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Act One: Luck Of The Irish

It was two months into the tour. Katie Else and the rest of the Riverdance cast had been performing eight shows a week. They decided to pool their money for the Mega-Millions lottery.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to Tom Irwin, a stand-up comic who recently performed for American troops all around Iraq for over a month. It seems his best joke, about Iraqi sheep farmers, only makes sense if you're a soldier on deployment.

Prologue

It seems apples for the teacher is a bygone tradition. Host Ira Glass talks to Mindy, a first-grade teacher, about the rather racy gifts her students give these days at Christmas.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with Paul Feig, who as a sixth-grader, at the urging of his father, actually read the Dale Carnegie classic How to Win Friends and Influence People. What he found was that afterwards, he had a bleaker understanding of human nature—and even fewer friends than when he started.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with Rebecca, who, using perfectly valid evidence, arrived at the perfectly incorrect conclusion that her neighbor, Ronnie Loeberfeld, was the tooth fairy. We hear her story.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to two different people who have stories they just can't get over...stories that make them cringe...and stories from which we can glean what makes a cringe story different from other kinds of stories.

Act Two: Kodak Moments Of The Dead

The story of Tyler Cassity and how he's trying to remake one of our oldest rituals of commemoration.Tyler is one of the owners of a cemetery called Hollywood Forever, and he's been introducing 20th-Century technology to American funerals, which haven't changed much since the Civil War. At Hollywood Forever, the cost of a burial includes a video of your life: to be shown at your funeral, to be viewable at kiosks on the cemetery grounds, and to be posted—for eternity—on the Internet.

Act Two: Advise And Consent

Host Ira Glass talks with his mom—a clinical psychologist—about why people seem to rarely take the advice others give. Then advice columnist Dan Savage, author of the syndicated column and book Savage Love, gives the audience some advice that hopefully might save lives.

Act Four: Noble Calling

Now in exile, Jose Ramos Horta spent two decades as the leading international spokesman against the invasion of his country by Indonesia. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass with Brooklyn schoolteacher Melissa Cantor, who reads from a how-to manual written by a sixth-grade student. It's about how to protect yourself against unwanted visitors.

Act One: Roadrunner

Ira teaches Sarah Vowell how to drive with some advice from Tom and Ray Maggliozi, the hosts of NPR's Car Talk. It turns out that although we think of how-to's as the most rational thing in the world — follow the simple instructions and you'll learn — in real life, they're anything but simple.

Prologue

How David Sedaris became a Christmas writer — and how he started writing stories about the holiday that are so dark that sometimes it seems that he's trying to single handedly destroy Christmas. We hear from members of David's own family, and from David, all of whom insist that David loves Christmas.

Act Three: Based On A True Story

A Hollywood TV producer tries to convince a church of evangelical Christians to sell out a member of their own congregation. Matt Malloy reads. He was one of the stars of the acclaimed independent film In the Company of Men.Also in this act: Dickens vs.