Jim Lavigne, of Prairieville, may have misread a newspaper headline, but the idea it addresses is not without merit: 

"A recent headline said ‘Traffic Needs Ballooning.’

"Is that really any form of solution? Where would they land? Wouldn’t their chase/support teams add to the congestion?

"Since our law enforcement professionals do not have the personnel to fully enforce traffic laws on the land roads, how will they ever hope to enforce in three dimensions?

"Those that do traffic planning need to spend a bit more time considering the ramifications."

But look at the positive side, Jim. I once took a hot-air balloon ride, and it was great — floating quietly above morning traffic, enjoying the cool breeze.

And while you might not land in exactly the spot you desire, even if you have to walk a short distance to your destination, you'd probably beat folks stuck in daily traffic snarls.

One more perk: at the end of my initial balloon flight, there was champagne…

Bank with booze

Bernard Atkinson, of Baton Rouge, tells this story about cashing checks in days past:

"When attending Loyola University in New Orleans as an out-of-town freshman in the fall of 1967, I did not have a local checking account; just an account from my home bank in Oklahoma.

"There were no ATMs at that time, and banks generally closed early in the day and weren’t open weekends. So, when in need of cash, many Loyola and Tulane students went to a small liquor store at the corner of Freret and Broadway, where they would cash out-of-town checks for a small fee.

"When I returned home for Christmas break, my father approached me, copies of my cancelled checks in hand, and asked why I was spending so much money at a liquor store.

"It seems his friends at the bank where I had my account were keeping tabs on me, probably at his request.

"After I explained I wasn’t buying liquor, and showed him my grades, he never said another word."

Which reminds me

When I was at LSU, my parents in Kenner supplemented my part-time jobs with a weekly $10 check.

"Joe Lipp" Lippian, bartender at The Pastime, would cash the checks when I had lunch there.

One day my dad called:

"Son, we're not sending you money for you to drink at The Pastime."

"Dad, you told me you went there with your buddies. And I'm not drinking; I'm having a po-boy or pizza for lunch."

"When did they start serving food at The Pastime?"

"Dad, they've always served food. The kitchen is in the back — just past the bar."

"Oh. Well, OK. Bye…"

Save your tapes

Dudley Lehew, of Marrero, tells folks who treasure their old audio/VHS tapes, "There are all kinds of devices readily available online that convert VHS, cassettes and other tapes to CDs. They are also available in stores.

"Conversion options include software that allows your own computer to do the job for you, and there are services that will take your tapes and transfer them to CD or thumb drive."

Special People Dept.

Evelyn Lafitte celebrates her 94th birthday Wednesday, April 17.

A taxing situation

Edie Bender offers this post-Tax Day thought:

"Before I was lucky enough to marry my favorite CPA, Ralph, I had to resort to using a tax preparer.

"He told me, 'You should pay your taxes with a smile.'

"I told him I had tried that before, but the IRS always insisted on cash or a check!"

On second thought…

Marsha R. says, "I did our taxes for many years; my husband claimed he found it too stressful. One year I decided to engage a professional tax preparer to see if I was missing anything. I chose a heavily advertised national company that promised if my return was audited, they would accompany me to the IRS.

"When I got that dreaded letter from the IRS, I immediately called the company’s office and was told all the tax preparers were at a conference in Leavenworth, Kansas.

"I realized the federal pen was in Leavenworth.

"I went back to doing my own taxes."       

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.