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Those of us who rely on GPS tracking systems find they work great — until they don't. 

Dan Stein, of Baton Rouge, tells of this experience: 

"My dog Boudreaux has always had a wanderlust, which necessitated my buying a GPS device to track him when he makes a successful escape.

"But I was surprised the other day when the device sent a 'heads up' text alerting me that Boudreaux was 550 miles from home. Two minutes later, a text told me he was 'now at home.'

"I can only surmise that Boudreaux has figured out a way to teleport himself, which also explains his interest in watching reruns of 'Star Trek' with me.

"He really perks up when Captain Kirk says, 'Beam me up, Scotty.'"

Star Wars Christmas

I'm always a bit surprised when a story from this column shows up in "The Joyful Noiseletter." I assume readers send them in.

The publication, from Portage, Michigan (, is a nondenominational effort "to recapture the spirit of joy, humor, unity and healing power of the early Christians."

Our tales about church or religion show up in many newsletters. For instance, this is in the January-February 2022 issue:

"A reader in Covington (LA) told Smiley Anders, columnist for the Baton Rouge (LA) Advocate that when his two sons were very little, they loved two things: Christmas and the movie 'Star Wars.'

"During the 1970s, the man invited the entire family, including the boys' uncles and aunts, to a Christmas party at his house. He sat the boys down and instructed them to be on their best behavior when the family arrived.

"When the family arrived and saw the Christmas tree, an aunt yelled, 'That is sacrilege! Those kids are hooligans!'

"The boys had surrounded the manger with Star Wars storm troopers and had arrested the shepherd and hung him from the tree.

"They explained to their Dad that they were playing a game, 'protecting Mary and Joseph.'"

MG at sea

Our seminar on British sports cars reminded LaMarr Ingram of this story:

"While attached to a destroyer at the Algiers Naval Station in the early 1960s, the ship was ordered to Key West, Florida, due to the Cuban missile crisis.

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"I asked the captain if I could drive my MGA to Key West. He said no, but I could place the car on the fantail of the ship.

"During the trip I frequently started the car for the entertainment of the crew.

"We arrived in Key West late at night. I offloaded the car just in time — we got underway the next morning to Guantanamo, Cuba."

On the air

On Friday at 9 a.m. or so I'll be chatting with Jim Engster on his "Talk Louisiana" show on Baton Rouge's public radio station, WRKF, 89.3 FM.

The occasion is a birthday, so you'll get to hear Jim call me "The venerable Smiley Gray Anders …"

Remembering Bataan

Rhett Bunch, of Baton Rouge, recalls that in August we told of the 100th birthday of James Bollich, of Lafayette, a survivor of World War II's Bataan Death March.

At the time Rhett told of his friend in Clemson, South Carolina, Col. Ben Skardon, also a Death March survivor.

I just got a note from Rhett telling us Col. Skardon died Monday, Nov. 15, at 104.

The two survivors had not met until the reenactment of the Death March in White Sands, New Mexico.

"By the way," says Rhett, "Col. Ben was born in St. Francisville; his father was pastor at Grace Episcopal Church at the time."

Special People Dept.

  • Camille VanGordon, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 98th birthday Thursday, Nov. 18.
  • Eroyl and Joy Cambre, of Sunshine, celebrate 60 years of marriage Thursday, Nov. 18.

Campy comments

Russ Wise, of LaPlace, addresses a Wednesday column item on unrealistic car commercials:

"Paul Majors’ wanting to tell car-ad drivers to keep their eye on the road reminds me that every time I see a car ad on TV I wonder, 'Who gets to drive through empty city streets?' and 'Who takes a brand-new $60,000 SUV camping?'”

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.