Q: Van Buren is a big name around here because of President Martin Van Buren. Was anything special about him?

A: Van Buren (1782-1862), the eighth president, was:

  • The first president not born a British subject,
  • Spoke Dutch as his first language.
  • Known as “Old Kinderhook,” a nickname thought by some to be the origin of “OK.” He was born and raised in the Dutch community of Kinderhook, New York.

Van Buren served one term from 1837 to 1841, in part because of a national economic depression. He failed re-election in 1840, 1844, and 1848. — history.com.

Q: Why does Time Warner Cable have so many storm alert tests and no schedule for them? Late at night, there might three or four in a row lasting a minute or more and, at least once, they ran a test in the middle of the day. — Doug Berger, Findlay.

A: Time Warner must broadcast the tests when certain state or area authorities say so.
In odd-numbered months, they are between 8:30 a.m. and sunset. In even-numbered months, they are between sunset and 8:30 a.m.

Plus, there is a test conducted randomly every week. — Mike Hogan, Time Warner Cable.

Q: Did President John F. Kennedy donate his presidential salary to charity? — Eligio Sierra, Findlay.

A: Yes. It was $100,000 a year. — “American Experience.”

Q: Does Tennessee really have an official state rifle?

A: It’s the Barrett .50-caliber rifle. Designed for war, its rounds can “penetrate light armor, down helicopters, destroy commercial aircraft, and blast through rail cars,” according to the Violence Policy Center, a gun safety group. Inventor Ronnie Barrett is from Tennessee. Ohio does not have a state firearm. — The Washington Post.

Q: Who wrote “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”?

A: Vaudevillian/songwriter Jack Norworth wrote it in 15 minutes on scrap paper commuting to Manhattan by train in 1908. Albert Von Tizler wrote the tune and it was an instant hit.
But it was 34 years before Norworth saw his first big-league game and 50 years before Major League Baseball gave him a lifetime pass.

Hear Edward Meeker sing the classic in 1908 at: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4-gsdLSSQ0 — “The Baseball Almanac” via Martha Esbin,”The Librarian’s Muse” blog, Toledo.

Q: Who is the actress who plays Lilly Adams in the AT&T commercials?

A: She is Milana Aleksandrovna Vayntrub, 29, born in Tashkent in present-day Uzbekistan and raised in West Hollywood, California.

Her parents came to the United States to escape religious persecution when she was 3. She graduated from the University of California at San Diego and is a comedic actress who has had a number small television and movie roles. She is also helping Syrian refugees. — Various sources.

Q: Where is the place in “Dirty Dancing” (1987) where Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) taught Baby (Jennifer Grey) “the lift”?

A: It’s Lake Lure, 720 acres in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

A utility dammed the Broad River in 1927 to form the lake for a hydroelectric plant. — Slate.

Q: What did actress Mae West (1893-1980) say?

A: “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.”

Ask Just Ask, The Courier, P.O. Box 609, Findlay, OH 45839, or justask@thecourier.com.