One of my favorite writers, George Gurtner (now writing for The New Orleans Advocate), says the upcoming Battle of New Orleans bicentennial celebration on Jan. 6, plus the current football season, remind him of this story:

“Legend has it that the reason Gen. Andrew Jackson overcame enormous odds to defeat the British at Chalmette back in 1815 was because the Ursuline nuns prayed all night to Our Lady of Prompt Succor for a victory.

“Sister Kathleen Finnerty is an Irish Ursuline nun in New York. About five years ago, she was superintendent of archdiocesan schools in New Orleans.

“In 2008, when the New York Giants played the overwhelmingly favored New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, Sister Kathleen told her old friend Jack Mara, owner of the Giants, that she would be in New Orleans and that she and the Ursulines were praying for a victory for his — and her — Giants.

“It was doubly important because our old homeboy, Eli Manning, was the quarterback for the Giants.

“Sister Kathleen sent Mara a medal of Our Lady of Prompt Succor.

“With time winding down into the final minute of the game, the Giants were behind.

“At that point, Mara reached into his pocket, pulled out the Prompt Succor medal and said a prayer.

“And shazam! Manning hits David Tyree, who makes an incredible catch on top of his helmet.

“The next pass was into the end zone for a 17-14 ‘miraculous’ victory for the Giants.”

These fuelish things

I’ve heard this story before, but it’s worth repeating:

Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, says, “Several years ago at one of the plants along the river, one of the shift workers purchased a new pickup truck.

“He was very proud of his new vehicle and told all his co-workers how nice it was.

“In order to make him even happier with his new purchase, his fellow employees quietly added an additional gallon of gas every couple of days to his fuel tank.

“He was ecstatic with the miles per gallon he was achieving and bragged to everyone about it.

“About a month later, the same co-workers began siphoning out a gallon or so of gas every couple of days.

“Alas, the new owner could not believe that his gas mileage had plummeted and said there definitely had to be something wrong with his LEMON of a truck!”

Classroom lagniappe

Jerry Schexnayder asks, “Could I be called ‘Old Baton Rouge’ if I remember getting free paper and pencils issued by the School Board in the ’50s?”

Two wrongs

Doug Johnson, of Watson, discusses one of my pet peeves as a football-watcher — excessive refereeing.

But he says the refs aren’t the only ones to blame:

“Recently during a college football game on TV, a player caught a pass for a gain of about 25 yards.

“After the play was blown dead by an official, the player dropped the ball at his feet with a slight twist as it left his hand, causing it to spin on end for a couple of seconds.

“The official ruled that ‘excessive celebration’ and penalized the team.

“A couple of plays later, two players on the opposing team stopped a play for no gain and gave each other high-fives.

“Again, the official ruled the reaction ‘excessive celebration.’

“It is amazing to me that such innocuous acts are considered excessive by the officials.

“But even more amazing is that these players, who are college students, haven’t learned what a kindergartner could figure out in a couple of sessions. Don’t do that!

“That brings me to the final comment of my rant. The coach who is failing to train these players is usually getting paid millions for his efforts.”

Pet that peeve

Joyce Ryder says, “I saw that the subject of pet peeves was brought up again, and I couldn’t resist adding mine this time.

“I am seeing this more frequently, it seems.

“Login, setup, startup, hideout and signoff are NOT verbs! They are nouns or adjectives.

“The actions are log in, set up, start up, hide out or sign off.

“You log in on the login screen. The crooks hide out in a secret hideout.

“This also applies to markup, shutdown, breakout — I could go on and on.”

Adjectives gone wild

Speaking of grammar, Alex “Sonny” Chapman, of Ville Platte, offers these lyrics from the Patty Loveless song “Blame It On Your Heart” to high school English teachers as an example of excessive adjectives:

“Blame it on your lying, cheating, cold, deadbeating, two-timing, double-dealing, mean, mistreating, loving heart.”

Required viewing

“RDB,” of Denham Springs, says his wife was watching a news channel when a “breaking news” alert came on:

“Our 3-year-old granddaughter was playing nearby and said to my wife: ‘Nana, we don’t have breaking news at our house — we have golf.’

“The two of us cracked up.”

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.