Writer David Rakoff explains how his life was changed—in a single evening—in a room of 5000 chickens.
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Host Ira Glass talks about not being able to admit when he's wrong, as well as other traits he's not proud of, but can't seem to change.
Sam Slaven is an Iraq War veteran who came home from the War plagued by feelings of hate and anger toward Muslims. TAL producer Lisa Pollak tells the story of the unusual action Sam took to change himself, and the Muslim students who helped him do it.
Some people battle inner demons, but contributor David Ellis Dickerson went one step further. David tells the story of the time he took on an actual demon in his college classroom.
When the U.S. government sent out a call for volunteers—regular, non-military people—to go to Iraq and help rebuild the country, Randy Frescoln signed up. He believed in the cause of the war and in the promise of its mission.
Host Ira Glass tells a story about how, when he was in seventh grade, he was over at his best friend's house and saw beer in the fridge. He'd only ever seen beer in fridges on TV; he didn't think it existed in real life.
When he was a teenager, Haider Hamza worked in the Iraqi Ministry of Information. He was specially trained to talk to visiting dignitaries and foreign reporters, and he loved his job.
Haider's story continues.
Filmmaker Tony Hill took his friend Sally Goode, who was born blind, to a place she'd never been before, then taped her trying to figure out where she was. We first heard Hill's story care of our colleagues at the Third Coast International Audio Festival.
There's a 200-person operation based out of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas called the Center for Army Lessons Learned. Host Ira Glass speaks with Colonel Steve Mains, who runs the Center, and with Craig Hayes and Lynn Rolf, two men who answer soldiers' requests for information.
This American Life producer Nancy Updike tells the story of Conrad Crane, the head of the U.S. Army Military History Institute.
Ira speaks with Milt Hileman of the Center for Army Lessons Learned about the single most-requested publication they put out, Soldiers' Handbook: The First 100 Days: Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures. It explains how to avoid getting killed in your first hundred days in Iraq, which is when a disproportionate number of U.S. casualties occur.
For all the discussion in Congress about withdrawing troops, there seems to be very little serious discussion about why, about what'll happen to Iraq once we leave, about responsible ways to withdraw. To understand better these and other rarely-discussed questions about the war, we turned to Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks in Baghdad.
Reporter Douglas McGray interviews a college student in California with good grades, an excellent work ethic, but no possible way to get a legal job. She's lived in the U.S. since she was little, but her parents are undocumented; and she is, too.
Ira says a few words about what he learned from working on a television show himself and about what it's like to hear your name mentioned casually by a fictional character on a prime time drama.
Robert (pictured) had a bad reputation as a kid who didn't do his schoolwork and had little respect for adults. But his best friend, Lilly (holding picture), thought he was misunderstood.
Roger Dowds won several hundred thousand pounds on the Irish version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, which is why Ronan Kelly, the host an Irish public radio program, first went to interview him. During their talk together, it became clear that Roger was a very unlikely game show champion.
Robin Epstein talks about her old job, as producer and chief question writer on a game show for teen-age girls called Plugged In. It was one of the first shows to air on the Oxygen network, the TV channel for women created by Oprah Winfrey. Robin had hoped that the show could serve as a role model for young women, showing smart teen girls answering tough questions.
When David Wilcox was eighteen, he set about looking for an apartment in Houston. He had no credit and very little money, but he was determined to move away from home.