The Peace Corps Crossroads 

Sections 3 through 7: Just for Fun Sites

April 2000: All links fixed or verified!

Table of Contents

3. Magazines and Newspapers
4. Political Sites
5. Books, CD's and Movies
6. Web and Computer Related Sites - including Web Search Engines!
7. Miscellaneous, with an Emphasis on the Wild and Crazy

The following are the other Crossroads pages:

Peace Corps Crossroads Home Page Table of Contents
1. Peace Corps Related Web Sites
2. Third World and Eastern Europe Related Web Sites

3. Magazines and Newspapers

The Journal of African Travel-Writing includes some essays by RPCVs. Although the articles are not online, there are some excerpts at this site.
Maiden Voyages Magazine bills itself as “a literary consumer magazine for women who travel or dream about travel”.
Michael Kinsley's Slate may be ridiculously overhyped, but it's also pretty good. (I actually now pay my $19/year for a subscription, and think it's well worth it.)
The New York Times is now online as in the Washington Post. You must REGISTER on the home page, or else you won't be allowed more than one visit... but registration is free.
You don't have to believe in faith healing to appreciate the Christian Science Monitor's excellent site, which includes an archive of articles going back to the early '80s. (There is a link to today's paper at the bottom of the page.)
Scientific American puts part of their magazine online every month.
I don't have a huge amount of respect for USA Today, but their web site is quite good, and perhaps better suited to the short attention span netsurfers (including me) often have. It's also good on cross-links and background information. Sports fans will find this a good source for the latest scores.
The Economist is online as well...
... as is The Atlantic Monthly, and
... and the ever provocative Reason magazine.
HOT! Here's a great index to online newspapers: The American Journalism Review News Links Site.
Newspage describes itself as “the web's leading source of daily business news.”. It tracks thousands of news stories by industry group.
If you read the New Republic.., you might want to check out their home page.

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4. Political Sites

HOT! You've probably heard most of what Paula Jones alleges occurred in that hotel room with Bill Clinton, but reading the the full text of Paula Jone's complaint will flesh out your mental image of the scene with some unusual details. (See esp. points 18 through 24.)

For info on how your congressional representative is voting, visit Project Vote Smart.

Here's a page that's a good place for political junkies to get a fix: The National Journal.

Current issues are discussed in depth at

And of course you've heard of THOMAS... (if you haven't, it has the complete Congressional Record on line, as well as a bunch of other stuff.)

The libertarian Cato Institute has become one of Washington DC's most influential think-tanks. Even if you're a dyed in the wool liberal, you should read their condemnation of corporate welfare.

...but before you start worshipping at the libertarian alter, you should check out Critiques of Libertarianism.

If you're more interested in liberalism than libertanianism, Turn Left (“The Home of Liberalism on the Web”) should appeal to you.

How could you resist the Political Babble Generator ?

Speaking of anarchy, check out the high quality web site.

And speaking of oxymorons, how about a Luddites on Line web site? (Their motto: “Life was better before sliced bread”.)

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5. Books, CD's, TV and Movies


If you want to do some book browsing, try Amazon Books. It's got an online catalog of 1,000,000 books. (I first posted this link in 1996, when no one had heard of Amazon. Wish I had thought to buy some of their stock.)

Here's a specialty online bookshop you might want to check out: The Adventurous Traveler Bookstore. In addition to books, it's got some maps and CD Roms, and even screen savers for sale.

The Globe Corner Bookstore is another online travel bookstore, with books organized by region.

HOT! For an excursion into literary surrealism in the form of a series of very brief short stories (about two paragraphs each), check out The Spiritual Cockroach Engenderment Museum. Amazing and bizarre.

I occasionally read sci-fi, and therefore enjoyed my visit to the unpretentious Science Fiction Weekly. One of the issues has an interview with Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the superb Red Mars etc. trilogy. I like his books so much I even forgive him for being a kook politically (in my view.) By the way, another sci-fi book I've recently enjoyed is Nancy Kerr's Beggars in Spain, and its sequel, Beggars and Choosers.

