Smiley: An evil man!

Dudley Lehew, of Denham Springs, says our tale of a New Orleans bar called the “House of Knowledge” (because patrons had an answer for every question) “reminded me of some fun I used to have on Saturday nights while working at The Advocate.

“As you know, the newspaper would get all sorts of telephone calls from guys in a bar trying to settle an argument, and whatever The Advocate said in response to the call was LAW!

“Whenever I answered a call from a guy trying to settle the issue, I would dutifully give him the correct answer.

“Invariably, the response would be, ‘I knew I was right! Here, tell my buddy.’

“But when the friend got on the phone, I would tell him that HE was right and then hang up, knowing I had probably just started a bar fight!”

Name that poet

Have you noticed how classy this column is getting?

Last week we ran a sonnet, and this week we’re discussing William Blake.

We may soon start offering college credits …

Roy Pitchford, of Monroe, says his son, Thomas, head librarian at Hitchin Boys School in Hitchin, Hertforshire, England, “discovered that a poem widely used in textbooks and lesson plans (including in Louisiana) for about a decade, attributed to 19th century English poet William Blake, was actually written by American poet Nancy Willard about 30 years ago.

“The Internet seems to be the culprit. A mistake was made, and people using search engines keep picking it up.”

He says Thomas, who has been a librarian in Alexandria and at his alma mater, Louisiana College in Pineville, “wrote a rather scholarly blog about the mistake, and the BBC education website picked it up and ran a story about the discovery. It was one of the most-read stories on BBC that day.

“Ms. Willard took the news with good humor. She said if one is mistaken for another poet, Blake is a good one to be compared to.”

Which reminds me

Some years ago I had occasion to mention another English poet, John Donne (can’t imagine why; maybe it had to do with “for whom the bell tolls …”)

I playfully mentioned that he was, of course, the lead singer for Herman’s Hermits.

Some of my readers might have been amused, but not the ones I heard from.

Their responses were along the lines of this one, my favorite: “You idiot! Everybody knows that Peter Noone is lead singer for Herman’s Hermits!”

The mild furor my attempt at humor created is the reason I did not say, in the story above, “You know, William Blake, that country music singer on ‘The Voice.’”

Kidd stuff

Monica Dugas says a great place to view Baton Rouge’s fireworks on the river July 4 is aboard the USS Kidd.

Tickets are on sale in the museum gift shop for $10. Boarding begins at 8 p.m. for the 9 p.m. fireworks. Call (225) 342-1942, ext. 16.

In addition to the fireworks provided by The Advocate and WBRZ-TV, there’s a “Star Spangled Celebration” from noon to 9 p.m. at the Riverfront Stage and a mock air raid.

Special People Dept.

Lillie Ellzey celebrates her 96th birthday Tuesday, probably by gardening, baking and making pickles and jelly.

Harold Roscoe, a World War II veteran, celebrates his 95th birthday Tuesday.

Leonor “Mami” (pronounced “MeMe”) Alonso celebrated her 91st birthday Monday — using her iPad to post it on Facebook.

Woody Evans, of Zachary, celebrates his 90th birthday Tuesday. He’s a U.S. Marine veteran of World II with two Purple Hearts.

Helen Hebert’s 90th birthday was Saturday, celebrated with a party at The Haven.

William “Beagle” and Lucie May Dupre celebrated their 68th anniversary Monday.

Joe and Sybil Boudreaux, of Ventress, celebrate 64 years of marriage Tuesday.

Richard and Jeffie Wilson, of LaPlace, celebrated their 63rd anniversary June 25.

Leon and Lee Geraci, formerly of Gentilly, now of Broadmoor, celebrated their 50th anniversary June 22.

Name games

Kim Mullen says, “On a recent trip to Hawaii, we found a chicken restaurant in Aiea on the island of Oahu with a rather unusual name — ‘Dirty Lickins.’ We weren’t, however, adventurous enough to try the restaurant.”

George E. McLean, of Metairie, says, “I discovered my favorite business name in Florida in 1945, ‘The Pensacola Buggy Works.’ It was started in the late 1800s and became one of the first Chevrolet dealerships in Florida.

“It remained in the same family until 1977. The building was torn down about 10 years ago.”

Jerry Berggren says, “After reading the entries in the ‘Odd Business Names’ portion of your (our) column, I had to send this.

“Recently, while visiting son Jerry III in Dallas, we passed an establishment along one of the many area interstates that caught my eye. The name — ‘Condoms to Go.’”

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.