Question: Was Buzz Aldrin's first name really Buzz? - P.S., Lancaster, Pa.
Answer: Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr. was born Jan. 20, 1930, in Montclair, N.J. His younger sister mispronounced the word brother as "buzzer," which the family shortened to "Buzz." In 1988, Aldrin made Buzz his legal first name. He was the second person on the moon with the Apollo 11 mission.
Q: What was the official name of Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders? - A.K., Glencoe, Ala.
A: The official name for the group was the First United States Volunteer Cavalry. The newspapers referred to the group by many different names, including Teddy's Terrors, the Rocky Mountain Rustlers and Teddy's Riotous Rounders. Rough Riders is the moniker that stuck, even though Roosevelt was not particularly fond of the name.
Q: I would like to know what became of the beautiful actress Teresa Wright. She was in a lot of good movies. - T.A., Chattanooga, Tenn.
A: Muriel Teresa Wright was born Oct. 27, 1918, in New York City. While in school, she became involved in theatrical productions and appeared in her first film, "The Little Foxes," in 1941. She was nominated for three Academy Awards, and she won once, for her supporting role in "Mrs. Miniver."
Wright was married twice and had two children. She died of a heart attack at age 86 on March 6, 2005.
Q: I heard of a major league baseball player who, after hitting a home run, ran backward around the bases. Is this true? - C.W., Scranton, Pa.
A: James Anthony Piersall of the New York Mets wanted attention when he hit his 100th career home run. On June 23, 1963, with Dallas Green on the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies, Piersall hit the ball out of the park. To celebrate, he ran the bases in the correct order while facing backward. His stunt gave him the publicity he wanted, but manager Casey Stengel was not amused. Piersall was cut from the team two days later. He then signed with the California Angels, where he finished his 17-year career in 1967. He hit a total of 104 career home runs.
Piersall was known for his battle with bipolar disorder. He was often ejected from games, and engaged in fights with fans.
Q: Where or what is "Caledonia"? - H.C., Fargo, Ind.
A: Caledonia is the ancient Roman name for Scotland.
Q: The first bread-slicing machine was introduced in Chillicothe, Mo. Do you have any idea what the name means and how it is pronounced? - T.W., Williamsburg, Va.
A: According to the city's website, Chillicothe is pronounced "Chil-li-coth'-ee." The name is a Shawnee Indian word, meaning "Big Town Where We Live." The town is located in northwest Missouri, about an hour away from Kansas City, Mo.
Q: Fog is a type of cloud on the ground. What type of cloud? - O.W., Briston, Va.
Q: Is the sports car Lamborghini named after someone? - Y.C., Elkton, Ore.
A: It is; Ferruccio Lamborghini was born in Renazzo di Cento, Italy, on April 28, 1916. After World War II, he used surplus military equipment to build agricultural machinery. He later opened his own manufacturing plant, where he built farm tractors. Lamborghini's engineering interests extended into many fields, including luxury sports cars, which he began to manufacture in 1963. In 1973, he sold his business and retired to his vineyard. He died at age 76 on Feb. 20, 1993.
Q: When was teacher, author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia born? When did he die? - E.K., Rushford, N.Y.
A: Known affectionately as "Dr. Love" on the campus of the University of Southern California where he taught, Felice Leonardo Buscaglia was born in Los Angeles, on March 31, 1924, to Italian immigrant parents. The self-appointed cheerleader of the world died of a heart attack in 1998 at age 74.
Q: Who are the two men in the car in the Sonic Drive-In commercials? - J.B., Clinton, Mo.
A: They are T.J. Jagodowski and Peter Grosz. They both have starred in several movies, such as the 2006 film "Stranger Than Fiction." Besides acting, Jagodowski is a comedian and Grosz has worked as a television writer and producer.
Q: I have a question about eggs: What is the white stringy stuff inside an egg when you crack it open? - Johnstown, Pa.
A: The ropey strands of egg white are called "chalaza" or "chalaze" (pronouncced kuh-LAY-zee). They anchor the yolk in the center of the thick, white albumen, or the glair. There are two chalazae at opposite ends. The more prominent the chalazae, the fresher the egg. There are chalazae removers for those who wish not to eat the strands, which you can find online or in kitchen gadget stores.
Q: I watch the show "The Price Is Right" every day. One day, Drew Carey had his son on stage with him. He's never mentioned anything about a wife. Is there a story here? - P.L., Owosso Mich.
A: Carey acts as a father figure to his ex-fiancee Nicole Jaracz's son, Connor, from a previous relationship. They couple had no children together. Although he proposed to Jaracz in 2007, the pair never wed and the engagement was called off in January 2012. He has since been dating actress Kelley Whilden.
Q: In some old English novels I've read, children are referred to as "bairns." What is the origin of the word? - J.E.D., Gastonia, N.C.
A: "Bairn" is Scottish and Northern English. As you said, it means "child." Its origin comes from Old English "bearn."
Q: What can you tell me about the actor Aldo Ray? - K.N., Carrollton, Ky.
A: Aldo Da Re was born in Pen Argyl, Pa. on Sept. 25, 1926. He attended the University of California at Berkeley for a brief time, served as a U.S. Navy frogman during World War II and saw action at Okinawa. He was a constable before taking up acting in 1951. He was discovered when driving his brother to an audition, thanks to his stocky build, good looks and gravelly voice. He appeared in at least 40 films, often as a tough guy. His last film was "Shock 'Em Dead" in 1991. He died of throat cancer on March 27, 1991. He was married three times and had four children.
Q: I know that from 1840 to 1960, every president who was elected in a year that ended in zero died in office. Could you tell me who they were and how they died? - W.H., Pottsville, Pa.
A: It is an undeniable fact that the seven presidents elected in 1840, 1860, 1880, 1900, 1920, 1940 and 1960 all died in office. Some like to attribute this to a curse on the holders of the office laid by the Shawnee chieftain, Tecumseh, or possibly his brother, Tenskwatawa, in revenge for his military defeat by future president William Henry Harrison in 1811.
The presidents elected were William Henry Harrison in 1840 (natural causes), Abraham Lincoln in 1860 (shot), James A. Garfield in 1880 (shot), William McKinley in 1900 (shot), Warren G. Harding in 1920 (natural causes), Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 (natural causes) and John F. Kennedy in 1960 (shot).
- Send your questions to Mr. Know-It-All at AskMrKIA@gmail.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.