You can find a searchable archive, by title or author, of books online at the On-Line Books Page. Tons of classics here, all downloadable for free.

BookWire is chock full of book reviews.

If you are a fan of the Jewish cowboy (who is also a former Peace Corps volunteer), check out The Kinky Friedman Page

You can also read an online interveiw with the Kinkster at London Calling - Music Kinky. The list of his favorite things is not quite the same as those found in “The Sound of Music”.

CD's and Tapes

For tape and CD browsing, check out World Wide Music: CDs, Cassettes and More!... It's a good source for your favorite third world music artists.

If you came to love the pop music of your host country..... be sure to check Roots World out!

Richard Dobson is an RPCV and country music singer. This page has clips from several of his songs in mp3 format.

Phil Ochs may have had bizarre politics, but he sure wrote some beautiful songs.


Anything good on the boob tube in the next few days? Check out ClickTV and see.


The Movie Review Query Engine lets you search the net for a review of your favorite films. I tried it on the recent Sean Connery film “A Good Man in Africa”, and it came up with five well written reviews.

If you're a fan of Roger Ebert (he's the short one), you can access a database of Roger Ebert Film Reviews.

If you enjoy movies (and who doesn't?) Boxoffice Magazine is a fine 'zine with articles, interviews, and a huge library of reviews of recent films.

James Berardielli is an electrical engineer in New Jersey whose web site, Reel Views, contains over 1,000 movie reviews that are generally well written and informative.

The Internet Movie Database not only rates movies, but includes classic quotes, actors, and so forth for some of them.

Visit the Movie Critic Rate-O-Matic, which starts out by asking you to rate 12 movies you have seen, and then makes judgements about whether you will like other films. It also tells you how others like those films. (Can a computer really guess which films you would like? The New York Times described it as “surprisingly accurate”.)

Visit the Movie Snapshot for brief descriptions plus ratings (on a one to four bag of popcorn scale) of what appears to me to be virtually every movie made since 1994, including those currently in theaters. This is not an amateur site!

The Picture Palace allows you to purchase film and music videos online with an extensive database to search. It also has profiles of “must see” movies, some of which you may never have heard of.

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6. Web and Computer Related Sites

HOT! I've tried a few different default home pages for my browser, but I like my Excite Home page the best (at least for now.) It's got news, movie reviews, the Excite search engine, and more all on one page. What's best, you can create your own customized page, that will show only the categories of news you are interested in, listings of the tv channels you watch, and even the prices of any stocks you may follow! (If you use Netscape, you can change your default home page under the Options - General Preferences - Appearance - Startup section. I'm sure MSIE users can do it as well, though I don't know how offhand.)

You can make some nice greeting cards, party invitations, and other print projects using the resources available on Printsville, a part of Hewlitt Packards web site.

Looking for free clip art? Check out the Clip Art Connection.

Net Surfing Tools

Here's a handy little tool for seaching the web: Search Thingy.

If you want to learn the secrets of the search engines, check out Search Engine Watch.

HOT! Check out the Ferret Brothers -- three great freeware products for doing various types (WWW, News, and Email address) of searches. (A former PC Crossroads Download of the Month!)

The Liszt Database is the place to look for a listserver devoted to your arcane interest.... it has a directory of over 55,000! (I did a search on science fiction, and it came up with sixteen groups.) It will also walk you through the process of subscribing to a group.

HOT! For good software downloads, I have two favorite sites: Nonags and ZDNet Downloards. The advantage of Nonags is that none of the software will nag you to send anyone money!

You can find a list of the top 100 most visited sites at Hot 100 Web Sites Updated Weekly.

HOT! Most “sites of sites” (the PC Crossroads included) categorize and subcategorize and sub-subcategorize. But the Big Eye is an uncategorized archive of carefully selected Websites”. Sounds odd, but uncategorized makes it kind of fun. For example, among its 1,000 eclectic sites you'll find a Winnie-the-Pooh link close by a link to a site that debunks the Chief Seattle Hoax, with a site in between (the Skeleton Closet) that dishes out dirt on just about every politician in DC (from the Newt to Ralph Nader). And yes, the Big Eye has a link to The Peace Corps Crossroads! Great background music, as well.

