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Prologue

How David Sedaris became a Christmas writer — and how he started writing stories about the holiday that are so dark that sometimes it seems that he's trying to single handedly destroy Christmas. We hear from members of David's own family, and from David, all of whom insist that David loves Christmas.

Act Three: Based On A True Story

A Hollywood TV producer tries to convince a church of evangelical Christians to sell out a member of their own congregation. Matt Malloy reads. He was one of the stars of the acclaimed independent film In the Company of Men.Also in this act: Dickens vs.

Act One: The Oldest Trick in the Book

Magicians say it can take years to create and polish a new magic trick. Teller (of Penn and Teller) shows host Ira Glass how he invented one of his most beautiful and puzzling routines.

Prologue

We hear two stories of everyday life which are more easily understood if one knows some of the laws of physics, specifically the Mediocrity Principle and the Casimir Effect. Then Particle Physicist and Planet Money correspondent David Kestenbaum explains why physicists hate it when non-scientists try to apply these laws and principles to their daily lives.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass gives an update on his health status after going into quarantine last week, and David Kestenbaum interviews a 71 year old trying to avoid the virus.

Prologue

If there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, why haven’t we heard from the extraterrestrials yet? Producer David Kestenbaum explains The Fermi Paradox to host Ira Glass. The possibility that we are alone in the universe makes David sad.

Act One: Lab Rugrats

Continuing from our prologue, host Ira Glass checks in with Lisa and her older daughter, Kennedy, to see how the experiment went. After a month, they've charted surprising results, learned that the girls aren't the only ones in the house who need to change, and found out just how much money it takes to get a twelve-year-old to play with a five-year-old.

Act One: White Like Me

David Rakoff on how he tried to pass as a local once he moved from Toronto to New York. He claims that there must be a chip in his head — or something like it — that automatically tells him when someone or something famous is Canadian.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks about the way most political apologies go, and chats with a man named Derek Jones about similar sorts of apologies among preteen girls and King David, in the Old Testament.