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It's Only Money: Sound Effect, Episode 203

Adrian Florez

Our latest episode of Sound Effect revolves around the theme, "It's Only Money." We'll meet a couple who tried to get rich flipping houses, decades before it was cool. We'll find out how a teenage blunder left Mike Lewis with a debt he could never repay, and how he reapid it anyway. A small town prints its own money, on pieces of wood. A Seattle writer considers a complicated inheritance: what she learned about moneyfrom her parents. And a group of friends order a round of drinks ... and fiasco ensues. 


Silvana Clark got the idea from a radio interview with an author. It was 1977, and the guy promised quick riches if you were willing to simply buy a house, fix it up and sell it.

So she and her husband took the plunge. The first red flag came when they noticed police helicopters making frequent passes over their new fixer-upper. Then there were the bulletholes. Before long it was clear: This project was going to make them the opposite of rich. 

Listen to the full storyto hear how it turned out. 


Mike Lewis idolized both his big brother Wayne, and Wayne's car. Wayne drove a sporty little 1968 Triumph TR250. Mike was 16 when Wayne came home for a visit. 

"Unfortunately I have a driver's license," says Mike, a journalist and tavern owner in Seattle. "Wayne hands me the keys, and says, 'hey, take it for a spin.'" 

What followed would throw their ledger out of balance for 37 years, until Mike decided to clear his debts. Hear the full story here


In December, 1931, right in the middle of the Great Depression, the little logging town of Tenino had a serious problem.


The Citizen’s Bank of Tenino had run out of money and closed its doors. It was the only bank in town, so when the bank ran out of money, the whole town ran out of money. 


They had businesses and customers, but no currency to exchange. That meant it was time to get creative. You can hear what happened next in this story.




Leila was always the responsible one with money. She learned the mechanics of capitalism from her mother, the value of generosity from her dad. She always paid her bills and made good on her promises. 


So it was a shock when, a few years back, she was forced to declare bankruptcy. 


The bankruptcy had a lot to do with external forces. But Leila started to see that there were other factors, too, that she had inherited a more complicated relationship with money from each of her parents than she had realized. 


Listen tothe full conversation here.


It was two couples on a night out. They'd just taken in a concert and adjourned to a bar. One member of the party noticed a chalkboard advertising "rare and interesting" scotches. He ordered a few shots.

"And we're getting kind of a lot of attention from the bartender for as busy as this place was," says Ed Ronco, one of the foursome that night. "So I grab a menu from a neighboring table, and I look up the price."

Ed joined host Gabriel Spitzer to reveal what he found, andthe dilemma that followed.

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.