Originally created 02/23/98

Ask Us: Napoleon lost twice, in a sense

Q: Is it true that Napoleon Bonaparte had to lose the war twice before he finally gave up?

A: In a sense. After the French dictator lost nearly 300,000 men in a futile attempt to invade Russia, the allies consisting of Great Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia defeated his depleted army in March 1814 and exiled him to the island of Elba, a few miles west of Italy.

Napoleon ruled the 86-square mile principality until he escaped and went back to France, where he was welcomed enthusiastically by the people. Enthusiasm, however, couldn't keep him in power. In June 1815, scarcely three months after his return, Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Marlboro at Waterloo.

This time he was sent into exile on an even tinier island in the south Atlantic, where he died in 1821.

Q: What is the minimum wage, and does it go up automatically every year?

A: The current minimum wage is $5.15 an hour. It does not automatically increase. In fact, it will stay at $5.15 until Congress raises it.

Q: I have voted in every presidential election since 1968 but a friend recently told me that I have never really voted for the president. Is he right?

A: Technically, yes. But your vote helps to determine who will win the presidential election.

It works this way. The electoral college, which is made up of electors, chooses the president and the vice president. When you cast your ballot, you tell your state's electors whom you want for president. Each state has as many electors as it has representatives and senators, and they are pledged to one or the other party.

They usually but not always vote with the majority of voters in their states.

It is possible for the voters' choice not to get a majority in the electoral college. In that case, the U.S. House of Representatives will select the president from the top three candidates.

That has happened twice -- with Thomas Jefferson in 1800 and John Quincy Adams in 1824.

Q: What exactly is PCP and what are its effects?

A: Phencyclidine, or PCP, was developed in the 1950s to use as an anesthetic, but its use was soon discontinued because of its side effects of confusion and delirium. For a time, PCP was used in veterinary medicine, but in 1978, the manufacturer stopped all production.

It is now made in underground laboratories and sold only on the illicit market.

The PCP varies in its effects but often produces a sense of detachment, slurred speech and loss of coordination but also a sense of strength and invulnerability in the user. With repeated use, PCP can produce a psychosis indistinguishable from schizophrenia and poses as great a threat as crack cocaine.

Q: What is meant by the saying "little pitchers have big ears?"

A:The saying refers to the large handles that are sometimes attached to small vessels and means that adults must be careful what they say within the hearing of children.

Q: What is a kangaroo court?

A:A kangaroo court is one that ignores the principles of justice and is characterized by dishonesty and incompetence.

Q: How can I acquire a copy of Who's Who Among American High School Students from five years ago?

A: To find out if old copies of the Who's Who directory are still for sale, you should contact Educational Communications, publishers of the directory for 32 years. You may write ECI at 721 N. McKinley Road, Lake Forest, Ill., 60045. The telephone number is (847) 295-6650 and the fax number is (847) 295-3972. The company's e-mail address is feedback@eci-whoswho.com.

Ever wonder why? Or how much? Or from where? The Augusta Chronicle invites you to Ask Us. Call INFOLINE at 442-4444. Punch in 4444 and you'll have 30 seconds to record a question. Including your name and phone number will help, in the event we don't fully understand the question or cannot publish an answer for other reasons. We'll print answers to as many questions as we can, as quickly as possible.


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