Letters: Stick Shift, 'Streetcar'

Listeners responded to segments on cars with stick shift and Stanley and Stella. Melissa Block and Robert Siegel read emails from listeners.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Time now to shift gears to your letters.

(SOUNDBITE OF CAR)

BLOCK: Save the stick shift. That's what we heard yesterday from Eddie Alterman, editor at Car and Driver magazine.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

He's trying to get more young people to drive manual transmissions, which are in just nine percent of American cars today. And Alterman has a pretty gloomy view of a world without stick shifts.

EDDIE ALTERMAN: It's a world without guys building tree houses for their kids. It's a world without train sets. It's a world without any fun, as far as I'm concerned.

SIEGEL: And many of you agreed.

BLOCK: Janine DeLumbard(ph) of Toronto, writes that we left out two benefits for the stick shift supporter. She writes, one, easier deal making on the used car lot. And, two, a swift, tactful end to requests to borrow one's car. As my dad, Russ DeLumbard(ph), always says, if God had wanted us to drive an automatic, he wouldn't have given us two feet.

SIEGEL: Well, Bob Martin(ph) of Burlington, Vermont, drives an automatic and, yes, he has two feet, but he writes this.

BLOCK: I miss my stick. In fact, as I was listening to this piece on the way home from work, I came to a stop sign and my left foot tingled and ached to lift up and press down on the clutch, which sadly was not there.

SIEGEL: Finally, Melissa.

BLOCK: Robert.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE")

MARLON BRANDO: (as Stanley Kowalski) Hey Stella.

SIEGEL: That's Marlon Brando playing the character Stanley Kowalski in the film "A Streetcar Named Desire." Yesterday, we told you about the annual Stanley and Stella shouting contest in New Orleans.

BLOCK: And we clearly struck a nerve with two segments of our listening population: dogs and their owners. Rick Hartley(ph) of Shingletown, California, is one of the latter. He writes this: Many years ago, I adopted a dog and after great consideration decided to name her Stella so I could stand outside and yell, Stella. Unfortunately, she was such a good dog, she was rarely such a distance away to require a loud Stella.

SIEGEL: Well, Ross Warnell(ph) of Kansas City, Kansas, didn't appreciate our illustrations of vocal prowess. He writes this. Shame on you, NPR. When you were airing the Stella and Stanley shouting contest, I looked over and my little wiener dog, Stella, was cowering in fear. She's a rescue dog, so she's easily spooked. All I can say is, bad NPR, bad, bad.

BLOCK: Well, we'll stick to our inside voices for now. Thanks for all your letters. You can write to us at NPR.org and click on Contact Us.

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