Here--direct from yawntown, er, downtown Washington, D.C.--is the second newspaper soap-opera-satire serial to exhibit itself in book form. And, while Marin County's The Serial (p. 377) at least had a crisp-edged subculture to dissect, these 37 throw-away episodes--by a clutch of Washington Star writers--roam listlessly from leaden D.C. gossip Ã¡ clef (Shirley Quintz, Woodchuck & Bernbaum of the Morning Moon) to Jimmy Carter peanut/teeth jokes to hand-me-down karmas to just-plain-silliness like the harem abduction of a congressman's secretary by Abdul of the Aromian Embassy. Mid-Life Crises, unfulfilled political wives, singles bars, male nurses, the Dept. of Agriculture (Chicken & Egg Division), gurus, and cocktails--assaulted with stubble instead of barbs. And since much of the tedium leads up to the Inauguration and the onset of Redneck Chic, this is already almost as dated as it is dum-dum--brand names and place names and last year's news names vainly trying to substitute for real humor or real writing.