Frank Fronczek, of Baton Rouge, who on Tuesday nominated me for Louisiana's poet laureate, has graciously accepted my decision to decline his nomination: 

"OK, you're off the hook, and the state will just have to find another poet laureate," he says.

Frank said this about my theft of the famous first line from Joyce Kilmer's poem 'Trees:'

"Of the many parodies of Kilmer's poem, the one which sticks in my mind is from Mad Magazine, in the middle of a previous century. Can't remember the whole thing, but here is some of it:

"I think that I shall never hear

A poem as lovely as a beer:

The golden base, the foamy cap,

The brew that Joe's Bar has on tap.

Poems are made by fools, I fear,

But only Schlitz can make a beer."

Frank adds, "Well, maybe Abita too."

Face time

Regarding a reader's question about cowboy movies, asking why guys about to be hanged were always in cells that looked out on the gallows:

"It was common knowledge in the Old West that anyone convicted of murder, horse theft, or cattle rustling would face the gallows."

That sinking feeling

Tom Hawk also comments on the cowboy movie question in the Wednesday column, and our Mr. Answer Man's response:

"Read the bit about the gallows visible from the jail cell. It reminded me of the ubiquity of quicksand when I was a child.

"I actually researched this, and the frequency of quicksand scenes in movies and TV peaked in the '60s.

"In the '60s, you couldn't walk 10 feet from camp to gather firewood without falling into quicksand.

"And, at least where I was raised, while you sat through the commercial break in a TV show, you were admonished in public service announcements never to touch a blasting cap.

"Must have been some demolition guy walking all over the Midwest with a hole in his pocket.

"Apparently he fell into some quicksand around 1965, because kids don't get those warnings anymore."

Man in black

Adding to our seminar on cowboy movies, John Logreco Jr., of  Metairie, offers this response to an answer by our Mr. Answer Man, who maintained that all western movie heroes wore white hats and rode white horses:

"There is a notable exception to Mr. Answer Man's reply about all heroes having to wear white hats.

"My favorite cowboy hero was The Durango Kid (portrayed by Charles Starrett).

"Not only did he wear a black hat, but he completely dressed in black and even wore a black mask to hide his identity.

"However, he did indeed ride a white horse, named Raider."

Head warming

D.C. Jensen, of Baton Rouge, has an answer to the problem of what to do with your hat in a restaurant with no hat racks or hangers:

"You could just wear a flat cap, the kind once worn by newsboys and cab drivers.

"You can put it in your chair and sit on it while you eat. It has the added benefit of being warm when you put it back on your head, if it's a cold day.

"If you're feeling French, this also works with berets."   

Special People Dept.

  • J.D. Wells celebrates his 96th birthday Saturday, Jan. 26. He worked on the Morning Advocate and State-Times newspapers in Baton Rouge for 40 years.
  • Ivy Ory Smith, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 93rd birthday Friday, Jan. 25.
  • Anne and Glenn Landry, of Raceland, celebrate their 50th anniversary Friday, Jan. 25. She is a Baton Rouge native; he is originally from Napoleonville. They are retired pharmacists.
  • Kenneth "Kenny" O. Fife and Cathy Ann Ricca Fife celebrated their 50th anniversary Thursday, Jan. 24. He is lead singer of Kenny Fife and the Bac Trac Band.

Rough translation

Patricia Ponthier says, "While visiting at Christmas from Asheville, North Carolina, my 4-year-old granddaughter listened intently as I said our traditional Catholic blessing at supper.

"She insisted her dad say a blessing also. Each of us ended with 'Amen (AHmen).'

"She took her turn last, giving thanks for her plate, utensils, food and family members.

"She ended by declaring, 'I’m in!'”

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.