Astonished Fact Monster Wins Webby!
Creature overwhelmed with happiness
Fact Monster, www.factmonster.com
(the children's reference site from Infoplease.com) was selected BEST KIDS' SITE at the Fifth Annual Webby Award
ceremony, held in San Francisco on July 18–19, 2001.
Fact Monster in raptures
When first contacted with the news, a flustered Fact Monster was in the midst of accumulating facts on the virtues of Spinosaurus,
the dinosaur featured in the new Jurassic Park III
. The Fact Monster had just completed an article on the history of popcorn
, which the Creature hopes will make attending the latest Spielberg
film a richer experience for all.
Other recent Fact Monster projects have included a guide to sharks
, a primer on fireworks
, a list of the most popular pet names
, and an ice cream quiz
The Webbys are judged by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences
, a wide-ranging group whose 350 members include film director Francis Ford Coppola
, actress Susan Sarandon
, Internet leader Ester Dyson, ACLU president Nadine Strossen, Talk Media's Tina Brown
, "The Simpsons'" Matt Groening
, as well as the musicians David Bowie
, and Beck
. A Catholic nun and a professional skateboarder are also among the judges. Web sites are evaluated on six criteria: content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity, and overall experience.
Deeply moved by the honor, the Fact Monster commented,
"I'm just an ordinary monster single-mindedly devoted to collecting facts and interesting bits of knowledge for kids." The Monster was particularly taken with the Webby Award itself, a coiled, slinkyesque contrivance, which the creature believes will make an especially handsome conversation piece in its lair. The Creature's orange and blue face darkened for a moment as it worried out loud whether its own webbed hands and feet had given it an unfair advantage in the stiff competition for the Webby.
Wherefore art thou Fact Monster?
The Fact Monster, of uncertain origin, has generated enormous interest and bewilderment among scientists, the majority of whom cautiously speculate that the creature is a hybrid of an owl and a gargoyle. The Fact Monster's personality, a bewitching combination of erudition and jiggery-pokery, seems to support the owl/gargoyle theory. But other authorities are convinced they have detected tell-tale signs of dragon and gremlin (see the Diagnostic Manual of Monsters and Other Aberrant Creatures
Holly Hartman, the Fact Monster human counterpart, after the awards ceremony
The Fact Monster itself demurs when the subject of its pedigree is broached.
Taking its cue from Tiger Woods (see FM's Tiger Timeline
), the Monster vigorously
resists such irrelevant categorization. "I'm an all-American chimera
and wish people would just concentrate on all the facts and fun stuff I have to offer, rather than on my ancestry. Tiger calls himself a "Cablinasian"; I call myself a Caliban
. And, by the way, any kid who doesn't get that literary reference should look it up on my site."