Originally created 08/17/97

Compelling stops on the information superhighway: Girls Scout national cookie page

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away . . . young ladies in brown or green uniforms came around to your house with boxes of treats, including Samoas, Tagalongs and Trefoils. The young ladies sold their cookies through schools and church groups, to neighbors, relatives and anyone they could stop on the streets. Soon, parents would bring the order forms to the office and, on delivery day, the smell of Tagalongs would fill the hallways and coffee rooms of corporate America.

But, it's the '90s, and as "progress" occurs all around us, Girl Scouts have gone online. The search-engine giant Yahoo! has many categories into which it places new Web sites; one of their general ones is Business and Economy. And what was recently added as a sub-sub-sub category? Would you believe: Companies: Food: Baked Goods: Cookies: Brand Names: Girl Scout Cookies?

Yes, there are Thin Mints in cyberspace. You can order using e-mail or a toll-free number, or you can just look longingly at pictures. Cookie "season" is usually January and February, so you have plenty of time to check out these sites and pick your favorite cookie.

And for you parents out there: What do you mean your little girl's troop doesn't have a cookie Web site yet?

Getting There: Girl Scouts of U.S.A. National Cookie Page

Still trying to scrape up next month's rent money? The ghost of Thomas J. Beale may come through for you. His buried treasure is right in our own back yard, the Beale's Blue Ridge Goldrush Web site avers.

Beale, a hunter and trader, embarked on an expedition in present day New Mexico about 1820, so the story goes. Beale and his party excavated $30 million worth of gold and silver there, brought it back east and buried it in Bedford County, Va., about 150 miles southwest of Washington, between Lynchburg and Roanoke. They left three ciphers behind: the first with the location; the second the content; the third the names and addresses of Beale and his associates. Unfortunately, no key to the ciphers has been found, although the second cipher, decoded in the mid-19th century, proclaims the burial site contains thousands of pounds of gold and silver.

This Web site tells the story of the hidden treasure and the travails of those who have spent years trying the break the code. It contains the Goldrush Bulletin Board for people to share helpful hints for cracking the code, but I found no mention of how contributors plan to divide the booty. It also contains a downloadable program to aid in the deciphering process for only $29.95 a pop.

One wonders. If it works, why are they selling it to us?

GETTING THERE: Surf your way down the mine shaft


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