This is the final edition of The Cool Tricks and Trinkets Newsletter. It began as an email that I sent to 50 of my friends in 1998, and concludes with over 50,000 subscribers.

Before I discovered the Internet, I had never held the same job for more than 2 years in my life and continuing to write the newsletter week after week was my way of demonstrating that a new phase of my life had begun.

The internet has blessed me in many ways. In 2001, I responded to a spam about the hotel reservation business and in the past 7 years I have built A1 Discount Hotels, into one of the largest affiliates in the family, known for low rates and the highest quality customer care.

During this time, I have also been blessed in finding a daily breathing and meditation practice ( which has brought unimaginable peace and joy into my life. I have never been happier than I am today.

In the future, if I can be of service in assisting you with hotel reservations, please contact me, as we have special discount rates for members of our "family".

It has been my pleasure to share this with you.

Be Well.


Charles Kessler


Welcome to the 500th issue of the Cool Tricks and Trinkets Newsletter offering weekly insights into new, cool, useful, fun, unusual and interesting sites on the Internet.

- Water: H2O = Life
- Tell Them What You Want!
- The Body Online
- Short Takes
- The Art of Living
- Charity:
- Recipe Clone
- Backpacker
- 20 Questions
- Subscribers' Sites

Water: H2O = Life

Water is essential to life as we know it, however every day approximately one billion people on this planet do not have regular access to clean water.  "Water: H20 = Life" is a powerful new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City.

For those who can't make it to the Big Apple to see the exhibition in person, the AMNH companion website is surely the next best thing.  From the driest deserts to largest cities, visitors will learn about how water impacts nearly every aspect of human life.  Check out some of the fascinating sections of the site including "Water Revered", "Nor Any Drop to Drink", and "Healthy Water, Healthy Lives".

Tell Them What You Want!

If you are a rabid consumer, coming up on a birthday, or just one of those people who is "difficult to shop for", be sure to check out this cool website.  TheThingsIWant.Com is a free, online wish-list service that lets people keep post and track all of the "stuff" they want.

Despite its shamelessly selfish name, "The Things I Want" is actually a very useful service that simplifies and improves the gift-buying process.  Simply browse your favorite shopping sites and select your items, then create a wedding or baby registry, charitable Christmas list, or birthday wish-list you can share online with family and friends.

The Body Online

BioEdOnline.Org is a top-notch online educational website that was created by the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.  Welcome to "The Body Explained", a fun and informative feature on the "Bio Ed" site that uses original video clips to answer common questions about how the human body works.

Browse through the site's list of wonderfully light-hearted yet informative "video explanations", all of which are hosted by Cassius Bordelon, PhD.  Then just sit back, click, watch, and learn the answers to such nagging questions as "What Causes an Ice Cream Headache?" and "Why Do Our Ears Pop?"


Science Fiction's Best

Sci-Fi buffs will enjoy (or vehemently dispute!) this bold attempt to list the "Top 15 Science Fiction Book Series" of all-time.  While we won't reveal the winner, notable entries include Larry Niven's "Ringworld", Arthur C. Clarke's "Rama" series, and the lesser-known "Vorkosigan Saga".


Not Normal Names

If you think celebrity children these days have weird names, wait until you read some of the bizarre monikers on this fun list.  Created by Oddee.Com, the piece boasts the "Craziest Personal Names" ever given including Thursday October Christian, a minor league baseball player named Ten Million, and many more of the strangest handles in history.


Lame Lawsuits

The United States court system has long been bogged down by frivolous lawsuits, and states such as California and New York are notoriously litigious.  This amusing article on LegalZoom.Com details the "Top Ten Frivolous Lawsuits" in recent memory, including the infamous story of the "hot cup of McDonald's coffee" and other lame lawsuits.


The Art of Living

25 years ago in Bangalore, India, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar created The Art of Living Foundation.  Today this non-profit educational and humanitarian NGO is active in over 140 countries around the world, making a difference in the lives of millions of people everyday.

This is the official "Art of Living" website, which offers insight into popular breathing and meditation courses that teach powerful techniques to help people combat chronic stress, depression, anxiety, and asthma.  Browse the site, read about the founder and their trademark breathing technique known as Sudarshan Kriya, and then find an upcoming course in your hometown!


"Charity:" (the colon stands for 'is') is a bold new non-profit organization based out of New York City.  The charity is a true "non-profit" in that it targets every single one of its donated dollars to directly fight crises in Africa such as clean water access and sanitation.

Celebrate World Water Day a few days late by logging onto the CharityIs.Org website and learn more about the organization and its current projects.  Those who are inspired to help can buy a bottle of "Charity Water", raise money to build a freshwater well in Africa, and tell their friends about this cool new charity.


The Military Travel Network was established to give something back to the men and women of the Armed Services (active and retired) and members of their families by offering an additional 5% rebate (off the already low prices of on all hotel reservations.

Visit us online or call our operators at 800.275.9183

<Editor's Note> Please support us in getting the word out about your new site.

Recipe Clone

Epicureans, gourmet addicts, restaurant regulars, and foodies of all shapes and wallet sizes will want to bookmark this cool site.  Todd Wilbur's website, entitled TopSecretRecipes.Com, brings the recipes at your favorite restaurants straight from your computer into your kitchen!

"Top Secret Recipes" contains scores of original "clone recipes" from popular restaurants, allowing you to cook your favorite menu dishes from the comfort of your very own kitchen.  In addition to the recipes the site also has a fun section called "The Sleuth" which reveals insider secrets and food lore related to the fast-food industry (check out the article on "The World's Greatest Hamburger").


Get on up out of your chair, walk away from your computer, put on some sturdy shoes, and go take a hike!  Nature lovers will enjoy Backpacker Magazine, a website with a mission to inspire people to enjoy the outdoors by providing them with trusted information about "backcountry adventure in North America".

This rugged online magazine is packed full of free info to help you plan your next outdoor trek.  Visitors can search for specific hikes by City, State, or Park, read detailed trip reports and interesting magazine articles, and explore useful sections like "Backpacking 101," and "The Ultimate Fix-It Guide".

20 Questions

Is it an animal, a mineral, or a vegetable?  Ah, few things pass the time on a road trip like a good old-fashioned game of "20 Questions".  20Q.Net is a fun experiment in Artificial Intelligence, a website that uses a program that on one hand is very simple, yet reveals interactive behavior that is quite complex.

The "20Q" is essentially a learning system that gets better every time it plays, so everything the program knows and all of the questions it asks have been entered by previous players.  Test your skills and try to outsmart "It" in a match of traditional "20 Questions", or choose one of the uniquely themed games like "Harry Potter", "The Simpsons", and "20Q Sports".

SUBSCRIBERS' SITES - Many of our subscribers have fascinating on-line projects. This weekly section will introduce you to some of these sites. Please let me know about your project so that I might mention it in this section.  Write me at

~ Website Design

~ Le Labo Fragrances - NYC, LA, Tokyo

~ The Science of Breath

~ Homeopathy E-Book

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"Rabbit's clever," said Pooh thoughtfully.

"Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit's clever."

"And he has Brain."

"Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit has Brain."

"I suppose," said Pooh, "that that's why he never understands Anything."

-- The Tao of Pooh

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Be Well.

Have a great weekend.