Host Ira Glass goes to a busy Target store one week before Christmas. Most shoppers he talks to don't think any of their gifts will be returned.
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Host Ira Glass talks with sailor and researcher Captain Charles Moore about a gigantic area in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, as far away from land as you can get, that is filling with plastic trash. There are five spots like this on the world's oceans.
Ira and his friend Danielle, whose family says they're eating fish when in fact it's turkey or chicken, for an unusual reason.
The story of a typical American family, and how their family dynamic has reorganized itself around an imaginary duck, invented in childhood, who somehow stayed alive well into adulthood. (14 minutes)
In the 1960s, the adventures of "The Greatest Crimefighter the World Has Ever Known"—Chickenman—were heard on hundreds of radio stations. On today's show, the winged warrior flies again.
Ira accompanies photographer Tamara Staples as she attempts to photograph chickens in the style of high fashion photography. The chickens are not very cooperative. Her photos have been collected in a book, "The Magnificent Chicken: Portraits of the Fairest Fowl." (15 minutes)
Host Ira Glass talks about the story of Cain and Abel, and the question in the story, "Am I my brother's keeper?" It turns out that the story doesn't really answer that question very satisfyingly.
Could anyone in a small farming town have done anything to prevent a brutal crime, committed by one of their neighbors? Robert Kurson first wrote about the March 2002 triple murder in Toulon, Illinois, for Chicago Magazine. His article has been reprinted in the anthology Best American Crime Writing 2003. (15 minutes)
Host Ira Glass talks to two people about their real-life stories of theory and practice. Subject 1: Michael.
Every day each American produces 4.8 pounds of garbage. Where does it all go? Ira talks with Robin Nagle, a anthropology professor at New York University who's been studying garbage,and says that most of us want garbage to be invisible.
The people who pick up our trash don't call themselves garbagemen. They're san men ("san" being short for "sanitation").
We hear the secret recordings that ended mob control of New York garbage collection, and talk to Rick Cowan, the NYPD detective who went undercover for three years to make them.
Ira talks to historian Ted Widmer about two of the first pen pals in the New World. John Winthrop and Roger Williams were both Puritans in Massachusetts in the 1630s.
We hear kids recorded at Chicago's Navy Pier and at a public swimming pool, talking about their mean friends. Host Ira Glass interviews Lillie Allison, 15, about the pretty, popular girls who were her best friends—until they cast her out.
In which we conduct a little scientific experiment—on tape, with hidden microphones—about whether niceness pays. We wire two waitresses with hidden microphones.
Host Ira Glass reminds the audience about the old TV series MacGyver, about the guy who stops bad guys without a gun. He uses science and sheer ingenuity to invent solutions.
Host Ira Glass plays parts of a speech by George Ryan, former Governor of Illinois. When he was a state senator in 1977, Ryan was part of a successful coalition that voted to reinstate the death penalty in Illinois.
Host Ira Glass tells the enemy camp story the way we like it to be told.
You can divide all living creatures into two camps. We humans are in one camp, along with lots of other things like dogs and birds and trees and caterpillars.
Ira Glass introduces the idea of doing 20 stories in one hour.
Host Ira Glass tells the story of Chris Sewell, who was living on the street and yet somehow managed to find $610,940 of lost money that belonged to the city of New York, hidden away on the Internet.
We try to figure out the paradox of the current economy, where more and more Americans are simultaneously both losing jobs and buying new homes and cars. Host Ira Glass talks to Ernest Istook, Republican Congressman from Oklahoma, who supports both a balanced budget amendment and President Bush's proposed budgets, which will create record deficits.
The story of a preventive act of war committed 3200 years ago, in the land that's now Turkey, not too far from Iraq. Seneca's The Trojan Woman takes place at the end of the Trojan war.
Host Ira Glass talks to Neil Chesanow, co-author of Please Read This for Me, a self-help book that doesn't just give you general advice. It gives you actual scripts to use in various difficult situations: Pre-written speeches to deliver if you've fallen out of love with your boyfriend, say, or if you've decided you want to have a baby.