Get Wise 

Space cartoons at Chabot


When most of us look at the night sky we see an unremarkable scattering of white specks on black, like refined salt spattered on a beautiful black tablecloth. True, any intelligent six-year-old can pluck out the Big and Little Dippers. Some can also marvel at the Milky Way with sufficient awe. But most of our knowledge of the heavens would fit inside a thimble.Fellow astronomy know-nothings of all ages, take heed! There's a happy route out of such benightedness this weekend and continuing for the next few months at the Chabot Space and Science Center (10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland), with the astronomy-savvy cartoons, Skywise.

Drawn with vibrant simplicity by cartoonist Jay Ryan, a self-taught astronomer whose cartoons appeared in Sky and Telescope magazine for more than four years, they find spare, visually compelling ways to educate kids as well as adults about the arcane science of the sky. Ryan covers everything from seasons, timekeeping, and the solar system, to the progress of Comet Hale-Bopp and other recent cosmic phenomena. Always wondered what the equinoxes looked like from out there? Ryan shows you. And because Orion humorously looks like a TV set on a stand with jutting antennae and satellite attachments, while Hercules looks like a three-year-old's stick figure minus the head, the images are ones you won't quickly forget. Info: or 510-336-7300.-- Ann Murphy


'Ween Agers

It's here. Why fight it?

Halloween -- so many candy bars, so little time. Simplify your kids' lives. Take them to one of these spooky celebrations and let them yell their little heads off. 1) The Green Stampede Homework Club (A's fans benefiting Oakland school students) is having a traditional haunted house tonight (Wednesday 6-9 p.m.) and Thursday at St. Paschal's Church Gymnasium, 3700 Dorisa Ave., Oakland. 2) Hilltop Mall in Richmond offers free trick-or-treating from 140 stores for kids under twelve on Halloween night (info: 510-223-1933). 3) The Three Witches tell scary stories at the Oakland Public Library's Brookfield Branch (9255 Edes Ave.) at 3:30 p.m. today and at the Main Library (125 14th St.) at 4:30 and 7 p.m. this evening. -- Kelly Vance


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