Punch Lines

Season's greetings: Americans gain an average of six pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Says Alex Kaseberg, "In fact, it's really closer to eight pounds if you don't subtract weight lost from the wallet."

The Christmas countdown is getting intense, says Alan Ray. "Kids no longer get on Santa's lap. Now they get on his nerves."

One novelty gift is the Mr. Potato Head massager. Says Jenny Church, "Just the thing for the couch potato starting to lose feelings in his legs after watching four straight bowl games."

President and Mrs. Clinton read "The Night Before Christmas" to school kids. Says Argus Hamilton, "The first couple enjoyed playing along, but traditionally in Washington the night before Christmas is April 14."

* Adds Ray, "Naturally, they recited the Democratic version: 'The stockings were hung by the chimney with Medicare. . . .' "

* Adds Bob Mills, "Later, the Marine Band serenaded the kids with White House favorites such as 'I'm Dreaming of a Whitewater Christmas,' 'O, Kenneth Starr of Bethlehem' and 'I Saw Mommy Kissing an Asian Campaign Contributor.' "


In the news: Jesse Jackson and Maya Angelou quickly spoke out against Oakland's move to recognize black English, or Ebonics, as a separate language. Says the Cutler Daily Scoop, "You know it's a screwy idea when even Jackson and a poet can't find rhyme or reason in it."

* Adds Stephen Due, "To sell more rap records, industry executives plan to start marketing them as 'Hooked on Ebonics.' "

A Virginia woman has filed a fraud suit against another women who she thought was a man and married. They met via the Internet. Says Jerry Perisho, "The church will annul the marriage, but for now they're just going to go ahead and hit the 'delete' and 'escape' keys."

Rich Kotite was fired as coach of the New York Jets. Says Ray, "His teams inspired the Wave: The first wave would leave during the second quarter, the second wave would leave at halftime and the third wave would leave in the third quarter."

At the Lexus Pro / Am Golf Tournament over the weekend, all the pro golfers wanted rock musician Glenn Frey as their partner, says Kaseberg. "That way, they would be assured an Eagle on every hole."

"Beavis and Butt-head Do America" was top draw at the box office. Says Alex Pearlstein, "Is it really such a surprise that these two guys would out-gross everybody else?"


Reader Donna Sue Weiss of Santa Monica was Christmas shopping at a mall with her newlywed husband when she saw some beautiful colored gemstones in a jeweler's window.

"Do you know what my birthstone is?" she cooed.

Her husband replied:

"With our budget, it'd better be cubic zirconium."

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