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Letters: Pizza As A Vegetable, R.E.M. Retires


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Guy Raz.


I'm Melissa Block. And it's time now for your letters. First on the menu, pizza. Earlier this week, we reported on an effort in Congress to get the popular pie counted as a vegetable in schools. We heard from Margo Wootan, director of nutritional policy for the watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest.

DR. MARGO WOOTAN: This may go down in nutritional history as the biggest blunder since Reagan tried to declare ketchup as a vegetable.

RAZ: Well, Susan Beard of Rutland, Vermont, wrote in with this double-take: Did I hear you right? With all the vitally important issues facing Congress, they're going to be voting this week on whether or not pizza is a vegetable? Ay yay yay yay yay. She goes on to say: No matter what Congress decides, my farm and garden supply store are never going to be carrying packets of pizza seeds.

BLOCK: For our second and final course, a little rock 'n' roll. After 31 years and 85 million albums sold around the world, the rock band R.E.M. is finally calling it quits. Yesterday, we aired my interview with bass player Mike Mills and lead singer Michael Stipe about the end of the band as we know it and the very beginning.

MICHAEL STIPE: One of the main things about R.E.M., especially then, is that you were watching us grow up in public. You were watching a band learn how to play songs, learn how to be a gang, learn how to perform. And that was part of the excitement because every night was a giant, new adventure.

BLOCK: Well, Amy Conn of Bishop, California, remembers those days well. She writes this: I was puffing my first illicit teenage cigarettes in 1980, the year R.E.M. debuted. I suffered a serious college "Crush with Eyeliner" on Michael Stipe, and the thoughtful, mysterious lyrics and melodies got me through many troubled young adulthood years. Ms. Conn continues: As I drove my Subaru station wagon responsibly around, delivering cookie dough my young son had sold, no longer smoking or filled with teen angst, I heard my favorite band bow gracefully out and look forward to retirement, really? I had to smile. I guess we've all grown up.

RAZ: But we'll never grow tired of your letters. So please keep them coming. Write to us at npr.org and click on Contact Us at the bottom of the page.


R.E.M.: (Singing) ...feeling pretty psyched. It's the end of the world as we know it. It's the end of the world as we know it. It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine. Six o'clock, TV hour. Don't get caught in foreign tower. Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn. Lock him in uniform and book burning... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.