Radio reporter Adam Davidson went to Iraq to report on the war. He decided that rather than living in some journalist compound in the Green Zone or in a big hotel—places insurgents were more likely to attack—he'd fly under the radar, and keep safe...by renting a house in a residential Baghdad neighborhood.
Host Ira Glass visits the Upper East Side building in Manhattan where Peter Roach has been the super for about ten years. Peter has a lot of keys.
Reporter Jack Hitt tells the story of how he helped organize tenants and threaten a rent strike in a New York City building back in the 1980s. Before long, Bob, the building super became his enemy. The situation got pretty ugly.
The super in Josh Bearman's Los Angeles building was kind of a needy character. He would sometimes ask Josh to come into his apartment and help him out -- check whether his garbage was being moved by a ghost, for example.
A man who we're calling "Dennis" inherits his father's job as a landlord of a big apartment building. His dad had warned him that bad tenants could drive even a good man to become heartless, but Dennis vowed that would never happen to him. He's tested on this point when he tries to help a couple that falls behind in their rent.
We end this show about people and animals who return against all odds with a story about some people who fear they may not be able to return: New Orleans public housing residents whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Katrina and now are slated for demolition by HUD. New Orleans resident Cheryl Wagner asks who should be more ashamed of themselves: The people who think that the public housing complexes in New Orleans should be torn down, or the ones who think they should stay.
This American Life producer Sarah Koenig tells the story of how her stepsister Rue bought a house on the cheap, with the understanding that the previous owner would soon move out. More than ten years later, she's still waiting.
It's been well over a decade, so why can't Eric, who is in many other respects a measured and reasonable person, select a simple piece of furniture? David Segal attempts to explain why the man can't just buy himself a couch, already. David works at The New York Times.
At the Astrodome complex in Houston, charities from Colorado and Florida and other states are competing to take in the hurricane's refugees. But Colorado, which offers the best package of any state, just can't get New Orleans residents to relocate there.
Host Ira Glass talks to evacuees about what it's like to live on a cot in the Astrodome and the Reliant convention center next door. The lights never go out, and the p.a. runs announcements all day.
As a half-dozen families—including a pregnant woman having contractions and another with a four-week-old baby—are driven around Houston looking for housing, they confront potential neighbors who they believe don't want them...and neighbors they themselves don't want. This American Life producer Lisa Pollak reports.
Louann Mims, a 78-year-old retiree, planned to leave her New Orleans house before the floodwaters rose, but then the water came rushing in and she was trapped in her house for eight days on the only thing that would float: her extra firm Sterns and Foster mattress. Ms.
In August 2004, Hurricane Charley devastated parts of Florida. Afterwards, FEMA built a trailer park to provide immediate temporary housing for those who'd lost their homes in the storm.
Starlee Kine rents a room at a Ramada hotel in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where a ghost supposedly plays pranks on the guests and staff. The ghost's name is Walter, for Walter Schroeder, the guy who originally built the hotel in the 1920s.
Host Ira Glass talks with Adam and Wendy, a couple whose world view was changed when they bought a house. Adam and Wendy were the kind of people who believed that most people by and large were good, and their motives by and large honest.
A short story by Jhumpa Lahiri, from her book of short stories The Interpreter of Maladies. The story is read by Mira Nair, director of the movies Mississippi Masala, Monsoon Wedding, and others.
Nancy Updike reports that life under curfew in Ramallah can be, among other things, intensely boring. She also tells the story of Sam Bahour, a Palestinian who was born and raised in Ohio, who came back to the West Bank in 1995, when peace seemed possible, to help build the Palestinian state.
Milton Reid works as a freelance muralist in one of the largest housing projects in America, Chicago's Robert Taylor Homes. For fifty to two hundred dollars, he'll paint a mural on a resident's living room wall, or in their kitchen, or in the bathroom.
Ira introduces this week's story.
Adam Beckman tells the first part of his story, about how, back in the 70s, he and his friends broke into an abandoned house in the small town of Freedom, New Hampshire. The home turned out to be a perfect time capsule, containing the furniture, letters and personal effects of an entire family — abandoned for decades.
Adam Beckman continues his story. He returns to the town in New Hampshire where he discovered the abandoned house as a kid and tries to find out what happened there.
You can't do a radio show about worshiping false gods without a story about money...or real estate...or hipness. Fortunately for us, Iggy Scam supplies a story that's about all three.
What happens when the kid next door wants to be your new friend...and comes over, tries to talk to you, befriends your dog. Are you a bad person if you don't want to accept the tiny hand of friendship? Cheryl Wagner tells the story of her young, persistent next-door neighbor.
What happens when a good neighbor goes bad. Katie Davis lives on a block where everyone wants to get along, and they're trying, even though one of their favorite neighbors has dozens of rats infesting her yard and attacking other houses.