Lost in Cyberspace
Worst of the Web
copyright 1997 by H.B. Koplowitz

"Site of the Day" sites are a dime a dozen. It seems like everybody wants to tell you where to go on  the net. So I wasn't expecting much from the "Harsh Site of the Day" <www.harsh.com>, a website  recognizing "those that have absolutely no business being on the Web and deserve no recognition at  all."

Created by Sauza Tequila Conmemorativo (whose ad slogan is "Life is Harsh ... Your Tequila  Shouldn't Be"), "Harsh Site of the Day" claims links to "funny, offbeat and sometimes bizarre"  websites. The sites are nominated by visitors, and I must admit, this Worst of the Web collection may  well be.

Consider "Give Me a Dollar" <www.givemeadollar.com>, which unabashedly takes panhandling into  cyberspace: "Not long ago, I was a lowly, ordinary panhandler, sluffing through the streets of a major  metropolitan city, begging for dollars from strangers ... One day, while warming myself on a steam  vent in front of an appliance store window, I saw an advertisement for the World Wide Web, and it  told me of a medium where millions of people interacted with each other, often while thousands of  miles apart! This was it! I could use technology to take panhandling to the next logical step!" The unidentified author of the site says there's no need to write a letter or include a note. "Just the  Dollar will do." The site even helps you print out an address on a label or envelope for a P. O. Box in  Hazel Park, Mich. Sorry, no checks, money orders or credit cards accepted.

Some of the other scams are more sophisticated, but not by much. Take "Endangered Feces"  <www.pete.com/poop>, please.

Billed as "A wonderful gift from Antiquity: Just in time for the NEW Millennium!" endangered feces  turn out to be coprolites, or fossilized animal droppings, which is to say, dino doo doo. Over time,  claims the site, cretaceous poop turns into iron pyrite, which is to say, fool's gold. "Now," the  come-on continues, "they have been gathered, gently cleaned to bring out their natural beauty, and  made available to you."

Each endangered feces is "certified as authentic by our own geologist." Touchstones are $24 and four  ounce paperweights ("our most popular executive gift") $60. Send your money to Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Other Harsh sites that tout dubious inventions include the RoboCut ("Better than Flowbee")  "TwoInOne Family Haircutter and Pet Groomer" (only $159.95 for the DeLuxe Model); "The  Telecondom" for public pay phones (this one appears to be an intentional joke); and "Homemade  Casket Plans," a build-it-yourself casket that "doubles as fine furniture until needed."

 There are also a number of dubious celebrity websites, like "Yanni and John Tesh"  <www.cs.brown.edu/people/emb/mu11/mu11.html>, apparently a term paper by a Brown University  student on the two "megastars," duly footnoted. Tesh is described as "a likeable aw-shucksable  person." Yanni is a "nonconformist" who "doesn't believe in going with the current trends of  society." (Hirshey, pp.168-170)

"The David Hasselhoff Web Page"
<www.ithaca.edu/shp/shp98/dwiller1/dh.html> was created to honor David Hasselhoff, the musician.  Apparently webmaster David C. Willer is sometimes mistaken for Hasselhoff, because there is a  disclaimer at the bottom of the page: "I AM NOT DAVID HASSELHOFF!"

The site has songs and lyrics from "David Hasselhoff," the album, pictures from the CD, and a  Hasselhoff discography. There's also Hasselhoff highlights, such as that Baywatch is the number one  American TV import overseas, and that he was asked to sing "Freedom" on top of the Berlin Wall on  New Year's Eve, 1989. Also, his abs were voted third best in a "Top Tummies" report on the July 6,  1996, edition of Extra, and on Nov. 13, CNN reported he wants to leave Baywatch to pursue a career  in musical theater. Watch out Yanni and John Tesh.

Another Baywatch alum also made the Harsh list, at a site called "Pamela Anderson Lee's Breasts as a Function of Time" <www.geocities.com/CollegePark/8979/pal.html>. Using Perot-like graphics, the  site purports to chart the evolution of Pamela Lee's bosom. Another graph correlates the growth of  her hooters with the depletion of world silicone reserves.

And then there's "The Unofficial Village People Home Page" <www.gryphon.com/village-people/index.html>, with pictures, sound and video clips, and believe it  or not, a current concert schedule. If you thought those guys were dead, a  Frequently Asked Question section says that except for Village People creator Jacques Morali, who  died in 1991, the rest are still around, although the cop, the cowboy and the biker have been  replaced.

The FAQ also reveals that Victor Willis, the original cop, was once married to Phylicia Rashad, the  mom on The Cosby Show, and that in the song "YMCA," "YMCA stands for Young Men's Christian  Association," which "is kind of like a low-cost hotel and a Health Club in the U.S."

Whew. I'm glad we  finally got that straightened out.

© 1997 By H.B. Koplowitz, all rights reserved.