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Prologue

Thanksgiving 2002, the Ohm family's dinner conversation turned to the recent terrorist attacks. Alexis Ohm, the youngest daughter, made a comment that in retrospect she admits was probably the wrong thing to say with her conservative, military-veteran dad at the table...that Osama bin Laden was hot.

Act One: Make 'em Laff

Host Ira Glass spends time in perhaps the toughest room on earth, the editorial meeting at the satirical newspaper, The Onion, where there's one laugh for every 100 jokes.

Act Three: Impeachment Day

Joe Lockhart was press secretary for President Bill Clinton. He recently told stories from his time on the job—live onstage at a performance space in New York City called The Moth, where regular people share stories about their lives—in front of a boisterous crowd.

Commandments One, Two and Three: Honor God

As a boy in religious school, Shalom Auslander is informed that his name, Shalom, is one of the names of God, and so he must be very careful not to take his own name in vain.

Commandment Seven: You Shall Not Commit Adultery

In the book of Matthew, Jesus says that looking lustfully at a woman is like committing adultery in your heart. Contributor David Dickerson was raised as an evangelical Christian, and for many years tried not  to have a single lustful thought.

Act Three: The Homesick Explorer

This American Life contributor Sarah Vowell tells the story of a mapmaker named Charles Preuss who charted the Western Territories with two of American history's legendary explorers—John Charles Fremont and Kit Carson. The maps Preuss made were best sellers and helped open the Western frontier to settlement.

Act One: 29

This American Life contributor David Rakoff, who swore off TV in college, returns to it in dramatic fashion: He attempts to watch the same amount of television as the average American—29 hours in one week. David is author, most recently, of the book Don't Get Too Comfortable.

Act Two: Turkeys In Pilgrim Clothing

Sarah Vowell examines what happens when TV takes on a subject it really has no business exploring at all, but seems fairly obsessed with nonetheless: The Pilgrims. Sarah's most recent book is Assassination Vacation.

Act Three: Radio On The Tv

Ira says a few words about what he learned from working on a television show himself and about what it's like to hear your name mentioned casually by a fictional character on a prime time drama.

Act Two: Dire Enigmas For Elite Fans

Every winter, some of the world's best puzzle solvers gather in Boston for the MIT mystery hunt, a competition in which teams of puzzle enthusiasts spend between 24 and 72 straight hours trying to solve what just may be the hardest recreational puzzles in the world. This American Life producer Lisa Pollak hung out with one team (named Dr. Awkward...a palindrome) as they worked towards the ultimate answer, the location of a coin, buried somewhere on the MIT campus. Check out the puzzles from that year's hunt.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass visits the Upper East Side building in Manhattan where Peter Roach has been the super for about ten years. Peter has a lot of keys.

Act Two: Super Duper

The super in Josh Bearman's Los Angeles building was kind of a needy character. He would sometimes ask Josh to come into his apartment and help him out -- check whether his garbage was being moved by a ghost, for example.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with producer Alex Blumberg and his parents about a bad dog they once had, and how nothing—not getting hit by cars, attacked by bigger dogs, or being shipped off to live on a farm—could stop this dog from coming home. "The Cat Came Back" is sung by Nedelle Torrisi.

Act Three: Combo Platter

David Sedaris reads a new story that explores the age-old question: Can a parrot and a pot-bellied pig find happiness in a world that only wants to pigeon-hole them? David's most recent book is Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.

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.