Readers offer two views on the benefits of modern technology:

“Just like everyone else, I am concerned about inflation, but there are a few bright spots,” says Doug Johnson, of Watson.

“Remember back in the ’50s, when a calculator weighed 30 pounds and had to be hand-cranked?

“When the first hand-held calculators came on the market, they would only do simple math, but you could buy a good car for the same price!

“Now I am looking at one I bought recently.

“It is 5 inches by 3 inches by 3? 8-inch and came with a case and batteries.

“In addition to the regular math functions, it also has trig functions, logarithms and lots of others.

“I got it at a dollar store for $1!”

When the power went out one Sunday, Francis Celino, of Metairie, made a discovery:

“You can sure get a lot accomplished with no phone, email or cable TV.

“I even read two books.

“The real kind, with pages.”

Elbow-licking good

After a reader wondered where to find the open-faced hot roast beef sandwiches he enjoyed in years past, we first heard from Lois Shofstahl and George Black, who praised the sandwich at Mandina’s on Canal Street in New Orleans.

And Dudley Lehew was the first of several readers who said the demise of the open-faced sandwich in these parts is because that same roast beef and gravy, placed on New Orleans-style French bread, makes a superior sandwich:

“The New Orleans Style Restaurant on Florida Boulevard in Denham Springs has a roast beef sandwich served po-boy style, rather than on two pieces of white bread.

“But their po-boy bread is soft, and the roast beef, gravy and onions are delicious, exactly what I remember from the ’50s — and guaranteed to drip down your chin onto your lap just like in the old days!”

Speaking Southern

After I reminisced about my Natchez childhood and dining out with my mom and dad, I was warned by Donald Blanchard that I am in danger of having my Southerner license revoked:

“Just to set the record straight, if you grew up in Natchez, Mississippi, and you and your parents are going to eat a meal on Saturday night, you’re not going to be eating ‘dinner’… you will be eating ‘supper.’ ”

Popping pills

Sarah Stravinska, of Chestnut, says, “When I was a child, grown-ups would say things like, ‘You have more problems than Carter’s has liver pills.’

“I always wondered what they were talking about.

“Who were the Carters, and why did they have so many pills?

“Is this something that was said all over the country, or just maybe Up Nawth?”

No, they were everywhere.

Carter’s Little Liver Pills were formulated by Samuel J. Carter, of Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1868 and sold as a laxative and cure-all, said in advertising to stimulate the liver.

The Federal Trade Commission, after a long process, in 1959 made the firm drop “liver” from the name of the pills.

After that, the advertising campaign was suspended, and the product declined in popularity.

Today you can still get the pills, now sold as “Carter’s Stimulant Laxative.”

I’m familiar with the pills because my grandmother in Natchez, Camille DeMarco, was a fan of them — along with mineral oil, Castoria, Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia, cod liver oil, etc. I learned never to tell her I didn’t feel well.

Special People Dept.

  • Gracie McNemar celebrates her 96th birthday on Monday with an informal party at the Guest House, Florida and Sharp, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Marian and Charlie Gant celebrate their 70th anniversary on Monday. They spent the weekend at their granddaughter’s wedding at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, where they honeymooned 70 years ago.

    On Monday, Myrtis and Clark Fooshee, of Jackson, celebrate 63 years of marriage.

Worthy causes

The 43rd annual Hornbeck Offshore Bobby Hebert Cystic Fibrosis Golf Classic, presented by Ray Brandt Infiniti to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, is Friday at Lakewood Golf Course in New Orleans with flights at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Contact Cheryl Lemoine at (504) 455-5194 or

Thought for the Day

From Algie Petrere: “Men think it’s every woman’s dream to find the perfect man. Actually, it’s every woman’s dream to eat anything she wants without getting fat.”

Life with Pawpaw

Tom Boone, of Gonzales, says his grandson, in the first grade in Jacksonville, North Carolina, had to write a paper on what he was doing for summer vacation:

“He wrote, ‘I’m going to spend the summer with my Nana and Pawpaw, and I’ll go to the mall with my Nana and Twin Peaks with my Pawpaw.”

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.