From Our Listeners

Letters: Snake Milker, Tiger Woods Ad

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NPR listeners respond to a story about a man who milks poisonous snakes and commentator Brian Unger's piece criticizing Tiger Woods' new Nike ad. Robert Siegel and Michele Norris read from listeners' e-mails.


It's time now for your letters. Last Friday, we aired a piece about Ken Darnell, a snake milker. He collects snakes' venom to be used for research and for anti-venom, and we referred to snakes both as venomous and poisonous.

Well, Andrew Hendrick(ph) of Lexington, Kentucky, had this comment: My 4H Club students in the elementary schools where I give lessons on insects and arachnids would never forgive me if I did not point out that snakes and other animals that bite and inject a toxin, are venomous, not poisonous. A poison is generally something that is ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Poisonous plants, poisonous liquids and poisonous gases are examples. I write you in good fun.


And Marilyn Newman(ph) of Gainsborough, Tennessee, had this to say: I was bitten by a venomous snake in 2004. It took six units of anti-venom to stop the poison or I guess we should say the venom from continuing to be active in my body. It is now six years later, and I still have some issues with the leg, but thanks to people like Ken Darnell, there was medicine to save my leg.

SIEGEL: We received many comments about Brian Unger's commentary that criticized the new Nike ad featuring Tiger Woods. The image is simple enough: the golf star staring into the camera. The audio is the voice of his deceased father. Unger offered these thoughts to the golfer and his sponsor:

BRIAN UNGER: At the very least, Nike, sell me shoes, not a comeback. Here's a one-man focus group, Nike, free of charge: Shoes make me run faster. Tiger Woods makes me run away from Nike.

NORRIS: Dueling listeners in Tennessee reflected much of what we found in our mailbox. Mark Barr(ph) from Murfreesboro writes: I am so tired of Tiger Woods, and you just add to the annoyance by running that useless commentary by Brian Unger. What a waste of my time.

While from the east, Paul Koretco(ph) of Knoxville writes: I loved it, appreciate it, and I agree.

SIEGEL: We had quite a few letters about yesterday's interview with Kathleen Weil, the minister of justice for Quebec, about a bill introduced there that would bar women from wearing a niqab while they're giving or receiving public services. A niqab is a veil that leaves only the eyes visible.

DJ Dammon(ph) from Macon, Georgia, said this about the interview: I would have preferred that Ms. Norris present two opposing points of view, the minister's and another's, rather than Ms. Norris herself representing the other side.

NORRIS: Brian Pew(ph) from Bronxville, New York, wrote with this comment, following yesterday's coverage of the Pulitzer Prizes: ALL THINGS CONSIDERED didn't comment on the poetry winner. And he asks: Why, why, why? Does ALL THINGS CONSIDERED have something against poetry?

SIEGEL: Let's see. Your itty-bitten specificity fetish, your mom's phantasmic whatsit held conspicuously under threat. We're not impugning Mr. Pew, we're just quoting from Rae Armantraut's book, "Versed," which is the winner of this year's Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

If you want to offer us your poetry or prose, come to, and click on contact us at the bottom of the page.

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