Warren Byrd, of Baton Rouge, offers evidence of the power of ladies from the South:

"My wife Arlene and I recently made a trip to Italy that included four nights in Rome.

"In advance of our trip, I 'thought' I had signed up for two tickets for the Vatican Scavi Tour of the excavations under St. Peter's Basilica to see the bones of St. Peter (called 'one of the most exclusive tours in all of Rome,' with only 250 people allowed each day).

"When we went to the Vatican for what I thought was our tour date, we found I had not confirmed our tickets, so we were out of luck.

"The nice man who sold the tour tickets said we could check back to see if there was a cancellation, but didn’t give us any real hope.

"We did check back 3-4 times, but to no avail. Finally, on our last day in Rome, Arlene went to the ticket counter again and said, in her sweetest, most Southern accent, 'But sir, I really, really, REALLY need two tickets.'

"The man finally relented and sold us two tickets. The tour was great, thanks to my sweet-talking wife."

Inquiring Minds Dept.

Jim Lewis is curious:

"I'm 60 years old and I have so many unanswered questions!

"Who let the dogs out?

"Where's the beef?

"Why do all flavors of Fruit Loops taste exactly the same?

"Why are eggs packaged in flimsy foam or paper cartons, but batteries are secured in plastic that's tough as nails?

"Why can't women put on mascara with their mouth closed?

"Why is 'abbreviated?' such a long word?

"Why do we drive in a parkway but park in a driveway?

"Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, yet dish-washing liquid is made with real lemons?

"Why do they call them boxing rings, when actually they are square?

"Why is it no matter what color bubble bath you buy the bubbles are always white?

"Why do you have to 'put your two cents in' but it's only a 'penny for your thoughts?'

"And just what IS Victoria's secret?"

Just you wait

"Knowing our shared love of Baton Rouge and Louisiana history," says Leo Honeycutt, of Baton Rouge, "I thought you’d find this interesting. People complain about rush hour traffic crossing the 'new' Mississippi River bridge — and rightfully so — but imagine what it was like when only a ferry crossed the river!

"I found this old schedule for the 'Steamer City of Baton Rouge' in a January, 1923, Advocate:

"'Leaves Port Allen 4:15 am, Baton Rouge 5:45 am. From 8:00 am until 4:00 pm trips every 15 minutes. From 4:00 pm until 1:30 am every half hour. Autos cross on all trips, day or night.'"

Nice People Dept.

Carl and Mary Ann Mistric thank "the person or persons who were gracious and kind enough to pay for our lunch at The Chimes restaurant in Baton Rouge. We are deeply grateful and appreciative."

Special People Dept.

  • Donis Jourdan Jenkins, of Covington, celebrated her 96th birthday Saturday, Jan. 5. She is a volunteer with many community service organizations and worked for over 30 years at Southeast Louisiana Hospital in Mandeville in occupational therapy.
  • Ella Bertrand, of Crowley, celebrated her 94th birthday Saturday, Jan. 5.
  • Joseph W. Carmena Jr. celebrated his 90th birthday Saturday, Jan. 5.

Cookie break

Regarding our search for a state cookie, Joan Hall of Baton Rouge says, "I think we should have a state cookie that has pecans in it, since pecans are plentiful here — especially Bergeron’s." (Attention Advocate advertising billing department.)

Bill Huey says, "I nominate those little pecan-studded cookie balls rolled in confectioner's sugar, called cocoons locally, but also known as Italian wedding cookies, crescents and sand tarts. Corrine Cook (retired Advocate food writer) says in her 'Extra! Extra!' cookbook that they are her favorite."

And Z. David Deloach says, "I thought the Pillsbury chocolate chip that you buy out of the dairy section of the store and pop in the oven at home was the state cookie. If not, it should be. With a glass of milk it puts you in a different state."

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.