We hear the story of a disastrous birthday party and how it's hard not to see these kinds of moments as symbolic of something bad.
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The story of Tyler Cassity and how he's trying to remake one of our oldest rituals of commemoration.Tyler is one of the owners of a cemetery called Hollywood Forever, and he's been introducing 20th-Century technology to American funerals, which haven't changed much since the Civil War. At Hollywood Forever, the cost of a burial includes a video of your life: to be shown at your funeral, to be viewable at kiosks on the cemetery grounds, and to be posted—for eternity—on the Internet.
Host Ira Glass reads an excerpt from Nick Hornby's novel About a Boy. The narrator, Will, recalls a time when he was a child that he convinced a friend that a portal to another world existed at the back of his closet.
In this act we hear from the rowdier, drunker late-night patrons of the Golden Apple. A guy walks in with two young women, hoping to go home with one of them.
In this act we hear several stories that happened during the daylight hours of the diner's operation. The first is from Nancy Updike, who talks with several early morning customers, including one guy who comes in mornings to play his accordion, and another who at the age of 8 was the youngest butcher in Illinois.
Host Ira Glass talks with Bennett Miller and Matt Futterman about a campaign for student government that changed the way student elections were done in Mamaroneck High School back in 1985. Futterman, in the waning days of his campaign, tried a radical tactic: A TV ad.
Host Ira Glass goes to jail in Bristol County, Massachussetts, where there's a large Portuguese community, and where even a law-and-order sheriff named Tom Hodgson opposes this particular immigration law. He also talks with inmate Jorge Aruda, who's being deported for a crime he already served his sentence for.
Immigration and Naturalization Service spokesman Bill Strassberger explains why INS opposes parts of the 1996 immigration law, even while it enforces it. Congressman Barney Frank—whose district includes Bristol County—argues that most of his colleagues in Congress had no idea what they were voting for when they voted for key portions of the law.
Ira talks with producer Blue Chevigny about how a prank caller taught her that when it comes to pursuing happiness, Carole King, the world of independent cinema and the New York City Police Department have a lot more in common than she ever imagined. He also talks with MIT Professor Pauline Maier, author of the book American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence.
Host Ira Glass speaks with two people who believe they've uncovered behind-the-scenes conspiracies but can't be sure. Attorney Andy Hail has sued the two biggest supermarkets in Chicago (Dominick's and Jewel) because they charge a dollar more for milk than stores around the country, and because their prices seem to change simultaneously, as if orchestrated.
We hear the first part of our story about Archer Daniels Midland and FBI informant Mark Whitacre. In this half, Whitacre inadvertently ends up a cooperating witness—and turns himself into one of the best cooperating witnesses in the history of U.S. law enforcement, gathering evidence with an adeptness few have matched.
Our story about ADM and Mark Whitacre continues. The FBI finds out that their star cooperating witness Mark Whitacre has been lying to them for three years about some rather serious matters.
Host Ira Glass tells the story of a time capsule project designed to document our lives so that people a thousand years from now can know what we were like. Ira explains that when a friend of his got involved in the time capsule, Ira realized that he hates the people of the future.
Host Ira Glass describes a children's book from the 1970s called Nobody's Family Is Going to Change by Louise Fitzhugh, the author of Harriet the Spy. On the surface, it sounds like a rather menacing title for a kids' book. But in fact, the story is about how kids can finally find peace if they stop hoping that their parents will ever be any different.
What happens when you want your dad to change—and he wants to change, too—but there's literally nothing that can be done to change him. Jon Sarkin was a chiropractor with workaholic tendencies.
Host Ira Glass talks with writer David Sedaris at the Louvre in Paris. David's never set foot inside, though he lives just a few minutes away.
David Sedaris takes Ira on a tour of his favorite spots in Paris. He moved to France with no special feelings for the place.
We hear from two Americans who live in Paris about what it is that draws the people who love France so much.
Is Paris still the racially tolerant place that Richard Wright and James Baldwin discovered in the 1940s? Janet McDonald talks about whether African-Americans are still welcomed in Paris so warmly, even after a half century of African migration to the city. Also: Why it's sometimes better for her to put on a bad American accent.
Medical Examiner L.J. Dragovic, in Pontiac, Michigan, explains how every crime scene is like a novel.
Forensic Criminologist Enrico Togneri in Nevada explains exactly what can be learned from evidence on a crime scene: What can be learned from the shape of a blood stain or a piece of cheese.
Monica Childs joined the Detroit police force because she hated cops, and wanted to change the system from the inside. She wanted to be an honest cop.
Monica Childs's story continues. She tells the story of how she was asked by her boss to do something illegal...and how she refused...and the repercussions she suffered.
Ben Schrank describes what it's like to work as a professional mover. He says that people often go sort of nuts when they see all their worldly possessions—all the stuff that defines them as people—packed into a van.