You know the drill. Everyone and their brother with a so-called web site gets to advertise their own favorite sites by posting links to them. Here is a list of some great websites, in no particular order, culled from my enormous lists of bookmarks in several different browsers I use. All links were checked and active as of December 14, 2011, but beyond that you're on your own.
There is nothing on Bob Godwin's blog, going all the way back into the archives from it's beginning in October 2005, that isn't thoughtful, intelligent and interesting. There aren't too many writers, speakers or commentators left in the 21st century who apply serious philosophy to everyday life like Godwin does. Dig deep into the archives, pick an article that sounds interesting, and read the whole thing all the way through—don't just skim through it quickly. His book One Cosmos Under God is available at Amazon.
ARTS & LETTERS DAILY
My favorite general interest intelligent news and commentary website. This is just the best, with carefully chosen articles from a wide variety of sources. Be careful; any semi-literate, half-intelligent sentient being won't be able to spend just five or ten minutes here, you'll spend hours reading article after article.
BARTLEBY: GREAT BOOKS ONLINE
A large selection of very useful online reference books: dictionaries, thesauruses, quotation collections, the Bible, Shakespeare, etc. Also a fair number of works of verse, fiction and non-fiction.
SONGMEANINGS and SONGFACTS
Everyone at one time or another has googled a few words from a song trying to find out the name, artist, or the complete lyrics. There are many collections of song lyrics online; I like these two because they allow user comments on the songs and the meaning of the words. Some of the posted comments are well-informed on the historical background of the song and artist, some are dead wrong on factual information, some are rather juvenile and shallow, some are very insightful and deep, analyzing the words like a poem in a graduate literature class (which is my personal preference—you always have to listen to the words, not just the music). It's always entertaining to read what someone else thinks those words really mean, or how they relate to them because of personal experiences.
GARY REIMER PHOTOGRAPHY
Disgruntled postal workers channel their energies in different ways. Some waste their time and money traveling to graveyards all over the country and creating loony websites like 101 Bananas; and some spend their time more constructively and take great pictures. Visit Gary Reimer's photography site and check out his latest photos.
ADDALL BOOK SEARCH
Yes, Alibris is great, yes AbeBooks is great, and Amazon is the grandaddy of them all. I always go to Amazon first for current books in print (and a lot that are no longer in print). But for rare out-of-print books I like AddAll, because it's a meta-search bookfinder that will search all the other book search engines for you at once. I've found it invaluable for finding not very well-known out-of-print books, first editions, or autographed copies.
Although I share a name with this guy (you didn't think my real first name was Zimmerman, did you?) and the twenty-ninth book of the Bible, this is not my website. I wish I owned the domain name though. It's a rather personal site partially devoted to a long tale of lost love, but what I really like is what he's done with Flash animation. From the main page, click on the "Purposeless Link" link and go through the whole series. (Someday, 101 Bananas too will progress beyond it's current primitive static state to a more active, animated appearance.)
POETRY ONLINE and EVERY POET
After you've read the limited offerings in 101 Bananas' Bag Full of Poems, check out some truly comprehensive collections of poetry online. Both of these sites have great, very large collections of poetry.
SENSITIVE LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY
There are so many personal photography sites around. This is just one I've discovered that's a cut above most of them. It is Graham Jeffery's site, who lives in England and takes great photos.
I've been hooked on Camille Paglia ever since I read the glorious essays on culture and society collected in Vamps and Tramps and Sex, Art, and American Culture years ago. Her latest book, Break, Blow, Burn, is a close reading and explication of 43 famous poems. Perusing the back covers of her books, some adjectives used to describe her are: erudite, brave, original, scholarly, controversial, brilliant, outrageous, an academic rottweiler, an anti-feminist feminist. Lots of liberals are intelligent; very few of them have any common sense. Paglia is one of the few liberals with common sense, and one of the few that I'll read anything she writes.
HOT FOR WORDS
If there was ever a geek-nerd's ideal dream fantasy woman, stunning blonde Marina Orlova is IT. If you're male, and never had an interest in philology before, you will now. Marina came to the U.S. with two language degrees from a Russian university and a love of etymology, the study of the origins of words, and the rest is history. Her HotForWords YouTube channel has 170,000 subscribers, she's appeared often on Fox TV's The O'Reilly Factor discussing, what else, the origin of certain words, and she was once wisely voted "The Sexiest Geek of the Year" by Wired.com. Orlova's Hot For Words book was published in September 2009. All geek-nerds need to buy two copies; one for reference, and one to tear the pictures out and pin on the wall.
CLIMATE DEBATE DAILY
In the never-ending debate over the bogus concept of man-made "global warming" (now called "climate change" so the slightest change in weather can be blamed on mankind for political and economic purposes), the creators of this site have done something unique. They don't take sides. Arguments for and against the belief that man is in the process of causing enormous changes in Earth's climate are presented side by side, and the site is kept current and continually updated.
