September 24, 2004

Put Your Heart In It

Stories about people deciding whether to give it their all. There's one story about a person who hasn't, one story about someone who has—in a situation where success seems very unlikely—and one story about people who just can't help themselves.


When you're in school, you're supposed to be a Renaissance person — do art, literature, sports, music—and be enthusiastic about it all. You get graded for effort. When we grow up, we're expected to transfer that give-it-your-all attitude into our adult lives, into situations where it doesn't really belong. Take Kenneth. He works as a greeter at a restaurant. (4 minutes)
Act One

Farm Eye For The Farm Guy

Hilary Hoffman wanted to give up his nine-to-five urban life. So he convinced his wife they could make it as organic farmers in rural Pennsylvania. It hasn't been going so well. The deer eat his vegetables. Weeds are strangling his strawberries. His muscles are constantly sore. Plus, he's just not a morning person. So This American Life arranges for him to get a makeover, agricultural style. George DeVault, a writer and editor at Rodale's New Farm magazine, who has his own organic farm, comes to the rescue. Shea Dean helped produce this story. (19 minutes)

Act Two

Diary Of A Longshot

When a 24-year-old runs for city council in Washington, D.C., he has to answer one question over and over: What's a 24-year-old doing running for city council? Sam Brooks is the candidate. At one point his campaign looks so hopeless, even he doesn't believe he's the better man for the job. He kept an audio diary, starting in February 2004. Sam's story was produced by Teal Krech. (21 minutes)
Act Three

Contrails Of My Tears

Brett Martin documents a previously unnoticed human phenomenon, one that involves airplanes...crying...and Reese Witherspoon. (11 minutes)