Ask Mr. Know It All

Q. A co-worker used a word that sounded like “jaw-bone-ee.” I would never ask him what it meant, but I did ask how it was spelled. He didn’t know. He said “The Rock” used it all the time. Now I have three questions: How do you spell the word? What does it mean? And who — or what — is the Rock?

A. The Rock was a WWF wrestler. He has since started going by his real name, Dwayne Johnson, and turned to Hollywood, appearing in many films.

As a wrestler, Johnson called his opponents “jaboney,” a slang word meaning “lame, stupid or foolish.” The word can also be spelled “jabroni” or “jabroney.”

Q. Between which cities did Samuel Morse conduct his first demonstration of dots and dashes to send a message?

R.B., Jackson, Miss.

A. On May 23, 1844, Morse sent the first ever telegraph message, “What hath God wrought?” from the Supreme Court Chamber in Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, roughly 50 miles away. The passage comes from the Old Testament’s Book of Deuteronomy and was selected by 17-year-old Annie Ellsworth. Her father was the first commissioner of the United States Patent Office and a staunch supporter of Morse’s telegraph. It was Henry Ellsworth who secured funding from Congress to help Morse develop his invention.

Q. How long has the Good Humor ice cream company been around?

I.B., Boonville, Ind.

A. In 1920 in Youngstown, Ohio, Harry Burt put a block of chocolate-coated ice cream on a stick, and the Good Humor ice cream bar was born. Burt chose the name Good Humor because he believed that an individual’s good temperament and taste buds were connected. Burt then created the bell-ringing ice cream truck, sending out a fleet of a dozen vehicles that cruised though neighborhoods. In 1976, the trucks were retired so the company could shift its emphasis to grocery sales.

Here’s an interesting fact: In the early days, Good Humor men were required to tip their hats to ladies and salute gentlemen.

Q. When and where was actress Susan Sarandon born?

A. Susan Abigail Tomalin was born Oct. 4, 1946, in New York City.

She got her last name from husband Chris Sarandon, though the marriage did not endure — it lasted from 1967 to 1979.

Q. How many times have the Winter Olympics taken place in the U.S.?

M.L., Canton, Ohio

A. The Winter Olympics have taken place in the United States four times. The Games were in Lake Placid, N.Y., in 1932 and 1980. In 1960, Squaw Valley, Calif., hosted the games; in 2002, Salt Lake City had them.

Q. During the credits of ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” the visual during the phrase “the agony of defeat” was of a man falling off a ski jump. Who was he? What happened to him?

B.V., Elmira, N.Y.

A. The featured man is Vinko Bogataj, a Yugoslav ski jumper. The accident happened during the Ski-flying World Championship in West Germany on March 7, 1970. He did not suffer any serious injuries from the mishap and lives and coaches in Slovenia.

During the Cold War era, contact with the outside world was limited; for many years, Bogataj had no idea he was a cult icon in the United States.

It was no wonder that he was surprised when ABC Sports invited him to the show’s 20th anniversary party in 1981.

In attendance were many notable sports figures, including Muhammad Ali, asking for his autograph. It wasn’t until then that Bogataj learned of his celebrity.

Q. Which athlete has won the most Winter Olympic medals? How many?

G.L.C., Seattle

A. Bjorn Daehlie of Norway won eight gold medals and four silver medals as a cross-country skier, giving him both the record for the most medals won and the most gold medals won.

The most-decorated American Winter Olympian is short track speedskater Apolo Ohno, who won a total of eight medals: two gold, two silver and four bronze. Speedskater Bonnie Blair is the most-decorated female American Winter Olympian.

Q. Who was the youngest individual Olympic gold medalist at the Winter Games? How about the oldest?

T.H., Tacoma, Wash.

A. American figure skater Tara Lipinski brought home the gold at age 15 years, 255 days at the 1998 games in Nagano, Japan.

The oldest competitor to win a gold medal is Scottish curler Robin Welsh in 1924 at the Games in Chamonix, France. Welsh was 54 years, 101 days old when he won. He also represented Scotland in tennis and played international rugby.

There is a fun twist to this answer, though. The oldest man to receive a Winter Olympics medal was Anders Haugen (1888-1984), who was 83 years old when he received his medal.

The Norwegian-American got his ski jump bronze medal in 1974, 50 years after he competed in the 1924 Games, when a scoring error was discovered.

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

2014 Gary Clothier

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