Cheeky cheer: greetings that are deliciously sour

John
John Gushue
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Ever wanted to send someone a little note to cheer them up, but without having to pick anything cringeworthy? We have just the thing, plus a look at a half-successful attempt by one label to make its vault accessible online, and a couple of other web goodies.

Some Ecards

www.bustedtees.com/someecards

"For when you care enough to hit send." That's the upfront and rather irreverent motto of Some Ecards, which offers the type of greeting that you won't find among the sickly sweet cards lining drugstore shelves. Indeed, the tone here is more sour than sweet, but many of the offerings made me chuckle.

Surf's up - Ever wanted to send someone a little note to cheer them up, but without having to pick anything cringeworthy? We have just the thing, plus a look at a half-successful attempt by one label to make its vault accessible online, and a couple of other web goodies.

Some Ecards

www.bustedtees.com/someecards

"For when you care enough to hit send." That's the upfront and rather irreverent motto of Some Ecards, which offers the type of greeting that you won't find among the sickly sweet cards lining drugstore shelves. Indeed, the tone here is more sour than sweet, but many of the offerings made me chuckle.

As an added bonus, it's one of the few places where you can find a message tailored to specific points on the calendar, like Lent, although - again - these are definitely not the sorts of messages your grandmother would buy. (In that spirit, don't be surprised to see profanity among the most popular cards.) Meanwhile, should anyone be surprised that the current list of popular cards are dominated by themes of economic anxiety? If you're going to get through this crisis, do it with a smirk and a smile.

Lost Tunes

www.losttunes.com/

We're all agreed that record labels bungled one opportunity after another with digital music. While they tried to squash illegal downloaders like so many insects (a great way to build trust with the young, live-for-music end of the consumer spectrum), the labels watched as ITunes basically reinvented the economic model without their say-so. Things may be changing, a little.

Lost Tunes is a U.K. project of Universal Music; the idea is to supply a massive back catalogue to the public, with high-quality, IPod-ready downloads. I looked it up after I got a Motown-oriented CD with a recent issue of Mojo, the British magazine, which featured tracks all available on Lost Tunes. But here's what I got confused. Instead of finding the rare tracks I was promised, I didn't see all that much to get excited about, and when I did want to pick some tracks, a little checking found that they were all available on ITunes, if not from other sources.

I like the idea of Lost Tunes, and I wish labels got serious about opening up their vaults in the digital marketplace. It makes sense. No costs of pressing, shipping and promoting reissues, as the source copy basically sits on a server. But, so far, Universal needs to get serious about living up to this project's name.

Kaboose

www.kaboose.com/

Not being a mom, I tend not to get excited about Kaboose, which unabashedly aims itself and its myriad brands and products at the mothers out there. Particularly, all the mothers who like pastel colours, smooth lines and pretty things. OK, I'm not being judgmental, but are all moms really that, well, pleasant? Don't let my crankiness get in the way: there are tons and tons of things to do in the Kaboose environment, from hobbies and crafts with the kids to indulgences for stressed-out moms.

AnimalSplicer

www.theshadowfang.uwclub.net/splicer/splicer.html

When I first saw this site, I had a bit of a feeling of dread. Is the machine here going to, um, slice and dice the animals in the background? No, as it turns out, nothing of that sort. Instead, you select two of the critters, pull the animated lever, and it produces a hybrid that's bound to make the kids (and quite possibly the adults) in your house giggle. So, for instance, a snake and a bunny become a "snunny," a frog and a lobster make a "frobster," and so on.

John Gushue is a news writer for CBCNews.ca in St. John's. E-mail: surf@thetelegram.com. Read past Surf's Up columns and daily updates at his blog: johngushue.typepad.com.

Organizations: Kaboose, Universal Music, British magazine

Geographic location: U.K., St. John's

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