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New Web site offers a dash of British humor


As a parent, I've come to appreciate public television's role as a provider of good and valuable content my kids can appreciate.

But way before my kids arrived on this Earth, I learned to appreciate public television for introducing me to the wacky world of British comedy.

I remember hearing about British comedy first from my classmates in school. Monty Python? Who in the world is that?

But Monty Python, Benny Hill and other British comedy fare has graced my TV screen over the years, and still does, to my sense of humor's delight.

Monty Python's Flying Circus is marking its 30th anniversary this year, and as you might expect, has one dandy Web site online for the occasion.

There's plenty to do at the site -- and buy, under the banner of "Crass Commercialism" -- and you won't have any trouble getting your Monty Python "fix."

You can examine the online episode guide, discuss Python humor at an online message board (courtesy of the A&E Network, which airs the show on Saturday night at 11 p.m.).

For fans of the show, there's no better place on the Web. Check it out at www.pythonshop.com.

TIME WARP. As a new century nears, it's always fitting to take stock of where we are and see how far we've come -- as a country and as a planet.

For example, in one particular country, only one in seven homes has a bathtub. Telephones are found in one of every 13 homes, and the average weekly earnings amount to $9.70.

A Third World country?

No, it was the state of the U.S., circa 1900, according to information found online at the Time magazine Web site.

The site features a "1900 vs. Now Time Warp" section that creates a wonderful look at just how different life is now compared to 1900.

Some of the statistics aren't a real surprise -- there are fewer farms in the U.S. now, more cars are sold, and fewer miles of railroad track.

Some of the figures are real eye-openers -- the life expectancy of adults in the U.S. had jumped nearly 30 years, from 47 to 76.

Most Western and European nations saw significant increases, and Mexico saw life expectancy more than double during the 100-year-period.

The site is part of something called the Time 100 -- the magazine's list of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.

It's all worthy of a look if you're on the Web, and a good way to remember just how far we've come since your grandparents and great-grandparents' days.

Visit the site on the Web at http://cgi.pathfinder.com/time/time100/timewarp/timewarp.html

SERIOUS BUSINESS. Electronic commerce is becoming very serious business as major retailers scramble to carve out their slice of the World Wide Web.

Home-improvement giant Home Depot has issued a warning to its suppliers not to compete with its plans for a huge e-commerce site later this year.

The list of suppliers includes big names -- Black & Decker, Scotts, and more.

A Home Depot spokesman said the move was strictly a business move. By asking suppliers to avoid selling directly to consumers on the Web, Home Depot will protect its e-commerce sales and its huge chain of bricks-and-mortar warehouse stores.

Home Depot's Web site doesn't offer anything for sale now, but has lots of "how-to" and job planning advice.

Visit them on the Web at www.homedepot.com.

GOT E-MAIL? Local subscribers of InfiNet, the Norfolk, Va.-based Internet provider, may have had recent problems receiving their e-mail.

On Thursday, July 22, I checked my e-mail after I arrived at work like I do every day, only to see the message box that said I had no new mail.

I use e-mail to shuffle notes and columns back and forth from home to work, and I had mailed myself my latest draft of a column, and knew I should have had mail waiting for me by the time I arrived at work.

I checked and double-checked the preferences, but saw nothing out of kilter. A call to InfiNet Technical Support quickly ended the mystery -- a couple of changes in the preferences, and I was back in business with my e-mail.

Apparently a few subscribers -- like myself and some others -- had trouble receiving our e-mail because of changes in an e-mail server at InfiNet.

It's important to note that no error message popped up -- just the usual message indicating I had no new mail.

If you think you haven't received mail as you should, you can check your e-mail easily by sending yourself a test message. If you fail to receive the test message after a period of time, contact InfiNet Technical Support at 1-800-948-6459.

HOME SHOPPING PART II. The Home Shopping Network is planning on an additional avenue for shoppers to access -- and purchase -- their wares.

The new Home Shopping Network Web site -- www.hsn.com -- will be linked to the cable TV channel's on-air programming, and offer fully secured e-commerce transactions.

Presently, the site offers a program viewing guide and information about the network.

Home Shopping Network's sales continue to grow, and the Web site should help expand their market, according to a publicist.

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.

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