A: In 1902, President Roosevelt and his entourage were in Mississippi mixing business with a multi-day bear hunt. After several unsuccessful days of hunting, a guide came across a young bear and tied it to a tree for the president to shoot. Seeing no sport in this, he refused. American cartoonist Clifford Berryman published a cartoon showing Roosevelt with his back to a bear that was tied by its neck and held by a guide. The public reacted in an overwhelmingly favorable fashion, and the image of our president and a frightened bear was forever cemented in the American imagination.
Q: In the mid-1960s, when I was a teenager, my folks took the family on an extensive tour of the east. One of the places we stopped was a small entertainment park called Rebel Railroad. I remember the steam train, a general store and a few other attractions. I’m almost certain this was in Tennessee. I have unsuccessfully looked several times on road maps to find the park. Have you ever heard of it? — C.R.T., Columbus, Ohio
A: Rebel Railroad opened in 1961 as a small-scale tourist attraction, featuring a coal-fired steam train named Klondike Katie, a general store, a blacksmith shop and a saloon. By 1970, Rebel Railroad had been renamed Goldrush Junction, and its new owner was Art Modell, the owner of the NFL Cleveland Browns. In 1977, with new owners, the park’s name was changed once again, becoming known as Silver Dollar City, Tennessee. In 1986, Dolly Parton became a co-owner, and the park became Dollywood. The park is located in Pigeon Forge, about 35 miles southeast of Knoxville, the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains.
Q: All through high school and college, I had one goal — to succeed in my academic pursuits. After college, I pursued technology and business success. With few social skills, I am a textbook example of a nerd. I used to hate that title, but now I wear it as my badge of honor. If you think about it, that is really sad. What is the etymology of the word “nerd”? — V.H., Pueblo, Colo.
A: According to the American Heritage Dictionary, “nerd” was a creature in the children’s book “If I Ran the Zoo” (1950) by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel); it may have become popular from this book
Q: How many M&M peanuts are there per pound? How about plain M&Ms? — L.L., Mesa, Ariz.
A: According to the folks at Mars, on average, there are 180 peanut M&M candies in a pound. In a 14-ounce package of plain M&Ms, you’ll get approximately 441. I’ll let you do the math to figure out the amount in the extra 2 ounces.
Q: I once came across a quite unusual name for a person from Monaco. What is the word? — B.N., Media, Pa.
Q: From time to time, I have noticed a star alongside the serial number on my paper currency. What is the significance of the star? — I.G., Elmira, N.Y.
A: I asked the folks at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. When an imperfect note is detected during the manufacturing process, it must be replaced with a new note in order to maintain a correct count of notes. Because reusing that exact serial number to replace an imperfect note is costly and time-consuming, a “star” note with its own special serial number is used instead. Because star notes are scarcer than regular notes, they are widely collected by hobbyists.
Send your questions to Mr. Know-It-All at AskMrKIA@gmail.com or c/o United Feature Syndicate, 200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016.
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