Stumped?Want to know the name of Lady Godiva’s horse? Do you
wonder if it’s really true that the quality of a necktie can be
determined by the number of stripes on the lining? When you’ve got a
question that has you puzzled, the person who usually has the answer is
a librarian. But librarians don’t always know the answer to every query.
When that happens, who do they turn to? Other librarians, of course.
Reference librarians have a listserve where they discuss questions
that have stumped them, and many of these (back to 1993) have been
gathered at the Stumpers-L
website sponsored by the Graduate School of Library and Information
Science of Dominican University of Illinois. Here you can ask your
question after you’ve searched to see if it has been previously
Even more fun — and just as informative, although you can’t ask
questions — is the group’s unofficial home, Wonderful World of
Wombats. Here’s where you find out about English words with no
vowels and a full-length book that contains no words with the letter E.
Party Time. When you’re planning a dinner party, it’s not
always easy to keep up with all the details. A French Kiss has the answer. It
offers a gourmet menu creation tool, shopping list and step-by-step
preparation guide to make any meal a success.
Instead of sending out a map or directions to the party, post them on
a free, two-page get-together site at The Plunge.com. Then all the guests
can download or print them out. Or if you’re in the mood for a party but
unsure what kind, use The Plunge’s free Random Party Generator. It’ll
come up with a theme and provide all the ideas you need — from
decorations to food — to carry it out.
Time Flies. If you should want a clock on your website, Time By Design offers four
cyberclocks for free download.
Watching The Weather. The Weather Channel isn’t the only place
you can watch the weather. At Weatherama, you
can see the current weather in 53 cities around the U.S.
Historic Spots. The National
Register of Historic Places offers information for travelers and
teachers, as well as a list of the most recently added properties. If
you’re looking for something specific, search the official database by state and/or county.
Nature Unleashed. Homework Central, an educational site for
teachers and students, has an excellent section on Forces of
Nature. It includes comprehensive information on avalanches,
tornadoes, earthquakes, landslides, floods, meteorite strikes and more.
The only problem is that Homework Central is one of those sites that
captures you in frames and simply won’t let go. But in this case the
information is compelling enough to put up with that nonsense.
Aphorisms. That’s a word that means “witty sayings.” Aphorisms Galore has collected
1,925 of them by 777 authors in 16 categories. Trying to stop after
reading one or two is much like trying to eat only one potato chip. How
about this one by Thomas Alva Edison: “There are no rules here. We’re
trying to accomplish something.” And Harry Truman said, “If you cannot
convince them, confuse them.”
Buyer Beware. Wonderful consumer resources are available at
the nonprofit Consumer World,
which has at least 1,800 links. This is where to head when you want to
make sure that used car you’re considering buying isn’t a lemon or if
you’re confused about the endless choices among running shoes. You’ll
find product reviews, price comparisons and plenty of advice (what about
bargain hotel rooms for $30-$50 a night?).
Spoofs. The Page O’ Spoofs
pokes fun at everything from Joe Boxer and McDonald’s to IBM and Apple
— and lots of pop icons in between. A warning: As is usual with much
Web humor, some of this can be tasteless.
Picking Nits. Are you one of those people who has an eagle eye
that can spy a microphone in a movie, or a power line in a (supposedly)
historical film? You have plenty of company. Nitpickers catalogs mistakes,
inaccuracies and/or anomalies in movies. The flick with the most
recorded nitpicks? “Titanic,” with 136 including a Roosevelt dime in
1912 to no dolphins off the coast of Ireland (the movie was shot off the
coast of Mexico, where dolphins do swim).
Online Magazines. On the Net, you don’t need Publishers
Clearing House to tout free magazine subscriptions. There are so many
free ezines (that’s short for electronic magazines, newbies; they’re
also called webzines) that it’s hard to keep track of them all. To help
sort the gold from the dross, Zine
Zone has selected what it considers the best of the webzines. The
category selections range from arts and music to science and travel.