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LAUGH LINES : PUNCH LINES

In the News: “A survey found that half the men who have plastic surgery in this country are lawyers,” says Jay Leno. “I can understand that. A lot of times, the ambulances stop short and these guys break their noses.”

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Archeologists have found mastodon bones under Los Angeles. “There is evidence these creatures walked among early Southern California man,” says Alan Ray. “The graffiti on them is at least 2,500 years old.”

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According to a recent poll, 78% of Americans don’t believe that Democrats and Republicans in Washington will work together. “Sure they will,” says the Cutler Daily Scoop. “They just won’t work together for us.”

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“Financial experts say O.J. Simpson could face bankruptcy, but last night at his Rockingham home, his lawyer said, ‘Don’t worry. Everything’s fine. Now get out of my house.’ ” Rudolph J. Cecera.

* “In more bad financial news for O.J., his caddy is insisting on prepaid tips.” (Russ Myers)

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Entertainment: Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger has dumped his agent of 15 years. “Word is he was unhappy with suggestive roles,” says Alan Ray. “One upcoming offer suggested that he act.”

“Although shut out in the acting category for the Oscar, Kenneth Branagh at least was nominated for best screenplay adaptation for ‘Hamlet,’ a four-hour remake of an old Mel Gibson film.” (Craig Kilborn)

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On the Road: People are still talking about the finding that car phones are as dangerous to drivers as drinking. “And driving and talking while making blended margaritas is even worse,” says Alex Kaseberg.

* “One driver had a mixed reaction, saying, ‘I called the car in front of me to let him know I was gonna hit him, but his line was busy.’ ” (Premiere Morning Sickness)

* “Oooh. Traffic nightmare. Oksana Baiul calling to say she just got on the freeway.” (Cutler Daily Scoop)

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Sporting Scene: White Sox star Albert Belle is under investigation for gambling. “He says he just wants to become a better hitter,” says Argus Hamilton. “That explains why Pete Rose was giving him tips every day.”

* “He said he didn’t consider it gambling because there was no risk. He always bet on the team the Mets were playing.” (Jerry Perisho)

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Reader Linda Wilson of San Diego says she was looking at watches while shopping with her 5-year-old nephew, Justin, and asked him if he knew how to tell time. He said, “A little.” She showed him her watch. He looked uneasy, then brightened and added:

“I can tell time better by the microwave.”


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