In the news: Comic Jenny Church, on the LAPD attributing a drop in officer-involved shootings during 1994 to a technique called "verbal judo," by which cops talk people into submission: "It's not pretty to see someone get a tongue-lashing from a black belt. . . . Officers who are certified as experts are allowed to carry a dangling participle on their belts."

Comedy writer Paul Ryan, on the Australian yacht breaking in half and sinking during America's Cup trials at San Diego: "The Coast Guard picked up the crew and, out of habit, took them to Guantanamo Bay."

Jay Leno, on discovery of the top quark: "It is the smallest particle of matter in the universe, except for the shrimp at Long John Silver's."

Comic Argus Hamilton, on Jimmy Carter now wanting to settle a border spat in South America: "He only has 1 1/2 years left to save the world. The Constitution doesn't allow a third term."

Venice reader Amelia Villasenor, on Nick Leeson, whose trades caused the failure of Barings bank: "When asked how he could lose more than $1 billion, Leeson responded: 'No me recuerdo, senor .' "


Eye of Newt: Comedy writer Bob Mills, on House Speaker Gingrich giving up his weekend teaching job at Reinhardt College: "He apparently discovered that it's too difficult to teach American history and screw it up at the same time."

Adds comedy writer Tony Peyser: "Gingrich said he was overworked and wanted to be able to spend more time with his special interest groups."

Ryan, on The Newt saying that deep down inside, he's just a 4-year-old: "Even back then, he would beat up kids and take their lunch money."


Cirque du O.J.: "F. Lee Bailey promised that the defense will use the Rosa Lopez tape later in the trial. As a paperweight." (Cutler Rock Comedy Network)

* "Lopez answered 'I don't remember' 60 times in one day. While some called it selective memory, others recognized it as Lopez's tribute to Watergate." (Mark Miller)

* "On Monday, county engineers were shocked to find 14 inches of mud on the floor in the courtroom around the lawyers' tables." (Mills)

* "The fines levied on Johnnie Cochran and Carl Douglas will give new meaning to the 'miscellaneous expense' category on O.J.'s bill." (Stan Kaplan)

Pick your punch line: Kato Kaelin has received a $500,000 advance for his book:

* "It's called 'How to Live in Brentwood on $50 a month.' " (Alex Kaseberg)

* Or, "Forrest Gump Gets a Tan." (Kevin S. Healey)

* "He's already optioned the movie rights--for a guarantee that he'll be allowed to audition as an extra." (Mills)


Chatsworth reader Lydia Black's daughter, 6, was examining her shoes. With a puzzled look on her face, she stopped and asked her mother:

"I still don't see how the soles go up to heaven."

* SEND US A LINE: 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.

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