Your Letters: N.Y. Smoking Ban; Dogfighting Words

Host Scott Simon reads listeners' mail, including responses to NPR reporter Robert Smith's story about a proposed smoking ban in New York City; last week's interview with the author of the book, Dogfight; and celebrating National Punctuation Day.

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SCOTT SIMON, Host:

Time now for your letters.

(SOUNDBITE OF TYPING AND MUSIC)

SIMON: We had more than a hundred comments at NPR.org about Robert Smith's story about a proposed ban on outdoor smoking in New York City. Many hope the ban would improve air quality. But Shadeed Ahmad(ph) says: In order for the quality of air to be realistically better, a lot of air problems have to be addressed in New York City: bad body odors, smelly subways, recreational smoking drugs, auto exhaust, and all cigarette smoking. New York City is losing enough of its charm already, he adds, let's not take one more step towards feeling like we're in a straitjacket with bed bugs inside.

SIMON: The city is stressful. I don't know how I can be there without a cigarette.

A L, Host:

A Love Story," that guest host Mary Louise Kelly asked Matt Burgess to read, in which he described a dogfight.

Mary Young of Tacoma, Washington, says: Dog fighting is a form of severe animal abuse. Would you read a passage from a book describing the details of child abuse on the air? Your coverage served to glamorize dog fighting.

But a lot of praise for the interview Mary Louise did last week with punctuation expert Jeff Rubin.

JEFF RUBIN: There was one from the Feast of San Gennaro, which is a big event in Little Italy in Manhattan. And it said Fried Oreo's, meaning the cookie, O-R-E-O apostrophe S.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, Host:

Heresy.

RUBIN: Yes, it is.

SIMON: Several people shared their own punctuation pet peeves and frustrations about inept grammar. What about then with an E and than with an A, wonders Diana Voelinger(ph). What about all the past participles that evidently are not being taught in school? When I hear, I would have gave you one, or, I should have ate that, et cetera, I lose my mind.

SIMON: As a fifth grade teacher, I did nothing but teach punctuation. I'm retired now and carry around a magic marker so I can correct mistakes I find. I agree that things have gone downhill fast. But I guarantee that most teachers work very hard to try to turn around students' poor writing skills.

We'd love to hear from you. Please don't hear the letters of other people on this show and wish, I should have wrote that.

To send an email, you just go to NPR.org and click on Contact Us. We're also on Twitter. I tweet @nprscottsimon, all one word. And the entire WEEKEND EDITION staff is @nprweekend.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I LOVE YOU PERIOD")

DAN BAIRD: (Singing) I love you period. And do you love me, question mark? Please, please, exclamation point. I want to hold you in parentheses. I love you period. Do you love me question mark? Please, please exclamation point. I want to hold you in parentheses.

SIMON: This is NPR News.

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