Coffee comments in the Monday column brought this note from Charlie Anderson:

"I’ve been told that, some years ago, a diner at a crossroads on La. 1 in north Louisiana had this sign over the counter: 'From here south the coffee gets stronger.'"

Name game

A few more comments about appropriate names:

Richard M. Gibson, of Lafayette, reminds us that Matt Batts, of Baton Rouge, had possibly the best name in all of Major League baseball. He was a catcher for five teams (Red Sox, Browns, Tigers, White Sox, Reds) from 1947 to 1956. He died in Baton Rouge in 2013.

Jerry Abour, of Baton Rouge, says, "My wife had a fear of flying for years, but I finally talked her into flying to the Cayman Islands for a business/pleasure trip. I learned that our pilot was Captain Doody, and his call sign in the Navy had been (what else?) 'Howdy.' I dared not tell my wife we were being flown by Howdy Doody."

Ron Sirney says Dallas Raines, a meteorologist at Baton Rouge and New Orleans TV stations and for CNN, was later meteorologist at KABC-TV in Los Angeles, working there for years: "I’m originally from southern California (Rancho Cucamonga), and watched him nightly."

Laughing with Grouchy

Speaking of names, Mike Manes, of New Iberia, commented on a column contribution from my buddy Dave Grouchy, of Covington:

"I’m impressed; you’ve had many 'grouchy' contributors before (including me), but this gentleman honored the truth in advertising standards you’ve maintained for all these years!"

Actually, it's a French name pronounced "Grew-shay." And when Dave taught an LSU leisure course on humor (which I took, in an effort to improve my normally dour demeanor), the irony was amusing enough to make the pages of Mad magazine.  

Bad car blues

T-Bob Taylor, of Panama City Beach, Florida, says our discussion of unfortunate vehicles will not be complete until we mention the Ford Pinto:

"That Ford 'gem' compact of the 1970s was lacking in many areas."

Indeed, the 1971 Pinto comes in at No. 15 in the Edmunds automotive website's list of the 50 worst cars ever made. Its potentially hazardous rear-mounted gas tank was cited in the ranking.

Marie Annette Chapman adds to comments on the East German Trabant (aka "Trabi"), whose 1957 model is No. 9 on the above-mentioned bad-car list: 

"I was teaching in West Germany when the wall came down. It was a jubilant time.

"However, the East Germans came over in their Trabis. These cars were referred to as 'Trash Trabis' in English, and worse in German.

"They ran as if powered by a single, sickly gerbil, and their headlights could barely be seen in the dark. They were enshrouded with a dense cloud of smoke and left a trail of broken parts.

"Encountering them puttering along on the Autobahn led to quite a few accidents."

History lesson

Wayne Smith, of Covington, says, "I was checking average live crawfish prices in the New Orleans area, and found them to be around $4.25 a pound. I was reminded of a dear friend in Lafayette somewhere between 1966-1970 declaring rather angrily, 'I will not pay more than 15 cents a pound for crawfish!"

(Wayne throws in a memory of the $3 crawfish platter at Pat's in Henderson "before I-10 ruined everything.")

Special People Dept.

— Geneva Davis, a native and lifelong resident of Denham Springs, celebrates her 97th birthday Tuesday, April 6.

— LeRoy and Patricia Gravois, of LaPlace, celebrate 63 years of marriage Tuesday, April 6.

First things first

Marsha R., of Baton Rouge, offers this example of spousal thought processes:

"Husband's call: 'Honey, it's me. I don't want to alarm you, but I was hit by a car as I was leaving the office. Paula brought me to the hospital. They have checked me over and done some tests and X-rays. The blow to my head was severe. Fortunately it did not cause any serious internal injury. However, I have three broken ribs and a compound fracture in my left leg…"

"Wife's response: 'Who is Paula?'"

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