Question: My husband and I have an ongoing dif ference of opinion on who narrates the current Na tionwide Insurance com mercial. Do you know who it is? -- M.H., York, Pa.

Answer: You probably have noticed that Nationwide Insurance has ditched its geeky "World's Greatest Spokesperson in the World" character and replaced him with Julia Roberts. She does not appear in the insurer's ads, but she serves as the voice for the campaign, called "Join the Nation."

Q. How many words in the English language have three consecutive sets of double letters? -- H.J., Santa Rosa, Calif.

A. I know of only one: bookkeeper. If any reader knows of more please let me know.

Q: Sometime back in the 1950s there was a quiz show called "Haggis Baggis" on TV. Do you know how long it ran and any other particulars? -- G.L., Naples, Fla.

A: "Haggis Baggis" aired on NBC from June 1958 to June 1959. Jack Linkletter -- the son of Art Linkletter -- hosted the primetime version while Fred Robbins and Dennis James hosted the daytime show.

Two contestants participated, a champion and a contender. The object was to identify an image of a celebrity's face. The blank face was made up of a grid of five rows and five columns. Each row had a category, and the columns were letters. The player must name something in the category starting with that letter to win a piece of the image. The winner chose between "haggis" (a luxury item) and "baggis" (a practical item) for the prize.


Only three episodes survived, which you can find on YouTube.

Q: Can you give me any information on the follow ing poem:

Life is mostly froth and bubble,

Two things stand like stone,

Kindness in another's trouble,

Courage in your own.

Thanks. -- B.W.

A: The passage is from the poem "Ye Wearie Wayfarer" by Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833-1870). He was a poet, an accomplished horseman, an adventurer and a very poor businessman. In his own eyes, he was a failure.

Gordon was born in the Azores -- an island archipelago off of Portugal; at age 20 he arrived in his new home, Australia. He obtained a position in the South Australian mounted police immediately, resigned two years later and took up horse-breaking. After the death of his mother he inherited a large sum of money, which he quickly squandered.

On the morning of June 24, 1870, Gordon, sick, depressed and burdened with debt, walked into the brush near his home and shot himself. He was 36.

Gordon is the only Australian poet to have a bust of his likeness in Poets' Corner at Westminster Abbey.

The stanza you quoted starts:

Question not, but live and labour

Till yon goal be won,

Helping every feeble neighbour,

Seeking help from none.

You can find the whole poem at

Q: My father made a career in the Navy. One of the last ships I remember him being on was the USS Seminole. Do you know what happened to it? -- M.U., Charles City, Iowa

A: There have been several USS Seminoles, but the one I suspect your dad was on was an AKA-104/LKA-104. It was an attack cargo ship named after Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma counties. An attack cargo ship is designed to carry military cargo and landing craft to bring supplies and troops to enemy shores.

The Seminole was built and launched in 1944 by the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, out of Wilmington, N.C. During its active years, it served with distinction in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The Seminole received six battle stars for service in Korea and six campaign stars for service in Vietnam. In November 1977, it was sold for scrap.

Q: My 8-year-old grandson, Brennan, has a question for you: How did Tuesday Morning stores get their name? -- C.V.H. and C.B., Lake Jackson, Texas

A: Tuesday Morning is a discount gift and home accessory chain with its headquarters in Dallas. In 1974, founder Lloyd Ross rented a large warehouse in Dallas and held a "garage sale" for high-end gift and household merchandise. The success of the sale left no doubt in Ross' mind that there was a place in the retail world for an operation specializing in upscale closeout items. According to company press materials, Ross picked the name because in his opinion, "(Tuesday morning) is the first positive day of the week."

Q: In the late 1950s into the early 1960s, there was a TV show called "Adventures in Paradise." It was about a guy who was the captain of his schooner and carried passengers and cargo to South Pacific ports. I seem to recall the star of the show stayed in the South Pacific after the show was canceled, looking for real-life adventure. Is there any truth to this? -- J.T., Port Myers, Fla.

A: "Adventures in Paradise" (1959-1962) starred Gardner McKay as Adam Troy, an American Korean War veteran. McKay and his schooner, "Tiki III," drifted the South Pacific looking for adventure.

After the series was canceled, McKay realized he didn't enjoy the life of a celebrity and decided to roam the world instead. He turned down a movie role with Marilyn Monroe to write, and was the drama critic for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner from 1977 to 1982. He considered himself a writer who spent some time in the spotlight as an actor. He was married with two children. McKay died Nov. 21, 2001, at age 69, from prostate cancer.

Q: What is the song, artist and/or album name for the piano piece used on the Omega Co-Axial Watch commercial? -- T.S.

A: The theme song, "Smiling," is by British composer Harry Gregson-Williams and recorded by the composer and the Seattle Session Orchestra. You can find it on the soundtrack of the 2004 Denzel Washington movie "Man on Fire."

Q: I inherited hundreds of MAD magazines dating back to the mid-1950s. Alfred E. Neuman is not on some of the earlier issues. When did he make his first appearance? -- K.N.M., Seattle

A: Neuman made his official debut in issue No. 30, from December 1956. Artist Norman Mingo created Alfred E. Neuman. The character has appeared on all but a few of the magazine's 500 covers.

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