Elvis, Gilligan and Pee-Wee

Finding the weird online

by Jim Trageser
This article originally ran in ComputorEdge on July 26, 2002.

When the Web was still new and, well, exciting, the dominant Web browser of the day — Netscape — had a popular entry under the Directory pull-down menu called What’s Cool. It linked to a page on Netscape’s site that listed all kinds of hip and fun sites collected by the Netscape staff.

If not particularly useful, the What’s Cool page was still a fun feature because the folks who ran Netscape’s Web site seemed to have a knack for finding weird, off-the-wall stuff online. Not every site listed there was a winner, but where else could you find links to everything from Elvis lamps to coffee cups in the shape of celebrities’ heads?

Alas, Netscape long ago dropped that page — and if you go there now (wp.netscape.com/home/whats-cool.html), it just redirects you to their main home page — with no links to cool sites.

It’s a shame, really, and I’ve yet to find another comparable list. Yahoo still tries to keep up with new sites, but there’s no separate category for the odd, the bizarre, and the slightly off-center that dominated Netscape’s What’s Cool page. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6.x includes a Best of the Web link off the Channels directory of the Favorites listing (Favorites>Channels>Best of the Web on your pull-down menu). But that just takes you to the main MSN search page — there are no recommendations there, no pre-selected lists to browse through.

The Web has grown up, I suppose, and the corporate types who now runs things simply don’t value the strange. Our adolescent fixation on the bizarre has been elbowed aside by MBAs looking to balance the books, and we’re stuck in the squalor of normal.

So where to go to find the odd little sites that feed the soul? You can’t exactly type “weird web sites” into Google and expect to find them, now can you?

Well, why not?

Why not, indeed — and so we tried entering “weird web sites” into Google, and what we found is that there are tons of sites listing the odd online — everything from the slightly wacky to the borderline deranged.

Weird Links wasn’t the first site listed on our Google search, but it seems to be king of the weird lists — updated often and with its links organized by category. After spending a half hour or so checking out some of their many, many links, all I can say is that we share a planet with some very twisted people. Creative, yes, but it seems we have a definite shortage of mental health professionals in society today.

Another decent collection can be found at A classy collection of weird and strange web sites. Long name, yes, but longer set of links, too.

There’s also Web Weirdness, which seems to have hundreds, maybe thousands of links. His own site is rather crude in its language at times, and many of the sites he links to are guaranteed to offend some portion of the population. But a lot of them are completely hilarious — mostly unintentionally.

Hall of Shame

Finally, while there is no set definition of what’s bizarre, a few sites deserve special attention for the level of weirdness they bring to the world:

Mullets Galore — you’ve never seen so many bad haircuts before; these are people who are having bad hair lives.

WWWF Grudge Match — this is where all those nagging questions left over from college get answered: Could Pee-Wee Herman kick Gilligan's butt? Who had better magical powers, I Dream of Jeannie or Sam from “Bewitched”? Every other week or so, a new celebrity match is set — and visitors’ votes determine the winner. The day we visited, it was Cheech & Chong vs. Bob & Doug McKenzie - dopers vs. drunks.

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