Rev. Steve Newlin: All I want from you is a couple of answers and than I’ll be happy to feed you a nice hot breakfast and send you on your way.
—True Blood, “Release Me” (8/2/09)
Holy Moley! It’s time for another edition of or Mister Answer Guy, who takes the tough questions and manages to turn them into puzzles that would make Rubik cry.
Q: Did Nick ever supply the answer to that trivia question from the last Q&A?
A: Yes. Let me recap: In the comments section, he asked, “What do the following musical groups have in common? Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods, J. Geils Band, Dave Clark 5, and Paul Revere & The Raiders?” I had to give up and ask him; everything I could come up with had an exception. The answer is that all of these bands are named for someone other than their lead singer.
Q: Have any oddball searches led people to Baltimore Diary?
A: One day not long ago, I got hits from people searching for “horny housewife blog” and “clarence tom sawyer inscription”. As it happens, I’m the top search return on Bing for the second one; I’m not sure where I stand on the first. Also, my most popular post by far is the one I did a few months back about the original “Hawaii Five-O” show.
Q: They stopped making Kodachrome film back in 2009. Who developed the last roll of Kodachrome?
A: It was Dwayne’s Photo, in Parsons, Kansas. They did it on December 30. RIP, Kodachrome. .
Q: How many people were burned at the stake as witches during the Salem Trials?
A: None! Almost 150 "witches" were arrested, but only 31 were tried in 1692. All 31, including 6 males, were sentenced to death. Nineteen were hanged, 2 died in jail, and 1 man was slowly pressed to death under heavy stones. The badass part is, it’s recorded that the last words of the guy who was pressed to death was: “More weight”.
Q: Do you have any new stories of sports-related deaths?
A: Glad you asked. Frank Hayes was a jockey who was in a race at Belmont Park in 1923. During the race he had a heart attack and died. The horse, named “Sweet Kiss”, not only finished the race but won. This makes Hayes the first (and so far only) jockey to win a race posthumously.
Q: How old is the universe?
A: It’s 11,200,000,035 years old.
Q: How did you get a crazy number like that?
A: Simple. When I was 13, my science teacher told me that the universe was 11.2 billion years old. That was 35 years ago, so I just added on.
A: It’s called a Brannock Device. Do they still use these things? I’ve got to get myself into better shoe stores; I don’t think I’ve seen one since I was a kid.
Q: What’s with the airport abbreviations? I can get “JFK” for John F. Kennedy Airport, and “EWR” makes sense for Newark, but why is Chicago abbreviated as ORD?
A: It’s because the old name of the airport is “Orchard Field”. The crazy part is that it was changed to “O’Hare” long before the three-letter abbreviation system came along.
Q: What else can you tell me about Chicago airports?
A: So far as I can tell, Chicago is the only city in America with more than one airport whose names derive from World War II: Midway was named after the Battle of Midway, and O’Hare was named after a WW2 flying ace.
Q: What do Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia all have in common?
A: You’d think it’s so the kids can carry it easily, but that’s the other reason. The first reason that the string was first put on the box (in 1902) so that it could be hung from a Christmas tree. This was also the first year that they were called “Barnum’s Animals”; in the 30-odd years prior to that they were simply called “Animals”.
Q: Most people know that Vatican City is a country located entirely within another country. Are there any others?
A: Yes, there are two. One is the Kingdom of Lesotho, which is entirely surrounded by South Africa. The other one is the Republic of San Marino, which—like Vatican City—is also in Italy.
And that’s it for this time around! Feel free to email me or post in the comments if you have questions of your own!