When Dr. Bert Pittman sent me a note about his mom, Evelyn Pittman, of Jefferson, reaching her 97th year Monday, he included this tale:

"She is in 'a league of her own,' having played baseball in the women's league during the World War II era.

"One day, way back when, my friends and I were 10 years old and starting Little League baseball.

"Three of us wanted to do batting practice, but had no pitcher. I offered to see if they would like my mom to pitch to us.

"Of course they all laughed at me — until she came outside and commenced to throw fastballs so hard that none of us could hit her. Not even make contact! How embarrassed they were!"

Sleds on the bayou

Yogi Naquin, my "down da bayou" correspondent, adds to our stories of finding hills in south Louisiana:

"The hills we saw were when someone got a load of dirt and we were impressed by the size of it. We would take pieces of plywood and 'ski' down the hill.

"The plywood was also good to use when we went swimming after we had a heavy downpour. Fun times down da bayou."

Tallow wars

After a reader said Chinese tallow trees were nice for people with acreage, Cindy Moran offered an opposing view:

"The Chinese tallow tree is officially an invasive plant (noxious weed) in Louisiana, and people are actually paid to go out into wild areas and exterminate them, because they crowd out our native flora.

"Please do not advocate planting them!"

Postwar rejection

As we wind down our seminar on Volkswagen Beetles, a reader reminds us that when it was first introduced in this country, not everyone was enchanted with the cute little Bug from Germany.

"Storm" says, "In 1956-57, Sears in downtown Baton Rouge had a large door with a ramp at the side of the store, on North Boulevard.

"One day there sat a grayish Bug on display; I don't know why. I do remember that some folks were upset because the wounds were still just a little too fresh from their losses from World War II."

Special People Dept.

  • Earl Forstall celebrates his 100th birthday Monday, Sept. 23. A native of New Orleans, he is a World War II veteran with the 8th Army Air Corps, 445th Bomber Group, as a crew chief on a B-24. He was in the typography business 50 years.
  • Evelyn Pittman, of Jefferson, celebrates her 97th birthday Monday, Sept. 23.
  • Daniel Plaisance celebrated his 90th birthday Sunday, Sept. 22.
  • Buddy and Gloria Mazzeno, of Metairie, celebrate their 75th anniversary Monday, Sept. 23.

She's listening

Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, says, "The recent submissions about Siri and Alexa tend to indicate that 'someone' is listening.

"On several occasions in the recent past, while I was conversing with someone, not using my telephone, Siri would say, 'Can you repeat that?' or 'I didn’t hear that.'

"I don’t know who or what is gathering information; however, it would be very difficult to convince me that there is not eavesdropping for whatever the reason might be!

"Since I’m no longer in public office, I would assume it’s not a political opponent, but it could be internet retailers of the world trying to determine my buying preferences."

Shut your mouth

June Street continues our discussion of our friends called Siri or Alexa with this story about programming of Siri I confess I did not know existed:

"Your column on Siri reminded me of a time my husband and I were lost while driving in a rural area of Mississippi.

"He said, 'Where the (blankety-blank) are we?'

"Siri responded, 'Now, now, we won’t have any more talking like that!'"

HAL's children?

Alex "Sonny" Chapman, of Ville Platte, says, "The letters from people talking to robots in their lives reminds me of one of the greatest movie conversations between a human and a robot:

"I’m sorry, Dave, but I can’t do that. You are jeopardizing the mission." — HAL in '2001: A Space Odyssey.'"

Yeah, if Alexa ever calls me "Dave," she's gone.

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.