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ANDREA SEABROOK, host:

Have you gotten your tax rebate yet? The IRS has been mailing out checks for more than a week now. The cash is aimed at jolting the U.S. economy out of its slump. So for your homework this week, we asked what you will do with your money.

(Soundbite of song, "Taxman")

THE BEATLES: (Singing) I am the taxman...

SEABROOK: Norm Prule(ph) writes I'm going shopping but only for items made in the U.S. of A. I find it somewhat antithetical to go purchase items from China with money that's being borrowed from China.

A bunch of you are taking summer vacations with the windfall. Jennifer and Christopher Howell are road-tripping from Las Vegas to New York with their three daughters and the dog in the car. Good luck, guys.

Jason and Noel Reynolds are driving across Canada with their stimulus money. No vacation for Jamie Lee, though, of Denver, Colorado.

Ms. JAIME LEE (Caller): After careful consideration, I decided to use my rebate check to buy a tree for my yard. I thought if I put it in savings, I'd probably piddle it away on insignificant things. And I thought about a vacation but then that only lasts for a little while. And a tree lasts for a long time. That would be something that would be meaningful right now.

SEABROOK: By far the most exciting purchase, in my humble opinion, will be made by Beth Rasburger(ph) of St. Louis, Missouri. She's buying a new pair of roller skates. She writes, I've been playing roller derby with a league in St. Louis called the Archrival Roller Girls. I've been skating on the same skates for three years now and you think tennis shoes get a beating - imagine what my skates look like.

Rasburger says 300 bucks should buy her a decent pair, including wheels, bearings and toe stops.

And then there's poor Becky Simzick(ph) of Grafton, Massachusetts. Her economic stimulus check this year was for $15.60. She says perhaps I will write a thank you note to President Bush for the 4.3 gallons of gas I can purchase with this fantastic gift. Or maybe I'll go to the movies - by myself.

(Soundbite of music)

THE BEATLES: (Singing) (unintelligible) the taxman...

SEABROOK: Now, for next week's homework, inspired by the story we talked about a few minutes ago of the accidental answering machine message - a gunfight in Afghanistan. If you missed it, you can catch up at NPR.org.

We want to hear the voice mail messages you just can't erase or don't want to. Here's an example from my phone:

Ms. LIZ SEABROOK (Andrea Seabrook's Mom): This is Mr. Sock. Could you give me a call?

SEABROOK: That is my mother, Liz Seabrook, leaving a message for her only grandchild who is fond of Mima's sock puppet.

What message do you keep and why? Write to Homework@npr.org or call the Homework hotline at 202-408-5183. Definitely include a phone number so we could call you back. That's Homework@npr.org or the Homework hotline - 202-408-5183.

(Soundbite of music)

SEABROOK: Up next, the plight of the brainy fruit fly. It dies earlier than the lunk-headed brethren.

This is NPR News.

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