News & Politics

NetNomad 13

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: Screamin' Jay Hawkins Kids É Lochness Live É Annoying U ... and more.
Screamin' Jay Hawkins Kids (www.jayskids.com/) It turns out that the late musician Screamin' Jay Hawkins gave new meaning to the term "prolific musician." And Mr. Hawkins was doing a lot more than screaming, as well. It is believed that Hawkins fathered up to 57 (that's fifty seven!) children and now "a massive search" via this Internet site has begun in the hopes of finding all his offspring. The site includes a Jayskids flyer that can be printed off (should you live in an area that might have been frequented by the musician) a message board where potential kids can leave a message ("it's hard to explain, but I feel a spiritual connection to Jay" says one) and a RealPlayer version of Hawkins' answering machine in which we hear him telling callers that he could come to the phone. Now we know why he could not come to the phone. By the way, Hawkins was 70 when he died on February 12, 2000.Annoying U (home.beseen.com/internet/srbromley/) No, this is not a site for a university in the Midwest. If you have ever heard the expression that too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing, well, we've found the Internet equivalent: Too much html can be just as dangerous! Dangerous and very annoying. Very, very annoying, as a matter of fact. The site begins with a number of pointless Java windows, continues with a long and equally pointless banner, links that do not and never will work and lots of blank spaces. And lest we forget, it was "Last Updated 29/12/73." Were that we could tell you that this site is a complete waste of time, but we must have found something appealing since we are suggesting you pay the site a visit. Perhaps having too much time on our hands is equally as dangerous.Lochness Live (www.lochness.scotland.net/sightings_nora.cfm) Has the Internet allowed the first known documented spotting of the Loch Ness Monster? The folks at Loch Ness Live would have us believe so. They've set up a videocam on the Loch (meaning lake or bay) in the hopes that vigilant Internet users might spot the mysterious monster. On June 5, 1999 a couple from Galveston Texas were doing just that "when they caught sight of a fast-moving black object making its way though the deserted water." They quickly took advantage of the site's "snapshot" feature and the photo is now online. Is it really the Ness? It's hard to say, though there is no doubt that something is lurking.alarm:clock digital (www.thealarmclock.com/) Technology. It comes and goes. More or less. As the makers of alarm:clock so rightly point out, most coverage of technology centers on the business aspects, leaving the cultural phenomenon largely ignored. What are the broader cultural and historical changes that we are not witnessing? These and other questions will be addressed by alarm:clock and its digital companion with articles, fiction, media and politics, travel and satire, all seen through the eyes of the Internet Age. Current features include takes on what life is really like at a startup and an overview on why Silicon Valley is so darn ugly.Women of the West Museum (www.wowmuseum.org/) There is something quite telling in the things that we take for granted. Years ago an episode of the TV show M*A*S*H years ago was devoted to the role nurses played in the Korean Conflict. Of course the nurses were by-and-large women, but often when we think of war we think of men in the trenches and not much more, but surely life was no less daunting for the women in the field ORs. So it is with the development of the Wild West. It seems so painfully obvious once you think about it, but of course the West was fashioned by more than just gun-touting louts who failed to wash their hands before dinner. The Women of the West Museum was created to help us "discover, explore, and celebrate the continuing role of women in shaping the American West." The companion website is a wonderful tribute to the museum and the women who inspired it.