OK, we know. The Internet is full of trash.
Porn. Offshore gambling. Web sites about yarn. AOL.
But like when a car crashes on I-75, sometimes we cant help but slow down to take a peek assuming the carnage is dramatic enough.
A bad Web site can be as intriguing as a really terrible film. And if you know where to look, the Internet has dozens of pages that, in their own inimitable ways, rank up there with Plan 9 from Outer Space and Mars Needs Women as truly awful examples of their genre. Sometimes its the design, sometimes its the content. Occasionally, its a delightfully horrible mix of both.
So, in the interest of (ahem) journalistic integrity, Ive taken the time to thoroughly research the topic. Below are my findings: Web sites that are bad, twisted or just plain weird. Visit them at your own risk.
U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association
At first I thought this was a clever joke, but no such luck. The USLMRA has been around since 1992, and its enthusiastic homepage ("We turn a weekend chore into a competitive sport!") presents tournament schedules, a complete rulebook and dozens of photos of grown men racing around on landscaping equipment.
My theory: Its a vast conspiracy by bored housewives to get men to take care of the yard.
A Web search engine devoted exclusively to finding "Yo mama!" style insults? Thats just the beginning. Yourmom.com looks and works exactly like Yahoo. And I mean exactly.
Just like Yahoo, you drill down by clicking on topic headings. Click on "Hygiene" and find dozens of awful one-liners, grouped under categories like "ugly," "nasty," and the not-just-for-grandmas-anymore "greasy."
Plus, in a misguided effort at complete authenticity, yourmom.com throws in working Yahoo-esque features such as free e-mail and Web insult postcards.
Remember the "Ally McBeal" dancing baby?
If you thought that was a hoot, youll love Jack Ludwigs Dancing Shatner page. Clearly the final frontier of animated boogie, it sports three (count em, three!) animated William Shatners (60s "Star Trek"-era, of course).
Theres also a Real Audio link to the famous Canadians rendition of "Mr. Tambourine Man." No word yet on a link to Priceline.com.
The Complete Lyrics to
"99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall"
The title says it all. So does the pages author, who has remained understandably anonymous: "I apologize for this waste of Internet bandwidth," he writes, "I cant believe I did this." Neither can I.
I thought television outlets such as MTV and "Saturday Night Live" had exhausted every possible Blair Witch parody.
I was wrong. Meet the Beer Witch Project Web site, which begins: "In October 1999, three blokes disappeared in the woods near Southampton while writing a Web page ... A day later their empties were found." It goes on from there suffice it to say, theres a lot of blurry photos of beer cans. A complete waste of time (but a hit in Canada?).
OK, you cant fool me. This organization dedicated to finding missing socks doesnt really exist! Sure, theyve got a fancy logo and a worldwide database of purloined stockings. But its just got to be a hoax ... Highly recommended (if you like this sort of thing).
No, not ClayMation. MeatMation.
Based on the bizarre photography of Michigan State University alum Stephanie Rose, the MeatMation site tells the tale of the Beefeaters, a fictitious family of cold cuts. Using deli counter scraps of meat, hotdogs and fish, Rose has, er, assembled a photogenic cast. The accompanying backstory tells the tale of one Mr. Beefy, whose auto-cannibalism gives new meaning to the term "perishables."
Christian Analysis of American Culture
Brought to you by a Texas-based religious organization called the ChildCare Action Project ("Not a daycare organization!"), this exhaustive movie review site uses a rather unusual rating system.
Each film is evaluated against six "scientific" measures, including "Offense to God," "Sex / Homosexuality" and "Impunity / Hate." Amazingly, this razor-sharp critical approach reveals flaws in even Oscar caliber films such as American Beauty ("I hope to not sit through trash like this again") and Shakespeare In Love ("Shakespeare in bed. That about sums it up"). Two thumbs down.
That should be enough bad Internet clickage to get you started. But let me post fair warning: If enough people tell me about really baaaad sites, I might try doing it again.