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LAUGH LINES : Punchlines

In the news: It’s been months since federal employees in Washington had to go to work. First the shutdown, then the snowstorm, then the King Day holiday. Argus Hamilton worries that if this drags on any longer, they’re gonna miss their vacations.

Why not try a flat tax? asks Charles Reinke. “After all, it’ll go to a government that’s flat broke.”

Thousands of autographed copies of Hillary Clinton’s book were actually signed by a machine. Premiere Morning Sickness says a representative said, “What were we supposed to do? She fired the staff that used to sign them.”

And speaking of autographs, a former Secret Service agent admits to forging Ronald Reagan’s signature. Joe Kevany says it all started when somebody asked him to sign one for the Gipper.

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Air traffic safety analysts warn that a language barrier in the cockpit can create dangerous situations. Says Jenny Church, “The most famous example of a pilot no one could understand was ‘Twin Peaks.’ ”

New York City is expecting 20,000 potholes as a result of all that snow. Johnny Robish says officials are concerned there may not be enough streets to accommodate them.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear suits over air bags. Says Joseph Vogel, “Like they don’t have anything better to do than discuss Rush Limbaugh’s tailoring.”

Public profanity is on the rise. To help fight the problem, Premiere says, Jean-Claude Van Damme is changing his name to Jean-Claude Van Darn.

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Neal Feinberg says this week Kate Moss turned 22 . . . pounds.

Madonna is off to Argentina, filming “Evita.” The archbishop of Buenos Aires called her “pornographic and unsuitable for the role.” Says Kenny Noble, “Wait’ll he hears that Juan Peron is being played by Dennis Rodman.”

A Nevada robber let a convenience-store clerk make one phone call during a holdup, then seemed surprised when the police showed up. Says Cutler Daily Scoop, “Well, anyone who has ever called 911 would have been surprised too.”

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The last drive-through: Dr. Jack Kevorkian plans to open a chain of suicide shops, starting in L.A.:

* “He’ll buy a fleet of vans, hire Domino’s drivers--you could be dead in 30 minutes or less.” (Paul Ryan)

* “He’ll offer assistance to the L.A. County budget, move on to the CBS evening lineup and then finish off ‘Cutthroat Island.’ ” (Jerry Perisho)

* “What will he call them? Thank goodness Jack-in-the-Box is already taken.” (Hamilton)

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Reader Ami Burns says niece Karolyn, age 4, was thoroughly enjoying her grandmother’s dip at a family party, scooping it up with crackers. Her Uncle Craig suggested she use the spreading spoon because, “We don’t know where your fingers have been.” Karolyn looked at her hands, then at her uncle:

“They’ve been right here for years.”


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