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UPDATED 09/25/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/25/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

Bring in the Noise
Spinal Tap's gags come through loud and clear on the Web

Spinal Tap is still taking it up to 11. "When we play, it is loud," says Christopher Guest, a.k.a. Nigel Tufnel, of his band's concert in L.A. this month. "The audience is advised to wear earplugs."

Guest, 52, along with bandmates Michael McKean, 52, and Harry Shearer, 56, is back in theaters with 1984's mocku-mentary This Is Spinal Tap, which has just been released on DVD. Tap's new song "Back from the Dead" can be downloaded on Tapster.com, a Web address that, in an unintentionally odd twist, had to be borrowed from a bartenders' site. (SpinalTap.com offers fans message boards.) But the boys are used to that. The rights to their characters were once owned by a French company, McKean says: "They charged us an arm and a leg to be ourselves." Guest, whose new film Best in Show opens this month (McKean appears in Adam Sandler's fall comedy Little Nicky, and Shearer does many voices on The Simpsons) says he's baffled when fans recite dialogue to him: "I don't know what they're talking about." Possibly because many lines were improvised, says McKean. "We were going off the top of our heads."

My Favorite Site

Mary Lou Retton
The Olympic gold medalist sticks to shopping on the Web. "I go to iVillage.com a lot," says Retton, 32, a mom of three, including newborn Skyla Brae (husband Shannon Kelley, 35, is a financial analyst). "All through my pregnancy I'd check it out, mostly to shop." She's currently developing a kids TV show, but says her next vault may be online grocery shopping: "I haven't been able to get out a lot lately.

Internet Manners

My boss uses e-mail to send messages in the office; everything from "I can't help but notice you were tardy again" to "We are officially changing our dress code." I feel this is a totally inappropriate way of reprimanding employees and an even worse way to change official policies! Am I right?

As long as everyone in the office has e-mail and checks it, this is a perfectly fine (and humiliation-minimizing) way to conduct business. Would you really rather have to look your boss in the eye when he or she admonishes you for waltzing in at noon dressed like Erin Brockovich?

Worldwide Delivery
Wallet photos? So last century. Now parents can show off their bundles of joy at BabyPressConference.com. The site notifies loved ones of the birth and sets up a Webcast and chat room from inside participating hospitals. More than 1,000 babies have made Web debuts since March. Says new dad Brad Lockwood, 28, of Wilmette, Ill.: "My mother was watching from Indiana and she was sobbing."

Show Some Medal
It should take Marion Jones about 11 seconds to run the 100 meters in Sydney—but 12 hours or more for NBC to bring you many Olympic events on TV. On the Web, though, the medal-worthy NBCOlympics.com will sport real-time results and already boasts extensive contributions from top jocks (sign up for daily e-mails from sprinter Michael Johnson). Meanwhile, the Games' official site, olympics.com, makes up for NBC's American focus with good coverage of those other competing countries. More limited access (and a ban on Web broadcasts of events) leaves other sports sites limping like Kerri Strug, but don't count them out. CNNSI.com, ESPN.com and CBS's Sports Line.com will be racing to post commentary and chats with athletes.

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