Barbara McKasle, of Hammond (“and proud of it!”), offers this sign of the times:

“On my way to a meeting I’m thinking who was going to be there, and this paraphrase occurred to me: ‘Where two or more are gathered there, also shall you find political candidates.’

“Sure ’nuf, there they were.”

(How true, Barbara — I had two candidates for governor visit my humble abode during Spanish Town Mardi Gras festivities — proof that they’re vying for the weirdo vote in this year’s race.)

Educational experience

Barbara Spencer, of Lafayette, says, “The discussion of the word ONLY brings back memories for me.

“During my last year as a high school instructor, I was assured that several ongoing problems would be ‘tweaked.’

“When this ‘tweaking’ never happened, I went to a higher authority figure, who matter-of-factly stated that I was ONLY a teacher and that I did not have the right to question an administrator’s judgment.

“Well, my guardian angels then advised me to ‘tweak’ the school system by becoming ONLY a retiree...”

The quiet man

“All these references to ‘only’ reminded me of an incident some 20 years ago,” says Glenn Giro, of Denham Springs.

“I overheard a conversation some friends at the bowling alley were having and said, ‘Well, I have only one thing to say about that.’

“Rex interrupted me with, ‘Glenn, I’ve never known you to have only ONE thing to say.’

“What could I say? He knew me too well. I just smiled, made an invisible check mark in the air as my way of letting him know I agreed with his assessment, and remained silent.”

Lightnin’ strikes

T-Bob Taylor, of Panama City Beach, Florida, adds to our list of memorable concerts:

“In the early ’70s I was supposed to meet a friend on a Friday night at a place near the LSU Lakes.

“It was JAMMED. Nobody was worried about tickets, but I paid the $2 and stamped my own wrist.

“There was one lone musician who was blues-slapping his guitar and only had one mike and a tube amp.

“No effects needed. He had each of us in his hands. That musician, Lightnin’ Hopkins, is my favorite live concert performer.

“Years later a regular on Prairie Home Companion was asked his favorite live performer. When he said Lightnin’ Hopkins, I was not surprised.”

The Big Sleazy

Mark Lazarre says the New Orleans-based movie starring Gary Clarke that Pat Alba talked about in the Tuesday column was released, but not under the name “Black Rain”:

“‘Passion Street USA’ was released in 1964. The tagline was ‘Will You SHAME HER? DAMN HER? Or will you see YOURSELF in her image?’ That was what passed for ‘adults only’ in those days. Pretty tame stuff.”

TV Guide described it as a love triangle involving a minister, a detective and a Memphis lady who moves to New Orleans. It got one star (out of five).

Language lesson

Val Garon says, “I was writing to you about a friend who stepped on an alligator while crossing a ‘zambara’ in the swamp.

“While trying to be accurate, I must admit that I do not really know the meaning of the word.

“I have heard it used when I was younger, but no one can tell me what it means now.

“Maybe some of your readers can explain the meaning before all of us old Cajuns pass away.”

Special People Dept.

— Wiley Duke, of Baton Rouge, celebrates his 90th birthday on Saturday, July 18. He is a World War II veteran.

— A.P. “Tony” and Evelyn LiRocchi Vidacovich, of New Orleans, celebrate their 76th anniversary on Friday, July 17. (The date was previously given as Monday, July 13.)

— On Saturday, July 18, Frank and Agnes Gros Newchurch, of Labadieville, celebrate 63 years of marriage.

— Chick and Gerry St. Germaine, of Harahan, celebrated their 63rd anniversary on Monday, July 13.

Thought for the Day

From Dan Burkhalter, the Carencro Curmudgeon: “I feel like I’m diagonally parked in a parallel universe.”

Inquiring Minds Dept.

I suppose a fishing rodeo is one where instead of catching it, you RIDE the tarpon...

Feeling well-done

Patrick Howard, of Zachary, offers this culinary weather report (after apologizing for the sweat stains on his letter):

“In regards to this 90-plus warm spell we’re experiencing, people say that in the Southwest, the heat is a dry heat and doesn’t feel so bad.

“My take on this is — if it is dry heat, you broil; if it is moist heat, such as with our humidity, you boil.

“Either way, your goose is cooked.”

How to contact 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.