After Hours: But Wait! There’s More

Like a cable-channel commercial that will not end, here comes After Hours with another burst of reasons to delay preparing for and celebrating the holidays (and, okay, getting actual paying work done). Two are from the world of travel, while the last explores the peculiar intersection between food and …. Grab your mug of coffee, eggnog or whatever and read on.

A Freebie for Travelers

Santa has delivered a gift early for travelers and residents of major cities. Subscriptions have become free of charge for, which unveils six things to see or do in 70 cities in North America (including Canada and the Bahamas/Caribbean), every single month. The selections are lively and varied, the writing is breezy and witty, and the site design aids quick intake and navigation. Take it on the road by downloading pages to your phone or PDA. (Disclosure: I know both of the principals, one of them longer than either of us would like to admit – he was my editor on our college newspaper – but have no financial interest in their site.)

Roadside Gift Shops, Online

If you are a fan of mimetic or offbeat architecture, or simply of offbeat items, a site you will want to track is the directory of online gift shops being compiled by World’s Largest Things, Inc. At present the list consists of the Ball of Twine (Cawker City, Kansas), Lucy the Elephant (Margate, New Jersey, minutes from the Monopoly-inspiring streets of Atlantic City), the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle (Collinsville, Illinois), the Jackalope Store (Jackson, Wyoming) and Wigwam Village No. 2 (Cave City, Kentucky). The site is actively soliciting contributions to the directory, so if you know of roadside attractions with online stores, drop the owner a note.

MySpace Food

Everyone else is on – from Borat and Charles Nelson Reilly to all manner of indie bands to, apparently, every wired teen in this country – so it really shouldn’t be a surprise that all kinds of food have pages there, too. Exhibit A: Toast, which has its own theme song to boot. Its top friends are – what else? – Waffle, Sausage, Pancake, Corned Beef Hash, Bacon, Coffee, Fried Egg and Full English Breakfast. Not that breakfast foods have a monopoly on MySpace pages. To see some of the other foods on the site, look at the Top Friends and Comments on the pages of Pancake and Corned Beef Hash.

May the holidays grace you with even 0.05% of the free time the people behind these pages have.

Copyright 2006 Kathy Biehl. All Rights Reserved.

Posted in: After Hours