Redux: A Gateway Song

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Anthony Bourdain is huge in my house. His wit, creativity, and utter fearlessness make it impossible to turn away from his TV show No Reservations. But if you want to know the root of his daredevil ferociousness (and marvel at the fact that his intelligence hasn't been obliterated by some pretty serious drug use), listen to this episode of Song and Memory.

Not only is he the kind of storyteller who sucks you in with carefully placed details, but Ann and Kara's complex, layered production work makes you feel like you're living this infamous weekend right along with him.

Blog: Everything TAL Does is Hilarious!

Ira Glass is going to be on Letterman tonight. Weird. It's kinda like the first time a song you love by some obscure band ends up on the Top 40 station. Clearly, This American Life producer Jane Feltes and intern Emily Youssef find it equally funny.

Redux: Tight on Funds? Move To Kansas

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Okay, it's not quite that simple, but it's an interesting twist of fate that Kansas - a state not known for its economic buoyancy - is thriving right now. Two things are for certain: Kansas grows a lot of corn which is being snatched up for ethanol and many farms are sitting on tiny oil wells. Did somebody say oil? The combination has sent many a farmer to the John Deere store with plenty of green in his pocket. Time to check the family deeds to see if your great granddaddy had a piece of Western Kansas back in the day.

Redux: Where do they find these people?

I've got to give The Story credit - they never book celebrities on book tour. Believe it or not, those are the easiest interviews to schedule. Just call up the publicist, pencil in a time, and viola! Instant interview.

It's not so easy to find every day people who are doing fascinating things. They tend not to have publicists and only use pencils for writing stuff. So whenever I hear someone truly interesting on the show (which is pretty much every other day), I think to myself, "Where on earth did they find this person?"

This episode is no exception - engaging, thoughtful, and often funny interviews with two people who have never been in front of a microphone before. What could be better?

Blog: I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

Believe it or not, I don't have the This American Life website bookmarked on my computer. But I thought I knew it (thislife.org, er something) and instead stumbled upon this.

Throw in a clapper and we can all get down with growing old in the '90s.

Redux: Creepy Nonchalance

Let's say you come up with a great idea. People do it every day (think post-it notes and those rolling lint brushes). But what if your big idea is all about death?

That's what happened to Bob Nelson, repairman-turned-body-freezer. Cryonics - or the art/science of freezing people when they die - was gaining popularity in the 1960s. The only problem was that when you looked up cryonics in the yellow pages, nothing came up. No one knew how to actually do it.

So Bob gave it a shot, had some big time success on the lecture circuit, and then found himself with the dilemma of what to do with all these frozen bodies. You'll have to listen to find out what happened next, but in the mean time, keep your ear out for the unsettlingly banal way he talks about the frozen dead people, like they're junkers in a used car lot. Creepy.

Redux: Even Barbie's Wallet is Empty

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Is Barbie's Dream House facing foreclosure too? Apparently, our favorite perma-perky friend has her own financial woes. I guess all those silver ball gowns and pink convertibles really add up.

Blog: Slide Over that Audio

Studio 360 Audio Slide Show

I love when radio shows go visual by pairing interviews with still photographs in one easy to watch digital package. Studio 360's audio slideshow of Coney Island's Stillwell Ave subway terminal is simply stunning. I heard about the uber-green transportation center on their podcast, but had a hard time visualizing the interconnected photovoltaic glass roof. Come to think of it, I'd never seen a photovoltaic roof until I checked out the slideshow on their website, expertly produced by Salt alum Andrea Silenzi.

And check out those wireless mics! Let's all be audio geeks and celebrate the great sound they gathered without a boom mic in sight. It's the little things...

Redux: Noodles, He Likes Noodles

I'm probably not sharing anything new when I note that This I Believe was originally a radio program hosted by Edward R. Murrow in the 1950s. Now produced by Jay Allison, Dan Gediman, John Gregory, and the fabulous Viki Merrick, the program asks Americans to write and share essays about what they believe in. This particular episode tugs at your heart strings, inviting the listener to believe in the transformative power of a mother's love. Armed with only the knowledge that her newly adopted son liked noodles, we hear about the first moments of forging a bond between mother and son and how that bond had the power to heal.

If, after listening to this episode, you feel inspired enough to submit your own essay, DO IT.

Redux: Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Okay - I'll admit it: I met my fiance through a matchmaker. Luckily, neither of us asked or paid for the service. Like back in the old country, this kind woman was a family friend who couldn't resist setting us up. Four pretty blissful years later, I still thank her for her services, even if they struck me as a bit unnecessary at the time. Now it looks like Matchmaking School is the new MBA. Maybe it's time to pay a visit to your neighborhood yenta.