THE OTHER DAY, SMALL FELLOW SAW FIVE $20 BILLS ON THE COUNTER AND ASKED WHAT WE WERE DOING WITH THE $100. THERE'S NO DOWNSIDE TO DEVELOPING MATH SKILLS LIKE THAT, BUT WHEN HE STARTS TO MAKE CONNECTIONS LIKE THIS, WE'LL HAVE A TOUGH TIME ANSWERING HIS INEVITABLE QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR SOCIETY'S PRIORITIES

Donald Brownlee of the University of Washington, the lead scientist studying particles retrieved by the Stardust mission, which collected samples of comet and interstellar dust, said that the seven-year space mission "exceeded all of our grandest expectations." The 100-pound sample container captured thousands of particles that originated at the edge of the solar system or from distant stars. Brownlee added that the mission's $212 million cost was a bargain given the amount of knowledge it will provide:

"The way I like to look at it," he said with a laugh, "it's the same cost as a well-paid baseball player over a 10-year period."

Hey, easy, there, doc. Nobody wants any trouble . . .

THIS WEEK ON GAZA SESAME STREET: TERRORIST MASTERMIND OSCAR THE GROUCH SENDS GROVER ON A SUICIDE ATTACK WHICH DECAPITATES PRAIRIE DAWN. LATER, GORDON AND MARIA BUILD A SHRINE TO GROVER AND PRAISE HIS MARTYRED SOUL

Hamas1841a1Palestinian terror group Hamas announced last week that, as part of an ongoing effort to diversify its product, it will soon begin broadcasting a children's television show to the Gaza Strip, via its Al Aksa TV network. Host and producer "Uncle Hazim" Sharawi says:

"Our television show will have a message, but without getting into the tanks, the guns, the killing and the blood . . . I will show them our rights through the history, show them, 'This is Nablus, this is Gaza, this is Al Aksa mosque, which is with the Israelis and should be in our hands.'"

Sounds like fun, but don't bother sending in postcards to try to get a seat in the studio audience: Since Israel attacked the network's previous site, its new studio location is a heavily guarded secret.

THE BEST BARGAIN IN NEW YORK CITY (NON-HOT-DOG-AND-PAPAYA-JUICE CATEGORY)

Not only is the New York Hall of Science at the old World's Fair site in Queens a great hands-on science museum for kids. Not only does it have arguably the city's best playground, not to mention the majestic, refurbished NASA spacecraft of Rocket Park. But it also offers its member families what we see as the single greatest bargain in the city: The Association of Science-Technology Centers reciprocal membership package, especially valuable for families who travel.

The skinny: A one-year family membership at the museum is $65, though there's no reason not to take the deal and sign up for two years for $100, because along with all the normal benefits of membership, you'll receive free reciprocal admission (and members-only line-cutting privileges) at attractions around the country, like the Liberty Science Center, Transit Museum, and Yale Peabody Museum here in the tri-state area, plus Philadelphia's Franklin Institute, Chicago's Field Museum, and Boston's Museum of Science and Children's Museum, among dozens of others. For the Freelance Family, the membership has already paid for itself at least twice over.

IF ONLY HAAGEN DAZS, FRITO-LAY, AND ENTENMANN'S MADE SIMILAR INGREDIENT CHANGES, WE'D BE BACK DOWN TO OUR FIGHTING WEIGHT IN NO TIME

The parent company of both Hostess and Drake's placed an "Important Message for Our Kosher Consumers" in the most recent issue of New York Jewish Week, informing us that, in an "effort to reduce the amount of trans fat in Hostess snack cakes" (you might ask, Why bother?) the company was discontinuing the kosher shortening it had been using to make Twinkies in its northeast bakeries. The company regrets any inconvenience this might cause. (Inconvenience?)

But Interstate wants to reassure kosher consumers that its complete line of Drake's Cakes, including Devil Dogs and Ring Dings, continues to be made with the same kosher, transfattyful ingredients we've come to love and cherish. So, party on, our observant brothers! The Yodels are on us!

January 23, 2006 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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