Thomas Murrel, of Church Point, says, “Annette and I were returning from Baton Rouge about a week ago. She was driving, and I was scanning through a copy of The Advocate.

“ ‘Hey, babe,’ I asked, ‘what is the definition of the ultimate challenge?’

“ ‘Is this a trick question?’ she asked. I shook my head.

“‘All right then, what IS the definition of the ultimate challenge?’

“With pen in hand I answered, ‘The ultimate challenge is trying to work a crossword puzzle while in a car on any road in Louisiana.’”

Selling points

Two views on a recent column topic, TV commercials:

Mary Hamilton says, “One of the ads on TV that gets me upset is the one where Fred Thompson, former senator from Tennessee and former presidential candidate, is touting the reverse mortgage.

“Fred is walking down the street explaining the advantages of a reverse mortgage and walks by a newspaper vendor, Jesse.

“At that point, Fred says, ‘Isn’t that right, Jesse?’

“As if Jesse actually cares what Fred is saying.”

Dr. Joe Ricapito says, “I object (mildly) to the person who took exception to the ad with the expensive SUV, beautiful woman and a dog.

“I think it is a highly ingenious ad. It highlights two beautiful people, a beautiful SUV and an effective dog.

“The reader objects that the man doesn’t ask for her number (when he returns the lady’s scarf). Why should he? He knows where she lives.”

Lovely liver

Our seminar on liver reminds T. Hendry of a wonderful dish, the “grilled chicken livers served over mustard greens and rice every day at Praline Connection on Frenchman Street in New Orleans and at their booth at the French Quarter Festival every year. YUM!”

And a Baton Rouge reader says Tim’s Po-Boys, on Monterrey Boulevard, serves liver and onions six days a week.

(No need to thank me, liver lovers — public service is my life …)

The gland is my gland

Mention of liver reminds me of another organ meat I don’t often find in Baton Rouge eateries, sweetbreads.

These are the thymus glands of calves or lambs, and I guarantee they taste much better than they sound.

Prepared right, they’re mild and buttery.

My favorites are the ones at Susan Spicer’s New Orleans restaurant, Bayona.

(Why do I think there’ll be a trip south of Baton Rouge in my near future?)

Worthy causes

  • Capital Area CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Association is holding its 20th annual Casas for CASA playhouse raffle through Aug. 17.

The playhouse will be displayed from Saturday to Aug. 17 at the Mall of Louisiana. The $5 raffle tickets will be available at the mall, the CASA office at 848 Louisiana Ave. or online at

The event officially kicks off with a CASA Fiesta on Sunday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the mall, with Mexican food, drinks, a silent auction and live music. Fiesta tickets are $50, available at the event, online or at (225) 379-8598.

The drawing will be at 5 p.m. Aug. 17, at CASA Kids Day at the mall.

A Veggies for Vets canned food drive will start Saturday and go through Oct. 26.

From 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, Veterans Housing Outreach Ministries volunteers will host the drive at New Orleans Harley Davidson in Metairie, St. Rose Community Center and From the Boat to You in New Orleans.

The drive benefits disabled, senior and homeless veterans.

Contact Lisa Carey at (504) 340-3429 or

Special People Dept.

  • Annette Robnett celebrated her 100th birthday on Monday.
  • Lorene Williams, of Hammond, will be 100 on Monday, an event she will celebrate on Saturday, July 26, with friends and relatives.

    Robert B. and Doris J. Williams celebrate 72 years of marriage on Saturday.

What a deal!

Faye Hoffman Talbot, of Jackson, says her sister noticed a sign at a St. Francisville hotel advertising “Free Dinner Monday through Thursday.”

She told Faye, “I don’t understand how a hotel can offer free dinner four nights a week.”

Says Faye, “I explained to her that it was only for occupants of the hotel.”

“She said, ‘Oh!’

“Just in case you are wondering, she was never a blonde.”

Feel the warmth

Richard Sherlock says, “Reading the entries from readers about cow pies brings to mind my late dad’s experience working at a dairy in New Orleans when he was a teenager during the Depression.

“The dairy was near the intersection of Carrollton and St. Charles.

“During the winter, he would put his cold, bare feet into a freshly deposited hot cow patty to warm them.

“So there’s actually another little-known use for cow patties most people don’t know about.”

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.