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I live in a wonderful little town in Florida, called Safety Harbor. It’s in the Tampa Bay area. And one of the things that people love about this place is that there are lots of big, shady trees. There’s one particular tree that everyone knows about. It’s a huge oak tree, called the Baranoff Oak, and it’s named after one of the early property owner…
 
I find it so interesting that sometimes we can take what seems to be a really small action, but it ends up being something really big. Back in 1998, I was living in Maine with my wife and our two young kids. I was working at a regular office job. Then one day, I needed to have some printing done. This was before the days of the high-quality inkjet …
 
Like a lot of people these days, I work from home. And I really enjoy that. But many years ago, I had a more traditional job where I worked in an office building with other people. And there was a thing I liked to do that some of my co-workers thought was a bit odd. We got an hour off for lunch each day. And sometimes I’d go to the breakroom and ea…
 
Do you remember the movie called The Fugitive? It came out in 1993, and it starred Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble, who was unjustly accused of murdering his wife. Throughout the movie, he’s working to find the REAL killer. But at the same time, he’s the target of a nationwide manhunt, led by a seasoned US Marshal – played by Tommy Lee Jones. I…
 
Right now, I’d like you to take a minute, and imagine this scenario. I live in Florida, in the southeast area of the United States. I like it here. We have good weather most of the time, which means I can get out and bike almost every morning year round. My area is highly populated, so anything I need is readily available – grocery stores always st…
 
Deral Dean Ritter. Probably not a name you’ve heard before. In 1986, Ritter was 34 years old, and he was living in Waurika, Oklahoma. In fact, he was living in the Jefferson County jail. He was serving a 7-month sentence. The crime that landed him there sounds kind of silly, by today’s standards. He was convicted of possession of marijuana. Medical…
 
Remember back in the day, when everyone got up on Monday morning, and went to work? I’ve worked from home for a long time, but I do remember having jobs with that kind of routine. Wake up, take a shower, have some coffee and breakfast, drive to work, and come back home at the end of the day. Next morning, you do the same thing. In the past couple o…
 
Sometimes, you see a phone call coming in and you just know that something bad has happened. I remember back several years ago, when my dad was still alive. He was in pretty poor health. He could still walk around, sort of, but it was with a walker, and it was very slowly. I’m the oldest of three sons, and of the three, I live the closest. It’s onl…
 
I believe that people, for the most part, are good. When a tragedy happens, we want to help. That’s really the whole basis for the GoFundMe website. You can read about someone who’s in some kind of desperate situation, whether it’s from an accident, or a critical illness, or something else – and you can literally help them. And when something reall…
 
As human beings, one of the things we crave is community. We need social interaction, and we want to feel like we belong in a group. Whether it’s family, or co-workers, or a church, or a local club – it seems like we need to be with other people. But for some people, there are times when we like being alone. I ride my bike every morning, and it’s s…
 
The subway system in New York City is pretty impressive. It opened in 1904 so it’s one of the oldest subway systems in the world. And it is definitely the largest, with 472 stations. And throughout its history, the subway has offered service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week almost continuously. The exceptions are usually emergencies and disasters, suc…
 
On the morning of April 19, 1995, a former US Army soldier parked a rented Ryder truck in front of the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building, located in downtown Oklahoma City. Inside the truck was everything he needed to carry out his plan of terrorism and mass murder. He had a large bomb, which he created using agricultural fertilizer and some chemica…
 
As I walk or bike through my neighborhood, one of the saddest things I often see is a flyer stuck to a telephone pole or electric pole, telling about a lost dog. We have a couple of little dogs, Lilly and Fenway. They’re both Yorkies. And believe me, they are family. I can’t imagine the stress and anxiety and sadness if we suddenly discovered one o…
 
During the 1-900 number craze of the Nineties, one company provided the vast majority of phone sex. American Telnet was an empire founded by the man who called himself “The Telephone Pimp.” He ran the company “like General Motors” and got filthy rich doing it. But for the (mostly) women who answered the calls and delivered fantasies 24-7, it was a …
 
Few things are scarier than being attacked by a shark. Australian Mick Fanning was in a professional surfing competition, which was being broadcast live around the world. Viewers watched as a shark approached him and he was quickly rescued by nearby safety crews – the only damage was the leash that connected him to his surfboard had been chewed thr…
 
I’ve lived in places where the winter is really cold. Personally, I can say I prefer to live here in Florida, where it’s usually relatively warm. I don’t miss shoveling snow, or driving on roads that are icy, and it’s been a long time since my fingers and toes felt numb from the cold temperatures. I know some people prefer a colder climate, and I’m…
 
This is a bonus episode of What Was That Like. If this were a regular episode, you’d be hearing someone telling a story of how they survived a mass shooting, or when they got attacked by a grizzly bear, or that time they won $100,000 on Wheel of Fortune. We have guests on with all kinds of crazy stories, and they tell exactly what happened, first h…
 
We live in a pretty amazing time. Private citizens are going to outer space, cars are able to drive themselves to places without a human, all kinds of crazy things that our grandparents would never have imagined. I love hearing about the advances in science and technology. And what we’re talking about today might seem like it’s always been around, …
 
Do you have a best friend? I have a best friend. His name is Tim. He and I grew up together in Ohio. We went to the same school, same church, we would sleep over at each other’s house all the time. And we each have younger brothers, and they were also good friends, and our parents were really close as well. Of course I’m in Florida now, and Tim sti…
 
BADLANDS is a true-crime anthology podcast from Jake Brennan, creator and host of the award-winning music and true crime podcast DISGRACELAND. BADLANDS Season 2: Sportsland is all about the shocking rise and fall of sports legends. Listen each week for wild stories about Mike Tyson, Oscar Pistorius, Aaron Hernandez, Evel Knievel, Tonya Harding, Pet…
 
Most adults remember where they were on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. In New York City, there were some thunderstorms the night before, but that day, 9/11, had started out beautiful and sunny, with clear skies. Then people started noticing that some large passenger planes were flying too low. When the first building was hit, there was…
 
I was watching a video online recently. I don’t remember where it was, probably in a subreddit. It was recorded on a security camera in some business. There’s no sound, but you can pretty much tell what’s going on. These two men are standing there, and they are obviously in some kind of argument. You know how, even when you can’t hear what someone …
 
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