MUST-HAVES

You've moved into a new office and need to decorate. Or your dorm room, plastered with those Che Guevara posters, could use a more personal touch. Go shopping for a "designer toy." These collectible figurines, inspired by the imaginative toys sold in Tokyo vending machines, are created by Gen-X artists and designers in limited editions.

VIDEO STORE STICK FLICKS

If last week's release of "Miracle," about the 1980 Miracle on Ice, has made you hungry for hockey flicks, check out these old and new classics: 'Slap Shot' Paul Newman heads a scrappy team of minor-league goons.

CHEAT SHEET: BARKING RIGHTS

This week, 2,632 pooches and their stylists will descend on Madison Square Garden for the 128th Westminster dog show. Before you turn on the tube, get acquainted with the top dogs. "The hottest dog in the country right now is a Norfolk terrier named Coco," says David Frei, director of communications for the Westminster Kennel Club.

HOLIDAYS: ANOTHER NEW YEAR

If you're feeling a post-holiday letdown, don't despair. This week marks the start of the Chinese Year of the Monkey, a.k.a. 4702. Here's how to celebrate, whether your roots are in Beijing or Baltimore.Watch: Head to your local Chinatown to see the lion and dragon dancers.

Monkey's Best Friend

Prudy is one of the most popular baboons in her group. When her fellow monkeys pass by, they raise their tails in deference. When her fur grows dusty there's always a volunteer to give it a good grooming.

Where Colorful Birds Sing

The moment Saira Shah and her camera crew glimpsed the small mud house in northern Afghanistan, they knew something awful had happened there. "We all felt it," she writes in her new memoir, "The Storyteller's Daughter" (272 pages.

Get A Move On

Before leaving to meet his friend for dinner the other night, Sakae Fujimoto checked the local traffic report. Instead of flipping stations on the radio, he booted up his in-car navigation system. "Where would you like to go?" a computerized female voice inquired.

Paris On The Amazon

The last remote and pristine forest on our distressed and overcrowded earth" is how Greenpeace describes the Amazon River Valley. For decades now, this romantic view of the Amazon, as a vestige of the once free land corrupted by the arrival of Europeans in the 15th century, has persisted in the popular imagination.

Taste Tricks

Bitterness is in. Lately customers at Studio, a French-Mediterranean restaurant in Laguna Beach, California, have been ordering more frisee salads, endive, dark chocolate gateaux and strong coffee, says executive chef James Boyce. "Years ago, we didn't see a lot of that," he says.

Truly Total Recall

In 1885 German philosopher Hermann Ebbinghaus showed that two thirds of what we learn vanishes from our brains within an hour. That disheartening "forgetting curve" is the reason we paper our computer screens with Post-it notes, mumble mental shopping lists like mantras and consult our PDAs at every opportunity.

It's Better To Belong

Members' clubs have long been synonymous with cigars and old money. But over the past few years a new, hipper crop has emerged that welcomes women and seduces members with champagne, celebrities and late-night extravagance.

Flying Coach

Business travel used to be almost fun. Agnes Mercier, 31, an account manager for a Paris-based advertising company, remembers jetting freely across Europe, meeting clients over multicourse feasts at some of the best restaurants in London, Brussels and Paris.

Sars: Contain Yourself

As of last week, the respiratory illness SARS had infected 2,890 people worldwide and killed 116. But despite the disease's onslaught, health officials emphasize that 96 percent of victims recover fully and that there is no hard evidence of airborne or blood-borne transmission. "We are overisolating, overdiagnosing and probably overdoing the whole effort to achieve containment," says Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

'A Matter Of Hygiene'

Each year, it seems, a new microbe emerges to strike fear in the hearts of microbiologists--and, every once in a while, the rest of us as well. SARS is only the most recent of a succession of new pathogens to have emerged in recent years.

Dna, Five Decades On

James Watson was just 24 years old when he helped make the discovery that would earn him, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins a joint Nobel Prize in science.

Spring Forecast: Baubles That Pop

For much of the past decade, women's jewelry has been virtually invisible. Simple silver rings, stud or hoop earrings and slender chain necklaces seemed the way to go, unless you wanted to risk looking (gasp!) like a hippie.

Dollars And Degrees

American economists once spoofed university education as the only industry in which those who consume its product do not purchase it; those who produce it do not sell it, and those who finance it do not control it.

Style: Not Your Grandma's Mink

For fur lovers, the 1980s and 1990s were harsh years. Groups like PETA took to splashing ink on minks and parading hideous images of suffering animals outside fashion shows.

A Rose Takes Root

When the Globe Theater opened in London in 1997, no one knew what to expect. Critics smelled a gimmick in the heavily hyped reproduction of Shakespeare's famous stage and worried that the venue would be more concerned with tourist pounds than artistic merit.

Lending A Helping Hand

Wearing a hard hat and face shield, Stan Vicich stands beneath a 50-foot eucalyptus tree on a volcanic island off the coast of Australia. His arms outstretched, he's waiting for a grunting, silver-haired koala named Delma to shin far enough down the tree trunk to be grabbed and thrust into a burlap sack.

Time To Read An E-Book?

Marc Steuben is hooked on electronic books. "I love the e-reading experience," says the 37-year-old programmer from Boulder, Colorado. "I like the search functionality, I like that I can resize text to make it bigger and I like the fact that it's backlit, so I can read at night without the lights on." He feels no different about his e-book, he says, than another reader might feel about a well-worn copy of "The Catcher in the Rye." "People say there's something sensual about books that they love.

Queens: Moma And Beyond

This week New York's Museum of Modern Art opens MoMA QNS, the temporary outpost that will serve artgoers until its new $800 million Manhattan building opens in 2005.

Design: Sitting Pretty

The movie business has Cannes; office furniture has NeoCon, a three-day extravaganza in Chicago, Illinois. At last week's event, companies fought to unseat Herman Miller's iconic Aeron chair as the top choice of style-conscious executives.

The Insidious Spread Of A Killer Virus

Doctors have told Saeed Taha that he has only weeks to live. The 48-year-old electrician is sprawled on a Cairo hospital bed with tubes connected, seemingly, to every major vein and artery.

The Dish On Diners

The preacher was break-dancing. "Save Jones Diner!... Save Jones Diner!" We chanted along, some imitating his break-dance moves, all of us packed cheek to cheek into a tiny, subway-car-sized eatery in lower Manhattan.

SCHOOL BY THE BOOK

Two dozen soldiers stand guard at the main gate of Istanbul University. They are posted there every day to watch the students walk through the great Ottoman arch.

State Of The Ice

The conventional wisdom about global warming holds that the polar ice caps are melting. Enormous chunks of ice will break off the Antarctic mainland and float into the sea to melt, sending water levels rising around the world, inundating seaside cities and submerging islands.

Superbug Killers

Alfred Gertler had never been so ill. In 1997 the 45-year-old jazz musician was hiking in Costa Rica when he fell and broke his ankle. He contracted a staphylococcus infection so severe that flare-ups kept him in bed for weeks at a time.

Selling The U.S.A.

Most of the new PR plan was ready to go. As the new moon ushered in the month of Ramadan last week, U.S. officials prepared "Mosques of America" posters, showing glossy images of domes and minarets, for distribution across the Arab world.

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