Dr. Russell Saloom is a respected ophthalmologist and, more importantly, a two-time Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade judge.

He’s also an accomplished writer, as his “welcome to the SEC” letter to a friend who’s a Texas A&M grad illustrates.

Here’s part of it:

“Just a reminder, some ground rules and a few important things about the A&M upgrading of status:

“The SEC has won 7 of the 13 BCS national championships.

“Aggie jokes are sure to resurrected in Louisiana.

“Real men do not wrap their arms around each other and sway back and forth during football games.

“Real football teams have FEMALE cheerleaders.

“Kissing your date after each A&M touchdown won’t come as often once you start playing in our league.

“True fans have pep rallies, not ‘yell practice.’ We already know how to yell.

“In the SEC, our marching bands do not wear khaki…

“ ‘Tiger Bait,’ ‘War Eagle’ and ‘Roll Tide’ are acceptable chants. But no one knows what ‘Gig ’em’ means…

“If you fail to follow conduct deserving to your elevated status, we will get our own TV sports network and chase you out of here, too!

“You are dismissed, Private.”

A raw deal

We’ve often mentioned misunderstandings caused by Southern accents.

Keith Horcasitas says similar problems can be caused when Ninth Ward residents leave New Orleans:

“Back in the early 1980s, while we were in San Diego for my graduate social work at San Diego State, we stopped by a McDonald’s for a quick bite.

“My wife asked for two Big Macs and ‘Waaaaaaaaa-ter.’

“After some questioning by the clerk as to what Maria had just said, he finally noted, ‘Oh, I thought you said you wanted a ‘raw order’ Big Mac.’

“We promptly responded, ‘No, we’re not into sushi!’”

Worthy causes

HOPE Ministries and the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations (LANO) have launched Louisiana Community Marketplace to allow shoppers to “support their favorite local nonprofit organizations, schools and churches by making online purchases via http://www.louisianacommunitymarketplace.com.

“A portion of online purchases from Amazon, Target, Sears, Expedia and many others are returned to our community, providing an untapped revenue source for the nonprofit sector.”

LCM seeks nonprofit organizations, schools, churches and companies interested in participating in the project, sponsored in part by ExxonMobil, Capital Area United Way and LANO.

Contact Janet Simmons at (225) 355-0702, ext. 22, or jsimmons@hopebr.org, or Melissa Tillery at mtillery@hopebr.org.

Light it up

Carl Meriwether says that while it’s nice that folks are flying the American flag, we should remember that flag etiquette calls for the American flag to have a light on it if it’s left out after dark.

Special People Dept.

• Emma H. Major celebrates her 97th birthday Sunday.

• Sis Bowers celebrates her 94th birthday Friday.

• Philip Rush Haley, of Denham Springs, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of World War II and a POW in a Japanese camp for 3 1/2 years, celebrates his 90th birthday Saturday.

• Henry B. Leblanc Jr. celebrates his 90th birthday Saturday.

• Willard “Bill” and Wilma Salassi Aydell, of French Settlement, celebrate their 74th anniversary Sunday at St. Joseph Catholic Church of French Settlement at an 11 a.m. reception in the parish hall.

• Michael and Carolyn “Punkin” Landaiche celebrate 63 years of marriage Sunday.

• Jimmy and Beverly Clark Richardson celebrate their 50th anniversary Friday.

Burning issue

Mike Eldred, of Tylertown, Miss., thanks Shooter Mullins for discussing his cooking shortcomings:

“I now know that thing in the kitchen is a smoke alarm.

“I’ve been using it as an oven timer…”

Opening remarks

Loren Scott tells of the time Boudreaux and Marie came out of Hymel’s Restaurant after a seafood feast, only to find he had locked the keys in the car:

“Boudreaux insisted he could open the car if only he had a wire clothes hanger.

He had to run to a store a quarter-mile away, and returned with a hanger.

“After a few attempts he got the door opened.

“As he and Marie sat in the car, Boudreaux stuck the hanger under the seat.

“With a smug grin he told Marie, ‘Now if this ever happens again, I’ll have one handy.’”