Q: Can you tell me something about Gordon Ramsay on "Kitchen Nightmares"? He has several noticeable scars on his chin. How did he get them? -- E.B., Pekin, Ill.

A: Gordon James Ramsay was born in November 1966 in Scotland but was raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. He is married to Cayetana Elizabeth Hutcheson; the couple has four children.

The facial scars and weathered skin are a result of many hours of running and playing British football (known as soccer in this country) in the sun. Ramsay admits to having been in numerous fistfights in his younger days. I am told he has undergone a series of injections to fill in the wrinkles on his face.

Q: I inherited a large trunk full of family memorabilia. In the collection is a stack of letters, one of them sent to my great-grandparents. The writer tells of his experience in the Executive Mansion and of meeting Mary Fillmore; he raves about how gracious she was.

President Millard Fillmore's wife was Abigail, not Mary. This seems like an odd discrepancy. Is the letter fantasy? -- F.M., Eau Claire, Wis.

A: The name is correct. Millard Fillmore took over the office of president in 1850 after the death of President Zachary Taylor. The president's wife, Abigail Powers, fell ill and was unable to assume the duties of first lady. The Fillmores' daughter, Mary Abigail, served as hostess until the end of her father's term in 1853.

Q: Many years ago I saw a movie with Ronald Reagan and Bob Cummings.


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It was set in a small town. Do you know the name of the movie? -- K.N., Peoria, Ill.

A: Critics say "Kings Row" was the most distinguished film of Ronald Reagan's acting career. In addition to Reagan and Bob Cummings, the 1942 film featured Ann Sheridan, Betty Field and Charles Coburn.

The movie is set in a quaint, turn-of-the-century small town. While the town looks peaceful, with its shady trees, swimming hole and churchgoing citizens, there is a secret. The DVD is available.

Q: Do you know a word that rhymes with "wolf"? -- J.K., Dumas, Texas

A: No, I don't. How about some help from a reader?

Q: During the 1970s and 1980s, the British rock band Dire Straits was one of my favorites. How did the band get the name? -- C.W., Medford, Mass.

A: The band was formed in 1977, and the name was chosen to describe the band members' financial situation at the time. Before dissolving in 1995, Dire Straits became one of the world's most commercially successful bands, with worldwide albums sales topping 120 million.

Q: If I had a computer, my question would be simple to answer. I'm no longer able to get around to the library, so I can't look for an answer in a reference book. I hope you are willing to help me. I watched a travel show about Finland. The announcer called Finland "the land of many lakes" but did not say how many lakes. -- R.L., Selma, Ala.

A: There are nearly 190,000 lakes in Finland and nearly 180,000 islands. The figure varies with different sources.

Q: How long has the Manischewitz Co. been around? It is the maker of kosher foods and, of course, wine. Where is the wine produced? -- L.Z., Brooklyn N.Y.

A: In 1888, Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz founded the company that would become the world's largest matzo manufacturer. The Manischewitz family controlled the company until 1990, when it was sold for $42 million. The Manischewitz winery is located in Naples, N.Y.

Q: "I have a bone to pick with you." I have often heard this saying and also know the meaning of it, however, I would like to know its origin. -- E.R., Monrovia, Calif.

A: It is Old English slang and originally meant "something to mull over" in the way that a dog is preoccupied with a bone. There are other explanations.

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