During the last year, the pandemic limited my entertainment choices. I watched so much TV that at some point it seemed I had seen everything worth watching.

For those in this same situation, Nancy C. Van Den Akker offers a way to enhance our viewing pleasure: 

"When I was young, we were not rich, but my father was quite creative.

"Once when the TV went out, he got two sets, one with no picture and one with no sound. He put one on top of the other and we were back in business.

"We had fun putting one on one channel and one on another, and looking for interesting combinations like Red Skelton and the news."

Yes, I'd love to see a long-winded congressional speech on CSPAN while the sound was on a Chris Rock stand-up monologue.

Funky music?

After Dudley Lehew, in Monday's column, told how Cajun accents confuse closed captions on TV shows, we heard from Bill Huey:

"I, too, watch subtitles, because dialogue is so often unintelligible, or else I am going deaf.

"One of my favorites is the subtitle, 'Curious Music,' that appears frequently on 'NCIS: New Orleans.'"

Puzzling location

"You seem to be the man to go to for answers to the major questions of our times," says Ken Best, of Baton Rouge.

"Each year around this time, we see projections concerning the upcoming hurricane season from the Tropical Weather and Climate Research Team.

"Is it just me, or does it seem somewhat odd that this august research institute is located at Colorado State University?

"Maybe we can get the annual snowfall and avalanche estimate located at Nicholls State in Thibodaux."

Y2K revisited

Our mention of Y2K reminded some folks of the panic when 1999 was about to become 2000:

Some computer users feared the switch from "99" to "00" would wreak havoc on computer systems that might interpret the "00" as 1900.

This could wreck airline reservations, financial databases, government systems and more. So millions were spent on software development to squash the Y2K "bug."

There were no massive malfunctions on Jan. 1, 2000, and now, two decades later, Y2K is a punchline."

But some took predictions of a breakdown seriously:

Going to pot

Duke Rivet, of Baton Rouge, says, "My wife, a consummate worrier, was very concerned about what might transpire at the fateful moment of Y2K, especially as it applied to the plumbing in our house.

"In spite of my assurances that everything would be fine, she insisted we purchase an old-time chamber pot.

"I found one at the old Steinberg's store on St. Philip Street here in Baton Rouge, and had it on standby, just in case. Fortunately, there was never a need for it!

"To this day, it has a place of honor in one of our bathrooms."

Fun with Y2K

Cindy Black Bouchie, of Pineville, says, "I was working at an electric company in the PR department when Y2K was approaching.

"The department stationed us around the state to be media liaisons should anything happen to the power grid or plants at midnight.

"My family and I spent the night in a hotel in Lafayette, and watched Y2K start and move across the world while I was talking to other employees and faxing updates from the hotel fax machine.

"Nothing was happening, but at midnight a coworker called me and said the power plant near Lafayette had shut down.

"I started preparing my strategy, while asking a million questions, when I heard everyone in the room with him break out in laughter.

"He was, and still is, a known prankster. But I fell for it."

Special People Dept.

Marjorie Kemp, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 90th birthday Wednesday, April 14. She retired as head librarian at Jones Creek Library in 1999.

Bar stories

Edie Bender, of Baton Rouge, says, "This weekend, when the front page of The Advocate’s Metro section said the Louisiana bar exam would be 'open book' this year, and Page 2 had an article titled 'N.O. bar hosts vaccination event,' at first I thought they were talking about the same organization."


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.