May 24, 2024


How they organize the chaos of the world, for good and for bad.

A photo of a list of possible show names, including American Whatever, Journey to Whatever, Glasshouse, Radio Cowboys, and more

The list of possible names, from the meeting in 1996 where we named our radio show.

Note: The internet version of this episode contains un-beeped curse words. BEEPED VERSION.



Ira interviews David Wallechinsky, who wrote a wildly popular book in the 1970s called The Book of Lists, full of trivia and research, gathered into lists like "18 Brains" and "What They Weighed." The book sold millions of copies and had four sequels and a brief spin-off TV show. The list books were like the internet, before the internet. (12 minutes)

Act One

List for Life

John Fecile talks to his brother, Pat, about a list their other brother made before he died. They each have different ideas about what the list means and how they feel about it. (14 minutes)

By John Fecile; Produced by Sean Cole

Throw Me a Bone Here

A brief visit with Bobby, who keeps a list in his phone of all the dogs in his neighborhood and their names to save him from the awkwardness of not knowing the name of someone’s dog – because people get upset if you don’t remember their dog’s name. (3 minutes)

Produced by Chris Benderev
Act Two

Target List

Reporter Masha Gessen talks to Russians living in America and elsewhere, about lists they’ve been put on by the Russian government in the last few years. Masha is also on one of these lists. Each list has its own complex rules and potential consequences, for the people on the lists and for their family members who live in Russia. (28 minutes)

By Masha Gessen; Produced by Nancy Updike


“Do Not Shoot” by Zemfira (radio only) & “Things You Left Behind” by The Nails (podcast only)