Punch Lines

Salute: A man dropped his trousers last week while standing up to greet President Clinton. "And you thought Phil Hartman's Clinton impression was good." (Albert Perrotta)

Duck: The doomsday clock--which tells us how close we are to nuclear war--was moved up five minutes yesterday, to nine minutes before midnight. "Can you blame mushroom clouds on El Nino?" (Perrotta)

And Cover: "It's worse than we thought. At the stroke of midnight, the doomsday clock will flash 12:00, 12:00, 12:00 for the next 10 billion years." (Kenny Noble Cortes)

Reunion: Flight attendants complained before Congress last week about being groped and harassed by passengers while in the air. "About all the congressmen could tell them was how nice it was to see them again." (Argus Hamilton)

Hiccup: Researchers are studying alcoholism by getting fruit flies drunk. "The hardest part of the research is setting up that tiny sobriety checkpoint next to the backyard barbecue." (Paul Ecker)

Lemme Out: "It turns out Ginger Spice didn't quit the Spice Girls after all. She locked herself inside her limo, and it took five days for someone to find her and let her out." (Alex Kaseberg)

Up, Up: William Ginsburg, former lawyer for Monica Lewinsky, announced he will not stop attacking injustice wherever he sees it. "I hope this doesn't mean he will start wearing tights and a cape." (Kaseberg)

'70s Flashback: The White House is accused of stonewalling, dirty tricks and demanding executive privilege. "Bill Clinton told his staff he's tired of all these comparisons to Richard Nixon. So he's going to China." (Argus Hamilton)


The Butchered David Letterman: The top signs of trouble in Barbie and Ken's marriage:

* Ken overheard at bar saying he'd like to find "a woman with bendable elbows."

* Years-old feud about who can go longer without blinking.

* They're arguing over custody of the Beanie Babies.

* She wants the kids raised as dolls, and he wants them raised as action figures.

* He's been coming home late at night reeking of Silly Putty.

* Personal ad reads, "Curvy blond seeks anatomically correct guy."

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