Sunday November 11, 2012

United Feature Syndicate

Q: It’s not uncommon for the president of the United States to be a former U.S. senator. Who was the first former senator to become president?

H.J., Annapolis, Md.

A: To date, 16 senators have also served as president. The first was James Monroe, who represented Virginia in the Senate from 1790 to 1794. He was president from 1817 to 1825.

Only one man -- Andrew Johnson -- has served as a senator after his presidential term.

Q: There is a TV commercial in which NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and former NFL star Deion Sanders are dressed in pixie costumes. Manning winds up in the refrigerator next to a jar of something, and he even mentions its name. What is in the jar?

B.L., Sioux City, Iowa

A: Manning is standing next to a jar of tapenade in the DirecTV ad. Tapenade is a spread of pureed or finely chopped olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil. It’s popular in southern France, where it is generally eaten as an hors d’oeuvre. The name comes from "tapenas," meaning "capers." Other variations include ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, thyme or oregano.

Q: I have a question about the TV Western "James Garner as Nichols" that aired in 1971. One of the characters was named Mitchell. Who played him? Mitchell had a dog. What was the dog’s name?

O.L.P., Albany, Ore.

A: Stuart Margolin played Deputy Sheriff Mitch Mitchell.


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The dog’s name was Slump.

When the series first aired, it was called "Nichols," but it was retitled "James Garner as Nichols" for episode seven to capitalize on the star’s name. The series was set in the fictional town of Nichols, Ariz., in 1914.

This was a non-traditional Western in which Nichols rode a motorcycle and drove an automobile. Margot Kidder played Ruth, the love interest/barmaid of Nichols.

Q: Is actress Krysten Ritter of "Don’t Trust the B


- in Apartment 23" related to Jason Ritter or the late John Ritter?

P.R., Torrance, Calif.

A: Krysten Ritter, who was born Dec. 16, 1981, is related to neither John Ritter nor Jason Ritter. John Ritter is Jason Ritter’s father. John Ritter died Sept. 11, 2003.

Q: I was in a small crowd going to an amusement park when someone used an unusual name for the Ferris wheel. I have a feeling it may have been carnival lingo. I have no idea what the term is. Do you know?

L.O.B., Perry, Ga.

A: The term is "simp heister," which is, indeed, carnival slang.

Its origin is based on carnival jargon: "simps" -- simple people -- who are foolish enough to be "heisted," or hoisted, into the air.

Send your questions to Mr. Know-It-All at AskMrKIA @gmail.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.