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Prologue

We hear the eerily calm answering machine message that Brita Bonechi leaves for her husband, Rob, after she's had an accident and is trapped upside down in her car.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to This American Life contributing editor Jack Hitt about the time he hacked into his employer's computer and found out what he didn't want to know.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks about the surprising way apologies tend to play out in couples when one person has cheated on the other, based on stories his mother, Dr. Shirley Glass, told in her book Not Just Friends. And contributing editor Sarah Vowell tells us about the time she couldn't stop apologizing.

Act Two: Dial "S" For Sorry

Tapes from The Apology Line, a phone line connected to an answering machine where people leave anonymous apologies—but not to the people they actually hurt. Also, an interview with "Mrs. Apology," a.k.a.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass asks how it's possible that some people still don't know what they think of President Bush just a few days before election day.

Act One: My Buddy, Hackett

Ira spends hours talking to James Hackett, known to his friends, and by the end of the story, to Ira, as Gig. He's a doctor in Cincinnati and a lifelong Republican.

Prologue

When Ira heard that Cathy La Luz, the best public school teacher he'd met during all his years of education reporting, was considering leaving her job, he went to see her in her classroom.

Act One: 1994

Washington Irving Elementary School became a model of school reform in Chicago a decade ago. The school did it without adding a ton more money.

Act Two: 2004

We continue with the story of Irving Elementary, and hear what's happened to make Cathy La Luz think about quitting. In just nine months, the reforms that had made the school a model began to unravel.

Act One: Our Own Worst Enemy?

In this election year, one question is rarely asked in a very direct way: Is the Bush Administration competent at conducting the war on terror? Every few weeks it seems like there's more news about how badly it's going: Senior Administration officials like Colin Powell now admit the insurgency in Iraq is growing; terror suspects like Yasir Hamdi (who supposedly were so dangerous that having a lawyer talk to them about their case would compromise national security) are released without trial because the evidence against them is so flimsy; there was the Abu Ghraib prison scandal; and just this week, the former head of the U.S. operation in Iraq, Paul Bremer, declared the problem from the start was that there were not enough troops there. Host Ira Glass discusses whether the Bush Administration is simply not very skilled at fighting terror with Richard Perle and James Fallows.

Act Three: Blood Agent

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.

Prologue

Writer Thomas Frank went on the radio show On Point to talk about his book What's the Matter With Kansas? The book is about how people in his home state keep voting for Republicans even though Republican policies aren't helping them economically. But the people who called in to the radio show didn't exactly see it his way.

Act One: Pink Elephant

Patrick Howell, a gay Republican from Orlando, goes on what might seem like an ill-fated hearts-and-minds mission at the Republican Convention.

Act Four: It's My Party

One of the most civil conversations you'll ever hear between GOP members on opposite sides of the party's culture war. Log Cabin Republican Patrick Howell from Act One sits down to talk with Christian Republican Steven King from Act Two, to hash out their differences.

Act One: I'd Rather Not

The story of Colin's truancy continues. The whole thing was especially awkward for his dad, because he's a behavior specialist for 100 public schools in Oregon—including Colin's school.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to Eddie Schmidt about his Aunt Mary, the source of the best stories in his family—including how she was so cheap she stole azalea bushes from the side of the highway.

Prologue

Susie and John Drury moved to their farm just two years ago. But when John got sick for awhile, people who were no more than friendly acquaintances started helping out in ways that completely surprised them.

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How does a person who's not gay convince herself that she is for two years? Host Ira Glass talks to one of the show's contributing editors, Nancy Updike, about her two-year stint believing she was a lesbian, even though she was not attracted to women.

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It seems apples for the teacher is a bygone tradition. Host Ira Glass talks to Mindy, a first-grade teacher, about the rather racy gifts her students give these days at Christmas.

Act One: Government Says The Darnedest Things

The FCC says it just wants a little civility on the nation's airwaves. And by tightening the rules on what swear words are allowed, government officials say they're protecting kids.
Serial Season Three: Hear Every Episode