Question: Is it true there is a growing trend for men to wear an engagement ring? - K.N., Memphis, Tennessee
Answer: The idea of men wearing an engagement ring has started in the United States only recently, while in other parts of the world, it is common practice. Some have been calling the male engagement ring a "mangagement" ring, a marriage of the words "man" and "engagement." From what limited information is available, a small plain band is the most popular style. The ring is usually worn on the ring finger and removed the day of the wedding, though some men opt to wear both rings.
If you have an opinion on men's engagement rings, let me know.
As for me, if I were to get engaged, I'd opt for such a ring. I'd wear it on my left hand and remove it on my wedding day. I might wear my engagement ring on a chain around my neck, along with my other medals, including the Virgin Mary and a Celtic cross.
LET'S LEARN ENGLISH: In the U.K., they say "diversion"; in America, we say "detour." A "thumb tack" is called a "drawing pin" in the U.K.
Q: Quite by accident, I saw a portion of an old Western TV show called "Wagon Train." Robert Horton was a true hunk of a man. Is he still alive? As I recall, he left the show or was released. - G.P.B., Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania
A: Yes, he is still alive. He'll be 90 on July 29; he and his wife live in the Los Angeles suburbs. Horton made dozens of appearances in movies, television shows and plays. He is best known for playing Flint McCullough in "Wagon Train" from 1957 to 1962. He left the series to pursue a career in musical theater.
About five years ago, his publicist announced he would no longer make public appearances.
Q: What is "eggy bread"? I heard the term many years ago, but I no longer recall where. - J.G.M., Fresno, California
A: CNN ranked eggy bread as one of the world's 50 best-tasting foods. In this part of the world, we know it as French toast. French toast has been around for a long time; according to some food historians, it was eaten as early as the 4th or 5th century.
If you are wondering what they call French toast in France, it's "pain perdu," meaning "lost bread." It got that name because it was a way to reclaim stale - or "lost" - bread.
DID YOU KNOW? The first name of Bob Denver's character Gilligan from "Gilligan's Island" was Willy.
Q: As a kid, my favorite candy bar was PayDay. By the time I got into high school, I lost my sweet tooth and never regained it. From time to time I look at the candy offerings at store checkouts, but I never see my old favorite. Is it still being made? - W.L., Frankfort, Kentucky
A: The PayDay candy bar was created and introduced by Frank Martoccio in 1932. In 1967, the Martoccio family sold the business. The manufacturing rights changed hands several times over the next decades until 1996, when it was acquired by the Hershey Co. According to candy folklore, Martoccio was at a loss for a name of his new confectionary delight. An employee suggested that since the day was payday, he should name it in honor of the day. The boss liked it, and so did millions of customers.
Q: Have you ever heard of Romaine punch? I assume it does not contain any Romaine lettuce. - Y.T., San Angelo, Texas
A: Your assumption is correct. Punch Romaine is a rum-spiked shaved-ice palate cleanser that is blended with citrus, champagne, ice and sometimes egg whites for foam. Famed French chef Georges Auguste Escoffier created the original recipe, which was essentially a granita - a semi-frozen dessert.
What is so special about punch Romaine is that it was served on the final first-class dinner menu aboard the Titanic.
Q: Who is the super-hot actress who plays Jan on the Toyota commercials? - C.F., Lompoc, California
A: Her name is Laurel Coppock. Coppock resides in Los Angeles, and is a member of the Groundlings comedy troupe. Her resume also includes appearances in several TV shows, including "Arrested Development" and "2 Broke Girls." I think with the success of the Toyota commercials, we will see a lot more of her in the future and there will be more biographical information about her to read.
Q: From time to time, I see a production card after a TV broadcast with two men sitting on the beach alongside a red-and-white striped cabana. One is wearing a tight black swim cap the other says, "That's some bad hat, Harry." I don't get it. - M.H., Nashua, New Hampshire
A: You and possibly a few million television viewers. The vanity card is for the production company Bad Hat Harry Productions, which was started by Bryan Singer. Singer is best known for directing "The Usual Suspects" and the "X-Men" films.
The name of the company is taken from a scene in the 1975 film "Jaws." Police Chief Brody, played by Roy Scheider, comments on the swim cap worn by an elderly swimmer, "That some bad hat, Harry." You described the vanity card well, but you missed one important feature: In the water is a shark's fin.
Q: During a drive while out of state, I saw a sign John's Mere. What is John's Mere? - B.Z., Philadelphia, Mississippi
A: A "mere" is a small lake, pond or marsh, so it must be one owned by someone named John.
Q: What is the shortest word in English containing all five main vowels? - M.R., Rock Hill, South Carolina
A: It's "eunoia," which means, among other things, "well mind" or "beautiful thinking."
Q: There seem to be a lot of AAMCO Transmission repair shops. How many? What does the name mean? - C.C., Portland, Maine
A: Anthony A. Martino and Robert Morgan founded AAMCO Transmissions in 1963. Martino used the first letter of each of his names to form the name AAMCO - and MAACO, which he co-founded in 1972. There are about 850 franchises across America. AAMCO was sold in 2006 to American Capital, the owner of Cottman Transmission.
Anthony A. Martino and Daniel I. Rhode founded MAACO Collision Repair & Auto Painting in 1972. In 2008, MAACO was sold to the holding company of Meineke Car Care Centers.
Q: Being from Miami, I was a fan of Shaquille O'Neal when he played for the Heat in the NBA. What size shoe does he wear? Is there a meaning to his first name? - R.T., Miami
A: At 7 feet, 1 inch, Shaq needs a large foundation to hold his giant frame - size 23 shoes work just fine. Shaquille is a variation of the name Shakil; it means "handsome" in Arabic.
Q: What is the fancy word for someone who is a peddler of books and newspapers? - J.N., Mobile, Alabama
A: The word is "colporteur," which also means someone employed by a religious society to distribute Bibles and other religious tracts. According to Merriam-Webster, the word was first used in the 1790s. It comes from Middle French 'comporteur' meaning "to bear or peddle."
- Send your questions to Mr. Know-It-All at AskMrKIA@gmail.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.