Rubrics and Tendrils of Richard Gehr

Ask Mr. Web Geek

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Is there a shortcut in cyberspace?

Sure. Go to "Hell--The Online Guide to Satanism". As Anton Szandor LaVey proclaimed in his Satanic Bible : "We are no longer supplicating weaklings trembling before an unmerciful 'God' who cares not whether we live or die. We are self-respecting, prideful people--we are Satanists!" In "Hell" you can tap into the relatively large Church of Satan and Temple of Set, or smaller and kookier covens, and find sources for knives, wands, and other spooky paraphernalia.

Horrible crimes make me feel like hell's right here on earth. And yet I can't seem to take my eyes off the stuff. Where's the Web equivalent of TV's America's Most Wanted or True Detective magazine?

The words YOUNG WOMAN BRUTALLY SLAIN emboss the disturbing image of a girl lying face down in a pool of her own blood at the "Crime Scene Evidence File" Web page. Not for the squeamish, this disturbing corner of the Web links evidence photos (the bong in the bedroom, condoms on the floor), documents, and interviews from the ongoing investigation of a real crime. It's a mesmerizing and chilly tableau of modern mayhem.

All this talk about Satanism and murder's bumming me out big time. Where on the Web can I find a more positive and, you know, spiritual take on the Great Scheme of Things?

Hie thy Netscape browser hence to "Suns'n'Roses: The Web of Time", a gorgeously designed page of rapturous texts and imagery about metaphysics, astronomy, and cyberspace. The new science of quantum theory and virtual reality meets up with old-time religion. Pagemaster Alan Richmond illustrates his cosmological speculations with awe-inspiring telescope photos, virtual landscapes, and dizzying Mandelbrot mandalas.

And for those of us more concerned with, shall we say, inner space?

You could OD on all the scientific and anecdotal information about psychoactive drugs (that is what you're referring to, right?) archived at "Hyperreal". This collaborative online publishing experiment links rave culture, electronic dance music, so-called "new" media, and the wonderful world of psychedelics into something weird, amorphous, and fun--the shape of things to come for sure.

Newt, that lovable coot, goes around all half-cocked talking about this Web doohickey as the wave of the future. But it sure don't sound like there's much out there for us good ol' boys and girls, do it now?

Au contraire, Interbubba. I suspect Mr. Rob Toups has just what you're looking for at a li'l ol' page he likes to call "Babes on the Web". Difficult to decide whether it's a parody or not, but Toups has managed to access nearly every estrogen-fueled Web page around into one big digital fem fest. Rob's a gentleman, so if a gal don't want to be linked, he's happy to oblige. Question is, Is it parody or good old-fashioned patronizing? You decide.