Date:         Fri, 5 Feb 1999 00:47:13 -0600
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
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Comments:     Originally-From: Patrick Douglas Crispen 
From:         crispen@NETSQUIRREL.COM
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    _________ ____________ ________ __________ _____________ ___ _
   /         |            /        |          |             /   | \
  |        SAVE! 2 FOR 1 ON MOST INKJET CARTRIDGES         /    |  \
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/                                                       /______|----\
|  EPSON S020089: 2 FOR $25 / EPSON S020189: 2 FOR $26   |//////|    |
|  EPSON S020191: 2 FOR $26 / CANON BCI-21: 2 FOR $10.50 |//////|    |
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|        |//////|    |
    /   \  /   \                                             /   \
    \___/  \___/  T h e   I n t e r n e t   T o u r B u s    \___/
        Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names / IRS Problem Alerts
Howdy, y'all!  :)
I want to thank the folks at "Affordable Computer Supply Marketplace,"
"Uglies," and "Golden Palace" for bringing today's journey of our
little bus of Internet happiness to you.  Please take a moment to visit
today's sponsors and thank them for keeping TOURBUS on the road!
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On with the show ...
>From time to time, we mention TOURBUS Plus, our special weekend edition of
TOURBUS.  You can find out more about the Plus Bus at .
Well, Dr. Bob wanted me to announce that we will be giving away a free Palm
III organizer to a lucky Plus Bus rider at the end of June.  You can find
out more about the giveaway on the Plus Bus page ... just as soon as Bob
gets off of his lazy butt and updates the page!  :P
By the way, to give you an idea of what TOURBUS Plus looks like, here is an
excerpt from a TOURBUS Plus post I wrote early last summer:
The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
Way back in September of 1995, we pulled our little bus of Internet
happiness into the Geographic Nameserver at the University of Michigan.
Our veteran TOURBUS riders will remember that a local Alabama newscast
at the time ran a story looking into the impact the Phillip Morris
cigarette recall was having on the state of Alabama. [In the late
summer of 1995 Phillip Morris USA recalled about 10 billion cigarettes
-- and no, that is NOT an exaggeration -- because, if I remember this
correctly, the cigarette filters contained some really nasty chemical.]
Anyway, the TV news crew decided to interview a clerk at a local
convenience store.  The clerk was asked, "In light of the recall, have
you been pulling Phillip Morris cigarettes off of the shelves?"  The
clerk responded -- and I swear I am not making this up -- "No ... I
heard that the recall only affected Morris, Alabama."
10 *BILLION* CIGARETTES!  Man, those folks in Morris must be ADDICTED!
To show everyone how silly this clerk's comment was, I showed everyone
how to telnet into the Geographic Nameserver (GNS) at  The GNS was a charming Internet tool that
showed you a city's latitude and longitude, its elevation, its
population, and even its postal codes.  The latitude and longitude
information is particularly helpful to Mac users (the Mac's Map control
panel lets you enter your city's location on your Mac's internal global
map), and the population information, while dated, can still be useful
in figuring out how many people actually live in Morris, Alabama (once
you have that information, figuring out how many cigarettes each person
in Morris would have to smoke to go through 10 BILLION cigarettes is a
simple matter of division).
Unfortunately, the telnet-based GNS died a few months after I wrote
about it.  You can imagine my delight, then, when I found a Web-based
version of the GNS on the Web at .
This interface is much easier to use than the old telnet-based GNS,
but I am sorry to report that the new GNS' database hasn't been
updated in a few years, so the GNS' population figures may be a little
skewed.  Still, I am always happy to see one of my favorite Internet
tools resurrected.
Wait, there's more!  While the GNS is (finally) available on the Web, I
have found a new service that is even better.  If you are looking for
more current geographic information, you should really check out the
Getty Information Institute's free "Getty Thesaurus of Geographic
Names" at
The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN) is like the Geographic
Nameserver on steroids.  The TGN lets you search for city (or "place")
names and retrieve records for places, including vernacular and
historical names, coordinates, place types and other relevant
For example, if you search for "Tuscaloosa" (my current hometown),
like any other search engine TGN will show you all of the "hits" for
that particular search term.  The third hit on the Tuscaloosa page
(Tuscaloosa -- inhabited places) takes you to a page that shows you:
     - The city's latitude and longitude
     - A brief, one sentence history of the city
     - Where the name "Tuscaloosa" comes from
as well as some other information about the city's major industries.
As if that wasn't cool enough, the folks at the Getty Information
Institute have also made the Thesaurus of Geographic Names completely
browseable.  Just go to the TGN's homepage and click on the words
"browse the world."  You can then browse geographic information by
continent, country, state, city, etc.  Cool, huh?
A Quick IRS Note (For US Residents)
I'm not sure which is more ominous, the fact that there are only 330
days until the year 2000, or the fact that there are only 70 days
until April 15th, the income tax filing deadline for US residents.
Probably the latter.  :P
The United States Internal Revenue Service (motto: "service is our
LAST name") has created an "Index of Problem Alerts" Web page to
inform you about tax processing or notice problems, to explain what
these problems might mean to you, and to tell you what, if anything,
you need to do about these problems.  You can find this page at .
If you are a US resident, you might want to bookmark this page and
revisit it right before you file your taxes.
UPDATE: Microsoft's Y2K Tools
Last week I told you that you could subscribe to Microsoft's free,
quarterly Y2K Resource CD-ROM service by either calling (888) 673-8925
or filling out a free, online subscription form at 
Well, it looks like apologies are in order, because despite what
Microsoft said in their 7 January 1999 press release, neither of these
ordering channels actually work.  Right after I sent out last
Thursday's post, Microsoft's online subscription form mysteriously
started coughing out "400 Bad Request" errors (I'm not sure why this
form broke, but I am guessing that squirrels were somehow involved in
its demise).  Even worse, Microsoft's toll-free number just dumps you
into "thank you for calling -- please hold" hell.
Trust me when I say that I am looking into this matter, and I will
post an update as soon as possible (and as soon as I can find someone
in Redmond who will actually answer my calls).  In the meantime,
please accept my apologies for pointing you to a service that doesn't
seem to exist.
        Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names / IRS Problem Alerts
Today's Southern Word of the Day
FET'-VUL (Noun).  A city in Alabama.
To understand today's word, you have to realize that Southerners
love to shorten multi-syllabic words and lengthen monosyllabic words.
That's why, at least here in the South, the word "Mary" is actually
three syllables long ("May-uh-ree").
Anyway, the word "Fet" is a shortening of the word "Fayette" (as in
Chuck Stanton's famous announcement "Yo ... LaFet ... we's here.").
The "vul" is just the way we Southerners pronounce "ville" part of
words like "Huntsville" and "Prattville."
So, the city of Fayetteville, Alabama, is actually pronounced "Fet'-
vul."  :)
[Special thanks to me for today's wurd]
You can find all of the old Southern Words of the day at 
The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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