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LAUGH LINES

Off-Kilter

January 06, 1998|Roy Rivenburg | Times Staff Writer

Batteries Not Included: How many Nevadans does it take to screw in a lightbulb? One, but it costs $15,462. According to Premiere Radio, the Nevada Department of Transportation has been swamped with complaints that an emergency telephone booth on a desolate stretch of U.S. Route 50 is impossible to see or use at night because the state won't install a lightbulb. But Nevada officials have their reasons. Although the bulb would cost a mere $1, running a power line to the site brings the tab to $15,462. Maybe they should install an emergency roadside slot machine to raise money for the project.

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Still Poppin' Fresh: According to a survey by Blender magazine, 75% of Americans believe that the Pillsbury Doughboy--who recently celebrated his 32nd birthday--is (and will remain) a virgin. We think he should start a support group. Other Eunuchs Anonymous nominees: Gumby, GI Joe, Beavis and Butt-head and the Michelin tire man.

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Out With the New Math, In With the Old: In a shocking display of cruelty, the California school board recently decided to make kids memorize multiplication tables. We were naturally dumbfounded, having spent many years in therapy recovering from the trauma of the "old math." Also outraged was state Superintendent Delaine Eastin, who said--we are not joking--that she opposed the memorization idea because it means "we are going to teach kids to add, subtract, multiply and divide and we're not even going to let them use a calculator before the sixth grade."

Sacre bleu! Why not just eliminate math altogether and replace it with an all-purpose class on "How to Use a Calculator"? And judging from public reaction so far, Eastin might need a calculator to figure out her losing margin in her reelection bid later this year.

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Strange Gifts Online: If Santa decides to downsize the elves in favor of ordering presents online next Christmas, here are some things we might see under the tree, according to Internet journalist Angela Gunn:

* A combination blender / telephone that starts blending whenever there's a call, $200. Available at http://www.cycoactive.com/blender.

* An authentic Amish wheelbarrow, $219. One question: What are the Amish doing online? http://www.amishshop.com.

* A life-size latex corpse for $500 (add $25 for battery-lit eyes). Or, for those on a budget, just the head, $195. http://www.distefano.com.

* Personalized soda pop--a 12-pack with your name on the cans, $16. http://www.mysodas.com.

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Here's Why It's Better to Give Than Receive: Ever wonder what kind of loot those Salvation Army kettles pull in? According to Olympia Daily World, it isn't always money. Last year's haul included diamond rings, gold coins, cigarettes and 45 pounds of packaged lint.

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Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Doctor Vows to Clone Elvis From a Mole Removed in 1961!" (Weekly World News).

Sources: Wireless Flash

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