The Cool Tricks and Trinkets Newsletter #136  4/5/2001

 


 

Welcome to the 136th issue of the Cool Tricks and Trinkets Newsletter offering weekly insights into new, cool, useful, fun, unusual and interesting sites on the Internet.

In this issue:

- Urban Art Meets Pop Culture
- Understanding Money
- Women in American History
- Short Takes
- A Laugh a Minute
- Kansas City: Paris of the Plains
- Watching the Media
- Say Cheese
- Interior Desecration
- Subscribers' Sites


Xhibition-Transition: Urban Art Meets Pop Culture

The convergence of urban art and pop culture' is the self-stated identity for this online gallery that brings graffiti and street music to the Web in a well-designed, artistic format.

While DJ's and graffiti artists are less recognized in the public eye, they have maintained a huge following among younger generations, and should be acknowledged for the high art they produce.

Xhibition.org is the website for the Exhibition Transition gallery, featuring some very hip 'writers' and DJ's. People who are familiar with these underground art forms will appreciate the tribute this website represents, while others will be impressed with the skill it takes to create such supreme visual and audio chaos.


Understanding Money

Money permeates our lives, and while its effect can be both positive and negative, many of us understand little about the financial system which it inhabits. To comprehend the issues that dictate the value of the dollar, credit and interest rates, one must dig deeper than watching the daily fluctuations of the market averages.

William F. Hummel, a prolific Internet author, has created a website whose primary purpose is to help people understand the many different facets of 'money'. The site offers a straightforward Table of Contents that covers everything from basics such as 'Banking' and 'The Federal Reserve System' to the more complex topics of Policy Issues and Investing.....and it's a lot easier to understand than Mr. Greenspan.


Women in American History

With the progress made by the Women's Rights' Movement, it is difficult to imagine that there was a time, not so long ago, when women were treated as second-class citizens. Most people are aware of the female activists and their impassioned movement of the 1960's and 70's, but what is lesser known is that several hundred years before them, in an even more oppressive culture, women began asserting themselves as equal partners in American Society.

Created by the Encyclopedia Britannica, this website covers the History of American Women, from the early seventeenth century to the present. Be sure to check out the section entitled "In Her own Words", a compilation of poetry, court decisions and letters by respected female authors such as Susan B. Anthony and Emily Dickinson.

This site is an educational and inspiring experience for both men and women, as well as a reminder of the importance of equality amongst all people, regardless of their differences.


SHORT TAKES:

SodaPlay

The site is a lot like a video game, though it is much more creative, allowing users to construct and manipulate two dimensional objects using gravity, friction, masses and springs.

You can either work with one of the established models or attempt to build your own (we recommend learning with one of theirs, then making one). Make sure to look in the Soda Zoo, where visitor's contributions are on display.

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A Day in the Life

While many of us dream of a job at McDonald's, deep down we know that it is a rare opportunity to be had by only a select few (currently about one million global citizens). This site makes dreams come true; giving visitors a first hand experience of what a day in the life of a professional Hamburger Flipper feels like.

You'll decide everything, from what ugly shirt to wear to which hair product to use. Make sure to 'Drive Fast to Work', 'Watch TV' and 'Dream in Color' (you'll understand when you are there).

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Strange Man Dancing

Ever been to a party and felt awkward because you couldn't dance to the type of music playing? Now you can learn to dance from an instructor who's goofier than you were at your eighth-grade graduation dance.

Choose your language (English or German), your dance (the two-step, hip hop, techno, etc.), and get ready to shake and groove to the hilarious instructions of this wily dance man.


A Laugh a Minute

Laughter is a surefire antidote to negativity and remains a universal language amongst all cultures. Like most societies, America has its own distinct brand of comedy that at times pushes the boundaries of political and social correctness.

With an introduction by the one and only George Carlin, Laugh.com immediately asserts itself as one seriously funny website. It offers many audio and video clips of your favorite comedians like Milton Berle, The Jerky Boys, Phylis Diller, George Carlin, etc. Other funny features of the site include 'Sex Tips', 'Movie Reviews' and a 'Joke Contest'.


Kansas City: Paris of the Plains

Some of the greatest Jazz of the twentieth century came, ironically enough, from the former cow town of Kansas City, Missouri. The music that blew out of that area between the 1920's and 1940's continues to be regarded as some of the best of American Jazz.

During its 'Jazz Age', Kansas City (otherwise known as KayCee) became the U.S.' original Sin City. This website, an online companion to a current exhibition at the Miller Nichols Library, takes you on an unholy tour of the political, social, geographic and musical temperament of Kaycee during those times.

Going through each section will reveal written recollections and facts about the city, its prominent musicians, citizens and political figures, as well as its fevered evolution into a cutting-edge jazz town. Don't miss the portion on 'Musical KC', one of the most fascinating parts of the site.


Watching the Media

In many cities, it has become commonplace to turn on TV and see live coverage of high-speed police chases which often end tragically. There is even a website that will email you and let you know when a chase is being televised in Los Angeles.

Who is watching the media? If you are among those who feel that the media is somewhat untrustworthy and lacking in integrity, this site will hit home with its rants pointing out the shortcomings of the media.


Say Cheese

Photography has become an extremely popular art form, which makes sense because there is so much cool stuff to take pictures of these days. Fashion, nature, food and many other subjects have become objects of visual fascination, employing and inspiring photographers of all levels.

PhotographyTips.com is a great destination for photographers of all types, regardless of experience. A true resource center, visitors can receive valuable tips on technique, learn to deal with all aspects of the photographic process, buy equipment, and gaze at galleries of pictures divided by topic (humorous, landscape, animals, aerial photos etc.) The site is a joy for anyone who loves taking or looking at pictures.


Interior Desecration

Log on to this biting, hilarious review of the kitschy, cheesy style that emerged during the seventies, using furniture and home decoration as its indisputable evidence. The author and founder, James Lileks, is extremely humorous, and his input is found in almost every section of the website.

With a title like 'Interior Desecration; Horrors from the Land of Shag', it is easy to see why this site doesn't take itself too seriously. It does provide a lot humor, guiding you through a mini library of seventies design books accompanied by colorful commentary care of Mr. Lileks.


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. 

~ DC BarSeen - Streaming music videos of bars, clubs and sporting events.

~ Fast Free Stuff - Lots of freebies.

~ SoberByker - Come on in. Relax, and enjoy.

~ WebCam-Control-Center 4.1 - Add live Webcam images to your website easily.

~ Surfers Home - Where links and subjects are placed on request.

~ RadRay - CD+G Pro is a karaoke player and ripper for the PC.


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OOo-(_)-oOOo--------

Stand at the precipice,
That existential darkness,
And call into the void;
It will surely answer.

TAO

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Best regards,
Charles Kessler