something we often (have to) do. He came up with the idea of asking TPC folks to list and describe their top five favorite websites, and further suggested that we choose people known in the newsgroups--or in person--for being especially in the know about certain areas. We'll let you find out for yourself who and what were chosen, in this and future issues.

Coincidentally, Ralph Sumner answered one of my regular pleas for material by reminding me of a similar suggestion he'd made to me long ago, and, even better, by starting off with an article of his own, which you'll see elsewhere in this issue.

In Justin's list of people paired with likely expertise areas, for some reason he'd had me down for "Mike Lloret's Top 5 Watering Holes". I can't imagine why, but I gave it some thought and did a bit of browsing, only to discover that the ones I'd choose right now all have websites that are either currently inaccessible or obsolescent. Several are in the process of being remade, at least one with extreme prejudice.

So, I'll leave that banzuke for another time, and present instead my (Today's) Top 5 Odd Sites. The ranking may change tomorrow. Of course, "odd" doesn't necessarily mean "useless". I wouldn't bookmark a site if it didn't strike me as at least thought provoking enough to merit a return visit someday, and some of the odder sites I've found have proved to have considerable utility. Your mileage may vary, of course. I'm afraid that I don't remember how I came upon most of these sites originally. Perhaps one of you directed me to them; if so, apologies for not crediting you with the find. I do remember how I learned about the ordainment one, though, but the story should be told over a beer or two.

contains photographs and comments on...abandoned places. For me, it revived memories of an early teen summer spent hanging around in a neighborhood block that was being demolished to make way for a big supermarket. The abandoned buildings included a hardware store, several homes, and--best of all--a huge old movie theater that had apparently once been the site of Vaudeville performances. The workers and us kids played a sort of game in which they tried to keep us out, and we tried to thwart their escalating security measures. I've got several stories revolving around those days, but the point here is that this site brought back memories of exploring recent ruins. It's a beautiful site, in its way, but I'll let you visit it and find out how and why for yourself.

2. The Museum of Unnatural Mystery
( proclaims:
Welcome to the Museum of Unnatural Mystery, a slightly bizarre, cyberspace, science museum for all ages. Are there really flying saucers? What killed the dinosaurs? Is there something ancient and alive in Loch Ness? The Museum takes a scientific look at these, and other, questions. Feel free to wander our halls and make some serendipitous discoveries.
But that's only part of the story. Every time I visit this site, there's another little oddity been added. I wouldn't necessarily take their "scientific look" statement at face value, either. It's a fun site, though, and a great productivity killer. Don't forget to visit the museum's attic.

3. The Universal Life Church Online
is the place to go if you want, for whatever reason, to become ordained as a minister online. They have been around in Modesto, California (which you saw if you watched the movie American Graffiti) since 1959, and yes, I do have a certificate of ordainment from them. They've been in the news in the US and have managed to weather various legal difficulties successfully. Their statement...

Our common thread is our adherence to the universal doctrine of religious freedom:

         Do only that which is right.

Every person has the natural right (and the responsibility) to peacefully determine what is right. We are advocates of religious freedom. The Universal Life Church wants you to pursue your spiritual beliefs without interference from any outside agency, including government or church authority.

...strikes me as an spiritual iconoclast's ideal, and that in itself is plenty odd enough to merit inclusion here.

4. The most neglected site on the web
is just that, and they're proud of it. I go back and visit from time to time as a way of thumbing my nose at chaos. I know that doesn't make sense. Visit the site, and you'll see what I mean. Or perhaps not. Maybe it'll take several visits.

5. Authors' pseudonyms
is just one small part of a much larger book site which in turn is...but you get the picture, right? I don't remember how I found this site (although I may have been trying to find out who Gardner Fox really was), and I still don't really consider it especially odd, but a good friend and fellow book lover to whom I sent the URL immediately replied with "Thanks for the highly useful but very odd site reference...", so I have to assume that my definition of "odd" isn't as universal as I thought. But you probably knew that already.

© Algorithmica Japonica Copyright Notice: Copyright of material rests with the individual author. Articles may be reprinted by other user groups if the author and original publication are credited. Any other reproduction or use of material herein is prohibited without prior written permission from TPC. The mention of names of products without indication of Trademark or Registered Trademark status in no way implies that these products are not so protected by law.

Algorithmica Japonica

February, 2002

The Newsletter of the Tokyo PC Users Group

Submissions : Editor

Tokyo PC Users Group, Post Office Box 103, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 150-8691, JAPAN