Backing the wrong horse (shoe)

Dear Ace, There are some trivial matters that have a way of nagging at you well beyond the statute of limitations. More than 10 years ago I noticed two small horseshoes imbedded in the curb in front of what is now the Embarq building across from the Main Street Market. Last evening I noticed that […]

That's amore

Dear Ace, My fiancé and I live in Charlottesville, but we plan to get married in Italy next summer. Will we need to have a ceremony in Virginia as well? My mother is already being a nightmare about the first wedding; I don’t want to have to go through it all twice.—Ida Due Dear Ida, […]

The rank file

Dear Ace,What’s up with the ranking of Charlottesville as the #4 best city in America? Is that number completely arbitrary or have we been doing something wrong since we were ranked #1 in 2004?—Sly Down Dear Sly, Part of the superlative discrepancy has to do with the different parties crunching the numbers. This year Kiplinger’s […]

Rock music

Dear Ace, Who made that fabulous soapstone guitar erected in the front of the Music Resource Center on Ridge Street? When did it go up and why did I just start seeing it?—Sculpture Lover Dear Sculpture Lover, Ace can’t account for why you just started seeing the sculpture, but he can tell you that it’s […]

Doctor's in

Dear Ace, I read that the University of Virginia School of Medicine just graduated 21 students of internal medicine this year. But I’m confused; isn’t all medicine internal?—Tangled Innards Dear Innards, You obviously have not attended medical school lately, because you are forgetting about acupuncture, dermatology, and telemedicine (similar to phone sex but with a […]

Long black train

Dear Ace, What’s up with the Buckingham Branch train (which has, like, a total of five cars) which is forever parked on the tracks in front of the Transit Center? I get a lungful of diesel nearly every day I walk across the bridge on Avon Street…That’s how often the thing is sitting there idly […]

Get out of my bed

Dear Ace: When I drove home to my Barracks Road estate last Saturday evening, I observed a vast number of pickup trucks full of youngsters heading towards town. The Foxfield revelers were packed like drunken sardines in the backs of these trucks, many of them still drinking Bud Light. How on earth is this legal? […]

Bump in the night

Ace: I have been hearing an incredibly loud piercing sound the last several days near Tiger Fuel, across from C’Ville Market on Carlton Road. My friend and I traced the sound as far as the RR tracks and the recycling center. I was wondering if you know anything about this odd sound. It is elusive […]

Tee to tomb

Dear Ace: Between the 5th and 6th holes of the Meadow Creek Golf Course is an untended cemetery. Do you have any information pertaining to this?—Resta N. Pease Resta: Usually when someone mentions a cemetery on a golf course, Ace assumes she’s talking about the sand trap that buries all of Ace’s Titleist balls. But […]


Ace: My husband insists, paranoid soul that he is, that there are hordes of spies out there (somewhere) checking on the specific TV programs we are watching. He says we give credibility to such folks as the Octomom by viewing a program on which she’s appearing. He also suggests our political preferences are noted by […]

Address the issue

Dear Ace: I recently moved my mailbox to my front porch and my postman stopped delivering my mail! I complained at the post office and was told that my mailbox’s new position added an extra six seconds to my postman’s route, so he refused to visit it. What’s up with that?­—Male Barrier Barrier: First of […]

Trashy novels

Ace: What’s up with the trailer full of books at the back of McIntire Recycling Center? I see people hanging around in there when I drop off my empties. Is it a secret library?­—Red Tolstoy Dear Red: Although Ace Atkins isn’t exactly a literary guy, he likes to have a number of serious books on […]

"Instant" karma

Dear Ace: I am engaged to a beautiful young woman but am having second thoughts about our future together. For example, I prefer to go down to the Mudhouse and purchase a fine, handmade double cappuccino as my morning brew, while she actually prefers to mix up some jarred, mutant instant coffee at our apartment, […]

Wheel life

Dear Ace: Last week I drove by the McIntire Skate Park and saw grown men and women riding bikes in circles while whacking balls with mallets. What were they doing and should I be scared?—CiCi Ryder CiCi: Congratulations. You have discovered an urban subculture new to Charlottesville: the exciting world of hard court bike polo. […]

