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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.

May 29 2017

#589: Tell Me I’m Fat

The way people talk about being fat is shifting. With one-third of Americans classified as overweight, and another third as obese, and almost none of us losing weight and keeping it off, maybe it’s time to rethink the way we see being fat. A show inspired by Lindy West’s book Shrill .

May 22 2017

#617: Fermi’s Paradox

Three people grapple with the question, “Are we alone?”

May 15 2017

#218: Act V

We devote this entire episode to one story: Over the course of six months, reporter and This American Life contributor Jack Hitt followed a group of inmates at a high-security prison as they rehearsed and staged a production of the last act—Act V—of Hamlet.

May 08 2017

#616: I Am Not A Pirate

To be, or not to be a pirate? This week, that is the question. Hold fast, mateys! We have stories about both historical and modern-day swashbucklers who loot, pillage, and question their choices.

May 01 2017

#615: The Beginning of Now

Before Donald Trump started his presidential campaign in 2015, there was a congressional race that redefined what was possible in American politics. Steve Bannon and Breitbart News got involved in that race early, just like they later got deeply involved Donald Trump's race. On this week’s show: What happened in that campaign, what it made it work, and how we got to now.

April 24 2017

#583: It’ll Make Sense When You’re Older

At first, it’s super annoying, getting told it’ll make sense when you’re older. Then, when you’re a teenager, hard lessons are learned, despite your best efforts to be too cool to care. By the time you’re actually old, you know a bunch of stuff— and you’re desperate to hold onto it. You might even wonder HOW you know all the things you know. Hosted by Chana Joffe-Walt and featuring SNL’s Sasheer Zamata.

April 17 2017

#614: The Other Mr. President

Since Russia meddled in our election, there's been concern that the fake news and disinformation that's so prevalent there could be taking hold in this country. But is that hyperbole? This week we look at what it's actually like to live in the confusing information landscape that is Putin's Russia.

April 10 2017

#585: In Defense of Ignorance

Exactly how incompetent you are. What your ex’s best friend really thinks of you. The approximate time that you will die. Some things in life are better not to know about. And sometimes there can be a benefit to not knowing. In this episode, examples of ignorance truly being bliss, or even being an asset.

April 03 2017

#613: OK, I’ll Do It

Stories of people who decide that they are the best person for the job, no matter how dangerous. Including a story about a stay-at-home mom with a history of gun running for a guerilla organization, and a surgeon who does surgery...on himself.
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