The Spam Cam

The Spam Cam ingeniously combines two of our favorite Internet activities: Pointing a camera at something (see this month's Classic Weird [pg. 28]) and experimentation with food (see "Weird Science," IU #1). At press time, the site's first experiment, a study of a lump of Spam and its decomposition rate at room temperature as compared to a dill pickle, a banana and some Starbuck's coffee, had ended. But the photos and conclusions are archived for your perusal. The entire test is best viewed through the magic of Spam Cam Time-Lapse Photography. A second experiment featuring a Twinkie, a tomato and, of course, Spam was just underway, with new research and improved camera work (close-ups of mold!) planned in the future.
The Weird Al Yankovic for President in 1996 Campaign Headquarters

We initially couldn't decide whether to pick this site or the Official Countdown to Weird Al's Birthday page (, but we settled on the former due to its impending sociological relevance. With every other candidate staking claim on the Web (see "The American Precedent," IU #3), Lex Friedman decided that Weird Al should throw his paisley hat into the ring as well. Weird Al's credentials? Being "the best comedic singer of all time" (he must not have checked out the Captain James T. Kirk Sing-a-long Page), as well as having a career in film: "none of the candidates have appeared in motion pictures" (save Phil Gramm's foray into financing). By far the most torturous part of this page is the commentary from visitors, proving that Weird Al's fans wield bad puns as readily as Yankovic himself.
The Beast's IQ

Self-deification is the latest addition to the biology syllabus at Indiana University where researchers are playing God with amphibians. Specifically, Paul Pietsch has created Cyclops and Triclops aquatic salamanders in order to test the intelligence of said creatures. The Cliffs Notes version of the good doctor's work is that he surgically removes eyeballs from one salamander and places them randomly on other salamanders to see if their learning rate increases with the extra eye. Don't miss the salamander with a hand growing out of its eye socket; unfortunately there are only a couple of pictures on this site.
The Alternative Dictionary

Webmaster Hans-Christian Holm heads this collaborative effort to collect "slang, swear words and Žbad language'" from around the globe. Contributors have supplied gutter klatch from Tibet to Norway. With a whopping 358 words, English has been shown to be the filthiest language so far, closely followed by German, Spanish, Russian and Italian, all with more than 100 entries. Useful, but limited, entries are also found in Yiddish, Japanese and even Esperanto. No graphics, but then again no picture could be worth the thousand words you'll find here. Bonus: You can also add your own suggestions and terms. Don't forget to see the "tree-style" index of linguistic families; it's enough to make you "bzdzec."
Lip Balm Anonymous

Oh, they told me it was dangerous using all that Chap Stick, but I wouldn't listen. Soon Chap Stick wasn't good enough. I moved on to Blistex, then the real hard stuff, Carmex. Soon I was up to a container-a-day habit. It didn't matter if it was chapped lips, cold sores or fever blisters, I needed my lip balm just to get through the day. I lost my friends, my job, I was out of control until I checked out the Lip Balm Anonymous site. I found there were others just like me. Now I'm on the road to recovery. Thank you LBA for giving me the strength and courage to face the day even if my lips are all dry and cracked.
Smelly Socks Swap Shop

Wondering what to do with that old guilt-complex or your really lousy job? Now you can barter it and any other emotional baggage away. "Smelly Socks" started as an inside joke among friends, who began swapping their idiosyncrasies for material wealth. Soon others joined in, offering trades like "the Seven Wonders of the World" for "a bug-free Microsoft program" and a third-world country ("complete with drought and famine") for 37 cents. Interested participants can just e-mail their proposed barters and hope someone will take the bait.
My Apartment is Cooler Than Yours

When upscale department store I. Magnin went out of business, Jamie Zawinski landed a windfall. Four mannequins from the defunct retailer, hand-selected limb by limb, now grace Zawinski's small, unusual abode in the San Francisco Bay area and subsequently her Web site. It's weird enough keeping the company of mannequins, but it's what the ever-so-creative Zawinski did to the motionless, former department store figures that makes for entertaining browsing. One now sports a greenish wedding gown (the dress' owner had tried to dye it black, but failed) and another was transformed into a vampire. "Other plans (vague and half-formed though they be) include bolting on various bits of metal for that trendulant cyberpunque look." To obtain that look, Zawinski and a friend traveled to an Oakland junkyard in search of further riches to adorn the plastic beauty.

In addition to the mannequins, Zawinski has obtained a crash-test dummy (actually an artist's dummy painted in yellow and black) and a statuesque Mayor McCheese from a local McDonald's. Despite a room filled with eerie, almost human-looking women filling the apartment, it seems that McCheese is the most disturbing to Zawinski. "Mayor McCheese is the stuff nightmares are made of, don't you think? A talking burger. He is both food and an authority figure. Such semiotics."

Neil/Fred's Gigantic List of Palindromes

"Star comedy! Brats! Live! Me? It's sarcastic. It's a crass time. Evil star by Democrats." OK, stop -- this is too hard. Palindromes, as we just discovered, are tough to write. Fortunately, here's a page with hundreds of them, ranging from the incisive ("Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?") to the insipid ("E. Borgnine drags Dad's gardening robe."), Neil Piccioto includes a section for foreign palindromes and poems. Lots of information to be had here -- most people don't know that Teddy Roosevelt's palindromic rough draft for "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama" actually read "A man, a plan, a cat, a ham, a yak, a yam, a hat, a canal -- Panama!"
The Vomitus Maximus Museum

The work of R.S. Connett, an artist and Webmaster suffering from the Salvador Dali complex, has been called "psycho representational" by one critic and just plain sick by another. What will you think? It's up to you to make the call. Connett's bizarre, otherworldly art on display at the Vomitus Maximus Museum wasn't exactly something we'd frame and give to mom for her birthday. Nor did we feel particularly compelled to purchase his special Valentine cards, either; a demon holding a heart cut from someone's chest isn't our idea of romance. But his work is intriguing and the gift shop is always entertaining, especially if you like skulls or gargoyles.
We Didn't Start The Fire

Here's an example of an idea that at one point may have seemed cool, but now is simply weird. This site posts the lyrics to the 1989 Billy Joel history lesson "We Didn't Start the Fire," with each individual phrase hyperlinked to a site that relates to it. For example, click on "Joe Dimaggio" and you'll get linked to a site promoting the Ken Burns Baseball documentary. "Panmunjom" sends you to a Korean War Memorial site. The Webmaster gets more clever in linking the chorus, with the word "fire" going to a local fire department's safety page and well, go see for yourself. If someone could apply this concept to R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World..." that'd be cool.

homeback to archives