SALAD DAZE: For anyone who has ever lived alone in a big city, Amy Irving's new movie, Crossing Delancey, has a depressingly familiar scene in which her character stops for a lonely take-out dinner at her neighborhood salad bar. "There's a lot of me in there. I remember being single in New York City," says Irving, who falls for pickle man Peter Riegert in the movie and has been married in real life to Steven Spielberg since 1985. "I remember the feeling of being in the salad bar by myself. Actually, I remember more clearly when Campbell's soup came out with Soup-for-One and being too embarrassed to buy it because everyone would know that you were going home alone."

SAY IT AIN'T SO: D.B. Sweeney, who became an actor after a college knee injury ended his hopes of playing baseball professionally, insisted on doing his own batting and fielding when he portrayed Shoeless Joe Jackson in John Sayles's new movie, Eight Men Out. "I was determined to do everything as authentically as possible, unlike Gary Cooper, who looked like a stiff during his game scenes in [1942's] The Pride of the Yankees," says Sweeney. He contends that too many movies about the national pastime have struck out with him when it comes to the on-field scenes. "I think it's particularly stupid that filmmakers have traditionally said, 'Yeah, I like baseball, but the movie's not going to be about the intricacies of the game.' I mean, you wouldn't cast an overweight guy with stubble if you were doing a ballet film."

SEOUL FOOD: Loretta Swit went to South Korea recently for an Olympics show. While there, she joined members of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, a group campaigning against the sometimes brutal methods used in Korea for killing dogs and cats, on a visit to Seoul's meat markets. "If these people must eat these animals, which are eaten by wealthy Koreans as a delicacy, then at least the torture should be outlawed. Fortunately, the South Korean government has finally agreed to adopt anticruelty laws thanks to our efforts," the ex-M*A*S*H star says. "Our ultimate aim is to teach the kids that they can also love dogs and cats as pets and not food."

NO KIDDING: Don't expect River Phoenix, the teenage standout in 1986's Stand by Me and current star of Running on Empty, to criticize being an adolescent Hollywood star. "I don't feel I've been deprived of my childhood," says the 18-year-old Phoenix, who has been acting since he was 10. "If I were living the average childhood right now, then I'd feel deprived because I wouldn't be doing this. You know, the grass is always greener on the other side, but you get to a point where you say, 'Sure, [being a normal kid] looks attractive, but you have it good, so just be thankful.' Acting has exposed me to a lot of different things. If I weren't an actor, I'd probably still be in some little town somewhere going to school doing something really average and boring, so I'm happy for now."

TOURIST TRAPPINGS: Unlike his daughter Princess Diana, whose marriage affords her the privacy of Kensington Palace, Highgrove and two other royal digs, cash-poor Edward John Spencer has had to turn his 16th-century house, Althorp, in North-amptonshire, into a tourist attraction. The Earl and wife Raine allow tours of the place, run a gift shop selling souvenirs and rent out its state dining room for parties. Now they are considering renting rooms overnight to tourists, which has led to charges by some that the couple has become too commercial. "If people say silly, snobbish things about that," Spencer told London's Daily Express, " 'Stuff it' is what I say. There's a lot of land and pictures here, but no cash. My father spent his life in the red. We had to sell a Reynolds and a Van Dyck to make this place pay so we can keep on living here, and we have to give parties—and if that includes a party for Tupperware manufacturers, why not?"