Food writer Jonathan Gold tells what it's like to panfry a chicken—with a live chicken watching you the entire time.
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Sean O'Connor and Nick Maritato are professional comedians, and their job usually involves saying things that kids aren't supposed to hear. But last summer they got booked on a tour of kids' summer camps. TAL producer Jane Feltes tells us what happened.
What divorce looks like from the dog's point of view. This monologue was performed by Merrill Markoe and recorded at Un-Cabaret in Los Angeles.
Joe Lockhart was press secretary for President Bill Clinton. He recently told stories from his time on the job—live onstage at a performance space in New York City called The Moth, where regular people share stories about their lives—in front of a boisterous crowd.
Host Ira Glass reads from the Ten Commandments. Not the original Ten Commandments, but some of the newer, lesser-known ones.
As a boy in religious school, Shalom Auslander is informed that his name, Shalom, is one of the names of God; so he must be very careful not to take his own name in vain. Shalom Auslander is author of Beware of God: Stories and most recently Foreskin's Lament.
In the book of Matthew, Jesus says that looking lustfully at a woman is like committing adultery in your heart. Contributor David Ellis Dickerson was raised as an evangelical Christian, and for many years tried not to have a single lustful thought.
This American Life contributor Sarah Vowell tells the story of a mapmaker named Charles Preuss who charted the Western Territories with two of American history's legendary explorers—John Charles Fremont and Kit Carson. The maps Preuss made were best sellers and helped open the Western frontier to settlement.
This American Life contributor David Rakoff, who swore off TV in college, returns to it in dramatic fashion: He attempts to watch the same amount of television as the average American—29 hours in one week. David is author, most recently, of the book Don't Get Too Comfortable.
Sarah Vowell examines what happens when TV takes on a subject it really has no business exploring at all, but seems fairly obsessed with nonetheless: The Pilgrims. Sarah's most recent book is Assassination Vacation.
Ira says a few words about what he learned from working on a television show himself and about what it's like to hear your name mentioned casually by a fictional character on a prime time drama.
Every winter, some of the world's best puzzle solvers gather in Boston for the MIT mystery hunt, a competition in which teams of puzzle enthusiasts spend between 24 and 72 straight hours trying to solve what just may be the hardest recreational puzzles in the world. This American Life producer Lisa Pollak hung out with one team (named Dr. Awkward...a palindrome) as they worked towards the ultimate answer, the location of a coin, buried somewhere on the MIT campus. Check out the puzzles from that year's hunt.
Host Ira Glass visits an Upper East Side building in Manhattan where Peter Roach has been the super for about ten years.
Josh Bearman's favorite story was told to him by his super. It involved these elements: A gas station, a beautiful woman, an orchid, a snowman, Indonesia, and a check for $30,000.