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Posts tagged "This American Life"


The Love We Can’t Believe Doesn’t Exist

As we all know, love stories are often too good to be true. On This American Life last week, NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam, who now has his own podcast called Hidden Brain, tells the story of a love-letter scam created by a man named Don Lowry. In the 1980s, Lowry purchased the address […]

The iPhone Fades to Black: A Review of Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine

Another excellent reflection from our friend, Tim Peoples. The 2015 release of both a straightforwardly critical documentary and (based on the marketing so far) a celebratory biopic about Steve Jobs may give the impression that he is a polarizing figure, i.e., that Alex Gibney’s Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine and Boyle + Sorkin via Isaacson’s Steve Jobs represent, […]

Innocent Bystanders, Assemble! The Viewer’s Perspective in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

This reflection comes to us from Tim Peoples. I’m no hero, and that was brought home to me in a three-month binge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (twelve films and three TV series…thanks very much, Age of Ultron marketing!). Several works in the MCU follow a wider cultural trend of the deconstruction of the American […]

This American Life ” – On Re-purposing Our Monuments of Shame

There was a great story on NPR’s “This American Life” this week.  Back in 1999, on an annual list of 354 U.S. & Canada Cities, Kankakee, Illinois was voted the worst – number 354. The criterion included crime rate per capita, climate, unemployment rate, etc. When the list came out, David Letterman (a nearby Indiana […]

Another Week Ends: Modern Love, Measured Grief, Moral Progress, and Invisible Sciences

1) Kicking off this week’s roundup we have a story that posted last week over at Modern Love. Entitled, “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This,” it posits the theory that intimate love can happen between any two people willing to open themselves up. We read to find that not only has this theory […]

My Way is a “Crap Song”: Reflections on Regret

Say what? I was out for a jog this week and I had to stop, take out my earbuds to squeegee out my ears with my fingers, hit rewind, and hear that again. Did Ira Glass just disparage Frank Sinatra? Ira Glass is the creator and executive producer of NPR’s weekly podcast “This American Life”. […]

Serial, Contradictions, and the Jesus Stories

The Gospels are full of contradictions. There, I said it. Take, for example, the differing accounts of the resurrection. In Matthew, the two Marys – Magdelene and Jesus’ mom – are at the empty tomb, greeted by an earthquake and an angel. In Luke, Joanna and other unnamed females are added to the mix, and […]

Step Into Their World: The Parallel Universes of Alzheimer’s and Improv

By following the rules of improvisation, one family finds love and humor within the wilderness of dementia.

The episode “Magic Words” aired last month on This American Life and in it you’ll hear “Rainy Days and Mondys,” the story of Karen Stobbe, her husband Mondy, and her mother Virginia, who recently moved into their house because she has dementia.

Mike Birbiglia Wants Credit For Not Being Creepy

A hilarious and seriously relevant bit from comedian Mike Birbiglia about the fragility of what it means to be (or think of yourself) as a “decent person” and the often comic discrepancy between motivation and action. Taken from the recent goldmine of an episode of This American Life about “Good Guys”, ht CW:

Top 10 Things I Wanted to Blog about in 2013 but Was Too Lazy

I happily come across more pieces of culture than I know what to do with each year (or month, or week, or day) that speak to the Christian Message. This is a good problem to have–it means a blog like Mbird or a preacher like me will never run out of new material. Not using it […]

Jesus (and TAL): Give Cash to Poor People

“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back” (Luke 6.30). Of all Jesus’ commandments which his followers expressly disobey (my personal fave being Matthew 6:1 where he instructs his audience “not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them”–ironically […]

Hector Black Forgives The Man Who Murdered His Daughter

I recently learned about Transom.org through This American Life. If you like TAL, you might enjoy listening to the Transom podcast, which produced an amazing (and relatively brief) interview with Hector Black, an elderly organic farmer, whose adopted daughter was killed by a crack-addicted burglar. Black describes this terrible incident and the ensuing relationship he […]