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A theme, sort of

Site-seeing by Jules Allen

For the first time in a long time, I’ve managed to create a thread through this week’s column. Flukey things like this can happen, though my editor will surely put me in my place. Normal service will resume next week.

Armed guards, roadside heists and bandits, oh my! You’d be forgiven for thinking that we were talking about precious metals or California semiconductors. But this is today’s world of coffee. Coffee, as you may know, is one of the three food groups (the other two are, of course, fat and alcohol). Roast and Post does an excellent job of presenting caffeinated facts, news and the like on the humble coffee bean.

While the subject of getting wired out of one’s gourd is top of mind, the Net Cafe Guide could be a valuable resource if coffee and e-mail take up large parts of your business or leisure travel plans. If Customs confiscates your french press at the border, all may not be lost. Like Yahoo! or any other manually updated guide, some of it’s going to be out of date and the entries concerning this part of Florida were riddled with broken links to defunct cafes. Ho hum.

In my continuing personal mission to classify everything on the planet into two neat, binary halves, my mind turned to the thing that often comes before afternoon coffee: sushi. You’re either one of those who thinks of it as fresh bait or somebody who considers it a delicious, nutritious reason for doing lunch. This site doesn’t just cover sushi; it offers a peek at other Japanese cuisine and some nifty-sounding places in Tokyo that I’d love to try should I ever make it over there. If you’re on the fence about the raw stuff, be sure to read the section on parasites. Mmm!

We’ve seen some weird sites that involve bugs and parasites in the past, up to and including eating them. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m terrified by these invertebrates, but I’m generally wary of anything that naturally has less than two legs or more than four. Maybe finding them on the Web is some kind of catharsis for yours truly. Who can tell? Anyway, the University of British Columbia’s online entomology museum is one of the better bug sites out there and is very visually pleasing. Unfortunately, the Bug of the Month section is just online and you can’t send your mother-in-law a roach 12 times a year like those beer clubs. Heck, I’d pay good money for that.

Okay, so the thread gimmick isn’t true, which even my editor caught, but I’m glad you made it this far. So, changing the subject, a site like this is pretty useful to the numerically challenged. I did learn to work out how to leave a 15 percent tip some time ago and I’m glad to see they repeat this cool trick on this site. No tips on sales tax, though I’m lucky enough to have my Palm Pilot glued to my hip. The embarrassment of not having enough cash to buy something is well worth the embarrassment of looking like a nerd all the time. Wear your geek toys with pride!


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