Homer's Travels: Traveling In Time With Ira

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Traveling In Time With Ira

As a few of you know, I'm a fan of the This American Life radio show on NPR. I rarely listen to it live but I have downloaded all the the episodes, all 352 of them. Actually I only have 324. Some of the older episodes are missing and I missed some of the podcasts darn it. I usually listen to them while I'm doing chores around the house.

I started listening with episode 1 and I am slowly making my way forward. Today I listened to three episodes ending with episode 177. What struck me was that it's sort of like traveling in a time machine. Most of the episodes are not connected to any one time. There are the occasional holiday shows which make it weird to listen to a Christmas or Valentine themed show in the middle of summer. Then there are the shows that are connected to specific temporal events. The show started airing in 1995 and some of the early episodes followed Senator Bob Dole during his 1996 presidential campaign. As I've listened to each episode, I've slowly moved forward through time towards the present. One of the episodes I listened to today covered the 2000 election and how the Florida hanging chad count-recount fiasco affected the Republican-Democrat dialog. It was kind of weird listening to their take on this event knowing that in eight months 9/11 would take place. The world seemed a lot simpler back then.

I am looking forward to listening to the show's take on 9/11, the Iraq war, the 2004 elections, and Katrina. At the rate that I'm going it will be awhile before I finish them all and catch up to the present. I'm now in early 2000. Eight more years to go in 175+ entertaining and thought provoking steps.

P.S. I was sad to hear that Arthur C. Clarke passed away today. The world is now short one visionary.


  1. I've only heard a couple of episodes, but I liked what I heard. I admire your project (I'd love to do the same, if only I had the time).

    I felt the same on hearing of the loss of Clarke today. I found myself thinking of the fact that he was born in 1917, and that today's world, viewed through 1917 eyes, really has become science fiction...

  2. GH: Not all the episodes are that interesting but I've found most to be interesting.

    True. Of course, in the 60s Sci-Fi scene we would be living on the moon and mars by now. Sometimes progress seems so slow.