Question: In a novel taking place in Australia, a reference was made to "boomers." I think they were kangaroos. Is this a nickname for them? - R.B., Bozeman, Mont.

Answer: A boomer is a male kangaroo while a flyer is a female. When they mate, they have a joey. A group of kangaroos is a mob.

Q: I was reading a news article about a person with a not-so-good history with the law. She was characterized as a career grifter. What is a "grifter"? - O.W., Mesa, Ariz.

A: "Grifter" is slang for a person who makes money dishonestly. A grift could also be a swindle or confidence game. The word is a variant of "graft," or "illegal money." A 1990 film called "The Grifters" starred Anjelica Huston, John Cusack and Annette Bening.

Q: If you live in America, you're an American; if you live in England, you're English. What about Monaco? - I.B., Cape May, N.J.

A: Residents from the principality of Monaco are called either Monacans or Monegasques.

Q: I have never seen a Shirley Temple movie, though I have seen snippets of them. When I was born, she was already in her 50s. Did she have any children? How long was she married? I understand she was quite wealthy before she became a teenager. - V.L.L., Stowe, Vt.

A: Several sources I came across claim Shirley Temple was a millionaire when she turned 10 in 1938, which is equivalent to more than $16 million today.

In 1945, Temple married actor John Agar and had one daughter, Linda Susan Agar, in 1948. In 1950, she married businessman Charles Black, to whom she was married until 2005, when Black died. They had two children, a son, Charlie Black Jr., born in 1952, and a daughter, Lori Black, born in 1954.

Q: I've heard the term "galactic year." Is there really such a thing? - P.S., Windsor Locks, Conn.

A: There sure is. A galactic year is the amount of time it takes the sun to orbit around the galaxy, estimated to be 225 to 250 million Earth years.

Q: Where would I have to go to see the painting "Whistler's Mother"? - G.F., Daytona, Fla.

A: Pack your bags; you're heading to the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. "Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1," also know as "Portrait of the Artist's Mother," by James Abbott McNeill Whistler is one of the best-known paintings by an American artist. He painted the piece in 1871, using his reluctant mother only because his model failed to show up for a session.

Q: From time to time, I use "i.e." and "e.g." in my writing. I thought they were interchangeable, but I was told I am wrong. What do you say? - P.A.E., Manchester, Vt.

A: Use "e.g." when you mean "for example" - an easy way to remember is that they both start with an "e." Use "i.e" to convey the meaning "in other words" - remember it because they both start with "i."

Q: On what river was the movie "Deliverance" filmed? - P.W., Mohnton, Pa.

A: In the novel of the same name by James Dickey, four urbanites decided to paddle down the fictional Cahulawassee River in northern Georgia before a dam is built. The movie was filmed along 40 miles of Georgia's Chattooga River. Dickey, who wrote the novel in 1970, had a minor part as the town sheriff. The 1972 film has long since become a classic. The movie starred Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds.

Q: According to a Western novel, the cowboy put on his John B. It was easy to figure it was his hat. How did the name come about?

A: Today, we refer to the same hat by its creator's last name, Stetson.

Q: In a photo exhibit I attended, there was a picture of an emergency vehicle with the numbers 000 on it. It doesn't appear to be part of a larger number. What does the number mean? It really has me wondering. - C.C., Blair, Neb.

A: The picture was probably taken in Australia, where 000 is equivalent to America's 911.

Q: There is a link between Michelangelo, Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton. Do you know what it is? - J.J., New Roads, La.

A: The only link I know among the three is their birth and death years. In 1564, Michelangelo died and Galileo was born. Galileo died in 1642, the year Newton was born.

Q: What is the real name of the ship on the TV show "The Love Boat"? - E.C., Vancouver, Wash.

A: It was a Princess Cruises cruise liner named Pacific Princess. The ship was sold for scrap in 2013.

Q: I have heard of the World's Longest Yard Sale. It stretches something like 50 miles. Can you tell me when and where this sale is located? - J.E., New Bern, N.C.

A: The World's Longest Yard Sale originated in Jamestown, Tenn., in 1987 as a way to get travelers onto the highway U.S. 127. Over the years, the sale has grown and now stretches 690 miles, from five miles north of Addison, Mich., to Gadsden, Ala.

There are more than 2,000 vendors along the way. The event starts the first Thursday of August and runs through the following Sunday. This year the dates are Aug. 7-10. For more information, visit

Q: Besides being an inventor, Alexander Graham Bell was also one of the founders of the National Geographic Society. I know he wrote several articles, but my searches for them have come up with nothing. Can you help? - W.A., Shawsheen Village, Mass.

A: Look up the articles by the author H.A. Largelamb, Bell's pen name, which is an anagram of A. Graham Bell.

Q: On segments of "The Muppet Show," there were two old male puppets who sit in box seats and criticize the show. What are their names? - P.L., Palmdale, Calif.

A: They are two of my favorites, Statler and Waldorf. Statler is the taller, thinner puppet who sits on the right. Jim Henson was the original voice of Waldorf.

Q. What does the "J" stand for in the cartoon character Homer J. Simpson? - B.C.D., Mesa, Ariz.

A: During one episode, Homer realized he didn't know his middle name, so he went to a hippie hideout where his mother once lived and found a mural she painted of him with his full name - Homer Jay Simpson.

Q: Where did the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL call home prior to moving to Kansas City? - O.C., Exeter, R.I.

A: In 1960, the American Football League fielded a team named the Dallas Texans. In 1963, the franchise moved to Kansas City and adopted a new name. In 1970, the Kansas City Chiefs joined the NFL.

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