From Our Listeners

Letters: Math=Romance; Movies; Schorr; Youth

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Scott Simon tears open the listener e-mail bag. Topics include using math to improve dating prospects, the state of films, the vitality of Daniel Schorr and the popularity of NPR with younger listeners.


Time now for your letters.

(Soundbite of music and typing)

Last week, we talked with our Math Guy, Stanford Professor Keith Devlin, about a new British study that claims mathematical game theory can reveal the best strategy for love. Math instructor Stephen Gilmore from Charlotte, North Carolina, writes: `Forget using game theory to snag that special someone. I used another form of math to get dates with women in college that was much simpler than game theory: giving them help with their calculus homework.' You are too smooth, Mr. Gilmore.

We also talked with NPR's Kim Masters about the probably of DreamWork's live action division. Kristine O'Keefe(ph) in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands wrote, `I live on an island in the Caribbean where we are amused to note that our one commercial seven-screen theater shows one loud, boring box office disappointment after another, while our little community groups pack them in for charming, unsuccessful foreign or art films that actually have stories and fabulously talented unknowns. Big names, loud sound effects and collagen-packed faces just aren't entertaining.'

Larry Miller in Pineville, North Carolina, wonders about Dan Schorr, who'll be 89 years old on August 31st. Mr. Miller asks, `How does this national treasure get to work? Does he actually hail a cab, in winter yet? Schlepp down to the subway? Does NPR send a car? If it's not too private, maybe you can tell.' Well, to answer the questions of a lot of people who do wonder: Yes, NPR sends a car. If we could, we'd send a helicopter. Dan is on vacation for the next two weeks--his usual summer of hang gliding, windsurfing and deep-sea tarpon fishing. We love it when he returns to work and gives each of us a fresh line-caught tarpon.

Now we also got two letters from young listeners. Ty Groggin(ph) of Greenwood, South Carolina, says, `I'm a 14-year-old student about to enter high school, and I just wanted to write and say NPR is great and I love listening to it. I ignore the names from my peers I get called from listening to this station and keep on listening.'

And high school senior Katie Oberthaller(ph) from Wichita, Kansas, says, `When I listen to the radio, it feels like the reporters are conversing with me alone. I catch up on the news to and from school, listen to some jazz while doing homework and cancel my Saturday plans to listen to "This American Life." While this may suggest a lack of social life, I have plenty of friends who roll their eyes when I sing along to the "All Things Considered" theme song.' Well, why don't you try our theme song?

(Soundbite of unidentified song)

Unidentified Woman: (Singing) So that's right, dude, meet me at the bleachers. No principals, no student-teachers. Both of us want to be the winner, but there can be only one. So I'm gonna fight, gonna give it my all. Gonna make you fall, gonna sock it to you. That's right, I'm the last one standing. Another one bites the dust. A few times I've been around that track. So it's not just gonna happen like that 'cause I ain't no hollaback girl. I ain't no hollaback girl.

SIMON: You can holler back at us on our Web site,

Twenty-two minutes before the hour.

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