Letters: Monastery Composer, Black Market Smokes
LIANE HANSEN, host:
Now, to your letters.
First, a correction. Several of you wrote us after our interview about "The Book of the Dead: Lives of the Justly Famous and the Undeservedly Obscure." Here's how one of the authors, John Michinson, described Jack Parsons, considered a pioneer of American aerospace technology.
Mr. JOHN MICHINSON (Co-Author, "The Book of the Dead: Lives of the Justly Famous and the Undeservedly Obscure"): It's like a lot of people in the book: he's a kind of paradox. In one sense, he's a complete genius; in the other sense, a sort of total flake 'cause one of the things he got involved in was an organization called the Ordo Templi Orientis, which is a strange kind of satanic organization led by Aleister Crowley, the great magician known as The Beast.
HANSEN: Many of you pointed out that the organization, Ordo Templi Orientis, or Order of the Oriental Templars, is not a satanic group, but is instead patterned on Freemasonry.
A report last week by NPR's Carrie Johnson on black-market cigarettes generated dozens of posts at NPR.org, like this one from Scott Moore of Seattle: While I don't support smoking, neither do I support the current tax rates. In Washington State, a pack of cigarettes is almost $10, and about $3 of that is tax. The tax has exceeded the value of the product being taxed. When taxes go too high for people's sensibility then they both circumvent the system and underground economies are born.
We also heard from several of you after Martha Woodroof's story about two writers publishing their first novels. Jack Vasquez posted this at NPR.org: Thanks for this story, and thanks for being honest, authors. It's really helpful to know that a long confusing process can result in quality work. Of course, no guarantee that it will do so, but I feel less alone in my writing from having read this.
And we received comments about John Burnett's profile of Robert Kyr, a composer based at the Monastery of Christ in the Desert. Mike Ogden wrote at NPR.org: northern New Mexico is so beautiful - fertile for linking us spiritually. There is a certain magic to this desert, a textbook definition of the word ethereal. Thank you for taking the trip and venturing beyond the typical tourist traps. I am certain Georgia O'Keeffe is smiling.
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HANSEN: We welcome your feedback. Go to NPR.org and click on the Contact the show link. You can reach out to us on Twitter as well: I'm @NPRLiane - that's L-I-A-N-E. We're also at Facebook.com/NPRWeekend.
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