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.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


Time now for your letters.


SIMON: We had more than a hundred comments at 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.



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 and click on Contact Us. We're also on Twitter. I tweet @nprscottsimon, all one word. And the entire WEEKEND EDITION staff is @nprweekend.


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.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.