In the 1930s, the designer of the U.S. Supreme Court made a frieze to adorn the courtroom walls.
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Host Ira Glass talks to Scott Shrake, who got hired for a job he was utterly unqualified for – as a German interpreter for visitors to Detroit. On his first assignment, Scott realized that not only couldn't he understand what the German tourists were saying, he didn't understand the English words he was supposed to translate.
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.
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.
Host Ira Glass and Albert Donnay read a true ghost story that appeared in a medical journal in 1921. After a "Mrs H" and her family moved into an old rambling house, strange apparitions started appearing...until her brother-in-law figured out the real cause of the ghostly presences.
Ira tells the story of two friends of his who were like superheroes. They had this incredible power to save someone.
Host Ira Glass interviews the mother and daughter in a family who wished for years they could do something to stop their neighbor from all kinds of shocking behavior. Suddenly they get the power to decisively change things forever...and they have to decide whether they will.
Hard as it is to believe, during the early Twentieth Century, a whole school of mental health professionals decided that unconditional love was a terrible thing to give a child. The government printed pamphlets warning mothers against the dangers of holding their kids.
Host Ira Glass talks with producer Alex Blumberg and his parents about a bad dog they once had, and how nothing—not getting hit by cars, attacked by bigger dogs, or being shipped off to live on a farm—could stop this dog from coming home. "The Cat Came Back" is sung by Nedelle Torrisi.
Ira talks about a specter who haunts the floor of the United States Senate and won't go away, who keeps showing up on TV and making speeches. That ghostly figure? John Kerry.
Host Ira Glass talks with Rosie Schaap about an unlikely love affair between a dog and a parrot, and how the dog betrayed the bird's trust, never to regain it.
Host Ira Glass talks to Jonathan Gold about the bully in high school who knocked Jonathan and his cello down the stairs one day as he was walking to history class—and why Jonathan felt a sudden surge of satisfaction about this almost three decades later.
We play excerpts from the documentary film Troop 1500. In the film, girl scouts from an Austin, Texas, troop visit their mothers, all of whom are in prison.
Ira and playwright David Hauptschein took out advertisements in Chicago inviting people to come to a small theater with letters they've received, sent or found. People came for two nights, and read their letters onstage.
In this show, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Ira and David Hauptschein explored this now utterly quaint question: Are people having experiences on the Internet they wouldn't have anywhere else? Several hundred listeners sent in samples of what they were finding on the Internet. A guy offers a girl a late-night tour of Microsoft...and this actually makes him seem hot.
Host Ira Glass talks with Andy Woolworth, an executive vice president in charge of new product development at the world's largest manufacturer of mousetraps, Woodstrean Corporation, in Lititz, Pennsylvania. About once a month, Andy is contacted by someone who thinks he's invented a better mousetrap.
Host Ira Glass talks to Adam Stein about the very real cat-and-mouse game between his friends and the vice principal of his high school that preoccupied them throughout their high school careers.
Host Ira Glass talks to Chicago Tribune newspaper columnist Amy Dickinson ("Ask Amy"), the heir to Ann Landers, as she reads letters from those readers who don't yet know their love is doomed.
Every city's got a place like this: that weird no man's land on the outskirts of town, with junk yards and landfills. Charlie Gregerson grew up near that stuff, on Chicago's far south side, and he remembers finding debris from famous Louis Sullivan masterpieces in the garbage dump after those buildings were demolished.
Paul was a cop. One night he was pulling second shift when he had a perfectly good idea: He'd stretch out in the back seat and take a little nap during his break.
It was two months into the tour. Katie Else and the rest of the Riverdance cast had been performing eight shows a week. They decided to pool their money for the Mega-Millions lottery.