Hey, gang! Just a quick li’l blog today to give some shout-outs to five of the most useful websites on the Interwebs. Specifically useful for my particular line of work, which is that of radio asshole and dick-joke teller at the legendary 98.9 the Bear in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of what I share or refer to on the air has been gleaned from a variety of sources. Television, video games, etc. are part of what we in the biz call “show prep.” But son, if you gon’ be legit, you need to immerse yourself in the culture of the internet. And it’s not just the on-air stuff anymore; nowadays anyone in ANY branch of the media has to have a Facebook and Twitter presence at the very least. The pages I’m going to share will allow you (yes, YOU!) to steal good ideas with impunity. See, none other than the legendary voice-over guy/announcer Don Pardo once told a friend “Amateurs borrow. Professionals steal.” Okay, then. Away we go…
First things first: this site would be much higher on the list if I was ranking on the basis of quality writing and depth. This page has that and more. Good God, there are so many well-written and hilarious pieces here that you can easily spend hours upon hours reading and, yes, learning. It’s so goddam wonderful. Actually, Cracked is so rich it often does the OPPOSITE of helping my radio presentation. I get sucked into a wormhole of delicious facts and stories and look up and OH MY GOD!!! I’VE GOT TO GIVE AWAY TICKETS TO SEE HINDER AND SAVING ABLE!!! FUCK!! For sheer on-the-go show prep, it’s not as handy. For immersing yourself for a bit and sipping a nice single-malt scotch while laughing your balls off, it’s perfect. Fun fact: I sort-of cribbed the look and layout of this page from the Cracked model. I have less stuff, so it appears more streamlined. But really, I wish I had more stuff.
I know. You’re asking “wait! What about the Onion?!” the Onion remains great. It is the Daily Show of the internet. But since I can’t very well use parody stories as actual talking points (as I am not FOX News) I had to leave it out.
4) Gorilla Mask
Firstly, don’t make the mistake of going to gorillamask.com…that’s not where you want to end up. Especially at work. gorillamask.net is where it’s at. Unlike Cracked, there’s less original content here and fewer written articles. But what Gorilla Mask does offer is an amazing rundown of everything…and I mean EVERYTHING interesting on the internet. In addition to the links to sites like Cracked (and other sites on this list as well as some honorable mentions) and galleries of hot chicks, the “news feed” layout gives you links to the hottest trending crap the web has regurgitated in the last several hours. I’ve discovered many wonderful websites just by clicking away happily. If you’re a rock jock looking for stuff to talk about, go here first.
3) The Chive
The mighty, mighty Chive. #KCCO. Mind the Gap. Hump Day. DAR. My God, how this page has shaped the way we view (and sift through) the imagery and stories of the daily digital flotsam. I’m so very proud to say that the founders of this colossus of the internet hail from Ft. Wayne, the same town in which I ply my trade. I actually ran into one of the fellas at the airport last year as I was flying to San Jose. (I think it was John. Or Dan. I think there’s a Dan. Or a Doug. Not sure, really.) Like an idiot, I shouted “CHIVE ON!” and like a gracious person, he smiled and waved back.
Anyway. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Some will deride the Chive the same way they like to poo-poo their favorite band when that band becomes successful and has millions of downloads and is seen partying with porn stars at the Whiskey. Yes, much of what you see in the DAR galleries and such has been featured on Reddit or somesuch already. Hey, good for knowing that, you fucking hipster. Good. You’re better at going to Reddit than I am. Fuck you, I was busy having sex and drinking Negra Modelo’s at Bree Olson’s pad (she’s from Ft. Wayne, too) while she grilled up some vegetarian lunch or some shit. Excuse me for not grasping the importance of the fact that your goddam Grumpy Cat meme post was getting upvotes a week before it made it to the Chive. (Editor’s note: I want to make it very clear that while I have been to Bree’s place and had a lovely time, at no point did we have sex. With each other, anyway.)
The Chive is a lot like America’s top 40 Countdown with Casey Kasem (not that Seacrest crap.) If you manage to make one of the Chive’s galleries or get mentioned somehow or spotted wearing one of their Bill Murray shirts, then you’ve made it to the Top of the Internet. Take a bow. That’s what’s great about the Chive. It’s the big-leagues, motherfucker. Recognize.
2) I Heart Chaos
Now, this site is a lot like some of the ones I’ve already mentioned. But it’s also nothing like those sites. Sure, they let viewers/readers submit their own links and content. Unlike Reddit or 4Chan or whatever, IHC does tend to supervise the content so it doesn’t end up being a terrible mish-mash message-post sort of thing. In that respect, it’s sort of Chive-like. But whereas the Chive is a perfect example of slick, capitalist marketing and promotion, I Heart Chaos is more like a punk-rock DIY community, and frankly it feels like that to me. The Chive is a club you join and has its own language and secret handshakes. IHC is an actual clubhouse and there’s a little grime in the corners and mildew in the community shower. And god damn it, I love that. There’s also a propensity by the moderators (primarily the founder, CranberryZero along with some trusted cohorts) to delve into the Neil DeGrasse Tyson-fuelled world of popular science. You’ll see videos from a lab in Russia that has managed to demonstrate actual photon teleportation alongside a sexy cosplay of a female Link. There are metal music videos and movie rumors. It’s pretty much perfect. Like any such site, there are times when I’ve already seen the trailer for “Pacific Rim” on another page. Fine by me. Because I can watch it here AND check out the NSFW galleries before clicking on that speech by Carl Sagan. I heart I Heart Chaos.
Mos Eisley Spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. All true. However, you know what else you can find at Mos Eisley? Huh? Do you? Here’s a hint: it’s why the fuck Ben Kenobi took young Skywalker there in the first place: a ship. More generally, a means to go anywhere. Everywhere. It’s the best and worst of everything. It’s the wild west. Precious gems and exotic spices side-by-side with runny-eyed whores who have weeping, festering sores on their lips, just down from a couple of addicts clawing in the dust in the withering Tatooine midday sun. That, my friends, is Reddit. Like Mos Eisley, Reddit is not the safest place for wide-eyed, innocent internet travellers. Best watch your step, son.
But MY GOD the stuff you find on Reddit. So. Much. Stuff. It’s not all good. It’s not all what you need or want. But trust me, it’s THERE. Important tip for first-timers: browse the front page a bit. Get your feet wet before you dive in. Then, once you’re comfortable, create an account. Seriously. This serves two purposes. The obvious first benefit is that you can then submit and comment and downvote or upvote and all that. But the secondary purpose of an account is to customize your Reddit experience. Don’t want to see posts from r/wtf or r/gonewild showing up on your frontpage? Done. Want to keep the Star Trek subreddit front-and-center? Okay.
Beyond that, there’s no way to adequately describe Reddit except to say that you will spend the rest of your life there. Good luck and God speed, friend. Now go put your show together.