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A WAY TO FUMBLE HISTORY ANSWER

How to Win Friends and Influence Me:

Shed a tear for all of the local history teachers who next week will have to convince students that the Wounded Knee Massacre did not take place at the Meadowlands on Dec. 15.

Count me among those who were impressed by the People magazine report on how Jay Leno did not exploit his USO visit to Saudi Arabia. As he promised, there won't be a TV special on the trip.

In his People story Leno said that one joke that went well had it that "I saw Hussein on TV and I thought, 'Boy, Noriega's face has cleared up'."

Be assured that I was not surprised to hear that the stories about reservists spending Christmas in Saudi Arabia did not play well with veterans who spent Christmas Day near a place named Bastogne 45 years ago.

Say a prayer for our guys Over There.

Color me disappointed that the sports media in Manhattan did not make more of the way Bruce Smith backed up his claims about being the NFL's best defensive player in the Giants game.

The hope here is that Smith will soon get a chance to talk to Bruce Coslet, the rookie head coach of the New York Jets. Coslet could tell the Bills star about being criticized by really tough media people.

Phil (New York Post) Mushnick recently said, "If Coslet really wants to help sell papers, he'll win his next two games to finish 6-10, then pose with Ivana Trump. We'll take care of the rest. The page 1 headline will read 'Best Six I Ever Had.'"

Rate your friend a "Godfather movie" expert, John Hartman class, if she can name the stars of the film Diane Keaton and Al Pacino had seen just before he found Don Corleone had been shot.

Color me confident that the Arizona Chamber of Commerce didn't laugh when comedian Dennis Wilson said, "It's nice to be here in Tempe where the first words from a baby are said to be 'But it's dry heat.'"

The first words from a baby around here might be, "The snow doesn't bother us because my family doesn't live in the Southtowns."

Rate your friend an American history expert, Dan Amigone class, if he can name the first president to put up a Christmas tree in the White House.

Amigone is back from Florida for the holidays and will be greeting visitors at Bing's Restaurant in Cheektowaga on New Year Eve.

Shed a tear for the guest at the University Club's Christmas party who told Neil O'Rourke, "I have no place to go on New Year's Eve because all of my friends are either multiplying or dividing."

Rate your friend a football expert, Rick Wells class, if he can name two of the quarterbacks the Pittsburgh Steelers kept in 1955 when they cut a rookie named Johnny Unitas.

Consider this backwards joke submission from Ed Cudney. He tells of the time Santa Claus received a request for a Sugar Bowl bid from a football coach named George Welsh. Santa looked through a 2-year-old list of college football powers and could not find mention of the team coached by Welsh.

So he called a friend in the sports section of a newspaper and was told, "Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia."

Hang tough.

Last trivia answers

Moroni Olson was the actor whose voice was heard giving instructions to Clarence Oddbody at the start of "It's a Wonderful Life."

Nobody had that answer.

Franklin Pierce was the man who was elected 14th president of the United States and after his term was denied renomination by the Democratic party.

Leo Leavers of Clearwater, Fla. Bill Davern of Tonawanda, John Stachowicz of Buffalo and Wilbur Dunn of Newfane knew that.

The Detroit Lions have drafted the most Heisman Trophy winners since the AFL and the NFL merged. Greg Heckt of Snyder and Dunn had that answer.

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