I’m sure a lot of people regard the obituary section of The Advocate as a sad part of the paper.

We see all those people who have died (in alphabetical order), read about those they left behind, and view photos of them in their younger (often much younger) days.

But long-time contributor Dan Burkhalter has a more positive view of the obits.

I’ve dubbed Dan “The Carencro Curmudgeon,” and most of his notes are, well, curmudgeonly.

But this time he makes a valid, and touching, point:

“Over the years I scan the obits for acquaintances who have passed on.

“I randomly read the details, and have found that we have lived among some outstanding people.

“These folks have given themselves to country, community, family, church and civic organizations.

“They gave the most important contribution of all — not money but self.

“Thank goodness there are folks who are keeping these traditions alive.

“I want to add my ongoing thanks to those, past and present, who keep this country great.”

The Bama connection

After an LSU fan complained about the allegiance of “Chris LaSalle,” the character on “NCIS New Orleans” played by Lucas Black, Harriet St. Amant suggested we cut him some slack:

“The character hails from Alabama and went to the University thereof.

“It’s not at all surprising that, even in Tiger Country, he’d support (however unadvisedly) his home state and his alma mater.

“Equally not surprising was his invitation to his Alabama-raised brother to go home with him and watch Bama beat LSU at whatever sport was being televised that evening.

“We travel around regularly, and frequently have had occasion to spend a night on the way out or back home in Tuscaloosa.

“Please believe me when I say that I take evil delight in showing up in the motel breakfast area wearing an LSU T-shirt, or sweatshirt, depending on the season!”

Which reminds me

Many years ago I went to Chicago to do a story on the last on the interurban electric railroads, which ran between that city and South Bend, Indiana.

As part of my research, I rode the afternoon train to South Bend, spent the night there, then took the morning train back to Chicago.

That evening I found myself at a piano bar in the motel where I was staying, among a raucous group of Notre Dame supporters.

This was in the ’70s, when LSU had played the Fighting Irish in a couple of football games, losing in South Bend but winning in Baton Rouge.

So the piano bar patrons were familiar enough with LSU that my request of the pianist for “Tiger Rag” got about the reaction you might expect.

After the jeers and catcalls died down, however, they were good sports about it, welcomed me to Irish country and even bought me a root beer or two...

Aging process

Carl Spillman contributes to our seminar on “earworms,” songs that get stuck in your head:

“The song that keeps popping up in my head is ‘Those Were the Days.’

“It’s age related.

“Every time I see or think of something I can no longer do, or have no desire to do, here comes Mary Hopkins doing her thing...”


Chip in New Orleans says, “To add to your list of ‘genuine fake watches’ and ‘genuine simulated diamond rings’ — when they first buried JFK, they erected a ‘temporary eternal flame.’

Thought for the Day

From Marsha Reichle: “The two most terrifying words in advertisements are ‘New and Improved.’

“It means you are going to be paying a premium for your favorite product on eBay.”

Take the cake

Sarah Stravinska, of Chestnut, says, “The story of the young bride putting raw rice in her food reminded me of the time I made a coffee cake for my parents.

“They chewed and chewed, and finally asked about the ingredients.

“When I mentioned the cup of coffee, Mom asked where I got the coffee.

“‘From the can, of course,’ I answered.

“They nodded and suggested that we wrap up the rest of the cake for Grandmommy.

“It was years later that I realized it should have been liquid coffee, not the grounds.

“Of course I was only about 10 years old at time, not a grown-up wife.”

Think cynical

Algie Petrere came across these sayings in “A Cynic’s Guide to Life:”

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a leaky tire.”

“Never test the depth of the water with both feet.”

“If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.”

“Always remember you’re unique, just like everyone else.”

“It’s always darkest before the dawn. So if you’re going to steal your neighbor’s newspaper, that’s the time to do it.”

Talk to Smiley

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.