From: Bob Rankin 
Subject: TOURBUS - 21 Nov 02 - ASCII Art


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, the town immortalized in the hit musical "Don't Cry for Me Orangantina."

TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors. Please take a moment to visit today's sponsors and thank them for keeping our little bus of Internet happiness on the road week after week. On with the show ...

FamilyFun's 2002 T.O.Y. Awards

Before you head out to the mall and plop down hundreds of dollars on toys that your kids or grandkids will either break or discard out of boredom within the first 24 hours, I have a TOURBUS stop you MUST visit.

Each year since the early 1990's the folks at FamilyFun magazine assemble a panel of hundreds of children to torture test the latest toys. Early this summer elementary students in Kennebunk, Maine, were given the opportunity to play with 519 different toys from toy manufacturers around the world. The kids then voted on which toy they would like to take home with them.

Of the 519 toys the kids evaluated, only 71 were chosen as finalists.

Wait. There's more.

FamilyFun then invaded 18 different childcare centers around the US, dumped boxes of the finalist toys on the floor, stepped back, and watched the madness that ensued. The kids at the childcare centers played with the toys for three weeks and then voted for the toys that they loved the most.

The results of that voting appear in what is probably the best, most up-to-date toy-buying guide you will ever find: FamilyFun's 2002 Toy Awards article at

[This is a Disney site, so expect to see a pop-under ad from our friends at the Holy Rodent Empire.]

The T.O.Y. Awards page is pretty self-explanatory. Besides showing you a list of the top ten toys, the page also shows you 18 different categories that cover both the type of toy and the age group for which that toy is appropriate. Looking for a game for a 3-4 year old or a radio-controlled toy for a 10-12 year old? FamilyFun's T.O.Y. Awards page is for you!

Each category of toy has a winner and three runners-up. Click on any of the award-winning toys are you are taken to a page that shows you

  • A picture of that particular toy;
  • The toy's manufacturer and suggested retail price;
  • A one-paragraph description of what makes that toy so cool; and
  • A telephone number you can call to locate a store in your area
  • that carries that particular toy.

    Neat, huh?

    If you want to avoid the rush and ensure that you not only get the toys that you are looking for but also the toys that your kids will be playing with well into the new year, print out FamilyFun's 2002 T.O.Y. Awards page and take it with you to your nearest mom-and-pop toy store.

    PC World's Top 15 Mailing Lists

    Last Sunday I was flipping through the latest issue of PC World when I stumbled across an article titled "Info in Your In-Box: These 15 mailing lists and online newsletters deliver tech news and tips
    right to you--for free." You can find the article online at,aid,105857,00.asp .

    To be completely honest, my first reaction was "oh, great, another article about mailing lists that doesn't mention TOURBUS." Boy, was I wrong.

    Brace yourself, folks. According to PC World, our little bus of Internet happiness is one of the 15 best newsletters and mailing lists on the Internet. [HA-HA-HA! Boy, did we fool them!]

    According to PC World,

    The kookier "Internet Tourbus" is as likely to provide tips about spam as it is to have links to sites like, where you can get one-sentence summaries to ruin hundreds of films you haven't seen. One issue promised, "you'll finish this tour smarter and better looking than the average Internet user." Don't hold your breath for that one, but "Tourbus" does offer a lot of choice tips.

    "Kooky." I like that.

    You can find a chart of PC World's 15 best newsletters and mailing lists at,aid,105857,pg,2,00.asp .

    Personally, I think PC World's review of TOURBUS is spot-on.

    WHAT YOU GET: Written in an offhand, jocular tone, this newsletter links to a couple of sometimes-humorous, sometimes-useful Web sites.

    THE HIGH AND LOW POINTS: Can contain a wealth of helpful and entertaining links, but the newsletter's length and quality varies a lot from week to week. [Amen, brother! Most weeks we stink up the Internet like a longshoreman full of month-old cabbage. :P]

    BOTTOM LINE: A sometimes-valuable resource that's worth reading in the long run. [That's a damned lie!]

    Now if only we can convince Cox Communications that TOURBUS isn't spam. :P

    [For those who are new to TOURBUS, Cox Communications considers TOURBUS -- a double-opt-in L-Soft LISTSERV list -- to be spam and my using my Cox cable modem account to send my TOURBUS posts to the LISTSERV server to be a violation of Cox's terms of service. So Cox suspended my cable modem account. Only after promising to never send my TOURBUS posts to the LISTSERV server through Cox's network was my cable modem account restored. That's why today's post, which was written by little old me in beautiful Irvine, California (yadda, yadda, yadda), is actually being distributed by Bob Rankin in frigid New York.]

    That's it for today! Have a safe and happy weekend and we'll talk again soon! :)


    The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
    Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
    FamilyFun 2002 TOY Awards, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
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