This American Life; Also, a Prayer

Do you listen to the NPR show This American Life? It’s my favorite radio show ever. I turn down invitations if they cut into my weekend routine of drinking a cup of tea and listening to This American Life. It’s hard to describe the show — the people at the show themselves admit this — but they do a pretty good job here. And some popular episodes are available for your listening pleasure here.

A few weekends ago, the episode was about numbers being used in places where numbers maybe shouldn’t be used. For example, some folks tried to quantify what makes likable songs likable, and what makes unlikable songs unlikable, by taking a survey of what instruments, voices, and genres of songs people like and dislike most. Then, they combined all the most-liked sounds to create a song everyone should like, and all the least-liked sounds to create a song no one should like. The “good” song turned out to be rather bland and unlistenable. The BAD song, on the other hand, combined elements such as bagpipes, tubas, accordions, children’s choirs, and an opera singer singing rap on the subject of the life of cowboys. It was HYSTERICALLY WONDERFUL.

That episode is here, if you’re interested. :o)

This past weekend’s episode was about tomorrow’s inauguration, and about how Americans are feeling about all things Obama-related. Another good episode; made me feel a little better about Obama’s selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the inauguration. You can listen to that episode here.

Before I go, a shout-out to the man who moves into the White House tomorrow. Barack Obama: You know what I think? I think you’re extraordinary. You inspire people to work together; you give people hope; you shine. I believe in you. I’m on your side.
I hope the angels are, too.