Q. I'm trying to remember the name of the furniture store in Belleville on the south side of the 200 block of West Main Street back in, say, the '60s and '70s. Please help.
-- J.B., of Pontoon Beach
A. Now, of course, my friend Lynwood Mueller and his family dominate the Belleville furniture scene. But when the Mueller clan got into the business in 1927, they were going up against another major player that would dominate the 200 block of West Main for 50 years -- Hiken.
In 1923, Emil and Harry Hiken along with two partners from St. Louis bought both the building and stock of Merck Furniture, which had been selling settees and beds for 30 years at 225 E. Main St. A year later, they added a four-story building at 103 W. Main to their assets.
Then, in 1929, they built a three-story "fireproof" brick story at 217-221 W. Main, which replaced their business at 103. By 1965, they had expanded to the north side of the street, moving their used furniture shop from 205 to 220 W. Main St. (There was a Hiken store in Collinsville, too.)
But then the business began to wane. By the mid-1970s, their main store was gone, and by 1978 all Hiken stores had disappeared from the Belleville directory, leaving Mueller to carry on.
Q. I hope you can help me. I am trying to figure out how many ounces of food there are in a 1,200-calorie-a-day diet if 3,500 calories make one pound.
-- V. Kay, of East St. Louis
A. Oh, dear, I do hope you don't follow a diet based on the weight of the food you eat. You could wind up looking like Santa Claus -- or Gandhi after one of his long fasts.
Of course, dieters wish life were that simple. What an easy time they would have if every ounce of food they ate contained the same number of calories, whether it was raw spinach or quiche Lorraine.
So, using your assumption (3,500 calories per pound), each ounce would have about 220 calories. You would have to limit your total food intake to 5 1/2 ounces of food per day. Let me tell you, my morning cereal with milk and a banana weighs more than that (and so do my semi-regular bowls of caramel cheesecake ice cream at night).
Unfortunately, every different kind of food and drink contains a different number of calories per given weight. For example, in a small McDonald's french fries (2 1/2 ounces) there are 230 calories. If you were dieting, you'd have the luxury of being able to eat more than 3 1/2 pounds of iceberg lettuce (no dressing) to consume the same number of calories. The lettuce wouldn't be as good, but you'd probably feel very full (and maybe very sick).
That's why companies push diet sodas and lite beers so heavily because they contain fewer calories than the same amount of their regular brethren. For example, a 6-ounce serving of black coffee or sugarless tea contains only 2 calories but a similar serving of Coca-Cola will set you back 72 calories. (Six ounces of whiskey has 420, but you probably wouldn't drink it all at one time unless you were trying to forget the ghastly diet you were suffering through.)
So, if you're going to diet, you probably will have to go to the time-consuming rigmarole of buying a book that lists how many calories are in various foods. Then, you have to figure out how much of each food you are eating, look it up in the book and write it down so you can stay near the daily limit you've set.
That said, I think what you are confusing is the common wisdom that there are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat on your body. We're told over and over that for every pound you want to lose, you have to burn 3,500 more calories through exercise than you take in. So take it easy on the caramel cheesecake ice cream, hear?
Q. I would like to write Mitt & Ann Romney. Can you furnish an address?
-- L.M., of Red Bud
A. According to addresses filed for the 2012 election in St. Clair County, you can send your best wishes to Mitt and Ann at 3 S. Cottage Road in Belmont, Mass. 02478. (On Whitepages.com it's listed under Ann D. Romney -- D probably for her maiden name of Davies. Her real middle name is Lois.)
If you're interested in the home, records show the 2,900-square-foot, two-bedroom, three-bath condominium was built in 2008 and purchased in 2010 for $895,000.
What role gave Robert De Niro the acting bug at age 10?
Answer to Wednesday's trivia: In the 1920s, Cecil Kimber, who had joined Morris Motors Ltd. in Oxford, England, as a sales manager, began designing a sporty line of Morris cars. His designs proved so popular that by 1924 his cars took on the MG brand -- for Morris Garages.
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