Do landmarks stack up to NASA rocket?

Dear Answer Man, how tall is the big smokestack on the Silver Lake power plant? I give presentations to school kids as part of the NASA outreach program to inspire the next generation of space explorers. I tell about the huge Apollo Saturn V rockets, and I like to give a comparison of these rocket sizes to a tall familiar structure. — Earle Kyle, Rochester

The tall stack at the Silver Lake plant is 299 feet tall and the two others are roughly 200 feet.

The tall one’s about twice as tall as Seneca’s more beloved ear of corn water tower, at 151 feet tall.

The Saturn V rocket, which helped put men on the moon, was 363 feet tall on the launch pad, 33 feet in diameter, and weighed a mere 6.7 million pounds.

The Silver Lake smokestack presumably weighs a lot less, but could never achieve orbit.


Dear A.M., if you are as old as me, you may remember from the late ’70s a show called P.M. Magazine that came on after the 6 o’clock news on Channel 4. One regular feature introduced a "Mr. Carrot" or something like that, who talked about healthy stuff. Who was he and what became of him? — Scott

I had to root around for a long while before coming up with an answer for Scott. His name wasn’t Mr. Carrot, it was Captain Carrot, and he was reputedly a guru on healthy living.

(Captain Carrot was also a DC Comics character, but that’s another story.)

Can’t tell you what happened to Captain Carrot. Hopefully he’s General Carrot by now. The program was syndicated nationally in the late ’70s and through the ’80s.

Maybe Scott is thinking of Mr. Food, the goofy syndicated chef who’s on KTTC’s 5 p.m. local news. Ooh, he’s so annoying!

Answer Man, I know you’re the ultimate election judge, so please clarify for me: Barack Obama won a bigger share of the popular vote than any Democrat since Jimmy Carter, but how does that compare to other presidential winners?

Let me conduct a recount: President-elect Obama took 51.6 percent of the popular vote by the latest data. That compares to 50.7 percent for Bush in 2004 and 47.9 percent for Bush in 2000.

Bill Clinton didn’t top 50 percent; George H.W. Bush got 53.4 percent in 1988; Reagan topped out at 58.8 percent in 1984 against Walter Mondale.


The giant in terms of 20th century popular vote was LBJ, who got 61.1 percent of the vote in 1964, with lingering good will after John F. Kennedy’s death.

Answer Man, I have heard this for many years now and finally I want to get the correct answer. I heard people say they weren’t going to vote because they did not want to be picked for jury duty. I also have heard that names for jury duty are pulled from driver’s license records, not registered voters. Can you tell me what’s true? — S.L.

I hate to disappoint you, S.L., but you and all your friends are right.

If you have a Minnesota driver’s license or state I.D. card in your pocket, or if you’re registered to vote, you’re on the list of potential jurors. Enjoy!

The Answer Man is judged every Friday by a jury of his near-peers and is never found wanting. Send questions to or P.O. Box 6118, Rochester, MN 55903.

What To Read Next
Get Local