From Our Listeners

Letters: Influential People And Barber's Call

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Talk of the Nation listeners make a few more nominations to our list of most influential people of 2008. Also, a letter from a listener who survived a small plane crash, and another listener thanks us for playing tape of Red Barber calling a game he didn't attend.


It's Tuesday, the day we read from your letters. 'Tis the season for lists, and last week, we asked you to nominate the most influential person of the year from your field. A couple we missed showed up in our email inbox. Rahuv Zaidan(ph) from Aberdeen, South Dakota wrote: I nominate Dr. Ali Sadek, who translated several Mozart operas into Arabic. I'm an opera singer, and I will be singing the role of Figaro in "The Marriage of Figaro" in Dubai in March. This will be the first time this opera is given in the Arabic language.

Jack Longley teaches at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and he nominated recent Nobel laureate Harald zur Hausen, who identified an association between cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus. Dr. Longley wrote, his determined work over decades led to prevention - first by voidance, now by vaccination - of this cancer that afflicts women throughout the world. The number of lives saved by his work will not easily be matched.

And Patrick in Minneapolis wanted to nominate a futurist and physicist. Why? I'm a teacher, and my fifth grade students think Michio Kaku is very cool. He's reaching people of all interest and ages with his look into the future.

After one flight's crash landing and the narrow escape of all of its passengers, we asked if you'd survived an air crash and how. Sydney Johnson wrote: I survived a small plane crash. Shortly after takeoff, the right wing sheared off as it hit the ground. When we came to rest, we could not open the door and were afraid of fire. Finally, we got it open. I still fly often, and every single time, I look at the safety card to remind myself of the way the exit doors work, which way the handles go, whether the exits remain in or are thrown out. You should, too, every time.

And last but not the least, we heard this from a listener responding to the tape of Red Barber calling a game he never actually called. Thanks for Red Barber and John Miller. It was a cold, rainy day here, and the World Series seemed like it was 1,000 years ago. A great Christmas present, yours, Steve Lombardi, alas no relation to Ernie, in San Ramon, California.

If you'd still like to hear the magic of play by play and you missed that broadcast or any of our previous shows, you can download them as podcasts. Just go to, and click on Talk of the Nation. If you have comments, questions or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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CONAN: Tomorrow, we're going to remember some of those people who passed away in the past year, who we should remember more. If you'd like to nominate someone, send us an email,, and join us tomorrow on Talk of the Nation. I'm Neal Conan, NPR News in Washington.

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