Letters: Frogs, and Corduroy Shorts

NPR's Scott Simon dips into the Weekend Edition email box and reads from your letters. Among the topics: Croaking frogs in Puerto Rico and Hawaii; and corduroy shorts.

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Time now for your letters. A correction first. Last week Mandalit del Barco filed a reporter's notebook after she was on assignment in Puerto Rico. She referred to the coqui frogs that lull her to sleep and said that Puerto Rico was the only place where you could hear those frogs. Well, we got several e-mails from Hawaiian listeners.

Kathy Wines writes: Aloha. Much to the dismay of many on the island where I live, we hear a coquis each night. Coquis arrived here some years ago on a few plants, and with no natural predators, they have blossomed. Some detest the coquis and see tourist dollars flying away with each call, and wish all coquis would return to Puerto Rico.

A University of Hawaii Web site confirms that coqui frogs arrived in Hawaii around 20 years ago and they are a serious problem. Like other tourists, they consume so much food - spiders and insects in their case - they just don't leave enough for the locals.

On 11/11, International Corduroy Day, we talked with Phil McGraw, a corduroy enthusiast. But Andrew Stiles of Los Angeles says your guest, who claimed to be a corduroy aficionado, says he can't find a pair of corduroy bathing shorts. Is he a complete corduroy novice? What about the classic OP shorts? The first cool, surf-like style brand, Ocean Pacific, made its name selling corduroy trunks.

By far the story that brought the most mail was the appreciation that Alice Furlaud had for her recently departed cat, Miss Pudding. Hey, I'm trying to get some housework done while I listen to the show, writes Marty Millet from New York. Thanks to the insightful and loving tribute to Miss Pudding, I had to go sit down and cry for a minute. It was worth it, though.

The things we appreciate cats for, unlike dogs who curry favor and long to be a part of our pack, are the things that set them apart from us. Miss Pudding sounds as if she was excellent at what I'd call cat-ness.

Pam Ross of Washington, D.C. says, My mother died recently after a long battle with cancer. In recent months, as she grew less mobile, she begged for and got her heart's desire, a kitten that became her constant companion and playmate. She named the kitten Coco Chanel and spoiled her rotten by feeding her at all odd hours, allowing her to sleep under her chin and even feeding her whipped cream as a daily treat.

Though Ms. Furlaud worried that she would pass away before Miss Pudding, I think my mother was happy to know that her beloved kitten would be here after she died, comforting my dad and still enjoying a daily dose of Ready Whip.

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