HOT SHEET is a very succinct guide to a variety of good web sites, by category... I rate this one a "must bookmark" (or hotlist, or whatever your browser calls it).

And here's the "original" Cool Site of the Day.

Carnegie Mellon's English Server has a well organized set of links, although with a decidedly left wing bias.

Computer Tools and Utilities

HOT! Want to start a list server? Don't want to pay a fee? Check out egroups for a free, easy to use list server that allows you and your list subscribers a wide range of options (including the valuable digest option.) The emails will have ads in them, but hey, it's free.

There's no need to every buy FTP software: there is an excellent freeware package called LeechFTP, that does it all!

HOT! If you're a Windows 95 user, be sure to download Tab2Desk. This little utility (about 30k) will allow you to use the Alt-Tab key to get to your desktop (i.e., minimize all programs). I use it several times a day! is a elegant little (about 2k!) MS-DOS solution to a big problem -- or, more accurately, a problem with bigness. If you have a file that is too big to fit on a floppy, it will slice it up and put it on as many floppies as it takes, and then guide you in reassembling it when you move it to another PC. It's free, and easy to use. Download slice.doc as well, another small (2k) file that shows you how to use If you download, you'll also get slice.asm, the assembler version, which you don't need unless you want to see how it's coded in assembler.
HOT! Here's a top-notch freeware program, well worth a download, especially if you're lucky enough to have a direct connect internet line (from your office, for example): Pointcast. It will run in background on your PC, downloading up-to-date news stories and other information (stock quotes on stocks you specify, for example, or weather reports on cities you pick) of interest to you in background while you do other things.
HOT! Eudora Light is perhaps the best known freeware mail manager program, and deservedly so. It's probably all you'll ever need to retrieve, categorize, store, and respond to your email. There are both Mac and PC versions. For more information, visit the Eudora Light Site. (By the way, Steve Dorner, the program's author, named it for Eudora Welty after reading her short story “Why I Live at the P.O.”. Just thought you might like to know.)
Here's a nice little online HTML tutorial, called HTMLementary.
Listen to the Web! With Real Audio.
Want info on starting your own web page? A trip to Web Communications Publishing would be a good place to start your information gathering process.
Looking for a guestbook for your web page? Check out The World Famous Guestbook.
The URL-minder: Your Own Personal Web Robot! will automatically track your favorite web pages and tell you when they change.
Check your links with The Web Page Doctor, or with LinkScan.

Anybody visiting this page own a Panasonic CF-M32? If so, then check out the web site and bulletin board I created.

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7. Miscellaneous, with an Emphasis on the Wild and Crazy

Jump to Miscellaneous, Wild, and Crazy

Miscellaneous but Serious

HOT! You don't need a short wave radio to listen to the BBC - all you need is an internet connection and RealAudio! If you're an RPCV, chances are you listened to it during your years of service - now, listen to those great news broadcasts and those goofy quiz shows while you surf the net!
You won't have to be a journalist to find lots of good sources of info at the Journalism Resources site.
Travel @ the Speed of Light is a great place to find “on-the-edge, off-the-wall travel stories, by the (often strange) people who voyage around the world”.
Despite an annoying use of the destestable frames, Highlife on the Net is a great site for you highlife fans, since it features a RealAudio highlife show.
InterAction is a coalition of over 150 US-based non-profits, including the National Peace Corps Association, working in relief, development, refugee assistance, environment, population, and global education.
If you're interested in the import/export business, check out the ACR Import Export Library.

