My readers come up with such great ideas I often wish they were running the country.

For instance, Chris Metz III addresses a current issue with an inspired idea:

"Seems you can’t pick up a newspaper without an article about a 'Great Wall' between Mexico and the United States.

"History tells of such things, which sooner or later fall.

"Why not dig deep? A canal would link the west to the east. Ports would open, trade across the nation would improve and there would be jobs to be had.

"The dirt and sand could be barged to Louisiana, to create a sea wall — so many for decades have been worrying about the eroding coast in our state."

(I assume, Chris, you mean a canal from the Gulf of California along much of the Texas-Mexico border to the Gulf of Mexico. An appealing thought…)

First Americans

Deborah Grand addresses a reader's idea to have a statue of William Tecumseh Sherman on the pedestal at New Orleans' Lee Circle:

"Tecumseh — leave out the Sherman. Let's acknowledge the Native Americans, the 'real Americans' the land was stolen from in the first place."

Waxing poetic

Kathy Stewart offers "A little jingle to inspire all the Saints fans:"

"We are black and gold, and we are going to the Super Bowl!

"Is you is or is you ain’t the one dat says dey gonna beat dem Saints?

"Let it be told, we are the black and gold. We are going to WIN dat Super Bowl.

"Wear your black and wear your gold! Jes' get yo self ready for the Super Bowl!"

Bengal memories

Tim Palmer, of Lafayette, was one of many folks with LSU roots to note the death of Steve Bonfanti, whose Bengal Lounge on Highland Road was one of the most popular watering holes for students:

"The Bengal was my hangout in college, and after returning to Baton Rouge from New Orleans after college.

"We had some great times there. He even let us organize 'Bengal Formals,' where we dressed up formally, but wore tennis shoes.

"The last time I saw him was in Sammy’s in Prairieville, and he told me that he was part owner of that establishment. He will always have a fond spot in my memories."

Inquiring Minds Dept.

In our Monday column, Jim Lewis posed a number of questions that have been troubling him ("Where's the beef? Who let the dogs out?" and so forth.)

Pat Crotty, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, responds:

"Smiley, I want to pose one more question for Jim Lewis: Do penguins have knees?"

(While we're at it, here's one I've been wondering about: "Who shot the Lala?")

And Nancy Stich offered these bare facts to answer one of Jim's concerns:

"I greatly enjoyed the unanswered questions in Monday's column. Unfortunately, I do not have answers for all the questions, but I do propose an answer to the last one.

"With respect to the question, 'What is Victoria's secret?', the answer is that she doesn't HAVE any secrets! Haven't you seen those commercials and catalogs?"

Special People Dept.

Yvonne Slaton celebrates her 95th birthday on Wednesday, Jan. 9.

The Class of '40

Talk about remembering old times:

Freda Oddo Green reports that the 1940 graduating class of John McDonogh High, on Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans, held its 78th reunion last month, with six grads in attendance.

For sturdy sets

Nobey Benoit addresses a recent column, in which I suggested rubber headsets for football coaches who slam theirs down in a fit of pique:

"About the headset slamming by coaches O and Saban, I was thinking more along the lines of the old John Cameron Swayze Timex commercials: 'Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.'"

Change of address

Earl Newman sent me a Cajun joke addressed to "Smiley dearest."

He explained, "Everyone starts out 'Dear Smiley,' so I thought I would change it up a bit."

Thanks for the thought, Earl, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with it — and I KNOW Mrs. Anders isn't.

I realize we Istrouma High graduates have to stick together, but we have to draw the line somewhere… 

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.