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Weekend picks

Build your own newspaper, peep into a grotesque gallery and rediscover a name

Vidya Srinivasa Rao | August 23, 2003 12:54 IST

For many of us who don't catch the evening news or scour the daily papers, the Internet has become an important source of news and independent analysis. News is Free goes one step further by allowing users to customise their own 'newspaper', made up of headlines from media outlets of their choice. It's simple and fun to use. After registering, go to the News Center link and select one or more of the Indian or international news channels. All news sources are indexed in real time, so headlines automatically update and load throughout the day.

Cooltext.com
If you want free, fast and simple graphics for your Web page, school assignment or PowerPoint presentation, bookmark Cooltext.com. This online graphics generator lets you choose and customise logos, fonts, buttons and textures from a range of readymade templates. If you want to create a logo for yourself, click on 'Logos' and choose from one of the many designs. You'll then be asked to edit the logo text, font size and colours, and specify the file format (GIF, JPEG, etc). Because this program operates in real time, your customised logo is generated within seconds. Make sure you save the logo as soon as possible because any graphic you've created stays on the server for an hour only.

Behind the Name
Did you know that Chinese males were given different names at different points in their lives, in addition to their surname? Or that many Indonesians use just a single name (first name)?

BehindtheName.com is a Web site that looks at the etymology (the linguistic origin or meaning) and history of all types of names. Site creator Mike Campbell, an etymologist, has put up a large collection of names and their origins categorised by 'countries', most 'popular names' in an year and 'name days'. In the namesakes section, you will find a list of first names of notable people, both real and fictional. There is also a pronunciation guide to help you when you are stuck with a difficult foreign name.

Gravely Gorgeous 
Cornell University's art museum shares its
gallery of grotesque architectural ornaments, a collection of images through a 19th Century lens. While gargoyles were most popular during the Gothic period of medieval architecture, these fanciful decorations also played a significant part of the Gothic Revival in the 1800s.

According to the site, most of the medieval sculptures were broken and the figures seen today were installed around 1843. Old gargoyle-infested buildings were repaired, and new ones sprung up in Europe and America. The literal definition of a gargoyle is a 'decorative waterspout'. Other fanciful statues that don't perform this function are termed 'grotesque'. But, no matter what you call them, these gruesome beauties are morbidly appealing.



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