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In the tiny town where my grandmother lives, the general store is still the center of culture. Everyone in town stops by almost every day since the store is also the local post office. People hang out, swap stories and news, discuss what was on TV last night, what they've read in the papers, and on and on. It's a spontaneous, local think tank. The FringeWare News Network is kind of the net version of granny's general store. FringeWare is a mail order company carrying the finest in digital culture baubles: everything from weird t-shirts to hard-to-find books, from software to over-the-counter mood tweakers such as Polar Bear Snuff. They're also a place for edgy digerati to socialize. Anyone who gets onto the FringeWare News Network mailing list is invited to post event announcements, ask questions, start arguments, cajole, joke, harass and become friends with anyone else on the list. The list is entirely at the mercy of the subscribers. If no one has anything to say, the list barely exists. When Scots start cloning sheep, or the Communications Decency Act kicks into gear, or the someone's favorite band goes on tour, the list jumps back into gear. This is one of the few mailing lists where a dozen messages a day are a welcome sight because what gets posted is almost invariably smart, funny, dangerous, and often all of the above. whether you're somewhere rural or in the white hot center of HipsterLandia, the FringeWare News Network probably has something for you.-R.K.

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