One Man's Views

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Dumbing up the 'Net

I admit it. I'm a technophobe who would rather spend the day combing the beach and the night under the stars than doing what I do, which is endlessly punching away at a computer.

I have yet to find the program that feels as good as warm sand between your toes.

But even I have to admit that life does get handier with all this technology. Even though I won't have a cell phone or a pager or the soul-stealing connectedness that they represent, I sure like when other people have theirs when I feel like talking.

And with a punch of a key, I can hear a new song before it's been released that will annoy my children simply because I am old and apparently taste is the first thing to wear out. I can get instant medical advice that I won't follow, check the price for flights I never seem to have time to take, and have a speechless real-time conversation with an old buddy while appearing to be working.

So I will grant you that this internet thingie might just catch on some day. It just might stick.

But for every billion-dollar web bonanza, the e-Bays and Expedias,

and every cool site like The Onion and Lonely Planet, there's a boneheaded idea that just didn't quite hit a nerve. I've been keeping a list as I've stumbled by them. I'd advise you not to log on, but don't blame me if you do:

* getannoyed.com - a web site dedicated to teaching you ways to anger everyone around you, such as endlessly paging yourself on the office intercom.

* sillymessages.com - a whole site with nothing but dumb messages to put on your answering machine, as if you were offline long enough for anybody to get through anyway.

* waitforever.com - don't go, really, just don't even do it...

* createfarts.com - I didn't even have the heart to check this one myself. I have a son for that job.

* menwholooklikekennyrogers.com - why? Somebody explain it to me.

* stupid.com - featuring the pig catapult. At least it's well-named.

* buck'sworld.com - Includes a list of idiotic supposedly real incidents from Massachusetts court testimony - Q: "Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?"

A: "All of my autopsies are performed on dead people."

* twinkiesproject.com - a site full of scientific experiments that you can do... with Hostess Twinkies. Seriously.

* hamsterdance.com - dumbness taken to a whole numbingly new level.

* virtualstapler.com - yep, you can sit and eldlessly watch a stapler in the event that you have no life at all.

* calendardates.com - pin up girls, but in hip waders holding up fish. You get a choice - not blondes or brunettes, but trout or bass.

* www.corsinet.com/braincandy /advise - lists and lists of all the witty things that celebrities say, such as this gem: "Success is a great deodorant." (Elizabeth Taylor)

* www.dpsinfo. com/dps/new - a place to find out whether everyone famous is dead or alive, for people who just can't mind their own business.

* www.mullet lovers.com - all about those great '80s haircuts. If my high school yearbook photo turns up in there, don't you dare tell anybody.

* www.pavementgear.com - a collection of photos of lost clothing items found on highways across the country. So that's where my purple snowpants went to!

* www. airsickness bags.com - an online museum of airplane sickness bags should be enough to make you ill.

* skateboarding bulldog.com - whoa nelly, look at the crazy mutt go.

* www.wackyuses.com - this guy got Barbara Walters to put a diaper on her head, so he just can't be all bad.

* www.ent.ia state. edu/misc/insects asfood - this is Iowa State University's awesome website of recipes to be made out of bugs. Thank goodness they didn't waste all the tuition money they took from me. C'mon, pass the rootworm dip.

Of course, you can find anything you don't want on the web, from people who think they are aliens and folks who are convinced George W. Bush is actually a chimp. Really.

For such smart technology, it can sure be put to some numbskulled uses.

Personally, I'd rather head for the beach than for beaches.com.

And if this stupid computer of mine was so darned smart, why it would just put a stop to this column and pull its own plug right out of the w -