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  The Navigator: The Y2K Runners
By Linton Weeks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 24, 1998




    Kasich From the John Kasich for President Web site
In these uncertain times, there are still some things you can count on: Leaves fall, sit-coms last half an hour, the Internet continues to insinuate itself into our everyday lives. And Bill Clinton won't be running for president next time around.

Judging from the explosion of Web sites for hopefuls, however, he may be the only one not in the race. At last count, nearly 40 candidates – or their supporters – had posted Campaign 2000 home pages.

Since the birth of the Internet, gearheads have been predicting that it will change the nature of democracy. That hasn't happened yet. Who knows if 2000 will be the year? But we can begin to prepare for the coming political demolition-derby by scrutinizing the sites.

One of the few Al Gore sites so far was developed by Marc Perkel of Springfield, Mo. This is one homespun home page. Scroll down the opening screenful and you'll find a photo of Perkel – in tie-dyed T-shirt and rose-colored glasses – shaking hands with the vice president. Read the text and you'll realize that even the most gung-ho Gore guys have their reservations. "Al Gore is like Clinton, only duller," writes Perkel. "I'm a nerd so I find him interesting." Perhaps we're heading into the Dull Ages.

Fanatics for Dick Gephardt, Paul Wellstone, Marcy Kaptur and other Democrats also have fashioned pages.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side of the aisle, the Web sites are much cooler.

George W. Bush, governor of Texas and front-runner du jour for 2000, doesn't have an official presidential campaign site. But since he's knee-deep in a gubernatorial run, he's got some first-class campaign pages that would be easy to convert. The man obviously believes in the Internet. There's one section where you can contribute to the governor. And another where you can follow his public forays.

The Unofficial John Ashcroft 2000 Web site is crisp, clean and to the point. The spot was created by a zealot who learned about the Missouri senator from the Internet. "Ashcroft is the complete antithesis of our current president!" opines the page developer. The red, white and blue site offers stories by and about Ashcroft, links to official sites – his political action committee and senatorial sites – and to opportunities for making donations.

Alan Keyes, Dan Quayle and Ross Perot have kicking official sites. Liddy Dole and Bob Dornan are touted on sophisticated pages put together by advocates. But if the race were held today, the coolest site would be John Kasich for President. There's a photo of the Ohio congressman on the front page. He's wearing shades. The site provides quick-hit info about the candidate and even lists 10 reasons to vote for him. Reason Number 10? He "Kicked Some Budget Bootie."

Linton Weeks can be reached at weeksl@washpost.com

mouse CLICK: Arlington County Office of the Treasurer    It's hard enough for Virginia to collect October's dreaded car tax after Gov. Jim Gilmore prematurely promised its demise, but the Arlington County Web site adds insult to injury. Wired citizens looking for tax advice are greeted with a digital rendition of the Beatles' "Taxman." For those who don't remember the lyrics, here's a refresher: "If you drive a car, I'll tax the street. If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat. Cause I'm the tax man, yeah, I'm the tax man." (My apologies to the hip Webmaster intern whose career I'm sure I just ruined.)Dan Pacheco

Surfing
Perturbations, pleasures and predicaments on the I-way

Watch Where They Point the Lens
You probably know about Jennicam, the autobiography-in-the-making of a coed who has a videocamera aimed at her throughout the day. But there are hundreds of other folks who for free or for fee will let you join their daily lives. Adam Wright's Home Cams Web site lists 651 such places, organized by men, women, rooms (some cameras aim at coffee

machines, others at goldfish bowls), and groups. Wright reviews the site of the month (how else would you have found out about

"ferretcam"?) and gives tips on building your own. (Parents: You'll want to supervise your child's use of Home Cams.)— Edward F. Mickolus

The Glad Man's Family Lives On
Once upon a time, back when reading was taught through the antics of Mom, Dad, Dick, Jane and Spot, there was a muscle man clad in a tight T-shirt, earrings and alopecia who showed up to clean floors. (He even did windows!) He was the TV-commercial fantasy of women who worried overmuch about grime and waxy yellow build up. He was the Man From Glad.

Well, electronic facsimiles of Dick's and Jane's family are alive and well in the new Glad Web site. Mom's still in the kitchen and Daughter is there, too, baking cookies, with cameo appearances by Dad and Son for manly chores like handling fish. Throughout the site, the message is clear: In the egalitarian late 1990s Mom and Sis still are cooking and cleaning while Son plays video games and Dad administers the household empire. Makes the Man From Glad into a downright feminist hero!— L. Peat O'Neil

Missy! Missy! Missy!
You've heard about the Texas millionaire who's paying $2.2 million to have his dog Missy cloned? Well, Missy has her own Web site. Stories, pictures, it's all there.—Rick Shores


Found something intriguing, improbable, insane or especially useful on the Net? Write it up and send it to Joel Garreau or Robert Thomason.
   
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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