Punch Lines

In the news: On Wall Street, the Dow plummeted on Friday, zoomed up on Monday, then dropped again on Tuesday but recovered--barely. "What should investors buy in this up-and-down market?" wonders Jenny Church. "Pogo sticks?"

Bob Dole has clarified his position on abortion, says Bill Maher. "He said he's against it in all cases except rape, incest or where the survival of the candidate is at risk."

Dole's national co-chair, Al D'Amato, is pushing Colin Powell as running mate, saying Powell "would reinvigorate the ticket." Asks the Cutler Daily Scoop, "How? Does he know CPR?"

Auditors say Department of Energy labs have huge stockpiles of weapons. Says Paul Steinberg, "Well, I guess we know one government agency that no one's going to try to downsize any time soon."

As Navy ships head for Taiwan in the face of Chinese military exercises, their mission is to protect the Straits of Formosa, says Argus Hamilton. "Federal law doesn't allow them to ask about the gays of Formosa."

* Adds Alan Ray, "The president's tough rhetoric toward China is meant to send a clear message to the rest of the world: 'Clinton/Gore in '96.' "

The National Catfish Institute is celebrating its 10th anniversary. "Catfish restaurants have sprung up all across the country," says Bob Mills, "making them the most profitable bottom-feeders since lawyers."

Michael Jackson is being sued by a female former employee alleging sex discrimination. Says Ray, "She reportedly rejected his standard settlement offer--cash and a new bike."

Feminists are upset about the soon-to-be-released "I Dream of Jeannie" doll, because it is programmed to speak the phrase "Yes, Master." But Gary Easley says parents can use it as an educational toy. "They can tell their daughters those words are code for not getting married until they complete a graduate degree."

* Adds Mills, "The doll is so realistic, the belly button is sold separately."

With all the recent success of movies featuring cross-dressing, Charlie Reinke says, Charlton Heston is working on a new film called "Been Him."

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Slaves to the grind: A Harvard study suggests that coffee drinkers are less likely than others to commit suicide:

* "So that's why Jack Kevorkian secretly switched to Folgers Crystals in his waiting room!" (Reinke)

* "You know what that means, don't you? We're going to have to kill the Taster's Choice couple ourselves." (Jay Leno)

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Reader Gina Sulmeyer of Rolling Hills Estates recalls taking her daughter, Shauna, then 4, to Sea World. They stopped in front of a large directory map of the park. Mom showed Shauna how to trace their route, starting with the words "You Are Here." Amazed, Shauna turned to her and asked:

"How did they know we were here?"

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