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Cat Pragoff's Ask Us: Ask Us takes a bow with today's column

October 09. 2012 10:58PM

Editor's Note: Today marks the final Union Leader 'Ask Us' column. It began long before the Internet was invented (not by Al Gore) and long before 'Google it' was a familiar phrase for finding interesting facts in an instant. We join with current writer Cat Pragoff in thanking the many people at public libraries and readers who have written in with questions and answers, and we wish Cat well with her planned blog. Meanwhile, we will continue to answer reader questions every day through our coverage of state and local issues.

We have been great friends over the years, you and I. You loyal Ask Us readers have kept me on my toes with some very challenging questions, like how to get permission to take photographs at federal government-owned buildings; or how to request autographs from the stars of 'CSI'; even the proper form of address for a widow - and those were just in the first six months of my tenure that began in January 2001.

There have been requests for the lyrics to some deeply hidden songs. Remember 'Seven Old Ladies,' a pub song? How about 'Sogno' or the theme music from 'The West Wing' or 'Sweet Georgia Brown' or 'Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On'? All these and many more are available from The Music Connection in Manchester.

You had me hunting in the State Library for the difference between Dead End and No Outlet on street signs, and what it takes to get a restaurant liquor license. The Manchester and Goffstown libraries provided answers to genealogy questions, local history queries, information on sites for blood donations, and how to deal with phobias, most particularly the fear of snakes. The reference librarians searched for old cemeteries, local services for the physically, emotionally and intellectually challenged, Rootie Kazootie and Winky Dink. David Smolen at the Tuck Library helped with hints for uncurling vintage photographs.

Who remembers Chic Jeans? How about The Shaggs? Maybe you wondered how to fold an American flag, or the proper way to wear a flag patch. Or possibly you needed to know where to get a watch repaired. All these answers have appeared in the Ask Us column over the last dozen or so years, thanks to you.

When the Big Boss called to tell me that the newspaper was discontinuing the column, he said 'anybody with a computer can find out what happened to the old stars of 'Bonanza.'' True, but when that question was asked and answered (they appeared in March of 2003), that information was not so easily found.

So today you're reading my last column, number 735, for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

But never fear. Choo-Choo the Recipe Genie and I have started a blog (, where you'll find recipes - one of our most popular give-and-take items in the column - questions, answers, and possibly more. So keep your questions coming to and look for answers on the web. See you there!


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