GO BEEP YOURSELF: One of the hottest items in Washington, D.C. these days is the Timely Beeper. Sold in the upscale Sharper Image shop, the $29 device looks like a real beeper, but it can be activated by a hidden button. Surreptitiously press the button, and the beeper goes off 20 to 30 seconds later. "Housemen, congressional aides and embassy personnel are buying them for their bosses," reports assistant store manager Peter Tierney. "People use them to impress dates and business associates." Not surprisingly sales are also picking up in L.A.

JUST BEFORE SUNSET: After NBC's Yellow Rose and a string of flop films, Cybill Shepherd finally has a bona fide hit in ABC's Moonlighting. "It's damn time," she says. "I was beginning to think I should start selling myself on Sunset Boulevard or something."

AND IN THIS CORNER: While Michael Spinks has won his heavyweight belt (from Larry Holmes), his brother Leon has lost his 1978 heavyweight belt. And his socks. And most of his household possessions. The items were auctioned off last month by Mayflower Moving of Michigan to pay for a disputed bill. In June the company moved Leon from his Detroit home and held his belongings in storage while waiting for him to close on a house in suburban Southfield. Leon, who's attempting a comeback in the cruiser-weight division, claims that Mayflower's $3,000 tab is inflated and that its auction was held without his knowledge. Mayflower manager Stan Smith insists that the price is fair and that Spinks was notified two days before the auction. Smith also says his employees don't remember packing the championship belt, which Leon won from Muhammad AM, but Spinks' camp maintains that it's missing. "He's mentioned the belt more than anything else," says Leon's manager, Marv Haupt, who says that Spinks plans to fight Mayflower in court. "As scrap metal it's worth about $5. But what it meant to him was a lot more."

IN THE BLACK: Why did Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon change the color of his hair last May from blond to black? Because he was tired of "primping and preening," he told London's Daily Mirror. "I feel like a proper bloke now. It was fun for a while, but I'm sick of it. People don't take you seriously when you're blond."

CATCH A RISING STAR: Lisa Edwards, wife of Congressman Mickey Edwards (R-Oklahoma), has auditioned as a singer for Ed McMahon's Star Search. A former 1975 Miss America contestant from Oklahoma, Edwards performed Memory from Cats and A Woman in the Moon from A Star Is Born on her audition tape. Star Search's decision won't be made until the end of this month, but the aspiring songstress already has a touch of showbiz in her blood. Scheduled to make her debut at the Kennedy Center in a show titled Marmara, Edwards recently walked out of rehearsals and quit, citing "great artistic differences" with the director.

SATELLITE PHOTOS SHOW A CHIP ON HIS SHOULDER: Kevin Peter Hall, the 7'2" actor who plays the shrinking man on NBC's Misfits of Science, has developed a slight antipathy for L.A. Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. "Every time someone walks up to me," says Hall, "they say, 'Are you Kareem? Are you Kareem's brother?' I've never met the guy. I don't like him. I don't want to meet him. When I sign autographs, it'll be for me."

THE SILENCE WAS DEAFENING: According to the Los Angeles Times, John De Lorean has written a fan letter to the producer and director of Back to the Future, thanking them for sending Michael J. Fox to 1955 and back in a specially equipped, plutonium-powered De Lorean car. Calling the movie "absolutely brilliant," De Lorean said that the film's technicians "can join my soon-to-be-revived design team anytime."