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X-files

The coolest page in the Times.

By Staff, wire reports
Published June 5, 2006


ON THE ROAD - SORT OF

The Ford Motor Co. wants to help you become a better driver. Its Driving Skills for Life program has launched a Web site with features designed to help young drivers improve their skills behind the wheel while offering a chance to win prizes. While on the site - www.drivingskillsforlife.com - teens can complete various e-learning modules, take a safe driving quiz and play safe driving games, among other online activities. Several features on the site award points that can be used to enter prize drawings. So now you can get behind the wheel before you get on the road.

FOR COUCH POTATOES ONLY

One way to beat the summer heat: Tune in to what's new on television for younger viewers. Here's a sampling:

* Beyond the Break: 8:30 p.m. Fridays, the N. For teenagers. Four surfer pals from different walks of life come of age together on the shores of Hawaii.

* Falcon Beach: 9 p.m. Mondays, ABC Family. For teenagers. Townies and tourists mingle in this drama set in a fictional New England resort community.

* Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman: Weekdays, PBS (check listings). For ages 6-12. Live action/animated. Real kids are given real challenges by an unreal host, an animated pooch named Ruff.

* Pokemon Chronicles: 7 p.m. Saturdays, Cartoon Network. For ages 6-12. Animated. Follows the adventures of Pikachu and the Pokemon gang when they're not trailing Ash.

* Oban Star-Racers: 8:30 p.m. Mondays, Toon Disney. For ages 6-12. Animated. In 2082, rebellious teenager and pilot prodigy Molly leads Team Earth in the Greatest Race of Oban, one that takes place only every 10,000 years.

CASTING A SPELL

While you were watching the Scripps National Spelling Bee last week did you get the feeling that you could take part in the competition? Two-time competitor Grace Meikle, 14, of Woodbridge, Va., practices spelling for at least 45 minutes each day, and she spends a lot of time writing words. Grace, who was tripped up in the fifth round of last week's bee on the word khanate, offered these tips for spelling success.

* "It's helpful to see the word written in different ways . . . in different fonts, colors or in cursive.''

* Learn the definitions. "That gives you something to remember the word for.''

* Learn the language of origin. "For a word you don't know, that can help you make a better guess.''

* Be on the lookout for new words.

* Hope for the best. "There's a certain amount of luck involved. And sometimes you just have a bad day.''

XPRESS QUOTE

"I was pretty much all about surfing (in high school). I worked at a surf shop, I surfed every day. I had independent surf P.E. My driver's license is from when I was 17, and I have a blond Afro and a tan."

- ADAM BRODY (The O.C.) on ElleGirl.com.