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Not surprisingly, the subjects most discussed by my readers involve ways we kept cool before air conditioners, and how we first experienced ACs:

T-Bob Taylor, a proud Louisiana native now in Tyler, Texas, says, "My kin and friends, and I'm guessing your readers, spent a lot of time under porches!

"Back then porches were high off the ground, had dusty dirt and were cool in all kinds of ways. For comfort and hiding games, they were fortresses of solitude!"

Bill Huey, of Baton Rouge, says, "When I was a kid, it was a trip to the barber shop for the AC experience. My mother would tie up two quarters in a handkerchief, and I would ride my bike to My Barber Shop on North 23rd Street, a three-chair shop that was as cold as a meat locker."

Ben Valentine, of Gonzales, a fellow Natchezian, agrees that the AC at the Baker Grand Theater (and the Ritz, Clarke and Star) was refreshing for us kids.

He adds, "In the early 1950s we bought a window air conditioner for my grandparents' bedroom. We would all go into their bedroom with our TV trays and eat lunch in the air conditioning."

Wasted evening

"Sunday night's Emmy Award Show proved (former FCC chairman) Newton N. Minow correct: television is a vast wasteland," says Brot Capers, of Baton Rouge, our unpaid TV critic.

"My wife watched the Emmys, while I was reading in another room.

"I heard the announcement of one category that didn't sound correct. I searched the internet for the Emmy categories, and sure enough there is a category for 'Variety Special (Pre-Recorded).'

"How desperate are the TV industry and stars that there is an award for pre-recorded and live shows? I guess next year, there will be an award for best actor on a show that aired on Tuesday, best movie with an actor whose last name starts with R, or maybe best drama with a high tech company sponsor.

"I'll continue reading The Advocate and stay out of the vast wasteland."

Good choice, Brot: this column is merely a small wasteland …

Summer jewelry

Richard C. Landry, of Lafayette, adds to a current topic —  hot-weather grime on kids:

"It was in early adulthood that I became aware of the term 'Grandma Beads.' Growing up in Maurice (Vermilion Parish) in the '60s, in my family the term was 'Collier de Crasse.'

"Translation: 'Necklace of dirt/grime.'"

Where To Go, What To Eat

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Dark humor

Our recent stories about sports cars revealed a sub-genre of British humor: jokes about the Lucas electrical components that were used in most cars.

A Triumph sports car site says, "The notorious unreliability of Lucas components played a key role in tanking the British car industry in the early 1980s."

Larry Greenblatt, of Lafayette, tells of "one of my favorite T-shirts; with the company's stylized lion and text that reads 'Lucas: Prince of Darkness.'"

And Tom Madere, of LaPlace, lists some of the most famous Lucas jokes:

"The Lucas motto: 'Get home before dark.'

"Lucas — inventor of the first intermittent wiper. Lucas — inventor of the self-dimming headlamp.

"The three-position Lucas switch: 'DIM, FLICKER and OFF.' The other three switch settings: 'SMOKE, SMOLDER and IGNITE.'

"Why do the English drink warm beer? Lucas made the refrigerators, too."

And this one, although a bit macabre, is my favorite: "I've had a Lucas pacemaker for years and have never experienced any prob …"

Special People Dept.

— Jacob Daniel Plaisance, of Marrero, celebrates his 92nd birthday Wednesday, Sept. 22. He is a retired commercial fisherman from Lafitte.

— Robin and Betty Pope, of Zachary, celebrate their 65th anniversary Wednesday, Sept. 22.

A lot of pull

I enjoy recognizing people 90 and up who celebrate birthdays, and couples marking their 50th anniversary and more.

But the other day I got a note that caused me to stop and wonder. A couple wrote me that they were celebrating their "weeding anniversary." I forget the number of years, but it was more than 50.

I figured either it was a typo, and they meant "wedding anniversary" — or they are some highly dedicated gardeners. 


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.