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National Editorials & Columns

Ralph Macchio dances his way onto TV screens

Q: One of my favorite childhood actors is Ralph Macchio, from “The Karate Kid” movies. Has he been in any other movies? — S.S., Mount Vernon, Ill.

A: Ralph Macchio is best known for his role as Daniel Larusso in “The Karate Kid” movies, but he has appeared in many other films and television shows. Macchio will appear in “Hitchcock,” which opens in theaters on Jan. 10, 2013. He was in the films “My Cousin Vinny,” “Distant Thunder” and “A Good Night to Die,” as well as the TV shows “Ugly Betty,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “Psych.” He was on the 12th season of “Dancing With the Stars,” where he came in fourth place.

Q: Most fruit trees have flowers that eventually bear fruit. However, I noticed that my next-door neighbor’s fig tree bears figs but no flowers. Why? — M.W., La Verne, Calif.

A: Fig flowers are not visible because they develop inside a stem with a hollow end. They are fertilized by a fig wasp, which enters through the small opening in the end of the stem.

Q: I’m reading a novel in which one of the minor characters is described as being a “bucko mate.” I was not able to find it in the dictionary. Do you know what it is? — E.L., Hartford, Conn.

A: At one time, “buck” was slang for “bully.” In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a “bucko mate” was the man on a ship in charge of keeping the crew in line by using his fists.

Q: In the 1980s, the musical group Dire Straits made a video of its song “Skateaway,” in which a young lady dances on roller skates. In my opinion, it is the most beautiful music video ever made. Who is that woman, and what is she doing today? — B.G., Naples, Fla.

A: The woman in the video is Jayzik Azikiwe, born May 12, 1958, in London. Her father, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, was the first president of Nigeria. Azikiwe was a multitalented composer, singer and poet. She died of cancer on Jan. 31, 2008, at age 49.

Q: “The Big Valley” was a great TV show. Can you tell me about the five actors who had the leading roles in the show? Are they alive? — B.M., Terre Haute, Ind.

A: The five actors who starred in “The Big Valley” (1965-69) were Barbara Stanwyck as Victoria, Richard Long as Jarrod, Lee Majors as Heath, Peter Breck as Nick and Linda Evans as Audra.

Barbara Stanwyck died in 1990 from heart failure. She was 82. Richard Long died from a heart attack in 1974 at age 47. He had a history of heart problems and suffered several heart attacks before his death. Lee Majors is 73 and still making movies. Peter Breck passed away in February at age 82. His wife announced in 2010 that he had dementia. Linda Evans continued with her career and starred on “Dynasty” for several years. She does speaking engagements and is the author of a book “Recipes for Life, My Memories.” She is 69 years old.

Q: I am reading an old British mystery, and the character is talking about “poodlefaking” What is that? — K.C.K., Fort Worth, Texas

A: The term “poodlefaking’ is British military slang, from the officer’s term for one who flirts with older women to gain influence or otherwise flirts outrageously with women.

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

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