The subject of my blog piece today will not be ‘news’ to my younger reader; though, the fact that I’ve become an avid fan of This American Life may be. This American Life is an hour-long radio show, originating out of the Public Radio station WBEZ in Chicago. Its content is documentary in nature but, from the off, its content and style has been ‘alternative’. It’s not that the subjects it covers are of ‘a 3rd kind’ rather that they are the kinds of topics that drill down into everyday life, approached from the perspective of ‘ordinary folk’. Its style is predominately narrative and is cozy, chatty and at street level. The programme is mostly presented by Ira Glass, who conceived of the format, and normally consists of 1-3 stories, on an individual theme, told in an hour. The programme first aired in 1995. It is now syndicated on a global basis, on air and via the internet, and has spawned a large number of ‘me-too’s’. One of its spin-off’s ‘Serial’, a forensic examination of a murder case told in 10 hour-long episodes, went stratospheric. On the 13th October American Life will air its 600th episode.


This week I caught up with Episode #591. (You can listen to it here). The Episode was entitled “Get Your Money’s Worth’ and on this occasion was not hosted by Ira Glass.¬†There were 3 stories:

  1. An interview with a major Republican Party donor; providing insight into how a seriously uber-wealthy Texan zillionaire thinks and how his family gains access, and influences, to Presidential candidates.
  2. A hilarious behind-the-scenes look at LL Beans ‘no questions asked’ Lifetime Refund policy
  3. A entirely charming fictional short story cast around the lifetime of a condom bought by a virginal teenager.

I’ve been listening to This American Life now for about 2 years and am very thankful to my children for introducing me to it. Give it a whirl, if you haven’t already. You can listen on-line or download it as a podcast. I’d be surprised it you aren’t entertained and informed by it. Let me know!

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