Here's a fun site that you just might find useful: enter you telephone number into Phonespell (with or without the area code) and it will do its best to generate words which correspond to your telephone number on the dial. (For example, 234-5678 translates into beg-lost.) Who knows, maybe it will help that cute blonde you met at the Polka festival call you for a Sunday brunch.
HOT! Net Grocer is a fun service: it allows you to order your non-perishable groceries online from anywhere in the country.
Here's an article on using your web access to bring you the World Wide Radio. It's got some good links.
HOT! CNN has a great page for getting the latest news.
Another good up-to-the-minute online news source is News from Reuters Online.
Get free stock quotes online (subject to a 20 minute delay) at Investors Edge Stock Server.
Stop by Bloomberg Online.... for news, quotes, etc. from the best in the biz.
Planning a trip abroad? You might want to stop by Shoreland's Travel Health Online, for info on general and specific (to the country you're visiting) health tips.
Here's a place to find info on subscribing to The Caretaker Gazette. It's publisher tells me that he has “a lot of returned Peace Corps subscribers who take advantage of the rent-free living situations offered”. I've checked out a copy of the Gazette, and there certainly appear to be a variety of interesting alternatives, many of which may well appeal to RPCV's.
HOT! Find your old sweetheart with Banyon Systems Coordinate Division Switchboard, an online telephone and address directory of everyone in the U.S.! Businesses and people (as long as their numbers are listed.) And it's free to use... and remarkably fast.
HOT! ... and then, if you need a map to get there, visit Mapquest, which you give you a map to get to any address in the country. (Yes, even where you live! Try it and see.)
The Electric Library describes itself as the "Web's most comprehensive one-stop digital archive". Give it a free trial, and you'll be impressed. Allows searches by subject of a large database of books, magazines, newspapers, etc. I've used this resource (it's been available to Prodigy subscribers as "Homework Helper"), and it is superb. I even used it to do my primary research on a paper I wrote for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on a history of Latin American investments. (If you're really bored, a summary of the paper is online.)
The Internet Reminder Service will make sure you never forget Mom's birthday... or any other important date you register with it. (It will send you e-mail reminding you several days in advance.) And it's free!
Looking for a quote? Check out Bartlett's Quotations On Line
The Vincent Voice Library has short samples of many of the over 500,000 voices it has on file.
Thinking about writing a movie script? Then check out The Writer's Guild of America site.
HOT! The Life Alive Page lets you watch and alter artificial communities (e.g., sharks and fish) that evolve and disappear on your PC, live. I doubt this page works without Netscape 2.0, but let me know... maybe it can handle MSN. A neat site, even if I do have it in the “serious” section.
The venerable Eliza is an occasionally intriguing but generally unconvincing demonstration of artificial intelligence.
Want to eavesdrop on police scanners in LA, Dallas, New York, or other cities?
HOT! Africa: The Art of a Continent is an online museum of African art from the Guggenheim museum. The pics are just grand.
And speaking of grand pics, check out the NSSDC Photo Gallery for some great outer space shots. Or stop by the Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Miscellaneous, Wild, and Crazy

I rarely watch t.v. (hey, how do you think I find the time to maintain this site?), but thanks to I can still see some of the most popular commercials. You'll need to install a recent version of Apple Quicktime, and the downloads aren't speedy, but still it's a fun site. My favorite isn't even a commercial: it's the President Clinton: Final Days video. While it is a daunting 16 meg download, if you have a good internet connection (don't hate me because I have a cable modem) it is definitely worth watching.

How do you get rid of a dead whale? How about dynamite? Just don't park your car too close by....

If you're not familiar with the works of the comic artist Callahan, you don't know what you're missing.

If the thought of a cartoon frog in a blender, and the President of the United States being overly familiar with a gebil (and similar antics) totally disgusts you, stay away from Joe Cartoon.
HOT! If you've ever lived in a small town, you probably know the joys of reading the weekly police blotter in the newspaper. (Typical entry: Tuesday, 10:15; Man reports wallet stolen from car, later finds in jacket pocket.) Thanks to the internet, you can now read the police blotter of the town of Moab, Utah from anywhere in the world! But this is not your typical blotter: the police chief often editorializes with his wry and sage commentary. (Typical entry: “A family fight was refereed. The fight occurred in a downtown intersection. The couple, from Colorado, advised that they were having a rough day on their way to Lake Powell. The male half of the couple was in the process of throwing all of the female half's belongings from their vehicle into the street. At this point the couple is not married, but I'm sure they soon will be and will provide job security to a Colorado law enforcement agency.”) (Addendum: the Chief who maintained this site has retired, but you can still read his old entries. By the way, buried in the links section of his site is a link to this site!)
If you're a David Barry fan (and who isn't), be sure to check out his homepage.
In the grand tradition of the "Mr. T Ate My Balls" page comes Michael Tyson Ate My Ears.
If you crave escape from your mundane existence, you can "live" the mundane existence of someone else at the Real Life Simulator page.
You'll be the life of every party when you learn to draw U.S. Secretary of Commerce Mickey Cantor.

