Who are you calling dull?

Think of the stereotypes of people in various forms of employment. Race car drivers are daring. Accountants are boring. Or are they? Not if the 2004 calendar produced by their society in Louisiana is to be believed. Each month features a photo of a member showing off a favorite leisure pursuit. One races his hydroplane. Another pumps iron at a workout club. A third poses with her pet tarantula. Proceeds from the sale of the calendars are earmarked for a scholarship fund. Said a society spokesman: "Outside the office, we're intriguing people ... who love to have a good time."

Its impact will be huge

Since the end of major hostilities in Iraq, the US Patent Office says it has received 29 applications for trademarks with the words "Shock and Awe" in them. Among the products involved: golf clubs, a brand of salsa, pesticides, yo-yos, an energy drink, and, as you might imagine, a video game. Each, the agency pledges, will be considered on its merits.

Home $weet home: Rating most, least, affordable cities

California cities are among the most expensive in the country in which to buy a home, according to results of a new survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. The company's annual Home Price Comparison Index evaluates how much similar residences sold for in neighborhoods where mid-level executives often relocated in 342 markets in the US and Canada. Coldwell Banker's five most and least costly areas, and the average price of a 2,200 square-foot home in each:

Most expensive

1. La Jolla, Calif. $1,362,375
2. Palo Alto, Calif. 1,179,000
3. Greenwich, Conn. 1,170,000
4. Beverly Hills, Calif. 1,097,250
5. San Francisco 971,750

Most affordable

1. Binghamton, N.Y. 121,400
2. Killeen, Texas 127,175
3. Minot, N.D. 129,075
4. Oklahoma City 132,670
5. Topeka, Kan. 136,266 - PR Newswire

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