Stahl, who writes the syndicated column ""Once Over Lightly,"" is a kind of Erma Bombeck manque, a mildly amusing, at-home writer whose humor never gets beyond the chuckle stage. She can discuss the perils of pantyhose, discover new diseases for the family medical encyclopedia (Pizza Palate, Levi Welt), or record the differences between political parties (""Republican men wear monogrammed silk pajamas. Democrats sleep nude""). And her kids, who specialize in oneupmanship at the dinner table, suggest the Playboy Club and the scene of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre as desirable Chicago tourist spots. ""The sad fact of the matter is that our family is nowhere near as well adjusted as the Waltons. . . . There they are, poverty-stricken, victims of the Great Depression, struggling to wrench a meager existence out of the unyielding soil. Some people have all the luck."" Short and sweet but not snappy enough.