From Our Listeners

Letters: Joshua Foer; Cassette Tapes

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Listeners respond to yesterday's conversation with Joshua Foer, the author of a book about the art and science of memory; and lovers of cassette tapes. Robert Siegel and Michele Norris read letters from our listeners.


Time now for your letters.


And we have one, Robert, that's about you, your name, to be exact.

SIEGEL: First we should explain that this email was inspired by my interview with Joshua Foer. He's the author of a book about the art and science of memory. It's called "Moonwalking with Einstein." That's an image which, as Joshua Foer explains, he learned to use as a memory device.

Mr. JOSHUA FOER (Author, "Moonwalking with Einstein"): The image, Einstein moonwalking, is kind of goofy. And the fact that it's goofy is part of what makes it memorable.

SIEGEL: Is he walking around like Michael Jackson, or is he on the moon?

Mr. FOER: I'm imagining him with a white glove. But I suppose you could conjure up any image that you wanted.

NORRIS: Which brings us to our listener Hal Diegert(ph) of Olympia, Washington. He wrote this: I'm not sure why, but some months ago, it got to bothering me that I couldn't remember Robert Siegel's name. I tried associating the name with a visual picture, a robot seagull. Problem solved.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: Robot - Hal Diegert, I'll just remember the computer from "2001" saying die to Hamlet's mother.

On to another story, which some of you appear to have found memorable. It was about cassette tapes and how there are still lovers of that old format.

(Soundbite of music)

NORRIS: We did make one error. We mistakenly attributed this music to the band Pizza. It was actually from a mix tape by a musical collective called DubLab. Ooh, sorry about that.

SIEGEL: We should have just thought of a Labrador retriever with a W on his back.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: Still, our listeners enjoyed that story. Nathan Pierce(ph) of Tucson was one of several who sent in vivid memories. He writes this: I can truly say that cassettes defined my musical experience during the formative years of my childhood and adolescence. The anticipation of waiting to hear my favorite songs while the tape rewinds or fast-forwards make the music that much sweeter.

NORRIS: And he adds that now, quote, I'm heading out the door to play the demagnetizer on my car's tape deck, then blast "Purple Rain" in all of its hissing glory.

(Soundbite of "Purple Rain")

NORRIS: Well, we appreciate your comments and the opportunity to play I'd say at last a Prince song.

SIEGEL: Write to us by visiting and clicking on contact us.

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