Joyride Through Cyberspace By Caroline Wright

Hoots For The Holidays
from the Internet Gazette, December 1997
        
I like nothing better than giving gifts. Really. Never mind that I do my Christmas shopping at 7-11 in the wee small hours of Christmas morning. My loved ones have come to appreciate the special pleasures represented by the unique tokens of my holiday affection. When dawn breaks on December 25th, they tiptoe to their mantels, and remove, from their stockings, lumpy brown paper bags sealed with masking tape and tags written in green eyeliner, containing a roll of Tums, a miniature bottle of Windex, and a melted banana Slurpee. Hey, itís the thought that counts, right?

Because mine is a generous soul, I would like more than anything to give each and every one of you a little gift for the holidays. But it ainít time for me to start my Christmas shopping yet, and besides, it would be prohibitively expensive for me to buy all of you a roll of Tums. So Iím gonna give you the next best thing: the gift of a guffaw... the bounty of a bellylaugh... hoots, oh yes indeed, for the holidays.

Some Mirth With Your Plum Pudding?

If youíre a seasoned Websurfer, youíre probably already aware of the voluminous amounts of gigglespots on the Internet. There are thousands of websites, good and bad, whose sole purpose is to provide countless hours of amusement to the virtual traveler in need of a chuckle. I offer, here, a few of my very favorites for your holiday amusement. When that Christmas goose is sitting low in your belly, when the eggnog is churning and the mincemeat is agitating and youíre wishing fervently that youíd held out for that sacred roll of post-holiday Tums, get thee to thy puter and pull up any one of these fabulously funny URLs. After an hour or two of serious laughter, youíll be ready for a third helping of everything.

Bound to be a local favorite, the official PythOnline website is the place to go if you want to join the exalted Spam Club (no membership fee extracted). Mr. Monty says The Spam Club is the most rapidly swelling organ in America. Membership in this elite corps will entitle you to a multitude of benefits, including the right to be called Rupert whenever you find yourself in the Netherlands. Donít miss the Swedish Massage Boards on the Chit Chat page, where you can post notes to each other and even enter chatrooms to discuss your favorite shopping position.

From Washington, DC, home of some of our nationís biggest jokesters and buffoons, come Washington Apple Piís Infrequently Asked Questions. This site has pages and pages of deliciously naughty little bits of collected humor, most of which, claim the webmasters, came to them via mysterious e-mail messages from parts unknown. Thereís something for everyone here: palindrome collectors will find a collection of their favorites, plus some new gems ("Oh, no! Don Ho!"); punsters can find wicked holiday-correct nuggets ("If Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus had a child, what would he be called? A subordinate claus") and prospective grooms can sigh wistfully over "If Men Were In Charge of Weddings..." (...big slobbery dogs would be eligible for the role of best man.)

Zug bills itself rather ambitiously, and perhaps incorrectly, as ďthe Webís Only Comedy SiteĒ. There are others who might challenge its claim as the sole virtual purveyor of chuckles. However, this site redeems itself with its Prank E-mail Collection, in which poison penmeister John Hargrave wages war on sacred cows like Campbellís Soup, Jeane Dixon, United Airlines, and Poetry.com. Itís wild, itís wacky, it's irreverent, and itís RAW. Check out the Real Doll correspondence, for example. This one isnít for the fainthearted.

Though youíll be taking your Christmas tree down by the time this site finishes loading, itís certainly worth the wait. The folks at The Gallery of The Absurd do their best to decipher a number of modern-day mysteries, including LaToya Jacksonís psychic hotline, feline tartar control, and the strange and twisted menage a trois of Jenny McCarthy, toilet habits, and Candieís footwear. Donít miss the Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week specialty pages, devoted to "the exposure of this mail-order malignancy, this catalog catastrophy, this feast of fashion fallacy."

If, after all your chuckling, that goose is still plopped stubbornly on your belly, refusing to budge, youíll surely be able to dislodge its fowl little butt with a long visit to The Onion. This site ("not intended for readers under 18 years of age") is the online home of a weekly satirical newspaper published by a bunch of jokers in Madison, Wisconsin. The articles and ďeditorialsĒ are irreverent, bitchy, and bitingly funny. Again, not for the pious or conservative... but arguably the wittiest, most intelligent humor site on the World Wide Web. Another piece of pie, anyone?

SITES TO SEE

Monty Python Online
www.pythonline.com

Washington Apple Piís Infrequently Asked Questions
www.wap.org/ifaq

Zug
www.zug.com

The Gallery of the Absurd
www.absurdgallery.com

The Onion
www.theonion.com


Caroline Wright, of WRIGHT FOR YOU Word Services, is a freelance writer. A former resident of Hawaii, she now lives in rural South Carolina. Feel free to e-mail your comments to Caroline at cw@wrightforyou.com.