Frank Fronczek, of Baton Rouge, makes me an offer I CAN refuse:

"I see that the state is seeking a new poet laureate, since the current one is term limited (who knew?).

"Seems to me that with your talent for writing haiku, running limericks and rerunning such timeless classics as 'Stopping by Lawns on a Snowy Morning,' you are eminently qualified for the post.

"And the job requires 'an annual public reading,' which can't be too much more work than your current position.

"So if you're interested in being nominated, please reply, in verse."

OK, Frank, you asked for it:

"I think that I shall never see

a poet who's any worse then me.

I struggle to compose a verse;

it starts out bad and then gets worse.

So a laureate's job is not for me;

I'd never make a rhyme for free.

For some write sad, and some write funny;

but as for me, I write for money."

Drinking game

Continuing our seminar on hat and cap wear, Harry Clark, of Lafayette, tells of this military tradition: "In about every officers' club bar I was ever in, there was a sign that said, 'He who enters covered here, shall buy the bar a round of cheer.'

"There was normally a bell behind the bar, and the bartender would loudly ring it if some poor soul walked in with his hat on. It didn't happen often, but when it did, it brought about a bit of gaiety."

And Russ Wise, of LaPlace, tosses his hat into the ring, so to speak, telling us the hat rule was not limited to officers' clubs:

"I was a newly promoted sergeant at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and that meant I could go into the NCO (noncommissioned officers) club, where they served beer. I sat down, put my hat on the bar and ordered a cold one.

"A grizzled old master sergeant sitting a few stools down informed me that I now owed a free one to everyone else in the room. (You could come into the club with your hat on neither your head nor the bar.)

"They finally forgave me, but it was a close one. I had about $4 in my pocket."

The litigious lady

Harry Clark adds this tale of hats in officers' clubs:

"A young female ensign came into the bar one afternoon and failed to remove her hat.

"The bell rang, and everyone cheered. After things calmed down, she said she wasn't going to pay for the round.

"The sign said 'He' — and she was obviously not a he. I think she may have been a lawyer."

Nice People Dept.

Thomas H. Gillette says, "While on a dinner outing with my lady friend at The Francis in St. Francisville, I was approached by a gentleman who recognized I had served in the military.

"The kind man shook my hand and thanked me for my service.

"While enjoying our meal, we were greeted by our waitress, who informed us the man had taken care of our bill and left a note saying, 'In honor of your service, please accept this token of appreciation. Semper Fi — a comrade in arms.'

"I did not get his name, but I would like to thank him for his kind words and the kind gesture."

Our Swiss connection

Henry Bradsher says, "My son Keith is the New York Times' specialist on the Chinese economy, based in Shanghai.

"On Saturday, he was in Geneva, Switzerland, on his way to report on the meeting of world political and economic leaders in Davos, when he spotted a store in Geneva with the name 'bâton rouge.'"

Henry sends over a photo, and it appears to be a ladies' dress shop.

Now that's old!

Wayne LeCompte, of Metairie, says, "This is in reference to last week's mention of old sayings: 'A penny for your thoughts' and 'I'll bet a dollar to a doughnut.'

"They remind me of what my dad would say: 'When I was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick.'"

Louisiana Haiku

Dome becomes crime scene

Saints first assaulted by Rams

Then robbed by zebras

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.