After School Special
Kids log on for homework help thanks to B.J. Pinchbeck, 13
Feeling a touch of panic when your kids ask for algebra help? Never fear—B.J. Pinchbeck is here. B.J.'s Homework Helper (school.discovery.com/homeworkhelp/bjpinchbeck) draws some 5,000 youngsters daily to a Web page with links to more than 600 kid-friendly reference sites. Back in 1996, recalls the New Brighton, Pa., eighth grader, "I said to my dad, 'Wouldn't it be great if I could find just one site with everything we need?' " Guided by dad Bruce, 51, his school district's technology director (mom Vicki, 52, is a hospital admissions clerk), B.J. dug up troves of science-fair ideas and a Spanish dictionary that pronounces words aloud. "I'm improving on it all the time," says the aspiring computer programmer, who last February made a deal to put his page on the Discovery Channel's site (a cut of the ad revenue goes to his scholarship fund). Fellow students, who B.J. says don't make a fuss about his success, aren't the only grateful ones. "If we're looking for something," says New Brighton school librarian Rozan Antonetti, "nine times out of 10 we wind up on B.J.'s site."
Is it rude to always e-mail coworkers whose offices are right next to yours?
Playing hermit sometimes is understandable, but don't make a habit of it. Talk face-to-face once in a while or officemates will suspect (rightly or wrongly) that you can't bear the sight of them.
I sat down at the computer after my wife had been using the Web and discovered she had been looking up the addresses of her former boyfriends. I felt like my heart had been ripped out, but she brushed it off and said it was just human nature that people would want to know where people they knew in the past are today. What do you think? We've been married 20 years.
Give your wife a break. With online phone books tempting the curious, few surfers haven't succumbed to the urge to get the 411 on old pals, schoolmates or, yes, sweethearts—if only to find out how ritzy their ZIP code is nowadays. If your wife vows she didn't intend to contact these guys, don't fret. C'mon—don't you ever wonder where your junior-prom date wound up?
Click and Get it
If You Dream of "Genie in a Bottle"
You can sing backup for Christina Aguilera
—even if you're tone deaf. Through Sept. 20, at various stops on her concert tour, the pop princess is letting the highest bidder at a Web auction(pages.ebay.com/theme/tickets.html) join her onstage for one number. A New Jersey date sold for $4,000 (so far the songbirds have all been young girls). Aguilera, who's donating proceeds to charity, has done similar fund-raisers before, Kids "really get into it," she says. "The look on their faces is great."
Ah, fall: the time when millions of high-minded young scholars pack up their book bags, head to campus and pretend to read Moby Dick. Those needing a "refresher" on Ahab et al should check out www. cliffsnotes.com further research may lead to the Web's best one-stop reference: the Encyclopaedia Britan-nica's Britannica.com. (Younger pupils can try the Kids' Almanac at kids. infoplease.com. Save some real dough while studying Plato at textbook stores BigWords.com. or Varsity Books.com. Grown-ups yearning to return to academia can click on Petersons.com. for great guidance on grad schools and continuing-ed classes, Embark.com. for listings of classes that can be taken online, or Uncle Sam's guide to adult education programs, alx.org.