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Punch Lines

January 18, 1998

* Golden Parachutes: Congress has extended the lifetime expense allowances for ex-presidents. Funds are used for office space, travel and more. "Clinton's bills will be much higher than Ford's, Reagan's, Carter's or Bush's. None of them are dating." (Jerry Perisho)

* Bozo U.: The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College in Florida was forced to close Tuesday because of a shortage of money. "Obviously, the blame goes to Congress for a lack of alumni support." (Argus Hamilton)

* Ph.Dumb: A study says more college students than ever are planning to go to graduate school. "They want to study every nuance of the phrase 'Would you like fries with that?' " (Gary Easley)

* Must Bleed TV: "Keeping in step with modern health care, NBC announced that viewers who want to tune into 'ER' will now be required to first watch NBC's new show 'HMO,' then wait two weeks to be referred to 'ER.' " (Richard D. Reich)

* Sex, Lies and Video: Rocker (and involuntary Internet porn star) Tommy Lee has been placed on probation for assaulting a photographer. "Apparently Tommy doesn't like to be photographed with his clothes on." (Premiere Radio)

* Downsizing: The Washington Monument is closed for renovations. "But it might never reopen. OSHA says it's too tall and pointy, and thus dangerous for tourists. Instead, they might give the father of our country a plaque on the Hollywood Walk of Fame." (Bill Williams)

* Now With Fewer Hostages: Iran's president has offered an olive branch to the U.S. He represents the younger, more moderate generation of Iranians. "They refer to the U.S. as 'the Truly Excellent Satan.' " (Hamilton)

* No Cameras, Please: Queen Elizabeth has hired pollsters to help keep her approval ratings high. "Now everybody's doing Bill Clinton's act. It won't be long before Elizabeth II, Head of the Church and Defender of the Faith, is slow-dancing on the beach in her bathing suit." (Hamilton)


The Butchered David Letterman:

Top 10 tips from President Clinton for keeping the romance in your marriage . . .

8. Buy her FTD's "Sorry about my many affairs" bouquet.

7. Remember, your kisses taste sweeter when your mouth is full of doughnuts.

* SEND US A LINE: Got a joke? Send it to Laugh Lines by fax, (213) 237-0732, or mail, Life & Style, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053.

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