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 January 29, 2001      TIPS to search 1billion Web pages fast!

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Lindsay Pereira

Today. Right here. Right now.

That's what Ritesh Gupta believes in. He belongs to that class of people they call, simply, 'wacky.' The reasons for this are many, though one of the biggest is his daily ritual. He wakes up, logs on, and starts thinking about all that has to be done, or can be done, today.

'That's what I do too,' is what you're probably thinking too. But that's not why everyone stays away from Ritesh. They hide themselves in corners when they see him, because he insists on going a step further, to analyse, list, and check out everything that can be associated with today, no matter how warped.

The day kicks off with About Today's Date, a site perfect for those who love useless information with a passion. It has facts, figures and trivia related to any date on the calendar. Click on 22, and it tells you that the distance between wickets on a cricket pitch is 22 yards, that there are 22 players on the field during a football match, and that 'superextraordinarisimo' is the longest word in the Spanish language with 22 letters.

If you think that's not too bad, Ritesh soon moves on to Dumb Lists, which lists, well, a dumb list daily. It's all archived too, so you can feel free to go back and read the 'Top 54 computer T-shirt slogans,' or the 'Difference between men and women,' or 'How to take a shower' and even the 'Top 14 alternate terms for 'cubicle'.

You're beginning to scratch your head, right? Wondering why anyone would try these lists? Things have only just begun, as far as Ritesh is concerned. He grins to himself, and slips into the Morbid Fact Du Jour chock full of everything gory, gruesome and grisly that your mother could scare you about.

Today's morbid snippet comes courtesy a Quaker named Thomas Ellwood who, in 1660, described how jailers and prisoners handled severed heads of traitors in Newgate Prison: "They took them by the hair, flouting, jeering and laughing at them; and then giving them some ill names box'd them on the ears and cheeks. Which done, the hangman put them in a kettle and parboiled them with baysalt and cumin-seed; that to keep them from putrefaction, and this to keep off the Fowls from seizing on them."

Once you've finished throwing up, Bonehead-of-the-Day Award should be easier to swallow. It bestows the dubious award, daily, on a group or individual for any 'boneheaded action,' culled from news stories. A recent award went to a car dealership in New York for giving away a customer's car to a thief, thinking the latter was actually the owner.

Crank Dot Net runs on similar lines. It lists web sites by and about cranks, crankism, crankishness, and crankosity. And uploads a new Crank o' the Day faithfully, at midnight. The topics range from Einstein and chauvinists, to zero point energy, dream interpretation, and alien abduction - all categorised by crank, cranky, or crankiest.

Ritesh is far from satisfied. He stops for lunch and, between bites of an aloo paratha, tries the Question Of the Day submitted by anybody from around the world. The queries include 'Which pop musician(s) has had the most Number One hits on the Billboard charts?', 'What is a more common name for a Croton Bug?' and 'What American humorist's last words reportedly were, "God bless...God damn"?' Want the answers yourself? Just click, or call Ritesh.

The post-lunch period is when our man begins to feel a little low. He starts questioning the purpose of his existence, and whether or not he should have had just two parathas instead of three. Which is when he turns to The Daily Motivator which lists a positive daily message dealing with success, motivation, and personal development. It also boasts an archive of over 1,000 previous motivators.

Feeling a little better, Ritesh decides to be nice and help friends in distress. Like his buddy Gautam, for example, who currently has problems with his love life. The poor boy can't seem to understand that kissing his girlfriend is not like eating an ice cream. Needless to say, the poor (and wet nosed) girlfriend has threatened to walk out on him, prompting gallant Ritesh to send them both a Kissing Tip of the Day. Apart from tips to help Gautam get the romance back into his life, the page has dating tips, links to an 'e-kissing booth', kissing polls, kissing quizzes, games, and even a kissing chat.

There's loads more Ritesh needs to check out before giving his modem a rest. Cool Tool of The Day gives him a new Internet-related tool daily; Dog of the Day features a daily photograph and story about why canines are special; Chart of the Day has a different chart, be it about the economy, politics, demographics, or investing; while Daily Grammar helps him tell his active from his passive by offering daily grammar lessons via email.

Terranova: Planet of the Day yields a different imaginary planet every day; Serial Homicide Case of the Day is for those who insist on being abnormal; and the Discovery.com Picture of the Day has wonderful image on anything from the world's peoples to cultures or animals. Finally, last stop: Idea a Day which publishes an original idea daily, like "Offer an in-flight television channel which shows the view outside, either from the side of the plane or from the cockpit, for travellers unable to secure a window seat."

That's it for Ritesh. All done.

He switches off his PC, locks himself in his room, and drifts away. With moonlight falling softly on his pillow, he dreams of benevolent aliens, potatoes that talk, and vegetables that breed. 'Maybe they'll turn up somewhere, tomorrow, on some list,' he smiles, waiting in anticipation for tomorrow to become today.

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