Thursday, October 27, 2005

You must listen to This American Life

I am obsessed with This American Life. If you haven't heard of it, it's a public radio show that airs for an hour each week, typically on the weekend. The idea is this: each week, the show chooses a theme and puts together a few stories related to that theme. They're just stories about regular people, some funny, some moving, all fascinating. I cannot say enough good things about it.

You can listen to archived shows at their website for free using RealPlayer. To actually download mp3s of the shows, you have to pay for them on iTunes or If you know how to get the mp3s for free through some illegal scheme, don't tell me; I don't want to know.

Because there are so many shows, the site can be overwhelming. My recommendations:

How to Take Money from Strangers: Includes a story about what it's like to work as a phone psychic when you know you're faking.

The Fix is In: The unbelievable tale of an FBI informant as he documents a price-fixing scheme at ADM. Knowledge of antitrust law not required.

Who's Canadian?: "Notes and stories about the Canadians among us. Are they in fact any different from red-blooded Americans? They claim they're not. Skeptical Americans put their position to the test." This one goes out to my readers from the great land to the north.

Windfall: Stories of how unexpected money changes people's lives, including stories about a lottery winner and an Indian tribe with a sudden influx of casino cash.

Hoaxing Yourself: People who tell lies and then come to believe the lies. Includes a story about an American teenager who starts speaking with a British accent and keeps it up for months or years. Awesome.

20 Acts in 60 Minutes: Unusual, because it's all very short stories. Good if you have a short attention span or if you're in the mood for something funny.

Superpowers: Includes an exploration of which is better, flight or invisibility--and what your answer says about you.


warm fuzzy said...

I love this American Life! Kid Logic is one of my all time favorites.

Squishy Burrito said...

I'm convinced and can't wait to be converted. Now how to find an hour in the day to listen...