Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Et Cetera

The Trivia Queen

She may be the Queen of Hearts, she may be the Queen of Tarts, and she may never be the Queen of England -- but whichever way you slice it, she's the Queen of Trivia.

That's the news from Brian Highley, a Trivial Pursuit question composer -- yes, this dream job does in fact exist -- who says Lady Di is the subject of a record 27 questions in the game's 1997 British edition.

Topping the trivia list is quite a coup for the divorc?e princess, who usurped the coveted throne from none other than her ex. The dour Prince Charles slipped to fourth place, losing the spotlight not only to his estranged wife but also to his mum, Queen Elizabeth, and to the self-proclaimed "disgrace," the Duchess of York, a.k.a. Fergie, who tied for second place.

It seems, alas, that even in that most highbrow of board games there is no escape from all those tabloidy, toe-sucking, bra-and-pants-romp details you never wanted to know about the British royals.

And what propelled Diana to the apex of trivia fame? Simple: "She leads such a trivial lifestyle," explained Highley, who no doubt meant it as a compliment.

Trial of Tribulations

The judge in O.J. Simpson's wrongful death trial is just no fun. First he banned cameras, forcing millions of hapless Americans to get their Juice fix watching O.J. look-alikes act out the scene on cable television. Now he has put his foot down yet again.

"We're not going to have any gouging out of flesh in my courtroom," ordered wet blanket Superior Court Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki this week when a defense lawyer suggested that forensic pathologist Werner Spitz, a witness in the trial, indulge in said mutilation to show the jury how Ronald Goldman could have inflicted wounds on his assailant -- allegedly Simpson -- even with blunt fingernails.

Come on, it's not as if attorney Robert Baker were volunteering a pound of flesh when he invited Spitz to "Go ahead, gouge me." Still, apparently unwilling to sanction bloodshed in his courtroom, the eminently reasonable Fujisaki was having none of it.

He did allow Spitz to poke his fingernails into his own arm to show the results, but the squeamish among you will be happy to know that not a drop of vital fluid was spilled in the process.

Quality Leadership

Is your Sony Walkman giving you trouble? Nintendo Game Boy not up to snuff? Drop a line to the head of Japan's government. Maybe he can get you a refund.

A delegate from China's coal belt put Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu on the spot during a Beijing conference, when he waved his allegedly defective Sanyo

tape recorder in the air and requested his money back.

"My friends can prove that this recorder is out of order," complained Zhang Chonghui, a coal mining administrator. "My question to Mr. Kaifu is: Would you please say words to the Sanyo company? I would like to have personal compensation."This may not have been exactly what Kaifu was talking about when he gave his speech stressing the need for harmonious ties between China and Japan, but the savvy prime minister fielded the question with diplomatic ease: "We'll convey your message to the Sanyo company. If it's possible, I will try to give you a personal reply."

In the meantime, could somebody get Viktor Chernomyrdin on the phone? I bought a Kremlin-leader matryoshka at Izmailovo, and it's missing Leonid Brezhnev.

The Perks of Perks

Workers of the world, unite! Next time your boss denies you a raise, tell him he's killing you.

The word is in from British scientists, and they say that office perks not only add life to your years, they add years to your life.

In other words, that guy down the hall with the corner office and the company car will have the last laugh after you slave away for decades in a windowless cubicle and die five years earlier than he does.

After a study of more than 18,000 men who worked in the British civil service, researchers at University College London's medical school came up with the following find, published in the British Medical Journal: "Overall, 30 percent of men in the administrative grade died during the 25-year follow-up compared with 69 percent of men in the lowest grade."

"Lack of ownership of a car was associated with a 57 percent higher mortality before retirement and 34 percent higher mortality after retirement," the report continued.

The moral of the story: Get a promotion, and a car. Your life may depend on it.

Popsters and Playpens

And now, the latest on pop music's playpen set.

Bringing up baby may be going just fine for Madonna, but the Material Girl's latest addition to the household has caused consternation in the canine contingent, according to Los Angeles press reports. The problem is Madonna's chihuahua Chiquita, whose eyes have twinkled a jealous emerald hue since the arrival of young Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon. The show biz solution: ship him off for a few sessions with the pet shrink to get his nose back in joint and learn the niceties of living with Madonna and child.

In other MTV news, thanks to the Gloved One's army of publicists we are all up to date on newlywed and father-to-be Michael Jackson. But at the less visible end of the public-relations spectrum is a royal member of the rock dynasty who is in the family way but doesn't want to talk about it.

Not the King of Pop, perhaps, but certainly a Prince -- or rather, the artist formerly known as Prince, or is he the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince? You know, the skinny guy who sang "Purple Rain."

The man in question and his wife, Mayte, are reportedly expecting a little princeling this month. Rumors circulating in the European press say the baby was born prematurely last month with a deformity, but the reclusive star has stipulated that "Whenever we give birth to our children, the world won't know anything. ... Our child has to make those decisions. What if it doesn't want to be a public person?"

Perfectly reasonable, of course, though we can only hope that dear old dad doesn't saddle his offspring with an unpronounceable name to match his own.

If he does, maybe junior can borrow a couple of names from Madonna's kid. She's got some to spare.