Glenn Giro, of Denham Springs, adds to our seminar on college hazing in times past:

“In 1967, there was a young fellow who bowled in my league in Chalmette and who had a fine head of hair, the kind of perfectly combed coiffure that would become famous years later through John Travolta in ‘Saturday Night Fever.’

“Well, this guy was headed to Southeastern, and had said he was joining a fraternity.

“When he was told the frat’s initiation included shaving the pledge’s head, he said, ‘Just let them try it.’

“College didn’t work out for him, and the next time I saw him was over a year later, in his finely creased and polished Marine uniform.

“My, how priorities change.”

Sans beanie

While we’re on the subject of shaved heads and beanies, here’s a note from Glenn Balentine:

“I see your column is infested with fellow Louisiana College Wildcats; perhaps a tribute to LC’s fine English and journalism department.

“I was blessed to be a freshman on ‘Holy Hill’ in 1971, the year they discontinued the freshman beanie tradition.

“A few of us were quartered in Ware Hall, condemned but used for a month.

“Our flag football team was the ‘Warewolves.’”

You can book it

If you have someone on your Christmas gift list who enjoys silly presents (you know, the person who thought that singing fish of a few years ago was the height of hilarity), you might be interested in this:

I’ll be signing two silly books, “Best of Smiley” and “Smiley! A Laughing Matter” on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 9 a.m. to noon at Red Stick Farmers Market in downtown Baton Rouge.

They’re not as silly as a singing fish, but they’re close...

No liquor allowed

Gen Strait, of Metairie, says, “Regarding your recent columns about ‘pot liquor,’ I would like to clarify the spelling.

“I have a lot of memories, as I grew up in McComb, Mississippi.

“We weren’t even allowed to call it ‘liquor’: Southern Baptist, dry county.

“It is spelled ‘likker,’ as it was so good we could lick the pot!”

Why basement?

Pam English addresses a nostalgia item about school days:

“I can’t get this out of my mind. Why did we call the rest room the ‘basement’ in the 1950s?

“I hadn’t thought of that in years until Tuesday’s column. Help please.”

This might be the answer:

When I was in elementary school in Natchez, Mississippi, it was in a very old two-story building (my mother had also gone there) and the rest rooms were indeed in the basement.

Perhaps at one time most schools were configured that way, and when more modern single-story schools were built, the term remained.

Just a guess...

Good Samaritans Dept.

The Maccrackens, of Marietta, Georgia, want to locate a person who did a good deed:

“A Good Samaritan (we think a young lady who was also an LSU student and on the same flight from Atlanta) found our daughter’s purse and wallet at the Baton Rouge airport and turned it in with everything intact, including $200 cash.

“We would like to find her and thank her for her remarkable ethics.”

They’re at

Special People Dept.

Robert and Carol Guest, of New Iberia, celebrate their 60th anniversary on Thursday, Dec. 10.

The magic dime

Hots Aull says this story is from his cousin, a teacher in Mississippi years ago:

“One day she was collecting 10 cents from each student for some cause, and noticed a dime was missing from her desk.

“She told the class that someone had ‘accidently’ taken the dime, and asked them to close their eyes so that person could return it without being known.

“After this ‘nice’ way of dealing with the issue didn’t work, she said, ‘I’m going to blister the behind of the person who took that dime!’

“Immediately a little voice said, ‘Is that like a little round shiny thing? If it is, something like that suddenly appeared on my desk.’

“My cousin had to quickly leave the room so her class wouldn’t hear her laughter.”

That’s insulting!

A few more classic insults, from Joe Ricapito:

John Bright: “He is a self-made man and worships his creator.”

Irvin S. Cobb: “I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.”

Samuel Johnson: “He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.”

By the numbers

Robert Downing says our recent nostalgia items about five-and-dime stores brought up a memory of an exchange from the classic Marx Brothers movie “Duck Soup.”

Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho): “I suggest that we give him ten years in Leavenworth, or eleven years in Twelveworth.”

Chicolini (Chico): “I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll take five and ten in Woolworth.”

Contacting Smiley

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.