Punch Lines

Desperately seeking Elmo: "Only nine more shopping days until your kid discovers you waited too long to buy the Tickle Me Elmo," Mark Gonzales says.

* "Biblical scholars say the shepherds and wise men witnessed a true miracle on that first Christmas. They actually found a Tickle Me Elmo." (Alan Ray)

* "There's only one item harder to find: A salesclerk to ring it up for you." (Ray)

* "How to pay for it? With the Stretch Me MasterCard." (Ray)

* "Sadly, parents unable to find a Tickle Me Elmo were forced to buy toys that improved their children's math and science skills." (Craig Kilborn)

A study shows that more large companies are planning holiday parties this year. Says the Cutler Daily Scoop, "They're spending the money they saved from layoffs."


In the news: A new law requires the IRS to send out organ-donor cards with all refund checks. Says Argus Hamilton, "They're not just happy with an arm and a leg. Now they want permission to dig you up and go through your pockets."

Los Angeles has outlawed gas-powered leaf-blowers in residential areas. Jon Vogel wonders, "Is a person who reports a violation a leaf-blower whistle-blower?"

On a cruise from San Diego, a 28-year-old man had the end of his nose bitten off by another passenger. Says Steve Voldseth, "Then Kathie Lee started singing and he begged the guy to bite off his ears too."


Ovitz qvitz: With part of his $90 million severance from Disney, Michael Ovitz will buy four miles of Malibu Beach so he can exercise the rest of his deal, says Paul Dean: "He got to keep the Dalmatians."

* "The Catholic Church recently announced it won't recognize marriages performed at Disneyland. Now they're meeting to rule on the Eisner-Ovitz annulment." (Teri Dryden)

* "Seems like there just wasn't enough room for two Michaels. As the Disney song goes, 'It's a Small Executive Suite After All.' " (Bob Mills)

* "It's hard to play second fiddle to a mouse when you've been top dog." (Cutler)

* "He couldn't stand the way they all whistle while they work." (Jenny Church)

* "He's getting $90 million to quit? Jeez, I'd leave my job for half that." (Mack Dryden)

* "Cynical observers say Ovitz will come out OK--and land on someone else's feet." (Stan Kaplan)


Reader Howard Goodman of Calabasas recalls that when son Sean was 3, he enjoyed watching the Disney classic "Cinderella" on videotape.

One of the many times he asked to watch it, he failed to use the word "please" in his request. Sternly, Dad told him he needed to use the magic word.

Sean promptly replied:


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