Dear Smiley: Over the years, my husband and I have usually managed to decode the cute but confusing gender signs on restaurant restroom doors (Buoys and Gulls, Laddies and Lassies, etc.), but every so often we get stumped.

Recently my husband wandered off in search of the men's room and found himself confronted by two marked doors. One was labeled "Bronco," the other "Cactus."

Completely baffled, he stopped a restaurant employee passing by. "Excuse me. I need to use the restroom," he said. Gesturing toward the doors, he asked, "Which one should I use?"

"Actually, we would prefer you to go there," the employee said, pointing to a door down the hall marked MEN. "Bronco and Cactus are private dining rooms."



Self-flipping pancakes

Dear Smiley: Recent breakfast stories remind me of an unusual recipe.

The Boy Scouts were cooking Sunday breakfast when, as senior patrol leader, I observed some young scouts looking glum.

I asked, “What’s the matter?” They explained they made chocolate milk, forgetting milk for pancakes.

“So make chocolate pancakes,” I said — which they gleefully did!

I added, “Add some popcorn kernels, and the pancakes will flip for you."

Thus the recipe for Crunchy Chocolate Pancakes was born. Chef John Folse would be proud.



They're everywhere!

Dear Smiley: Last summer my wife Dale and I were on a dinner cruise on the Seine in Paris when our table-mates introduced themselves as being from New Orleans.

When we told them we were from Baton Rouge, they said they were actually from Luling, and had children living in Baton Rouge.

Then, on a ship heading for Southampton, United Kingdom, we met a nice lady from Baton Rouge who lives in Southdowns, not far from our home in Westdale!

Later in our journey, touring the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, Russia, we looked up to see U.S. Sen. John Kennedy and his wife Becky!


Baton Rouge

Born in the south

Dear Smiley: Sounds as if Antarctica is becoming the new “in” place to visit. Glad my husband and I visited the Antarctica Peninsula in 2014, before the onslaught of cruise ships (hopefully, none are the big polluting ones with hundreds of tourists).

On the small ship cruise we spent six beautiful days, with two expeditions a day on the peninsula, seeing the myriad wonders of this amazing continent.

One fascinating fact about Antarctica is that it’s the only continent where it is known who, when and where the first person on the continent was born. In January, 1979, Emile Marco Palma was born at the Argentinean Research Station. His father worked there in the summer months, and his mother was brought to the station where she gave birth. Since then, 10 more children have been born at this research station.


Baton Rouge

Ugly but delicious

Dear Smiley: Raccoon dining stories remind me of a Knights of Columbus wild game buffet luncheon on Thanksgiving in the early '70s.

On one platter was a dish of what appeared to be chicken nuggets, but was labeled "nutria." To be polite, everybody took two or three pieces.

After we dug in, all of a sudden many diners, including myself, got up and went back to the nutria platter for more. If you were fifth in line, too bad — it was all gone.

The same thing occurred at the Christmas luncheon.

It was delicious. Too bad the "big Louisiana rat" isn't offered in restaurants, along with gator and crawfish. It would be a hit.


River Ridge

Mama tried

Dear Smiley: I love hot sauces and peppers.

As a 5-year-old I begged and begged until my mom said it was OK to pick the hot pepper from the window planter.

But first she made me promise, promise, PROMISE: "Leave these gloves on, and do NOT touch your face or any other part of you!"

So what was the thing I did after a few minutes?

I started burning frantically around the eyes, mouth, cheeks, arms, etc.


Panama City Beach, Florida

Dear T-Bob: It's that "etc." that's the worst…   

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.