The Punchline Game

     I have a new game for you this week. Fans of The New Yorker cartoon contest will like this.
     Instead of a cartoon I’m going to give you a recent news item – word for word – and it will be your job to supply the punchline.
     But I’ll help. I’ll offer the obvious punchline and an alternative punchline to get your creative juices flowing.
     Let us begin:
     
     Item 1: PANAMA CITY, Fla. – A judge in Florida wants footage to be turned over to the court so he can decide on a motion to dismiss a civil suit against “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joe Francis.
     Obvious: Clearly this will take very careful examination.
     Alternative: Attorneys for Francis responded with a request that the judge lift up his robe.
     
     Item 2: CHANTILLY, Va. – Customs inspectors at Dulles International Airport say they have arrested a man from Guatemala who was carrying a cooked chicken stuffed with more than $4,000 worth of cocaine.
     Obvious: The accused insisted this was an old family recipe and delicious with rice and beans.
     Alternative: Charges were dropped after a drug-sniffing dog consumed the evidence.
     
     Item 3: First a reminder. A few weeks ago we had a lawsuit and a cross-complaint alleging that actor Nicolas Cage either lost a whole lot of money because his business manager gave him bad advice or because he went crazy spending money on castles, cars, and parties. Now on to our item…
     UNITED NATIONS – Nicolas Cage has won a U.N. award … for his humanitarian work and has been appointed a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime…..
     The Amnesty International advocate has donated $2 million to establish a fund to help former child soldiers….
     Obvious: The soldiers will pop out of a cake at a castle party and then be used as pawns in a life-sized game of chess.
     Alternative: The U.N., however, turned down an offer to be purchased outright by the actor.
     
     Item 4: A letter by George Washington has sold for $3,218,500 at auction in New York City, setting a world record for a letter by America’s first president, according to Christie’s.
     Obvious: The letter, reported to be a vowel, was purchased by a Ms. V. White of Sunset Beach, Florida.
     Alternative: The president’s message, in florid prose, describes a pastoral stroll through the Appalachian Mountains and meetings with serving girls at a series of inns.
     
     Item 5: The number of organizations that can offer their donors a tax break in the name of charity has grown more than 60 percent in the United States, to 1.1 million, in just a decade….
     The $300 billion donated to charities last year cost the federal government more than $50 billion in lost tax revenue.
     Obvious: The State of California has responded to the report by declaring itself a charity and soliciting donations.
     Alternative: Leaders on both sides of the aisle in Congress immediately cited charity as the primary cause of the nation’s economic woes.

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