web picks banner

compiled by Mark Paul,
Reference Department, Ekstrom Library

Now here's a first for The Owl, and I was honored to be asked to compile the results: Our favorite web picks. Already I've found several sites that I would have to agree are outstanding, and some that are just plain fun.

These are in the order they were sent to me. So, does that tell us anything? That some of us are more cyber-savvy, or more hooked on the web, or simply more quick to reply? You see, my favorite sites are listed last since I didn't want respond to myself, but I know that based on the number of times a day I check the goings on of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (and, may I add, without a penny directly invested in the good old DJIA) that I would be at the top of this list.

So, please enjoy, visit the sites, send email to the person who listed them if you have questions. And don't complain to me because there was not one techie site (ok, maybe one), nor one Ricky Martin site, and nary a single insider trading site that would get me, er, the library its first million.

Katrina M. Rowe
[compiler's note: Katrina even supplied us with her own rating scale. Katrina is this scale trademarked yet?]
NAAFA (@@@@@)
Founded in 1969, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance is a non-profit human rights organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for fat people. NAAFA works to eliminate discrimination based on body size and provide fat people with the tools for self-empowerment through public education, advocacy, and member support. This site is their online gateway and possesses tons of information on the subject.

Leo Hot Times (@@@@)
Yes, the section from the Louisville Eccentric Observer about ALL the hot happenings here in Louisville is totally online. You can peruse it quickly and see what's up in a brief scan. You will never have to ask the question "Is there anything fun to do tonight?" ever again.

Louisville Music Index (@@@)
If you like those hot little local bands that play the very cutting edge of new music, here is the underground (not) list of who they are and when and where they play. I recommend Skam Impaired for those who want to sample "ska" music. Don't ask. It's strictly an "experience it" kind of thing.

Baby Gorilla Cam (@@@)
Live images of the twin baby Gorillas at the Oklahoma City Zoo - An online picture of their quarters - automatically refreshing every one minute. You can see them cavorting and playing with their keepers. They are the cutest things you have ever seen.

Kentucky State Parks (@@@)
You will have access to the activities and amenities offered at every state park in the beautiful state of Kentucky. Hours, costs, cabins, restaurants. It's all online.

The Jigzone (@@@@)
WARNING - HIGHLY ADDICTIVE. If you like puzzles, you'll love jigzone. One new puzzle every day. What a great way to spend your morning break - a cup of Ritazza's coffee, a blueberry muffin, and a challenging little puzzle that takes (conveniently) about 10 - 15 minutes.

Karen Habeeb
The Playsite
When I need a little stress break, I hop over to for a quick game of Tangleword (the online form of Boggle)

Also fun where you can tell your fortune lots of different ways.

Barbara Whitener
Arts and Letters Daily
It compiles articles from newspapers, journals and magazines. Subjects cover a wide range including history, philosophy, art, music and more. It always has something interesting.

A site I use for my Jefferson Community College English classes is Policy.com When we are covering current topics I can always find an article for class that will make my students think.

Fast Search
It's very fast and very comprehensive.

David Horvath
Foreign Policy Infocus
Joint project of the Interhemispheric Resource Center and the Institute for Policy Studies. It is unabashedly progressive (not "liberal" or "conservative") its point of view. These groups publish Foreign Policy InFocus which clears through some of the mush of confusion and lack of decent analysis on foreign policy issues.

South End Press
Or, if you are feeling daring and radical, check out the potent analysis provided by The South End Press, the publishers of Z Magazine in Massachusetts. Even if you've never heard of Noam Chomsky, you should check it out. You'll never read it in the newspaper or hear about it on CNN.

Bill Carner
[compiler's note: Bill calls this an "eclectic mix from his bookmarks."]
This is a great site: up to the minute (not delayed) stock quotes and access to lots of background information. Watch your fortune grow or disappear. Not recommended for those with a desk near a window that opens.

Once you've made your fortune in the market, here are some fun places to blow it:

Searches whole big bunches of new and used bookstores. Bookfinder doesn't do saved searches.

For saved searches go to abeBooks, one of the sites that BookFinder searches.

Used CD's, DVD'S and videos, great prices, speedy service.

Here are a couple of my favorite farm and equine sites:

Machine finder
Run by John Deere (JD), find all kinds of new and used tractors and implements through the JD dealer network.

Rural Heritage Magazine
A great magazine for the modern horse farmer--occasional lapses of judgement (they publish my articles) -- also provides access to the draft horse web ring.

The Barn Journal
Everything for the barn fanatic, from how to take one apart and re-build it to ads for barns for sale and contractors to move your dream barn for you.

And in the category of unique, disturbing, and local:

Knob Creek Gun Range
Home of the twice a year Machine Gun Shoot, the other big noisy blowout on April 15th.

