Here's the Scoop: Dec. 30, 2008

Winter reading time
Along with the constant tease of some nice snowstorms — quickly followed by rain, some form of icy material and early summer temperatures — I like winter in the Catskills for other reasons, as well.
For instance, I often use this time of year to catch up on my reading. When someone invented the term “Curling up by the fire with a good book,” I think they probably had some serious book titles in mind. After all, “trash novels” were meant for the beach.
I prefer to alternate between “good books” and “popular books.” The two don’t usually overlap.
I will admit, though, that I recently finished The DaVinci Code. A quick Internet search shows that I was one of 19 people in the United States who had not read this book.
The DaVinci Code was actually quite entertaining. I had started the book a few years ago, but somehow got sidetracked and didn’t make it very far. So, I began again.
Oddly enough, for awhile I felt that maybe I had finished the book the first time. It was similar to high school when I knew I had studied for a test, but the correct responses were murky when it came time to jot down the answers.
Then I realled that I had read Angels and Demons by the same author a few years earlier. This book was not as widely read as The DaVinci Code — I guess that’s the reason the author chose to use a very similar plot again. The second time, apparently, was the charm, because The DaVinci Code was a huge hit and the author’s writing these days could certainly be limited to signing royalty checks, if he so chooses.

Here’s an original idea
I found it hard to believe that the writer could crank out yet another story based on the same character and a very familiar tale, but when you’ve got a good thing going...
The good news is that The DaVinci Code was so fast-paced there was no time for romance scenes. I was thankful for this because I think that the love scenes would have been described all in symbols, as per the rest of these stories. And, that’s just no fun.
I know there are lots of other books to be read and there’s really no excuse for not tackling these. And, even though we’re just entering January, I need some hope for longer days and non-icy surfaces.
So, the other day I did what any nerd would do — I pulled out the Fantasy Baseball magazines that I had purchased last March in anticipation of spring! This move proved beneficial on several levels.
Number one is the fact that I didn’t have to pay for these magazines. But being a cheapskate was not my goal for a change.
The real benefit of having these used magazines around was that I could go back and read the predictions of the “experts.” Don’t tell the Phillies, but the Cubs won the World Series, according to one publication in my possession.
Then there was the sad tale of these magazine pros projecting how certain players would perform. Fellow Fantasy Nerds such as myself put a lot of stock in what these writers tell us will occur during the upcoming season. We use this info to help draft our Fantasy Teams in search of earning bragging rights and a couple of dollars in winners’ loot.
Looking back on the advice from these magazine writers proves that, well, these guys can’t always predict players’ or teams’ performances. I guess that’s why they aren’t writing popular bestsellers.