As someone who gets one or two junk calls a day, I'm especially fond of stories from scam-weary readers who are fighting back.
- "Anonymous," who evidently has lots of time to kill, says, "For years, I would start a conversation with the caller about the product being sold, at one time keeping the caller on line for more than an hour!
"That got boring, so now when I get one I just ask them to hold the phone until I can get the information being requested. That’s when I put the phone down, without hanging up.
"Now, when I get one of those calls, the caller usually ends the call as soon as I answer. I must be on a 'do not call' list that they know about only after I answer."
- Sam Crosby, of Slidell, has the best response I've received so far:
"The scam stories reminded me of the time I received a call telling me I had won a trip to Disney World and $25,000. I just had to send them $799.
"They wanted the cash ASAP, so they send a FedEx envelope that same night.
"So I sent them the money. It cost them $10 at FedEx to pick it up."
Sam says he never heard anything more from them about the money he sent them:
"I guess they didn't have a Monopoly board."
Tim Palmer, of Lafayette, is a frequent (and welcome) contributor to this column.
He sent over a short newspaper article to let me know he's been published before.
"The Jump in the Pond" carries Tim's first byline.
He says, "I think it was our newspaper at East Ascension High School in Gonzales, where I had the one and only journalism class I've ever had."
In the article, he gives the history of the school's tradition of seniors jumping into the school's pond to mark the end of their tenure there.
He says it started with the first graduating class in 1967, when an unnamed senior, now regarded as a hero at the school, announced that after his last class he was jumping into the pond. Other students followed his lead, and the rest is history.
Tim wrote that while the pond was filled with stagnant water, so far no one had gotten sick or died from jumping in it — and, at any rate, there was a hospital "within spitting distance" of the school.
He adds, "After reading it, I'm sure you will understand why I got a marketing degree from LSU. Well … at least you'll understand why I didn't go into journalism."
Name that tune
Beverly Miller Couvillion, of Bunkie, ("91-plus and curious") recalls a song from the early 1930s "I vaguely remember hearing during my childhood at the Standard Oil pumping station in Bunkie.
"One line goes, 'It's only was a shanty in Old Shanty Town…'"
I checked with my chief researcher, an affable lad I like to call "Google," and found that the tune was written in 1932 by Ira Schuster and Jack Little, with lyrics by Joe Young.
Ted Lewis and his band performed it in the 1932 film "The Crooner," and the single went to No. 1 for 10 weeks. It was a million-seller for Johnny Long and his orchestra in 1946, and has been recorded by artists from Doris Day to Jerry Lee Lewis (no relation to Ted, as far as I can tell…).
Kerosene and pork
"I’ll bet many of your contributors have tales about home remedies," says Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville.
"I remember as a kid of 7 or 8 jumping over a muddy ditch and landing on a broken bottle. I could literally see the bones in my big toe and foot.
"My great-uncle poured coal oil (kerosene) on it, placed a piece of salt pork on it and wrapped it with cloth.
"No stitches, and believe it or not, no infection! The scar is probably 3 inches long, but no loss of movement! Today’s world would require stitches, antibiotics, a tetanus shot; perhaps an orthopedist!"