Letters: Lost Technology, Masons, Tommy Newsom

Listeners react to our recent stories about once-promising technologies that have been abandoned, our piece on the Masons and our appreciation last week of musician Tommy Newsom.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

Time now for your letters.

Several of you wrote after hearing our interview last week with Daniel Wilson about jet packs, Smell-O-Vision and other futuristic technologies that didn't quite came about. Mike Quinn(ph) of Cleveland says the jetpack is a fact. He writes, I believe the jetpack was modified and is now used throughout suburbia to blow the leaves off lawns and sidewalks.

Many of you also wrote after hearing our story last week on the Freemasons. Ted Cooper(ph) of Wilmington, Ohio, thanked us for showing the Masons for who they really are. I can trace my Masonic heritage back five generations, and I'm quite proud to belong to such a distinguished fraternity. Mr. Cooper adds, nationwide, Masons donate millions of dollars annually to treat burn victims, help teach kids with dyslexia, fight Alzheimer's, sponsor special Olympics and aid countless other deserving people in need of help.

But several listeners noticed that our reporter, Rachel Martin, placed the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. Barbara Ryan(ph) says, to be sure, it's tall enough at the top to see Arlington County but the towering memorial is historic Alexandria's most prominent landmark. When I moved from Denver to Alexandria, I expected to miss seeing the Rockies as a clue to what direction I was going, so it was a delight to discover that no matter how lost I got in Northern Virginia, as soon as I spotted George up there on the monument, I knew I was almost home.

Finally, Pamela Alexander(ph) of Maui, Hawaii, wrote to us after hearing out appreciation last week of Tommy Newsom. Hearing about his death brought back a lot of memories during my eight-year tenure at "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" - four of those years as personal assistant to Mr. Carson. Backstage before the show, Tommy was always ready with a smile and his dry wit. Whether playing backup with Doc or leading the band during Doc's absence, he exuded dignity and charm.

We welcome your comments and your corrections. Just come to our Web site, npr.org, and click on Contact Us. And please tell us where you live and how to say your name.

(Soundbite of music)

SIMON: You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News.

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