Dear Smiley: As an avid reader, I heartily endorse your recent contributor's wish for more people to check out e-books, audio books and print books from their local libraries.
However, I was bothered by his "dead tree" classification of hard cover and paperback books, which seemed to be a subtle conservation political statement.
As much as I welcome e-books as one of the electronic age's greatest contributions, and also welcome ANYTHING that encourages reading, I hope print books NEVER disappear.
In addition to the pleasure of a traditional book being "a good read," I enjoy the added tactile bonus of turning over the last page, then the back cover, taking a deep breath of satisfaction and one last look at it and carefully placing it among others on my library shelves.
At such moments, I also notice titles of past books I have read and they stir warm memories and, sometimes, prompt a second reading,
Can you imagine school kids "ooohing" and "ahhhing" over a Kindle version of the Declaration of Independence? Not me!
DNA meets KFC
Dear Smiley: My brother Brian, known for his love of fast food, sent in his DNA sample to an ancestry service.
The results reported were 30% French, 30% Scotch-Irish, and 40% fried chicken.
How kids talk
Dear Smiley: I have really enjoyed the "childspeak" items in your column.
They remind me of one of the greatest miracles that we often take for granted: the development of language.
Our bundles of joy see and hear everything from day one, and in virtually no time "Goo-Goo" becomes "Ma-Ma" becomes "Go-Chuck-E-Cheese."
Miraculous yet somehow terrifying.
Paper chase ends
Dear Smiley: My mom was born in 1893. When we were growing up in the ’30s and ’40s she would often tell us that, to her, the greatest invention wasn’t the light bulb, it was the indoor toilet.
This meant the Sears catalog would be used for shopping purposes only.
The bear fighter
Dear Smiley: My daughter, Julie, recently came over from Florida for a visit. She brought her two Lab dogs with her.
The biggest, Kohl, loves to watch TV when other animals are on the screen, but apparently does not like to see any conflict between animals.
While we were watching a nature show involving walruses, Kohl joined in the viewing, seemingly thoroughly enjoying it, until a polar bear attacked one of the small walruses.
He jumped up on the TV table and started pawing the screen where the bear was.
We were able to get him down and calmed, but not before he was able to plant a few minor scratches on the screen.
Ups and downs
Dear Smiley: As a fervent reader and occasional contributor, I would like to see if you or your staff (contributors) can clear up an issue that is confusing to me.
Being from Baton Rouge (Istrouma ’62), I would occasionally go “downtown.” Some larger cities: New Orleans, New York, etc., also have an "uptown."
I don’t remember anyone ever referencing "uptown" regarding Baton Rouge.
My mother-in-law, Ann Johnston, former New Orleans resident, looked at me like I was crazy (her normal way of looking at me) and tried to explain that each term described a certain specific area.
When I didn’t accept her explanation I got the "crazy" look again. What is the difference and how is each defined? If downtown is a standard, can there possibly be more than one "uptown?"
I always thought downtown described a city’s business district. In the ’50s and ’60s Baton Rouge’s was more readily identifiable; of course now that’s not true anymore.
Help! I need somebody, not just anybody…
Groaner of the Week
Dear Smiley: Before my surgery, the anesthetist offered to use knockout gas or whack me over the head with a canoe paddle.
It was an ether/oar situation.
I have to give credit to my daughter, Melanie, for this one. She didn't want to embarrass herself by sending it in.
Dear Algie: Melanie showed good judgment. Too bad you blew her cover.