If you've got some of your retirement invested with TIAA-CREF you'll want to bookmark this site. If you register and get a PIN number you can follow the ups and downs of your retirement savings on line. The bookstore offers several helpful and FREE publications.

Gail Gilbert
[compiler's note: This one gets the Most Thorough Annotation Award.]
Perseus is a digital library on Ancient Greece that keeps growing. It offers a wealth of scholarly information including:
**documentation on 523 coins, 1548 vases, over 1400 sculptures, 179 sites and 381 buildings. Each catalog entry has a description of the object and its context; most have images. More than 33,000 pictures are available.
**an historical overview of ancient Greece from 1200 BC to 323 BC, i.e. from when the Mycenaean civilization perished to the death of Alexander the Great.
** an electronic version of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites with articles on more than 5,000 Greco-Roman sites and links to over 4,400 photographs of Roman sites
** an encyclopedia with entries on architecture, art terminology, artists, clothing, furniture, inscriptions, literature, music, theater and drama. **essays on Greek vase painters, Greek and Latin grammar and Greek syntax and Greek mythology.
**translation tools for Greek and Latin into English and vice versa.
**ancient Greek texts, and translations, by Aeschylus, Euclid, Euripides, Homer, Sophocles, Plato, etc.
**ancient Latin texts, and translations, by Ceasar, Cicero, Horace, Livy, Ovid, Vergil, etc.

Scott Campbell
The Obscure Store
Here is the one web site I can't live without: The Obscure Store and Reading Room (It's daily compendium of links to ironic, bizarre and outright appalling stories that appear in online newspapers. Here's a sample of the headlines that appeared on the site on the day that I wrote this: "Man finds stolen truck with 43,000-pounds of meat," "Son gets ticket rushing dad to the hospital," "Frat: That guy we tied up wasn't hazed -- really!," and "Drunken driver: I'm under doctor's orders to drink!" Absolutely essential reading.

Carol McNeely
The Cubs
This is my favorite web site because I am bonded to those lovable losers.

But an important web site to me is www.onhealth.com. At the bottom of the page is a Breast Self-Exam Reminder. Once a month they send you an e-mail as a reminder. I never delete the message until I've performed the exam. Keeps you disciplined about it.

Mary K Becker
This site is pretty neat. You plug in your "interests" and then everytime you log onto the internet, you get a different web page picked "specially for you!" I have seen some neat stuff this way - and it's not all "commercials". I have had the World Wildlife Federation site, Civil War sites, the Smithsonian site and college scholarship sites come up. As a bonus, you get "points" for going to two of their sites a day (the one up when you go on and one other one) - it takes a long time to add up, but you can get gift certificates and merchandise with your points.

Don Dean
If you are positively idiotic for sports, as I am, this is the best dern site. It contains links to hundreds of sportspages from newspapers throughout the country and world. The links are grouped by region: midwest, northeast, south, west and international. It rules.

Gary Freiberger
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Every day a beautiful photo is featured along with a caption that's filled with links. The caption explains the picture in layman's terms and the links lead to more in-depth explanations of the object or effect in the photo.

Susan Knoer
[compiler's note: bonus points for trivia!]
Library of Congress
The one I couldn't live without is the Library of Congress site. It's the backbone of our national digital library, and not just in text. Consider:
American memory:
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amhome.html digitized primary sources, print and all visual media. An enormous resource.
*Access to the LC catalog.
*Access to LC cataloging tools
*Current legislation.
*Historical acts.
*Law (I was a paralegal in my last student incarnation): Bills. Statutes. All of Federal law. Supreme Court decisions quickly in their entirety. Copyright. Other law in other nations.
The entire Starr Report (so I hear).
* Download entire books. Or sheet music. Or movies.
* Try searching on "Louisville" in American Memory. If you have a week to spare, try searching with "Kentucky".

A bit of trivia: the FSA photos should have gone to the National Archives, who decided that no one would want to see those depressing photos, there was a war going on, after all. That's why there are archivists....more at http://www.louisville.edu/library/ekstrom/special/stryker/stryker.html.

Andy Anderson
There are a lot of sites I like a lot, but the single most useful site I have bookmarked is http://www.refdesk.com. It used to be called "My Virtual Reference Desk" and was established by a psychotherapist whose mother was a librarian. It has links to just about every reference source for any kind of information on the web--from acronyms to zip codes and everything in between.

The Rapidly Changing Face of Computing
Another favorite of mine is a great site for news and information of all kinds about the internet, the web and computer communications. The site is called, pretentiously enough, "The Rapidly Changing Face of Computing." The change referred to is that from computers as number crunchers to computers as THE mass media of the 21st century. Here's a sample factoid from a recent news piece:
The number of web page views during October 1999 was a pretty incredible 32 billion, which was an increase of 49% from the number of pages viewed one year before! Not trivial growth...

