FICTIONAL FUTURE? -- The year is 2014, and there is no longer a need for most of the gadgets used around the world in 2003. Everything you need or want to know is in one central location -- Phrenicea, at http://www.phrenicea.com/. The site intends to offer predictions of what will happen as Internet and biotechnology revolutions continue at such a rapid pace. Names will not be necessary at midcentury, and neither will money. You'll be able to bid on the memories of people who lived long before you. The most valued jobs will be those of skilled workers, such as plumbers, carpenters and others who work with their hands. The majority of communication will be done simply by using your mind. Every single thought you have will be recorded, much like a real-time biography, which will then be available upon your death for others to experience vicariously. This puts the Jetsons into orbit.
WAR REVIEW -- On March 20 the United States went to war with Iraq. President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1. Soldiers have continued to die, and the motive for going to war in the first place has come under fire. Truth, War & Consequences, at www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/truth, is PBS' look at what the war was about, what went wrong and what is at stake. There is an interview with L. Paul Bremer, who serves as the chief civilian administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.S.-appointed organization charged with overseeing Iraq's reconstruction and transition to democratic rule. Read discussions on whether the war was necessary and on what intelligence some of the decisions were made.
KIND CUTS -- Pretend you're an artist and jewelry maker snacking on some cherries after lunch. Next thing you know, you've got a bunch of seeds. What do you do with the seeds? If you're Bob Shamey, you carve miniature faces out of the leftovers. Shamey Metalcraft, at http://www.shamey.com/, has sections that showcase the artist's jewelry, but the best parts are the Carved Fruit Pit Gallery and the Toothpick Characters Gallery. You won't believe what kind of detail he can get on such a small area. As a matter of fact, his work has been featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not two times.
RANDOM RECESS -- Several hours of staring at a monitor and tapping away on the keyboard can take a toll on a person. You know that it's smart to take a break every now and then and do something else for a few minutes. If you need to take that break but don't have time to leave your space, why not play a few fun games while you decompress? Albino Blacksheep, at www.albinoblacksheep.com/games, has a selection of games as long as your arm. You'll need Flash or Shockwave for some of them, and it's well worth it. Try out a quick game of 3-D Pong from the selection of its most popular games. An old favorite is Snowcraft, in which a bunch of children have a snowball fight, and you control their throws.
CLASSIC COSTUMES -- Halloween costumes used to be so simple. You could pin a towel around your neck and be Superman, or wear a cowboy hat and two pistols on your hip and you were Roy Rogers. As more characters from cartoons, TV programs and movies became famous, along came the costumes for kids. Retrocrush: World's Greatest Halloween Costumes, at www.retrocrush.com/archive2003/costumes/index.html, is an outstanding collection of costumes from days long ago. Characters such as Donald Duck, Starsky & Hutch, actor Robert Blake's Baretta character and Zorro are among the many samples in this cluster of costumes. You're very likely to be reminded of a character that had completely slipped your mind.
Cay Dickson is a Web site designer in Houston. Her site is http://www.ocay.com/.