Net gains: The Monopoly Board

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The Independent Culture

Monopoly seems to be returning to vogue these days. Is this a strange side effect of our obsession with the Euro, or are people just getting a kick out of reverting to childhood? One reason for the revival seems to be the recent release of the Star Wars edition of the game (with, for example, Yoda's hut replacing Old Kent Road) as well as editions for some other major British cities. Given that it's one of those games where everybody has their own strategy, it's disappointing to discover quite how little good material about the game is available on-line.

The official Monopoly site, for example, is fairly disappointing: there's a list of past winners of official Monopoly tournaments and a few cute graphics. On top of that there's some shameless self-promotion of the board game, the PC CD ROM version and some on-line multi-player games too.

However, an excellent history of Monopoly can be found at (inventors.miningco. com/library/weekly/aa121997. htm) and if you're looking for something a little more practical, try the Monopoly pub pages (, an excellent site which outlines a pub crawl itinerary in which you visit a pub on every one of the squares in the space of a single day, although whether you'll be standing at the end of it is another matter. You could always go to straight to jail.

Pat Pending 1998pats.htm

The real joy of the Internet is how often the otherwise weird people on the fringes of normal existence have their chance at fame. There are, for example, the Ig Nobel prizes which are handed out by MIT every year for people who, in the opinion of the university panel, have that year done the most damage to their particular field of expertise.

On a similar vein is the Wacky Patents site. The mildly irritating title is the front for some of the weirder patents that are filed in America. Some of the examples include the Chicken eye protector, the pat on the back apparatus, and the weirdest of all, a new method for preserving the dead whereby a corpse is hermetically encased within a block of transparent glass. Being effectually excluded from the air, the corpse will be maintained for an indefinite period in a perfect and life-like condition. It is prevented from decay and, so the theory goes, "will at all times present a life-like appearance". It could only happen in America.

Rescued disney/films/rescuers.htm#

Disney, you may remember, recently recalled millions of copies of the video of its cartoon The Rescuers because of "an objectionable image in the background". This site delivers the evidence, a pair of breasts in a couple of non-consecutive images which, according to Disney, were placed into the film during post-production by an external company.