Thursday, 9 June 2005

Mousetrap - 6

A big thank you to the readers who sent in suggestions. Keep them coming, please (suggestions will be acknowledged). It makes the writing of this column so much easier for your lazy correspondent. And who knows, perhaps, like the first featured site today, I might get a book deal out of it.

News you better not use
News of the weird
It claims to be the most widely-read bizarre news feature in the USA, which I can’t corroborate. But it certainly lives up to its name. The site lists brief synopses of actual news items illustrating the, um, best of the weird, large parts of which are contributed by its devoted fan following (one more on my “why the heck didn’t I think of that?” list). Whether you choose to read it kill a little time while the boss is out at a meeting, or because it is a “ weekly chronicle of the continuing decline of civilisation ... [or] a therapeutic personal bench mark for reassuring yourself that it's all those other people (not you) who are the problem,” the site is well worth a visit. The archives are for paid subscribers, but you can read the latest column and the last 25 for free.

Blog of the week
“Brevity is for the weak” says Maciej Ceglowski. And then he proceeds to regale the web with long, well crafted and quietly funny essays. Topics include the worst pizza places in the world (the latest essay), and a guide to best practises for time travellers (based on a person who, on IRC chat, claimed to be a time traveller from the future).

The city that doesn’t sleep
Best of Bombay
This site wants to tell you where to party in the mega city. It also features sections on books, travel, music, movies, and the like, but some of those do not seem to have been updated in a while (Arts & Culture features “Theatre in Feb” as the second item on the list when I checked) and some of the listings sound to my ears like PR handouts or cut-paste jobs. Where it really comes into its own is the night life guide, which is where one suspects the hearts of the founders really are. Oodles of quick reviews, with useful information about ambience, cuisine, prices, whether a place serves alcohol or not, even recommended dishes and drinks. Their lists are searchable by category, location and budget, and seem pretty comprehensive to me. But then, I don’t get around much, with column deadlines dangling above my head. (Grazie, Salil Sojwal)

Extinct? Not if you can help it.
The Big Al game
Have a dino-crazy young ’un getting underfoot? Take the little tyke to this site and you won’t hear a peep out of him for a long while. He gets to role play an Allosaurus, from hatchling to adult, finding food, tackling all manner of other creatures, finding out what can harm him and what he can kill and eat. Along the way, there’s plenty of links where your pride and joy can get even more information and generally contribute to your feelings of inferiority at the level of his knowledge at an age when you were still accepted unquestioningly that cows, besides rallying the RSS, could jump over the moon.

Uncle Phaedrus, Finder of Lost Recipes
Uncle Phaedrus can tell you how to make Fudge or fruitcake, Mothering Sunday Cake or Shrimp Linguine, Chocolate Decadence Cake, Moustakouloura, Kashk Bademjan, Tropkapfen, Zweiback, Coquilles St. Jacques Crepes, Croatian Hrstula, Krem√≥wki, even food for diabetics, food allergy and other special diet recipes. The the list goes on and on, and there’s drool on the keyboard. So, bon appetit, till next week.

This column explores the wilder, wackier, weirder corners of the world wide web. Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Mail

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 11th June 2005.



Anonymous said...


I like the new section. It's a great way to learn about new websites.
There are great indian based websites, you could cover them too. It will be easier for people in India to relate to them.

Adita said...

I like the 'mousetrap' section in times of india. You should feature it more often.

Also I am a student and would be great if you could cover few sites for students. I am tired scanning through those search engines.


Bonatellis said...

i think your blogs are a great database of bloggers ...

suniti said...

Hi Peter,
I am hugely enjoying exploring the websites you give in Mousetraps :) I was not aware of this section till recently and now I am an addict. It's a great help to those who like to browse the web. Passing it on to like minded friends.

Cheers !

suniti said...

Uncle Phaedrus, Finder of Lost Recipes
is an amazing site. Just found a perfect recipie for mexican salsa :)