Free Advice. Cynics may say that free advice is worth exactly
what you pay for it. But if you’re looking for information about buying
or growing an orchid plant, the rules of croquet (after you just found a
dust-covered set of mallets and balls in the attic) or something
similar, you’ll often find an expert answer is only an e-mail away.

Several websites exist to match questioner and expert. provides e-mail access
to experts in many topics, including arts and leisure, science, business
and careers, travel, health and recreation. While some — such as in
the gardening section — are self-proclaimed authorities, the medical
advice does seem to come from real doctors.

Pitsco’s Ask an Expert links
you to the websites of people with expertise in various fields who are
willing to answer questions. The categories range from law to arts to
religion and personal development.

That Sinking Feeling. If there’s a preteen girl at your house,
the latest coup for Yahoo chat will be of great interest, although it
comes when many of them are at school. On Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 11 a.m.
PST (2 p.m. EST), Leonardo DiCaprio (“Titanic”) will make an
announcement during a webcast about what Yahoo! calls some exciting
plans for the spring. That will be followed by Leonardo’s first web chat ever. A special Yahooligans! chat room will be available for
young fans.

Where In The World? Some people absorb information better
visually. Those folks — provided they have at least a 56 kbps modem and
a Java-enabled browser — are going to love Instead of simply reading a
story about something happening in a far corner of the world, you can
actually see where the action is taking place. Not just global events,
but also U.S. and even business and technology news. Move your cursor
over points on the map to view topics, then choose large or small
versions of the map.

All Asia All The Time. Speaking of world news, if it’s taking
place in Asia, your first stop should be Asia source. The section called Asia
Today presents the day’s top stories in digest form. Asia Events and
Asia Links are exactly what they sound like. Asia Reference and Asia
Search would be great for students working on school projects, while
Asia Experts provides a database of specialists in many areas of Asian
expertise. If you have a special interest in a particular area of Asia,
you can sign up to receive e-mail bulletins.

Clued In. Even avid crossword puzzlers occasionally get stuck.
And when they do, the place to head is One Across, the crossword clue page.
It has a search for anagrams, words that can be made from other words or
phrases and you can also solve more than 1,300 cryptograms right online.

Creating A Web Page If you’d like to make a place for yourself
on the Net — or if you have a site, but are ready to upgrade it —
you’ll find close to 800 excellent links at Poor Richard’s Web
. Author Peter Kent is plugging his book, but you don’t have to
invest in it to get connected to plenty of resources, from finding the
best software to learning HTML to examples of good and poor pages. Kent
also offers a free e-mail newsletter on the subject.

Back To Basics. That’s the philosophy behind Pioneer Thinking, whose articles
and resources promote a return to simple virtues in the kitchen, the
garden, and such things as making your own health and beauty aids (not
to mention cleaning supplies). The financial section gives advice on
slashing your heating and phone bills.

Remember Pong? At iPong, you
can play classic Pong, iPong Trivia and Power iPong by yourself or in
multiplayer games.

Inventive People. You know that Alexander Graham Bell invented
the telephone, Samuel Morse the telegraph and Seymour Cray the
supercomputer, but who invented the air conditioner, tuxedos, sneakers,
Silly Putty or zippers? At MIT’s Invention Dimension you can search
through lists of inventions or inventors to satisfy your curiosity (or
write a school report, of course). There’s an Inventor of the Week
. But most interesting for prospective inventors of all ages
is the inventors
, which answers the most frequently asked questions about
getting an invention patented and into commerce.

Not Politically Correct. These next two sites definitely
aren’t PC, but older readers may find them interesting. A fan takes an
affectionate look at a favorite old TV show at The Original Amos ‘n Andy
Web Page
. Schutz gives the history of the show he believes had some
of the finest television actors of the time and their bios. He has
gathered also a filmography, episodes list and even a few sound files. is a tribute to
the lovely ladies of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. Such Hollywood stars as
Jayne Mansfield, Betty Grable and Carmen Miranda, who, the site says,
were seen as more than sex symbols. This is the spot to hear Alice Faye
and Phil Harris crooning, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and Ginger Rogers
warbling, “Let Yourself Go.”

Nighty-Night. Although these bedtime stories are
supposed to be for ages six and up, many are suitable for preschoolers.
And you can print them out — which is nice since they’re illustrated —
or download them. A new effort at this site is illuminated books in

For Parents. You can find weekly reviews of books,
movies, videos and CDs from a parent’s perspective at Also safety
recalls that might affect families.

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