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LAUGH LINES

Punch Lines

January 06, 1998

Chicken Soup for the LAX Soul: To prevent a deadly flu virus from spreading to humans, Chinese officials placed 1 million chickens into huge containers, then pumped in carbon dioxide until there wasn't any air left to breathe. "Or as we call it in this country, flying coach." (Steve Voldseth)

More Chicken Soup: Meanwhile, Variety reports that China TV bought permission from Jim Henson Productions to create a Chinese version of "Sesame Street." "But perhaps it's not for kids. In the show's opening episode, they execute Big Bird." (Argus Hamilton)

Bowling for Dollars: "Last week's bowl games were tricky for college players. They wanted to play well enough to win, but not so well that they get drafted by the Indianapolis Colts." (Jay Leno)

Pothole From Hell: In New York City, an underground explosion created a 25-foot-deep crater in the middle of Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. "In Los Angeles, MTA officials immediately apologized for digging too far east." (Jenny Church)

Mail Order in the Court: The Unabomber trial was delayed Monday because defendant Ted Kaczynski asked to talk to the judge. "He originally wanted to mail the judge a note, but that request was denied." (Alex Kaseberg)

No Catnip: President Clinton says he has no plans to declaw Socks. "His explanation: 'I can't. He's my alibi when I have scratches on my back.' " (Conan O'Brien)

Film at 11: Three California TV stations have refused to run political ads about partial-birth abortion because they deemed the spots too graphic. "And now, back to our feature film, 'Halloween 3.' " (Jerry Perisho)

Sobriety Check: As we recover from holiday hangovers, here's a future test to see if you've had too much to drink: "Boris Yeltsin comes up to you and says, 'Look, give me the keys, let me drive.' " (Leno).

R.I.P.: The man who created the Alka-Seltzer jingle "Plop plop, fizz fizz" has died at age 65. "Funeral plans call for his remains to be cremated and his ashes scattered across a glass of tap water." (Voldseth)

Got a Light? New laws have taken effect in California. One bans smoking in bars. Another gives women the right to breast-feed in public. "So, guys, next time you're in a bar and you can't smoke, chewing gum is not your only alternative." (Leno)

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