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LAUGH LINES

Punch Lines

June 10, 1997

Sports World: Dodger Pedro Astacio threw a fit after manager Bill Russell pulled him. That makes two starting pitchers who have fought with Russell in the past week. Naturally, notes Alex Pearlstein, no one was hurt. Being Dodgers, everyone just swung and missed.

* Elsewhere in baseball, Albert Belle was fined $5,000 for making an obscene gesture. He flashed his paycheck. (Cutler Daily Scoop)

* Last year, the Dallas Cowboys' offensive line averaged 320 pounds a man. They weren't able to draft any top college linemen last month. The reason? There wasn't any room for them under the calorie cap. (Argus Hamilton)

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Chelsea Clinton graduated from Sidwell Friends in Washington. In honor of the attendance by the president and first lady, the orchestra played "Pomp and Circumstantial Evidence." (Hamilton)

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Capital Capitalism: A European auto parts maker warns that shortages of metals such as platinum could cause shortages of catalytic converters. Rock stars worry their albums may begin going "cast iron." (Johnny Robish)

* Texaco, Shell and Aramco have merged some operations. The new conglomerate's holdings are amazing. Says Alan Ray: "400 billion gallons of oil, 75,000 gas stations and one working restroom."

* The number of fast-food restaurants in America is up, but their revenue is down. Concludes Jenny Church: "The market is saturated. Saturated fat."

* To shore up its stock price, Nike announced it will cut expenses and increase productivity. Effective today, all workers in overseas factories will work eight days a week instead of seven. (Steve Voldseth)

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"Did you know it was 100 years ago this month the first pizza arrived in the U.S. from Naples? You know the truly amazing part? It got here in less than 30 minutes." (Jay Leno)

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News From Our Wacky Entertainers: "Con Air" flew past "The Lost World" to take the top box office spot. Be prepared: It's louder than any movie not starring Bette Midler. (Daily Scoop)

* Oprah Winfrey recently issued a statement claiming she's not gay. In fact, she couldn't even fit in the closet. (Rudolph J. Cecera)

* Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reported the discovery of a 300-mile-wide "mini-planet" in our solar system. And then realized--it was just Marlon Brando taking a sun bath. (Voldseth)

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The Los Angeles Police Academy graduated 57 rookies. The formal swearing in was followed by a no-host doughnut buffet at Winchell's. (Bob Mills)

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Reader Charles W. Jenner says the Lane family attends a church that does not have its own building but meets in a shopping center storefront. When his Aunt Nancy asked Trevor Lane, 5, if he attended Sunday school, Trevor thought for a moment, then replied:

"Yes. . . . I think we go to Lucky's."

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