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It's Not a Pretty Site

by Thomas More

Copyright © 1998 by Thomas More. All rights reserved.

You've seen some interesting Web sites, right? Some are actually pretty, with dazzling colors and animated graphics, and things that blink on and off. However, the most interesting Web site that I've found recently is not a pretty site. It's totally awesome, but its appeal is not in graphic arts at all. It's simply a glossary of terms, and much, much more.

The site is mind-boggling in its scope, and in its weird and wacky humor, wordplay and relevant references. It's called Stammtisch Beau Fleuve (SBF), which roughly translated means "a compendium of beautiful stories." Its subtitle is "A Multidisciplinary Collaboration for Communication, Research, and Lunch." Its stated mission: "To explore strange news items, to seek out intelligent life within this civilization (preferably within hailing distance of the lunch table), to examine boldly the handbasket the universe is going to hell in." Sounds like "Startrek" of the intellectual universe.

I like this site because it includes some pop-music trivia, a special interest of mine. For example, under the entry "American Pie," SBF gives 12 links to discussions about this controversial song, and the following footnote:

"Lori Lieberman saw Don McLean perform 'American Pie' in a nightclub and was inspired to write a poem on the back of a napkin, which became the lyrics for the song 'Killing Me Softly' by Norman Gimbel & Charles Fox, featured on Ms. Lieberman's first album. (The poem became the lyrics! I don't know what became of the napkin.) Later, Roberta Flack did a very successful cover of the song."

The glossary is indexed with thumbtabs, which include one for each letter of the alphabet, plus one rune, Ž (thorn), numbers and Deuteronomy: "(many visitors think this last is a real entry)." Or you can use the search engine provided: "This one isn't great but the price was right."


In addition to the thumbtabs, there are links to some entries of interest, which include the following: "Involuntary philately…Bald Francophone Aliens…How to be well-preserved in old age…Billions and billions…The truth about Banana Nutmeg…Falling-down drunk…Fleas only have fleas upon 'em in the Biblical sense…"

As if that wasn't enough to pique your interest, there's also these: "Deconstruction clarified...Fantasy involving Bill Gates...H. Dumpty's cholesterol problem...The Burden of Destination...Doomsday book units...Cruelty to fish...Aye, Captain, whatever you say...Between ABD and Ph.D..., and 'Greek Americans in Mexico.' "

Do you begin to get the feeling of this site? But wait, there's more! You can only imagine what some of these entries portend. Try "Accents...An underappreciated health benefit of tacky clothing...Ye Olde Žorn...As you suspected, Aix can't be interpreted...," and "Heedless encyclopedists' philological deserts."

There's also links to other areas of interest, including "Aviation, Classics, Labor and Trade Unions, Other Lunch-related pages, and Fats and other chemicals."

All this is the work of Alfred M. Kriman, the "Stammtisch Beau Fleuve Homepage Homeboy," who in real life is a graduate student at the University of New York at Buffalo. Before you go there, keep in mind that you will never be the same afterward. You have been warned.


During the week, Thomas More writes rather technical stuff about business software, but on weekends he likes to loosen up a bit and write about WWWiz stuff.


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