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LAUGH LINES

Punch Lines

February 16, 1996

In the news: President Clinton toured flood-stricken areas of the Pacific Northwest. Says Alex Pearlstein, "He never learns. All he could think about as he surveyed the waterlogged real estate was, 'You know, this would make a great investment.' "

* Adds Tony Peyser, "Consoling the flood victims, he said, 'I feel your rain.' "

A Senate panel heard from a secret health-industry witness that Medicare fraud is rampant. "This guy was very mysterious," says Pearlstein. "He insisted that the senators refer to him only as 'Deep Sore Throat.' "

In Nevada, a prostitute is running for Congress. Why not? says Paul Ryan. "She's been catering to special interests for years."

A United Airlines passenger was arrested after urinating on a seat during a flight to Hawaii. Says Joe Vogel, "He said he was just checking to see how well it 'served as a flotation device in the event of an emergency.' "

Researchers at Harvard say a diet rich in fiber can cut men's risk of heart attack. Says Bob Mills, "Anheuser-Busch plans to introduce a new beer, High-Fiber Bud."

Other scientists are studying why fried foods and carbonated beverages cause people to belch more. That's easy, says Gary Easley: "They're consumed when the game is on and our wives aren't around."

On the latest "60 Minutes," Army generals were talking about new weapons that put the enemy to sleep instead of killing him. Says Ryan, "Finally, a good use for C-SPAN."

A deal has been set to make a movie of Howard Stern's autobiography "Private Parts." Says the Cutler Daily Scoop, "Movies about talking pigs are hot this year."

The star of "Babe," upset that he wasn't nominated for the best actor Oscar, is charging porcine discrimination, says Neal Leibowitz. "He pointed out that supporting actor Kevin Bacon of 'Apollo 13' was also bypassed."

The Kimball Co. announced plans to stop making pianos in June. Says Easley, "At the moment the last upright rolls off the assembly line, there will be a worldwide performance of 'Chopsticks' in a minor key."

*

Gone today, hair tomorrow: The anti-baldness drug Rogaine has been approved for over-the-counter sales:

* "It's targeted at guys with thinning hair and receding credit lines." (Kenny Noble)

* "One guy tested it on his dog, which immediately went berserk looking for a mirror." (Stan Kaplan)

* "Studies show it's been ineffective when applied to bald tires." (Peyser)

*

Bob Lambert of Simi Valley says son Ryan received a neon red yo-yo for his seventh birthday. That afternoon, Ryan excitedly showed his new acquisition to his friend Travis. "Wow, cool yo-yo," said Travis. "Can you do it?" In all seriousness, Ryan replied:

"Only down."

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