Fergerson's Funeral Home
Just found out about the live web cam from Fergerson's Funeral Home in North Syracuse, New York. No actual funerals broadcast yet, but that's in the plans. Go figure.

Jodi Duce
Billy Bear's Playground
This is a very nice site. It has all kinds of neat things for children and everything is free. Games, storybooks, coloring pages and much more. I especially like to go there to get ideas for the holidays.

Bill Morison
Des Moines Register
This is where you can read Des Moines Register columnist Donald Kaul, a cantankerous, funny, left-leaning gadfly. He minces self-righteous public figures; he does not mince words.

Leah Gadzikowski
The Hunger Site
It's a really interesting concept. When you visit the web site you click on a button to donate food to the World Hunger Organization at no cost to you. The cost of the donation is divided between organizations that have agreed to be sponsors for the day. When you make your "donation" you get an electronic thank-you that includes links to the web sites of the sponsors. In essence, they are covering the donation costs in lieu of an advertising fee. A win-win situation. I have seen several articles reviewing this site and all were favorable.

The San Diego Zoo Panda Cam
The San Diego Zoo has a new baby panda named Hua Mei. For the past five months while mom and baby have been "off display" it has been possible to visit them via Pandacam and see what the zoologists have been seeing. Though she made her debut on February 11, Pandacam is still active and you get a nice glimpse of how pandas live their lives.

S. Michael ben-Avraham
Honolulu Traffic Cam System, Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii
This is a site that maintains and publishes the images of a series of traffic monitoring cameras throughout Honolulu. This particular image link, which I have right on the Links Bar of my Web Browser gives me a virtual office window overlooking Waikiki Beach, a place I spent a lot of time during the course of my three-year residence in Hawaii in the late 60's. The cameras take a picture, which is transmitted instantly to the Web, every 5 minutes. So it gives one a good look at Hawaii in real time. There are also a number of other live camera sites all around the islands that I like to look at occasionally.

Mark Dickson
Nando Sports
Nando Sports server for soccer. Best news source I've found for the world's game in all the countries it is played.

The official homepage of Major League Soccer. This is where the headlines for OUR boys (and girls) of summer are.

Daily Bio-Rhthym
This site lets me know if it is worthwhile to show up for work or not.

Incredibly Useful Site of the Day
Just that. Great places to go for stuff you are always asking yourself about.

C-J Tech Page Bookmarks
lets me know other great sites people are using.

Astronomy Picture of the Day
Great photos that remind me of what being spaced out really means!

Focul an lae
The word of the day in Irish! Aye, and a fine way to start yer mornin' it is.

CD-Information Center
For finding out what the next big thing might be before I unload any bucks on last year's big thing.

Loch Ness Live!
It's possible that I might see Nessie and prove the legend is real.

Easier than standing in line.

Char-Star Lyrics scene
A great place to find the words to that song you can't understand.

Whose Line Is It Anyway?
The only show I make an effort to watch each week (when soccer season isn't going on...)

Lotsa great .wav files.

"Peter, I can see your house from here..."

Melissa Long Shuter
The results are much better than they sound. This meta-search engine gives you the top 10 or so hits on a variety of search engines. From here I find sites that answer most of the questions I have on a need-to-know basis.

SOAR - Searchable Online Archive of Recipes
This site has international cuisine, crockpot cooking, desserts and more, all searchable by ingredients.

Robin Garr's Wine Lovers' Page
My latest academic pursuit is Wine Education. Tuesday nights are spent learning about wine making, wine regions, wine history. All this learning is done while sipping a variety of wines selected by our instructor. This page is a good starting point for delving into the depths of wine.

Zip + 4 at your finger tips, cool stamps for special occasions, track packages and estimate the cost of shipping with the rate calculator.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the side venture I am involved with, MicroFest Inc. This online company brings you two downloadable software products: Tourney Tracker 2000, Office Pool Management Software to host your own paperless NCAA pool; and Backyard Bookie, Party-mutuel tote board software for your Derby party.

The Weather Underground
This is The Weather Underground: Free Weather site. Go to it, fill in a city, state, zip code or country and it will find the weather you are looking for with a fast forecast of current conditions and a brief five-day forecast. There are also a bunch of links to weather-related stuff like different types of weather maps and even astronomy maps based on the zip code from which you will be stargazing. They have also "... cooked up some fun dynamic images for you to put on your homepage."

Mark Paul
CNN's financial network. Great for tracking the DJIA, your own portfolio, and the latest business news.

Fidelity NetBenefits
Once you create your login ID and password by calling the 1-800 number you can check the progress of your retirement every single day. I only have 250 more years to go before I have enough money to retire.

The Station from Sony
Wheel of Fortune AND Jeopardy Online. What more could anyone want?