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Letters: What about the groom, and a lesson about qat

Marketplace Staff Oct 19, 2010

Letters: What about the groom, and a lesson about qat

Marketplace Staff Oct 19, 2010


I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter…

Kai Ryssdal: …and write ’em you did. We begin this week in Toronto, from whence we told you the story of one big hotel chain’s effort to save water by guests not only re-using towels, but refusing housekeepers’ offers to clean rooms. Maids and their unions complained about what that’s doing to their jobs.

Philip Prindeville complained about what it was doing to our reporting.

Philip Prindeville: This piece is one-sided. It doesn’t ask the question of whether in a receding economy should a business be looking for ways to cut their operating costs, and maybe lower their prices so that cash-strapped customers can still afford their services.

Our story last week about abandoned Indian brides struck a chord with a lot of you. The practice of Indian families marrying their daughters off to Indian men living overseas, some of whom then take off, after some sort of dowry is paid, conveniently.

Krishna Prasad says we only told half the story.

Krishna Prasad: Did you check about the guys who were supposed to be a runaway? Did you even make an effort to find one? Have you ever thought that men are also victims on this?

I sat down with Elmore Leonard last week to talk about his new book, “Djibouti.” It’s about Somali pirates. He described them as being high on qat, that’s a narcotic that make them, in his words, a little crazy.

Michael Kolodner gave us our drug refresher.

Michael Kolodner: The effects of the mildly narcotic shrub Catha edulis, or qat, are simply not as dramatic as Mr. Leonard implied. Chewing qat makes you alert and focused, not to mention talkative. You could equally refer to all American workers as being “high” on caffeine from their coffee.

Finally, texting while driving. I did an interview about smartphone apps that let drivers use their voices, not their thumbs, to get their text messages across. We tested an app called Vlingo and it was less than perfect.

The CEO of Vlingo heard that interview and wrote to say it might have worked better if we played with it a little more and practiced before we went on the radio. He said a lot of people have used Vlingo safely, as many as 50 million times.

Fair enough. If you have something you want to say, please don’t do it while you’re driving. Email us or comment below.

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