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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Top 10 signs you're a fantasy football addict
Roger Rotter

Getting married has remedied many of my bad habits, such as eating with my mouth open, letting laundry pile on the floor and failing to put items back in the refrigerator after I've made myself a sandwich and have retired to the couch for an afternoon of TV.

Thankfully, my wife knew that "in sickness and in health" also means that my addiction to fantasy football may never be cured.

Still, there's much to be said for being responsible, though not just with your fantasy football team. Based upon my experience and hearsay, here are 10 signs that will let you know if you are a fantasy football addict. That can be good or bad, depending on your point of view!

Top 10 signs you're a fantasy football addict

10. You check your fantasy team's box score while the rest of the family opens holiday gifts.

There's nothing wrong with checking your fantasy team's performance in the fantasy title game. Just make sure it doesn't coincide with opening holiday gifts together with family. But is it mere coincidence that the fantasy championships arrive at the same time as the winter holidays? Or is this a test by league executives and TV programming gurus to see where your faith truly lies?

Yet there's much to celebrate if you win titles and put championship rings on your fingers. It's a wonderful feeling when you check the box score at midnight on Christmas Eve and your team has defeated your most despised rival. Good cheer to all! Who cares about gifts, right?

9. You'd rather watch a Thanksgiving Day blowout instead of feasting at the dinner table.

Though you live out of town hundreds of miles away from your parents, you cannot pull yourself away from the TV and avoid watching Detroit get thumped 49-0 by Denver late in the fourth quarter. Who needs to give thanks at the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day when you can thank the Lord for creating fantasy football after your player scores three touchdowns in a game? Hey, touchdowns still count for fantasy in lopsided games.

8. You miss work for one straight week using the excuse that the DirectTV installer never showed up so you can study up on the weekend's big draft.

It's imperative that you have to watch 1,536 hours of football to stay atop of your fantasy league and expertly switch channels at every break in the action without missing a play.

And you'll do anything to make sure you know every statistical detail about each fantasy football player, including their red-zone conversion rate in trip-right formations, to gain an edge on your league foes.

7. You arrive an hour late at a date with a hottie because you were picking up players on the waiver wire.

She's gone and so are your chances of scoring with a future lingerie model. But you secured the player who will land you a championship. Thank you, Kurt Warner, Larry Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew.

6. You're the best man at your friend's wedding and you remember to take your cell phone to consummate a trade, but not the ring, on the morning of the wedding.

You never know when the frantic owner who wants to unload a star after one bad week for three mediocre players will change his mind.

5. While your wife is busy preparing for a romantic night out on your Paris honeymoon, you sneak away to check your fantasy team in the hotel lobby. (This really did happen. ... What can I say? I'm an addict, too!).

Remember, due diligence is what keeps a fantasy marriage going!

4. You list your fantasy football league entry fee as a tax deduction for work-related expenses.

Yes, those 50 man hours you spend per week on the work computer come in handy!

3. The $100 US Savings Bond that was supposed to go to a nephew was spent on a fantasy football entrance fee.

You know you'll win the league and then split the earnings later ... or maybe 10 years later.

2. You spend more time studying for your fantasy football game than your college final history exams.

Twenty years later, will I remember which bills Congress passed in 1904 or that I won at fantasy football in 2005?

And finally, here's the No. 1 sign that you're a fantasy football addict:

1. Your biggest fantasy involves a trophy, and it's not found in the Playboy Mansion.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Top 5 Harry Potter Gadgets We Want (and Where You Can Find Them)
By Erin McCarthy

We'll miss Harry—not only for his spellbinding adventures, but for all the cool gadgets holstered by he and his Hogwarts pals. Here's the technology that us Muggles (Potter-speak for the nonmagical) want to get our hands on, plus when (or if) we'll be able to.

1. Invisibility Cloak (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)
Why We Want It: Besides the fact that it would be supercool—and supereasy—to scare people? There are endless spy applications.

Can We Get It? Cloaking technology does exist—but it's more like a shed than a cloak. A team of scientists from Duke University and Imperial College London created a "cloak" that deflects microwaves around an object and restores them on the other side. It can't make an object vanish before a person's eyes, but it's a start. Researchers in Japan and DIYers have made inroads as well.

2. Flying Ford Anglia (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)
Why We Want It: Who wouldn't want to rise above rush-hour traffic?

