Leave it to the readers of this column to offer ideas to solve the major issues of the day — unsolicited ideas, of course, but ideas nevertheless.

For instance, Mark Lazarre comes up with this solution to the problem of what to call Baton Rouge’s rebuilt Lee High School:

“I propose that we keep the name of Lee High, but on the first day of class each student is given a handout stating that he or she can pick whichever person in their mind that Lee represents.

“Some will go with Robert E. Lee; others, of a literary mindset, might pick Harper Lee.

“Asian students could go for Bruce Lee or Sheriff Harry Lee. Some could pick Gypsy Rose Lee (the sponsor of that club would be state Rep. Kenny Havard). African-American students might choose Spike Lee, theater students Lee Strasberg and music majors Brenda Lee.

“But my favorite would be Muhammad Ahh Lee.”

We go Pogo

Mary Pramuk, of Baton Rouge, has these final words about possums:

“It seems we are growing our own tiny possum under the bird feeder. Along with the squirrels, he’s feasting on what the birds toss out. (We are not fattening him up to eat.)

“I was hoping someone would remember another little, lovable possum — Pogo, a character and comic strip like no other.

“Created by the late Walt Kelly, his strip appeared in an earlier Baton Rouge newspaper, and the Christmas carol lyrics (‘Deck Us All With Boston Charlie’) have been quoted in your column.

“In the 1950s, I bought Pogo comic books for myself and a couple of professors who didn’t want to be seen buying them from the blind street vendor; his kiosk was too close to the school.”

Which reminds me

In the late ’50s, when I was a student working on LSU’s Daily Reveille, the campus newspaper, Walt Kelly did a “Pogo” strip featuring LSU’s tiger mascot. We asked him for his original drawing, and he graciously complied with our request.

It was proudly displayed on the wall of the Reveille office the whole time I was there.

(By the way, there was once a “Pogo for President” campaign. Maybe this would be a good time to start another one...)

Language barriers

Regarding our seminar on using “No problem” instead of “You’re welcome,” Sarah Stravinska, of Chestnut, says other languages don’t seem to have a problem with “No problem:”

“In Spanish the answer to ‘Thank you’ is ‘De nada,’ which means ‘It was nothing.’ Ditto in French, where the answer is ‘De rien.’ Quite similar to ‘No problem.’

“Perhaps these negative sounding responses were designed to relieve the recipient of any obligation to return the favor.”

Thank-you note

Luther P. Sobers says he and his family thank those who cared for his wife of 66 years, Myrtle Yvonne East Sobers, as she battled cancer before her death on May 28: Drs. H.A. Hollier and Venu Kakarala and staffs, and the staff at Grace Health and Rehab in Slaughter. He also thanks Charlet Funeral Home in Zachary and pastors Cedric Murphy and Ron Aguillard.

Special People Dept.

— Frances Robinson, of Amber Terrace Assisted Living in Baton Rouge, celebrates her 90th birthday on Wednesday, June 8.

— Alfred “Buck” and Margaret Bayhi celebrate their 70th anniversary on Wednesday, June 8.

— On Wednesday, June 8, Glen and Jeanne Parker, of Baton Rouge celebrate their 65th anniversary.

— Eunice and Arlo Landolt, of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 50th anniversary on Wednesday, June 8.

In the jailhouse now

Diane T. Martin, of Morgan City, says Virginia Booth’s “Daddy-is-a-bum” story (in the Saturday column) “reminded me of one my grandson Drew told.

“When he was asked about his father’s job, Drew said, ‘My daddy’s the smartest man in the jail.’ (His father was information officer for the Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Department.) My son still gets teased about that.”

As the ax falls

Gary McGarity says our recent nostalgia items about Johnny Carson and the old “Tonight Show” brought back a memory of the famous Ed Ames tomahawk incident:

“For those that might not know, Ames played Mingo, a Native American character on television.

“In an attempt to demonstrate proper technique, Ames threw a tomahawk at an outline of a cowboy on a wooden backstop.

“The tomahawk hit the cowboy square in the groin.

“Ames was momentarily stunned. The audience howled, and Carson laughed until he had tears in his eyes.

“Carson finally ad-libbed, ‘I didn’t even know you were Jewish!’

“Ames retorted by asking Carson if he would like a turn throwing the tomahawk, to which Carson replied, ‘I can’t hurt him any more than you did.’”

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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