Q. Who was the woman in the Oct. 8 episode of "Hawaii Five-O"? She looks like she played on the "Guiding Light" soap opera years ago. I've been racking my brain all week trying to recall who she is. I think they called her Kate or Katie. -- Ilene Lindauer, of Belleville.
A. To borrow a popular baseball cheer of support, wow, good eye.
It's been 14 years since that scheming vixen Annie Dutton worked her wiles on "Guiding Light." But she obviously wormed her way into your brain deep enough so that you immediately recognized actress Cynthia Watros popping up as Katie Burgess on the Aloha State in the episode "Lana I Ka Moana (Adrift),"
As you obviously know, that soap role was Watros' springboard to real fame and fortune. Just 26 when she joined "Guiding Light" in 1994, she started as a sweet, pure-hearted nurse but gained notice when she turned into a villainess battling for Josh Lewis' heart.
Since leaving "Light" in 1998, she has had no trouble finding work, including stints as Erin Fitzpatrick on "Titus," the ill-fated Libby Smith on "Lost" and Sam Carr on "House M.D." as well as roles in such forgettable movies as "American Crude" and "P.S. Your Cat is Dead!"
Of course, Watros' life has been a bit of a soap opera itself at times. As a teen, she reportedly was diagnosed with thrombocytopenia, an autoimmune disease of the blood, which required the removal of her spleen and two years of chemotherapy. And, while on "Titus," she had to keep objects strategically placed in front of her growing belly before she gave birth to her now 11-year-old twin girls in July 2001.
Now 44, the blond, green-eyed Boston University graduate has been married to Los Angeles restaurateur Curt Gilliland since 1996.
Q. Someone sent me one of those spammy e-mails titled "Here's What You Didn't Know" with a variety of fascinating facts. How many of those so-called facts are true? -- K.S., of Collinsville
A. There's good reason why you didn't know many of those "facts": Except for the obvious ones (the King of Hearts is the only king without a mustache in a deck of cards), many of the others are pure speculation or just flat-out false.
I don't have space to go into all of them, so let me shoot down three of the most obvious:
"Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise." This would come as a surprise to inhabitants of Uranus, the interior of which rotates once every 17 hours in a clockwise (or retrograde) direction.
"The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma." Well, sort of, but not really. In emergency cases where a person becomes dehydrated, it has been used as a type of saline solution to get fluids into the body by IV. But it has fewer electrolytes and too much potassium, so it could not replace plasma.
"Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes." This questionable tidbit arose after a 1987 London Times story, in which an unnamed expert "estimated" that more people in the world are kicked to death by mules than die in plane crashes.
The American Donkey and Mule Society in Lewisville, Texas, takes great exception to this oft-circulated factoid, saying it comes from cars crashing into stray donkeys (see the complete answer at www.lovelongears.com/faq). After all, do countries like Mongolia and Afghanistan have OSHA officials counting mule deaths on farms?
So let this be a reminder to check anything that seems too weird to be true before passing it on. Just the other night, someone (a former journalist, no less) sent me an e-mail purporting to show former Chrysler chairman Lee Iococca calling for President Obama's defeat this November.
If you check Snopes, Iococca had written the scathing editorial about George W. Bush in his 2008 book, "Where Have All the Leaders Gone?" But strategic parts apparently have been "updated" by Republicans to change its focus.
To what people do we owe the origins of the ukulele?
Answer to Wednesday's question: Four managers boast 4-0 World Series records after leading their teams to a sweep of the only October Classic they were ever in -- and one of them is a metro-east native. They are: George Stallings (1914 Boston Braves over Philadelphia Athletics); East St. Louis native Hank Bauer (1966 Baltimore over L.A.); Lou Piniella (1990 Cincinnati over Oakland); and Ozzie Guillen (2005 White Sox over Houston). Conversely, six managers failed to win a Series game in their only finals: Donie Bush, Gabby Hartnett, Eddie Sawyer, Roger Craig, Phil Garner and Clint Hurdle. Casey Stengel, "The Old Professor," still leads in most Series games managed -- 64 (37-27, 10 Series) -- to top John McGraw (26-28, 10 Series), Joe McCarthy (30-13, 9 Series) and Connie Mack (24-19, 9 Series).
Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427 or firstname.lastname@example.org