Meet me for lunch, in 2005

It tops a US Army most-wanted list, unleashes potent chemicals that suck the immediate vicinity dry – and it goes great with grape jelly.

The struggle to make the classic peanut butter and jelly combination battle-ready for soldiers in the field highlights an effort by top Army scientists to develop pocket sandwiches that will keep without refrigeration for three years.

Researchers working on the latest innovation in "meals ready to eat,'' army lingo for anytime, anywhere munchies, were drawn to the stuffed bread rolls now in supermarket frozen food sections. Convenience is the attraction: no utensils, not much to open yet makes for a satisfying meal, at least in theory.

"The trick was to get rid of the 6,000 mile extension cord to the freezer," said Jerry Darsch, who directs the Defense Department's feeding program in Natick, Mass.

Four years later, the Army has come up with formulas for two sandwiches - pepperoni and barbecue chicken - that use chemical and natural preservatives to lock moisture in place and inhibit the growth of bacteria and mold.

Darsch said his sandwiches are designed to be as resilient as the troops they feed. "This bad boy will last a minimum of three years at 80 degrees, six months at 100 degrees. They will travel to the swampiest swamp, the highest mountain, the most arid desert."


Divorce isn't a funny thing, but firefighter Larry VanHooser of Lexington, Ky., turned it into a gag – at least when it came to his license plate.

VanHooser won $5,000 for coming up with his vanity plate "D-WIFED," beating out the likes of "CYIMBRK" (See why I am broke) and MANOPOZ (male menopause). The results of the nationwide contest, sponsored by car-care products maker Eagle One, were announced on Monday.

VanHooser said he got the idea for the plate as he was driving around in the 1999 Chevrolet Corvette he purchased after his divorce, his third.

"It crossed my mind, and I said that's the one," he said. "It cost me $25 and the divorce cost me $100,000."

The 54-year-old VanHooser, who plans to retire soon, said he will give some of the prize money to his two sons, also firefighters, and some to charity.

The contest was judged by the writers of NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Eagle One said more than 2,500 entries were submitted from all 50 states.

You'll never lose that Swiss Army knife!

If you've forgotten to remove sharp objects from your hand luggage at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut, don't despair.

The Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Postal Service and the company that runs gift stores in both terminals at Bradley have teamed up to let travelers keep banned items and still make their flights.

How? By using the mail.

Passengers can pay $5 for a box with an address label and $3.85 for a stamp to have sharp objects like corkscrews and scissors weighing up to one pound mailed home.

Passengers also can receive a receipt allowing them to return to the head of the security line if they've been pulled aside after agents uncover the sharp objects.

The mailing boxes are available at any of the Paradies Shops at Bradley. About 250 people have taken advantage of the program in its first week, Paradies manager Debra Ostrov said.

"These items may be antiques or just family mementos, and it just kills people to have to part with them," she said Monday.

Words of note:

"It is all right your saying you do not need other people, but there are a lot of people who need you."

Sherwood Anderson, American writer

From 'Letters of Sherwood Anderson' (1953).

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