GIL Loescher's amazing comeback continues. Loescher, who grew up in Burlingame, is the gutsy fellow who suffered devastating injuries in the 2003 terror bombing of United Nations headquarters in Baghdad.

His legs were so mangled that, after his rescue from the collapsed building, both had to be amputated above the knee. He also incurred major damage to his right hand.

Loescher, a former professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, is a U.N. consultant on refugee affairs. An instructor at Oxford University, he and his family live in England.

Loescher's rehabilitation has been ongoing. He plans to return to the U.S. next month. He is scheduled to be the undergraduate commencement speaker May 21 at St. Mary's College in Moraga, his alma mater.

A graduate of Serra High School in San Mateo in the early 1960s, Loescher was a basketball player at both Serra and St. Mary's. He has a brother who lives in the East Bay.

CHEAP EATS — Scotty Paterson has checked in with some perspective on a recent item in this space.

Paterson's interest was piqued by a reference to two former five-and-dime stores, F.W. Woolworth and J.J. Newberry, that were in downtown San Mateo years ago.

Paterson, who said he moved to Burlingame from San Francisco in 1947, noted that the Woolworth outlet in downtown San Francisco, like the one in San Mateo, offered good food at very reasonable prices.

He included an April 1941 Woolworth menu with his letter. Here are some notable highlights from the pre-Pearl Harbor document:

Steak dinner, complete with whipped potatoes, vegetable, biscuit and butter, 25 cents; toasted bacon and tomato club sandwich, 15 cents; strawberry-banana pie, 10 cents.

Sorry, there was no opportunity to super-size anything in those halcyon days. Then again, it probably wasn't necessary.

VANITY NOTE — Scott Delucchi, the tireless publicist for the Peninsula Humane Society, has e-mailed a note saying the animal-welfare outfit is trotting out a new bumper sticker — "Sit Happens" — to tout the agency's obedience classes. Cute. Delucchi also pointed out that one of his former teachers, a Catholic priest, spotted this vanity license plate some time ago: "QQQQ."

Delucchi said the wise and witty pedagogue had to explain it to him. We'll leave it to you to figure out the mildly naughty message this time.

SISTER CITY? — Redwood City's David Lake swears that one of the local talking heads who spew what passes for TV news these days declared that the Beatles were from Livermore. Hey, maybe Livermore is Liverpool's sister city. Who knows? Anything is possible. But, please, spare us another teaser on the travails of Michael Jackson.

Got a hot Peninsula tip or a local vignette that cries out for publication? By all means, don't hesitate. Send it along to John Horgan by telephone at 348-4334, by fax at 348-4446 and by traditional snail mail at P.O. Box 5400, San Mateo, CA 94402.