Actor Michael Chernus reads Etgar Keret's short story "What Of This Goldfish Would You Wish?" in which a young man decides to make a documentary about the secret longings of everyday Israelis. But he's not prepared for what he sees in the house of a man named Sergei.
Allen Wigington, former Chief Deputy at the Pickens County Sheriff's department, now magistrate judge, tells the story a soldier killed in Iraq—Specialist David Collins—arriving back home in Georgia to be buried.
Planet Money's Chana Joffe-Walt has this story about a really ambitious million dollar idea: Getting people to see the good side of death. Planet Money is a collaboration between NPR and This American Life.
There is a four mile long bridge in Naan-jing China, famous for how many people jump off to commit suicide. In 2003, a man named Chen Sah began spending all of his weekends on the bridge, trying to single handedly stop the jumpers.
In the Middle East, hundreds and hundreds of tunnels connect the Gaza strip and Egypt, allowing supplies to bypass the Israeli blockade against Hamas-controlled Gaza. Producer Nancy Updike speaks with Ira about the tunnels, and plays tape from an interview she conducted with a tunnel owner.
Rebecca was 16 years old when her mother Elizabeth died of cancer. But before she died, she wrote letters to Rebecca, to be given to her on her birthday each year for thirteen years.
Shalom Auslander knows his next door neighbor will die in 2010. He's the author, most recently, of the memoir Foreskin's Lament.
Dan Savage points a finger at the Catholic Church for being the kind of criminal organization that drives him to atheism—despite the fact that he still wants to believe he'll see his mom in heaven someday. Dan writes the sex advice column Savage Love and is the author of several books including The Commitment.
Kathie Russo's husband was Spalding Gray, who was best known for delivering monologues onstage—like "Monster in a Box," and "Swimming to Cambodia." On January 10, 2004, he went missing. Witnesses said they saw him on the Staten Island Ferry that night.
For some people, the fear of sleep is linked to the fear of death. We hear from some of them.
One day at church camp, David Maxon challenged the devil to show himself. Just then, a huge thunderstorm started, and David felt sure the devil was behind it.
Everyone told Darin Strauss that there would have been no way to avoid hitting the bicyclist who swerved into the path of his car. When the girl died, the police said Darin wasn't at fault.
In the late 1960s, a California TV repairman named Bob Nelson joined a group of enthusiasts who believed they could cheat death with a new technology called cryonics. But freezing dead people so scientists can reanimate them in the future is a lot harder than it sounds.
When Sarah was 10 years old, she got a heart transplant. Soon after, her mother decided to find out more about the person who saved her daughter's life.
When Francois Mitterand knew he was about to die, he decided that the last food to cross his lips would be poultry...a tiny bird that is actually illegal to eat in France. It's a bird that, by tradition, is eaten with a napkin covering your head.
A story about a mother who wants to commit suicide and a son who dutifully helps her do it—even though his mother is a happy, healthy, independent person. How did they manage to pull it off? Practice, practice, practice.
Host Ira Glass talks to an expert stone cutter who makes headstones. One day he got a call from a guy who wanted him to make his headstone in advance, which is not all that uncommon.
Ron Mallett was ten years old when his father died unexpectedly of a heart attack. A year later, after picking up a comic book based on H.G.
Host Ira Glass talks to ordinary Iraqis about life in their country since the U.S. invasion. Every one of them has friends and relatives—civilians—who've been killed in the violence there.
Two years ago, a Johns Hopkins University study published in The Lancet estimated the number of civilian casualties in Iraq. It came up with a number—100,000 dead—that was higher than any other estimate at the time and was mostly ignored.
Captain Ryan Gist was given a particularly tough assignment in Iraq: To build relationships with a town where U.S. bombs had killed twelve innocent people. But first he has to apologize to the families of those who were killed.
The Lancet's new study of deaths in Iraq, by the same research team that did the earlier study, yielded an astounding number—650,000 civilian deaths. Producer Alex Blumberg talks to Ira about the debate over this new study.
One Halloween, David Sedaris decided to skip all the fake monsters and ghosts and zombies and visit the real thing: Dead people. In a morgue.