RALPH NADER: THE ROT STUFF

ED O'NEILL: CALLING BIRTHDAY BOYS

STEAL THIS HOOK: Aerosmith lead singer STEVE TYLER, who had his first hit way back in 1973, isn't impressed with the current crop of heavy-metal mousse bands blasting the airwaves. "These groups are just mirror images of what they heard the day before," says Tyler, whose new hit album is titled Pump. "They don't have the balls to get back to the roots. It bothers me when these people tell me I'm their idol and then, when I hear their music, it's the thinnest layer of Aerosmith. They copy me with the scarves and the pouty lips, but where's your harmonica, man? Where's your strut? You know, the easiest thing to do is mimic a band, but the hardest is to get down deep and steal. What separates the greatest from the mere great are the ones that know how to steal right."

CRUSH GROOVE: As Teddy and his secretary in CBS's The Famous Teddy Z, JON CRYER and JANE SIBBETT play adversaries, but in real life they have been nicked by Cupid. "We're madly in love," says Sibbett. "I didn't realize what was going on until one night at a nightclub in L.A. It was very funny because he kept trying to tell me something, but people kept coming up to him offering him drinks. Finally, he said, 'You know, Jane, I have this horrible crush on you.' And my first reaction was, 'What! You can't do that. We work together.' I was so afraid I was going to be fired. It was a big decision for me to go on with the relationship because many people have problems with actors who are 'together.' " And marriage? "It has been discussed and I would love that. I can see that happening. But," she adds, "Jon's allergic to my cat, so I don't know what I'm going to do."

DYE HARD: Actress OLYMPIA DUKAKIS had to split hairs while filming her newest movie, Steel Magnolias, in which she plays a plainspoken grande dame. "The worst thing was that I had to have my hair bleached so much," says Dukakis, whose hair is naturally gray. "The damage dying it white was the worst. It took me months to repair it. I was silly and didn't get a wig because I thought I'd be too hot. The natural color kept coming in, and they had to immediately take it out. It was unbelievable. My hair became very dry and brittle because of this bleach stuff."

CORE OF THE MATTER: A trip to the grocery store set RALPH NADER on the road to his life's work. "When I was 12 years old," says consumer watchdog Nader, "my mother asked me to go to the store and buy some apples and warned me to pick good ones. But back then they came in baskets, not clear plastic containers. So I picked the best ones I could, brought them home and said, 'Mom, look at these great apples.' But only the ones on top were good; the rest were rotten. Thus was born a consumer advocate."

CALLING, HIS BLUFF: Married...with Children's ED O'NEILL, who plays hopelessly obnoxious Al Bundy on that show, is always on the offensive. "Some people think Al is a real person," says O'Neill. "I often get letters from women whose husbands are going to turn 40—they have a birthday coming up and she wants me to call collect and wish him a happy birthday. I tell them that if I have the time I'll do it, and I'll call. I go into the character: 'John, it's AI Bundy here. Happy birthday, pal. Are you still married to that ex-hooker from Baltimore?' I never hear a sound on the other end. It's like they've been hit on the head. And I know his wife is standing behind him grinning. It's fun to do, and it doesn't cost me anything—it's collect."