Question: I know cork comes from the cork oak tree. Is this a once-and-done process, or does the cork grow back? -- O.H.H., Dover, Del.

Answer: After it reaches maturity (at least 25 years old), a cork tree can be harvested every eight to 14 years. No trees are cut down in the process of harvesting cork. The countries that produce the most cork include Portugal, Algeria, Spain, Morocco, France, Italy and Tunisia.

Q: There is a New Zea land. Is it logical to be lieve there is an Old Zealand? -- G.V.B., Mesa, Ariz.

A: It sure sounds logical, and it's accurate. Zeeland is a province of the Netherlands. In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to set foot on present-day New Zealand. He named it Nieuw Zeeland, which was anglicized to New Zealand.

Q: During a guided tour of France a few years back, we went through a village where we were told Canadian forces from World War I were buried. I don't remember the town, but I do remember the cemetery had an unusual name. Can you help? -- K.G., Elyna, Ohio

A: You were in Miraumont, France, and visited the Adanac cemetery. You're right, the cemetery's name is quite unusual -- it's "Canada" spelled backward. The village, which is in northern France, was completely destroyed between 1914 and 1918 during World War I.

Q: Why are most pen cils painted yellow? -- G.B.L., Warren, Mich.


A: There are a lot of explanations. Here is one: A pencil manufacturer painted its product yellow, and the public liked it because the color made it easier to locate when misplaced. A second: In the 1890s, the best graphite in the world came from China. To indicate that a pencil had that graphite, it was painted yellow -- the royal color of China. And one more: An Austria-Hungary company introduced an expensive, yellow pencil named after a famous yellow diamond, Koh-I-Noor. Other manufacturers copied the yellow color so their products would be associated with this high-quality brand.

Q: If you were to walk all the corridors of the Pentagon, how far would you walk? -- P.B., Brattle boro, Vt.

A: You would walk a little more than 17.5 miles and pass nearly 285 bathrooms.

Q: I've seen some old movies with Merle Oberon. She was such a stunning actress. I recall reading her birth name was Queenie. Is this true? -- E.C., Marblehead, Mass.

A: The exotic and glamorous Merle Oberon was born Feb. 19, 1911, in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Her birth name was Estelle Merle O'Brien Thompson. As a girl, she was given the nickname Queenie in honor of Queen Mary. While in her teens, she moved to London and took the stage name Queenie O'Brien, but quickly changed it to Merle Oberon. Oberon died of a massive stroke in Malibu, Calif., in 1979.

Q: The 1961 movie "Splendor in the Grass" takes place in Kansas. I'm from Kansas, and I have often wondered where the movie was filmed. -- O.R.N., Yuba City, Calif.

A: "Splendor in the Grass," starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty, was shot in Staten Island, N.Y. Director Elia Kazan had planned to film the movie in Kansas, but the location was changed due to a severe drought.

Q: Someday I would like to make homemade butter. How many quarts of milk will I need to make a pound? -- M.L., Stuart, Fla.

A: According to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, you will need the cream from 10.5 to 11 quarts of whole milk to make a pound of butter.

Q: What is the most change you can have, yet not be able to make change for a dollar? -- T.N., Milford, Pa.

A: I figure you can have $1.19: three quarters, four dimes and four pennies.

Q: Who was the first non-royal person por trayed on a British stamp? -- H.K.L., El Reno, Okla.

A: A stamp bearing the portrait of William Shakespeare was issued in 1964, marking the first time a non-royal person was depicted on a British stamp.

Q: Why did Elvis Pre sley name his mansion Graceland? -- B.U., Oswego, N.Y.

A: He didn't. The home had that name when he bought it from Ruth Moore in March 1957. The Memphis, Tenn., property was originally established as a 500-acre farm during the Civil War. It was owned by publisher S.E. Toof, who named it after his daughter, Grace. Ruth Moore, Grace Toof's niece, built the mansion on the property in 1939.

Q: Do you remember the TV show "Kukla, Fran and Ollie"? The names Fran and Ollie are not too unusual, but I've never heard the name Kukla. What is its origin? Which character was the clown, and which the dragon? -- H.G., Sandy, Utah

A: I do remember the show, and I enjoyed it tremendously. "Kukla" is Greek for "doll."

Ollie, or Oliver J. Dragon, was a one-toothed dragon; Kukla was a clown. Fran was often the only human on the show. "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" aired from 1947 to 1957 and was entirely ad-libbed.

Q: Demi Moore was in one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It was a 3-D sci-fi flick from the early 1980s. Do you know the movie? I would love to buy it just to show friends an example of a terrible movie, but I suppose it is not available because of it being filmed in 3-D. -- P.W., Naples, Fla.

A: You are thinking of the 1982 movie "Parasite." It's the story of a scientist who creates a deadly parasite that attaches to his stomach. He must face the problem of killing the parasite without killing himself. The film is available in a 2-D version. Critics agreed with your assessment of the movie.

Q: I often wondered how aviator Amelia Ear hart was able to afford her passion of flying. Did she get paid for her per formances? -- B.D.H., Albany, N.Y.

A: Earhart was married to wealthy publisher G.P. Putnam -- enough said?

Q: According to an old saying, "horses sweat, men perspire." What about women? -- R.N.M., Indianola, Iowa

A: Some sources say the saying dates to the Victorian era, and it does describe what women do: Horses sweat, men perspire and ladies glow. Lexicographers tell us sweat and perspire are interchangeable, but perspire is considered a more refined word than sweat.

Q: When were Sonny and Cher on TV? It seems they both had their own show at one time. -- I.J., Baton Rouge, La.

A: In 1971, "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" was introduced as a summer replacement on CBS. Because of its popularity, it became a regular show, and by the 1973-74 season it was the top-rated variety series on TV. The show was a success for Sonny and Cher, but their nine-year marriage was not. They split, and the show ended in 1974.

Sonny started his own show on ABC in September 1974, "The Sonny Comedy Revue"; it bombed and was taken off the air in December. In February 1975, Cher went on the air again with a show named "Cher." She fared better than Sonny, and her show continued into January 1976. The following month, she and Sonny reunited for "The Sonny and Cher Show." The show was a success and remained on TV until 1977.

For you "Jeopardy!" fans -- The answer: The first divorced couple to have a variety show on TV. The question: Who are Sonny and Cher?

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