Kirk Aycock continues our discussion of Fitbits, those trendy devices you wear on your wrist to measure movement:

“As part of my responsibility to my health insurance company to maintain a level of fitness, I was required to earn points using various exercises and assure them that I kept fit. They would track my progress from my computer.

“Since I worked at a golf course, I had a bright idea to loan my Fitbit to a younger kid who walked 18 holes every morning.

“Imagine my surprise when I got my monthly update ­— congratulating me for walking more miles than anyone in the entire USA.

“I quit loaning it for fear I may be asked to report my weight loss — which was zero pounds...”

Going to the dogs

Doug Lee, of Prairieville, has another Fitbit story:

“My employer recently put all employees on a ‘Fitbit Challenge.’

“My problem with this is that Fitbit measures your steps based on your stride, which is calculated using your height.

“At 6-2, I have a considerably larger stride than he does at 5-6. So in walking the same distance, he would get a greater number of steps.

“I compared it to the steps of a Great Dane to that of a dachshund! I don’t think he liked that comparison...”

The Irish connection

Marsha R. can sympathize with Ronnie Hotz, who complained in the Friday column about the difficulty of having a German name in Louisiana:

“My second husband gifted me with a German name (Reichle) that locals find unpronounceable.

“When I go to the doctor, the staff often looks at the chart and then calls me in using my first name. When they don’t even take a shot at it, I often chide them, ‘No guts, no glory.’ Those who take a shot and miss, I give a little memory jog, ‘It’s Reichle, like Michael.’

“When we went out to eat and my husband was asked his name, he would usually give the wait staff the name of my first husband, McCormick, a grand Irish name no one mispronounces.

“I knew my first husband was somewhere in the Great Beyond smiling to be still out and about, having a good time despite having passed on.

“Only once did a server question why Mr. McCormick was using a credit card with a different name.”

One guest short

Ann Minnich, of Luling, says, “In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Read Across America Day, St. Charles Parish’s new Community Center in Killona hosted a birthday party.

“The staff and volunteers did a terrific job decorating with balloons, ‘Cat in the Hat’ hats, ‘Thing One’ and ‘Thing Two’ wigs, and many of Dr. Seuss’s books.

“Refreshments included sliced banana and strawberry skewers resembling hats, green deviled eggs and ham rollups, a birthday cake, and blue punch with a red gummy fish floating in the bottom of the cup.

“But several of the children wanted to know how we could start the party — since Dr. Seuss hadn’t arrived yet.

“I had to break the news that I would be reading to them, and Dr. Seuss had passed away many years ago. They were disappointed for about 10 seconds, then helped me do a very animated reading of ‘Green Eggs and Ham.’ “By the way, all the children loved the refreshments, except one 5-year-old girl. Her daddy catches redfish all the time, and she doesn’t eat them unless they are bigger and cooked!”

Hot times

Marie Merrill, of Baton Rouge, says before Donna Douglas became a TV star on “The Beverly Hillbillies,” she worked at the State Police headquarters, when Marie was in the Driver’s License Division:

“Dottie, as she was called, loved jewelry, and I made shell earrings as a hobby.

“When she was to enter a pepper eating contest, she asked me to made a pair of red pepper earrings. These I made from garfish scales. She won first place.”

Looking for people

Angie Miller has fond memories of working in the tax office of East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Al Amiss in the ’80s:

“That was some of the best times of my life. Some of us ladies marched in parades as ‘Al’s Angels.’”

She’d like to hear from some of the folks she worked with, to recall those days. She’s at

Thanks, Chef!

In our Gourmet Corner, Richard Guidry, of Zachary, mentions a recent column topic:

“People with culinary expertise such as myself know that you should never fry Spam. For the best flavor and tenderness, you should sauté it.”

Silence is golden

Faye Guidry says, “Reading about ushers with a handful of quarters making change before the collection reminds me of the pastor hoping for a silent collection.”

Contacting Smiley

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.