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Bellybuttons Go Online!

April 05, 2003 11:23 IST

Ideas for the weekend -- learn about hat manipulation or click pictures of your navel

'Millinery Manipulation Malarkey and Mayhem!' Sounds like word juggling, but it's actually about juggling with hats -- a funny and accurate description of what is supposed to be the 'most comprehensive hat juggling and manipulation Web site on the Internet.'

Before you learn the ropes of hat manipulation, what you obviously need is a hat. They come in all kinds of course, so that needs sorting out first. The tricks section catalogues every move you can think of, along with video clips and description to make it easier for you to learn. Start with simple 'Grips' and move on to the more complex 'Rolls', where the hat rolls on its brim like a wheel.

If that seemed like a lot for a hat, there's more! You can read articles on hat-related topics, find other sources of information on hat manipulation and check out what 'Hat Spinning' is all about. Those already well versed in hat manipulation can also send in original tricks that might just feature along with those by the experts.

But never mind hats. Another hot pick for the week is What I have read since 1974. The author of the site hasn't merely read a lot of books; he has actually kept a record of them all! It all started with Eric Leuliette's mother, who kept a list of the books he read while in the first grade. His parents were asked by his school to maintain a record as part of its reading program. She kept the list till 1977, when he was in fifth grade, after which Eric decided to keep the list himself. And he has religiously maintained it since.

Browse through books read by him from 1974 to 2003, along with links to author names and other information. There are also reading statistics, total number of pages, average lengths of books, average time spent per book and the average number of pages read per day. The speciality table tells you about the longest books read, most frequently read authors, most frequent sources and an sales ranking. Interesting? Maybe. Maybe not. Good for a quick 'read' though.

If books aren't your cup of tea -- you semi-literate moron, you -- navels may be. Imagine a perfect stranger asking if he can take a picture of your belly. The Navel Maniac does just that and, what's more, one out of every two people he asks accepts! Armed with a digital camera and plenty of courage, the Maniac patrols the streets of Brussels asking people (mostly women) if he can take a picture of their navels. The resulting works of art are displayed online.

While pictures of bellybuttons might not seem in great taste, they have been done rather tastefully. Check out navels from Brussels or the ones displayed under Other Navels. If you are particularly proud of your own belly, consider sending in a picture and be part of the 'navel team'!

One last stop worth mentioning is the Infrared Zoo Gallery, especially for those who have often wondered about the differences between warm and cold-blooded animals. The site explores these differences, and also allows you to 'view' them with the help of a thermal infrared camera.

Read about what it means to be warm-blooded or cold-blooded, and find out about animals that do not fall neatly into either categories. Check out the infrared images too -- of chickens, elephants, alligators or frogs -- for more insight than all the academic stuff put together. If that's not a weekend well spent, what is?

Sylvia D'Souza