Smiley: Dirty talker!

Tommy Watts brings up one of my pet peeves — businesses that make you talk to machines rather than people:

“In an attempt to purchase tickets to a concert at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans, I telephoned a well-known ticket purchasing service, whereupon I commenced communication with a ‘machine lady.’

“I chose the ‘more information’ option as I had questions unrelated to the actual ticket purchase.

“The machine lady wanted to know which concert I was interested in.

“I first answered her with, ‘The Musical Mojo of Dr. John,’ which obviously confused her as she responded with, ‘I think you said talk dirty to me, is that right?’

“When I said, ‘No,’ she told me she didn’t understand, and suggested that I just say the name of the ‘event performer, group or team,’ offering as examples, ‘the Rolling Stones or Chicago Bears.’

“So I said, ‘Dr. John.’

“She responded with, ‘I think you said Chaka Khan, is that right?’

“With that, I threw in the towel rather than suffer the wait time to speak to a living person — and then be asked to take a machine survey.”

The ugly Americans

Harold Mayeux says, “All the recent stories about grits and cream of wheat remind me of the time I was at SLI (now ULL) in Lafayette.

“My roommate and I were eating breakfast at a campus restaurant when a foreign student at the table next to us asked us what grits were.

“We told him they were delicious and he had to try them, but they were very large.

“So when the waiter came, we convinced him to order ‘one grit.’ (I think he decided all Americans are traitors.)”

Luh-uh-vul calling

I heard from Mary Grace Simpson after I told of being taught how to say “Luh-uh-vul” by a Louisville bus driver:

“I am a Chicago area native, but lived in Louisville, Ky., before moving to Baton Rouge.

“I worked in the International Department of KFC, before automatic phone dialing of overseas calls. It was necessary to tell the operator where you were calling from.

“On a call to Australia, I said I was calling from ‘Luh-uh-vul,’ and was told that it is pronounced ‘Lou-is-ville — L-o-u-i-s-v-i-l-l-e.’

“When I finally agreed with that new operator, she put my call through.

“I was glad to read that Lu-uh-vul natives taught you the correct pronunciation!”

Pizza songs

You may have heard that nostalgia’s not what it used to be, but that’s not true of my new New Orleans readers.

After a nostalgic reader asked who remembered an early pizza place, Domino’s (way before the chain started), I was inundated with stories of folks who fondly remembered the St. Charles Avenue restaurant.

I won’t be able to run all of them, but it’s nice to know that so many people seemed to get a kick out of recalling their first encounter with the “pizza pie.”

For instance, B.J. Peck, of Metairie, says that “Back in the ’60s, along with another couple, we ate at Domino’s at least one night every weekend.

“Mr. Sam would always come over when Ms. Mary, his wife, was at the register and serenade us with a very nice opera voice and a pretty song. He really was pretty good. His daughter was a performer professionally and very talented.

“Always had a character or two in the restaurant that made for a great evening of laughter and pizza.”

Looking for people

Teams and sponsors are needed for the Fourth annual Partee Fore Kids Golf Tournament, benefiting Brave Heart Children in Need. It will be held May 31 at Pelican Point Golf & Country Club. Call Linda at (225) 937-4137.

Special People Dept.

Irma “Nina” Hart, of Hammond, celebrates her 98th birthday on Wednesday.

Iverson Gandy Sr. celebrates his 91st birthday on Wednesday.

Jack and Felicie Rogillio, of Rosedale, celebrate their 73rd anniversary on Wednesday.

Questionable hosts!

“I know you have wrapped up your misheard song lyrics segments,” says Paula Smith, “but I thought you would enjoy hearing this one.

“Ever since our now 5-year-old granddaughter Aubrey saw the movie ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ one of her favorite songs has been ‘Be Our Guest’ — except that to her it is ‘Beat Our Guest!’

“We like it her way!”

Hogging the highway

James A. Culotta unearths this old story:

Two old friends meet on the street.

Sam says, “I haven’t seen you in a long time. What have you been doing?”

The other man says, “I have been driving truckloads of hogs to Oregon to sell.”

“Why Oregon?” Sam asks.

The friend says, “I can get two cents more a pound than I can here.”

Sam says, “Man, you know it takes you at least three days to drive to Oregon.”

Friend says, “What’s time to a hog?”

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.