Author

Erin Podolsky

”All your base are belong to us.” That grammatically incorrect phrase (lifted from the 1991 Sega game Zero Wing) has been popping up everywhere lately. The favored form of AYB mania is to insert the phrase into doctored photos (central repository AllYourBase.NET hosts well over 600) as evidence that a conspiracy is afoot. The quality ranges from very good (AYB as surgeon general’s warning on a pack of smokes) to very bad (AYB as phrase on Wheel of Fortune). The site documents how the frenzy started and offers plenty of AYB-addled media to tickle your absurdity bone.

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Oscars Wild

Picking this year’s best picture by its official website is easy: With its mix of traditional promotional material and browser-bending gewgaws, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon would be our choice to earn a statuette. And while the Academy Award winners we’ll be reading about on the morning of March 26 will have been selected on somewhat different criteria, the Net can still be a valuable resource for enjoying the big night in a big way.

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Want to foil e-mail snoops without using complicated cryptography? Visit Spammimic to learn how to protect your message by converting it into — we kid you not — spam, those pesky junk e-mails. The recipient then translates the message back into plain English by using the site’s special decoder. It’s just evil genius-y enough to make you think twice before deleting the next MAKE MONEY FAST!!! e-mail that lands in your in-box. B+

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Saver the Moment: movie inspired screen savers

Screensavers have come a long way, baby. The cathode-ray-tube-saving software enhancements have evolved by leaps and bounds since the pre-Pentium days of flying toasters. And though they might seem like a low-tech choice for getting film fare out of Hollywood and onto your desktop, there’s a site entirely devoted to Matrix screensavers (17 of them, available at matrixnow.fanspace.com). In fact, studios, ever on the cutting edge, are taking full advantage of interactive screensavers as marketing tools.

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The frenzy over Dean Kamen’s mystery device – by some accounts a scooterlike transporter that’ll save the world, by others a brilliant hoax – has quieted. But for those devoted to IT, the furor thrives at this site, which slavishly tracks rumors and offers a forum for those who can’t get enough of IT. Predictions about IT range from absurd (the Star Wars Death Star) to strangely appealing (a hydrogen-powered unicycle) – but none is more amusing than speculation that IT is an antigravity hovertoilet. Sounds like Kamen needs to IT or get off the pot.

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A Film By Any Other Name

Finding a movie’s official website isn’t always the no-brainer it appears to be. For every BeingJohnMalkovich.com that takes you right where you want to be, there’s a www.originalsin.com (it’s not what you think).

— Erin Podolsky

CASTAWAY.COM There’s plenty of beach, but trusty Wilson is nowhere to be found at this Australian travel site.

CHOCOLAT.COM Belgian chocolates online! Send a box to Harvey Weinstein. He’ll thank you.

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Stop the presses! The great rap-star gun caper of ‘99 has finally come to trial, and trusty CourtTV.com is there with the legal dish. Featuring message boards, background on the case, news archives, and video reports from the courthouse, the Notorious B.I.G.-size amount of info can be daunting. The effort is well worth it, though, when you read selections from Puff Daddy’s grand jury testimony or re-create the flight of the Puffinator with the help of Court TV’s maps.

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Presidential 'Wish List'

Its highlights included The Book of Execution, Baseball Jokes and Riddles, and Pronounce It Perfectly in English. Nonfiction best-sellers in The New York Times? Reading list for a bizarre new course at Harvard? Nope. Try George W. Bush’s personal Wish List, which was posted on Amazon.com — for a few days, anyway. Masterminded by the cheeky subversives at the webzine Modern Humorist (and still available at modernhumorist.com/wishlist), the fake list came with comments purportedly written by Bush.

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Bright Eyes’ young Conor Oberst has a poet’s ear for life’s heartbreaking truths, while fellow Nebraskan band Son, Ambulance lob lovesick softballs like an irony-free Belle and Sebastian. The bands alternate tracks on this album with varying degrees of success — and though Son, Ambulance spend too much time on silly schoolboy crushes, Oberst more than makes up for it with his precociously mature lyrics. B+

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