Halle's namesake played role in 'Drew Carey'

Sunday, January 27, 2013

By Gary Clothier

Question: Was actress Halle Berry really named after a department store?

T.L., Alamosa, Colo.

Answer: Yes, she really was. The actress, born Maria Halle Berry, was named after the Halle building, a landmark in her hometown, Cleveland. The building housed the Halle Brothers Co. department store. It is now an office building. In the 1990s, it was the fictional setting for the Winfred-Louder department store on "The Drew Carey Show."

Question: During the medieval period, many women wore a cloth that covered their heads. The material wrapped around the head and chin. What is this garment called?

O.D., Ames, Iowa

Answer: The headpiece is called a "wimple," and it was popular in medieval Europe. At one time, it was believed inappropriate for a married woman to show her hair.

Wimples are still worn today by nuns who wear the traditional habit. Wearing a wimple observes a passage in the Bible, in 1 Corinthians 11:5: "But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven."

Question: You're suddenly overcome by an urge to dance. Is there a clinical name for this uncontrollable urge?

I.N.L., Bedford, Ind.

Answer: It is called "tarantism." The disorder was prevalent in southern Italy from the 15th to the 17th centuries and popularly attributed to the bite of a Mediterranean black widow spider.

Question: What is the Latin word for "kiss"?

W.K., Manchester, N.H.

Answer: Ancient Romans had three words for kissing: "basium," "osculum" and "suavium." Each represented a different kind of kiss, though "osculum" is the oldest and most commonly used.

Question: Let's say I live in the tropics, and I decide to grow bananas. How many pounds will I get per acre?

O.N.R., Ocala, Fla.

Answer: You can expect to grow anywhere from 10,000 to 16,000 pounds per acre.

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

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