This American Life

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Who doesn’t like a good story? Since the beginning of whenever people learned that they could convey experiences lived or ideas born in their heads to other people — whether by voice, gesticulation, or scribbling lines in the dirt — humans have been telling stories to one another; thankfully, we haven’t stopped. Nowadays, we’ve got pretty sophisticated instruments at our disposal that help us keep telling these stories — many as age-old as the human experience itself — in fresh and interesting ways. Even with these vlogs, Diana and I are trying to share our story with you, gentle viewer, by the video and audio tools we’ve got on hand. Over at LockerGnome, we give you our perspectives of developing tech, science, and geek stories as situations develop in written form, much akin to books, magazines, and the scrolls of antiquity. And anyone who’s ever had to deal with a daily commute has probably tuned in to a radio show for some form of storytelling — either through music, or talk radio, or serial programming. NPR (National Public Radio) is my go-to station when I’m on the road (you’ve probably got a branch in your listening range); it’s the radio’s equivalent of television’s PBS (Public Broadcasting Service), so there’s a little something for everyone.

My favorite program on NPR by far is This American Life, running strong since 1995 and hosted by master storyteller Ira Glass (there was even a cable television version on Showtime from 2006-2008 — it won three Emmys). But what’s it about? That might not be so easy to explain, but the official website tries: “The radio show and TV show follow the same format. There’s a theme to each episode, and a variety of stories on that theme. It’s mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always. There’s lots more to the show, but it’s sort of hard to describe.”

I can’t recommend it enough. What’s nice is that you can listen to the entire archive of radio shows — all 18 years so far — through the magic of the Internet for free! You can subscribe to the free weekly podcast, or you can even download past episodes — radio and television versions — from iTunes (not free). There’s a whole list of the many ways you can enjoy This American Life over at the official website. Do it!

Many of our viewers agree.

Mitchell Wilson II: Dude! Seriously, I’ve been listening to This American Life for over six years. It’s awesome. Do you have the iPhone app?

littleshoeshopper: This American Life is excellent — you have good taste.

TheMy77: I think some people dislike just to dislike. I LIKE the vlogs, Peet’s, and This American Life. awesome choices!

However, there’s always a dissenting voice in the peanut gallery!

BastardRevolver: I don’t understand the obsession with This American Life. Joe Rogan Experience is my favorite.

To each their own, I suppose. Do you partake of This American Life, or do you have another favorite storytelling experience you’d like to share with us? Or have you visited this elegant shoe store? Please leave a comment below!

This American Life