It appears many of you aren’t thrilled about getting unsolicited phone calls just as you’re sitting down to dinner, and not in a mood to hear about an exciting new product or an unexciting old candidate.

Margaret Hawkins, of Ponchatoula, offers a helpful hint in the event you get a call from a real live human:

The calls, she says, “can actually be stopped, or slowed, as the case may be. My adorable niece worked as the head of a phone bank, and gave me the following tip:

“Saying, ‘Please (courtesy optional, I think) take my name off your list’ isn’t sufficient. There are LOTS of lists with various headings. You have to say, ‘Please take my name off ALL your lists.’”

Margaret says when she used that plan, “a caller was astonished, and said, ‘You mean you never want to hear from us again?’ He couldn’t understand why I was laughing when I said, ‘YES!’”

And Bo Bienvenu, of Prairieville, has a technique I like. He says, “We used to have a phone with an answering machine that allowed two different messages. When we sat down to eat I switched to ‘Message 2,’ which said, ‘We are eating now. If you will leave your name, number, and the time you will be eating we will be happy to return your call at that time.’”

Expensive escort

Janice G. Bernard, of Metairie, says, “In July, 1973, my two daughters and I left Padre Island, Texas, from my husband’s job site and started for home. I was making good time when at Whiskey Bay I heard a siren and saw flashing lights behind me.

“A policeman approached as I stopped, and asked if I knew how fast I was going. I said, ‘Yes, but my daughters have to go to the bathroom and are hungry.’

“He said he had to give me a ticket, but also gave us an escort to the nearest restaurant.”

Big stink

Genevieve Persac answers the reader’s possibly tongue-in-check question about how you can tell when blue cheese goes bad: “Cheese is no longer considered ‘good’ when the odor of ammonia overrides the usual smell of the cheese.”

Happy returns

Barbara Vick thanks “the dear, saintly lady who picked up and turned in my Visa card I had dropped at the Wal-Mart gas station on Coursey Boulevard. I wish I could thank her in person, but I will thank her in my prayers.”

Wrong Jerry

Contrary to a reader’s story, the “old Tiger” Jerry Price in Las Vegas (Catholic High 1968) isn’t the Jerry Price who played football for Baton Rouge High in the ’40s and fell into the Tiger Stadium hedges during a game with Istrouma.

Jerry says he does have a Baton Rouge High connection: “Coach Claude Harrison was my mother’s (Aurelie Ortlieb Price) cousin.”

Looking for stuff

Donald P. Blanchard Sr. calls it “the most elusive photograph in the history of photography.”

“For 25 years, I’ve been trying to find a photograph of The Corde Opera House in Napoleonville. It was built by Louis Corde, a local businessman. During the 1890s a large variety of events took place in this building: school plays, graduations, wedding receptions, famous actors, music concerts, just to name a few.

“The building was on the corner of Franklin and Congress streets.” (He’s at dblanc38@aol.com.)

Special People Dept.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Don Louis Broussard, of Lafayette, celebrates his 96th birthday on Friday, Oct. 16. He served in Europe and the Pacific during World War II, and in Japan during the Korean War.

Ernestine “Ernie” Hood celebrates her 91st birthday on Saturday, Oct. 17.

Ella Labat Buquoi celebrates her 90th birthday on Saturday, Oct. 17.

Tommy and Elaine Gauthreaux celebrate their 50th anniversary on Friday, Oct. 16.

Thought for the Day

From Doug Johnson, of Watson: “This is the perfect time for election campaigns. Politicians at the door with their hand-outs prepare us for trick-or-treaters at the door with their hands out.”

Playing with words

A reader says, “When I was working at the Greenwell Springs Library, a woman came in with her young child and proceeded to tell us to let her know if he misbehaved and she would ‘nick it in the butt.’”

Roy Miller says, “On a recent swamp tour our guide was complaining about a prior ‘disgrumbled’ customer who complained to Trip Advisor that the tour’s alligators weren’t real, because they weren’t moving.”

John N. Strecker says, “I always have to smile when I think of our kids’ reactions when their mom, Lisa, tried to use the phrase ‘Don’t bust my bubble,’ and said ‘Don’t mash my balloons.’”

Doug Lee says, “One of the words that aggravated my father, Buddy Lee, the most occurred on the local news, when a reporter was interviewing a landscaping person who indicated that the home would look much nicer once the yard was ‘shrubberized.’”

Contacting Smiley

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

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