T-Bob Taylor recently told of being stationed in Turkey while in the Air Force, and finding that half the folks at his base declined to learn even a few words of the language for trips outside the base.

"I was nodding my head in agreement," Stewart Clark, of New Orleans, said about reading T-Bob's account.

"Barely a year after I was discharged from the Army, I was a graduate student at the University of Texas directing a pop group (think 'Glee!') for my assistantship. The group did a three-month USO tour of the Azores and Europe. In Europe, we went by Army bus from camp to camp.

"One Sunday (our one day of rest) we were staying at a base within walking distance of the city of Wurtzburg, Germany, where a bunch of us headed for some sightseeing. 

"Returning to the base, a few of us went to the Officers' Club for drinks and dinner. We met a captain and his wife, closing in on completing their first year of a multi-year tour in Germany, and chatted with them.

"Then came the shocker — they had never been off the base! They were firm in their belief that everything they needed was available on base, and they really didn't want to take the time to learn German so they could travel around.

"We told them most Germans spoke English as well as we did.

"After that, I just kept thinking, and still do: 'Three years in Europe courtesy of Uncle Sam and you're not going to leave the base?'

Maybe not quite 'ugly American,' but 'ignorant American,' maybe?"

Now THAT'S the blues!

While we're taking a break from listing sad country song lyrics, Moe Brown, of Marrero, reminds us that the blues is, by definition, the home of heartbreaking songs:

"One of my favorite and oddly named songs is a blues riff by B.B. King, "Nobody Loves Me But My Mother."

"The next line is what I love most:

"'And she can be jivin' too.'"  

The first one

A history story from a reader: "I recently moved from Louisiana to North Carolina, and have been going through lots of old letters, etc.

"One letter to my mother was from a soldier boyfriend asking her to write, because he was lonely and couldn't go out, and there were no dances at his camp because of the quarantine. Then I saw the postmark — 1918! Sound familiar?"

Little Mama

"Our children learn by example," says Joel d'Aquin Thibodeaux, of Baton Rouge.

"Great-granddaughter Emmy, 3 years old, loves her little brother Ethan, 9 months old.

"When Ethan cries, Emmy hugs him, pats his head and says, 'I know, I know. It's OK.'"

Poor kid sister!

Regarding nicknames, Julia Goeller, of Jefferson, tells this sad story of the trials of a younger sibling:

"When my big brother and his friends came in from duck hunting, I was the annoying little sister trying to get attention.

"So they named me 'Grosbeak With the Skinny Neck.'"

Flower power

Terry Grundmann, of Kenner, joins our long-running search for a new name for Lee Circle:

"Fleur de Lis Circle, with a large symbol on top."

Terry says this would not only recognize the French influence in New Orleans and, of course, the Saints, but would also "symbolize New Orleans' return from the despair and desperation of Hurricane Katrina…

"It would be New Orleans’ Statue of Liberty!"

Special People Dept.

Pat and Ronnie Domas, of Baton Rouge, celebrate 58 years of marriage Tuesday, August 3.

Big talkers

Bill Huey, of Baton Rouge, joins our discussion about a new name for the NFL's Washington Football Team:

"How about The Washington Bloviators? Their mascot could be named Blovey."

(I assume Blovey's costume would be a large windbag…)

Monumental idea

While suggestions like the one above have been the norm for our team-naming exercise, Storm (self-described as "old in Baton Rouge") has a thought that's actually pretty good:

"Not funny, but I’m thinking 'The Washington Monuments' would be a great name for the former Redskins!"

(Yes, and they could have a tall, thin mascot dressed as the Washington Monument.)


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.