From Our Listeners

Letters: Brazil's Economy; Howlin' Wolf

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NPR's Robert Siegel and Mary Louise Kelly read from listeners' e-mails about Brazil's economy; a 50 Great Voices piece about Howlin' Wolf; and the movie Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.


Time now for your letters, and we received a few about our story on Brazil's economic rise. The country is fast becoming a global power, but just 20 years ago, it had an 80 percent inflation rate.


Well, Janet Freeoff(ph) of Saratoga Springs, New York writes: My husband and I are raising a 10-year old son and value our time around the dinner table to reconnect as a family. Sadly, it's not often the day's news is appropriate as a platform for discussion.

However, today's Planet Money story on how fake money saved Brazil sparked a lively retelling and subsequent history lesson on the culture of currency. It was a powerful way to illustrate to a fifth grader the power of creative thinking.

SIEGEL: Yesterday, I talked with Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and chief product officer of the website The site recommends products based on your interests. And during the interview, I mentioned that NetFlix didn't quite understand my interests. This is what I said:

After watching and liking "Garden State" a great deal, we got the message if you liked that movie, you'll like "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle."

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: And somewhere in the first half hour of this movie, I realized that someone had assumed I liked movies about doper teenagers in New Jersey.

KELLY: Well, Robert, Lori Pierce from Evanston, Illinois, sent you this bit of advice - and I'm quoting:

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: Yeah, I'm waiting.

KELLY: "Dude, it's just a recommendation. You don't have to watch it. And, for the record, I'm a baby boomer, and I liked them both."

SIEGEL: It was a bad recommendation. And Leslie Murphy from Mount Airy, Maryland, wrote this: I usually laugh at the suggestions that pop up, and yes, "Harold and Kumar" is one title that comes up repeatedly because while I may not always know what I want to see, I usually know what I don't want to see.

KELLY: Well, finally, we heard about Howlin' Wolf on yesterday's program. And that story sent Lionel Foster(ph) of Baltimore to his keyboard. He writes: Once or twice a year, I hear something on my car radio that cuts through rush-hour traffic, my mental to-do lists and everything I thought I knew about a subject so forcefully it could just knock me off the road.

John Burnett's piece on bluesman Chester Arthur Burnett, aka Howlin' Wolf, might've put my current low insurance rate in jeopardy. He writes: I was not prepared for the depth and raw power of his voice, and I'd like to thank you for the experience, despite the lack of any necessary warnings.

SIEGEL: Well, we're warning you, Mr. Foster. Start flashing and pull over to the side. Here comes some more Howlin' Wolf.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. HOWLIN' WOLF (Musician): (Singing) Whoa, tell me baby. (Unintelligible).

SIEGEL: Thanks for all your comments. You can write to us at Just click on contact us at the bottom of the page.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. HOWLIN' WOLF (Musician): (Singing) Whoa (unintelligible).

KELLY: This is NPR News.

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