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Letters: Focus, perks, hairmats

Marketplace Staff May 5, 2009

Letters: Focus, perks, hairmats

Marketplace Staff May 5, 2009


Kai Ryssdal: We’re going to do one thing at a time in our letters segment today. That would make Winifred Gallagher happy. We talked to her a couple of weeks ago about her new book “Rapt.” How we’re not paying enough attention to what we’re doing at any given moment. And that being able to multitask is a total myth. A lot of you, like David Noceti of Turlock, Calif., agreed.

DAVID NOCETI: If you actually pay attention to what you’re focusing on throughout the day I believe you’ll find she’s more correct than you care to admit.

Linda Tonner from Stuartstown, Pa., wrote to say exactly the opposite. That sometimes you just have to do two things at once and do them well.

LINDA TONNER: I don’t know if this author ever had a baby since if she had she would know that not only is multitasking possible but absolutely essential.

Commentator Gustavo Arellano offered some thoughts about the American Dream last week. How he thinks his immigrant parents are going to fare better during the recession than he will.

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: My parents and their amigos came from an existence of nothing, an existence in which the sword of poverty dangled above families daily, teaching them to always prepare for the worst. My amigos and I, spoiled on the Reagan-era notion of faith in money, stand at the edge of economic despair.

Russ Waddell from the great state of Virginia doesn’t see it that way.

RUSS WADDELL: I would suspect that Arellano’s situation closely mirror that of his age cohort. I’m not convinced that his parents ethnic background matters at all.

We covered pension plans a few weeks ago and how more of them are going bust. Right after that story we had one about soup kitchens running out of food. Robert Mercer from Yardley, Pa., caught the irony.

ROBERT MERCER: Without solid pension plans we can assure that the nonprofits will continue to have ample clients.

I talked to Michelle Leder from the Web site Footnoted.org last week about the perks a lot of big corporate executives get: company helicopters, that kind of thing. Michelle pointed out that boards of directors at these companies tend not to rein in that kind of spending. To which Justin Harrison from Northport, Ala., offered this.

JUSTIN HARRISON: I can’t help but wonder how many of the members of these boards have enjoyed similar perks in their own careers? Why would they set a precedent by denying such benefits, and then run the risk of losing them themselves or appearing hypocritical?

Now for easily the most-commented upon story of the week. A piece from Dan Grech about companies packaging human hair for use as garden fertilizer. A slew of you wrote to say you’re already doing that. Or that your dad’s been gardening that way for years. But Dan noted that a company that markets the hairmats, as they’re called, are worried that some people won’t be able to get over the “ick” factor. Eric Lusnia from Santa Rosa, Calif., could only chuckle.

ERIC LUSNIA: Anyone who gardens uses manure, and I think most people know what manure is made out of.

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