Question: How many stars are on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? - E.B.L., Rocky Mount, North Carolina
Answer: On June 3, 2014, Luther Vandross received the 2,526th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was a posthumous presentation in the category of recording. The next star will be given to late comic Phil Hartman on Aug. 26.
The Walk of Fame runs a bit over one mile, mostly along Hollywood Boulevard. If you are going to look for your favorite entertainers, you will need a map; I had good luck with the Zale Map. Contact Danny Zale for more information. You can reach him by searching for "Danny Zele" online.
According to some researchers, the Walk attracts about 10 million visitors annually.
Q: I'm giving my girlfriend an engagement ring of nearly one carat. I read a booklet about diamonds, so I feel like I'll be able to buy with confidence. But what is a carat? - G.J.H., Austin, Texas
A: First of all, congratulations! I wish you and your wife-to-be the very best.
There is no great mystery about a carat - it's merely a unit of weight for diamonds and other gemstone. One carat equals 200 milligrams, or 0.200 grams. So if you have a one-pound diamond, it would weigh just about 2,268 carats!
Just for fun: If your fiancee weighs 125 pounds, she would weigh 283,495 carats - but I would say she's priceless! Good luck, my friend.
Q: What does "karat" mean? - G.J.H., Austin, Texas
A: A karat is a unit of purity of gold - 24-karat gold is pure gold. To make jewelry, 24-karat gold is too soft, so it must be mixed with another metal, such as copper or silver. So if a piece of jewelry is marked 18-karat gold, it means it is 18 parts gold and 6 parts other metal.
Q: From time to time in a Western TV show or movie, the bad guys hide out in Robbers Roost. Is this a Hollywood-created location? - E.B., Sarasota, Florida
A: Robbers Roost was an outlaw hideout located in southeastern Utah. Its natural topography made it an ideal place to hole up. With its wide-open, rough terrain, it made it difficult to move about undetected, thus making it easy to defend. During the end of the Old West, Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch gang built cabins in this area. With some nearby contacts, they were able to have access to beef and other supplies. Story goes that pursuing lawmen never discovered the site of the hideout.
Now you can hike, take horseback rides and drive ATVs in the area.
DID YOU KNOW? Courtney Love was considered for the role of Dorothy Boyd in the movie "Jerry Maguire" (1996). The part went to Renee Zellweger.
Q: I grew up on a farm in Connecticut. My grandpapa not only farmed, he also traded with the local Native Americans. He paid them a fair price for their goods and sold them for a good price in town. If he got more profit than expected he'd give them credit for items in his trading post. I loved when they came to the store and told me stories about magical people of the forest; they were described as mischievous but basically good-natured. However, some Native Americans - I think from another tribe - described them as being dangerous. I'm over 90 years old, and all my family is long gone. Are you familiar with the stories by any chance? Do you know the creature's name? - M.J., Storrs, Connecticut
A: I'm thinking you were enchanted with the Wampanoag people, and they were telling you stories of the Pukwudgie. You are right - the stories of these creatures vary from tribe to tribe. Some say they are known to kidnap people and push them off cliffs. The best advice is if you do encounter a Pukwudgie in the woods is to ignore it. More than likely, you will be rewarded with a nonconfrontational moment.
I just read that Mounds State Park in Anderson, Indiana, is allegedly a hotspot for Pukwudgie activity.
Q: I am just wondering about how the word "bee" came to be used for spelling bee. - R.H.
A: According to one source, "bee" is derived from the Old English "ben," meaning "a prayer or a favor." By the late 1700s, the word referred to the joining of neighbors to work on a single project in an effort to help a neighbor.
Another long-held belief is that bee refers to the insect and its social nature of a beehive.
Q: Bacchus is the Roman god of wine. Is there a female counterpart? - V.L., Butler, Pennsylvania
A: Bacchus is the Roman god of wine and intoxication; he is equated with the Greek Dionysus. Maenads were the female followers of Dionysus. Their name translates to "raving ones." They were constantly in a state of ecstatic frenzy through a combination of dancing and intoxication. When they were whipped into these frenzies, the maenads dressed in fawn skins and carried a long stick wrapped in ivy or vine leaves and tipped with a pinecone, called a thyrsus. They often handled and wore snakes, as well as ivy wreaths or bull helmets on their heads.
By the way, Bacchus is also identified with the old Italian god Liber, meaning "the free one." He was a god of viticulture, wine, fertility and freedom.
Q: The ABC TV series "Motive" has an interesting twist -- you know the victim and killer from the beginning, but the motive is unknown. In what city does the show take place? I don't recognize the skyline. There is never any reference to the name of the city. - C.H.
A: "Motive" is set in Vancouver.
Q: I came across this humorous list - the three most useless things in aviation are fuel in the bowser, runway behind you and air above you. What is a bowser? I looked it up, but I couldn't find a single definition that would associate it with aviation. - J.H., Jackson, Tennessee
A: In this case, a fuel bowser or fuel tanker is used to deliver fuel to aircraft. Water bowsers are also common. A bowser can be used to transport any liquid.
Q: Was wondering about a current commercial for the new iPhone 5S. In the commercial, there are a bunch of people working out to an app on the phone. There is a song playing in the background. The main verse is "Go, you chicken fat, go!" The song sounds so familiar, and it sounds like it's been around awhile. Was it in a movie? Or was it written for this commercial? - M.A.B., Whittier, California
A: The song is officially titled "The Youth Fitness Song," and it was delivered to schools all over the country at the request of President John F. Kennedy.
The song was written by Meredith Willson, the composer and playwright best known for "The Music Man" and "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." Willson even talked Robert Preston, star of "The Music Man," into singing the fitness tune.
Three million copies of the record were distributed through the President's Council on Physical Fitness, which lives on today by a longer name - the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.
- Send your questions to Mr. Know-It-All at AskMrKIA@gmail.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.