Our recent story about the novelty of a VW Beetle with air conditioning in Germany reminded John Murphy of this incident:

"In the late ’80s my wife and I were living and working in Europe. We spent many weekends exploring the continent.

"On one such weekend trip in France, we pulled over for something to eat at a rest stop off the 'autoroute' (interstate). Some of these rest stops had food services, gas stations, trinket shops, mechanic garages, etc.

"As we were walking to the cafeteria, we neared a car with two mechanics under the hood and an elderly couple speaking with an obvious northeast American accent.

"I stopped and asked if I could be of any help. They explained that they had just begun a vacation and their rental car had a bad fluid leak, pointing to a puddle.

"I squatted down, dipped my fingers in the puddle, rubbed my fingers together, smelled the fluid and finally tasted it.

"I looked up and asked, 'Where are you folks from?'

"They replied, 'Maine. Why?'

"I replied, 'That explains it!'

"Turning to the mechanics, I said, 'La climatisation de la voiture.' (The car's air conditioner.)

"One of the mechanics jumped into the driver's seat, adjusted some switches and levers — PROBLEM SOLVED!"

Damp good show

David Grouchy, of Covington, continues our seminar on TV weather persons:

"I grew up in Baton Rouge. When my family finally got a television set, along with a tall antenna, we could only pick up channels 4 and 6 in New Orleans. Baton Rouge had no television station yet.

"Nash Roberts was, of course, professional and the model of what a TV weatherman should be.

"But my favorite was Dr. Morgus the Magnificent (Sid Noel), who pointed out weather trends on a map which showed Louisiana twice as big as Texas.

"He also, very accurately, gave us the relative humidity by wringing out his 'Dew-point Rag' into a bucket."

Drinking problem

Ronnie Stutes confesses, "I recently bought a 'Summer Edition' of an energy drink in a bright blue little can, with the flavor given as 'Beach Breeze (artificially flavored).'

"What's the deal? You mean there's actually no beach breeze in the drink?"

"P.S.: I guess I shouldn't be upset. The label indicates that it does contain 'Glycerol Ester of Wood Rosin.’ ”

(Reminds me of the "Seinfeld" episode where Kramer confronts Calvin Klein about stealing his idea for a "beach" fragrance — with hilarious results.)

Where are we?

More direction stories:

  • Gary Anderson says, "When visiting our daughter and grandson in Honolulu, directions are given in relation to the mountains and the ocean.

“ ‘Mauka' is up the mountain and 'makai' is toward the ocean. The east/west direction is usually 'toward Diamond Head' or 'away from Diamond Head.'

"So, 'Go toward Diamond Head and then makai on 10th Avenue' is part of the directions to her home."

  • Roger Waggoner, of Lafayette, says, "I grew up in north-central Iowa, which except for a few rivers is laid out as a north-south east-west grid. Directions were easy.

"When I got to Tulane as a math major in 1960, I soon discovered that St. Charles Avenue, Canal Street, and Carrollton Avenue form a triangle with three 90-degree angles.

"At the foot of Canal Street the river flows north, and I was looking east at the west bank. Is New Orleans really in an alternative universe?

"A few years ago my wife and I visited the source of the Mississippi at Lake Itasca, Minnesota.

"Guess what? The river flows north. I surrender."

  • Chuck Falcon, of Donaldsonville, says, "A customer of mine, Mr. Leslie Loupe, who is from north Vacherie, once explained to me the different directions in Vacherie.

"You have 'Naut Vacherie,' 'Saut Vacherie' and 'Middle Vacherie.'

"I didn’t know Vacherie was that large.

Special People Dept.

Louise Caruso celebrates her 97th birthday Wednesday, July 31. She attends Most Holy Trinity Church in Mandeville.

Sorry, Dennis

My computer left out the last name of haiku contributor Dennis Watson in the Monday column.

Now you haiku haters have a name to blame. But you can't have his address…   

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.