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Punch Lines

August 28, 1996

Most unconventional: The theme of the Republican convention was tolerance and the theme of the Democratic convention is family values. Ethnic minorities spoke to the GOP gathering, and now Republicans like Sarah Brady are speaking at the Democrats'. Says Steve Tatham, "I guess it's all part of the dyslexicon of politics."

The president's approval ratings shot back up after he signed the welfare reform bill into law. Now he says he'll change the parts he doesn't like. Says Argus Hamilton, "Bill Clinton is not a Republican, but he plays one on television."

* Adds Paul Ecker, "In line with Clinton's move to center, Shaquille O'Neal is now playing power forward."

Clinton may be calling his whistle-stop train the "21st Century Express," but to the Cutler Daily Scoop it's the "Dole-Bash Cannonball."

* Adds Bob Mills, "It isn't the 'Orient Express.' All of Clinton's bodies are buried back in Arkansas."

The campaign is turning nasty, says Mills. "The Democrats now claim to have proof that Jack Kemp used family influence to dodge the NFL draft."

One of Clinton's strongest supporters is movie mogul Steven Spielberg, who has donated about half a million bucks. Says Jerry Perisho, "There are rumors that Spielberg has a movie in the works about Clinton's life." Possible titles:

* "An American Tale: Bill Doesn't Inhale"

* "Raiders of the Lost Billing Statements"

* "E.T.: The Extra Tortellini"

* "Paula Jones and the Lawsuit of Doom"

* "Unclothed Encounters of the Worst Kind"


In the news: According to a new study, passionate sex can relieve asthma symptoms. Says Steve Voldseth, "That means even Heidi Fleiss had a better health care plan than the Clintons."

A New Jersey farmer mowed down a 60-foot-wide swastika someone had hacked out in his cornfield. The farmer says he has no idea how it got there, but Johnny Robish has a theory: "Fascist pigs."

In Cleveland, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame welcomed its 1 millionth visitor. Says Cutler, "Coincidentally, so did the rock and roll wing of the Betty Ford Center."

Warner Bros. has signed rockers R.E.M. to an $80-million deal. Says Alan Ray, "The company had expected to pay just $70 million, but found it could only book the band through Ticketmaster."

Geraldo Rivera promised that his revamped, more upstanding show will adhere to a 10-point "Talk Show Bill of Rights and Responsibilities." Says Alex Pearlstein, "Unfortunately, not one of them is the 'right to remain silent.' "


Reader Mary P. Araiza of Montebello wasn't too pleased when granddaughter Felicity, 6, added a mustache and spectacles to Grandma's treasured reproduction of the "Mona Lisa." But several weeks after the reprimand and restoration she realized she wasn't dealing with a mere dauber. When three contestants on a TV quiz show failed to correctly identify the artist who painted the "Mona Lisa," Felicity quickly shouted:

"I did! I painted her!"

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