Question

How can I clean my copper bracelets?

We recommend cleaning them with a paste of baking soda and water. Let the paste sit on the bracelet for an hour or so, then rub off with a soft, dry cloth.

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I saw an old sign that read "Think Safety First . . . Philip Morris" and had a picture of a bellboy on it. What do bellboys, cigarettes, and safety have in common?

The cigarette company's logo -- or mascot -- was a bellboy. In fact, an actor played the role for years, both in TV and radio commercials (his famous line was "Call for Philip Morris!") and promotional appearances. We can't be 100 percent sure, but we think the old signs appeared along roads and highways as public service announcements urging traffic safety.

What was a post road?

A post road was any recognized mail route. Early post offices were just coffeehouses or taverns, and letter carriers were horsemen who worked in a relay system. Richard Fairbanks's tavern in Boston was one such mail repository, established in 1639. Later, both navigable waters (1823) and railroads (1838) were designated as "post roads" by Congress.

What was the Liberty Party, and does it still exist?

The Liberty Party began in 1839 as an antislavery political party formed in Warsaw, New York, by a group of people who had broken away from the American Anti-Slavery Society. The party nominated abolitionist leader James Gillespie Birney as a candidate for U.S. president. He received only 7,069 votes in the 1840 election. In 1844, he received 62,300 votes, enough to draw support away from Henry Clay, the antislavery Whig candidate, which led to the election of James K. Polk, the pro-slavery Democratic candidate. The original split between the Liberty Party and the American Anti-Slavery Society, two strong abolitionist forces, fueled the pro-slavery sentiment that led to the annexation of Texas as a slave state in 1845. No party goes by that name today.

Is there a best feeding time for fish, and is this also the best time to see deer, rabbits, and other animals?

All fish in all waters -- salt or fresh -- feed most heavily when the ocean tides are restless, before their turn and in the first hour of ebbing. Fish also feed after sunup for a short while and just before and after sundown. The latter habit also applies to deer, rabbits, and other creatures.

Why can you buy canned peaches but not canned nectarines?

Nectarines are pretty much the same as peaches, without the fuzz, and one reason canners give for not packaging them this way is that they bruise too easily. The mechanical processing involved in canning would make them look so bad that people wouldn't want to eat them. Plus, there is a high demand for the fresh version, which is more costly and therefore more lucrative for growers. There are far fewer nectarines than peaches grown, which also may account for the lack of canning.

Do butterflies fly away or hide when it rains?

Check the undersides of leaves or the stems of bushes during the next rainstorm, and you'll find butterflies hiding there. They will not attempt to fly in the rain because the raindrops could do major damage to their delicate wings. Butterflies seek these same hiding places at night or on cloudy days because they rely on sunlight to regulate their body temperature.

Are we able to see out of our galaxy?

Yes, indeed. Our Milky Way galaxy is a flat disk of spirals around a core of about 100,000 light-years in diameter. Looking perpendicular to the disk, astronomers can see other galaxies billions of light-years away. One of our nearest neighbors in the universe, the Andromeda galaxy, is faintly visible with the naked eye on a clear, dark night. People in the Southern Hemisphere can also see two nearby small galaxies called the Magellanic Clouds.

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