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NetNomad 45

Five offbeat, timely reviews of Web sites on the arts, politics and news -- with a dash of the absurd thrown in for good measure. This week: . . . Yahoo Buzz Index . . . International Power 100 . . . Gadfly Magazine . . . Van Morrison . . . PJ Harvey.
 
 
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Yahoo Buzz Index www.buzz.yahoo.com

Every day the folks at Yahoo collect data from Yahoo search log files to determine the most active pages in search terms. These data are then transferred into what they call a Buzz Index, a calculation of the total number of people searching for individual subjects. The results are updated every weekday, with a 24 hour lead time to process and verify the data. The end result is an interesting list of who's hot and who's not, in television, music, sports and movies.

International Power 100 www.hollywoodreporter.com/int100

Hollywood will always be king, but in recent years many of the movers and shakers have started to yield power from around the world. This Hollywood Reporter list of the top 100 most influential entertainment power brokers notes that the powerful are now part of an "interconnected corporate family tree with branches that often extend to other companies in other hemispheres." The International Power 100 is an attempt to capture that ever-evolving world as it exists right now with Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, France, Canada, German, Russia and other places given their due.

Gadfly Magazine www.gadfly.org

The dictionary defines gadfly as someone who is irritating and bothersome and of course Gadfly Magazine is anything but. Subtitled Culture that Matters, here is a magazine that is truly above the fray both online and off. The samples online include Authors who Direct, Which Way the Wind Blows (What Happened to Protest Music) and a wonderful, fact-filled over view of Monty Python and the Great British Invasion that Almost Wasn't (the troupe was almost called Gwen Dibley's Flying Circus according to Terry Jones).

Van Morrison www.harbour.sfu.ca/~hayward/van/van.html

Van the Man. His is one of the most remarkable careers, from the kick-start of "Brown Eyed Girl" in 1967 (!) to this year's "You Win Again." Along the way Morrison has really and truly changed the face of popular music. Off-stage Morrison is known to be less than forthcoming but site author Michael Hayward has amassed a huge archive of material. The site includes lyrics for virtually ever song he's ever written, a Glossary of Terms and References ("an eclectic collection of definitions and explanations of some of the more obscure references in Van's songs, cross-referenced to the song lyrics themselves") a full discography and dozens of interview.

PJ Harvey www.pjharvey.net

British-born Polly Jean Harvey has been a cult-favorite since she formed her first bass, drums, guitar trio in 1991. Her fans are among the most loyal in the world, but there has always been a sense that, despite great critical acclaim, she might never achieve a wide-spread following. Now of course her latest "Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea" is being decried as being too commercial, but it is in fact a wonderful introduction to PJ. The site is also one of the best music sites we've seen, with superb graphics, a detailed bio, a full discography and more.