Q: My husband and I frequently watch the TV courtroom reality show "Judge Judy." Who pays the judgments that are made against the defendants? D.B., Scotts, Mich.

A: Judith Sheindlin is an outspoken former family court judge who received national attention after the television news program "60 Minutes" aired a segment about her. TV producers later asked her to preside over her own courtroom reality show, and the first episode of "Judge Judy" aired in September 1996. "Judge Judy" is not scripted. Sheindlin is given a half-page summary, which she doesn't always read, for each case she hears. The complaints and judgments, which are paid by the show's producers, are real.

Before the show, both parties agree to accept the judge's decision and to not pursue the case outside the show's court. Litigants are paid $100 for their appearance on the show, plus a small amount for each day the show is taped.

Airfare and hotel accommodations are also paid. The courtroom audience is paid and is prompted when to laugh or to fake conversations among themselves.

Q: Bok is an uncommon name in this country. I would like to know if political cartoonist Chip Bok is descended from or related to Hannes Bok, the classic fantasy/science fiction illustrator? J.F.C., San Pedro, Calif.

A: Chip Bok was the staff editorial cartoonist for the Akron Beacon Journal from 1987 to 2008. His editorial cartoons are syndicated and appear regularly in more than 100 publications, including the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Time and Newsweek.

There is little chance that Chip Bok is related to Hannes Bok. Hannes Bok is the pseudonym for Wayne Francis Woodard (1914-1964), who was an American artist and illustrator, as well as an amateur astrologer and writer of fantasy fiction and poetry.

© 2011 GARY CLOTHIER

DISTRIBUTED BY UNIVERSAL UCLICK FOR UFS

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