HOT! 49,682,923 stories about... is like an online experimental film festival. It's bizarre, but very well done. Although I'm usually a Netscape user, this one looks better using MSIE.

A real live Lara Croft? Although lacking Lara's gravity-defying chest, there is a strong resemblence.
In the mood to read the funnies?

Wanna play some useless and stupid games?
Those interested in a true multicultural experience should be sure to check out these Insect Recipes from those enlightened folks at Orkin. Example: Chocolate Chirpie Chip Cookies, which include ½ cup of dry roasted crickets.
I've only checked out a few of these jokes, but my guess is that most of them are in horrible taste.
Speaking of horrible taste, how about a web site dedicated to bus plunges? You'll find news stories about bus plunges, as well as a scientific categorization of bus plunge types: for example, Bridgus Slipperius and Driver Inebrious.
The infamous Heaven's Gate web site can still be seen at Yahoo's Heaven's Gate Mirror Site. Or, if you prefer, you can view my tasteless April Fool's Day Site. (While we're on the subject of the Heaven's Gate cult, anyone wondering what was going on in the heads of those lunatics might want to read a fascinating 1988 novel by Stephen Wright called M31: A Family Romance. It's about a UFO cult lead by husband and wife team Dot and Dash.... )
There are a lot of sites on the web that try and fail to be funny. Here's one that genuinely is: And The Bride Wore.... It's a compendium of outrageous wedding outfits.
Which is scarier: that someone would create a page that creates Computer generated haiku, or the fact that some of the haiku is actually pretty good? Example:

almost, not quite, pure
the myriad beating wings
trees longing for leaves

Speaking of scary things, how about a page dedicated to The Wonderful Art of Contortion? With photos....
I was recently shocked (shocked!) to discover a web site that I can only describe as the Valley of the Supermodels. Good Lord -- don't even think about looking at the photo of Daniela Pestova! What is mankind coming to?
Speaking of supermodels, how would you like to play a game of Concentration with Cindy Crawford?
Norm Weldon's Home Page once was awarded “the most offensive web site design award”. Believe me, you don't want to visit this site to find out why.
The Really Big Button That Doesn't Do Anything is a really big button that doesn't do anything. Really. Except that it might change your life. But don't say I didn't warn you.
If you think the Really Big Button is weird, check out the site for something really weird. And if you figure out what's going on here, please let me know!
Should you or shouldn't you? Take a visit to the Psychic Ant Farm for a yes/no answer.
Bitter because your roommate is getting great job offers and you aren't? Then check out the Student.Net Reject O Matic! You get to preview the letter before sending it.
Want to go somewhere you've never been before? Ride The Yahoo Random Web Page Generator to a random web site. (And if you find yourself doing this one alot, my advice to you is: get a life!)
Yet another oddity: Heather and her two mommies take a trip to the Rain Forest Education Center. Offbeat humor and some great animal pics.
Every time you reload the Surrealist Compliment Generator, you'll get something like this: “Your sunburnt skin is as beautiful as gangrenous flesh peeled from an amputated limb.”.
Dare you visit the Heartless Bitches International web page?
Boo hoo! The Walter Cronkite Spit In My Food Home Page is now history!
....and if you want to know why, read Dr. Donnelly's Interview with Walter Cronkite.
Cronkite's success appears to have been short live, as evidenced by the Walter Cronkite Pissed in My Beer page.
David Letterman's top ten lists pop up all over the place, but for a searchable archive, check out the Late Show web site. (E.g.... Ten ways you know that Bill Clinton is vacationing next door: [#7] What you thought was a new lawn gnome turns out to be Warren Christopher....)

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