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Q: How did the term “long johns” originate for underwear?

A: No one knows for sure. It seems to date to soldiers in World War II who were issued the long underwear to wear. There are suggestions the term was popularized by heavyweight boxer John L. Sullivan in the late 1800s; he often wore a thermal one-piece Union suit in the ring. But the first written use of the term doesn’t show up until the early 1940s.

Q: Where can we get a telephone book these days?

A: Try calling (877) 243-8339 or going to www.dexpages.com.

Q: Are reporters Chantelle Navarro and Phil Reed still working for KCRG?

A: They are both still with the station.

Q: How much money does the city of Waterloo give to the airport each year?

A: It varies. Waterloo has an ordinance requiring the airport to stand on its own without financial support from the city’s general fund. For many years, but not recently, the airport still did receive a subsidy. The city is currently considering supporting the airport with bond money, repaid by tax dollars, for specific capital projects. That has not been approved to date.

Q: If the Courier regards ideological balance as important and valuable, what is keeping the Courier from printing columns from Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Deroy Murdock and Candace Owens?

A: All good writers, but most are not syndicated or otherwise available for our use.

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Q: I’ve noticed on a good share of English TV shows and movies the door handles and locks on the doors are higher up than they are in America. What is the reason for this?

A: We’ve noticed that ourselves. No one seems to know for sure why — possibly just tradition. There also are suggestions higher knobs and locks may make it harder for someone to kick in a door, and placing locks closer to eye level is better if you don’t have an outdoor light.

Q: On Rock 108 they always do a bit where they say it is owned by a woman named Mary. Is this true whatever they are talking about? If not, why do they say it?

A: The president and CEO of NRG Media, which owns KFMW, is Mary Quass.

Q: Where can I write or call about the free solar panels they advertise on TV?

A: It looks as if a few different companies have made similar offers. We think you need to watch for the name of a specific company and how they want you to contact them.

Q: A woman called asking for my Medicare number. I asked her if it was a scam and she said no, so I gave it out. Now I see in the paper this a scam. What can I do about it now? Can I get a new number?

A: Advice from the Federal Trade Commission: “If you’ve already given out your bank account information over the phone, talk to your bank immediately. You’ll want to deal with any unauthorized activity on your account as soon as possible.” You may also want to call the Medicare toll-free line to see if there’s anything else you need to do: (800) 633-4227.

Calls are taken on a special Courier phone line at 234-3566. Questions are answered by Courier staff and staff at the Waterloo Public Library.

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