Can We Get It? You can own a flying car in just four short years—if you have $500,000 to spare and room in your backyard for a 35-ft. runway. The Moller M400 SkyCar is half-car, half-jet: At 8.5 ft wide, it's road-worthy for short distances, and its 770-hp engine allows it to climb 6400 ft. per minute and go as fast as 365 mph—all while getting 20 mpg. Once the government certifies it as airworthy, the vehicle will head for commercial production, dropping the price tag 60 to 80 thousand and putting a headache-free commute within reach.

3. Apparition (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)

Why We Want It: It's the magical way to teleport, and teleportation makes life easier.

Can We Get It? Scientists have been working on teleportation for decades, but disassembling matter and then reassembling it correctly in a different place is more complicated than it sounds; the most they've managed to teleport is a few photons over short distances. But a team at the Australian Research Council Center of Excellence for Quantum-Atom Optics has recently proposed a new technique that could teleport as many as 50,000 atoms. Their method disregards quantum entanglement—wherein two particles are linked, and any change to the state of one changes its twin—and instead uses what they call "classical teleportation," where particles disappear entirely from one place and then appear somewhere else. The method is promising but, sadly, isn't for Muggle or wizard use—it will only be used for transporting ultracold atoms. "We would like to market it—for teleporting Harry Potter's magic, ultracold poison into the body of the enemy!" team leader Dr. Ashton Bradley says cheekily. "More seriously, commercialization is possible, probably in 10 to 20 years."

4. Wand (All Potter Books)
Why We Want It: To create something from nothing; to command things to come to us; to levitate our foes; the list goes on and on…

Can We Get It? Unfortunately, it doesn't seem as if we'll be getting anything with the flick of a wand anytime soon. The slender, magical pieces of wood seem to be strictly science fiction. About the closest we'll get is the WiiMote, which can be hacked to control things other than games, such as robots and DJ equipment. The only catch? Objects you're trying to control need to be ready to receive the signal, which often means writing computer scripts and integrating Bluetooth. Plus, you can't really shout out spells, which is half the fun of having a wand, anyway.

5. Time-Turner (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
Why We Want It: Often there's just not enough time in the day, and a time-turner would change that!

Can We Get It? Everyone from Einstein to Carl Sagan has weighed in on the possibility of time travel. Some scientists theorize that traveling faster than the speed of light could transport us to the past or the future, because time slows as it reaches the speed of light. Others see black holes, cosmic strings and wormholes (if they exist) as potential means of time travel. One thing's for sure: A fashionable hourglass necklace isn't going to do the trick. Regardless of how you slice it, we're far from taking trips through time—if we can ever do it at all.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Report: Rowling Writing Detective Novel
The Associated Press


J.K. Rowling has been spotted at cafes in Scotland working on a detective novel, a British newspaper reported Saturday.

The Sunday Times newspaper quoted Ian Rankin, a fellow author and neighbor of Rowling's, as saying the creator of the "Harry Potter" books is turning to crime fiction.

"My wife spotted her writing her Edinburgh criminal detective novel," the newspaper, which was available late Saturday, quoted Rankin as telling a reporter at an Edinburgh literary festival.

"It is great that she has not abandoned writing or Edinburgh cafes," said Rankin, who is known for his own police novels set in the historic Scottish city.

Rowling famously wrote initial drafts of the Potter story in the Scottish city's cafes. Back then, she was a struggling single mother who wrote in cafes to save on the heating bill at home.

Now she's Britain's richest woman — worth $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine — and her seven Potter books have sold more than 335 million copies worldwide.

In an interview with The Associated Press last month, Rowling said she believed she was unlikely to repeat the success of the Potter series, but confirmed she had plans to work on new books.

"I'll do exactly what I did with Harry — I'll write what I really want to write," Rowling said.

The office of Rowling's literary agent, Christopher Little, was not immediately available to comment late Saturday.

Sen. Leahy Lands Role in Batman Movie
The Associated Press

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Holy Beltway, Batman! Sen. Patrick Leahy has a part in the next Batman movie.

"I don't wear tights," the Vermont Democrat said.

Leahy's scene was filmed this summer for "The Dark Knight" and involves Batman, played by Christian Bale, The Joker, played by Heath Ledger, and Alfred Pennyworth, played by Michael Caine.

The longtime Batman fan would reveal little about his role other than he is called the "distinguished gentleman."

"It's a pretty tense scene," said Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "It's going to be a very interesting one."

He's done voice-overs on Batman cartoons, written the preface for a Batman book and had small roles in the last two Batman features.

He said he will donate his earnings from the film to the Kellogg-Hubbard children's library in Montpelier, where the senator got his first library card.

"The Dark Knight" is scheduled to be released next summer.