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Act One: And So We Meet Again

Sam Slaven is an Iraq War veteran who came home from the War plagued by feelings of hate and anger toward Muslims. TAL producer Lisa Pollak tells the story of the unusual action Sam took to change himself, and the Muslim students who helped him do it.

Act Three: The Devil Wears Birkenstocks

Some people battle inner demons, but contributor David Ellis Dickerson went one step further. David tells the story of the time he took on an actual demon in his college classroom.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass tells a story about how, when he was in seventh grade, he was over at his best friend's house and saw beer in the fridge. He'd only ever seen beer in fridges on TV; he didn't think it existed in real life.

Act One: Teen Wolf...blitzer

When he was a teenager, Haider Hamza worked in the Iraqi Ministry of Information. He was specially trained to talk to visiting dignitaries and foreign reporters, and he loved his job.

Act Two: A Sense Of Place

Filmmaker Tony Hill took his friend Sally Goode, who was born blind, to a place she'd never been before, then taped her trying to figure out where she was. We first heard Hill's story care of our colleagues at the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

Prologue

There's a 200-person operation based out of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas called the Center for Army Lessons Learned. Host Ira Glass speaks with Colonel Steve Mains, who runs the Center, and with Craig Hayes and Lynn Rolf, two men who answer soldiers' requests for information.

Second Half Prologue

Ira speaks with Milt Hileman of the Center for Army Lessons Learned about the single most-requested publication they put out, Soldiers' Handbook: The First 100 Days: Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures. It explains how to avoid getting killed in your first hundred days in Iraq, which is when a disproportionate number of U.S. casualties occur.

Act Three: The Lessons Of Tomorrow, Today

For all the discussion in Congress about withdrawing troops, there seems to be very little serious discussion about why, about what'll happen to Iraq once we leave, about responsible ways to withdraw. To understand better these and other rarely-discussed questions about the war, we turned to Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks in Baghdad.

Act One: Cassandra

This American Life producer Nancy Updike tells the story of Conrad Crane, the head of the U.S. Army Military History Institute.

Act One: Gamester Of Ireland Is Fine

Roger Dowds won several hundred thousand pounds on the Irish version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, which is why Ronan Kelly, the host an Irish public radio program, first went to interview him. During their talk together, it became clear that Roger was a very unlikely game show champion.

Act Three: Girls In Need Of A Safer Time

Robin Epstein talks about her old job, as producer and chief question writer on a game show for teen-age girls called Plugged In. It was one of the first shows to air on the Oxygen network, the TV channel for women created by Oprah Winfrey. Robin had hoped that the show could serve as a role model for young women, showing smart teen girls answering tough questions.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to Scott Shrake, who got hired for a job he was utterly unqualified for – as a German interpreter for visitors to Detroit. On his first assignment, Scott realized that not only couldn't he understand what the German tourists were saying, he didn't understand the English words he was supposed to translate.

Act One: Mr. Central High

Susan Drury tells the story of Chauncey Julius, who ended up in over his head completely by accident. As a high school student, Chauncey decided to turn his life around, only to be overwhelmed by all the attention he got for his achievements.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to Jonathan Gold about the bully in high school who knocked Jonathan and his cello down the stairs one day as he was walking to history class—and why Jonathan felt a sudden surge of satisfaction about this almost three decades later.

Act One: Who Takes The Class Out Of Class Reunion

Jon Ronson goes to his high school reunion to try to figure out why his schoolmates—his friends!—threw him in a lake when he was sixteen. The only trouble is, no one at the reunion seems to remember it quite the way he does.

Act One: Mother Of Invention

Karen Sosnoski's one-year-old son, Anton, was born with what's known as Mosaic Down Syndrome, a rare condition where some of his cells have the extra chromosome that causes Down syndrome and other cells don't. So as he grows, he could end up having all the health risks and challenges of Downs syndrome...or just a few of them. Through a website, Karen found a kid with the same diagnosis, named Tim Colvin, who was doing really well...perhaps because his mother, Kristy, invented a surprising and unusual way to raise her son.