Smiley: Grumpy old men

After Tom Ashby, self-described “grumpy old man,” groused in the May 28 column about calling a submarine sandwich a “po-boy” and calling internal combustion engines “motors,” and also contended that “children are ‘reared’ and crops are ‘raised,’ ” I heard from other readers with complaints of one kind or another.

At the risk of turning this column into a forum for Andy Rooney-type griping, here are some comments in a similar vein:

“I loved Tom Ashby’s remarks about word usage,” says Leslie Nickels. “May I add my pet peeves?

“The offspring of humans are children; kids are the offspring of goats.

“Reporters, when talking about a home invasion, frequently describe the windows as ‘busted in.’ What happened to ‘broken’?

“And WHEN will TV reporters learn that ‘getting’ is not pronounced ‘gitting’?

“Thanks for letting me sound off.”

Raymond “LaLa” Lalonde, of Carencro, says, “I totally agree with Mr. Tom Ashby on the difference between an engine and a motor.

“I have a problem with ‘growing’ and ‘raising.’

“My high school English teacher, Miss Marie LaHaye, one of the best I have encountered in my 26-plus years of formal education, had the onerous task of teaching a bunch of French–speaking Cajuns how to make a ‘th’ sound, and speak and read English.

“In one of my essays in which I wrote about life on the farm, I made the mistake of writing about raising cotton and some pigs and cows.

“In large red letters she wrote, ‘Raymond, you grow crops and you raise animals.’ ”

Doug Johnson, of Watson, said, “I agree with Tom Ashby about the po-boy comment.

“When I read the article about local names for sandwiches, my first thought was nobody around here calls them ‘poor boys,’ and a po-boy isn’t even close to being the same as a hero, hoagie or sub.

“As for his definitions, my Webster’s lists one meaning of ‘motor’ as ‘a gasoline engine,’ and for ‘raise’ it says, ‘to bring up a child.’ ”

Wartime memories

Lorraine Drago says the 70th anniversary of D-Day reminds her of stories from her two brothers, both in the Navy during World War II:

“While our family was dining at a local restaurant, someone mentioned we’re probably eating reconstituted eggs, and my brother, Ben Crifasi, recalled having powdered eggs on rare occasions in the Navy.

“Eggs were rationed, and he said your hands were stamped to make sure you didn’t get seconds.

“Another brother, Sam, (who died Wednesday), remembered while being stationed in the Pacific Islands, he and his buddies grew tired of washing their clothes by hand and concocted a makeshift washing machine with a tub on legs and a windmill on top.

“They were thrilled when the wind blew to see that it actually worked.”

Lorraine adds a reminder to fly your American flag on this D-Day.

Think French

Leslie Tassin says our discussion of French speaking in Louisiana reminds him of how many parishes and towns are named due to our French heritage:

“For example, Pointe Coupee, which means ‘short cut.’ The French explorers took the short cut around False River and named the spot in the Mississippi River ‘le pointe coupee.’

“Terrebonne means ‘good earth,’ and Lafourche means ‘the fork,’ because of the many bayous heading south to the Gulf of Mexico.

“The town of Grosse Tete means ‘big head,’ Plaquemine means ‘persimmon’ and Carencro means ‘buzzard.’ ”

Political trivia

Ronnie Stutes launches a new feature, asking readers to answer a question and win a valuable mention in this column:

“What Republican nominee for president, a former Democrat, declared, ‘I did not leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.’

“Hint: He was endorsed by The New York Times in his bid to oust the Democratic incumbent.”

Special People Dept.

John D. Cantey celebrates his 93rd birthday on Friday.

Ed and Janette Magee, of Kentwood, celebrate 66 years of marriage on Saturday.

Billy and Doris Watts Taylor, of Frost, celebrate their 65th anniversary on Saturday.

Carl “Corky” and Jean Nayden celebrate 50 years of marriage on Friday.

Gil and Patricia Parker celebrated their 50th anniversary on Monday.

The King decrees …

Rum Cox says he’s got the answer to our question about whether the proper term is crawfish, crayfish or crawdad:

“I was just watching ‘King Creole,’ and got the definitive pronunciation for your recent debate:

“The answer comes straight from Elvis.

“In the opening scene he sings ‘The Crawfish Song.’ ”

Rum, quoting the historian Mel Brooks, adds, “It’s good to be da King!”

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