With so much attention focused on this part of the world by the Super Bowl festivities and that little party called Mardi Gras, it’s inevitable that all the old stereotypes about Louisiana will get hauled out.

I noticed an early start to this practice on the “American Idol” show from Baton Rouge.

Viewers were treated to pictures of alligators, snakes, pigs in a swamp and voodoo queens — you know, the kind of stuff we run into every day on Third Street. …

But Paul Vance says The Advocate isn’t helping any with the headline that ran Monday on the front page, “Study probes diet of alligators.”

Says Paul, “Welcome, visitors to the Super Bowl. …”

It takes the cake

Linda Germany comments on the photo in the Advocate on Tuesday, showing a giant sculpture of a baby by British artist Marc Quinn, unveiled in Singapore:

“You know it’s Carnival time when you look at the picture of the giant baby sculpture and think, ‘Wow, that must have been a really big king cake.’ ”

Our own Heloise

Shooter Mullins takes me back to my bachelor days with this housekeeping tip:

“This week, I laundered my shower curtain liner in the washing machine, and it came out fine.

“I never knew you could do that! I’ve been throwing them away.

“It’s amazing, Smiley, the things you can learn from women if you just pay attention.”

(Yes, and I wish I had started paying attention much earlier. …)

Religious instruction

Danny Brown recalls this story of his brother J.C., a 1957 Istrouma High grad who died in December:

“As you know, Assistant Principal Clyde Lindsey was the ‘Chief Administrator of Discipline’ at Istrouma.

“J.C. was a good kid, but often received Mr. Lindsey’s ‘Paddle of Justice’ for cutting class in order to be at Baker High School in time to meet his girlfriend when she got out of school.

“Years later, J.C. and I ran into Mr. Lindsey at a sporting event and J.C. asked, ‘Mr. Lindsey, do you remember me?’

“Mr. Lindsey smiled and answered in that slow drawl of his, ‘Yeah, J.C., I remember you. What are you doing now?’

“J.C. replied proudly, ‘I’m a preacher now.’

“Mr. Lindsey shook his head and replied, ‘Must have been all those sermons I gave you.’ ”

Happy returns

Vaughn Benoit says our mention of a long-lost class ring’s recovery brought this story to mind:

“In 1967, my high school graduation class attended Mass for the blessing of our rings.

“The father of one of my classmates found a 1937 class ring in a flower bed in front of the church.

“He was able to find the owner of the ring. It was my mother, Anaise M. Guilbeau.

“The ring had been lost years before. She still has the ring and still attends the same church, St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Carencro. She is 94 years young.”

Looking for stuff

Carole Cross says Baton Rouge Little Theater, for its next production, “City of Angels” (March 8-24), needs to borrow an iron lung and a hospital gurney.

Call (225) 924-6496.

Youthful heroes

Bob Neese, of Louisiana Public Broadcasting, says entries are being accepted for the Louisiana Young Heroes Awards.

The awards honor “students in grades 7-12 who have excelled in the classroom, served their community, overcome adversity and inspired others.”

The project is co-sponsored by LPB and the Baton Rouge Rotary Club and underwritten by ExxonMobil.

Deadline for entries is Feb. 8. Nomination forms are available online at http://www.lpb.org/heroes.

Looking for people

The Sexual Trauma Awareness & Response Center seeks volunteers to staff the 24-hour hotline and assist survivors at the hospital.

Volunteer training classes begin Feb. 19.

Call (225) 615-7093 or visit http://www.brstar.org.

Special People Dept.

Jerry and Rose Epperson celebrated their 59th anniversary Tuesday.

Thought for the Day

From Harry Clark, of Lafayette: “Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.”

Defining moment

Our resident linguist, Harriet St. Amant, explains that “buffet” is a French term:

“It means ‘Get up and get it yourself.’ ”

Defense of idleness

Marvin Borgmeyer says, “As a recent retiree, I have seen two relevant quotations: ‘Work is a slice of your life; it’s not the entire pizza’ and ‘Doing nothing is very hard; you never know when you’re finished.’ ”

Marvin adds, “As a hard-working journalist, I am not sure you can understand either of these quotations yet!”

(No, Marvin, but I’m working on it. …)

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.