Sunday, 22 October 2006

Mousetrap - 75

G.I. Show
Calcutta 1945: An American Military Photograph Album
During World War Two, Calcutta played an imporant part in the Allied effort. Troops transited through the city en route further East and South-East. Not just Brits; many American soldiers too. And the University of Pennsylvania’s Van Pelt Library has made a rather unusual photo album available online. The pictures give you a sepia-tinted glimpse into that world, and with the photographer’s captions, give you a perspective on the average American’s view of the India of that era, much of which would be politcally incorrect to express now, of course. Though some may argue that many of those opinions are still held... [Link from Neha Viswanathan.]

Camera Veritas
The Weird Picture Archive
If you’re a reality TV fan, this site will keep you going between downloads of The World’s Most Shocking Police Videos and the Jerry Springer show. The tone is set right there on the front page, which, as of this writing, shows you a chap who can put a finger up his nostril.. and out of his eye socket. You can go search for your favoured brand of weirdness in the convenient categories (which sections for aliens, animals, humans, deformities, medical conditions, and much else), or use the archive search facility. Warning: this is not for the faint of heart or the easily offended guardians of culture, here or elsewhere. The pictures can gross out even The Simple Life addicts.

Ex Libris
You know how some people (and you know who you are) borrow books and never return them? Well, this site makes it all official. It works simply: you register for free, and list the books you want to give away. And you can check out what others have to offer, and mooch their stuff. You gain points each time you list a book, send one off (postage is your only expense) or acknowledge receipt of one, and you use them each time you receive a book. Go see. And, er, by the way, you can save yourself the bother of registering and just send your books to me…). [Link via Prayas Abhinav and Joan Pinto]

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to for past columns, and to comment, or mail The writer blogs at

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 22nd October, 2006.

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