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October 16 2017

#628: In the Shadow of the City 2017

Stories that take place on the edge of civilization, just out of sight.

October 09 2017

#627: Suitable for Children

This week we ask: who thought that would be a good for a kid? Neil Drumming looks back at a toy he loved that, in retrospect, probably wouldn’t love him back. And we go to a museum that educates children but also scares the hell out of them.

October 02 2017

#587: The Perils of Intimacy

Stories about mysteries that exist in relationships we thought couldn't possibly surprise us, the strangeness of putting our wants on the line with someone who may not share them at all, and how much we're willing to risk for someone we may never see again.

September 25 2017

#626: White Haze

Right-wing groups like the Proud Boys say they have no tolerance for racism or white supremacist groups. Their leader Gavin McInnes disavowed the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. But the Proud Boys believe “the west is the best,” which, one of them points out, is not such a big jump from “whites are best.” And one of the Proud Boys organized the Charlottesville rally. (The group now claims he was a spy.) What should we make of groups like this?

September 18 2017

#597: One Last Thing Before I Go

Words can seem so puny and ineffective sometimes. On this show, we have stories in which ordinary people make last ditch efforts to get through to their loved ones, using a combination of small talk and not-so-small talk.

September 09 2017

#625: Essay B

In the fall of 1967, two black freshmen arrived at an all-white private boarding school in Virginia. They were the first black students ever to attend the school. One of the main reasons they were there? To benefit the white kids. This week, we hear their story, and others about being enlisted to benefit another person’s educational experience. A version of this story appears in The New York Times Magazine.

September 04 2017

#624: Private Geography

Everyone walks around on their own private map of the world. The places we’re from and how they made us, whether we like it or not.

August 28 2017

#282: DIY

After four lawyers fail to get an innocent man out of prison, his friend takes on the case himself. He becomes a do-it-yourself investigator. He learns to read court records, he tracks down hard-to-find witnesses, he gets the real murderer to come forward with his story. In the end, he's able to accomplish all sorts of things the police and the professionals can't.

August 21 2017

#623: We Are in the Future

One of our producers, Neil Drumming, has recently become fascinated with Afrofuturism. It's more than sci-fi. It’s a way of looking at black culture that’s fantastic, creative, and oddly hopeful—which feels especially urgent during a time without a lot of optimism.

Featuring the new song "The Deep" by clppng. Original artwork by Paul Davey. Click to enlarge.

August 14 2017

#472: Our Friend David

Favorite stories by our longtime contributor and friend David Rakoff.

August 07 2017

#622: Who You Gonna Call?

When everything goes wrong, one of the first things we think is, "Who do I call?" This week, stories of lucky people who have found the exact right person to ring up for help.

July 31 2017

#175: Babysitting

Stories of babysitters, and what goes on while mom and dad are away that mom and dad never find out about. Including the story of two teenagers who decide to invent children to babysit, as an excuse to get out of their own house.

July 24 2017

#621: Fear and Loathing in Homer and Rockville

Two towns where people got really upset about undocumented immigrants, even though in both places, that did not seem to be the most important thing happening at all. One of the towns, a small town in Alaska, has no undocumented immigrants at all, but the possibility of them arriving put the whole town at each other’s throats.

July 17 2017

#620: To Be Real

Most of the time, we show the world a pretty superficial version of ourselves. "How about that weather?" But this week—people who try to go deeper, to get to something real, in some unexpected places: war, magic and porn.

July 10 2017

#109: Notes on Camp

Stories of summer camp. People who love camp say that non-camp people simply don't understand what's so amazing about camp. In this program, we attempt to bridge the gap of misunderstanding between camp people and non-camp people.

July 03 2017

#619: The Magic Show

Just a few years before he got the internship at NPR that started him in radio, our host Ira Glass had another career. He performed magic at children's birthday parties. A powerful sense of embarrassment has prevented him from ever doing an episode on the subject, but when he learned that producer David Kestenbaum was also a kid conjurer, they decided to dive in together. Photo: David P. Abbott demonstrates his floating ball routine.

June 26 2017

#534: A Not-So-Simple Majority

We take it for granted that the majority calls the shots. But in one NY school district, that idea — majority rules — has led to an all-out war. School board disputes are pretty common, but not like this one. This involves multimillion-dollar land deals, lawyers threatening to beat up parents, felony criminal charges, and the highest levels of state government. Meanwhile, the students are caught in the middle.

June 19 2017

#234: Say Anything

Does talking about it really help? Stories where it does, and stories where it doesn't, including a man who tried to battle his fears by listing them. He ended up with a list 138 items long.

June 12 2017

#618: Mr. Lie Detector

A polygraph operator and his strange journey. And other stories.
Reposted byekelias ekelias

June 05 2017

#246: My Pen Pal

Stories of very unusual pen pals, including a ten-year-old girl from Michigan who befriends Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. A show from 2003 that we’re bringing back with news this week of Noriega’s death.
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