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By Jim Gerland and Mark Winer

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March Madness
March 1, 1997

4 leaf clover

It's March Madness which has a different connotation for Western New Yorkers: we're all looking for a holiday; except those lucky few who are school teachers -- they get to look forward to taking time off at Easter time. For the rest of us working folk we have little to look forward to. That's why we make a big deal out of St. Patrick's Day. It may not be a "real holiday" -- you know, a day off from work -- but it's a great excuse to throw on that Irish wool sweater, enjoy a parade, sip an ale and have some fun being Irish for a day. And the Internet is a great way to get information about those St. Paddy Day's traditions. Then again, if nothing else, you'll find some interesting facts to amuse your friends during the parade.

Speaking of parades, The Knitting Factory (www.knittingfactory.com/TheClub/StPatrick.html) is the official United States host for the first ever interactive St. Patrick's Day event. St. Patrick's Day kicks off at the Knitting Factory at 2pm with a live, direct broadcast of Cooney & Begley from Paris, and continues throughout the day with the Hothouse Flowers from Dublin, stand-up comedians, live music, footage from the St. Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, on-line celebrity interviews and the opportunity to talk to friends and relatives around the world, face to face (er, computer screen to computer screen).

Stop by the pub (ccel.wheaton.edu/patrick/confession/confession.html) to find out where the parades are going to be. For more parade information, along with the history of St. Patrick's Day, myths, recipes and pub information, set your browser to www.marlo.com.

Of course you may already have plans to watch the Buffalo St. Patrick's Day parade from your favorite Delaware Avenue pub or Allentown bar. No problem - being warm during the parade is a necessity. For that, you need a genuine Irish wool sweater. Check out the House of Ireland (www.hoi.ie).

And before you leave for the local parade take some time and send someone the luck of the Irish (www.virtual-media.com/vm/presents/ouzo/99bottles.html). We also recommend you take a stroll to Lucky Leprechaun's Lane (www.invision.net/clover/): a netland of magical mists, lucky leprechauns and plenty of green! Lots of fun things to do, explore, celebrate and learn. This site celebrates activities surrounding March 17 and the great country of Ireland! Go Green!

While at that local establishment - enjoying the parade and avoiding the elements - your eyes may glance to the nearest television screen. Don't forget, it's March madness! Go to ESPN's site (espnet.sportszone.com) and fill out your NCAA college basketball pool before the action starts Thursday! You may win fame, fortune and prizes, but you have to be in it to win it. Who knows, maybe next year the Fightin' Irish (www.nd.edu) will make the 'Big Dance' for the first time in many a year.

Of course you'll want to have an ale or beer while enjoying the March Madness and St Patty's Day festivities. The Internet has many resources for beer drinkers or brewers. Take a look at beer.com - "where beer meets philosophy". To note, Boston (www.boston.com) was the first American city to embrace St. Patrick's Day back in the 18th century. And the pride of Boston Brewing is Sam Adams beer (www.samadams.com). Yes, as the bottle states - and we're not sure of Sam's priorities while he was fighting the Revolutionary War -- he was a Brewer and Patriot". Thankfully, the War turned out OK for all of us.

To share the spirit of beer, don't forget to sign up your friends for the The Micro beer Club (www.microclub.com). This club was designed to bring you the newest and finest micro beers from across the country. The club offers six different selections of micro beers each month. Two bottles per selection, for a total of twelve beers selected from various microbreweries around the U.S. and shipped to you every month. Along with these beers you'll receive information about each microbrewery that is represented in that month's selection and the unique characteristics of each beer.

If you're interested, nearly every major brewery has a web site. Go to your favorite search engine and take a look. You'll find Budweiser frogs (www.budweiser.com), Labatt (www.labatt.com), self-help information from Dick (www.millerbeer.com) and a world of other brewery knowledge, screen-savers and other free stuff. And at the end of the night, you'll want to make sure you know the The Complete Lyrics to 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall (www.beer.com).

More good beer history (including recipes from George Washington, Ben Franklin, and something called Green Cornstalk Beer) can be found from the Internet Homebrew Digest (amelia.experiment.db.erau.edu/~public/holidays/patricks.html).

We wondered why we celebrate St. Patrick's day at all? The Nando Net site (www.nando.net/toys/stpaddy/stpaddy.html) gives you the low down on that, plus a glossary of related terms. Most Americans know that it is an Irish holiday honoring Saint Patrick, the missionary credited with converting the Irish to Christianity (in the A.D. 400's). Some may know that Patrick wasn't Irish at all. And according to legend Saint Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland -- that they all went into the sea and drowned.

And for us, we're not fond of snakes. Interestingly enough, the fear of snakes is one of the greatest fears in America. If you're like us, you may not want to deal with snakes at all. If that's the case, avoid sites like The Snake Worshipper Page (pages.prodigy.com/greatserpent/greatserpent.html). And if you want to conquer your phobia of snakes - Ophidiophobia - check out the Rattlesnake FAQ (www.seeport.com/staff/dallett/klauber/FAQ.htm).

Remember, we want to continue to help you utilize the Internet in your life. Let us know what you're interested in and we'll check it out. You can email us, edge@edgeglobal.com , or fax us, (716) 853-1350 and let us know what's happening on the Internet in WNY or any computing related activities you're involved with.