Host Ira Glass hauls out Ye Olde Book of Christmas Stories, only to realize that everyone's favorite stories are—gasp—missing. Sounding the alarm, he sets off to save Christmas, the only way he knows how.
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Continuing from our prologue, host Ira Glass checks in with Lisa and her older daughter, Kennedy, to see how the experiment went. After a month, they've charted surprising results, learned that the girls aren't the only ones in the house who need to change, and found out just how much money it takes to get a twelve-year-old to play with a five-year-old.
We're a nation at war, but it hardly feels like it. That contrast is especially jarring for people like Hannah Allam, who just returned home to Oklahoma after two years in Baghdad running the Knight-Ridder Newspapers bureau there.
So if, in fact, 100,000 Iraqis died because of the war—and that number is a year old—what do we do with that number? It instantly brings you to all these imponderable questions about what's worth 100,000 dead. In a way, this doesn't seem like a helpful question to think about.
In the middle of the news coverage of Hurricane Rita, newscasts broke into their coverage to show JetBlue flight 292, with its landing gear stuck in the wrong direction. For hours, the plane circled over the exurbs of Los Angeles to burn off fuel before it attempted an emergency landing.
Ira Glass continues talking to passengers, like Zach Mastoon and Dave Reinitz, about being on that JetBlue flight.
Marti Noxon used to work for a company that did "product placement" for the movie industry. When auditors came to check that clients were being correctly billed, the company's bosses took unusual steps.
At the Astrodome complex in Houston, charities from Colorado and Florida and other states are competing to take in the hurricane's refugees. But Colorado, which offers the best package of any state, just can't get New Orleans residents to relocate there.
Host Ira Glass talks to evacuees about what it's like to live on a cot in the Astrodome and the Reliant convention center next door. The lights never go out, and the p.a. runs announcements all day.
Host Ira Glass talks about something he read that seemed to put an end to all debate over one of the key issues swirling around right now. He checks with William Nichelson, author of the books Emergency Response and Emergency Management Law and Homeland Security Law and Policy, to see if he's correctly understanding the issue.
In the days following Hurricane Katrina, Denise Moore was trapped in the New Orleans Convention Center with her mom, her niece, and her niece's two-year-old daughter. There, she witnessed acts of surprising humanity by armed thugs, taking charge and doing good.
Todd Bachmann tells about the time he offered to help out a Catholic charity and ended up getting bamboozled by a nun.
Marian Fontana's husband was a Brooklyn firefighter who was killed on September 11, 2001. Afterwards, she started an organization, fighting to keep her husband's fire station open, and to help victims' families.
Kristy Kruger realized in college just how bad her high school education had been. She was always having to pretend she knew what the people around here were talking about when she didn't know.
Host Ira Glass describes the thing that we all do at some point: Talk expertly about something we don't actually know anything about. It's so common, explains This American Life contributing editor Nancy Updike, that some friends of hers invented an imaginary magazine devoted to such blathering.
The government had an almost impossible task after the September 11th attacks: They had to try to stop terrorists before they did anything — in some cases, before they even committed a crime. Dr.
Host Ira Glass talks about some truths contained in the 70's hit "Reunited," by Peaches and Herb. (2 1/2 minutes)
Ralph and Sandra Fisher, who run a show-animal business in Texas, had a beloved Brahman bull named Chance. Chance was the gentlest bull they'd ever seen, more like a pet dog than a bull.
Two stories about people who suddenly realize they're the only ones around who value the separation of church and state. Paul Williams, a city councilman in Janesville, Wisconsin, wants to make sure a Salvation Army built with public money doesn't proselytize.
We hear a quick rundown of all the ways that Christian conservatives are making headway in advancing their values as public policy, why they think total separation of church and state is not what the founding fathers intended. And why they're wrong.
When Aric Knuth was a little kid, his dad would leave for six months at a time. He was a merchant marine.
Lennard Davis grew up hearing from his parents that he should, at all costs, avoid being like his good-for-nothing Uncle Abie. Later, after his father died, that very same uncle told him that his father was not, in fact, his father.
Host Ira Glass talks to film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader about an anonymous love letter that turned out to be very different than it seemed.
Host Ira Glass interviews Joe Amrine, who was falsely accused of murder. Rather than avoid the death penalty, Amrine said everything he could think of on the witness stand to get the jury to give him a death sentence.