There's really no place quite like this part of the world during Carnival season.

Every year about this time I'm reminded of Zoe, a friend and a masseuse in New Orleans.

As the parades began to roll, she would run an ad in Gambit for her business, offering to treat parade-goers for, among other conditions, "bead neck."

She said this was a real thing, caused by people draping too many beads around their necks as they caught them from the riders on the floats.

I guess I'm weird, but I absolutely LOVE living somewhere where bead neck is a problem. …  

Burning issue

"The stories about the old western movies made me think about the last ‘Lone Ranger’ episode I saw," says Tim Palmer, of Lafayette:

"The Lone Ranger, Tonto and another man were locked in the airtight vault of a bank, and they knew that the oxygen was running out, because the kerosene lamp they had burning was starting to flicker.

"They also knew that a bank employee was going to be working that morning, but he would not be able to hear them yell or pound on the door.

"So, and this is where it really gets good, they poured some of the kerosene at the base of the vault door and lit it. The smoke on the outside of the door alerted the bank employee, and he let them out.

"I guess technical consultants were an expense they did not feel necessary. You never saw flaws like that on Roy Rogers."

Organ recital

Ralph Drouin, of Baton Rouge, says when he saw me mention my fondness for liver and onions, "I was reminded of the song by Paul Simon, '50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.'

"I changed the words to '50 Ways to Love Your Liver.'

"It climbed to 101 on the top 100 list."

Acquired tastes

Speaking of dishes that aren't universally loved, Pat Reilly, of Jefferson, offers this family history:

"Monday's column included a story about squirrel brains among other delicacies, and it reminded me of my family (9 kids) and growing up in small-town Louisiana.

"We ate a LOT of game, and a sister and brother would fight over the squirrel heads/brains. Of course our dad was fond of this delicacy too, so they had to share.

"I'm like you, though — didn't go for the brains!"

Purple visitors

Our mention of purple martin sightings brought this information from Duke Rivet:

"The Purple Martin Conservation Association's 'Scout Arrival Study' follows the annual purple martin migration across North America.

"Individuals can submit reports online of when they see the first scout, and their report is entered into a database by state. On Monday morning there were 345 U.S. reports, and 74 were from Louisiana.

"The first reported sighting in Louisiana was on Jan. 3 in Hester, in St. James Parish.

"I had my first sighting on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, the 41st consecutive year I've hosted purple martins in my backyard in Baton Rouge.

"A truly sociable and remarkable bird — it's a long migration from Brazil!"

Nice People Dept.

Carl and Mary Ann Mistric, of Baton Rouge, say they "sincerely thank the kind, generous person who paid for our meal at Mason's Grill."

Fair warnings

Our Tuesday item about bathroom safety brought these reactions, evidently from folks who have been through this trauma:

Ricky Sizeler, of Destrehan, says, "The warning about washing your hands before going to the bathroom after cleaning jalapeño peppers also goes for after eating boiled crawfish. ..."

And Walt Merrill, of Plano, Texas, reminds us that everything is bigger (and hotter) in that state:

"Always remember that a habanero pepper is 1,000 times hotter than a jalapeño pepper!"

Let him pass!

Paul Major, of Livonia, offers this message to drivers:

"Sometimes there are things just a little bit more concerning than others.

"Like when you look in your rear-view mirror while driving and see that you are being closely followed by a vehicle with a smashed-in front end whose hood is held closed by a bungee cord and the cracked windshield sports an expired inspection sticker. Concerned?"


Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.