Punch Lines

Employers are accepting only two excuses from workers who didn't manage to make it back from the holiday weekend on Monday, says Gary Easley: "I couldn't get a flight back" or "Today I could finally get my pants zipped."

The Christmas shopping season is off to a brisk start, says Steve Tatham, "as politicians try to unload those post-election campaign promises."

* Adds Jenny Church: "For families scraping to provide gifts for all the kids, there's advice in that book by Hillary Clinton, 'It Takes a Visa.' "

* Adds Buzz Nutley: "The hot gizmo of the year is Nintendo 64. Apparently, that's how many they made--and they were all gone the first day."

* Adds Jerry Perisho: "A popular item is the new Holiday Barbie. Send in her registration card and you receive a copy of her ruined credit history, her cut-in-half charge cards and--especially exciting--collection agencies will call you every hour until you get her payments current."


Space jammed: Astronauts aboard the Columbia had to cancel their spacewalks because of a jammed hatch. Says Bob Mills, "You know how hard it is to find a locksmith around the holidays. One NASA subcontractor suggested they try picking the lock with a $600 paper clip."


In the news: Los Angeles police found $1.3 million worth of pot in the trunk of a 1975 Pinto they pulled over. Says Argus Hamilton, "The driver said he wasn't going to deal the dope, he was just trying to give his car a higher street value."

In England, 14-year-old Prince William shot his first stag. Says Bob Thomas, "The queen was panic-stricken until someone explained to her that it was a deer, not a movie."

The USDA is drawing up new standards for frozen pizza. Says the Cutler Daily Scoop, "Actually, they're just borrowing the old standards for perforated cardboard."

In an interview, Shirley MacLaine said she would never have plastic surgery. Says Easley, "And why should she? She looks great for a woman of 8,000."


Reader Fred Zubiate of Riverside enjoyed having grandson Mathew, 8, visit his ranch for the weekend. When he returned Mathew to his mother in Hemet, she asked the boy how things had gone.

"I learned a lot about manners at Grandpa's, Mom," he said.

"But son," she replied, "I teach you about manners here."

"I know, Mom, but at Grandpa's you have to use them."

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