LAUGH LINES : Punchlines

A Cool Yule: Cutler Daily Scoop, on the lighting of the national Christmas tree: "The pageant included decorated trees for all the states. During the ceremony, several ornaments from the California tree moved over to the Oregon tree."

Alan Ray, on White House decorations: "There's a wooden toy soldier in the corner of one room. Al Gore just hates this part of his job."

Jay Leno, on Christmas in California: "In Beverly Hills, if Jack Frost is nipping at your nose, he's probably a plastic surgeon."

Argus Hamilton, on the Newt pledging to back off from making outrageous comments: "It's no surprise. Bad little boys always promise to be good when it gets this close to Christmas."

Steve Tatham, on the gingerbread version of the first lady's childhood home, on display at the White House: "Like many of her husband's policies, it was half-baked and sugar-coated."

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In the news: Leno, on Chris Darden getting $1 million to write and co-produce his life story: "He thought he got screwed over by the jury. Wait until the movie executives get ahold of him."

Hamilton, on Nebraska football star Lawrence Phillips getting probation for beating up his ex-girlfriend: "His classmates just voted him Most Likely to Require the Services of Johnnie Cochran."

Douglas Mortenson, on $70 million in incentives that Los Angeles will give DreamWorks SKG for locating in Marina del Rey: "Now I know what SKG stands for--Same ol' Kickback Game."

Jenny Church, on the IRS unveiling nationwide phone filing of tax returns: "Now if you need an extension at tax time, you just put in a new jack."

Bob Mills, on ABC's plans to launch a cable news network to compete with CNN: "The copycat syndrome has already set in. The president of ABC News is looking for a fading actress to marry."

Alex Kaseberg, on the possibility of a sequel to "Toy Story": "Mr. Potato Head is insisting on more money, a bigger trailer and a personal assistant. When did he get such a big head?"

Ray, on Minnesota banning Crazy Horse Malt Liquor after protests from Native Americans: "They turned down an earlier settlement offer from the state--a case of Red Man chewing tobacco."

Alex Pearlstein, on Princess Diana meeting with the queen and prime minister to discuss Di's future role in England: "This, apparently, would be in addition to her role in the hay."

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Anaheim reader Michael Scofield was exploring the perimeter of Long Beach airport with nephew Jimmy, then 7, when he stopped the car near a DC-8 with conspicuous United Parcel Service markings. The boy studied the UPS aircraft for a few moments, then lit up, saying:

"That plane carries presents!"

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