Smiley: State book blues

The bill to make the King James version of the Bible the state book of Louisiana, filed by Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, has been getting a lot of attention — but perhaps not the kind he hoped for.

Many readers, with tongues firmly in cheeks, nominated other works for the official state book — with “A Confederacy of Dunces” getting the most votes.

And we’re still getting suggestions.

For instance, Bo Bienvenu, of Prairieville, says, “Considering the history of so many of our politicians, maybe our state book should be ‘To Catch A Thief.’ ”

The move even caught the attention of my friend Bill Tammeus, former Faith columnist for the Kansas City Star, who headlined his April 21 “Faith Matters” blog “Misusing the Bible again.”

Bill, a nationally known author and one of the country’s most respected writers on religion and ethics, said this about the bill:

“No, it wasn’t in response to a national contest to see which legislature could pass the stupidest and most embarrassing bill in the country, but if there had been such a contest this bill would be in the running. …

“Why do some Christians think their faith is so weak and defenseless that they must put the power of official state actions behind it? …

“If Louisiana wants an official state book, how about making it the U.S. Constitution — maybe one that highlights the First Amendment?”

Our real “state book”

T-Bob Taylor, former Baton Rougean who now operates this column’s Panama City Beach bureau in Florida, says the search for Louisiana’s state book “is a no-brainer.”

He nominates “River Road Recipes,” the Bible of a generation of Louisiana cooks (who, as we all know, are the nation’s best).

But he says many Louisiana recipe books such as ones by Justin Wilson or Paul Prudhomme, for instance, would be appropriate for this honor:

“Our journeys to spread the gospel according to Louisiana begins with food and conversation around tables.”

Thrift and theology

George Atherton says, “Until I read Leila Pitchford-English’s informative Advocate column from April 12, I had thought that our Eastern Orthodox friends always celebrate Easter a week after when most of us do (apparently usually, but sometimes on the same date) and that the reason was a business decision (which apparently it isn’t) based on the fact that they could then buy Easter candy at half off.”

Got shoes?

Wendy Herschman says The Red Shoes organization needs “gently used shoes, all types, colors and sizes” for a labyrinth on the lawn of the Old Governor’s Mansion on Earth Day, Sunday, April 27.

At the end of the day after people have walked through the labyrinth, the shoes are donated to St. Vincent de Paul or the Cenikor drug rehab center.

Bring your shoes to The Red Shoes, 2303 Government St., through Friday, April 25.

Nice People Dept.

“After retiring, we moved in Ponchatoula,” says a note from a reader, “but we still visit Baton Rouge once or twice a month.

“Last week, we had lunch at the Piccadilly on Florida Boulevard, and a gentleman with a group of people picked up our tab.

“Your city still has very thoughtful and generous citizens.

“To him, thanks — and we enjoyed our lunch!”

Special People Dept.

Mervin and Dorothy Medine celebrated 71 years of marriage on Sunday, April 20. Mervin is a World War II veteran.

Sign language

Alan P. Carey says, “There’s someone in my neighborhood with a sense of humor.

“In their front yard is a sign that reads:

“ ‘LIVE LIKE YOUR KIDS DRIVE HERE.’ ”

More sign language

Jerry Westmoreland says our recollections of Shakey’s pizza “caused me to recall frequenting a Shakey’s in the Shreveport/Bossier area in the 1970s.

“A sign near the checkout counter read: ‘SHAKEY’S HAS A DEAL WITH THE BANK. THE BANK DOES NOT SELL PIZZA, AND SHAKEY’S DOES NOT CASH CHECKS.’ ”

Cool it, Dad

Sylvia Spaht says, “When our children were 13 and 10, my husband heard them listening to the Bee Gees singing ‘More Than a Woman.’

“He came into the room and announced he didn’t want them listening to that kind of music again.

“He heard ‘Four Letter Woman’ and didn’t think it appropriate music for young children.”

Say what?

“Rum Dunnitt” adds to our collection of Southern accent stories:

“My li’l bro went to work at a hardware store outside of Atlanta.

“On his first day, an old guy came in asking, ‘Whars da whar?’

“He finally took him to his boss.

“He wanted to buy WIRE!”

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.