Algie Petrere’s memory of typewriter days brought back a lot of images — and the sound of LSU journalism students pounding away on 20 or 30 manual Underwoods and Royals in our typing room.

I still find something romantic about the clackety-clack of the manual typewriter, and the bell that rings when you reach the end of the carriage.

Thinking of it makes me want to stick a press card in my fedora, yell “Stop the presses!” and “Copyboy!” and take a slug out of the bottle of Four Roses in my bottom desk drawer.

But anyhow. …

Algie says, “I still have a couple of old manual typewriters in the garage and an electric one in the office. I don’t use it often, but it does come in handy occasionally.”

When she saw it the other day, she was reminded of this story:

The boys had been up in the attic together helping with some cleaning and uncovered an old manual typewriter.

They asked, “Hey, Mom, what’s this?”

“Oh, that’s an old typewriter,” she answered, thinking that would satisfy their curiosity.

“Well, what does it do?” they queried.

“I’ll show you,” their mother said. She went downstairs and returned with a blank piece of paper. She rolled the paper into the typewriter and began striking the keys, leaving black letters of print on the page.

“WOW!” the boys exclaimed, “That’s really cool — but how does it work like that? Where do you plug it in?”

“There is no plug,” she answered. “It doesn’t need a plug.”

“Then where do you put the batteries?” they persisted.

“It doesn’t need batteries either,” she continued.

“Wow! This is so cool!” the brothers exclaimed. “Someone should have invented this a long time ago!”

A child’s view

“Humor can happen even at a funeral,” says Sue Browne, of New Orleans:

“A close friend of ours was having a visitation at the church for her deceased husband. Her grandchildren came to the church for a brief visit to say a prayer for Pops.

“When the 3-year-old grandson got home, his grandmother said that Pops was in heaven with his other grandfather.

“The grandson replied, ‘No, he isn’t — they made a bed for him at the church.’

“We needed a good laugh, and this little boy provided us with just that.”


Susan Benton, of River Ridge, offers “more twists on the ‘déjà vu’ expression. Use at your own risk:

“Déjà flew: Air France’s frequent flyer program.

Déjà blew: That hurricane came through last week and it’s coming back?”

Sorry, Susan, but I’m going to pass on “déjà poo” and its British variation, “déjà loo.” Readers will just have to use their imaginations on those two. …

The satire game

As I’ve told Red Shtick publisher Jeremy White before, it’s hard to do satire in Baton Rouge because our REAL news is so bizarre.

But he keeps at it, on the city’s “only website dedicated to satire and irreverent humor.”

For more than eight years, Jeremy published Red Shtick Magazine as a printed publication, then launched a podcast in 2012.

The 100th episode of “The Red Shtick Podcast” will be recorded at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2, at El Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, 8334 Airline Highway, Baton Rouge. The episode will be available online Thursday, Sept. 4. You can drop by the Tuesday event, have a few laughs and quaff half-price margaritas.

All the podcasts are available at and on iTunes, plus the on-demand Internet radio service Stitcher.

Chilling story

Capt. Vic Laborde, of Atchafalaya Adventures in Pierre Part, says, “Two friends from the Frozen North and I were out in the Spillway trying to catch a few bass.

“It was one of those days — hot, not much happening.

“I told my podners, ‘Well, we will have to go ice fishing.’

“Of course, they looked at me like I had heat stroke or something.

“But I explained, ‘Hey, you’re in Louisiana; we always catch something out of an ice chest!’ ”

Give us our eels!

Jess Walker reminds me that a few weeks ago, for some reason, I ran a series on eels as an alternative seafood.

He says, “An update might be in order. A recent memo from Japan touched on the subject. It stated that unagi (eel) ‘is becoming more and more expensive due to … global warming and environment destruction.

“ ‘Therefore it is now thought to be a luxury food, even though helping people regain lost energy in hot summers.

“ ‘It will be unfamiliar food for many of the Japanese sooner or later.’ ”

An alarmed Jess asks, “Does that mean our unagi sushi will also disappear?”

Special People Dept.

  • John and Dorothy Marchese, of Metairie, celebrate 75 years of marriage Tuesday.
  • Former Baton Rouge residents Richard and Lilian Slaton, now of Crescent City, Florida, celebrate their 67th anniversary Tuesday.

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.