ATC Letters: Armstrong Interview, O'Nan Interview and Summer Songs

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Melissa Block and Michele Norris read from listeners' letters about Robert Siegel's latest interview with Jeremy Armstrong, recently released from prison for killing his father's roommate. They also read responses to Melissa's interview with author Stuart O'Nan about his new book The Good Wife, and our Memorial Day review of summer songs.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Today is Thursday and the day we read from your e-mails.

We begin with comments about our colleague Robert Siegel's final interview with Jeremy Armstrong.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

On Tuesday, the 23-year-old was released from prison on parole. He'd served eight years of a 20-year sentence for reckless homicide. Armstrong shot and killed his father's roommate when he was 15 and was tried and sentenced as an adult. Robert spoke with him a number of times during his incarceration.

BLOCK: Lance George(ph) of Washington, DC, writes, `Jeremy Armstrong's childhood and the events surrounding his incarceration are a tragedy for everyone involved. But this young man's optimistic demeanor and personal growth under such circumstances are remarkable. Likewise, Mr. Siegel's chronicle of Jeremy's tumultuous journey over the years was engrossing and culminated into one of the most compelling reports that I've ever heard. I do not profess to know all the details of Jeremy Armstrong's life or imprisonment, but Robert Siegel's presentation of this gripping human saga is journalism of the rarest quality. Good luck, Jeremy.'

NORRIS: Marion Koenig(ph) of Baltimore adds, `I was very touched by this story and impressed by this young man. He appears to be smart, sensitive, articulate and humble. I'm sure he can go far. I do hope there is a way you can convey to him that I--and I'm sure many other of your listeners--wish him all the best.'

BLOCK: Edna Chiasa(ph) of Tampa, Florida, has this comment about another story, my interview with author Stuart O'Nan. His new novel, "The Good Wife," tells the story of a woman who stands by her husband during his 28 years in prison.

NORRIS: Chiasa writes, `Our family has also endured many humiliations to visit our loved one in prison, but we endure week after week. You learn quick that there is an unwritten law in prison. You need to let the system know that these prisoners are loved by their families, that they're not alone nor forgotten. So every chance you get, you put up with the humiliation.'

BLOCK: Finally, on Memorial Day, we spoke with three deejays about their picks for this summer's hot songs. We took suggestions for hip-hop, country and pop.

NORRIS: Well, listener Jim Roberts(ph) was not impressed.

BLOCK: `Your segment is proof positive that one should never let a commercial radio programmer pick the music that he or she listens to.' Roberts continues, `The three songs featured were perfect examples of the worst of pop music: formulaic, overproduced, unoriginal and just plain bad.'

NORRIS: And one of our listeners took issue with our hip-hop pick from the deejay Geronimo of SIRIUS Satellite Radio. He chose the song "Pon de Replay" by artist Rihanna. He said it's part of an emerging genre of hip-hop called reggaetone. The song sounds like this.

(Soundbite of "Pon de Replay")

RIHANNA: (Singing) One time, run it back once more. Run.

Group: (Singing) Run.

RIHANNA: (Singing) Run.

Group: (Singing) Run.

RIHANNA: (Singing) Everybody move.

Group: (Singing) Run.

RIHANNA: (Singing) Let me see you move.

Group: (Singing) Run.

RIHANNA: (Singing) Rock it to the groove.

Group: (Singing) Run.

RIHANNA: (Singing) Shake it to till the moon becomes the sun.

Group: (Singing) Sun.

BLOCK: `I was surprised to hear Geronimo describe the song as an example of reggaetone,' writes Holly Edgel(ph) of Tallahassee, Florida. `Reggaetone is notable for Spanish lyrics and Latin-American pop culture references. A much better example of reggaetone,' Ms. Edgel says, `is "Gasolina" by Daddy Yankee, who was born in Puerto Rico. It's extremely danceable and has been burning up airwaves on Spanish radio for months.'

(Soundbite of "Gasolina")

DADDY YANKEE: (Singing in Spanish)

NORRIS: Whether you're a strict hip-hop constructionist or not, we hope you'll send us your thoughts. Write to us at atc@npr.org. And don't forget to tell us where you live and how to pronounce your name.

(Soundbite of "Gasolina")

DADDY YANKEE: (Singing in Spanish)

BLOCK: This is NPR, National Public Radio.

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