Smiley: Class act

Thomas Murrel, of Church Point, says on the Monday morning after some very rough days for the LSU baseball team — a loss to Tulane and a sweep by Florida — coach Paul Mainieri was met by two young men, seniors at Catholic High of Baton Rouge, who were to job shadow him for a day:

“If ever there was a day to back out, that would have been one, and it would have been understandable.

“But, Mainieri didn’t back out. No alibis, no pouting, no feeling sorry for himself.

“Instead, as promised, he allowed those two young men to follow him around all day.

“He even went so far as to invite them to sit in at his press conference, where he knew the questions were going to be, at best, uncomfortable.”

Thomas addresses the coach:

“Paul, all the wins and the championships won’t come close to what you did Monday.

“You taught two young men a life lesson. You taught them how a real man responds when the going is tough and some may be doubting you.

“Now, how do I know about all this stuff? Well, one of those two young men is my grandson, Christopher Ross.”

Geranium the Warrior

I’m having fun perusing the spell-check disasters inflicted on us since we started writing on computers instead of chiseling our messages on stones, which is how I learned to write.

Karen McLin says, “On Jan. 1, I sent New Year’s greetings to a few people.

“I inadvertently sent it out as ‘Have a Gassy New Year.’

“I never got any comments back, though.”

And Roy Pitchford, of Monroe, says, “Several years ago, while working for The Advocate, I received a news release from Nicholls State that told about a prominent Catholic official who was going to speak at the school.

“The release said the man had been appointed to his position by Pope June XXIII.

“This prompted Ed Cullen to say his favorite pope was ‘Iris the Eleventh.’

“And a spell check snafu caused a university in Arizona to say that a book it was publishing was about the Apache war chief Geranium.”

Guys and dolls

Ina G. Navarre adds to our seminar on misheard words:

“As a junior officer at a local bank in the early days of my career, I was often called on to field phone calls from customers when no one knew how to handle their requests.

“One day, such a call came to me from the brother of a very colorful and prominent state politician.

“I knew his name and recognized his voice (the accent was particularly noteworthy) and proceeded to help him with his request.

“As we concluded our business, the caller gushed his thanks and said (or so I heard), ‘Well, Ina, you are just a dollar and a half!’

“I found the comment strange. I replied, ‘A dollar and a half?’ — thinking he was referring to the recently concluded business.

“He responded, ‘Mais non, Cher. I mean to say you are a doll and a half! I just wish you and me, we were stranded on a desert island, all alone, for eternity. What do you think about that?’

“I responded, ‘Oh, Mr. X, I think that is more excitement than either one of us can handle!’

“He laughed and replied that I was right.

“To this day, whenever someone uses the term ‘doll’ as an endearment, I smile.”

Friend of the state

You people are amazing.

In the March 25 column, I ran a request from Tyler Lu, a fifth-grade student in Napa, Calif., asking for information on Louisiana for a class project.

The Advocate’s Facebook page just got a photo from Cara Speights Stonechipher showing the result of that request.

A beaming Tyler (a young lady I called a “he” — sorry, Tyler), wearing Carnival beads and a Louisiana T-shirt, is pictured before a large desk filled with books and brochures about our state (including a book on the USS Kidd), a Tabasco bottle, a CD, a printed letter on Cajun and Creole history, a Mardi Gras cup and a lot of stuff I couldn’t identify.

She’s holding what appears to be a voodoo doll.

I headed Tyler’s request “Friend in wine country.”

From the look on her face, I’d say Louisiana has indeed made a new friend.

Worthy causes

The Big Buddy Program benefits from Bowling with Big Buddy from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at Circle Bowl. Register online at

Court Appointed Special Advocates benefits from the Terracon Golf Benefit on Monday, April 7, at University Club of Baton Rouge. Contact Lisa Smith at (225) 239-2644 or

Silent treatment

Ernie Gremillion saw this on the Internet and passes it along to our male readers:

“The National Institute of Health has just released the results of a $200 million research study completed under a grant to Johns Hopkins.

“The new study has found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it.”

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.