Credit cads

Dear Ace: I have been trying to get my “annual free credit report” online. All the links seem to want money or sell me services I do not want or need. What gives here? Is one really able to get their free report online for free or is this just another scam to clip you […]

Rich dreams

Dear Ace: Where do celebrities stay overnight when they come to Charlottesville?—Steve “Papa” Razzi Steve: What kind of celebrities do you mean? Famous local detectives prefer to take a load off at Miller’s, but only if someone forgets to check the men’s bathroom at closing. But if you’re referring to out-of-town celebrities like Jessica Simpson, […]


Dear Ace: Why does water taste bad when it’s been sitting around for a while? (Especially true in a plastic bottle or closed container.)—Horatio Algae Horatio: Fascinating beverage question! First, let Ace rule out the obvious. Are you sure you’re drinking from the same glass? Does the water taste fishy? Could you possibly have picked […]

Pull the chord

Dear Ace: Whatever happened to Sparky’s Flaw? Was it fixed?—Dylan Bobbit Dylan: When a pop rock band incorporates a “flaw” into its name, it immediately becomes fodder for bad jokes like yours. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Flaw boys debuted their new name—Parachute VA—on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. As […]

Appliance science

Dear Ace: How long do clothes need to wash to be clean?—Jim Patient Jim: Mother Atkins, is that you? Ace thought he told you not to bother him at work. He assumed that you learned your lesson back when he refused to answer, “What do you do when your grown son won’t return your hourly […]

Construction criticism

Dear Ace: If there are any more construction projects along Water Street that gobble up the street behind fences for their own use, we won’t be able to drive on it anymore. How do those private operations get to claim public roadways for their own use? Do they pay anything to the city for inconveniencing […]

Making census

Dear Ace: What’s up with all the babies on the Downtown Mall? Has Charlottesville experienced a recent population explosion? Lately all I see are strollers when I walk Downtown.—Martin Shortie Martin: Ace knows what it’s like to stumble down the Mall after one too many whiskey sours and then trip over a double-wide stroller. And […]

Rated FU for Restricted

Dear Ace: I see a few vehicles driving around Charlottesville with license plates that have FARM USE in bold red letters. What does this mean? Are these vehicles insured like any other vehicle?—Mitch Fork Mitch: Father Atkins might be cross with Ace after he finishes revealing this, but when Ace was a young man, his […]

You be the judge

Dear Ace: What is your rule of thumb?—Digit Bardot Digit: As much as Ace loves to talk about himself (and does so, on occasion), he fears his paltry answer would leave you, dear reader, feeling a bit slighted. So, in an effort to avoid wasting perfectly good column inches, perhaps the bigger question should be: […]

On call

Hey Ace: Last night I called the cops because I heard an untoward noise in my neighborhood. Will I get fined if I call too many times?—Buzzy B. Buzzy: Funny you should mention that. Years ago, a less wise—and, curiously, less handsome—version of yours truly whittled away the midnight hours by stirring up trouble with […]

Deliver spot

Dear Ace: The Shoppes of Clover Lawn is a shop-ping center on Rockfish Gap in Crozet. Why do the businesses in that area, including Blue Ridge Builders Supply across the street, have Charlottesville addresses and not Crozet ones? —Biff Clavin Biff: Bear with Ace, because the answer to this question may be slow going. But […]

Lake affect

Dear Ace: When they make the snow at Wintergreen, where does all the water come from, and how does it get onto the slopes? I’ve read some unsavory things about the water used in snow making at other ski slopes.—Dwight Stuff Dwight: Ace works on a pretty low budget here at the C-VILLE office, so […]

Old yellers

Dear Ace: I’m confused. UVA’s mascot is the cavalier, but the students are all called “hoos,” which, to me, seems to have more to do with a big-eyed nocturnal animal than some dude on a horse. What’s up with that?—Lee Harvey Owlswald   Lee: It’s quite natural to be confused. Ace has always said, confusion […]