From bobrankin@MHV.NET Wed Sep 10 23:01:17 1997
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 1997 23:54:39 -0400
From: Bob Rankin 
Subject: TOURBUS - 02 Sep 1997 - Boomer Madness

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    \___/  \___/  T h e   I n t e r n e t   T o u r B u s    \___/

           TODAY'S TOURBUS TOPIC: Boomer Madness

It was a humid afternoon and Bob had been driving the Tourbus for
a few hours, wiping the sweat off his forehead with a now-sodden
rag. He pulled in at his usual stops to pick up 'net passengers when
I skulked on board. I paid my fare in pennies, a sure sign of trouble
that Bob should have seen, and then, no more than five minutes later,
I'd HIJACKED the bus, insisting we visit web sites *I* wanted to visit.

Fortunately, the sites I wanted to visit turned out to be interesting
to Bob and he let me slip this in as a special hijack edition of the
Tourbus. I hope you like it too...

                ------   BOOMER MADNESS   -------

If you've read "The Hunt for Red October" you probably think that
a boomer is another nuclear submarine. Well, I guess it is, but
really what I'm talking about is telling you my age. Yep, I was
born in 1962, just barely squeezing into the baby boomer
generation, and us boomers have quite a bit of fun stuff online.
That's what this tourbus is all about. No subs included.


My first stop was a chance to remember one of my favorite TV
shows from childhood. A crazy, camp, and very kitsch marionette
show called "Thunderbirds". Filmed in SuperMarionation, it ended
up having ten different series and two feature films. All
focused on a couple of puppets who were part of various useful
democratic organizations (the series was created in the UK), and
the best - in my view - focused on the Tracy family, who ran an
Earth defense organization called the World Intelligence Organization
(and later the World Space Patrol) that seemed remarkably like an
early, optimistic NATO.

This site itself is more focused on production teams and less on
photos and biographies of the characters, but if you dig around,
you can find lots of great stuff here, including blueprints of
their rocketships. It's a great starting point to bring back all
those great memories of just how delightful a series can be built
around a bunch of marionettes!


More popular today than when I was a kid, Tintin, the likeable comic
book boy reporter created by Herge', has a terrific web site developed
by the Herge' Foundation in Belgium, original home of the creator.
Tintin had a wide variety of adventures, some of which were written
during the Nazi occupation of Belgium during World War II - putting
Herge' quite at risk during the time - and they reflect the values,
questions and anxieties of Western Europe for many decades.

The Tintin universe is populated with a wonderful variety of different
colorful characters, including his ubiquitious dog Snowy, Captain
Haddock, Professor Calculus, and Thompson and Thomson, twin detectives
from Scotland Yard (and a later inspiration for for the Thompson Twins
musical group, speaking of trivia).

Whether you remember these wonderful Tintin stories or are encountering
it anew, you'll find this web site wonderful and a great way to learn
more about this wonderful creation. And the Tintin posters, toys and
the entire series of books on my shelf are just a coincidence. Just a


Growing up in Southern California, I spent quite a bit of time at
Disneyland. In fact, any time anyone would visit us from out of town I
was the desgnated tourguide, so I probably went to Disneyland fifteen
times between the ages of 10 and 17.

There are, of course, a stack of Disney-related sites, including
the expensive productions from the Disney organization, but none
of them talk about all the great rides that used to be at Disneyland
and have been replaced. Except Yesterland. Created by Werner Weiss,
the site highlights the many great - and now obsolete - rides that
used to be at the park.  It's great fun.

The rides that I most remember that are no longer part of the park
are the Rocket to the Moon, Voyage through Inner Space (with the
huge eyeball looking through the microscope at ME), the entire
Frontierland and, my favorite ride as a kid (which says a lot about
how exciting my childhood was) the Peoplemover.


Speaking of things I should never have admitted while specifying where
the bus should travel... I admit, when I was in my late teens my pal
Mitchell and I cruised the Discotheques, and, horror, I actually
*liked* disco music back then. Ah, how time can cure all wounds and

If you can handle it, Paul Ryburn of the University of Memphis has a
pretty funny, if crude, web site that brings back all the fun and naive
optimism of the Disco craze in the United States.  Gadzooks, I can even
remember owning a copy of the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever and
thinking it was Very Good Music.


Once I got over the disco phase, I moved along a bit in the realm of
music and started to really like the Beatles. Of course, I missed out
the real obsessive interest that people had with the Fab Four, but I
can still tell you most of the hidden messages on the cover of Sgt.
Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band!

This web site, hosted on a computer in Liverpool, England, home of the
original mop heads, is absolutely excellent. A beautiful site, the more
you know about the Beatles, the more you'll appreciate how they've
designed and presented the information here. Don't forget to find the
spot on the cover album that lets you see the "flip side". There's also
a fun trivia game that you will find quite challenging, even if you are
a boomer.  My helpful tip: Paul McCartney was the one everyone thought
was dead...


Like lots of boys of that generation I played with dolls when I was a
youngster. Of course, they were dolls of violence and warfare -
predictably - and I remember slamming through our yard with my various
GI Joe dolls. In fact, I played with them prior to realizing that they
represented the brash, annoying American soldier who was such a mixed
blessing overseas during the many conflicts of this century.

This web site is well done and my favorite part is the kidnapping and
interrogation of a Ken doll by the GI Joe gang. This makes the entire
web site worth visiting!


I'd become complacent driving the bus and gotten a bit sleepy.  Next
thing I knew, Bob had wrested back control of the tourbus, relegated me
to the Main Street bus station, and zoomed off on his merry way,
leaving me in a cloud of dust.

Next time, however, I have another plan, a plan that involves,
well, I can't really say here... that'd spoil everything.


Hope you enjoyed today's guest driver!  Dave is one of the few
cyberfriends I've actually met in person, and he's done a lot to
make the Internet more useful for many people.  You can find some
background on Dave Taylor in my July 1995 interview with him, here:

If you want to get in touch, mail him at or visit
his web site:    -- Bob

P.S. - The sponsor message in today's "bus logo" (see the top of this
message) is not a scam.  CyberPulse is a long-time Tourbus sponsor and a
legitimate research firm working on behalf of the AMA in this project.

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