Punch Lines

Space shots: Aboard the shuttle Columbia, astronauts have solved the puzzle of why that hatch wouldn't open. Says Eduardo de la Torre Jr., "At the bottom, they noticed a little sticker that says 'Childproof locks added for your protection.' "

The disappointed shuttle astronauts requested an extra day in space. Says Alan Ray, "There are some drawbacks. NASA charges a $50 penalty for any change in itinerary."

Lunar scientists were amazed to discover a pool of ice deep in a crater on the moon. Says Joshua Sostrin, "Sounds like one of those Apollo astronauts not only took one small step for man, but one giant leak for mankind as well."

* Adds Jenny Church: "The pond will be named the Sea of Zamboni."

* Adds Mike Reeder: "Life on Mars, water on the moon. What's next? Intelligence in prime time?"

Israeli scientists theorize that the dinosaurs were killed off by radiation from two colliding stars. Says the Cutler Daily Scoop, "I always knew the answer would be found in the galaxy of Faye Resnick."


In the news: The nation's Christmas tree has been put up. Says Vince Vieceli, "Unfortunately, it's not entirely decorated yet. They're still trying to find an angel in Washington, D.C."

Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr reportedly has the White House nervous. Says Argus Hamilton, "Bill and Hillary couldn't do any Christmas shopping last weekend. They have no idea who their friends will be three weeks from now."

Prison officials in Virginia said a gang dispute that injured 18 inmates and two guards began with an argument over a juice drink. Says Bob Thomas, "It seems one inmate asked another if he wanted a Hawaiian Punch."

A robber surprised his victims by pulling a handgun out of a hollowed-out Bible. Says Joe Kevany, "The thief pleaded innocent on the grounds that he was 'influenced by televangelists.' "

How cold has it been here in Los Angeles? Says Jay Leno, "It was so cold, I saw a guy in Beverly Hills who had three sweaters tied around his waist."

Prince William is hunting with his dad in Scotland. Animal rights activists are furious with Prince Charles for teaching his son to kill. Says Hamilton, "If they had their way, the palace would be guarded by the Quiche Eaters."


Reader Peggy Phillips Bucci of Dana Point says granddaughter Megan, 6, returned from a school carnival with a prize goldfish, which she named Sylvia. The next morning, Sylvia was belly up in the fishbowl.

Her mother disposed of the fish and tried to console her heartbroken little girl. Recalling the children's book "Beautiful Joe's Paradise," which features an animal heaven where all deceased pets roam free and happy, she soothed, "Don't cry, Megan. Sylvia is in Beautiful Joe's paradise."

Glaring through her tears, Megan retorted:

"No, she's not. She's in the toilet!"

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