As hurricane season approaches, Pete Lambousy tells a chilling story about “hurricane hunter” planes:

“After reading the story in the Thursday Advocate about hurricane hunters, my mind was jogged back to 1963 at Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station in Puerto Rico, where the planes were stationed.

“As a journalist for the base newspaper, I was assigned to cover the return of a plane that was lucky to get back from checking out a hurricane brewing in the area.

“The plane had flown into the wall of the storm, with almost catastrophic results.

“According to the pilot’s description, it was as if they had hit a brick wall, and were then tossed around violently until finally the storm spit them out. Miraculously, the plane was still flying.

“Back at the ‘Rosy Roads’ airstrip, it looked as if a giant force had grabbed the nose of the plane with one hand and the tail with the other and twisted it; and then twisted it back.

“The fuselage was rippled from one end to the other. Several of the crew members were badly injured, and I believe the plane had to be scrapped.

“That service is not all public relations.”

If only...

Robin Peterson, of Oberlin, says, “After I saw the mention of the Guy Clark song ‘L.A. Freeway’ (in the Friday column), it just happened to be on ‘Mysteries at the Museum’ in a story of the guy who stole a tank and took off on the San Diego freeway, clearing the way! Can’t say I never wished I had one on I-10!”

Just saying what?

Former Advocate editor Roy Miller has another suggestion for our ‘ban wagon’ — words and phrases that should be banned from the English language.

Roy’s suggestion: “‘Just saying’ at the end of a statement. It means nothing, it adds nothing, it needs to die and be forgotten.”

The doctor says...

Algie Petrere says, “I ran across an old newspaper clipping I had saved since January, 1999. (No, I don’t know why I saved it). It was a list of actual doctors’ notes, provided by an insurer.”

Some examples:

“She is numb from her toes down.”

“The skin was moist and dry.”

“The patient lives at home with his mother, father and pet turtle, who is presently enrolled in day care three times a week.”

“Bleeding started in the rectal area and continued all the way to Los Angeles.”

“When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room.”

“The baby was delivered, the cord clamped and cut and handed to the pediatrician, who breathed and cried immediately.”

Mystery band

Regarding the question in the Friday column about the ’60s rock band with a radio hit that played at a car dealership in Metairie’s Fat City, we received this possible answer from E.J. Oubre, of Gonzales:

“Although I don’t remember the car dealership or the event, I believe the group was John Fred and the Playboys, and their song was ‘Judy in Disguise.’ Maybe I win half a cookie.”

Blue book blues

Showing his age, Keith Horcasitas recalls “blue books,” used in college classes for writing test answers in the days before computers.

He had this thought after seeing a mention of the books on a ‘Perry Mason’ DVD, about a college professor’s murder.

“Just getting a blue book from the Loyola University book store, readying for mid-terms or finals, was an ordeal — they would run out all the time,” says Keith. “And if I tried to make my own version of the exam books when I couldn’t find the real ones, I would always get docked by my professors for not complying with their directives.”

(My only memory of blue books involves using them in T. Harry Williams’ Civil War and Reconstruction classes at LSU. Thankfully, he wanted answers in essay form, so those of us inclined toward bloviation had an advantage over those who relied on facts alone.)

Special People Dept.

Zula Singletary Dupuy, of Lutcher, celebrates her 94th birthday on Tuesday, May 24.

Johnny and Shirley O’Conner celebrate their 58th anniversary on Tuesday, May 24.

Not heavenly

Gerald Guarisco offers the final suggestion for a new name for the New Orleans Zephyrs baseball team:

“We have the Saints, so now we should have the Purgatorians.”

(Interesting idea, Gerald — but what could the mascot be?)

Weed control

Tim Palmer, of Lafayette, says, “I was talking to a friend the other day, and she said she was ‘growing like a weed.’

“She saw the befuddled look on my face and said, ‘You know — growing in all the places you don’t want: belly, rear...’

“I didn’t say anything. I figured that was the smartest thing I could do.

“The second smartest was not mentioning her name here...”

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.