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NetNomad 67

Five offbeat, timely reviews of Web sites on the arts, politics and news -- with a dash of the absurd thrown in for good measure.
 
 
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Microsoft Clippy www.officeclippy.com/indexno.html

Microsoft has announced that it is finally going to fire Clippy, that annoying paper clip that pops up announced when you are trying to compose a letter using some of Microsoft's products. In honor of the much-deserved pink-slip, Microsoft has set up a Clippy website that features a mock layoff notice and resume. Visitors can vote on the Clip's fate (we can think of a few suggestions off the top of our head) play Clippy game and watch a Clippy movie. The site is part of a $30 million marketing and advertising campaign for a new product to be launched this summer.

RefTools www.reftools.com

Reftools.com was created in order to gather all of the most valuable interactive forms and calculators in one place. There are literally dozens of calculators, such as one for photography (calculate field of view), an ovulation calculator, as well as dictionaries and other reference tools. All work and no play is not a good thing, so the site also includes links to some very funny "song creators." Just type in the first line of your song and the computer will create a completely meaningless set of lyrics for Bob Dylan, Elvis, and The Grateful Dead, using actual lyrics from their songs.

Big Brother www.cbs.com/primetime/bigbrother

The CBS reality show Big Brother is looking for houseguests for its summertime return. Are your outgoing, competitive, and funny? Are you willing to live for "100 days between June and October 2001 with 11 strangers where you will have little or no privacy." To say nothing of having your every move shown to the world via TV and the Internet? If so, you can fill out the application before April 20th and hope for the best. The winner of this round will receive the grand-prize of $500,000.

Stop the FTAA www.stopftaa.org

Beginning on the weekend of 20 April 2001, 34 world leaders will converge in Quebec City to discuss Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), an agreement that has been called "an international business deal, disguised as a proposed treaty, that would create the world's largest free market zoneaffecting 650 million people and $9 trillion in capital." Tens of thousands of people from across North America will also be in Quebec City for the event, and given that the Canadian government has already constructed a so-called Wall of Shame to keep the leaders and protestors apart, it will likely be an emotional weekend.

Bob Schneider www.bobschneidermusic.com

His self-produced and -distributed CD sold over 15,000 copies in his home town of Austin before the always-astute bigwigs caught wind of the sensation-in-the-making and picked up national distribution of "Lonelyland." The official site features every song (and read-along lyrics) from the eclectic and absurdly likable CD, ranging from pure pop of "Metal and Steel" to heartbreaking simplicity of "The World Exploded into Love" and the unabashed anger of "Tokyo." The site also features a complete bio on Schneider's many other groups.