Online we are untouchable, untraceable and downright fearless.
OK, maybe that's a bit severe. But we are at least voyeuristic, and that's the beauty of the Web revolution. A bunch of people, with a bunch of ideas, connected worldwide without the constraints of language (yes, Web sites translate), tradition or even established rules of decorum.
We can be anonymous and ridiculous and at the click of a button we can broadcast our ridiculousness to an infinite audience. Ain't it beautiful?
This week let's take a detour from decorum, put on a different pair of shoes and familiarize ourselves with a few sites that buck convention in a way that could never have been done with "old media" (like the medium you're holding right now).
Weirdpics.com: The quintessential site for the Web surfers sick in the head and hungry for gore.
Each week, the site features a different picture that defies logic, manners and basic human decency. In other words, it's fun.
This week, Web navigators are treated to a grotesque picture of an alligator cut open, with a gloved hand pulling a human arm out of its belly. The caption reads "An alligator that ate a golfer in Florida." I wonder if that calls for a mulligan?
Also available is a search device that allows visitors to type in a subject. The site goes through an archive (not very large) and finds pictures that fit the search criterium. It might take a few tries to find something that matches, but it will either crack you up or gross you out. And that is what it is all about.
Theconfessor.co.uk: Sinners repent. This is the site where high-tech meets the confessional and a hard drive is your priest.
After reading a slough of religious truths and testimony bordered by colorful flowers, the confessor, much like a religious guru, gives the user the option to either sit in silent thought or type sins in the window provided.
Don't worry, the confessor promises not to retransmit or otherwise share your innermost secrets. It will however, record them through the eyes of God. So be respectful. Put on some pants before you log on.
Theweirdsite.com: News links, polls and weird quotes. This is the most commercial and best source for an abundance of kooky.
Take a poll, see the results and look at articles that chronicle strange phenomena. Some of this stuff cannot, and probably should not, be found anywhere else.
Urbanlegends.com: Maybe it's the story about the roving dog nappers who take Fifi to Dow for animal research, or the one about the burglar who died in the chimney while en route to the booty under the Christmas tree. We've all heard them and a good number of them are chronicled here.
Urbanlegends is simply a catalog of links to obscure and outlandish stories from around the country and the world. For example, a list of bear attacks, several dozen of them, are explained as they were allegedly reported at the time of their occurrences. (For other bizarre deaths check out aarrggaahh.com. It might sound a little gruesome, but at least it's interesting.)
Eskimo.com/~billb/weird.html: Weird science; not the movie, the real thing. This site's motto is "unbridled gullibility can destroy science, but unbridled skepticism is no less a threat."
Tons of links and explanations of some of the more obscure scientific phenomena documented by legitimate sources and some on the shady side. In one example, the site explains according to the laws of physics and chemistry how water, the basis for human life, is able to conduct heat so well. Other theories that explain why some non-traditional doctors believe in magnetic therapy.
Whatever it is that floats your boat, the sites that shepherd Webheads into the world of the weird are not that hard to find. So don't take it too seriously.
Ideas? Feedback? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Featured chats of the week:
-- Feb. 26: The Cowboy Junkies live @ radiowoodstock.com
The Trinity Sessions was recorded live in 1994 and will be rebroadcast from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
-- Feb. 28: Jack Kerouac biographer Barry Miles @ CNN.com
Miles has written several books about the Beat Generation authors. His recent project explores the life of Kerouac. He is on live from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
-- March 1: Actor Forest Whitaker @ Bigstar.com
Whitaker talks about his career and answers fans' questions about films like "Good Morning, Vietnam" and "The Crying Game," and directing in "Waiting to Exhale" and "Hope Floats" 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
-- March 3: Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch @ Bigstar.com
Director of the films "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai" and "Down by Law," Jarmusch is an up-and-coming directorial heavyweight. He is live from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.