Harry Clark, of Lafayette, tells of a mechanical difficulty that had a simple solution:

"My friend Dave was telling me about a problem he had with this rapidly changing weather we had last week.

"He said he had his air conditioner set at 72 and his heater set at 74. Somehow, with the wide temperature variations we had last week, the two systems got into a war.

"The AC would bring the temp down to 72 and shut off. Then the heater would kick on and bring the temp back up to 74.

"This went on all night long. He said on the average he was comfortable, but was a little concerned about what his power bill was going to be.

"He solved the problem by turning both systems off and opening the windows.

"Some of these modern conveniences are hard for us older folks to figure out."

Flowery compliment

Althea Ashe says, "As my friend Susan and her 3-year-old granddaughter were passing a field of black-eyed Susans, she said to her granddaughter, 'Look at those flowers —  they’re named after me — they’re called black-eyed Susans.'

"Passing the same field several days later, her granddaughter pointed to the flowers and informed her grandmother, 'I know what those flowers are called!'

"When Susan asked her what the name of the flowers were, her granddaughter proudly and slowly proclaimed, in a rather loud voice so her grandmother would be sure to understand: 'Black-eyed NANAs!'"

Feeling sheepish

Our seminar on British food, including mushy peas and the founding of the Hard Rock Cafè in London, etc., brought this note from Sidney Vallon, about British burgers in years past:

"They tasted odd because back in those days, they were possibly made with mutton.

"Long ago, I tagged along with my father and stepmother on a business trip to London. Howard and Gladys Reitz, of Baton Rouge, were also there.

"I caught up with the four for lunch at the Mayfair Hotel Bar, where they had already ordered hamburgers.

"I’ll never forget the looks on all their faces as we got a whiff of these so-called burgers, and then as each one took a first tentative bite.

"Not sure if there were any second bites, but I canceled my own burger order 'toot sweet!'"

Mountain strawberries

Richard Stagnoli, of Central, says our mention of red beans and rice reminded him of "a meal that I dare any true food lover to turn down.

"In the mountains of eastern Kentucky we have 'soup beans' (pinto beans). My dad called them 'coal miner strawberries.'

"My mother would clean a large bag of beans and put them in water to soak overnight. The next morning, just after Dad left for the mine, she put them on to simmer all day.

"She would add a ham hock, salt and pepper. After they cooked all day and the meat just fell off the bone, she would cook the side dishes: potatoes fried with onions, pork chops, fresh sliced tomatoes, sliced onions and a pone of cornbread."

Little guys

Regarding our mention of nicknames, Yogi Naquin says, "Down da bayou we had lots of nicknames, and many starting with 'l'il':

"L'il Sidney (6'3), L'il Druby (6'1, 235 lbs.), L'il Danny (6', 275 lbs.)

"Then there was Squeaky, Sneaze, Brazoo, plus many more." 

Special People Dept.

Anna Margaret Masters, aka "The Dancing Queen of Metairie," celebrates her 98th birthday Wednesday, April 28, no doubt with a vigorous Zumba workout.

Educational TV

Of course, there are tons more programs on TV than in Groucho Marx's day, but sometimes there still seems to be nothing really worth watching.

Which makes this Groucho quote, which Algie Petrere came across, still relevant:

"I find television very educating. Every time someone turns on the set, I go into the other room to read a book."

Sad but true

Marvin Borgmeyer, of Baton Rouge, says, "I thought of you when I saw the following quote:

"When we were young, we sneaked out of the house to go to parties. When we are older, we sneak out of parties to go home!"

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.