SCHNITT'S GLOBAL WARMING FILES
Todd Schnitt, a radio talk show host in Tampa, Florida, has compiled what is probably the most voluminous, comprehensive listing of Internet links debunking the myth of man-made "global warming." If you have bought into the eco-propaganda Al Goreism that "no reputable scientist disputes global warming," I defy you to read a sampling of the 600+ links and still believe the fairy tale.
U.S. CONSTITUTION SOURCES AND DOCUMENTS
An excellent source index and cross-referencing of all the documents important to America's founding. It is depressing how little the large majority of Americans know about their own Constitution, the philosophy behind it, and the specific other influences on its composition. Everyone should have at least one book at home explaining the Constitution for the layman, but I'm sure most do not. If that's you, then refer to this site often.
LIBRARY OF LIBERTY
A great collection of books and articles "...to encourage study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals" as the site says on its home page. Everything from ancient texts to modern books and essays, a treasure trove of texts related to the idea of human liberty.
"Spengler" takes the pseudonym he writes under from Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), the famous author of The Decline of the West, with whom he shares a rather pessimistic outlook on the future of Western civilization. He has been writing online commentaries for Asia Times Online since 2000 and his columns are archived there. If you think an Asia Times columnist probably wouldn't have anything to say that would interest you, think again. Spengler's erudition and insight into the human condition inform all his political and historical analyses, and I never fail to find his writing, on any subject, anything less than brilliant and absorbing.
PERU FOR LESS
If like me you have always wanted to visit Machu Picchu, and the Pyramids, and the Great Wall of China, then at least for the first of these, Peru For Less should be bookmarked in your browser. I recently had the pleasure of visiting Peru in order to see Machu Picchu, and Peru For Less flawlessly handled all the hotel reservations, airport pickup and departure, train and bus tickets, and provided knowledgeable tour guides. I was a little apprehensive about just booking a flight with hotel to a country whose languages (Spanish and Quechua) I don't speak at all, and decided a tour company would be the best bet for a first-time visit. If this applies to you, visit Peru For Less and learn about the different lengths and types of tours they offer. You can see my favorite picture I took of Machu Picchu hanging in the Banana Wall of Fame section here at 101Bananas.
THE PEOPLE'S CUBE
The first time I discovered this site I couldn't break away for a couple hours. The People's Cube is totally politically incorrect with tongue firmly in cheek, skewering liberals and emphasizing the absurdity of their ideas by hilarious parody. And they have some great Photoshop artists working there.
There are millions of blogs or web sites that concentrate on politics and current events. Conservative or liberal, there's enough to go around for all. American Thinker consistently provides some of the more intelligent commentary, with columns and articles added daily.
BOB DYLAN FOR VICTORIA'S SECRET
Who woulda ever thunk it? Bob Dylan doing a commercial for Victoria's Secret? Say it ain't so, Bob! Not the blowin' in the wind rolling stone tamborine man voice of a generation! But it was so, and here's the video.
WILLIAM BLAKE ARCHIVE
William Blake was a thousand years ahead of his time, and since he died in 1827, over 180 years ago, humanity has 820 years to go to catch up to his consciousness. A sampling of his poetry is in the Bag Full of Poems here at 101 Bananas. I wouldn't expect most people to be as interested in Blake as I am, but if you are, this is one of the premier Blake web sites.
Some amazing examples of what an expert can do with Flash animation in a web browser.
I don't know why conservatives have all the babes and liberals have all the rhymes with witches, but it's a fact. Pamela Geller, babe extraordinaire par excellence, runs the Atlas Shrugs blog, which is one of the more popular of its genre and does its part to fight the seething anti-Americanism that pervades most of the mass media.
No one can resist popping the bubbles on a sheet of bubblewrap, so it was inevitable that someone would create some bubblewrap that never wears out on the Internet.
As the main page says, "Shining a psychological spotlight on a few of the insanities of life." Dr. Pat Santy's trenchant commentary on modern life, society and politics, and her deconstruction of liberalism and the modern liberal mindset is always interesting.
Fractals and mandelbrots remind me of a kaleidoscope that you never get tired of looking through. The pictures are sort of the same but always different, and "Wow!"s happen very often. This an excellent site for fractal artwork, screensavers, software, and links to anything fractal-related.
A large collection of stunning 360° moving panoramic photos of many of the most beautiful places on planet Earth. You'll need a fast Internet connection; with dial-up you'll have a long wait for each picture. Check out the 360° view from the summit of Mt. Everest. Click on the Full Screen option and Auto, and sit back and watch as the camera slowly pans around.
THE WELL COMMUNITY
The Well has been around since before there was a graphical World Wide Web, way back when the Internet was text-based. It's always been a place where some of the smartest and most influential geeks hang out. This page is where many members "hang out their shingle" and display examples of web design and Flash animation.
MASTERS OF CINEMA and SENSES OF CINEMA and STRICTLY FILM SCHOOL
Three great sites for the serious film lover, student or critic. These are more the serious academic type of web site, not just a few reviews of the latest tired old Hollywood blockbusters. Articles and reviews guaranteed too obscure to interest the typical American movie-goer (and that's a compliment).