Punch Lines

Congratulations! Today is the day you officially go from being the last house on the block to take down your Christmas decorations to being the first house to have them up, says Steve Voldseth.

The Christmas tree outside the Capitol is a 68-foot spruce. Says Jerry Perisho, "Newt Gingrich wanted that specific tree. He chopped that sucker down and hauled it 2,500 miles because it was home to a spotted owl, an ivory-billed woodpecker and a California condor."

Boomers spoil their kids rotten on Christmas. Says Argus Hamilton, "Nothing is free. The kids have to hear endless stories about what it was like to have to walk all the way across the living room to change channels."


In the news: A federal court overturned the conviction of Lincoln Savings kingpin Charles Keating. Says Alan Ray, "His warden gave mixed reviews. He wasn't a model prisoner--but somehow he managed to earn 3 billion cigarettes."

* Adds Rick Rockwell, "Keating said he doesn't regret his five years behind bars because 'worse things happen every day.' You mean like getting bilked out of your savings by some white-collar crook?"

The U.S. has barred 16 Japanese war criminals, accused of running forced-sex camps during World War II, from entering this country. Says Hamilton, "Who invited them here to begin with? Is the Army short of drill sergeants?"

The Supreme Court let stand a law that bans phone solicitation by auto-dialing machines. Says Gary Easley, "The justices refused to hear the case because they were in the middle of dinner."

Cable TV rates are going up in January. Says the Cutler Daily Scoop, "One cable channel is changing its name to Dime-odeon."

Jenny Church checked out that new cologne endorsed by Michael Jordan: "You don't dab it on, you dribble it."

Burt Reynolds has filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11:

* "Of course, after his agent takes his usual 10%, Burt will be in Chapter 10." (Bob Mills)

* "In the past, he's swept his financial problems under the rug. In other words, they're always on his mind." (Ray)

* "As a result, they've had to revise his filmography. Altered titles include:

--"Smokey and the Bankrupt"

--"The Longest Yard Sale"

--Can't-Afford-a-Ball Run"

--"The Man Who Loved Women (With Money)"

(Alex Pearlstein)


Reader Petria Ingram of Santa Barbara says her husband, John, took daughter Julie, 3, to early Mass one Sunday. During the service, just after the offering was collected, a man seated in front of them collapsed and had to be carried from the church. Bewildered, Julie whispered to her father:

"Does he get his money back?"

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