#619 : June 30, 2017

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.

#618 : June 9, 2017

Mr. Lie Detector

A polygraph operator and his strange journey. And other stories.

#617 : May 19, 2017

Fermi’s Paradox

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

#616 : May 5, 2017

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.

#615 : April 28, 2017

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 in 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.

#614 : April 14, 2017

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.

#613 : March 31, 2017

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.

#612 : March 17, 2017

Ask a Grown-Up

Stories from people who need a grown-up. Featuring teenage girls asking for advice about their love lives and Ira's tribute to his very grown-up friend Mary.

#611 : March 3, 2017

Vague and Confused

A show about rules and what happens when they’re vague and randomly enforced.

#610 : February 17, 2017

Grand Gesture

This week we have stories of people going to very extreme measures to demonstrate their feelings. Elna Baker makes a questionable trip to Africa, while a man in Florida commits a series of disturbing acts in the name of love. Ira also goes to a high school to talk to kids before a dance.

#609 : February 3, 2017

It’s Working Out Very Nicely

This week we document what happened when the President’s executive order went into effect temporarily banning travel from seven countries, and we talk about the way it was implemented. A major policy change thrown into the world like a fastball with no warning. It’s hard not to ask: “What just happened? What was that all about?”

#608 : January 20, 2017

The Revolution Starts At Noon

Some people are super-stoked for the political changes that are coming. We hear from them. And others.

#607 : January 6, 2017

Didn’t We Solve This One?

We’ve fought two wars since 9/11. We got help from tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans—some were targeted or killed because they helped us. We owe these people. We’ve passed laws that say so. So why has it been so hard for us to get many of them to safety?

#606 : December 23, 2016

Just What I Wanted

Stories from people who want something desperately—for Christmas or otherwise—and then have their wishes fulfilled. Or do they?

#605 : December 16, 2016

Kid Logic 2016

Stories of kids using perfectly logical arguments, and arriving at perfectly wrong conclusions. An updated version of an episode from 2001, with one story swapped.

#604 : December 9, 2016

20 Years Later

Samantha Broun talks to cops, politicians, inmates, and family closest to the crime that changed policy 20 years ago for inmates serving life sentences in Pennsylvania. It's a crime Samantha knows well, because it happened to her mom.

#603 : December 2, 2016

Once More, With Feeling

Stories of people who decide to rethink the way they’ve been doing things... or try to get others to do that. Including the story of a veteran who finds a new way to talk about war.

#602 : November 11, 2016

The Sun Comes Up

People around the country talking about the coming four years. Some of them exultant, some of them, as President Obama said Wednesday, "less so."

#601 : November 4, 2016

Master of Her Domain… Name

A story about Hillary Clinton that offers a different picture than what we’ve been hearing from both sides during this campaign. And some funny stuff, because everyone’s tired of the election.

#600 : October 28, 2016

Will I Know Anyone at This Party?

Right now lots of Republicans feel like they don’t recognize their own party. Like a Minnesota congressman who’s confused when the residents in his district, people he’s known for years, start calling for a ban on Muslims moving to their town.

#599 : October 21, 2016

Seriously?

Watching lies become the truth in this year's election. And a few people who try to bridge the gap between the way the two sides see the facts.

#598 : October 7, 2016

My Undesirable Talent

San Francisco’s Spider-Man burglar was remarkable. He dropped into buildings from skylights, leapt 10 feet from one roof to another. But mostly, his talent got him into trouble. This week, his story, and stories of other undesirable talents.

#597 : September 23, 2016

One Last Thing Before I Go

Words can seem so puny and ineffective sometimes. On this show, we have stories in which ordinary people make last ditch efforts to get through to their loved ones, using a combination of small talk and not-so-small talk.

#596 : September 9, 2016

Becoming a Badger

This week, stories about people trying their best to turn themselves into something else—like a badger. Or a professional comedian, in a language they didn’t grow up speaking.

#595 : August 26, 2016

Deep End of the Pool

What do you do when you're thrown into a situation you’re not prepared for? And while you’re flailing around—what happens to the people who depend on you? This week we present stories of people who find themselves in over their heads, including an attorney who knows little about criminal law assigned to defend a young man facing twenty years in prison. ANNOTATED COURT DOCUMENT

#594 : August 12, 2016

My Summer Self

Summer is a time when change seems more possible than ever. But is that really how it happens? Can people actually reinvent themselves in the warmer months? This week we present stories — and some comedy — about people and their summer selves.

#593 : August 5, 2016

Don’t Have to Live Like a Refugee

We return to Greece with stories of people trying to move on with their lives in whatever way they can. We meet a couple who fell in love even though they weren't expecting anything like that to happen, and even though her family didn't approve. We also meet a shopkeeper in a camp who's running what amounts to a cigarette charity. INTERACTIVE TOUR

#592 : July 29, 2016

Are We There Yet?

A bunch of us from our show went to refugee camps all over Greece. We found people falling in love, kids mad at their parents for dragging them to Europe, women doing their laundry in a baseball stadium locker room, hundreds of people living at a gas station, sitting next to the pumps, smoking, and a guy running what amounts to a cigarette charity. Also: wild pigs. 57,000 refugees are stuck in Greece, making homes in some surprising locations. We hear what that’s really like. INTERACTIVE TOUR

#591 : July 15, 2016

Get Your Money's Worth

Stories of people trying to make sure they get what they paid for, from political change to bedroom slippers. We follow a donor as he vets presidential candidates, and go inside a company wrestling with the consequences of its "no questions asked,” lifetime return policy.

#590 : June 24, 2016

Choosing Wrong

Stories of people making the wrong choice, even though the right one is staring them squarely in the eye. Basketball players making a conscious decision to not do the thing that makes them better, pollsters refusing to see the truth of Donald Trump, and more.

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