Letters: King James Bible; Roger Nichols

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Michele Norris reads letters from our listeners about the 400th birthday of the King James Bible and our remembrance of sound engineer Roger Nichols.


Time now for your comments. And first, a lot of you wrote in about our story on the 400th birthday of the King James Bible. Phrases from the King James pop up in our everyday speech.

Unidentified Man #1: Behold the nations are as a drop of a bucket.

Unidentified Woman #1: Apple of his eye.

Unidentified Man #2: Can a leopard change its spots?

Unidentified Woman #2: Put your house in order.

Unidentified Man #3: Put words in her mouth.

Unidentified Man #4: The root of the matter.

Unidentified Man #5: By the skin of your teeth.

Unidentified Woman #3: By the sweat of your brow.

Unidentified Woman #4: The straight and narrow.

Unidentified Man #6: The writing is on the wall.

NORRIS: Well, Mike Reed of Corpus Christi, Texas, wrote us via email and he said this: Although I am an atheist and humanist, I feel we seriously harm our understanding of Western history and culture if we dismiss either Christianity or its scripture. Barbara Bradley Hagerty's story on the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible was a marvelous illustration of that book's lasting influence on our language and literature.

We did manage to get one thing wrong, however. We said that President George W. Bush quoted from the King James Version when he said this in a speech after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name.

NORRIS: Well, Eric Carter of Atlanta correctly pointed out that line comes from the New International Version of the Bible, not the King James.

(Soundbite of song, "Reelin' in the Years")

NORRIS: And we have another correction. This one comes from our remembrance of sound engineer Roger Nichols. He's best known for his work creating the sound of Steely Dan recordings. During our conversation with Steely Dan's Donald Fagen, we had said the group's hit "Rikki Don't Lose that Number" came from its debut album. And several of you, after our first feed of the show, immediately wrote us to tell us we were wrong. The song was off of their third album, "Pretzel Logic."

We did get some praise. Mitch Beaver of Westtown, Pennsylvania, writes: Thank you for memorializing Roger Nichols. I grew up listening to this guy's work and had no idea. I went right home, pulled out my vinyl copy of "Gaucho" and stared into the perfect sound coming from two four-foot-high Marantz HD880 speakers. Nothing sounds like that anymore.

Well, please keep your letters coming. You can write to us by visiting npr.org. Just click on Contact Us.

(Soundbite of song, "Reelin' in the Years")

STEELY DAN (Music Group): (Singing) Are you reelin' in the years, stowing away the time? Are you gathering up the tears...


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