Less Grande Orange: Comic Argus Hamilton, on word that the accused New York subway bomber once worked for Merrill Lynch, a key player in the O.C. bond fiasco: “Municipal destruction must be an entire chapter in the firm’s employee handbook.”

Comedy writer Tony Peyser, on O.C. budget cuts that will get rid of unions, cut welfare and make the poor suffer the most: “Bankruptcy in Orange County sounds a lot like the ‘contract with America.’ ”

Comedy writer Alan Ray, on Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream losing money for the first time: “Their new Orange County Sherbet was too hard. It wasn’t very liquid.”


Laguna Niguel Councilman Eddie Rose, talking about former O.C. treasurer Robert Citron at a council meeting last week: “We used to call Citron ‘Sweet Old Bob.’ Now we just use the initials.” (Dave Barton)


In the news: Ray, on White House security being beefed up: “Despite increased guards and surveillance, they worry about a worst-case scenario. They still could receive a visit from Amway.”

Ray, on the Pope being named Time magazine’s Man of the Year: “His holiness is pretty excited about the award. He gets a free football phone.”

Comedy writer Paul Ryan, on Jimmy Carter mediating the baseball strike: “He may be in over his head. Civil wars and ruthless dictators are a piece of cake compared to rich athletes and greedy owners.”

The U.S. Golf Assn. marked its 100th birthday last week. Or, asks comedy writer Marc A. Holmes, “does watching golf on TV just make it seem like a hundred years?”

Comedy writer Mark Miller says limited edition license plates commemorating the inauguration of Washington Mayor-elect Marion Barry are now available for $30: “The plates are expected to become collectors’ items since Barry made them himself.”


Comedy writer Bob Mills, on problems aboard the refurbished QE2 cruise liner: “Cunard Line officials had to helicopter Kathie Lee Gifford to the ship to calm the angry crowd.”

Reader Bill Williams of Upland, on the study that showed only half of all college grads can understand a bus schedule and that just 13% can do multiple-step math: “But no one had any trouble filling out a student loan application.”


And God said, “Let there be light.” And God saw that the light was good.

Then he looked at Satan and said, “Top that!”

And Satan replied: “Let there be politics.”

--Shayne Whitehead, Mesa, Ariz.


San Clemente reader Laura Schreibman recalls when twin cousins Kenny and Freddy started kindergarten. She went with her aunt to pick them up after their first day. “Kenny,” her aunt asked, “does your teacher call you ‘Kenny’ or ‘Kenneth’?”

He frowned and responded: “She calls me Freddy.”

Got a joke or funny story? Send it to Laugh Lines, a syndicated feature, by fax, (213) 237-0732, or mail, Life & Style, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, Calif. 90053.