The Straight Dope from December 1996

Anyone interested in seeing the metamorphosis of The Straight Dope webpage?

Here’s the front page from December 20, 1996!

Extremely mundane and pointless. But interesting to see how we’ve grown up. Note the lack of the message board!

Haha…I remember that big brain from when I was on AOL. Good times!

How bad is it? I mean, I can’t imagine it being racy or anything, but I still get this pop-up when I try to view it at work:

“Access Denied: This site has been intentionally restricted by the Bank and deemed as not business related and/or inappropriate. Per Human Resources policy, please contact your manager for additional information.”

Our HR is run by quacks…locally, anyway.

I think the “not business related” part says it all.

Just be glad the haven’t blocked the current Dope on you yet. :slight_smile:

The brain! I loved that brain. I disliked AOL with a passion, but the brain?

Pure beauty.

Heh… this was about the same time I started reading the Dope online, mostly because there was no local paper that carried the column in print.

And, yes, I do remember the TV show.


Then I’d have a post count of about 30.

Our IS dept just installed a new firewall and the Dope is blocked under the category “Entertainment”.

What’s weird is that, if I go to CNN’s home page and click on the Entertainment button, I get the same message, but if I click on a story link UNDER the main button, I can read the story.

The TV show was what turned me on to the Straight Dope. I used to watch it (and loved it).

It was a sad day when that show died. :frowning:


Let’s see, there’s “angry” and “hungry” and…

Well, how am I doing?

I want the brain back! Does anyone still have a copy of it on their computer? Could we posisbly petition for its return?

The brain was part of AOL’s graphic presentation, so I’m not sure (other than a saved screenshot–much like you just saw on the cached page) who could have saved it. And if I remember correctly (I may not), it was an animated brain. So, when your mouse moved over a lobe, the lobe itself moved a bit.

For all I know, it was AOL’s creation, so if we wanted a copy (and it wasn’t their proprietary artwork), we’d have to petition them.

But I could be wrong about that, too.



I think your work proxy is blocking as it would enable you to browse other websites they don’t want you seeing - use it as a gateway, if you will.

For the same reason they probably block other “redirection” sites like and

Here’swhat the pit looked like on August 15, 2000.

This is fun, Rico! Thanks!

Hey, I had forgotten they used to do this!