Punch Lines

Crunch time: A survey indicates that the No. 1 gift adults will receive this Christmas will be abdominal exercise gadgets. Says Steve Tatham, "That means 1997 is going to be a busy year for garage sales."


In the news: Sen. Al D'Amato announced that the Senate's Whitewater hearings are over. Says the Cutler Daily Scoop, "Good. D'Amato heading an ethics investigation is like Kelsey Grammer heading a driving school. Can they use D'Amato's grandstand for the Macy's parade?"

* Adds Argus Hamilton, "The White House said they hope all investigations can be conducted in a less poisonous atmosphere . . . like the surface of Saturn, for instance."

Two days after the election, NASA launched a rocket toward Mars. Asks Russ Myers, "Anybody seen Ross Perot lately?"

* Adds Premiere Morning Sickness, "The 435-million-mile mission will take 10 months. Wow, imagine getting a middle seat on that flight."

Scientists in California announced that life on Earth began 3.8 billion years ago, rather than 3.4 billion as previously thought. Says Hamilton, "People are a little skeptical. They know Californians never tell the truth about their age."

Boston College suspended 13 football players for illegally placing bets on games. Says Jerry Perisho, "There must have been some sort of recruiting screw up here. Surely these players should have gone to USC."

* Adds the Olympia Daily World, "They'll still be going to the Rose Bowl . . . the Pete Rose Bowl."

Calvin Klein plucked a homeless man off the streets to be his company's next model, Says Tatham, "Klein said he was perfect for the job because he was already starving."


Broadcast news: Under guidelines proposed by TV producers, shows with lots of sex would be labeled "S" and shows with lots of violence would be labeled "V." Says Jenny Church, "And shows with neither would be labeled 'Canceled.' "

The liquor industry has lifted its voluntary ban on TV and radio ads. Says Alex Pearlstein, "They've also decided to sponsor a few network shows." Watch for:

* "Live with Chivas Regal and Kathie Lee"

* "Suddenly Sauza"

* "The Single-Malt Guy"

* "It's a Wild Turkey Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown"

* "3rd on the Rocks From the Sun"


Reader Alice Marie Simon of Newport Beach recalls crossing the North Atlantic with several generations of her family aboard the Queen Elizabeth II. Her daughter, eager to impress 4-year-old Phoebe with the specialness of a voyage on such a legendary ocean liner, asked, "Phoebe, do you know what we are on?" The child pondered for a moment, then the light dawned and she said:

"Oh, are we on a diet?"

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