LAUGH LINES : Punchlines

Federal farce . . . Numerous federal departments have been shut down:

* “Even the ‘unnamed source’ at the White House has been laid off.” (Cutler Daily Scoop)

* “What do you call it when a civil servant is idle morning, noon and night? Overtime. " (Alan Ray)

* “All postal workers stayed on the job. It’s not that they’re essential--it’s just that no one has the nerve to send them home.” (Argus Hamilton)


* “President Clinton sent his recipe for Thanksgiving dinner to Republicans in Congress: First of all, stuff that turkey of a budget proposal. " (Ray)

All he wanted was a window seat . . . The Newt is mad about being ignored on Air Force One:

* “What really angered him was when the pilot announced: ‘In case of an emergency water landing, Newt Gingrich can be used as a flotation device.’ ” (R.J. Johnson)

* “I guess it’s true. On every flight, there’s always at least one crying baby.” (Alex Pearlstein)

* “Newt’s snit prompted a raging debate in Congress: Which is more out of control, the House Speaker’s weight or his ego?” (Alex Kaseberg)

* “One sure bet about Gingrich and the budget: In the year 2002, at least one of them will still be unbalanced.” (Cutler)


Also in the news: Kenny Noble, on CBS: “Amazingly, it was sold twice in one week. It was officially bought by Westinghouse last Thursday, four days after it sold out completely to the tobacco industry.”

Jenny Church, on the GOP’s plan to downsize the federal courts: “From now on, no judge can be appointed who is taller than Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

Hamilton, on the GOP Florida straw poll: “This was the last weekend the state could host the candidates. Prime tourist season starts soon and the hotels like to have the riffraff out by then.”

Neal Leibowitz, on AT&T;'s plan to buy out or lay off thousands of middle managers: “Ever image-conscious, the company is promoting it as a new feature called ‘job forwarding.’ ”

Tony Peyser, on Councilman Nate Holden’s sexual-harassment trial: “If he’d been more circumspect, people wouldn’t be asking if he was circumcised.”

Jay Leno, on Hooters waitresses’ Washington protest: “It was part of the million implant march.”

Charlie Reinke, on Ricki Lake announcing that she is now down to a Size 6: “Maybe now people will stop referring to her as one of the Great Lakes.”

Ray, on the University of Nebraska football team: “The Cornhuskers have a unique offensive scheme. Before a receiver can go out, he has to check with his probation officer.”


When North Hollywood reader Dan Mish raised his hand to smack an ant as it crawled across the table, daughter Mollie, 4, shouted, “Wait, Daddy! It might have a family.” His hand frozen in mid-air, Mish told her that the ant was headed right for her hot dog. Mollie thought for a second, then said:

“Kill it, Daddy!”