My wife saw an ad for the Fisher Space Pen, which said that the pen has enough ink to write 20 miles. She asked if that was good, and I told her I didn't know. Then I remembered how quickly my BIC pens seemed to run out of ink in school. So, how many miles will a BIC (or similar) pen write before it runs dry? -- F.L., of Belleville
In this age when some probably consider a 140-character tweet an epic novel, I'm sure some wags around here would say my lengthy stories average two or three BIC pens each.
Well, it's not true. At least, I don't think so. Of course, the last time I submitted a handwritten story was when poor former sports editor Art Voellinger had to suffer through my scribbling when I was a high school sophomore.
In any case, I hope my stories weren't that long. According to www.bicworld.com, if you straighten out all the c's and l's and uncross all the t's, each BIC ballpoint pen will produce between 1.2 and 1.8 miles (2-3 kilometers) of writing, depending on the type of point, I suppose.
More answers: That funny hole in the barrel of BIC's Cristal pens is a vent that equalizes the pressure inside the pen with the pressure outside to prevent ink leakage.
And if you're interested, BIC is a shortened form of the name of company founder Marcel Bich. He began offering fountain pens and mechanical pencils in 1945 before selling his first clear-plastic ballpoint in 1950. The funny little figure by the BIC logo is the BIC Boy, originally drawn as a schoolboy with a ball-shaped head and pen behind his back.
Back in the late '60s, the old Academy of Notre Dame in Belleville put out a Christmas album. Is there any way to obtain a CD version? I'd buy a lot. -- M.W., of Belleville
For you, I'm happy to play Santa. Since you've apparently been a good girl this year, I've managed to scrounge up a couple of copies for you, and I'll be sending you particulars on how to obtain them.
Unfortunately, for anyone else, I must turn into the Grinch. In 2004, several Notre Dame alums got together to re-issue the school's 1967 "Carols of Christmas" album on CD. The project was designed to raise money for the School Sisters of Notre Dame welfare and retirement.
Those alums apparently didn't count on the classic recording's continuing popularity when they placed their order. People like you keep asking for copies, but the supply is all but exhausted.
"It was one of those things where you needed to do like 2,000 or nothing, and they just thought, 'Oh, we'd have these things sitting around forever,'" said Diane (Raab) Wiggins, a proud 1968 grad. "We just sold out of them, but every year I get a few more people who ask me for it. I mean, I'm down to not much of anything beyond my own store of them."
If there's ever a new pressing, I'll try to let you know.
The recent tie between the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco made me wonder how many ties there have been and who has been involved in the most? -- S.W., of Fairview Heights
Since the new overtime rules were instituted in 1974, there have been 18 games in which 20 current franchises have "kissed their sisters."
Leading the way are the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles, each of which has played to a stalemate four times. Ten teams are tied with two each, including the St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals (on Dec. 7, 1986, the St. Louis Cardinals fought Philly to a 10-10 draw) and the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams.
And wouldn't you know it -- almost as soon as the new rules took effect, Pittsburgh and Denver wound up in a 35-35 tie on Sept. 22, 1974.
What is the only NFL stadium to witness two ties -- by two different home teams?
Answer to Tuesday's trivia: According to historian Bob Moore's best research, the only acting or former president to ride to the top of the Gateway Arch was Dwight D. Eisenhower. He turned what was supposed to be a quick 15-minute stop on Nov. 13, 1967, into a leisurely hourlong visit and tram ride to the top. Because of his age (77) and heart condition, Ike did not have to walk downstairs to the regular loading zone but, rather, accessed the tram on the upper level through a maintenance door. The honor was fitting because it was Eisenhower who authorized the Arch's construction on May 17, 1954. However in a letter two weeks later, Col. Robert Schultz, his military aide, said the Arch visit had "loused up" Eisenhower's entire St. Louis schedule.
Plane crash: The trivia answer on Tuesday that said the Boeing 747-400 got seven miles to the gallon should, of course, have said seven gallons to the mile. And math is supposed to be my strong suit. Thanks to Senior Master Sgt. Ken Kozeluh at Scott for noting my brain belch.
Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427 or email@example.com