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"The Million Dollar Shot" by Dan Gutman, Houghton Mifflin, $13.95, 114 pages.

The popular author of several sports-related books ("The Shortstop Who Knew Too Much," "Baseball's Biggest Bloopers") scores again with this very funny story of a boy who plans to win a million dollars by sinking a foul shot during the NBA finals.

The chance at the million dollars is being offered by Mr. Finkle, owner of the candy factory that employs Eddie's mother and everybody else in town, to the person who comes up with the best poem about the Finkle candy bar.

The problem is that Finkle employees and their families can't enter the contest. But then Eddie's mother is laid off, and Eddie wins the chance at a million with this poem -- actually written by his best friend, an African-American girl who is better at both basketball and poetry than Eddie is:

"How could the Pilgrims e'er be contented,

When savory Finkles had not been invented?"

And the pressure is on. The Finkle forces want to sabotage the shot; Eddie's family is rooting for him to sink the big one.

Gutman packs plenty of laughs and a hilarious look at a bad-guy businessman in this fast-paced sports yarn.
-- Jean Westmoore


No matter how young or old you are, New Year's Eve should be celebrated! And one great way to do that is with all the activities at First Night in downtown Buffalo, starting at 7 Wednesday evening.

All it costs is $6 for an admission button ($7 the night of the event). The button gets you into 28 different places offering all sorts of kid-friendly activities, like a Velcro wall, Bisons Pitch, Blizzard Kick, Bills TD Pass and Sabres Slap Shot at the Buffalo Convention Center. At Main Place Mall, a clown will be painting faces. At the YWCA, there will be storytelling. And 9:30 p.m., you can welcome in the new year (a little early) at a ball drop in the south alcove of the Convention Center.

Until New Year's Eve, you can get admission buttons at Tops Markets, Walgreens, Wegmans, Wilson Farms and Vix stores. On New Year's Eve, buy them at First Night sites.


Here are some jokes to get you off to a good start in the new year:

Q. Why do dogs scratch themselves?

A. Because they're the only ones who know where it itches!

Q. Why did the Joker steal pennies from the Gotham City Bank?

A. He thought the change would do him good!

Q. What do you get if you cross a skunk with an eagle?

A. An animal that stinks to high heaven.


Write to "Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman," Jane Seymour, at:

9320 Wilshire Blvd., Third Floor

Beverly Hills, Calif. 90212

Q. Is Daisy married to Donald Duck?

A. They do seem to have the same last name, but Daisy Duck is Donald Duck's girlfriend, not his wife. The same is true for Minnie and Mickey Mouse. Same last name, no wedding, no plans. Funny, but both Disney cartoon couples also have nephews that hang around. Donald has Huey, Dewey and Louie, while Mickey has Morty and Ferdie.

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